now with EVEN MORE tangibility!

Posted in atlanta on August 9, 2012 by kaffeemitschlag

After some city-scouring and a few setbacks (including but not limited to hot glue melting skin, an incompatibility of the wood I selected with the summer climate of a world boiling itself, and millipede breeding season taking place on my moss solution test run), I’ve begun the process of attaching postcards, bicycle tires, outdated MARTA tokens, bottle caps, broken brick, and various pieces of business cards, retail packaging, and other local business detritus to the two massive sections of wood that will provide the foundation for the map. Check out some of the progress:

 

Bike tires for major roads, MARTA tokens for public rail (with dismantled Breeze cards as each station).

 

A view of downtown from Oakland Cemetery.

 

I mean, this is what I see when I look at East Atlanta Village.

 

The most successful moss solution by far, not that you can tell from the quality/proximity of this photo; this one a blend of buttermilk, Miller High Life, water retention gel, and clumps of dried moss (I’ll be using fresher moss for the final run). Strangely not as attractive to flies, ants, and pillbugs as the last few mixtures, and a much thicker layer that actually resembles the moss carpet it should.

now with tangibility!

Posted in Uncategorized on July 2, 2012 by kaffeemitschlag

The Atlanta BeltLine is a decade-long city project that will, if all goes planned, result in a 22-mile uninterrupted loop of hiking trails, park space, and energy-efficient mass transit around the city center. For Atlanta, located in a state where urban development is probably below mosque building in the list of government priorities, that’s quite something to look forward to. More effort has gone into the construction of this project than I’d realized in the few years since I read about the idea one day on a break from shelving copies of The Secret at whichever local big box bookselling superstore in which I worked at the time.

For the third year, an organization calling themselves Art on the Atlanta BeltLine has enlisted local artists to create projects for a three-month free outdoor exhibit along the BeltLine’s under-construction corridors.

I am one of these artists. As interested as I was in doing a solo art project that would actually be observed by people who aren’t my friends visiting my little blog because I ask them to on facebook, I didn’t expect to get in. But my proposal was accepted, and more than that, these people actively seem to really like this idea. I mean, I’m into it, but all these other people too? That’s just… that’s awesome.

I’ve begun the process of constructing a 6’x4′ tangible map of the center of the city that includes the BeltLine, composed of repurposed, recycled artificial materials for the human elements of the city (for instance, bike tires stretched out as the city’s main roads and beer bottle caps for buildings in bar neighborhoods like EAV) and a continuously growing moss medium covering the more natural areas of the city, including parks, tree-lined neighborhoods, and the BeltLine itself.

The coverage so far:

ImageThis is the actual backing of the map itself, which will eventually be covered in trash & moss that will show you where you are, so to speak. I’ve divided the surface into 24 squares that are likewise traced over a map of the area I’m using. It’s certainly not intended to display every street, business, or backyard shed, but it will be as accurate within its scope as possible.Image

Some of the materials I’ve gathered so far that will be transformed into neighborhoods, rail lines, and skyscrapers. And my cat.

Image

Testing different recipes for the moss medium: the uppermost third is a mixture of buttermilk, beer, moss, and sugar. The second coat is the same mixture with two tablespoons of moss-specific water retention gel (ordered specially from the internet!) and another handful of moss clumps. The third coat will hopefully be another improvement and a step towards ensuring I can ensure this map will be mostly alive. Which likely won’t be a problem anyway considering how many ants & flies are already very happy about the prospect of free buttermilk, sugar, and beer.

let’s go crazy

Posted in literature & film with tags , , , , on May 25, 2012 by kaffeemitschlag

Click to enlarge.

The blog has conspicuously been on hiatus for a number of months thanks to the logistical difficulties of um, not having a computer.

But I’m back.

This time around, I decided to delve into the cultural realms of literature & film for a short list of some of the most recognizable narrative examples of a character’s descent into madness. Why a list, you ask?

I’ll tell you.

1.) When taking on a subject as ambiguous and malleable as narrative themes, an informal list seems the best choice. It’s not as definitive, but it strives to be an objective appraisal of the subjective.

2.) Lists welcome dialogue in a way that a purely informative graphic doesn’t; I’m hoping visitors will read this and want to discuss, comment, debate, and most importantly, well… that’s part of the next point.

3.) Informal lists like this one are meant to be expanded. This is a very short list of a very common narrative theme (I conspicuously went with the most culturally recognizable ones), so you’d better feel the need to mention the ones you feel should make the more expansive list of which this is obviously a small selection.

4.) This is the internet. The internet loves lists. This is a list.

COMING SOON: I’ll be tracking my progress with a much larger, much more physical infographic map of the city of Atlanta actually commissioned by the city through the Art on the Atlanta BeltLine project!

atlanta, squared

Posted in atlanta with tags , , , , , on January 14, 2012 by kaffeemitschlag

DISCLAIMER: A well-traveled (within city limits) Atlantan will note that some of these may seem off, that they should be larger or smaller than the space given. While maintaining as accurate a representation as possible, some square mileage stems from the location’s (usually a neighborhood) own claims, not professional measurements; and some buildings include only the ground floors’ occupied space as opposed to the entirety of the square footage within (warping some of the university areas, for one). So take this one with a grain of salt until I one day map these all out professionally myself, which will never happen, because that would take forever. But enjoy!

 

You’re gonna definitely wanna use zoom on this one, kids.

Just a quick exercise in data visualization in the vein of David McCandless, premier infographicist. This graphic is the first of what I hope to be many more that fulfill two goals: the inclusion of straightforward visualization of numerical data, as opposed to the usual facts & figures which have decorated this page so far: and the ability to generate simple but effective visuals that can be generated more quickly than and in between those same, more elaborate, graphics I’ve been doing. Instead of taking a month or more, for instance, I completed the research and design of this particular one in about 24 hours (not total; I literally had this idea yesterday). I will also probably continue to add new data to this one (for instance, oh, I didn’t put in any sports arenas or whatever [edit: now I have!]).

As to what you’re actually seeing, I’ve taken the acreage of several Atlanta landmarks, parks, and neighborhoods and condensed them into simple squares for easy comparison, with the colors indicating the various categories. I almost included Stone Mountain Park and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, but they are HUGE. Stone Mountain, for instance, is about five times the size of this graph. The airport is, seriously, even bigger. It is a big airport.

everything dies; but you know, at different times

Posted in animal life with tags , , , , , on November 23, 2011 by kaffeemitschlag

Click to zoom, why don’t you.Image

your eight-legged friends wish you’d give them some credit

Posted in animal life with tags , , , , , , , on August 8, 2011 by kaffeemitschlag

These guys are found in households across North America, but don’t fret. If you’re not poking them repeatedly or trying to put tiny little spider clothes on them, they’ll probably leave you alone, all the while consuming the true pests around the house.

Click to zoom, but I’m sure you’ve figured that out already:
there's one behind you right now

Check out this video to see a garden spider in action, mummifying a Japanese beetle faster than you can read this sentence:

Also, wolf spiders are probably better mothers than yours:

the city too busy to stop and read a plaque for once

Posted in atlanta with tags , , , , , , , on July 11, 2011 by kaffeemitschlag

Did you know Atlanta is one of the only true skyscraper cities in the United States? Outside of New York & Chicago, Atlanta’s buildings are taller than any others in the Western Hemisphere. Whether you’ve never been to Atlanta or have lived here your entire life, chances are you learned that just now.

(click to enlarge with zooooom capabilities)
Atlanta Skyline

As a seven-year resident of the city of Atlanta (and lifetime resident of the metro area), I can say with certainty that this city has a unique inferiority complex.

A history of Civil War, Civil Rights, and ah, Ted Turner has shaped Atlanta’s legacy as the major political and cultural center of the Southeastern US. Thanks to the astronomical number of Fortune 500 companies headquartered here, from Delta to Coca-Cola to UPS to Waffle House (okay, that last one may not be Fortune 500), the city has become an unexpected international hub for big business (remember that one time, when the Olympics happened?). Like many urban environments, Atlanta is a city composed of a kaleidoscopic population spanning demographics worthy of a census taker’s dreams (or nightmares, if they’re making up their statistics), with an atypical concentration of left-leaning, progressive types that render the city a deep blue island awash in a sea of roiling red. These factors combined have crafted Atlanta into a unique American city: an historically crucial, culturally diverse, surprisingly global urban center in the American South.

But Atlanta unnecessarily struggles with a cohesive identity, a desperate yearning for tourist dollars, and having to live with the fact that no matter how commercially & historically important the city may be, the rest of the South views it as a danger-filled strip club for Bolsheviks & Black Panthers and the rest of the country only sees a humid, backwater billboard plantation with a big airport. And the city’s desperation for tourism sometimes yields results like unnecessary trolley projects, an aquarium that looks like a mall food court, and museums dedicated to multimillion-dollar corporations. External prejudice and internal cynicism contribute to Atlantans’ mutual complex that their city isn’t perfect. Which, of course, it isn’t. But as far as underrated cities go, it ranks high. The individual personalities of each neighborhood, the plethora of historic districts and incredible museums, the annual events that transform the city into an American mecca, the immense (and delicious) restaurant culture, the mix of Old & New South architecture, and the grassroots community arts groups shape a uniquely amazing city. For any visitor to understand that, just spend a day exploring every shop & restaurant in Little Five Points; have a beer & a gyro and stalk Anderson Cooper in the CNN Center; explore the Sweet Auburn neighborhood that shaped Martin Luther King’s life; dress up like Sailor Moon or Hawkman for DragonCon; go ghost-hunting in Oakland Cemetery (Margaret Mitchell’s always wandering around at night); or grill out with a grindhouse b-movie at the Starlight Drive-In. Even the aforementioned questionable tourist traps are admittedly kind of awesome (beluga whales & international sodas!).

So while Atlanta may lack the cultural iconography of New York or the charming climes of San Francisco, the city’s rich reserves in history, the arts, neighborhood culture, food, and natural beauty are sometimes left untapped. Many Atlantans I know have never explored Cascade Springs Nature Preserve, the Fernbank Natural History Museum, the King Center, Westview Cemetery, the BeltLine Trail (especially the west side), the Botanical Gardens, the State Capitol Museum, the Carter Center, the countless parks dotted throughout the city that aren’t Piedmont, or the international cuisines of Buford Highway. So I encourage any Atlantans to venture outside for once and see what this city has to offer (and any non-Atlantans to come over & say hi), because you’ll be surprised at how awesome this place is when you actually look.

what’s new, buenos aires?

Posted in nations of the world with tags , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2011 by kaffeemitschlag

Argentina matters. Learn about it below.

And check out the music videos & quote after the jump!

(Click the image for a larger and more legible resolution with zoom. Or GET GLASSES.)

BUT DON’T GO YET WHEN THERE ARE MUSIC VIDEOS TO WATCH.

Couldn’t help but run across some great music researching for the cultural section of this infographic…

This 1985 hit from Soda Stereo is a little Talking Heads, a little Kajagoogoo; plus, my limited Spanish seems enough to comprehend its themes of boredom, an unfulfilled relationship, and also something about video porn. You will have this song in your head for the rest of the day.

And watch No Lo Soporto’s tribute to the most significant air-travel-themed Twilight Zone story of all. But it was all a dream… OR WAS IT? (Yes & no.) The English safety announcement for ‘Avi NLS’ should be adopted by other airlines.

Not to mention this perfect quote from Jorge Luis Borges about that 1982 conflict between Argentina and the UK over useless (except to puffins) real estate: “The Falklands thing was a fight between two bald men over a comb.” Good one, JLB.

essential information, minimalist presentation

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on June 29, 2011 by kaffeemitschlag

Hi.

My name’s Geoff, I live in Atlanta, I eat a lot of Mexican food, and I really like information.

Not just any information, mind you. Specifically, there’s little else more fulfilling to me than learning something, anything, more illuminating about my environment, whether physical, temporal, cultural, or psychological. And given the amount of relatively useless information there is out there from TMZ to the ivory tower of academia, it makes knowing more about what actually affects you and your surroundings that much more important.

After all, we can only understand things much bigger than ourselves if we understand ourselves in context.

I plan on using this blog to present essential information about the world, be it scientific, geographical, cultural, historical, anything we can use to adjust our own context of the world, in a simplistic manner worthy only of that minimalist illustrator Microsoft Paint. I hope ya like it.