Monday, July 17, 2006

cingular at the embarcadero and solar glow

Cingular wireless is currently inhabiting all of the advertising space at the Embarcadero BART station in San Francisco. They've done a really great job and have been very creative. The square-panels of advertising billboard space on the walls, which are arranged in groups of six panels, are transformed into clever statements about the wireless carrier, and they also take advantage of the billboard arrangement. For example, the statement, "commu nicate wit hout so m any interr uptions" is nicely broken up (notice the spacing) to relate the message with the square-panels. Really cool. Cingular has also installed very large floor advertisements at both ends of the escalators used for accessing the BART platform.

I encountered the Cingular ads while waiting at the Embarcadero station to head home. Today was the fourth spare-the-air day (the state is picking up the tab because the air quality is quite horrible) in the Bay Area, and I decided to head into the city. The ads nicely wrap the station into the world of the advertisement's message.

Before heading into the BART station, I walked by the pier terminal building and turned to see a very interesting solar reflection in the highrises behind me. As is visible in the photo below (taken with cellphone Razr camera), the sun, which is the bright spot in the second building to the right, is actually right behind that building in about that same place. The sun is being reflected off of the building in front of that building (the building farthest to the right) back onto the building where we see the sun's reflection. The effect was quite magnificent: the sun's presence placed where it is in the sky in front of the building, while the real sun's glow in the sky comes up around the edges of the second building to the right and provides it with the contrast of a wonderful backlit, white glow (the image doesn't capture this)!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

sustainability and gettin' freaky

I'm planning on attending a party tonight, which I hope to be a great deal of fun. Of course, it makes me think of relations between the sexes and that funky social dance that happens between people ("with eyes locked, love was found" or "with eyes locked, it was time to grind dem hips").

When I first got a car three years ago, I was excited to drive around. There is a thrill in having the windows down, wind blazing by, sitting low in the seat with music so loud the bass rumbles through my body. "Cars, man, they are hot and cool."

But then there is the reality of the situation: cars are destroying the world in many ways (oil consumption, urban sprawl, detached lifestyles, less dependence on public transportation), and people need to shift away from them as much as possible. With a gallon of gas at $3.15 and higher and co2 spewing-out, cruising down the street to check out (and impress) the ladies isn't cost-effective or globally-responsible, it's pretty ignorant and reckless.

So when I go to this party, I don't think I will be cruising around like an animal. But when I'm at this party, how might I attempt to "party like an animal", not take myself too seriously, have some fun and smiles, and engage in the party event in a sustainable and responsible way?

Then again, partying might be a form of sustainability itself; isn't it participating in relationships, socializing, human development, learning the ropes of life, and engaging in the process of mating?

We need some theories on the intersections of sustainability and debauchery, sustainability and drinking, sustainability and beer-pong, sustainability and humor, sustainability and acting silly, sustainability and gettin' freaky!

On Blogging

Okay, so it's been a while since I've posted a real post here, and I'm excited about getting back into this. I recently graduated UC Santa Cruz this spring, and have been spending the summer researching and conceptualizing for an airport/airspace experiences collaborative art project, touring San Francisco (I grew up in the bay area and yet only now, coming home after college, am I realizing how amazing the city is! A nice touch of irony), researching architecture schools, and browsing volunteer and work opportunities. There's been a lot of time spent at home, sitting at the computer, hanging with my family and friends, and bicycling around my town (although, in contrast to my indoor computer usage, getting more time outdoors would be great).

I forsee my use of the blog as being an opportunity for me to share insights, ideas, and weblinks I've discovered and find interesting. I hope to also use the blog as a place for sharing stories and experiences from my adventures and travels. ...and, of course, I hope readers will write back for some nice e-conversation. I began this blog Fall 2005 as a way to document and share my study abroad experience in Firenze, Italy, where I studied in the pre-architecture program of Syracuse University Florence (a great school). I'll be honest, my blog posts from last Fall are pretty interesting!

I highly recommend reading blogs. They're hot stuff, and a great way to learn about all kinds of things written by all kinds of people. I ussually frequent on a daily basis an increasing amount of blogs, but over the past year my favorite has been With various news and information about technology changing the world for better (or for worse), Worldchanging is a web-experience worth delving into; heck, it might change you! There are posts on technology, projects, people, ideas, and movements that have been, are, or will change the world. The site's authors strive for a green and sustainable future. posts range from megacities in China and their futures, to emerging concepts such as the participatory panopticon (a personal favorite) and "g/local" (danah boyd's term), to solutions for climate change problems, to urban augmentation systems like denCity and Cabspotting (hello, SF!), to insightful interviews with folks like Adam Greenfield (author of "Everyware", a new book on ubiquitous computing), to creative attempts at economically-efficent green, collaborative architecture. So the site, basically, covers a lot of ground, and is worth browsing often. (The interests of architecture, media and sustainability tend to be reflected in the selection above).

Yesterday I discovered the blog Resarch, written by Brett Steele, director of the Architectural Association in London, and have been enjoying the many fascinating links Brett has posted. Through the Resarch site, I also learned of Infoaesthetics, a terribly interesting blog about information and communication graphics. As tied to my research with the airport/airspace experience project, I discovered these very interesting global mapping projects using images from around the world:

Geograph -

Degree Confluence -

PLEIX's Netlag World Webcam Map video -

LIFE24 Picture Mosaic, world view -

World Processor -

Time Graphs on Flickr -

USA Air Traffic-

Google Search Activity Map -

And three more interesting sites:, which is another great resource with tons of interesting and catagorized visualizations -

A visualization of the universe, a project which created an simulated image of the universe. astounding! This was found on the visual complexity site. -

Generic Mapping Tools, a program for use with Gimp to construct maps with complex data -

More on my research and explorations soon!