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Intro to Computational Media Week 1 Assignment

Here is my first week’s assignment for my Intro to Computational Media class at ITP with Danny Rozin.  We are learning the Processing programming language.  The assignment was to create our own beautiful drawing with Processing using only 2D primitive shapes.

My drawing is a study of form, colors, and composition.  I used only circles, rectangles/squares and triangles.  I played with different degrees of color transparency (alpha) to layer shapes and colors.  As Scott McCloud pointed out in Understanding Comics (assigned reading in my Communications Lab class), circles/dots interact with the other random shapes to create eyes, faces, and breasts in the human mind, even in seemingly abstract drawings, which points to the anthro-centric hard-wiring of the human brain’s visual processing systems.

Click on the screenshot below to play with the interactive version.  Move your mouse around the drawing and see how it reacts.

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ITP NYU

Getting into grad student life

I had my first orientation session for ITP yesterday. Over the course of about an hour and a half, we were introduced to the program, the faculty and staff and the facilities at ITP. Then they passed around a wireless mic and had all the new students (about 100 people) introduce themselves. The incoming class is about 60% male to 40% female, and about 30% international. Koreans, Turks and Texans seemed rather well represented in the group. People came from all different backgrounds, from seasoned techies, to dabbling dilettantes like me, to the utterly random (not meant to be a value judgment – the randomness and the diversity is part of the greatness of ITP). I think there was somebody who was a corporate lawyer and somebody who had a finance background.

Due to all the wireless signal activity in the room, there were some major sound and feedback issues with the mic, so we ditched the mic part-way through the intros. The fact that there was a big column in the middle of the room also hindered communications. In any case, I hope to be able to get to know my fellow classmates better later today at the departmental welcome part and over the course of the next 2 years.

I got my official NYU ID yesterday, and upgraded my MacBookPro to Leopard (finally) and my Adobe software to CS3 in preparation for school and for the continuing web content production I will be doing for HRW.

I also met with my academic adviser, Daniel Rozin. My first semester schedule is pretty much spoken for. I will be taking the four foundations courses: Applications of Interactive Telecommunications Technology, Communications Lab, Introduction To Computational Media, and Introduction to Physical Computing. It’s just a matter of scheduling. I just hope I don’t get stuck in an early morning session, since I have pretty much reverted to my natural nocturnal ways of late-night productivity since quitting my day job.

This morning I had to get a blood test taken at the NYU health center to prove my immunity to measles, mumps, and rubella. I was a little anxious about having blood drawn, but the nurse was very nice and put me at ease. She had me lie down, grab a squeezy ball and look away while she pricked my arm and sucked out the sample. Not too bad actually. I got a cute Sesame Street Band-Aid (“plaster” for my British friends) to cover my wound afterwards (below).

Sesame Street Bandaid

After the blood test, I went to the NYU bookstore to get my textbooks for the semester and also picked up a new Timbuk2 laptop backpack. I already had a Timbuk2 messenger bag, but the one-sided strap was killing my back. The backpack spreads the weight more evenly and is much better on the back and shoulders, even if not as “cool.

After lunch, I worked on my submission for the new ITP T-shirt design (below). I was going for a simple geek-chic aesthetic with the circuit board and LED fonts and the retro-but-timeless green-on-black color story that evokes the monochromatic computer monitors of yore.

ITP T-Shirt (Circuits & LEDs) - Model View

Check out all of the submissions here.

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Northern California Trip Over – Back in NYC Update: Perilla and ITP

Fisherman's Wharf of San Francisco

End of summer update: I got back this morning from a week-long holiday in Northern California. Tons of pictures on Flickr. I will blog more about it later.

Above: The famous Fisherman’s Wharf of San Francisco. Below: LS plays with eels at the Monterey Aquarium.

LS & Eels

Sophia & Perilla

I hung out with Sophia today. We had dinner in the West Village at a place called Perilla, which is Top Chef Harold Dieterle’s restaurant. The ambience was casual and cosy, typical West Village. Our waiter was attentive and the menu looked good. I was a big fan of Harold’s when I watched Top Chef, so I had high hopes. But unfortunately, things got weird, but not in a good way. We were presented with exactly one slice of bread each. Mmm, gee thanks. Nobody asked if we wanted more. We shared an heirloom tomato salad and seared sea scallops for the appetizer course. The tomato salad was good, but a bit pedestrian. The pine nuts and the feta cheese in the salad overpowered the subtly of the tomatoes. The scallops themselves were executed to textbook perfection, but like the tomato salad, had some balance issues: their were bacon or pancetta bits that were a little overwhelming, and not advertised on the menu.

Entrees. This is where it gets bad. We had the Romesco Oil Poached Chatham Cod with black olive gnocchi, oyster mushrooms & summer zucchini sauce and the Grilled Pork T-Bone with lavender, lychee-black chick pea salad & green mustard sauce. Off the bat, the cod dish was way too salty, and had a weird “squeaky texture.” The “romesco” was a red sauce smeared on the cod with chunks of nuts in it, a departure from the smooth Catalan classic. I found the nuts too aggressive in texture compared to the tender cod. Much better after I scraped off most of the sauce. The summer zucchini sauce was more of a color element than a flavor contrast, so I can’t say it was all the memorable. The black olive gnocchi was too similar to the oyster mushrooms in color, but were surprising in taste and texture when I bit into them. The color and texture reminded me of Taiwanese pig’s blood black pudding, and not in a good way.

The pork t-bone was a big, thick peace of meat, but not at all juicy or particularly flavorful. It was covered by a giant mound of salad that obscured the meat on the plate, not all too flattering a presentation. I couldn’t really taste the lavender, and the lychees were just kind of random surprises that lacked a real context.

Dessert was redeeming. Sophia ordered the Vanilla Scented Doughnuts with peach compote filling & sour cream curd. Fried dough. Peaches. Cream. Yum. ‘Nuff said. I had the local blackberries Linzer Torte, which was very well executed as well. It did a nice job of clearing my palate of all excess salt from the entrees.

Sorry Perilla, I really wanted to like it. I really tried, but I left disappointed. Luckily, we were able to amuse ourselves with some great people watching, as we observed two very awkward dates at adjacent tables unfold before our eyes. Made up for the lackluster food. We noticed that the awkward date people were drinking a lot more than we were. Maybe they were on to something.

Interactive Telecommunications @ NYU Tisch

Orientation starts tomorrow morning for the masters program in Interactive Telecommunications that I am doing at NYU. Updates forthcoming.

Below: Lee-Sean and the giant sunflowers of Sonoma.

LS & Sunflowers in Sonoma