On the Move
In about two weeks, I'm moving to Seattle. This seems like as good a way as any to broadcast that news.
Reach Out & Touch Yourself
So obvious, it's brilliant. How do you solve the problem of presence in the context of phonesex (more specifically, the lack of physical presence of your partner)? Obviously, by "harnessing the vibrations produced by your phone and concentrating them directly on the area they are appreciated most...." Not only that, "it's great for solo fun too! Just set your alarm to ring every minute!"
(Hat tip to Stefano Mirti.)
Can't resist. Just caught this on the front page of CNN.com. And I'm wondering how to interpret Bush's halo.... Ironic or no? Hmmm.
Life Goes On
It's hard to imagine exactly how, but life goes on. And art goes on. And there are great people doing great, creative, inspirational stuff all around us. So heads up if you'll be anywhere near Portland, Maine between now and December 12: Marguerite Kahrl has a show up at the Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art. If you're interested in environmental sustainability, resource consumption and the toxic byproducts of human civilization, her work is always full of inspired and inspirational ideas. I love her drawings and sculpture, but most of all I love her junkyard vehicles.
Details posted after the fold.
Design For Democracy
Today -- on election day -- it's going to be especially difficult to stick to my policy of not blogging about politics. There are plenty of political blogs out there already. Plus, I don't want to blow my cover. I get a kick out of people's mistaking me for a Republican because I (essentially always) wear khakis and a button-down. But I just got back from the polls, and I do want to talk about that experience.
I've been voting for twenty years now, and I think I'm finally getting the hang of it. It's not something you do very often, and you sort of have to relearn the process every time you do. I generally fumble my way through it, trying hard to act like I know exactly what I'm doing and who those people are standing behind the lunch table with big pads of official-looking forms that they move from one ledger to another and ask me to sign and mark with their initials and tuck away in protective sleeves before they hand one of the forms to me and send me out into the open basement of the local elementary school to find an open voting booth and the really confusing part begins....
Neighbors, Porches & Pumpkins
Yesterday was Halloween...and another occasion to greet the neighbors and admire the energy they've put into decorating their homes and their children. The thing about Halloween in the US is that -- unlike Thanksgiving or Christmas -- it's a holiday that's less about celebrating family than it is about celebrating neighborhood. So -- as far as I'm concerned -- it's a great opportunity to take note of neighborly interactions and the semiotics of material culture. Halloween is one of the few occasions on which neighbors welcome one another into their yards, up on their porches, to their front doors. Anyone who is willing to put on a wig and some makeup and make the rounds of the neighborhood can drop in on any neighbor indicating his willingness to receive visitors with a jack-o-lantern on the porch.
I haven't blogged at all in October. That's pathetic. My excuse is that I've been preoccupied with my search for a new job: travelling, interviewing, and so on. Just to get something up here before October ends, I'm gonna post this photo of Anish Kapoor's very cool, newish sculpture in Chicago's Millennium Park. The sculpture is apparently titled Cloud Gate, but I've only ever heard people refer to it as "the bean." It does incredible things to distort visitors' sense of space and makes for one of the popular photo ops in the city. I've got more to say about the park and about Chicago.... I'll try to get to that before I move away from here.
Kitchen as Gender-re-assigned Space?
Maybe I should just make this a blog ABOUT Mark Morford's columns. His most recent is about his salad spinner and his observation (which is definitely borne out by my experience) that most of the folks he knows who like to cook are men. And most of his women friends don't cook. Anyway, that got me wondering...if the fact that more men seem to be into cooking these days might have something to do with the very clear trend in the construction of domestic and commercial kitchens to conceive of those as social, performance spaces. The kitchen is no longer cut off from the dining room or hidden from view. Food preparation is no longer (women's) work to be taken care of backstage. The process is performance; and the performers are masters at work, connoisseurs, gastronomes (which makes them sound fat), epicures (which makes them sound effete), foodies.... And at least as often as not, they are men. He's not "the cook," call him "Chef." (BTW, I'm addicted to the food network.) And, is it just me, or does Martha Stewart always look incredibly uncomfortable in the kitchen? Like, just before the camera started rolling, somebody (a guy, no doubt) showed her exactly where to stand and how to turn on the food processor and how big a spoon to use to scoop the cookie dough. Not like Emeril. There's a man who's in command of his kitchen and who's not afraid to get dirty in it. Shine a spotlight anywhere (even in the kitchen) and men will grab it.
Another Thing For Free
STUBBY PENCILS. You find these in post offices, libraries...anyplace you have to fill out a form (except in the Department of Motor Vehicles where you're shit outta luck if you didn't bring your own pen). Pencils with erasers on them are an entirely different story. No one's giving those away. Somehow this pencil ended up under the front seat of my car.
So I'm back from fishing, and I've just upgraded my email program. Eudora rocks! And its full functionality is free if you can tolerate a small and only mildly annoying advertisement window on your desktop whenever you read or send email. I've always appreciated the built-in spellcheck, but now Eudora tells me when she (I don't know why, but I've always imagined Eudora is a she)...when she thinks I may be talking a bit too dirty. Well, one thing is clear: if she thinks one little four-letter word is highly likely to be found offensive, Eudora has obviously never met Nalini.