Check this out.

One of those really well done videos (I think). For me, another one like that would probably be Justin Timberlake’s “My love”.. With videos like this, just close your ears and enjoy the visual. Stylish. A graphic designer’s dream. Kanye at his shiniest and Rihanna at her best.. Pay attention to the importance of color and the overall “sharpness” of the visual.. There is no way a video like this could have been produced in Chicago, for example. It’s a true “Made in New York ” one.  Interesting – why? How can we sense that? It’s not the only one of its kind. Jay Z is a guy with a similar style.. Of well, he does own the record company that both Kanye and Rihanna are produced at, but still.. There something unique in it..

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I know I’m late, but have you seen “the Expendables”. Here’s a  trailer for you:

An Englishman,

an ethnic Italian,

a Norwegian,

an Austrian,

a Chinese,

and an American

all fighting together against the bad guys (a Hispanic, who isn’t that bad after all, and an American – a true bad-ass). Wow! A truly multicultural shooter! (I hope you do sense the irony)

From what I’ve seen so far, American dressing culture (at least here, in VT) is very different from European (Estonian).

Overall, one might say that Americans dress very functionally. They put on shorts when it’s hot and put on their “Columbia” jackets, when it’s cold. They wear over-sized fleeces and sport pants when it’s chili. But there is something American dressing culture mostly lacks (by my European standards) – a sense of taste and aesthetic judgment. As a representative of the stronger sex I am biased to pay more attention to female clothing. And to characterize American female dressing culture in one sentence: I haven’t yet seen a single girl wearing a skirt. How much more do I have to say anyway? (more…)

Living in a different culture always changes your understanding of that culture. That is why if you go traveling to, e.g. India, for a week and stay in a hotel on Goa, you haven’t seen India. The same Goa can be found in the Caribbean, Africa, UAE or anywhere else. The same applies to visiting New York, running through all the museums in a couple of days and then bragging that you’ve been to New York. Sorry but no, you haven’t. Only an authentic experience of living somewhere is a true experience of an environment.

As for me, I am in the midst of that “experiencing” process right now.. (more…)

Actually, no, the name is wrong, it’s not about “The Social Network”, but about what came before it – namely, the trailers for other movies.. I don’t know if I’m right in my observations, but those trailers conversed with me in a completely different way now that I have lived in this country for a while..

First of all, of cause, there was half-an-hour of them.. More than enough and I’d even say that a bit of an  over-kill. However, yeah, you have to sell the film, don’t you – so it kinda makes sense.

But there was one trailer that opened my eyes. This one: the trailer introducing the new film with Nicolas Cage “Drive Angry” – the quintessence  of American popular culture! What do we see in this trailer? Chevy Camaro SS, a bunch of different barrels with some truly professional application, an aggressively sexy blond chick wearing jeans-shorts at the hood of a car, some soft parental feelings. What do we hear? “Hell”, “Devil’s Right-hand Man”, “Dead” and plenty of Rock n’ Roll.. An ideal incarnation  of American “New Western” culture! Makes even me want to shoot some guns (not allowed) and drive like crazy (never really happens) picking up that blond chick on the road (statistical possibility of such a catch – infinitely small). But how much cooler can you get?!

It is astonishing how car-dependent American culture is. I bet we all heard this before, knew it from lectures at schools, etc. but you can never realize the extent of it, till you feel it.

In this paradigm, you cannot possibly get more European than I am. I DO NOT have a car and I do not intend to buy one. I WALK across campus or, at most, ride a bike. I live ACROSS THE ROAD (highway) from my department and at a 10 min walking distance away from what we here call “The Downtown” (a junction in the middle of the town, in fact with bars on four corners). If I need to go outside town I’ll use PUBLIC TRANSPORT (wow!).

The majority of people drives to work/school/grocery. Being a town of around 40,000 people Blacksburg suffers from traffic jams (!).

The most amazing effect this has on planning that I have seen, are the clusters of autonomous supermarkets, laced by roads and without any opportunity for pedestrian traffic at all. Being on one side of the road I cannot cross to the other. I see the shop – it’s right there, across the road! – but the road is some 10-12 lanes (!) across and there is NO way I can cross it. This implies that if you don’t have a car and get caught up on one side of the road, you will die of hunger – you simply will not be able to reach the shop on the other side! Needless to say, at night these “supermarket-towns” become dimply lit, silent ghost towns.

Supermarket-towns can exist anywhere. They are geographically unrelated to nothing – neither terrain, nor residential complexes, nor businesses. They just are there. They exist by themselves and their strength is in numbers – the more shops in a cluster – the better. A delirious drive-in world.

If you drive in Europe and see a cluster of supermarkets along the way you know they must signify the outskirts of a town. You know, that behind the “belt of supermarkets” there will be a belt of suburbs, followed consequently by other belts, usually growing in density and culminating in the Downtown. In the US, however, if you see a cluster of supermarkets it means nothing. You ride through it, wondering what town you’re in, but after a short while you realize that there is no town… Those are simply supermarkets. And that’s it.