Archive for May, 2009

A Hike in Griffith Park

Griffith Park Observatory

View of Downtown LA from the Griffith Park Observatory

Yesterday, my friend Jared and I went for a hike in Griffith Park. I hadn’t been hiking there in a while, and it was great to get back out there and experience some of the nature LA has to offer.

The paths are mostly wide and sandy, and they wind up and around hills where there are views of downtown, the San Gabriel Valley and the Hollywood sign. There’s also the very nicely remodelled Griffith Park Observatory, where you can wander around checking out exhibits on the sun, planets and stars (and it’s free).

Me and the Hollywood Sign

Me and the Hollywood Sign

I’m not sure quite how far we walked, but I think it was between 3 and 4 miles. There were plenty of other people out walking and running, and there were lots of dogs there, too. There isn’t much shade on the trails, but there are some areas to relax, like the small garden and picnic area at Dante’s Peak, and by the Observatory.

Check out the rest of the photos on Facebook or Flickr.

Jared and Albert Einstein in the Griffith Park Observatory

Jared and Albert Einstein in the Griffith Park Observatory

How to Win at Boggle: A Mind Map

Click to view a larger version

Click to view a larger version

This week’s class project was a lot more involved than past weeks’. We had to create an autobiographical infographic, and in doing so use the principles of design we’ve learned in class, including hierarchy, balance and unity.

I had a lot of different thoughts about what topic to choose: something travel related about the around-the-world trip, the past year, or packing; something about me an Evan, maybe a comic strip based on the books I created about everything we did up until he left for Budapest; something based on this blog, going over its stats, my posting trends, or how it relates to my social networks… The list went on and on. One idea that kept nagging me, though, was how to win at boggle.

I’ve been good at Boggle for a while now. I’m not quite sure how it started, but I think it has something to do with me enjoying playing online in college. From there, I realized that I could beat just about anyone I played in real life, and a lot of the people I played against online. I could just see the words in a certain way that made sense, and I could create some really long word lists because of it. I played about a week ago with my parents and their friends, and again I came out the winner in every game, playing against people who consider themselves Boggle fans, so I thought it would be interesting to try and explain what I see.

So I created a Boggle board that spelled out “Win at Boggle” along with a few extra letters filled in, played the game (I didn’t time myself), and then annotated the list with tips on how or why I wrote down certain words. To create the final piece, I decided to go into the more important elements of the game, including some notes on strategies and other tips for winning.

The piece is all done by hand with various pens and colored pencils — something just felt right about doing it by hand since it’s a game you play by hand.

It was hard trying to get everything balanced, in the right place and colored properly in one shot. I created pieces of the final composition in a notebook and transferred them with tracing paper to color in, but it was still tough since I couldn’t change anything once it was down and in pen.

In class, it was well received. People didn’t even realize that I did it by hand from a distance, and nobody else did anything on games. There were some great projects in class, though, including a beautiful watercolor and pen map of a neighborhood, an Egyptian-style accounting of all one person’s pet’s deaths, and a flow chart of someone’s workout cycle.

Event Catchup: BarCamp, MGoLA, Tuttle, VIP and Weenie Roast

It’s been a busy two weeks over here, with lots of work to do and events to go to. I’ve met some great people and learned some interesting things in the process — and I also got to hear some great music. The event rundown:

BarCamp LA

I finally went to my first BarCamp, a tech unconference of sorts where all the attendees are presenters (if they want to be) and the loosely structured gathering can yield talks on everything from WordPress tricks to whiskey tasting. I spent most of the day hanging out with Jason, who gave a hilarious talk on digital “tent removal” and introduced us to such flowery terms as “scrotoscoping” and had everyone cracking up about the lengths films go to to keep actors’ bodies looking the way they want them. I also went to talks on hacking relationships, Twitter games, the evolutionary theory of memes and steam-powered cars.

My doodle of the steam-powered "Likamobile"

My doodle of the steam-powered "Likamobile"

Mobile Geeks of LA

Though I wouldn’t exactly classify myself as a mobile geek, I have grown very attached to my iPhone — and I knew the people throwing this event (Jeb Brilliant, Matt Singley and James Whatley) at the Cat and Fiddle on Sunset. Plus, James and Vikki were in town from London, so I wanted to see them. Though there was some talk about phones, it was mostly just a meet and greet with some great people, including Tuttle regulars like Geoff and Jen. Someone also brought along a Motorola Cellular One, which was so large I thought it was a giant walkie talkie from the back.

Jeb on the Motorola Cellular One at Tuttle LA

Jeb on the Motorola Cellular One at Tuttle LA

Tuttle LA

The day after Mobile Geeks, we had another Tuttle LA, with James and Vikki as our special guests. We had a group of about 10 people, including new faces Steve, Vaughan, Karen and Al. We were all interviewed about our mobile phone choices for The Really Mobile Project, Vikki actually tested out one of the massage chairs, and we had a fun morning talking tech, playing with phones and meeting some new people.


Vikki and James filming for the Really Mobile Project at Tuttle LA

Velvet Interactive Playground/VIP Lounge

This past Thursday, some friends I had met at BarCamp, Demi and Travis, were throwing a tech/music/art event at a club in Studio City, so I went along to see what it was all about. There was some good music and cool video exhibits, but my favorite part of the night was seeing Zombies Without Borders perform their dance/comedy show, which full of randomness, including zombie bananas performing Peanut Butter Jelly time and a fanatastic Michael Jackson-Gwen Stefani song mashup.

KROQ Weenie Roast

Of all my years living in Southern California, I’d never been to a KROQ concert. Yesterday I finally made it to my first one, the annual Weenie Roast at the Verizon Amphitheater in Irvine. It was a last-minute, unexpected invitation, and I jumped at the chance to go, and I got to see the Silversun Pickups, Weezer, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Jimmy Eat World, Kings of Leon and Rancid. Weezer was my favorite, but everyone else was great, though we didn’t enjoy the impromptu mosh pits springing up on the lawn during Rancid, and after Guiselle got completely bowled over on the dark, steep hill, we decided to leave. It was a great day spent drinking beer, eating festival food, being out in the sun and enjoying good music.

The Weenie Roast stage from the Lawn

The Weenie Roast stage from the Lawn