Small Streams

World’s Deepest Rubbish Bin
October 30, 2009, 7:31 am
Filed under: awareness, ecology, education, eutechnics, mind, research, technology | Tags: , ,

Volkswagen started as the people’s car company. During the ’60s they embodied an ethos of do-it-yourself auto-maintenance and tongue-in- cheek subversiveness. A generation later I believe they’re at it again. Their fun theory initiative is part Candid Camera, part Big. Yes, it’s about branding, but it’s about the joy of using things and making things and not accepting the status quo.

Here’s a fun way to throw away the trash.

Cardboard Animation
October 18, 2009, 10:32 am
Filed under: awareness, media, railbelt, Uncategorized, video | Tags: ,

via BoingBoing: This example of cardboard animation is awesome. You have a marginal narrative. Small enough not to get in the way. What you get are city scapes. Google take note: Cartoons against background increases capacity to navigate. Put another way, if you empathize with (or in this case, feel disgust for) something you can place yourself somewhere.

That’s what the Aspen Project/Google Earth approach lacks. It’s third person versus second person. The only book I remember reading in second person was Bright Lights, Big City, which had something about a ferret in The New Yorker, and the phrases “Peruvian marching powder” and “all messed up and no place to go”. Perhaps it said something about society. I digress. The important thing is to watch the video. Then maybe go out and make one yourself.

Don’t underestimate the power of paper in film. Bob Dylan used it to great effect in Subterranean Homesick Blues, an iconic video that was made before videos were made.

As I Please
September 27, 2009, 10:17 am
Filed under: awareness, drawing, politics, thinking | Tags: ,

Have been thinking about political stuff (g20), but I offer this instead.

Secret Places
July 24, 2009, 4:30 am
Filed under: awareness, cities, photography, Pittsburgh, Tourism, walking

This book about Boston’s secret places had me thinking about the secret places in my own neighborhood and city.

There’s this tunnel in Highland Park that I’ve always wanted to share with people. Of course once a secret is shared or published it doesn’t become a secret anymore. The secret becomes familiar, even banal.

Then again, there are some things that are so encased in shadow and rumor that no amount of light and perspective will change our opinion of them as secret.

But if you want success in life or photojournalism, go with the obvious.

Movin’ Kinda Slow
July 22, 2009, 9:26 am
Filed under: awareness, thinking, walking

Yesterday’s Boston Globe had a decently-sized article on slow movements. The article mentions a slow math movement and a slow physics movement. I think he was just figuratively piling it on. I do, however, think that there should be a course of study for those of us who are slower at math and physics. How about spending a year on Newton’s Laws of Motion or your thirties on trigonometry.

July 11, 2009, 4:46 pm
Filed under: awareness, technology | Tags:

Am rather weathered from celebrating our 98th. Liz has known me for almost half her life and I have known her for more than half of mine. Better stop. This is sounding like an algebra problem.

One of last night’s guests said she has observed me driving and has given me the nickname Putterer because of my slow pace and the absent look on my face.

Like most of the nicknames I have been tagged with over the years, I am not overly fond of it. For one, one of my childhood pets was named Putter. My mother, when she wanted the attention of one of us, had a habit of running through the family names, including the dog, until she got to the right child, sometimes overshooting the mark, so to speak: Sharron-Randy-Jeannie-Johnnie-Susie-Mark-Putter-Mark.

The other reason I wouldn’t like being called Putterer is because it’s true, but
only partially true. I sometimes drive slower than normal not through habit but by choice; my absent look is sometimes due to being absorbed by the scene, the scene being more than what is beyond the windshield.

As unamerican as it may seem I’m tempted to go beneath the speed limit–at least when nobody’s behind me. As I travel at what I call flivver speed, I can inhabit a certain consciousness that some experienced in the early part of the last century. The first trip in an automobile, one capable of moving at 25 miles per hour, would be mind bending for an adult. You get the feeling of going faster than your feet could take you, faster than nature provided for.

At 20-25 miles per hour, your pulse can quicken. Your lifebeat increases. Culturally we adopted musical forms, jazz and ragtime, that provided the accompaniment for our movements.

Past the age of the flivver, to the time of the Model A, what music complements the speed: Benny Goodman, Chuck Berry, Flatt & Scruggs, Booker T. & the MGs? The tempo of a speeding auto I believe corresponds to none of them. The quantitative change bears a qualitative change, one that leaves the concept of music in its tracks. We may play music as we travel. But it is vestigial and alien? Crack a window and you’ll hear the music, the tires on the asphalt the wind rushing into the car. It’s a crazy sound we still haven’t caught up with.

And don’t even mention jet travel.

Law of Diminishing Returns
December 7, 2008, 1:13 pm
Filed under: awareness, eutechnics, research, technology, video | Tags: , , ,

A wonderful web page wherein Johnny Lee addresses suggestions for his $14 steadycam. Although JL seems slightly defensive, in point after point he shows how you could put lots of time, money, and effort into building a better steadycam, but if you want to make a cheap steadycam that’s sufficient to meet the needs, follow his plans.

Two Paths
October 18, 2007, 10:56 am
Filed under: awareness, technology | Tags: , , , ,

asphalt pathPeople’s Path
I walked through Schenley Park’s Flagstaff Hill on the way to work today, and I saw two paths. One path was a nine-foot wide swath of asphalt, and the other path was a thin trail of bare earth. The first represents what people want other people to do, and the second represents what people do. This reminded me of Liz‘s talk at the Technology in the Arts conference “RSS and You: Teaching th Web to Surf Itself,” where she mentioned tags and folksonomies. Liz used the second path as a metaphor for the way folksonomies represent the paths that we make for ourselves.

Just Looking
September 1, 2007, 10:48 am
Filed under: awareness

Just a few notes on looking at things . . .

a drawing of water by Leonardo

I’m reading a book by Julia Diggins called String, Straight Edge, and Shadow. It’s made for the elementary student of geometry, and it occasionally has gems such as this one:

The sun is a master artist. It sketches a moving picture of you as you walk on a sunny day. It sketches the form of a tree and its leafy pattern in dark blues and purples on a bright green lawn.