The Limit

Posted in Life at 11 am

Please. When I get brave enough to drink straight from the bottle, stop me.

Merry Christmas!



Posted in Life at 9 am

At Christmas-time, something like Gapminder can really put things into perspective for Americans.


The Crystal Goblet, or Printing Should Be Invisible

Posted in Design at 10 pm

The Crystal Goblet, or Printing Should Be Invisible by Beatrice Warde (1900 — 1969) could also be known as the Zen of Design…

Imagine that you have before you a flagon of wine. You may choose your own favourite vintage for this imaginary demonstration, so that it be a deep shimmering crimson in colour. You have two goblets before you. One is of solid gold, wrought in the most exquisite patterns. The other is of crystal-clear glass, thin as a bubble, and as transparent. Pour and drink; and according to your choice of goblet, I shall know whether or not you are a connoisseur of wine. For if you have no feelings about wine one way or the other, you will want the sensation of drinking the stuff out of a vessel that may have cost thousands of pounds; but if you are a member of that vanishing tribe, the amateurs of fine vintages, you will choose the crystal, because everything about it is calculated to reveal rather than hide the beautiful thing which it was meant to contain.

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Writing Tool No. 13

Posted in Career, Media at 11 pm

Poynter Online – Writing Tool #13: Show and Tell

On the Ladder of Abstraction:

An old essay by John Updike begins, “We live in an era of gratuitous inventions and negative improvements.” That language is general and abstract, near the top of the ladder. It provokes our thinking, but what concrete evidence leads Updike to his conclusion? The answer is in his second sentence: “Consider the beer can.” To be even more specific, Updike was complaining that the invention of the pop-top ruined the aesthetic experience of drinking beer. “Pop-top” and “beer” are at the bottom of the ladder, “aesthetic experience” at the top.

Bartelby the Product

Posted in Career, Design, Life, Media at 7 pm

Over at Design Observer: writings about design & culture: Dmitri Siegel: Bartelby™

In his essay “Free Time,” philosopher Theodor Adorno explains how our time away from work has gradually been filled with economically productive activities masquerading as leisure. He further explains how we become habituated to this functionalization, so that when we have free time we don’t feel relaxed, but instead feel an anxiety to function, commonly known as boredom.

The article prompted me to see if I should add Bartelby to my Amazon wishlist… which I could but then realized that Melville’s work is almost all available through Project Gutenburn’s Archive.

Both the essay by Dmitri Siegel and the short story by Melville made for some great reading. However I’d like to learn more about Adorno’s work as that “Free Time” essay sounds like a major problem in my life at times.


Gustav and KRNK

Posted in Media, People at 10 pm

So I’m noticing how much I’m listening to KNRK again. Gustav has always been one of my most fav DJs of all time and happens to be a Depeche Mode fan in the extreme.

I remember when things went downhill with KNRK and the final blow when Marconi was summarily taken off of the air. At the time of the change from the Daria/Gustav morning show to the Marconi show there were a number of newspaper articles that detailed what was going on and more when Marconi was yanked.

I wondered if there had been any more recent articles looking at KNRK’s turn around. I googled for KNRK and Gustav and such and actually came across my own journal entry about Gustav, but there has not been much about the station lately which is a shame. The closest I’ve found is a podcast from Northwest Noise from 15 May 2005 and has turned out to have Gustav’s look back at the station. It’s GREAT. If you’re into KNRK’s music, you should listen to this podcast.


For the Pilots

Posted in Media, People at 11 am

A little Roy-Orbison-mellow, with a Nick-Cave-twist for the U of Portland women’s soccer team as they play in for the National Title against UCLA:

Just running scared, each place we go
So afraid, that Christine might show

Yeah, running scared, what would we do
If she came back and ran toward you?

Just running scared, feeling cold
Running scared, can’t stop that goal

Just running scared, afraid to lose
If she came back, which foot would she choose?

And then all at once, she was sprinting there
So sure of herself, her head in the air

While my heart was breaking, which one would it be?
Then she turned round and scored the goal on me

Go Pilots!


Planar kiosks in USA Today

Posted in Career at 10 am

From USA Today: “Retailers lack hot item to ignite toy sales

[…] They are pulling more than price cuts out of their bag of tricks, however, to draw traffic today–the traditional start of the holiday shopping season. That includes stocking up on some nostalgic items, such as the Slinky, which is turning 60 this year–along with the leading edge of the baby boom.

It also includes attempts to stand out from rivals with exclusives. At New York’s FAO Schwarz, a Hot Wheels Custom Car Factory kiosk will give kids, or gift givers, the opportunity to add special colors, designs and wheels using a touch-screen monitor by Planar Systems.

Creative marketing is critical for the holiday season that provides the toy industry about 50% of revenue. […]

It’s a little out of context, but it’s great to see Planar mentioned in the USA Today. These kiosks from Planar have been a big new project, and it’s nice to see that we got some traction from the press release that went out about them.

In fact I’ve been finding a few interesting Planar references including this one on our 3-D displays.


Service shop recomendations – PriusChat – Toyota Prius Forums

Posted in General, Transport at 1 am

I just posted this to PriusChat:

[We] just purchased a Super White 2001 Prius with 107,000 miles on it… I’m now looking for a good shop that I can rely on to take care of my new Hybrid baby. Any thoughts or recommendations?

Amy’s 1984 Honda Accord gave up the ghost after 350,000 miles. After a bit of messing around we’ve settled in with this new technomarvel.

More to come about it later.


Heroes of their Degeneration

Posted in General at 7 pm

From Heroes of their degeneration in the London Times:

“…but we’re still a bunch of nerds. We’re the guys who got beat up in Basildon. But, you know, revenge has been sweet.”

So Depeche Mode’s new album, Playing The Angel is out. It’s been a long time since I’ve been excited about music, but on the flip side, it’s been a long time since I’ve really had the chance to listen to music.

With my new 90 minute communte via public transit, I’ve had more of a chance to listen to music, but I have yet to switch to listening to music intentionally. Since I had previously only mlisten to my iPod (in a consistnet fashion) while going back and forth from Hot Pepper (a ridiculously short distance) I only ever had the ‘pod on Shuffle. Now with upwards of 90 minutes at my displosal, the idea of listening to a whole album becomes a possibility.

to that end I’ve spent a time or two with PtA and I’ve been surprised, delighted and disappointed. Suprised: Depeche Mode using… synths? Yes, i know Mode has often been called a synthpop band, but they’ve barely used synthesisers since their original two studio albums. Virtually everything since then has been from the use of samplers witch have a sound far removed from the the oscillating whines of your synth keyboards. It feels totally old school and it feels great.

Delighted? Finally we’ve got some good songs that push your ears, getting underneath your mind and move your forward sometimes like a bulldozer, sometimes like a Tu-114. With Exciter, all we had was Dead of Night. On Ultra, only the remixes of It’s No Good had the kind of beat that brings a listener along for the ride and sets them up to listen and appreciate the slower songs.

The disappointment comes from the lyrics. Some of it is great, but when it’s bad… it stinks. So some stuff (like Macro) is wonderful and unique. But other pieces are just uncooked. Put out without the benefit of critical revision, time to develop, time to evoolve intot a wonderful lyric.

That said, it may get better and better. It’s already surpased the last two albums, let’s see how far it can rise.