Freedom Is Nothing But The Chance to Be Better


Ends of years are strange things. It’s almost as if there’s a sort of forced sense of reflection one is required to have on the progress (or regression) made that year whether that be career changes, living situations, relationships, whatever. However it is we trivially gauge self-worth rears its ugly head by the calendar  year, and January is often spent at least partially in the throes of existential crisis.  If there’s one thing I learned this year at all, sometimes the most out of control situations have the biggest impact on your life and there’s nothing you can or could have done to control it.

2012 was a terrible horrible no good very bad year turned into the greatest year of my life in just a few short weeks. Whenever there’s the annual recall, it’s weird to look back on such a bi-polar slew of  mental minefield months and revisit the times that were less than great. Especially when the last month of the year rolls around and it’s damn near impossible to recollect a happier time.

Whether it be the big change in my job, the timing that finally worked out to let me fall incredibly in love with one of my best friends, or the fact that I’ve learned to cherish the nights of quiet at home with my oldest college friend – I’m not sure. I think it’s all of it but more than that – it’s that it all happened accidentally and when I wasn’t even looking. I have a family going into the end of this year that didn’t exist this time last December and if ever I’ve nearly cried at a wooden restaurant breakfast table, it was now from sheer happiness.

A Vegetarian With Deer Antlers On Her Wall – How To Live Without Irony

Considering there’s a block of wood that states “tell me your trauma”  and a hand-painted portrait of a military couple hanging above my television whom we have named The Odderlys that we paid $2.25 for, I do not, by any stretch of the imagination, live a life that is not heavily laced with irony. We’re not even going to talk about the metallic gnome candles, the fact that I put snippets of articles read in “sophiiiiiiisticated publications” on a WordPress hosted anything, or the fact that every job I’ve ever had has been deeply entrenched in “every category of contemporary reality.” I’m a vegetarian with deer antlers on my wall…so there’s that.

How to Live Without Irony

The hipster haunts every city street and university town. Manifesting a nostalgia for times he never lived himself, this contemporary urban harlequin appropriates outmoded fashions (the mustache, the tiny shorts), mechanisms (fixed-gear bicycles, portable record players) and hobbies (home brewing, playing trombone).

He harvests awkwardness and self-consciousness. Before he makes any choice, he has proceeded through several stages of self-scrutiny. The hipster is a scholar of social forms, a student of cool. He studies relentlessly, foraging for what has yet to be found by the mainstream. He is a walking citation; his clothes refer to much more than themselves. He tries to negotiate the age-old problem of individuality, not with concepts, but with material things.

He is an easy target for mockery. However, scoffing at the hipster is only a diluted form of his own affliction. He is merely a symptom and the most extreme manifestation of ironic living. For many Americans born in the 1980s and 1990s — members of Generation Y, or Millennials — particularly middle-class Caucasians, irony is the primary mode with which daily life is dealt. One need only dwell in public space, virtual or concrete, to see how pervasive this phenomenon has become. Advertising, politics, fashion, television: almost every category of contemporary reality exhibits this will to irony.

Take, for example, an ad that calls itself an ad, makes fun of its own format, and attempts to lure its target market to laugh at and with it. It pre-emptively acknowledges its own failure to accomplish anything meaningful. No attack can be set against it, as it has already conquered itself. The ironic frame functions as a shield against criticism. The same goes for ironic living. Irony is the most self-defensive mode, as it allows a person to dodge responsibility for his or her choices, aesthetic and otherwise.

To live ironically is to hide in public. It is flagrantly indirect, a form of subterfuge, which means etymologically to “secretly flee” (subter + fuge). Somehow, directness has become unbearable to us…

How to Live Without Irony 

Christy Wampole

New York Times

I Have Seen the Future – Norman Bel Geddes

Parking on campus at UT sucks. It sucks. Like it really, really sucks. Like, it’s dodge the kid wearing headphones that don’t really fit his head because he’s too Lil Wayneing it to pay attention to the fact that green for cars means go followed closely behind by a girl in jeans and a crop top who seems to be practicing belly dancing as she’s walking across to get to the noodle house. Fancy. I’m one of those old people now who pays $12 for the lot that’s on campus despite the fact that it ensures I must awkwardly trek through the Amanda Bynes lookalikes on the Alpha Phi house lawn to get to my destination – but it’s better than attempting to parallel park in between a vast array of Kawasaki mopeds.

My point is, sometimes I actually don’t miss college. I do, however, finally actually see the advantage of participating in all of the awesome stuff that college campuses have to offer and I sneak in under the guise of my mid-twenties (…perhaps she’s a grad student…) to weird things because 1. they’re free like whee and 2. what else am I going to pretend to talk and be smart about on my fake website? Right. So you see where I’m coming from.

Cue Norman Bel Geddes also known as Norman Geddes until he determined that he and his first wife would split names and, as equals, take over the design world thereby adopting her last name, Belle, as his weird new little middle name. Cute. Sailing across traditional knowledge silos – Geddes was one of those people that designed one of just about everything. Rotating ariel restaurant with three different levels for three different types of social classes? Sure. Seltzer bottles. Yeah, course. Macy’s “Christmas Parade” balloons (1/2″ lines on diagram equivalent to 5′ not – diagram not to scale..oh) stages for the greatest plays, brilliant two page spread zig zag style print ads for hosiery and more and more and more and more. My favorite little thing was a book from his personal collection full of annotations because. it’s. so. cute.

I Have Seen the Future: Norman Bel Geddes Designs America

“As exhibition titles go, “I Have Seen the Future: Norman Bel Geddes Designs America” might seem a bit hyperbolic, though really it’s not. If anything, it would be difficult to overstate the trajectory of this prolific polymath, whose bold futuristic imaginings, coupled with a belief in the transformative power of art, architecture and design, drove him to rethink everything from Broadway theater sets and department-store window displays to the look of vacuum cleaners, cocktail shakers, the automobile, the circus tent and an interstate highway system.” – The Wall Street Journal

A Field Guide to Invisible People in Chairs : Thoughts About the Infographic

It’s amazing how funny and interesting infographics suddenly are when you have way, way too much work to do. It’s amazing how that’s actually the ONLY time they are funny or interesting. It’s also interesting how Google still puts little red squiggles under the word infographic since every digital media anyone ever makes them about everything always. How tiny squirrels eat pizza with no hands – an infographic. How to dip dye your own shoelaces which you may then use as just regular string if you prefer to tie a bag closed for example – an infographic. How to best release the news that Angela Lansbury still, for whatever reason, makes frequent appearances in your dreams – an infograpic. The periodic table of elephants – an infographic – a real one. Following?

Giggle from Ben Greenman – a name that can be gramatically altered beautifully. Been green, man? Fun. He’s also a badass so that’s fun too. 

Infographic examples above should not alarm you about my current mental state. I had a copious amount of iced coffee today and I’m currently dealing with that fact in the form of odd thought processes. What should be taken away from this is that if I get another infographic emailed to me about the birth of Facebook and idea strategies behind effectively targeting primary synergistic synergized synergy key mutually beneficial BLAGH SHUT UP —-I’ll probably Google invisible infographics instead. Please carry on and have a lovely day.

From the Water Cooler: Updates From the Office

I don’t post much about my job on here because, well, it’s my job. But I was inspired by a piece that miss Kristin wrote about our office wide email archives regarding Boomtown. While we do work really hard here, (read: 5 people doing the work of at least 25… + an army of killer interns) we also swing some fun. The frazzle sets in occasionally though, and there’s no better time to see it than the Friday before a three day weekend. Pardon me as I post the amazingness (or maybe just to me) ramble that came out of the office recently along with some pictures of how we stay busy.

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Any big plans for this Labor Day weekend? Oh by the way, no work on Monday – Rachel


WAIT WHAT?! – Ross
No work on Monday – Rachel
Oh I thought pizza was announced but no work —- good too – Ross

Can I get a pedi cab ride Russ? – Ben
Name’s Russ, hop on in – Ross

That Tacoma is a like a backwards helicopter – Matt
I’d like to tap dance around in your brain – Rachel

I hope they buy snacks – Candice
You shoulda placed an order – Ben
I diiiiiiiiiiiid place an orda! I got a coca cola – Candice

What kind of man in his right mind would marry me – Neda
Has anyone proposed or is this just like…a someday thing? – Kristin
There are some Arabs asking – Neda

We are really mean to each other you guys – Neda
Shut up – Ross

Rachel…..come over here…….. – Ben
Okaay – Rachel
What uh…what……… are you doin tonight? – Ben
Good Ben. Five years later and I’m still creeped out by you – Rachel

Hey Ben, how’s it going? – Jamie
Good. Well. I mean. I bit my mouth during breakfast so. I was bleeding pretty bad. – Ben

This random guy started g-chatting me – Rachel
Give you 20 bucks if you say you wanna cyber – Matt
Huh?……………MATT! No, I’d be the worst person at that ever..I’d be so terrible – Rachel
*high voice – waving arms* I’m dressed like a pony! – Matt

Ross, you have a girlfriend? – Dylan
Yes, a real one – Ross
How’d you get that? – Dylan
You just have to make them believe you’re somebody else – Ross

Scott calling Kirk: “Gimme the meth. Hi, I was pretending I was pocket dialing you from a meth party. We need you to restart the server.”

Can I mix word—-no stupid question never mind – Neda
There are no stupid questions, only stupid people. – Rachel

Breaking Up with Busy

This month I’ve decided to stop saying busy. I’m not saying it to my friends. I’m not saying it to people who I haven’t responded to in emails for over two days. I’m not saying it to people that I barely know or just met to explain away why I didn’t answer a text at 4 in the afternoon. It really is a boring and incredibly predictable answer, and when I started to think about how much I hated when people told me “I’m just soooo busy,” I realized I was maybe the worst of them all. Not slowing down, not changing schedules, not altering obligations…just breaking up with busy.

I haven’t slept in seven nights and I’m not tired
who protects the ones I love when I’m asleep?
and though there’s little I can do, I say a prayer

that when the wolves come for their share

they’ll come for me. 

Morton’s Fork – Typhoon

photo by DesignLoveFest

Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day… I can’t help but wonder whether all this histrionic exhaustion isn’t a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn’t matter.- The Busy Trap

“I’ve been crazy busy,” has become the new professional apology, and asks, “How on earth did we arrive at the crossroads of manageable busy and clinical insanity?” –J.D. Gershein

The problem with being “crazy busy” is that it does not allow freewheeling thought. Think of the bright ideas you’ve had when you were washing your face, or even sound asleep. A recent article in The New York Times titled “The ‘Busy’ Trap” points out: “History is full of stories of inspirations that come in idle moments and dreams. It almost makes you wonder whether loafers, goldbricks, and no-accounts aren’t responsible for more of the world’s great ideas, inventions, and masterpieces than the hardworking.” –