Book Report: Charles Sheeler: Across Media

I am still catching up on email from the last couple of weeks. Going on business trip = distracting. Good thing I had this book report written up ahead of time. Ahem, Charles Sheeler: Across Media.

It's a coffee table art book featuring the art of Charles Sheeler. I made the mistake of trying to read some of the text. Art scholars have a tough job. If an artist becomes known for a certain style and you're supposed to come up with something original to say about each of these hundreds of similar paintings... Is it any wonder that so much writing about art is full of it-means-what-you-want-it-to-mean jargon and dwelling on clumsy verbal description of minutiae?

But if Sheeler distanced himself from the Whistlerian painterly touch of the pictorialists, he did not abandon the basic tenets of aestheticism expounded by Whistler, instead enlisting the camera in his own search for a timeless, abstract beauty.

Pages of the stuff, the work of a tortured soul who has slipped on a pair of red shoes and finds himself forced to dance about architecture until collapse.

But the art is good. It's kind of like what you find if you search the internet for [Charles Sheeler], but the book is higher resolution. I recommend it.

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Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Even the Hearts of True Loves

Dave Blum of Dr. Clue writes:

...And every year, on the anniversary of our first date, we write treasure hunt clues for each other. ...

It's a wonderful thing when two geeks--whose geekiness overlaps--find each other. If you want to read the rest of an article about anniversary puzzlehunts, then go read Traditions.

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Link: 200 ways to represent words or a message

Not exactly puzzlehunt-related...

Someone brainstormed 200 ways to represent words or a message:

41. classic do you like me, do you love me, maybe note.
42. New car sticker
43. Error message
44. Blue screen of death- BSOD
45. Shot of PC keyboard over head with actual sentence on keys

200 is pretty good. Still, there are some gaps.

EBCDIC. Carefully-oriented M&Ms. Laundry hanging on a clothesline. Trained parrot. Series of lat/long coordinates corresponding to natural features which look like letters in sattelite photos. Movie poster. Falsified movie data in MobyGames. Series of words vandalized by one user in the Wiktionary. Phonetic hieroglyphics presented in a cartouche. Deodorant smeared on a wall and set on fire. SETI online. Taxidermically preserved geckos posed in letterforms. "Hot metal" typeset letters. Flags of all nations. Clever arrangement of quack nostrums of the 19th century. Stills taken from Disney animated movies at carefully-selected times. Resistors. Leaves with holes chewed in them, ostensibly by bugs. An arrangement of pasta on a plate. A fake windmill farm--who would think to notice that each windmill turns at its own special rate? A flock of trained bats emitting sonar pings at just the right times. Yodeling. Photos of strange headgear you might recognize from paintings/movies--if you can recognize who wore them, consider their initials. A series of carefully-prepared reactions between Mentos and Diet Coke. Etching on golden plates, now lost. An alphabet of letterforms based on back-pocket stitching of designer jeans of the 70s and 80s. Simulated whalesong. What appears to be a series of pieces of string arranged in a row; further examination reveals that each piece has different elasticity. Sheet music. Player piano music. Cards for a Jaquard loom. A series of murders--different victims missing different pieces. Bird calls. A power source that emits different voltage over time, as displayed by the connected Jacob's Ladder. A banana cut into different-length cross-sections inside its skin. Syllogism. Knock-knock joke. A list of street addresses in a city, connect the dots to form a letter; a series of these, one per city, North-to-South ordering of cities tells you how to order the words. Esperanto. Carrier pigeon. A series of objects, all of which appear metallic: some are magetized, some respond to magnetism, some are not magnetic at all. An electric praying mantis; there are subtle patterns to the "arm" movements. Tap dancing rhythms. The path across a ballroom floor traced by a couple dancing the tango. A pattern of artificial thorns affixed to the stem of a thornless rose. A message written in sugar water on the sidewalk--not visible to the eye, until the ants discover it. Tuning forks. Dog license. An audio recording of falling dominos--the trained observer knows that the dominos were arranged in Morse code, and can distinguish their original placement by the quick silences between "clacks". Dewey decimal. An ordered list of baseball players, each of whom only played for one year. Circled letters on the Lincoln Memorial achieved with a laser light display salvaged from a defunct planetarium. Semiphore. A rash of explosions in skyscrapers; eventually you notice that each took place on a different story. Letterhead for fake law offices a la Dewey Cheatham and Howe. Several strands of hair, different colors; a microscope. The universe, only to be read by the enlightened. Cuneiform tablet, enclosed within an "envelope" of clay. Marching band, in formation. A sprinkling of freckles that someone smiles over. For the history trivia buffs, numbers corresponding to telephone exchange names. A quick series of tongue clicks. Movie house marquee. The calligraphy of a Zamboni driven with Total Freedom. It seems to be an automobile, but parts with certain part numbers have been removed. It appears to be snippets of audio recordings, riddles from Wei-Hwa Huang; eventually you notice the arcade game music playing in the background. Photos of famous people that have been distorted so that they look thinner or fatter; you must figure out how much they have been distorted; who knows what these people normally look like? A fake religion's holy days. A series of fables; the morals are awkwardly worded, suggesting that they conceal a message; but in truth the message is a modified binary, based on whether each fable is about a human or an animal. It appears to be a photograph of a termite mound. An edutainment video showing beavers slapping their tails on the water. A cheese plate featuring an unlikely assortment. That cable-knit sweater--the twists don't all go the same way, hmm. Stereogram. Facial tics. Photos of electrical outlets from different lands. Euphemisms for bodily fluids that share letters with the latin names for those fluids. It appears that each of these pigs has different buoyancy. This is not an exact reproduction of the pointilist Seurat painting you remember. Yellow snow. Descriptions of past meetings on different days: the day we ate pancakes, the time with the tree, etc. Concealed by propriety and decency within the confines of a diplomatic pouch. In neon letters 10 feet high. Attached as a "rider" to a federal spending bill. It seem unlikely that no two of these pencils is the same length; I suspect that these chew marks are carefully placed. A "singing chorus" of animatronic red pandas, the number of stripes on the tail of each is significant, meanwhile the designer of the enchanted tiki room senses a missed opportunity. The teenybopper sits on the streetcar, seems to be testing ringtones--but who notices that there are 26 ringtones to choose from? English.

That's not 200, but I'm up past my bedtime. Good night.

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