On the last day of my trip, I made brunch for a group of wonderful friends of the family. There’s no such thing as “brunch” in Brazil, so I tried to be a good culinary ambassador and introduce the concept in the best possible light. Each item was adapted to the local scene: scrambled eggs with queijo de minas and fresh herbs from the front yard; coconut brioche French toast with a passionfruit-pear compote (and maple syrup straight from New York); and mimosas made with acerola juice. Nothing came out quite as I expected: the bread had a really strange texture, and the compote was more like a soup. But my hosts seemed to enjoy it all, and the mimosas were a definite hit!
The Brazilian state of Minas Gerais is famous for its cheese, and infamous for its cheese-loving citizens. A popular snack here is queijo de Minas with a slice of guava jelly. So when I saw this item on the menu, I had to try it. The cheese in question has a very light, subtle, slightly tangy flavor, so the result was somewhat reminiscent of a cold slice of cheesecake. Verdict: surprisingly delicious!
I’m in Brazil for a couple of weeks, Visiting family. My favorite thing about Brazil is the abundant fresh fruit, stuff you never hear about in the States. Shown here: figs, passionfruit juice, and atemóia, which is a hybrid between the cherimoya and the pinha. The flavor is sweet and wonderful and hard to describe, somewhere between a pear and a pineapple, and the texture is slightly chewy and fleshy like a lychee nut. I could eat these all day.
Eric Rodenbeck just pointed me to this gorgeous little game for the iPhone: Drop7. It combines the best elements of Tetris and Sudoku, but somehow transcends them both. While most games start out interesting and then plateau, this one actually gets better with time. It tempts you to come up with ever-more-creative ways to set up the domino-like chain reactions that yield the highest scores. The design is also solidly appealing (hey, with two nice weights of Helvetica, how can you go wrong!) And is it addictive? Ohhhh man, is it ever. The first time I played it, I was on a hard-seated chair. I don’t know how long I was sitting there, but when I tried to stand up, I couldn’t feel my toes. Both of my legs had gone to sleep. It’s that addictive.
My only critique is that every single number is the wrong color. Consult a synesthete next time, ok guys? :-)
I’m fascinated by the way our viral video has been spreading around the web. It’s a very chaotic process. One day it’ll get a few hundred views, and the next day 60,000. Blip.tv gives some very basic statistics, but it doesn’t really tell the story of how the clip’s popularity spreads from one community to another. So I’ve started using Processing to try to visualize it. Processing is really easy to learn to use, but certain commands, like bezierVertex(), have slightly less-than-intuitive arguments. The image above was the result of one of several failed attempts to understand that particular function.
Looks like our How to Make a Baby video has gone viral. It’s been on Boing Boing, Neatorama, Geekologie, Cartoon Brew, MSN.com, and about a zillion other blogs. In the mainstream media, it’s been on Canal Plus, Metro (UK), Epoca, Glamour, and ESPN of all places.
As of today, our original video has been watched over 400,000 times. (I’m still trying to figure out how much popcorn that would mean if all those people had to go see it in a movie theater.) Meanwhile, an unofficial copy on YouTube has garnered another quarter of a million views (although for some reason my “official” YouTube copy has a scant 10,000… go figure!) And I guess the lack of dialog gives the short some kind of global appeal, because it’s been blogged in Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, and Turkish. Whew!
Here are some of the best comments I’ve seen so far (in English, anyway…)
“The pope was right – condoms ARE useless. Rubber gloves, however!”
“Excellent! I played it for my 5 year old daughter and her 5 year old cousin before they left for school. I’m sure it’ll make for an interesting day for their teachers :)”
“Scientifically inaccurate – fails to show the crucial contribution made by the stork.”
“Now that is dedication! I’m watching this on the set of a stop-motion film, and it certainly puts our long waiting times between takes into perspective.”
“Adoption is much easier and less stressful on the lungs/stomach.”
“That is exactly how my wife and I did it. By the way, NEVER blow on two fingers at once. Yep … twins!”
“My girlfriend is inflatable, too. God, I’m so lonely.”
Christian Faur is an artist who makes these wonderful image-sculptures out of custom-cast crayons. The work itself is very Rungy Chungy and appealing to the eye. And Faur apparently has a thing for certain mathematicians. But it also turns out that he’s encoded synesthetic messages into several of his pieces:
Further, I have developed a mapping system that translates the English alphabet into twenty six discrete colors and I use these crayon “fonts” to add words and language to each of the pieces in the show… The direct representation of language in each piece further imbues the works with meaning and brings an aspect of color into each composition reminiscent of DNA coding. The alphabetic key at the lower left of each panel allows the viewer to interpret the individual words written throughout the various panels.
I gather that Faur does not actually have synesthesia himself, but this system makes perfect sense to me. If only he’d chosen his colors differently, I might be able to read the text straight up without the key! (Although it’s pleasing to note that his C, E, and Z are all perfect matches for my own.)
Today we went to the “Art of Coraline” exhibit at San Francisco’s Cartoon Art Museum. It’s a fantastic show, full of gorgeous drawings, maquettes, armatures and full puppets from the making of the movie (which comes out next weekend by the way… we’re gonna try to catch one of the stereo 3D screenings, don’t wanna miss that!)
My personal favorite thing to see was a little black journal, chained to the wall, labeled “Secrets”. It’s a reproduction of the working diary of Jeremy Spake, one of the armature builders. Not only is it a beautiful object, but it shows just how experimental the process really is. Stop motion is still very much an evolving art form, and it’s the thought process of guys like this that keeps it evolving. Rock on!
Here are a few more photos from the show:
But it’s really worth seeing this stuff in person. The armatures and puppets are so detailed that no photo can do them justice. And strangely, a lot of the artwork in the show doesn’t appear in the only available “visual companion” book about the movie. So this may really be your only chance to see it. The exhibit is only up until February 15th, so try to get there while you still can! (And if Coraline ain’t enough for ya, there are two other exhibits at the Museum right now: the Totoro Forest Project, and a retrospective of the work of Gene Colan. Between the three of them it’s well worth the price of admission!)
Having a kid is such a memorable experience, but it’s kind of hard to convey to folks who haven’t been through it. So we made this little educational film to show you how it’s done. (Don’t worry, it’s totally worksafe!)
For a bigger version, and some behind the scenes details, see How to Make a “How to Make a Baby”.