Monday, March 21

This blog has moved to Tumblr.

Dear Loyal Readers,

It is with great enthusiasm and excitement that I bring to you the news of a move. A digital move. I have long considered the concept of mobile blogging and while being at home and at my desk allows me to quiet my mind and wring out my thinking, there's something to be said for in-the-middle-of-the-action publishing.

So without further adieu I would like to invite you to point your browser to The mobile tools that Tumblr offers when combined with Blogger's failure to innovate and adapt to different publishing styles have finally convinced me to switch. I feel like I did when I unboxed my first Mac.

Monday, March 7

Lean on me

I'm trying to keep life balanced these days.

I apologize to any regular readers of "How Does It Sound" for the recent drought of inspiration. I've been flush with new observations and ideas but warping around the city between classes, appointments, and deadlines has robbed me of the time to organize them in any digestible form. So I'm going to start taking smaller bites.

Today I will start blogging from my phone. I'd like to be able to strike when the proverbial iron is hot wherever I am. I'd like to share interesting things outside of my apartment in San Francisco and exercise my skills in brevity. Typing on this tiny keyboard keeps things succinct anyway.

I have written about the potentially negative effects of social reductionism brought about by the indifference of digital communication. Short ideas from my phone might appear hypocritical in this light. However I don't mean for shorter posts to be any less considered than my longer ones. Think of these posts as an interesting note slid to you on a napkin at a dinner party (Yes, the punch is spiked).

Here is some fascinating rock art to get things started. Bay Area artist, Bill Dan uses no glue; only gravity and an intimate understanding of a rocks personality to build his sculptures. It's as if he tunes the stones to be in perfect harmony with each other, making quiet and balanced conversations between the pieces of rock. This takes him hours to accomplish and the work moves very slowly and carefully. He spends the majority of his time looking for the right stones to stack, those that fit into some kind of mental model that he's imagined. Sometimes he picks the wrong stone and his whole creation topples over. When he finally finds the right group of shapes, the sculpture stands perfectly still and unique.

I thought it was interesting to consider our interactions with other human beings like this. We stack all of our relationships on one another to create some kind of pillar of social identity. Every different personality we encounter is rock shaped, containing unique planes, crevices and edges both sharp and dull. Some friendships are solid and grounded, providing stability while we get to know the subtleties of the friendships that rest on top of them. Stacking and balancing relationships one on top of the other is a lifelong process.

This should offer solace to anyone who has felt the frustration that comes with friendships or relationships that have fallen apart. As your pile of life stacks higher, it's those with steady hands and a trained eye who can pick out shapes that fit best and balance them with focused consideration. If it falls apart, know that reassembling the friendships around you will bring an enriched understanding of the proper hierarchy and how to stay balanced. Build enough great relationships and you can retire to the shores of San Francisco Bay and build rock sculptures.

How does that sound?

Tuesday, November 30

Listen Up

My heart is racing.

I can feel music when I listen closely. My body reacts to the chords, the timbre of the instruments, to the rhythm of the piece. I know I'm not alone. I've talked with friends about vivid memories that are tied to particular songs or artists. I've worked with children whom have special needs and used music as a way to vault over communications gaps. Music has definite mental clout. You just have to open your ears.

If you think about music as medicine things start to sound different. I start my day by choosing a song that will nudge me towards what mood or mindset I want to be in. Focused? I'll listen to Beethoven. Creative? Give me Miles Davis. Energized? Crank The Police to eleven.

I've recently been designing an experiment to test my ideas about the potency of music. Check out my video, and let me know what you think about my findings.

Tuesday, November 23

Take Note

Listen up.

I'm shooting and editing a unique series that revolves around music. The videos are the final project for one of my classes this semester. I'm eager to find some readers who are willing to undergo some musical experimentation.

Below you can find the introduction to my project. Post in the comments or ping me through various social networks if live in San Francisco and are interested in thirty minutes to an hour of a makeshift sound study.

Monday, November 22

It's About Time

Give me a second real fast.

I’m counting down to the end of this semester. I’ve been fortunate enough to continue to take amazing classes and I’m encouraged by how far from conventional advertising we’re being pushed. Because it doesn’t work anymore. I think advertising as a medium is experiencing a monumental shift in thinking as attention gets scarcer and market variety increases with globalization. I’m happy to be in San Francisco during this change because many great new ideas have come from between these hills. I’m hoping to have a hand in designing the future of how companies and their customers interact with one another.

I’m currently taking a class called “Creative Planning,” which is taught by Steve Williams, the man who designed and built the T-Rex in Jurassic Park and the T-1000 in Terminator 2—both before computers and digital logic were so ubiquitous. The first day of class was wrapped around the brainstorming, problem solving, and methodology that went into crafting visual illusions in physical space. It comes as little surprise that Steve is a fan of numbers.

We have studied and examined everything from Euclid’s 47th Proposition to the Golden Ratio, with black holes and astrophysics sprinkled throughout the semester. Our discussions on the concept of time frequently leave me scratching my head as I try to comprehend time as a fluid element. I think best when I’m exercising and have recently come to some findings that I’d like to share. Ladies and gentlemen, start your watches…now.

Classical physics describes time as a constant, independent of the observer’s state of motion. Without getting over my head and risking inaccuracies, I’ll only state that our unique experience of time is the result of a perfect harmony of math and space. Thanks to some research, I’ve learned that “spacetime” is the meshing together of physical space and time into a conceptual grid. The interplay of mass comes into the picture and can warp this grid, actually changing the speed of time. This is one of the reasons that black holes are so fascinating;when something travels past the event horizon, their watch needs some major adjusting.

My most inspired thinking comes to me when I am moving through space by means of exercise. My bike rides, my runs, and my swims shift my thinking, and I’m working out my own theory on how everything is relative. I’d like to offer the following idea for discussion:

I. When I am at rest, I experience time in a particular way. When I am at ease, I know what an hour feels like and my thinking swims within a predictable range of depth. In other words, during my average day-to-day routine the thoughts in my head are no deeper than normal; they usually revolve around my daily responsibilities, social commitments, and general opinions about my surroundings.

II. However, when I suit up and get on my bike, things begin to change. I start climbing the hills of the city, then race down the other side with a pulse that’s around 160-170bpm. The speed at which I’m traveling through space on my bike is relatively faster than it should be for my given heart rate, making my perception of time slow down. In other words, when I get on my bike for one hour and race around faster than I’m used to going, it feels like I’ve only been riding for around 20-30 minutes. Weird.

III. Conversely, the opposite is true when I run. I lace up my shoes in search of any forgiving (read: flat) roads, and the inverse occurs. My heart rate fluctuates between 160-170, but I’m traveling at a speed that’s relatively lower than it should be for my higher heart rate. My perception of time then speeds up and a one-hour run can feel like it took two or three hours. Am I the only one that experiences this?

We talk a lot about film and cameras in class. Steve is an animator by trade and frequently talks about film speeds in conjunction with time. A high-speed camera captures many more frames, or tiny pictures, per second than a regular video camera. When played back, the visuals appear to be moving in slow motion. The reverse is theoretically true; when you record film slower than the standard (known as NTSC) 30 frames per second, the visuals appear to be pumped full of caffeine and move at warp speed.

Compare your brain to an infinitely more complex video camera and think about this: The heart pumps oxygen-rich blood to the brain and allows neural activity to occur. Our brains are constantly making sense of the sensory input that’s continuously wired in, and I wonder if the speed at which we think increases with more oxygen-rich blood. Thus, I wonder if it’s too much of a stretch to think our heart rate could be comparable to the frame rate of a camera. Could this give rise to a thinking-rate that can be related to our traveling speed through space? Is this related to how we experience time?

To test this theory, I would have to have to exercise for specific periods of time at different heart rates (BPM) and at different speeds, after which I’d report how long it felt like I was exercising. I expect that I’d see a strange sine wave where my heart rate, the speed at which I perceive time, and my speed through space all tie together in a subjectively scribbled graph.

So, if you find yourself losing track of time and consequently rushing to keep up, do something that gets that heart beating: some push-ups, a quick jog around the block, even a quick listen to some fast paced music. Otherwise, if you’re stuck sitting down and are watching the clock inch along, try to lower your pulse. Breathe deeply or put on some relaxing music to slow down your heart/ perception of time, and let the minutes speed past.

Give it a try and see how that sounds.

Tuesday, November 9

I Dream of Jeanie

I can’t tell you how lucky I am.

For the past few weeks, my family has been embroiled in medical chaos. My grandmother recently had a large cerebral stroke that left her in a coma and on life support. After a week on pins and needles, our entire extended family bid her goodbye as she left this dimension and transitioned on to the next.

Jeanie Bullock was the mother of seven children and oversaw throngs of grandchildren. I feel incredibly lucky for the time that I spent with her learning her cooking secrets (of which there are too many to count), and listening to her unbelievable stories.

As a memoir for my grandmother, I edited together this podcast for those who miss her and also those who weren’t fortunate enough to meet her.

Grandma Jean, you’ll be missed so much.

Wednesday, October 6

Recycled Rhythms

In San Francisco, there are things that you hear on the street.

One of the things that I love the most about San Francisco is the vibrant street life. Creativity strikes at any time of day or night and trudging up the hills is made much more enjoyable by the various street performers.

For one of my current classes, we were given the assignment to set out and tell any story. Unsurprisingly, my mind jumped first to the men and women I see everyday on the street, making a living from the attention of complete strangers through performance art. The parallel to advertising isn’t lost on me. As I stalked around downtown looking for someone to interview, the commonalities that both ad professionals and street performers share wasn’t lost on me. In some ways I thought, it seems that the main difference is our profit margins.

I caught up with a San Francisco staple, someone who I’ve watched ever since I moved here 4 years ago. Faithful readers, I present…

The Bucket Man.