Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008: A Year in Influences

As we are a mere six hours from 2009, please allow me to reflect for a moment on a year that proved very influential for me. As in, I owe much of my development this year to constant exposure to new environments, media, and ridiculous goals. 

And so, without further ado, my strongest influences from 2008 in pictures:

- Korea - My two weeks there (and in Shanghai) earlier in'08 did more than just fulfill a heart-wrenching desire to hit up Asia, but intensified it. My mission to chillax and soak in the local life was partially successful, as almost daily I find myself drifting into warm memories of friends and raw squid at pojangmachas at 3am. It cannot be denied, however, that actually living there is in my future, although I don't yet know if it'll be soon or far in the future.

PSFK - Technically I am in love with trend, design and advertising blogs in general, but the fact that Piers Fawkes occasionally links to my Racked posts gives them precedence in my RSS feed. I can always trust in them to post at least one amazingly kickass item daily, a difficult task in a blogosphere clogged with copycats. Plus, I am totally feeling this post on people like myself versus the traditional job market.

- Japanese Design - 2008 was the year I was able to latch onto various Japanese labels which, before, I had to ogle from afar. MUJI's NYC proliferation, Uniqlo's domination over my wardrobe and touches of CdG and Yohji allowed me to indulge my avant-garde leanings and penchant for great design at economical price levels.

- Art without walls - Pop Art is what really oils my gears, but I came close to melting with pleasure throughout this year of outdoor exhibitions. Jeff Koons on the Met's rooftop, Chanel's Mobile Art, Banksy's Soho love, and the various interactive fun in city parks really reminded me why I'm in NY.

-  Transportation - To make things simple, I would say that my greatest love is for travel. Digging a little deeper, I have to confess to being hot for transportation. 2008 threw the QEII into my lap, Jetblue's Terminal 5, several long-haul flights on Cathay Pacific, countless hours of bus and Amtrak trekking and even some actual driving in a car across state lines. Most of all, I am thankful that this year brought me images of Dakis Joannou's Jeff Koons-designed yacht, Guilty. When he resells her years and years from now, hopefully I will be on the buying end; it's my new long-term goal. When I switch from being influenced to influencing, she will be mine.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Best Story This Week: Philippe Starck Goes Shopping at Big Lots

The minute this story hit my feed, I wanted to immediately comment on it. Well, it's been a day and I've simmered down from the original tizzy in which this story had put me. Nonetheless, it is a must-read and omg the pictures! I almost lolcat-macroed all of them, but restrained myself. Some notes:

  • The LA Times took Philippe Starck to a Hollywood Big Lots for some recession-friendly shopping and *gasp* he put together a place setting for $5.50! I'm pretty sure that I've got him beat though, since my nightly place setting is usually a 40-cent clearance plate in the shape of a Hibiscus flower that I bought at a Walgreens last year.
  • Starck is no stranger to discount big-box retail; his Target collection of many years ago was a hit, even though it featured much in neon yellow/green. I have the letter opener and can vouch for its functionality (makes a great fingernail cleaner, ah hem). 
  • In the underwear aisle, he picks up a pack of boxer shorts for himself saying: "so when a man takes off his clothes, the girl will not laugh." But let's be serious here for a sec, bro: with those pants you wore to Big Lots, you don't have to worry about the girl laughing after you take them off. 
  • He buys a bra! He digs the sidewalk chalk! He springs for a folding table! Oh man, I both have and can always afford those things. Am I part of the design elite yet?
  • The best advice for a recession-impacted 2009 comes out of this shopping spree at Big Lots: "Look for the bowl that looks most like a bowl." When people start buying etched-crystal gravy boats again, we will know that the recession has passed. For now, just use a plain damn bowl.
Words to live by, people. Whatever, you know you would kill for a Starck gun lamp. And so, one final comment: in PSFK's post about this story, they repeatedly misspell Starck as "Stark." WTF...just wtf?! I digress, as usual.

Friday, December 12, 2008

How I Spent My Semi-Unemployment

5 am outside of NBC studios: my friend sits on a mat made of cardboard pieces as we wait for SNL tickets

I bought something beautiful today. It was definitely on sale and yet it reigns as the most spectacular thing I own. Of course it is an Issey Miyake full-length Pleats Please jacket, with an ornate map print design. This post is, however, not about shopping in a sad economy, but rather about surviving several months as an unemployed person in New York through the power of escapism (and reserves which were meant for my (postponed) trip to Dubai)

As a newish part-time member of the wifi workforce, I enjoy the ability to wander wherever I want, whenever I want and still barely make rent. Because of the new freedom, I briefly allowed myself to entertain the thought that perhaps now was the time to become a travel writer or move abroad again (Malta, Shanghai and Seoul are my current loves), but today's purchase was the final straw. 

I've subconsciously re-anchored myself to here, and so I must put my future on hold and hope that someone hires me. Oh lovely unemployment, we had some good times: 
  • Sleeping on the street in 30-degree weather for SNL tickets
  • Traveling 30 hours on Amtrak at the drop of a hat
  • Working the historical election in a controversial precinct
  • Riding back and forth on the SI Ferry on blustery days
  • Giving the QEII a proper farewell and Mobile Art a hearty welcome
  • Spotting Mario Batali and Andre Balazs within 10 minutes of each other
So now I've got this fabulous jacket, both a reminder of and end of the past several months of thinking that I had many paths from which to choose. Too bad I'm optimistic to a fault, so we'll see.