Sunday, November 30, 2008


OK, here's my understanding of the nine types of white guys currently on the street. I'll probably get this wrong, but I figure I'll never get straightened out if I don't hazard a list, so here it is...

1) HIP HOPPERS: Mostly black and Hispanics dress this way, but lots of white guys, too. Baggy, floppy tee shirts, long wide buccaneer shorts, exposed underwear, Pfat shoes, hoodies, bald head, tattoos, ear rings, etc. Baggies are on the way out, but you still see plenty on the street, especially baggy shorts.

2) SKATEBOARDERS: Lots of baggy and/or grunge, but now also tight jeans, like the 80s skater above, drawn by David Gemmill (all the drawings on this post are by David). Skater sneakers. Long hair or bald. Baseball caps on the way out, unless they have net sides and squarish fronts like the ones truckers wear.

3) EMOS: Ultra sensitive, concerned about global warming, wear tight black jeans, thick red and black flannel shirts for the skinny Canadian lumberjack look. A few wear eye make-up and get tramp stamps.

Emo Music: My Chemical Romance. Yuppie-type emos like Coldplay. Emos pretty much control rock.

INDIES: Emo sub-group that favors sentimental neo-folk music and is outraged when a band sells out. Eclectic dress that borrows from other groups. Music: Tegan and Sara (that's them above, singing "Nineteen"). Song: "How to Save a Life" by The Fray.

4)PREPS: Short for "preppy." They like to look good in clothes. METROSEXUALS: A sub-group within the preps, they're even more concerned about clothes and style (argyle). They're not gay, but some are influenced by gay attitudes.

5) ART SCHOOL HIPSTERS: Tight black jeans, 80s Rayban sunglasses, Hair over half the face.

When hipsters smoke, they smoke bidis (beedis?), a type of expensive, bad-tasting, hand-rolled, fruit-flavored, herbal cigarettes that come from India. Hipsters feel superior to emos, shop at "American Apparel."

6) GAY: Preppy, shop at Abacrombe & Fitch.

7) GOTHS: Tight black jeans, black everything. Critical, sarcastic, but not as surly as they used to be. Skinny goths shop at Hot Topic, fat goths at Torrid.

8) JUST PLAIN GUYS: tee shirt and jeans. Most guys fall into this category. Here David depicts a just plain guy (himself) encountering what I would call an art school hipster. Me, I like the way the girl is dressed, but it looks like David is critical.

9) NERDS: Cultural or intellectual interests, plain or eclectic clothes.

Well, how did I do? Did I get it right? Thanks to Kali Fontecchio for all the good information (probably messed up and misunderstood by me), commenters Darbyshire and Patrick who turned me on to Indies, and David Gemmill for the great drawings. David should do a book on the LA club scene!

Also, commenters brought up two more categories: Retrophiles (young fogeys into old media), and heavy metal rednecks. I completely forgot about rednecks! That's what happens when you live in LA; you lose touch with what's happening in the rest of the country!


I feel sorry for police sketch artists because they're snubbed by other artists. Artsy-type artists simply can't see the art in the kind of flat, symmetrical faces that you see on wanted posters (above). That's too bad because the artists who do the posters are often more skilled than you'd think, they just work in a medium that's deliberately designed to look clunky.

This (above) is, believe it or not, the most useful kind of police sketch. It's not pretty, but it wasn't meant to be. It's intentionally crude, emphasizing only the few bits of information provided by the witness, and adding nothing. It gives the officer on the street lots of room for interpretation.

What you don't want is a sketch that's too specific (above). It may look good, but a face that's too detailed will lead to a search for that exact face, and no other, which is a mistake. It's impossible to derive a true likeness from the limited information given by witnesses. An artist has to resist the temptation to fill in a drawing with made-up detail in order to make the sketch look pretty.

A witness description that says, "He was a blonde with wire-frame glasses" is almost useless, since glasses can be discarded and hair can be dyed. A trained police artist listens for details that are hard to fake, like the shape of the jaw, the cheekbones, and the size of the eyes, nose and ears. Sometimes glasses are only sketched lightly and hair is made to deliberately look fake so the viewer can imagine the face without it.

A good police artist is a good interviewer. He knows the questions to ask which will spotlight the details he's interested in.

It's predicted that computer programs will gradually replace sketch artists, but it's been slow in coming. That's because computer sketches are too specific. You end up looking for that exact face to the exclusion of other similar types. The common programs are Faces 4.0 and Smith & Wesson's Identi-Kit 6.0.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Here's (above) the sculpture over the door of the National Puppet Theatre in Prague. Nifty, huh?

And a wider view of the entrance. They're playing a puppet version of Don Giovanni! Maybe this shouldn't surprise me since several of the great composers wrote for the puppet theatre, and at one time puppet theatre was more popular than "legitimate" theatre.

I've read that Prague is overflowing with marionette shops. I wouldn't mind visiting these! Of course I want to see the marionette shows even more, but I can't help wanting to see some well-done puppets close up, so I can see how they work.

A window display (above) in one of the stores.

I've heard marionette stores (above) are all over Central Europe, especially the Czech Republic, Germany and Austria.

Here's (above) a water-powered mechanical puppet theatre in Salzburg.

Another window display (above).

Here's (above) a marionette museum.

Another view (above).

Inside (above) there's a workshop where kids get to make marionettes.

More interesting shop displays (above). Puppets look great when they're all bunched together.

No, unfortunately you can't have this puppet (above)!

A window display (above) in one of the high-end stores.

Some of the store marionettes (above) are close to what you'd see on the stage.

Nice stuff (above), especially when seen together like this!

Some finger puppets (above).

And a kazillion tiny marionettes (above)! Something for every budget!


Just for a joke I thought I'd post a bunch of fat people who look like they just finished a Thanksgiving meal. While I was doing that it occurred to me that I should include fat pets too, so I looked up "fat cats." BIG mistake! There's a million fat cat pictures on the net! It's a whole subculture!!!! People actually WANT their cats to be like this!

It's the end of Western Civilization! .........Hmmmm, I think I'll eat something to reduce my anxiety.

Thursday, November 27, 2008



Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Boy, I really made a mistake by starting the "Love nerds" blog so quickly, with only the smallest warning. Very few people had ready-made films to post, and making one from scratch is a big undertaking if you haven't done it before. I think I'll modify the Nerd site to accept still photographs as well as videos, and put a little less emphasis on romance. It would simply be nice to see the people who post here, so if you have a photo, send me a link and I'll post it on Love Nerds.

Anyway, the subject of romance is still heavy on my mind, so here's my latest thought on the subject. It's a question: what percentage of the crowd above...of the opposite sex in the crowd above...are likely to find your type of person appealing? What percentage would want to have a serious relationship with someone like you? Well, obviously there's no telling, but my strong hunch is that the number would be smaller than you think.

You look at any group photo and at first glance it looks like at least half of the people in it might find someone like you appealing, but look again. People have a lot of unconscious prejudices. The closer you look the more plausible it is that something about you might seem vaguely alien to some of these people. I'm not talking about racial or ethnic distinctions. I mean something more peculiar than that.

[Since all my photo reference is of women, I'll assume the reader is a guy.]

For example, smooth skin people (above) usually prefer to date other smooth skin people . If you don't have smooth skin, then you're just not on their list.

Some people (above) are realists. They just wouldn't feel comfortable dating head-in-the-clouds "artsy" types. Some artsy types have the same bias against realists.

Some people are in the fast lane and only want to date other fast lane types. Ditto the slow lane.

Some really nice girls are kind of pricey and high maintenance. Can you afford them?

Big-boned women are unfailingly kind, but their hearts belong to manly truck drivers.

Some girls are never without a boyfriend. Within 24 hours of breaking up, they're back in the harness again with a new guy. You can try to date them, but you better be prepared to digest a knuckle sandwich.

Some girls (above) only want to date Mr. Right. Maybe you don't fit that description. Maybe the girl has a fantasy about living with her lover in a Thomas Kinkade house with with heart-shaped throw pillows, and glass unicorns on wicker shelves. Maybe you're a grungeball.

Girls with very small mouths tend to date men with small mouths, why I don't know.

Maybe something about the girl bothers you. This girl's stare bothers me. I had a friend once who used to date a girl who stared at him. She didn't mean anything by it, but my friend found the stare withering, as if she had seen into his soul and found it lacking. He had to stop going out with her.

It's amazing that with so many obstacles that couples still seem to find each other. They say that half of all marriages don't work, but the flip side of that is that half of them do. That means there's a lot of happy people out there.