Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Glass Animals, File Types & Oleg Beresnev

2016-01: Welcoming in 2016! This week – my new favourite band Glass Animals, the annoyance of opening files in the wrong application, and the visualization of a hangover, made by Oleg Beresnev.

Music: Glass Animals
Do you ever hear so much about a band that you immediately dismiss them because you're sick of hearing their name? It's petty, I know. But that happened to me with Glass Animals. I completely missed out on their awesome 2014 album Zaba until a friend mentioned them to me the other day. Since I started listening to them, I have become addicted to the album. As my friend says, their sound is like "water droplets went clubbing." And I quote. Listen below.

Beer & Skillshare
Somehow I managed to sit myself down for a few hours and get a first draft done of the Brew Beer, Drink Beer design. Still needs some refinement, but here it is!

I also took advantage of another three months of Skillshare for 99 cents! One great lesson it offered me this time was Illustrator For Lunch, a series of Skillshare videos that are around 30 minutes in length, so you can do them on your lunch hour. I love it. Check out the entire series here.

I'd really like to get into one of those Illustrator For Lunch classes and learn a thing or two on my lunch hour, but the office has been pretty slow here (concentration at work is at an all-time low over Christmas time), so I'll be trying one out next week. I'm also going to start working seriously on more screens for 21 Days and getting them up on my website.

Random Thought:
One grievance I always encounter in my computer life is double-clicking on a file, only to have it open in the wrong program. Upon further thought, I've begun to come to the conclusion. Perhaps this happens more often to computer-based creatives than to non-creatives because the things we create are most commonly enjoyed through a computer. This means that we switch often between enjoying something (in one program, such as iTunes), to editing it (in another program, such as Audacity). See the chart below:

Inspiration: Oleg Beresnev
A condition that awaits us all:

I found this cute animation on Dribbble. It's meant to emulate the feeling of being hungover. I think it's immediately recognizable. Enjoy your holidays...but don't overdo it! :)

Monday, December 28, 2015

Skittles Pawn Shop

You may have seen me post this to Instagram the other day:

A photo posted by Chloe Silver (@chloesil) on

Taste the rainbow, indeed! I was walking past this on my way to the Star Wars exhibit (which, by the way, was overrated but cool for free). I didn't bother to look it up again until the other day when it came up in my Facebook newsfeed. When I did, I found that in exchange for unwanted Christmas presents (or pretty much, just junk from around your house), some guy named Deal Dale will make you a deal in Skittles for it.

I got there around 2:00pm, thinking it would be busy. There was a line, but it was only about six people long. As soon as I walked inside, my eyes were berated with weird items. They were all different from each other but similar in some strange way that I couldn't place. Maybe it was the fact that all of them would be terrible Christmas presents.

In my arsenal, I had the following: a rather unimpressed looking emoji pillow with a hole on the chin (do emojis have chins?), a weird tapestry-type forest scene, and a statue of a pig holding a hamburger. Not something you'd want to own.

As I waited in line, I got chatting with the security guard about how this would go down. "Make sure you barter," he told me sagely. "You'll get more Skittles that way." Wow, I thought. If they're going to give me five packages, maybe I'll ask for ten! I decided to see how this played out. I couldn't quite see what items were being traded, but I could see the quantities of Skittles that each person was getting. There were some single-serve packages, like I originally thought, but there were also huge, 36-pack boxes of Skittles. One boy came away with four of those boxes! Whatever he traded in was worth 144 packages of Skittles! I couldn't believe my eyes.

When my turn came up, Deal Dale made up a silly story about how my three items were not to be separated because they were a set. This I found extremely hilarious because that's a real thing people say in pawn shops to get the pawner to buy everything, even if he doesn't want to. Wonderful!

So after what seemed like very little thought, Dale came up with the price of two boxes of packages of Skittles. I looked back at the man who told me to barter, and then at my shoes as I asked for three boxes. Dale accepted right away and sent me to collect my bounty.

All of the items traded in the shop will go to the Goodwill ReUse Centre in Scarborough. Isn't that great! Skittles is singlehandedly providing amazing exposure for their brand, bringing joy to people in an act of trashing unwanted/bad gifts, giving help to those in need, and giving out (basically) FREE CANDY.

Take this man, for example:

Check out more at their official website.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Weekly Update: Time Lapses

Music: The Most Serene Republic
Ever since I came across this Milton band through an iTunes song of the day in 2007, I haven't been able to shake their weird-but-wonderful sound. Can't wait to see them tonight at the Horseshoe Tavern as well. I love the fact that the lead singer also plays trombone, too!

One of the coolest things I found about their new album is that the posted the entire thing to SoundCloud when it released. Hear my favourite song off the new album Mediac below:

Somehow, I managed to make pulled pork and stir fry, go to two parties and an improv show, sign up for Hebrew lessons, go to St. Catharines, and get food poisoning in one weekend. It was a mammoth weekend.

I have a ton of time off coming with which I really have no idea what to do, so by gosh I am going to finish the Brew Beer Drink Beer graphic for my friend. That's it! Gotta get it done.

Random Thought:
I have been really into SoundCloud DJ mixes of late. They give me a showcase into the musical interests of musicians I like, and introduce me to new music. But I realized that what I think I like best about them is the way the producers mix the songs together. While intros and outros of music are certainly necessary, I often feel like they're only part of the song because they have to be. This of course is not the case for all music, but some songs (especially pop) could do without the intro or outro and still be a good song. I guess I like mixes because they eliminate the hellos and goodbyes of music. To put it poetically.

Finally, finally the company where I work moved into a new office. We are now on the 14th floor of a 16-storey building at Bloor and Church and it's really not as bad as I originally thought! I had low expectations and I was pleasantly surprised. I don't even have a window seat, but the view is floor to ceiling so it's really amazing. Check out the timelapse video my coworker took yesterday morning (it was a foggy day).

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Weekly Update: One's Inner Chef

Music: Mason
First discovered by yours truly in a SoundCloud mix, this producer out of Amsterdam has a whole slew of awesome tracks in his Nite Rite Series. I really like listening to artists' progression as their tracks become more developed over time. Similarly to HOME, I think this guy has awesome stuff in store for his listeners. And yet another example of how bedroom DJs can gain traction through SoundCloud. How would I ever have found this guy otherwise?

In keeping with my earlier declaration, I made my first rebound shot on Dribbble! As you may have read last week, I really enjoyed Ryan Duffy's weather app design, and wanted to try it out myself. I learned a ton of stuff from After Effects (which is great considering I haven't touched it in six months). For example, did you know that you can draw a path in Illustrator and literally copy and paste it into the position animation of an object in After Effects? Madness! If there's one thing I love in the world of animation, it's the automatic generation of keyframes.

Anyway, check out my rebound below (or on Dribbble):

I've been meaning to post that animated gif of my face to Dribbble for a week now! I'm going to do that tonight. I'm also going to print my holiday cards tomorrow evening, and work on the Brew Beer, Drink Beer graphic on Saturday. I want to have it finished by the end of next week.

Random Thought: Bulk Cooking
I've been attempting to exercise my inner chef lately, and tried my hand at making some Pork Tonkatsu last night. I highly enjoy the process of bulk cooking, so that I can come home to a dinner that's already ready to heat and eat. It's very gratifying. But one thing that I think is overlooked in the field of bulk prepping/cooking is the amount of resources that are saved. For instance, if I fry garlic for four meals at once, I only have to wash the frying pan once. I've just saved a ton of water and soap (not to mention the time factor). While bulk cooking saves time, I really think that the amazing thing about it is the smaller footprint one can leave on the environment when doing so. And I suppose saved soap and paper towel is also saved money. Works for me. Here's a picture of the food I made:

A photo posted by Chloe Silver (@chloesil) on

Inspiration: Muti
While we're on the subject of cooking, I thought I'd share this wee gem I found on Dribbble.

Made by the awesome people at Muti, this card can be printed out from the Dribbble page and used as a gift tag. Way to spread the love.

I also really liked a lot of Muti's other work. Based in Cape Town, even their contact page is awesome. I should really work on my contact page...

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A Walk in the Neighbourhood

In keeping with my exploratory nature of my Toronto surroundings, I have been recording my walks to work from my new apartment in a 20-day Instagram photo blog. I mentioned it here before, and now it's done! I finished it up last week as I transition into my work's new office (to which I'll be taking the subway).

The blog was pretty popular with my friends and coworkers, so I thought I might chronicle the various interesting happenings of it here. First of all, it was an enormously fun experience to find new things to catch my interest on each weekday, and the weekend wild cards were even better. I got a great chance on the last Saturday of the blog to walk around the western side of my neighbourhood, which I don't get to see much of on my eastward walks to work.


A photo posted by Chloe Silver (@chloesil) on

I went to this bar for a drink on my first night in my new place, and was almost as pleased with this "closed" sign as I was with the delicious drink they served me. Not to mention, apparently a lot of my friends know about it! Good thing it's literally four doors away, on the same block as me.


A photo posted by Chloe Silver (@chloesil) on

I walk past this tiger every day and always like to look at it. It's really nice! Nothing like this where I used to live. And now when people ask me where I live, I can tell them it's right by the electric tiger. Nothing wrong with that.


A photo posted by Chloe Silver (@chloesil) on

I was walking past Lee's Palace (which I had never done so early in the day before living here), and I saw men from the Beer Store unloading beer into a secret underground lair of the venue!! And what's even better is that the picture was perfectly timed to show them unloading a case of my favourite beer: Crimmis Beer (otherwise known as Molson Pilsner).


Read the caption. Simply wonderful. I can't wait to get some food shopping done here. They have a great selection of cheese.

20/20 The final day:

Upon sharing this photo, I found out that my friend used to lifeguard at this pool. I can't wait until summer when I can use this slide. But more than that, my neighbourhood is so beautiful in fall/winter that I can't wait until the summer when I am even more aware of my surroundings and can enjoy everything in a nice temperature to be outside. Maybe I'll do another photo blog then!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Weekly Update: Good Weather All Around

I had literally no idea who or what a TOKiMONSTA was for a long time. I had seen the name in some remixes in my travels about the SoundCloud town, but hadn't really stopped to listen to the Los Angeles-based DJ until the other day. I remember finding one of her songs last Wednesday morning, and then listening to her throughout the entire day. That night I was walking around town and saw that she was playing Toronto that Friday. Too bad I saw Slow Magic the day before, because I kinda wish I had gone to her show now. Also, she is signed to Flying Lotus' record label, Brainfeeder. Anyway, listen to this:

Full disclosure: I didn't complete the goals I set for myself last week. For some reason, I decided to use processing to make an animated gif of my face (which you can see in the post before this one). I also made a christmas card that I plan to give to some coworkers and friends if I can get my butt over to FedEx next week to print it.

It's got kind of a plaid feel to it, which I find akin to the warm and cozy feeling of the holidays :)

This week, I am going to Bahamas, so no goal setting for me except to bask in the sun. This week has been sort of bitterly cold (for someone who hasn't donned her winter coat yet) and I'm ready to get away. I do have tomorrow night, so I'd like to finish writing a blog post I started the other day that compares Seinfeld to Jeopardy. Don't ask me why, it will all become clear tomorrow!

Random Thought:
If you've been updating your iPhone's operating system like a good little boy or girl, you've been keeping abreast of all of the emoji changes that have been happening recently. We've finally got a taco emoji, of which I only half-understand the importance, to be perfectly honest. Here it is in all its crispy glory (with some other new ones)...

This phenomenon reminds me of when the emojis were expanded to provide skin colour options for the people- and hand-based emojis. I am led to understand that the reason for this was to provide more options for people to express emojis more realistically as a portrait of themselves or their friends. This made sense to me, but now I wonder how people are choosing the skin tones of their favour. Personally, I have felt awkward as I shifted through the skin tones to find the one that looked most like me. It's a long brown-haired girl who, to be honest, doesn't really remind me of myself. So which one do I go with, if not that one? I have been choosing the bright Simpsons yellow of late, for reasons I cannot truly explain. It just felt right.

Inspiration: Ryan Duffy
As you and I both know, the infamous design exercise of the weather app has been ridden to death like the sad little donkey it is. I have never even thought to try the challenge myself because I have seen so many badly done weather app designs. But today, I saw a Dribbble shot that inspired me so much, I am now rethinking my opinion.

Ryan Duffy, a designer out of Philadelphia, has created a really cute new weather app design that aims to express time as well as weather with animation and simple layering. Check it out below:

It has sort of a Kirby in Dreamland vibe to it, and shows the placement of the moon and sun in the sky (which can be used as a sort of sundial-esque way of telling the time as well). The only critique I could possible have of this whimsical spin on a tired trend is that the black line-drawing animations in the middle are not even necessary. All of that can be shown through a little more detailing on the top animations. Of course, to draw and animate all of the possible iterations would take a lot of time, but I think it would be worth it. I'd like to rebound this shot with another sort of weather, but unfortunately I don't think I'll have much time between now and going to Bahamas. Maybe I'll do it on the plane! Let's see if I can download After Effects on my work computer tomorrow...

Mixing It Up

I watched a pretty freaky movie last night about an indie rock band whose lead singer is a man with a papier mache face. He doesn't take it off to shower, to sleep, ever. Picture time!

Yeah. Anyway, for a stupid plot, the movie was pretty awesome. The fake band's music was all really genuine, in fact I am downloading it right now. Not to mention, what are most movies but eye and ear candy these days, and it was nice to watch a live-action movie with a cartoonish head floating around on a popsicle-stick body.

But the thing that impressed me most about this film was the end credits. They were seriously off the chain. First, all you can see for at least three minutes is some abstract shapes floating around the screen, revealing and hiding the type that makes up the actors' names. That on its own looks really cool. But I'm not going to tell you, just watch this 20-second video, okay?

Wasn't that awesome?! I never even saw it coming. This movie is excellent. It actually inspired me to make my own little rendition, so here goes.

I had a lot of fun writing this processing sketch! I uploaded it to here. Please note that the sketch won't work unless you upload your own file shapes, so get going!