"So there are Oliphaunts. But no one at home will ever believe me."
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Why I don’t do Facebook:

There is one question that I hear all the time. Is Facebook going to last, or is it just a fad? My answer is always the same. If you are trying to find an excuse for not doing “social,” then Facebook is here to stay. But, if you ask “is Facebook going to last?” Then the answer is no; it’s already dying.

So I don’t know if this is true from personal observation, like I said, I don’t do Facebook, but I could have guessed at exactly the types of brain dead behaviors he describes. Been there, hated it.

(From “Facebook is Dying – Social is Not (by @baekdal) #opinion“, via Marginal Revolution.)

May 8, 2010   Comments Off

Iron Man Boo

I guess this wasn’t too hard to predict either.

“Iron Man 2″ seems to have taken some wrong cues from its predecessor, drowning any potential sophistication in a busy, unfocused clatter of cross-talk punctuated by occasional fender-bender royales. Often playing like it has been jury-rigged from bits and pieces of a longer, smarter movie, “Iron Man 2″ seems chiefly intended as a placeholder for its next dozen or so sequels. But with everyone’s eyes on extending the franchise, they’ve overlooked the possibilities right in front of them.

Regrettable, because Tony Stark is a pretty cool superhero, since his superpower is being really smart and audacious. Yet they ruined the movie for kids by throwing a completely unnecessary sex scene in there. It’s no Spiderman, which is the perfect comic book adaptation for the movies. Spiderman is a good hero too, but not everybody can be bitten by a radioactive spider. Every can, however, study engineering and make cool stuff. Unfortunately, the question of who the winner would be in an Iron Man vs. Spiderman contest cannot be answered by the Internet.

(From “Critic Review for Iron Man 2 on washingtonpost.com“)

May 6, 2010   Comments Off

Blatant Forgery

I can’t remember if it was right before, or right after, we moved from Georgia to the house on Lake St. Clair, but a few years ago I developed a strong and utterly inexplicable urge to take up a new hobby, blacksmithing. As I write about it, I’ve convinced myself that this must have been right after we moved, and the thought came to me because I saw the enormous workshop on the upper level of the land, and I envisioned using it as a temple for self-improvement and useful crafts. On the other hand, I remember looking for resources while holed up in Gig Harbor, so… hard to say when, or where, or why this fancy came to me.

I looked into it enough to research plans for setting up forges, which I read was the hardest, and obviously most important, part.

Blacksmithing 101: How to Make a Forge and Start Hammering Metal PM’s home and auto editors took a weekend out to teach themselves how to heat and hammer metal the old-fashioned way. They started by ordering an anvil and making their own blacksmith forge. The sparks flew from there.

(From “Blacksmithing 101: How to Make a Forge and Start Hammering Metal – Popularmechanics.com“.)

My plan broke on the obstacle of obtaining a proper anvil. Yes, you can buy beginner’s anvils cheap (made in China, crack easily, full of toxic chemicals like lead), but my philosophy has always been, in for a penny, in for a hundred fifty pounds or so. That translates into hundreds of dollars.

In no way can the workshop be considered to have ever been employed for any useful purpose. It was used to hold our junk. Ultimately I wound up throwing my energies into making beer and wine. Yet the fire still burns and the dream is still alive.

May 5, 2010   Comments Off

Triangle Man, Triangle Man

In case you were wondering, here is the answer to the pop quiz.

I made this presentation completely on the iPad—more as a proof of concept or trial run than by way of doing serious work. I learned several of the kinks and quirks of Keynote on the iPad this way. Of course I went over the top with animations just to see what it could really do, making it highly questionable from an aesthetic perspective. The mixture of typefaces is also rather… eclectic.

It’s just for fun.

Update: Yeah, I made an error in the presentation. Well, at least one. I found it myself though so it’s cool. Fixed now.

April 28, 2010   Comments Off

Leave, Day 3

A busy Day 3 (events from 2 April 2010).

We got up early, and @agentwool made German Apple Pancakes for breakfast. Around 10:15, we headed into Tacoma. Our first stop was Sushi Revolution. The kids love sushi, and they especially love choosing their own food from the conveyor belt system, pointing out which plate for you grab from the parade of Japanese food (mostly sushi, but there are other bite-sized offerings). The plates cost $1.00 to $3.50 or so, in .50 cent increments, with the price being color coded—cheap, you would think, but the children will eat prodigious quantities and are attracted to the most ostentatious and expensive plates. A lot of the sushi is very non-traditional and geared toward American palates (anything with Krab™, cream cheese, avocado, or smoked salmon), which doesn’t interest me, but some of the innovations involving seared (but still raw) tuna or salmon prepared nigiri style and then drizzled with a wasabi sauce are definitely winners.

Most of us selected the plate of cream puffs for dessert.

From there, we headed to the Tacoma Museum of Glass. I was worried that the kids would hate it right from the start, so we headed to the “hot shop” immediately, where we watched a group of artists collaborate to make a giant glass “tire” by repeatedly heating, spinning and blowing. The furnace was hot enough that the visible light was painful to look at. The kids were actually very interested in this process and watched it for a long time. This is the only area of the museum where pictures are allowed, save for the obligatory gift shop.

The museum is pretty small, and there were only two galleries for display. The first we went to was the Kids Design exhibit, followed by a gallery dedicated to Tlingit artist Preston Singletary. The first exhibit showed glass recreations of fanciful creatures sketched by children. The recreations were very faithful, copying every defect and juvenile asymmetry. In that, they were technically impressive, but still fun. The kids liked it. They didn’t like the exhibit of Tlingit glasswork nearly as much, although they did find a few things to ooh and ah over. I could have spent more time here but it was testing the stamina of the kids. There is some beautiful work here, although I was forced to wonder about the artist’s attitudes about other aspects of the advanced industrial technology needed to manufacture these expressions of traditional Native American art. I noticed some of the same artwork on display at SeaTac when I left the country through there a few days later.

A worthwhile visit, but here is a little secret: the best part of the museum is actually free: the bridge over the highway between the museum and the courthouse which is decorated with some of their best pieces.

Pictures were taken, but not many thanks to the restrictions on photography.

April 20, 2010   Comments Off

Coloring Books I Have Known

When I saw the headline for the post from COLOURlovers show up in my RSS feed, I thought: “Ha, I bet @agentwool would like something like this:

Color lovers know you’re never too old to color; more likely, you’re too young to stop. So, to help you keep the creativity flowing, here is a list of coloring books for adults.

It turns out, I was right. I have seen at least one of these in our house already. Can you guess which one?

(From “Print Blog / A Big List Of Coloring Books For Adults by COLOURlovers :: COLOURlovers“, via Cool Hunting.)

March 21, 2010   2 Comments

Wallpaper. Furniture. Two great tastes that… nevermind

I’m going through a backlog of posts from Cool Hunting. Here is a good one. This company refurbishes old furniture with wallpaper. First, they make wallpaper this awesome? Who knew? And secondly, I really like the style. I could see going crazy with this. My inner craftsman wants to know, how hard is this to do at home? The curmudgeon doubts that the surfaces hold up to anything more demanding than a glance.

Bryonie Porter Black

The handcrafted pieces aren’t just simple cut and paste jobs, but rather subtle and elegant pieces that dynamically engage simple furniture and enthusiastic prints. A black bureau with embossed black flowers elegantly boasts the clean lines of the piece, while a children’s bookcase displays a map of the world.

Bryonie Porter Map BookshelfBryonie Porter Yellow

(Original article via Cool Hunting.)

February 22, 2010   Comments Off