Friday, June 25, 2010

The Road (The Movie)

Eric and I have watched three movies in the last three days: Avatar (very good but just another Hollywood production), My New Daughter (OMG, Kevin Costner, what were you thinking?), and The Road (by far, the best).

The Road is described by many critics to be a love story and I agree with that assessment. It's about a man's love for his young son in a dangerous post-apocalyptic world. There's little relief in their day-to-day life. As they travel south on foot in search of warmth, the father struggles to give his child the survival skills he will need after he dies. It is the kid, however, who manages to teach compassion and "carry the fire" in spite of their circumstances. It is he who loves a humanity he does not know but believes to exist.

The acting is superb throughout, especially the work of Kodi Smit-McPhee. The relationship between him and Viggo Mortensen is tender and touching. When he sobs or whimpers after each terrifying episode in their lives or when he pleads for his father's generosity toward others, it is a realistic child's emotion and one of great strength.

Filmed in American cities such as Pittsburgh and New Orleans, with very little set design as I understand it, some call this movie an environmental warning. I didn't read that much into the story but believe this is what a dying Earth could easily look like. Void of light and color, there are small hopeful moments in an otherwise destitute world ... a glimpse of red, the flight of a bird, and the ability to rest if only for a short while. I highly recommend The Road and plan on purchasing the book this weekend. For further discussion, go here.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Night at Jaleo (Arlington)

Tapas and fun after my sis arrives in DC for the summer.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Riad Number 9

This house was featured in the April 2006 issue of Elle Decor and is available for rent in Morocco. Here's a description I took from Stephen Direnza's Web site:

Located in the heart of the medieval, UNESCO-protected medina of Fez, Riad Number 9 is a haven of peace and tranquility. Its owner carefully restored the property using only traditional methods over a three-year period. Asian, French and English antiques harmoniously cohabit, amplifying an ambiance of subdued luxury and charm.

Truth be told, as much as I like a pale, neutral palette, I need to live among pattern and color. I long for high ceilings, tall doors, and tile accents. $4,200 for one week and 3.5 hours from the airport. Includes a house cat and on-site chef.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I'd like to incorporate these windows into my condo ... maybe leading from my desk area into the kitchen. It looks like there are shelves on the interior side. Another light and airy photo for my inspiration file.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Today is Maya's birthday. She's turning 12 just like Cody did a few weeks ago. This photo was taken in Aswan, Egypt. Maya lives in Cairo and will be back in the US next Friday to visit us for the summer (along with her adorable sister Asia who I will feature in September).

Maya's a smart girl, very artistic and caring toward others and animals. She's a voracious reader and likes to write. I think this photo shows her calm interior nature quite well. I'm completely devoted to her.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


This weekend, I am working on my desk area. This is the inspiration photo I am using although my end result will not look as formal as this one does. Photo source unknown.

Friday, June 4, 2010


Lately, I've been reading a lot online about typography in an attempt to educate myself on a subject I find interesting but know very little about. I've read through summaries of the Humanist, Old Style, and Transitional periods and then moved on to the creation of Modern, Slab Serif, and Sans Serif typefaces. This week, I was introduced to the street version of typeface design through Erik Spiekermann's blog.

Spiekermann is a big name in the design world but he's accessible. He writes on his blog -- typos and all -- like a real person would and doesn't do it because it's the newest form of advertising that must be embraced in order to stay on top of technology and in touch with his public (think Facebook and Twitter). Spiekermann's March 23 post is about the Vernacular style of lettering.

Vernacular as it relates to design is a term used primarily in architecture and refers to those structures created by amateurs without academic training. Applied to typography, my earlier post on Gotham touches on the subject. Tobias Frere-Jones, out of respect for a disappearing form of lettering, created a quality typeface to extend its life. Spiekermann's attitude toward the Vernacular, by comparison, is elitist and while he has the credentials to take that viewpoint, he approaches it from the top-down rather than from the street level.

This got me to thinking about my trip to New Orleans. After the flood, amateur lettering was everywhere, from the SPCA notifications painted on houses to the identification signs on animal rescue vans. I shot the above photo because I liked the juxtaposition of the water line with the laundromat storefront. What I discovered yesterday morning was that Washateria is a fine example of the Vernacular style of lettering. See photos following.

A Washerteria in Louisiana ...

A faded Bubbles Washateria ...

A cleaned up Splish Splash Washateria ...

and an Alaskan interpretation ...

All photos (except mine) from flickr.