Et Cetera

A Blog

  1. Penguin Explains the Universe

    penguin explains the universe

    Penguins are funny little creatures, but like most things nature makes, penguins have some hidden talents. According to the experts, “the light front and dark back coloration of classic penguin plumage is called countershading and it provides superb camouflage from above and below to protect penguins in the water”.

  2. Photos from Danmark (feat. the Nordic Lands), Issue IIIX

    Regal sewer covering design in Oslo, Norway.

    Regal sewer covering design in Oslo, Norway.

    Street art survives the winter in Copenhagen, Denmark.

    Street art survives the winter in Copenhagen, Denmark.

    Bringing visibility to sustainable transportation methods in Malmø, Sweden.

    Bringing visibility to sustainable transportation methods in Malmø, Sweden.

    Painted advertising on a building facade in Malmø, Sweden.

    Painted advertising on a building facade in Malmø, Sweden.

    Time to dust off the morning ride in Copenhagen, Denmark.

    Time to dust off the morning ride in Copenhagen, Denmark.

    Dusk and a windmill in the Mols area of Denmark. Wait, who am I trying to kid? It’s winter in Denmark – this photo was taking practically in the middle of the day!

    Dusk and a windmill in the Mols area of Denmark.
  3. Icebreakers Book Preview

    Here is a book project I have been working on with Kristoffer Fynbo Thorning and Tine Fris, both Danish musicians who also enjoy collaborative group processes. They have combined their interests into a book filled with icebreakers that focus on musicality and movement to help groups get into the groove.

    Icebreakers book cover design.

    Icebreakers book cover design.

    The book is still in progress so at the moment I can only show the cover design and a few illustrations from the exercises in the book. Design-wise, the client wanted a fun and informal look while still feeling professional enough for a variety of groups. An illustration style was developed to clearly show exaggerated body shapes, emphasize movement & sound, as well as maximizing the quantity of illustrations created for a start-up budget.

    Icons for four main categories of icebreaker.

    Icons for four main categories of icebreaker: playfulness, movement, collaboration, and music.

    Illustration for the icebreaker “body jazz”, where participants use different body part movements in conjunction with sounds to create a group song.

    Illustration for the icebreaker "body jazz", where participants use different body parts in time to sounds to create a collaborative song.

    Illustration for the icebreaker “memory”, which involves matching pairs of body shapes, sounds or movements that people perform for the game player.

    Illustration for the icebreaker "memory", which involves matching pairs of body shapes, sounds or movements that people demonstrate.

    Illustration for the icebreaker “zombie”, in which participants use unique sounds to let the ‘zombie character’ hone in on their prey while trying to escape – all with eyes closed.

    Illustration for the icebreaker "zombie", which uses sound for a chosen zombie to hone in on prey.

    On a personal note, I saw Kristoffer, Tine, and their musical group Postyr Project perform a concert in Copenhagen at a local church. The exact opposite of a born again revival, it was an evening of interesting a cappella combined with digital experimentation (imagine a singer waving their hands over an iPad to control a series of sound loops while funky IKEA lights turn on and off in the background depending on what tones are sounded). AND there were snacks and alcohol served afterwards in the vestibule. That’s just how the Danes roll.

    Here is one of my favorite songs from the evening called “My Future Self”. It was performed live pretty much in the same incarnation using four voices and an iPad.

    Check out their website for the Icebreakers book here, where they also have an IndieGoGo campaign in progress for helping fund production, outreach, marketing, and design.

  4. Shortcut

    In the shared creative office space where I work, there is an old freight elevator in the middle of the room. It is surrounded by 30-foot peaked ceilings, raw ceiling beams, a view into an inner-courtyard typical of Copenhagen buildings, and all the stark and minimalistic Danish interior decorating trappings such as black and white lights, decor and social areas.

    Nothing remarkable here…

    Nothing remarkable here...

    Unless…

    Unless...

    The elevator isn’t used more than once in a blue moon to haul something heavy up to the top floor – I don’t think anybody really notices it. But when I enter the light-filled room and near the elevator door on the the way to my desk each day I’m presented with this small sign, which for a second causes me pause.

    I believe I’ve found a very special shortcut…

    You see the small sign for a secret shortcut...

    In Danish, it’s nothing special – a “goods elevator”. But in Danglish, a special blend of Danish and English which I use to navigate my multi-culti existence, this is GOD’S ELEVATOR. The full Danglish translation might read:

    God’s Elevator
    CAUTION
    500 kg Gods
    Only 1 person may accompany

    Gather round all you sinners, all you thieves – I’m starting a new side business selling tickets to heaven. More details to follow once I figure out the logistics. But if I institute a price point that one might expect on such a service, I should be able to retire early.

  5. A Peacock, an Owl, some Quail

    Here are a few more animals in the teardrop style I am practicing – this time all birds. Check out the first sketches of a porcupine, skunk and bunny. I’m curious to see how universally I can apply this style.

    teardrop-animal-sketches-2

  6. Changing of the Guard

    Living in Copenhagen means that you own a bike, and that bike is like an extension of your body. The idea of driving through the city doesn’t even register as an option because it is much faster to cycle. Not only that, but the act of riding a bike makes you feel free as a bird.

    Indeed, my current city of residence is the origination of the super cool Copenhagen Parts magnetic bike light and bike porter, a myriad of bike paths along with proper a PDF usage guide, and the mayor is the main sponsor behind the Copenhagen Wheel. Bikes rule the road and rightly so.

    However, it is also a metropolitan area so frequently bikes go missing. So often, in fact, that the process to log a stolen bike and get insurance money for a new one is just a few clicks on your local county website. Because a Dane without a bike is like an American without a car – a panic stricken mess of transportation worry. How will I get to the bakery/pub/mini-mart 3 blocks from my house WITHOUT MY BICYCLE? It’s a relationship of dependency and affection.

    It is with that affection that I have always given my bikes names. My first real two-wheeler was a saucy crimson piece dubbed the Red Rocket. Later my sister named her yellow cruiser Daisy, while I gave my gold city bike the more human moniker Olsen and the following black mountain bike was named Jack. If only my bikes would come when called, I might not have to write this blog post.

    Which brings us to my most recent trusty steeds. Over the past year, both my partner and I have had our bicycles stolen from right under our noses in front of our apartment building, arriving at a depressingly empty bike rack spot to find…nothing. But even though our bikes might not have lasted long, they deserve a sort of remembrance in the form of these custom winged bike logos. Dear dear departed.

    2012 Bike Line-up

    The Black Lightning

    The Black Lightning

    The Black Lightning was a cheap city bike with straight handlebars and a funky sound when you changed gears, and not particularly comfortable to ride on due to a narrow hard seat. I’m not sure what precipitated its purchase, but in retrospect it wasn’t a big loss since its successor, The Green Falcon, was superior in all aspects.

    The Gray Goose

    The Gray Goose

    Conversely, The Gray Goose was a miracle of efficiency with just the right number of gears (7), a nice neutral color that hid dirt like a charm, and a basket on both the front AND back. This bike could transport 24 beers or an entire ingredient list for making 100 glasses of lemonade. It was a true workhorse and is still missed during large trips to the grocery store.

    2014 Bike Line-up

    The Green Falcon

    The Green Falcon

    The Green Falcon is a classic Van der Falk “grandpa bike” in forest green. Any rider is forced into an upright, stately position that makes passer by notice the dapper nature of the cyclist. Unfortunately it is not tricked out with any sort of baskets (that would be unmanly) and occasionally has a faulty back light, but all-in-all is a much better ride than its predecessor, The Black Lightning.

    The Sage Stealth

    The Sage Stealth

    Bought approximately 2 hours after the discovery of the missing Gray Goose (when you need to get somewhere, you need to GET THERE), The Sage Stealth is also a Van der Falk in the women’s model with a step-through frame and an added aluminum (rust free!) front basket. Unfortunately, after a few months on the road the identifier “stealth” no longer applies, as the front brake has a tendency to get stuck and make an irritating squeaky noise.

    There you have it – my household’s last few years of bike ownership. If you had to make a logo for your bike, what would it look like?