Looking At Something

nothing graffiti muirbeach muir

When you spend a year doing one thing and not much else, you go a little nuts.

At least I do. If I don’t get to write or take pictures, I get seriously crabby. I start thinking of projects. I declare to no one in particular, with much defiance, I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU SAY, BY GOLLY, I WILL MAKE STUFF.

It doesn’t even matter what it is as long as it’s something. Which is how I started a winter break blog about being on winter break, or a blog about pups in sweaters, or PROBAATD.

It’s how I, an aspiring copywriter, started Franco Looking At Something — a wordless, writing-free, un-captioned photo project.

The concept is simple. There are cool things everywhere. You just have to look.

Sure, that’s easy to say when you’re in an awesome city. Even then, though, we’re subject to Getting Used To Everythingitis.

Everything on FLAS is taken with an iPhone 4S and Instagrammed. I’d toyed with the idea of using DSLR pictures, but the iPhone’s portability allows for more spontaneity and, let’s face it, it’s the camera I have with me at all times.

Sometimes the city’s so beautiful I do nothing but press a button. Other times I capture the mundane. My favorites are often the ones nobody likes.

The most popular so far? This one.

Take a gander. Hang a while. Raise yo hands in the air and wave them like you care a lot.

Because it’s important.

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When it rains, it rains

On a total whim one very late night, I changed my blog name.

I know what you’re thinking.

Who the hell changes a blog name without so much as an announcement?
Didn’t she just add a graphic some weeks ago loosely related to the old name while prattling on about synapses?
And why the hell is there a comma between rain boots, like it’s so deep?

All valid questions. And HEY. Be nice.

Like most of my concoctions, there wasn’t really much to it. I’d simply grown tired of Explore. Dream. Discover.

I picked it almost three years ago based off a supposed Mark Twain quote that most likely wasn’t even correctly attributed (followed closely by “Cake is the death of me.” – Abe Lincoln). I figured I’d change it if something better came along. Nothing ever did. All the while, about a bajillion other blogs with the same name sprouted. One ambitious individual even took it as a domain.

Scoff! I scoffed. What is this trademark dilution?!

Then, one gloomy spring evening, I saw this. And somehow, I just felt like it really, really fit.

As for the tagline, well, it’s all true. I’m currently on a quest to conquer the world (which world I’m not exactly sure), and I do a mean, mean robot (patented since 2004). As for dancing in the rain, why, as you can see, the universe took care of that for me.

So, there you have it, friends. Stay a little while. Kick yo feet up. We’re just getting started.

E is for Eggsploration

A long time ago in a borough far, far away, I tried to do this thing called Brain Fodder. Its whole purpose was to feature brain foddery things like neat articles or excerpts or creative works. I even tried to coerce my super awesome creative friends into talking about the creative process and how they make things.

But things, as they always tend to do, happened. I got busy. Work consumed every morsel of my brain. Who knew patents and patent validity and patent eligibility and patentability could be so difficult? The last thing I wanted to do post-work was write more about brainy things.

But hey, that was 2010. This year, I’m bringing Brain Fodder back. So back them other brains won’t know how to act.

Like a true narcissistic writer, I’ll start with myself.

You might have noticed I changed the layout and added a spiffy new graphic. The old layout and its serif-ness felt a bit too old. As for the header, I wanted something that reflected exploredreamdiscover: curiosity, adventure, deep-sea exploration (It’s happening, I promise.).

First up: handwritten.

It was simple. It felt personal and approachable. But I wasn’t in love with it.

So, I went back to this typography site and revisited Spider Type. When an ever so wise design guru friend told me it didn’t quite fit me, I, of course, took this and decided: Challenge accepted.

The header, in its original iteration, was the title in Spider Type. That is, until I pasted the “E” onto a new document. It was entirely too big for the page and unrecognizable. I liked it. I tried other letters, but they left awkward white space or were legible despite their size.

I pasted the “E” over and over again.

I like that it could represent many things — endless curiosity, tangled thought patterns, synapses when the brain is stimulated.

Most importantly, it’s something that demands closer inspection. It reminds us that what at first may seem unfamiliar could very well just be a simple, everyday object presented in a distorted way.

In this case, it’s the “E” — the most used letter in the English language.

Meanwhile in Twitterville, vol. 2

This time around, my top 10 links mostly lead to things I’ve featured on Tumblr. This could mean one of 50 things. Either I’ve finally figured out a purpose for my Tumblr (Originally, I’d used it for camera phone pictures — something Instagram kind of rendered obsolete) and have been linking to it more, or of everything I’ve linked on Twitter, my Tumblr links are the best of them.

I’ll pretend it’s the latter.

Enjoy yo lazy clickin’ Sunday!

1. I’m always amazed by the talent on Vimeo. This one is of New York
2. Generation Flux: Why it’s not the strongest or the smartest that survive
3. Drowning is nothing like how it’s portrayed on TV
4. Why creative people are eccentric
5. R.L. mothereffing Stine
6. So you want to become a National Geographic photographer?
7. A heartbreaking GQ interview with Michelle Williams
8. Woody Harrelson, a reddit AMA gone hilariously wrong
9. For The Day The Music Died
10. When I grow up, I want to be this guy 

What you didn’t click on but should have: Deranged IHOP commercial. Can we bring back the ’60s, just for ads like this? And the Newsies. C’mon now. This stuff is fabulous.

 

How to finish a book

It’s been 13 days since I kicked off PROBAATD, and I’m happy to report my first major discovery that I’ll share with you: To finish a book, you must make time for it.

I know. You’re really glad you’re reading this right now. I mean here you are, recovering bookaholic, aspiring reader, homicidal cubicle drone, taking time out of your busy day to see what great discoveries I’ve made, and I say the most obvious thing ever. Not once, but twice.

Scrolls up to confirm this, notices it has been mentioned just once and instead of editing accordingly, decides —

To finish a book, you must make time for it.

The book? “Steve Jobs.” The reading device? Kindle.

In 13 days, I’ve gone from 23 percent to 60 percent. Sure, I could have made larger gains, given a more regimented schedule. But that would defeat the purpose of PROBAATD. I’m not trying to crash diet my way into this by employing strategies too unrealistic to maintain over long periods of time. Rather, I’m merely tweaking my daily routine by using more focused reading habits.

I still work, read lengthy magazine features, obsessively scour reddit and metafilter and assorted blogs, spend a good time hanging out, shaving my back, learning all the dance numbers to the “Newsies” just so I’ll be ready to jump in when one of the stars inexplicably breaks a leg after a freak hopscotch accident, and, when looking for an adventure, count my hair strands.

The difference is that instead of pulling out whatever book I’m in the mood for at the moment (a task the Kindle makes all too easy), I read just one. And instead of staring into the abyss on the train or reading just one more AskMeFi thread that will inevitably lead to multiple Wikipedia tabs and tumblr posts (It’s addicting as hell), I read the book.

It’s safe to say this is not an impossible habit to maintain.

Now, will I be able to read the remaining 40 percent by February 20? Stay tuned. Dun dun dun (That’s the sound cliffhangers make when they’ve been placed amid a storyline that will yield a predictable result).

So, bookaholic, that’s what I’ve learned so far. As for a PROBAATD discovery of the substantive kind, check back this afternoon.

A new post awaits.