Thursday, December 30, 2010

Iotacons, by Andy Rash

NY illustrator Andy Rash has a great site featuring his Iotacons (iotacons for you sans serif font folk out there). He's created pixelated versions of many famous characters including Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and even the US Senate! Check out his site at iotacons.blogspot.com and his main portfolio at www.rashworks.com. It's amazing how well he's captured the spirit of these iconic characters.


While you're at it, check out Andy's hilarious book, "Ten Little Zombies: A Love Story" available on Amazon.com.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Nature is Cool, Complex and Beautiful

There are some awesome pics of snowflakes making the rounds on teh interwebs this week. These images are from the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC) in Maryland. They used a Low Temperature Scanning Electronic Microscope (LT-SEM) to capture these amazing images of water crystals. Can you imagine the fragility of these snowflakes!?! These pictures are amazing examples of the wonders of nature - so beautiful, and so geometric. It's hard to believe that these form naturally.


Images courtesy of the Electron and Confocal Microscopy Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve Music Picks!

Waiting out the clock today before the monstrous Christmas Eve/Christmas day festivities (ours starts at 3ish today and will continue through dinner tomorrow). In the meantime, here are some music picks of late... Kudos to my students, who are an endless source of good new music!

Stars - This group is an alternative version of the band, Broken Social Scene. Plus, they're Canadians! Which is always a plus...


St Vincent - The 4AD label continues to impress. Here's a great song from talented solo artist St Vincent (aka Annie Erin Clark, formerly of Polyphonic Spree)



Deerhunter - These guys are an enigmatic mystery for my middle-aged mind, but I like their music. They're so earnest!



Beach House - Yet another great band on the SubPop label, and yet another great find from KEXP's legendary DJ, John in the Morning. These guys opened for Vampire Weekend's latest tour.



Death Cab for Cutie - Here's a little alt-Christmas Carol to end this post. Merry Christmas all!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Minecraft is Pixelated Magic

If you haven't checked out the latest new game craze, Minecraft, you really should download it and check it out. Minecraft is hard to describe, but essentially it's a sandbox style game where you mine for resources, craft items (shovels, picks, torches, food, etc) and build really cool structures based on elements on a randomly generated map. And, oh yeah, at night zombies attack you. It sounds bizarre, but it's an incredibly creative venture. Players have made hilarious and awe-inspiring structures with the simple tools provided in the game. Here's a fan made trailer for the game:


Yes, it's dorky, in the best possible way. This game is not full of the (yawn) blood and gore of the first person shooter style of game. If you play it you'll realize the inner-architect in you jumping on to the screen. Also, this is a great game for kids. The zombies, spiders and creepers are simple gore-free pixel blocks, which makes it appropriate for younger kids. If you are creeped out by zombie groans, there is a peaceful mode where monsters don't attack. Hank and Juliet have made some amazing castles, treehouses, and underground forts.

You can check it out at www.minecraft.net, where there is an in-browser free version or you can download a full featured alpha version for 9.95 Euros. One caveat, the game is still in alpha so it's still under development and probably several months away from final release. Regardless, I think this is one of the most creative games on the market today, and tailored made for my pixel obsession.

A New Look

I was getting tired of my old blogger template. I was having problems with some of the formats and dimensions. Hope you like the new streamlined theme. I think it's easier to read. One of these days I'll get around to creating my own theme... maybe when the kids go to college.