Bangla Aloo Sem

May 22nd, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

There’s something weirdly gratifying about being the only Caucasian in an Indian grocery store. It feels like being let in on a secret.

Weekend

May 13th, 2002 § Three comments § permalink

It was a beautiful weekend to be in San Francisco. I spent Saturday afternoon at SFMOMA, and although I was particularly excited about the Eva Hesse exhibition, my favorite work was Video Quartet, a video collage by Christian Marclay. It was shown in a long, rectangular room, with four video screens lined up side by side on one of the long walls; from dozens of movies1, Marclay extracted a 10-minute symphony. Besides being a remarkable work of art, it offered one of the best arguments for fair use that I can imagine. If the entertainment industry had its way, it would be technologically impossible to create a derived work like this one.

I expected to enjoy Perfect Acts of Architecture as well, but that exhibit was dominated by self-righteous modernists who don’t give a tinker’s damn about such petty concerns as whether a space meets its users’ needs. Perhaps it’s worth focusing purely on theoretical questions as a thought experiment; what bothers me is the extent to which some of those architects’ work is informed by the cold vacuum of theory. On the other hand, the exhibit succeeded in making me genuinely angry, which was a nice reminder of the power art can hold.

Before SFMOMA, my brother took me to Vik’s Chaat Corner, a hole-in-the-wall place in Berkeley that he described as “the BEST INDIAN RESTAURANT EVER.” I’m not inclined to disagree. When I told one of my Indian coworkers that I’d been there, he mentioned that he used to drive down to Berkeley occasionally just to go to Vik’s. Good sign.

  1. A sampling of the movies I remember picking out: My Fair LadyMr. Holland’s Opus;Woodstock; footage of Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, and Frank Sinatra; The Music Man; a Marx Brothers movie; and M. There were many others. []

Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, etc.

April 24th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

Good things about Sunnyvale:

  • Flowers everywhere. The roses in Sunnyvale are spectacular—even the most neglected gardens have perfect roses, flowers the size of saucers, with creamy petals that look good enough to eat.
  • A surprisingly nice library that stays open until 9 p.m. on most weeknights.
  • The farmers’ market, the very best thing of all.

Serendipity

April 24th, 2002 § One comment § permalink

A coworker and I went for a walk during our lunch break today, and we started discussing the next version of a Web application we both work on. I complained that some of our developers had thrown away one of my ideas for the UI and implemented something far less user-friendly. As I explained the problem, though, I realized that my original idea wouldn’t have worked. Then I came up with a new idea that will.

After work, I came home, picked up A Pattern Language, opened it to pattern 131 (“The Flow Through Rooms”), and chanced upon this paragraph:

The following incident shows how important freedom of movement is to the life of a building. An industrial company in Lausanne…installed TV-phone intercoms between all offices to improve communication. A few months later, the firm was going down the drain—and they called in a management consultant. He finally traced their problems back to the TV-phones. People were calling each other on the TV-phone to ask specific questions—but as a result, people never talked in the halls and passages any more—no more “Hey, how are you, say, by the way, what do you think of this idea…” The organization was falling apart, because the informal talk—the glue which held the organization together—had been destroyed. The consultant advised them to junk the TV-phones—and they lived happily ever after.

Busy busy

April 3rd, 2002 § One comment § permalink

Oops. Distracted again.

I started redesigning pinchy.org a few weeks ago, but then I got busy with CSS wrangling at work. After spending an afternoon trying to figure out which browsers support each CSS2 table property, I’m just not in the mood to come home and do more Web development.

If you want an idea of what I’ve been up to lately, check out Jesse James Garrett’s visual vocabulary for information architecture and interaction design. For everyone else, why not enjoy an adorable, cursor-hungry bunny?

Bourgeois

March 18th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

Perhaps it was overly optimistic to go to Target looking for a mortar and pestle.

But checking to see whether they had a copy of My Dinner with André–well, that was just dumb.


My weekend

March 10th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

Cigar-shaped stuffed grape leaves, sea bass in tomato-onion-garlic sauce, an island of lamb cubes and rice in a sea of cream.

Hawaiian dancers, Michael Graves, cart escalators; inexpensive cosmetics, flimsy furniture, Cadbury’s Creme Eggs. More groceries than I expected. The vaguely seedy feeling I get from shopping at a category killer.

Back to work tomorrow.

Keeping O’Reilly afloat

March 6th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

Areas in which I will gain experience in the next few months:

Amount of reading I need to do outside of the office:

  • Lots

Home sick

December 10th, 2001 § Comments off § permalink

I spent this morning flat on my back, blankets piled high, ruing the vast miasma of daytime television.

Then I remembered: This American Life has online archives.

This afternoon should be better.

Excuses, excuses

December 6th, 2001 § Comments off § permalink

Updates are likely to be scarce this month. I have a comically large project to complete, and my schedule’s been cut in half. To get some idea of what I’m up against, imagine trying to fit William Howard Taft in your bathroom sink. Or, you know, don’t.

If I had more free time, I’d learn to play Go. More properly, I’d try to learn, since previous attempts have been unsuccessful (although there’s some great tutorials out there).

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