Waking The Right

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Thank God it’s Friday. I’m planning another one of my “introvert retreats.” About two weeks ago at 5 o’clock CST I turned off all forms of communication. The following day I drove to Lawrence, Kansas sans laptop. Doesn’t sound like anything too special but the resulting clarity and relaxation was well worth it. This weekend I’ll be cutting it a little short so I can be somewhat social Saturday night. The trip to Lawrence is a go and I’ll be invading an undisclosed dark coffee house chugging away on my laptop.

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Did You Know

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I work with a small team of designers inside a very large ad agency. Like most ad agencies they focus primarily on print and broadcast. Having a small web division can sometimes cause confusion between the different mediums. I never really realized how different web was from print and broadcast until my time at an agency. So I’ve compiled a quick list of a few items that I think set web apart.

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An Explaination

Saturday, February 18, 2006

When the name Playground Blues was chosen I was a junior in college. It didn’t carry much meaning other than playgrounds seemed like whimsical places where imagination wondered. I feel I’ve grown out of the name. Playground Blues has meant a lot to me. It’s enjoyed roughly five official redesigns, god knows how many unofficial. It’s been featured on many sites including The Daily Report ( by Jeffrey Zeldman, Moluv (http://www.

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On Air

Thursday, February 9, 2006

The new and improved webcam is BACK! It now allows you to post messages. When you do it attaches the current image and keeps a running archive of past webcam moments. It’s quite possible this is a first in web history. Could I be so lucky? For those of you who were wondering… Evocam is being used to FTP images every 30 seconds. Some handy flash work is being used to serve the newest image to my people.

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Worm Club

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Friends and cohorts keep asking me me to recommend books so in an effort to slightly curb this I’ve manifested the list below. Warning: I cannot guarantee I’ve finished these books. I have a tendency, possibly fear, of finishing books. I literally get to the last chapter and it sits on my coffee table for weeks. So far, these have been intriguing books to me: Blink and The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell.

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Ruby Text Search

Saturday, November 5, 2005

I found some great Ruby code to assist in creating a simplistic search engine for your Rails app. It can be found on the Rails Wiki under TextSearch. I recommend clicking on the “edit” button at the bottom to copy and paste the code out of the text field because some of the syntax gets lost on the page version. Just don’t click save :) You may want to add ‘%" on either side of the search terms.

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Four Horsemen

Friday, October 14, 2005

No the rumors are not true. I haven’t been kidnapped by the government in suspicion of plotting the end of the world. Although some may suggest it is the dawn of the end. Jesus, yes I do mean you, what the hell is going on? Earth is shakin, wind is blowin, water is getting everywhere, and birds are out of control! Not too worry, it hasn’t disrupted the good old midwest, yet.

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Innocent Bystander

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Everyone should participate in a little people watching activities. It allows you to jump out of your inner chaotic life and realize that you’re not alone. Now, there are a few keys to successful people watching. I’ll share some of mine, then you can pass yours along if you wish. Avoid eye contact. In order to remain a fly on the wall you must avoid eye contact at all costs.

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Full Steam Ahead

Monday, September 5, 2005

Playground Blues is officially on Rails. Approximately two weeks ago I started chugging along and with this new language. Surprisingly it’s been quite welcoming and easy to learn. I only wish it were just as easy to ween clients over to this oasis. Along with the change of language came some other needed changes. One of them being my move from Textile to Markdown otherwise known as BlueCloth in Rails. Markdown just seemed more natural to the way I type.

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Art Mobs

Sunday, August 28, 2005

I have a new PodCast to add to your library. It’s by Art Mobs and its called Art Mobs MoMA Guides. The descriptions is “A ‘Commons’ for audio guides to artworks at the Museum of Modern Art, NYC.” Basically an entertaining discussion about modern art. I think this is by far the most creative use of PodCasting, no pun intended.

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Monday, August 15, 2005

I spent last weekend learning Ruby on Rails ( and now I can’t help but wonder why the hell it took me so long. My work ( was kind enough to fetch me a copy of Agile Web Development with Rails ( and I’ve had a hard time focusing on anything else. I’ve already started porting some of my apps ( to Rails and its surprisingly elegant and fun. After figuring out associations between database tables I feel well on my way.

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Pre-Order Rant

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Why would anybody want to pre-order an album off of iTunes? The whole idea of the “pre-order” is that your John Hancock gets placed on a list of elite few who get first dibs on a product before it sells out. It is virtually impossible for iTunes to sell out of a song, which makes me wonder what yahoo in the war room decided it’d be cool to have “pre-orders” in iTunes.

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Background Becoming Foreground

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Since the release of Tiger and particularly Quicktime 7 sporting the new H.264 codec I’m beginning to wonder if we’re glimpsing a bigger picture here. If you haven’t checked out the unbelievable quality of H.264 go over to the HD Gallery and witness the days of pixilation disappear. With this brings some interesting thoughts; does Apple have a roadmap for video on demand? Well, they’ve already started doing it with iTunes 4.

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Farewell and Hello

Monday, May 2, 2005

This is my last week at my current employer, Look and Feel which would explain my lack of good posts. I can’t express how fortunate I am to have spent time with the fine lads of LaF. I will miss them dearly, although, I’ll still be living in the neighborhood so I’m sure our paths will cross. My near future rests at a place called Method within Bernstein-Rein. A fortune teller has forcasted very long hours but many laughs and Belgium beer flowing from the hill tops.

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Hear Me Purr

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Time to chim in on Tiger. Dashboard, Spotlight, Automator, Oh My! I was worried at first, things were slow and hard drive was crankin'. Once Spotlight finished indexing my mess of over six years of files I breathed a sigh of relief. Apple has posted a handy little Dashboard Programming Guide with all sorts of design guidlines and API info. They have done the same for Automator. This little app can save scary amounts of time.

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PHP on Rails

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Ruby buzz has been making its rounds these last few months. I’m anxious to use Rails but my ISP nor my employer support it. So I’ve been stuck staring at the colorful lollypop from a distance. Cake may be the solution to my problems, at least until Ruby becomes more widely supported. Cake is a PHP framework based on the Rails design. It’s still in its infancy but it looks pretty solid.

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The Bands

Sunday, April 17, 2005

The Faint, The Ataris, The Features, The Futureheads, The Cure, The Hives, The Killers, The Music, The People, The Prodigy, The Roots, The Bravery, The Kills, The Samples, The Shins, The Doors, The Stills, The Streets, The Strokes, The Used, The Walkmen, The Darkness, The Who, The Ramones, The Sights, The National, The Wrights, The Republic, The Congos, The Zincs, The Stix, The Perishers, The Police, Rapture, The Unicorns, The Kinks, The Mollys, The Soviettes, The Winners, The Velons, The Smugglers, The Makers, The Upsidedown, The Donnas.

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Selling Your Soul

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Lately I’ve been going back and forth with my colleagues regarding pre-built admin tools. My position has been the benefits of adopting a framework outweigh any off-the-shelf tool. What is the difference between a framework and an off-the-shelf system? It’s like buying fake plants instead of real ones. off-the-shelf products leave very little wiggle room for growth and are inevitably more than what you need. They also exhibit poor usability, with there shiny plastic leaves and all.

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Soft Launch

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

This launch is softer than a baby’s bum. Please excuse the possible broken links, sparse content, grayed out links, and unusually shaped big toe. Things should be up to speed by the end of this week so keep checking back from time to time. Also, if you don’t mind, I’ll throw you a me update: I’m done photo blogging. It was fun while it lasted but I’m out of good photos so back to writing.

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Broken Window Theory

Friday, April 8, 2005

Lately I’ve become a little obsessed with the “Broken Window Theory.” I was introduced to this theory by Travis and Charlie. Soon after, it began popping into my head at work, home, or while I was coding. Then I started noticing it in books and on the radio. The theory is normally applied to urban decay and crime, however, it can be applied to almost anything. How did your apartment get so dirty?

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Double the Pleasure

Sunday, November 7, 2004

Last night two new albums pitched a tent on my “oh my god” list of music. The Faint “Wet From Birth” and Tom Waits “Real Gone” are so unbelievably necessary I don’t even know why you’re still reading. Go get them! The Faint marches forward with its sexy themes and lucius lyrics. My uncertainties about how they would top Blank-Wave Arcade were shattered by the first track and continued to crumble through track two until they were disintegrated with “Southern Belles in London Sing.

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Kansas City Migration

Saturday, November 6, 2004

I’ve successfully migrated to Downtown Kansas City from Springfield. It took about a week to get all my stuff in order and my mind is catching up. Tried Middle Eastern food for the first time, go Gyros! If you haven’t had Chile Relleno I suggest you dart to a good Mexican restaurant and give it a taste. The First Friday Art Walk happened to be last friday. Hammerpress unveiled their Christmas collection.

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Yo La Weekend

Monday, October 4, 2004

This weekend I saw Yo La Tengo for the first time in Kansas City. Definitely worth the bones if they’re in your area. Amazing jams and a really hot drummer girl. If you’re not familiar with them I recommend first getting “I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One” and then “Summer Sun.” If your hooked you’ll also like “And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out.” Also did a little apartment hunting before I begin playing/working with the fine lads at Look and Feel.

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Rip Alvin iPod

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Today is a sad day. I went for a bike ride downtown and in a moment of braveness, tragedy struck. After making a successful jump from a very large curb a sense of accomplishment ended when my pedal clipped the curb halting my bike and catapulting me through the air. The silence that followed seemed to be more painful than my bleeding arm. Alvin was a good iPod. The first generation of his time.

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More Adventurous

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

About a year ago a friend of mine introduced me to a little world called Rilo Kiley. Her two albums, “Execution of All Things” and “Takeoffs and Landings”, bring sunshine to a rainy day and lift you up to a place not often visited through music. Jenny Lewis’s voice never seems to grow old. They’re songs are so diverse and colorful. I honestly didn’t believe they could top their last two releases.

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Sunday, September 26, 2004

I’d like to introduce a new project of mine. It’s called Jupiter. Jupiter is a project management solution that began August 1, 2004 after heavy research. Roughly two months of ironing out the database scheme and functionality I’m ready to get feedback and suggestions. Keep in mind things are in the beginning stages and this is by no means a finished/polished product. I was planning to provide a run down of all the bells and whistles but I think I would rather get everyones first impressions and go from there.

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Textpattern Blues

Thursday, September 9, 2004

I’ve slowly been warming up to Textpattern over the past few months. At the spur of the moment I purchased a nice little plot over at Dreamhost and starting some planting. I’m about finished tilling the land and beginning to plant some seeds, however, you might stumble across some rocky areas. On another note, since when did IE6 not support min-width and max-width? Yet another disappointment handed down from the pearly white gates.

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A Revolution of Education

Saturday, September 4, 2004

I believe it’s time for a Education Revolution. While I may not be an expert in learning science I did participate in the Education system for 17 years and continue to work for an University. Currently a majority of institutions force students to subscribe to General Education pressuring them to learn History, Physical Education, Mathematics and so on. While these topics carry an extreme importance this method of delivery is wrong.

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Heads or Tails

Thursday, September 2, 2004

I’ve been somewhat silent lately with a few whispers here and there. The past couple weeks have been very interesting, stressful to say the least. Job, home and personal changes. After much thought and pondering I accepted a position at Southwest Missouri State University as Multimedia Producer. I bid a humble farewell to Neubix Studios. The gamut of knowledge and wisdom Ryan and I provided each other was priceless. I’m grateful to have been apart of their transformation and growth.

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Inspirational Journeys

Sunday, July 18, 2004

In 1947 sculptor, Korczak Ziolkowski, moved too Thunder Mountain. He constructed a 741 foot staircase to the peak of the Mountain to begin, with his lone jackhammer, possibly the worlds largest sculpture, Crazy Horse. For the next 33 years he chipped away at the mammoth mountain side until his death. His eye is 12 feet wide, his outstretched arm the length of a subway train. And by the time his horse is finished, we’ll all be dead.

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Wireless Lack

Sunday, July 4, 2004

Today my coffee house was closed for the holiday. If you could only see the look on my face. It seems to be the only downside to holidays. This didn’t detour me from finding a hotspot that provided legally addictive “stimulants.” After much driving my choices were narrowed down to Starbucks and Panera. Starbucks uses T-mobile for wifi which costs money so I chose Panera with its free wifi provided by QGO.

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Far from Modest

Saturday, July 3, 2004

Has anyone else really listened to the lyrics on the new Modest Mouse album? For lack of better words, they’re amazing. The moths beat themselves to death against the lights. Adding their breeze to the summer nights. Outside water like air was great. I didn’t know what I had that day. Walk a little farther to another plan. You said that you did, but you didn’t understand. — The World At Large

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Kottke Critique

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Jason Kottke recently released the next incarnation of I must say, even though visually things are very similar to the previous version, Jason has done an excellent job of perfecting his structure and usability. Jason’s text dominant design reminds us of the power of typography. His subtle choices of font sizes, weights, leading and link color are methodically chosen along with simple dividers to create a harmonious feel. From the looks of things the famous green header has been on the Atkins diet.

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Fragile Sunday

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Sunday’s are supposed to invite rest and relaxation, however, this was like no other Sunday I anticipated. Saturday evening was great. I stumbled upon a public showing of Waking Life in an old art studio downtown. We enjoyed tea and sat on a variety of vintage chairs watching one of my favorite films. Afterwards I was feeling very reflective and philosophical so I read some and went to bed early.

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Someone Find The Cat

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Why do we still have mice? Seriously, haven’t we reached the point in computer evolution where we can discard the mouse completely? Modern operating systems have the ability to solely rely on voice commands, pen devices and touch screens. Why is it taking us so long to rid ourselves of a device that is responsible for such a painful syndrome. Mice are a thing of the past, much like CRT monitors, parallel ports, walkmans and even the compact disc.

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Textpattern Flow

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

I’d like to pose a question to my readers that use Textpattern. Last week I noticed Jon Hicks switched over which sparked my interest. I’ve been meaning to switch over to a PHP based system for a while and from what I’ve seen Textpattern is very nice. One of my issues is how to structure my content using the Section, Category, Page, etc. method that Textpattern uses. Can anyone out there provide an example or input on how they achieved a solid architecture?

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Rise of the Documentary

Sunday, June 6, 2004

I’ve always been a connoisseur of documentary film and rarely do I read fiction opposed to non-fiction. Learning about the actions and habits of society, whether opinionated or not, has always intrigued me. It appears documentary film is rising in popularity. Not surprising due to the rise of Reality TV, they fit right in. Documentaries have allowed those with a story and small voice to speak aloud. Unfortunately, unless you live in a big city you may never get a chance to listen.

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Flipping Zines

Sunday, June 6, 2004

I’ve got a bone to pick with design magazines. I used to buy them frequently based on issue topics. I never subscribe, mainly because I don’t want to confine myself to one magazine; sounds weird, deal with it. I haven’t purchased any new issues in about four months due to the overwhelming amount of advertisements. No-longer can you “flip” through these magazines without getting stuck on paper company ads or booklets on Adobe.

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Stopdesign Critique

Sunday, June 6, 2004

I felt like revisiting Douglas Bowman’s Stopdesign since my previous critique was premature. Douglas did a fine job on many fronts. The architecture is a three column joy. Strategic attention was given to the front page where a great deal of content is displayed without overloading your eye. The subtle use of color to distinguish a hierarchy makes this possible. As you dig deeper content expands to a two column layout.

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Gmail Big Brother

Tuesday, June 1, 2004

I’ve been wondering what angle Google planned to take with its new Gmail service, currently in beta form. After some reading it all makes perfect sense. Google will offer 1GB of email space in return for the ability to scan your messages and place ads based on the content. After the excitement of 1GB wears, I’m starting to wonder if the trade off is morally right? Example: I receive an email regarding a relatives grave health problems; to the right ads are displayed regarding funeral homes.

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Stopdesign and Mezzoblue Critique

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

I hope the following designers don’t mind my friendly critique (they shouldn’t, design is meant to be critiqued). Douglas Bowman of Stopdesign recently “ditched” his styles and “start[ed] over with a blank slate.” I immediately noticed the identity. Very well done. The new mark is reminiscent of the previous, however, this one is fresher and more bold. The type treatment on the logo is quite interesting as well. Playful but doesn’t set itself apart from the mark.

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Lapsang Souchong

Monday, May 17, 2004

This weekend was very rejuvenating. The weather was beautiful and the town was minus over 5,000 college students. Campus was a ghost town, perfect for a little amateur skateboarding. Downtown was pretty desolate as well. Sunny weather invited me to do some outdoor sketching at the square. I drove by my future apartment enough to give my soon-to-be neighbors the impression of a stalker. Added a new Black Tea to my collection called Lapsang Souchong, it smells like campfire.

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Truth Beauty Power

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Recently I’ve been reading Studies In Design by Christopher Dresser. The book was initially published in 1875 as an inspirational guide for designers. Dresser was most notable for his contributions to the Victorian era with his intricately designed textiles, furniture and ceramics. The following are passages I felt like sharing. Decorations, to be satisfying to the educated, must manifest knowledge… for unless the decoration is done wisely as well as with understanding , it may yet fail to please those who are best able to appreciate good ornament.

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Lukova Exhibition

Monday, May 10, 2004

Recently Luba Lukova graced our local Art and Design Gallery with some of her current works and sketches. I’ve always been a fan of her style and philosophy. She currently teaches at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. Her unique style focuses on metaphorical references, manipulation of the human form and she uses a very unique treatment of typography. I was able to snap some photos to share with you.

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Quicksilver Revolution

Saturday, May 8, 2004

As soon as I realized something was flirting with perfection I discover it gets even better. Over the past three years I’ve experienced Mac OS X evolve into, in my opinion, the most effective operating system on the planet. This revolution has spawned many enhancing third party applications. After reading the hype about Quicksilver I finally gave it some attention. Seconds after installing my jaw dropped. I take my laptop everywhere and its my sole computer.

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Gleaming the Cube

Thursday, May 6, 2004

Recently I’ve been brushing up on my skills as a skateboarder behind a local Italian Restaurant. It began in my friends basement when we found a beat up skateboard during a regular weekend gathering. This sparked our interest further so we ended up buying some generic boards from a local skate shop. They were black underneath and screaming for artwork. Last weekend we bought some spray paint (hot pink is unbelievably hard to find) and mylar.

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A Modern Experience

Monday, May 3, 2004

The Guggenheim in Manhattan recently had an Exhibition entitled “Singular Forms (Sometimes Repeated)” Art from 1951 to the Present. Not your typical exhibition where you study lavish master works. The topic was Minimalism and, at first, I was somewhat timid; this being my virgin modernist exhibition. I began reading the blocks of text describing each piece while the people next too me stared hopelessly into blank canvases. I was fascinated.

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Back and Changed Forever

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Back from Manhattan and feeling refreshed. Later this week I plan to post some photos and audio from the trip. Pending on how much stuff awaits me at work. Some highlights include a group chat with Milton Glaser and Mirko Ilic, an exhibition by Christopher Dresser, East Village, Greenwich Village, SoHo, Fashion District, Upright Citizens Brigade, indy galleries, cafes in the morning, comic book and vintage book stores, walking with no direction, pizza and subway entertainment.

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First Things First

Friday, March 19, 2004

Lately I’ve been pondering many questions regarding my place as a designer. I feel I may have lost sight of certain goals which have lead me to question my purpose. Design will always be my first love, however, I need to be true to that which I love. I spent time last night rereading The First Things First Manifesto. I recommend FTF to all designers, for it will stir up the same questions floating around in my head.

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Kinetic Art

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Over the weekend I’ve been preparing for my trip to Manhattan that is taking place next week. I’ve been reading up on some new artists and refreshing myself on Art History because it makes the gallery and museum experience much more enjoyable when you have some knowledge behind what your looking at. I came across one of my favorite artists that always seems to capture my attention. Alexander Calder’s mobiles are so fascinating to me and I always seem to stumble upon them in museums.

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