Book Report: Giant Robot #36

I am always glad to see an article by Claudine Ko. But I am not sufficiently secure in my whatever to start reading Jane Magazine, where she spends most of her efforts. So instead I read her interview with Brandon Lee, porn star. This interview appeared in Giant Robot. Maybe it's too racy for Jane? I don't know. Am I sufficiently secure in my whatever to read an interview with a gay porn star? I guess so. It was an okay interview.

My favorite article was about Xavier Cha, who came up with a new grafitti method: topiary tagging. She cut her name into people's hedges. She talks about getting caught.

...[the police officer] walked me up to the house and said, "I found this woman cutting up your hedges." The woman didn't seem to know which hedges he was talking about. She was entertaining guests and seemed annoyed by the cop disrupting her afternoon soirée. She didn't even bother going out to look, and said it was all right. She probably regretted her decision because a couple of days later, it was cut down. A lot of them get cut down right away.

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Book Report: What's the Matter With Kansas?

Thomas Frank, a member of the liberal intellectual elite wrote this book for other members of the liberal intellectual elite to tell them that the formerly-liberal working class is tired of liberal intellectual elites ignoring the voice of the working class.

Ideally, people who read this book would then go out and listen to some fundamentalist preaching, and thus better gain understanding of the other messages which the working class is picking up. I haven't heard about that happening. Even though this book sold pretty well.

Great, now I've written a rambling post about politics and the media. Just what the blogosphere needs. I should go read something else.

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Arms and the Man, Canoe

Following up on my recent trip to New Zealand, I read Two Voyages to the South Seas, a summary/translation of the memoirs of Captain Jules S.-C. Dumont D'Urville. This guy was a French ship's captain and navigator. He did some impressive exploring around New Zealand, Australia, and Antarctica. In these memoirs were the things you'd expect: encounters with natives; encounters with colonial powers; disease; discovery of new lands; paddling of small boats.

But I didn't expect one thing I found in the introduction (written by Helen Rosenmann): art history. This story takes place before d'Urville was a captain.

Twelve days out of Touloun the ship was anchored off the island of Melos. Ashore, d'Urville and [fellow officer] Matterer met a Greek peasant, who a few days earlier while ploughing had uncovered blocks of marble and a statue in two pieces, which he offered cheaply to the two young men. It was of a naked woman with an apple in her raised left hand, the right hand holding a draped sash falling from hips to feet, both hands damaged and separated from the body. Even with a broken nose, the face was beautiful. D'Urville the classicist recognized the Venus of the Judgement of Paris. It was, of course, the Venus de Milo. He was eager to acquire it, but his practical captain, apparently uninterested in antiquities, said there was nowhere to store it on the ship, so the transaction lapsed. The tenacious d'Urville on arrival at Constantinople showed the sketches he had made to the French ambassador, the Marquis de Riviére, who sent his secretary in a French Navy vessel to buy it for France. Before he could take delivery, French sailors had to fight Greek brigands for possession. In the mêlée the statue was roughly dragged across rocks to the ship, breaking off both arms, and the sailors refused to go back to search for them.

Plundering is best left to the nimble.

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Happy National Library Week

Today there was art in the central stairway/atrium area of Doe Library: dozens of books suspended in air by wires. Meanwhile, there's a book I want which is currently unavailable because it's in the hands of the "cataloging" department. I tried reading the titles of the suspended books to see if my desideratum was amongst them, but I couldn't tell.

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Book Report: Two Voyages to the South Seas

As a French explorer, the great ship's captain and navigator Dumont d'Urville helped advance English colonization. D'Urville explored some uninhabited spot on Australia's Eastern coast. This told the English that they'd better hurry up and put a colony there before France did. D'Urville explored New Zealand's North Island. This told the English that they'd better hurry up and put a colony there before France did.

If only the French colonists had been half as competent as d'Urville, the Pacific would have sounded very different today.

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Found: Postcard

At the back of this copy of Jane Eyre that I checked out of the UC Library, there was a postcard. Names changed to protect the whatever.

Dear Ver,

It sux to write a postcard instead of the nice long email I've been meaning to write. But it sux more to fall out of touch 4Ever. [The 4E was rendered as a ligature.] Plus it's cool to get mail, no? Brief update on me: (1) JOB: NYCLU (ACLU of New York) Development Associate. (2) BOYFRIEND: Single, Tho I was dating Joel Steadman (from Amhurst) for a brief spell (he sux to date, too thinky + self-centered. Rilly liked him, tho. Damn shamed. No Good prospects. (3) Art: Making little books + MASKS. Also some printing. Hope you're well + looking foward to School starting. <3 Sophie. P.S. Give my love to all the folks I met while I was there! They're great!

Though she had been making little books, she sent a mass-produced postcard. Maybe she should have been making postcards.

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At the front of this library book, it says

In compliance with current copyright law, U.C. Library Bindery produced this replacement volume on paper that meets the ANSI Standard Z39.48.1984 to replace the irreparably deteriorated original.


The book is Jane Eyre. (Yes, I am just now getting around to reading Jane Eyre. I enjoyed it.) As of 1994, it was already more than 100 years old. I do not think it was protected by copyright law. So why mention that this copy was made in compliance with copyright law? Maybe that's just standard boilerplate that the Library puts at the front of all of its re-print jobs.

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Follow Up: Ready Made #16

You may recall that I reported not getting much from Ready Made #16, the magazine of creative re-use and recycling. It was well-written and amusing, but I could not apply it to my already-have-enough-planters lifestyle.

I must follow up. This magazine is more useful than I thought.

A few weeks back I went for a walk on a hill. This is the big hill next to Shoreline Ampitheater. (I work in a business park close to the Shoreline Ampitheater.) I'd climbed this hill once before. When I'd climbed this hill before, I noticed that its grassy sides were punctuated with utility-ish cement covers. I interpreted this to mean that the hill was wired with cable. Now that I climbed it again, during daylight I saw that these were not electrical-box covers. These were vent covers. This hill was landfill and it was still venting. This was a dirty hill.

So it is not so surprising that I picked up some fleas during my recent walk. I don't believe I've had fleas wandering around on my person since then. But I do believe that some fleas came home with me and took up residence in and around my bed.

At least I hope they're fleas, seeing as how I just sprinkled flea powder around my bed in an attempt to exteriminate them.

The directions on the cannister of flea powder were pretty straightforward: sprinkle powder on the area to exverminate. Use your broom to spread the powder around.

I have no broom. It's true. I have no broom and my apartment is apparently aswarm with parasitic insects. Does this mean I live in a level of filth worse than my mother's worst nightmare? Maybe. Anyhow, I have no broom, yet I must sweep. What to do?

By now, you've guessed the answer: I grabbed the magazine Ready Made #16 out of the recycling bag, and used it to sweep the flea powder around. It worked like a charm. Dare I hope that the flea powder is similarly effective?

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Hungarian Notation Not Brain Dead

(If you are not a computer programmer, this item will not make sense.)

For years I made fun of Hungarian Notation and Charles Simonyi. Now, thanks to Joel Spolsky, I find out that Hungarian Notation started out as something useful.

We try to use something called Apps Hungarian notation, as invented by Simonyi, not the grotesque bastard Systems Hungarian notation, misinterpreted by Petzold and the entire Windows team.

--Joel Spolsky, The Road to FogBugz 4.0, Part III

Now I'm tempted to start making fun of this Petzold guy. But of course it would only be a matter of time until I found out that he was OK, too. So never mind.

[Update May 12 2005: Joel wrote about the right way to use Hungarian notation.]

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