November 2010 Archives

Oh, let's just watch "Doodling in Math Class" again...

Others have linked to these videos by Vi Hart, but I particularly wanted to single this one out - with knots, topology, drawing, and many wonderfully awful puns. (Topics that began to interest me in late elementary school and still have a fascination for me.) The next long meeting I get to attend will be brightened by the chance to draw knots and tangles. The rest of her site has lots to explore: don't miss the self-referential index page.
I like to go away, and I like to come back home again.  I always see home a little differently after I've been someplace else for a while.



Moss on granite reminds me of a relief map or a satellite photo.
Still with very limited internet access at this end of the house.  I'll try to straighten it out tomorrow.
Not much internet signal at this end of the house, and my cell network connection is intermittent.  But I can see the ocean... 
Have the feeling of being in two places at once - as if living in geographic stereo - after getting up at 3:30 a.m. to catch the first of two planes taking us to Massachusetts to visit family.  It's not jet lag, as I'm still in the same time zone, but the sun sets earlier...and I feel the lack of sleep and abrupt change of context.

Copenhagen - Lucy Foley's music.

This photo of a face in aluminum foil by Dominic Wilcox seemed beautiful to me this morning, like a figurehead. Later I began to wonder about conductivity, and imagined the sculpture becoming part of a circuit.
The RSVP stationery shop in Berlin, as described in a Telegraph article:

The atmosphere in the pine-floored showroom is still and studious, like a place devoted to patience and craft. Displayed on the shelves are jotters, cahiers, journals, diaries and notebooks from all around the world - the rare Mead composition pads, yellow Cambridge block legal jotters, anonymous classroom books by the Korean brand O Check, and bijoux Caderno notebooks by Serrote, a press who reissue classic Portuguese school pads in limited-edition runs.

There are the distinctive black and orange Bloc No13 pads by the French brand Rhodia, and rows of Italian Moleskines in every format, size and colour, from black A5 journals with elastic fasteners to city-break guidebooks and tiny pocket-sized notebooks in pretty pinks, greens and blues (popular with girls, apparently).

Then, there are shelves of elementary writing instruments offered not for the status they impart, but simply for being items that are really good at what they do: attractive little boxes of coloured Kaweco ink cartouches, chunky brass M&R pencil sharpeners and colourful Caran d'Ache 849 ballpoints.

(via Notebookism)
"zd k;ldg [q[  adstpoj ajfkl;dsfq ks," in other words...
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I've never seen John Cage's 4'33" performed - here's a video of the BBC Orchestra performing it. 

I'm trying for patience while troubleshooting - carefully exploring each blind alley. All of a sudden, something will work, the problem will be identified and newly obvious. (But I'm not there yet.)

I love the idea of a book you can walk into - and then to find it full of kinetic origami flowers? Oh my.  via Fashioning Technology
An evening of good food and even better conversation.  And it's only Tuesday.  Full of ideas to turn over as I move through the rest of the week.
I grew up in a household where a common saying was "Any problem can be solved with the materials on hand in the room at the time."  So I was delighted to learn of this bracelet-fastening hack today: use a partly-opened paper clip to hold the loop in place with one hand, while you fasten the catch with the other hand.braceletcliphack.png

Via Lifehacker.
I don't ordinarily like scented candles - too perfume-y - too sweet - too fake.  Then I was given a candle for my birthday this past summer.  When lit, the smell is of beeswax, tea, and mild spices in the distance - as if you are approaching a market or bazaar, but not yet in the middle of things. I like both the candle itself, and the way my mind had to change when I found myself liking it.
More projects in progress than could possibly be done in a month of weekends. I could get up early tomorrow...  but the other delight of the weekend is to sleep late. 
My grandfather built a clock from a kit and gave it to us as a wedding present. In our living room at night, the ticking reflects off walls and surfaces. so that the sounds seem to come from all around the room. .
I love things about themselves. Here's a stop motion animation about the history of stop motion animation.

I love stop motion from chloe fleury on Vimeo, via BoingBoing now I need to buy more bread flour.  (When it's homemade, a loaf of bread doesn't last a day in our house.)
I forget how easy it is to make bread, and then rediscover it. Generally around this time of year.


(The Firecracker bag on the back of the counter contains hot peppers - grown by a friend, to be made into hot sauce by our middle child.)


Nina Simon uses the 4th anniversary of her blog to tell a story: "How I Got Here," and shares some advice:

I don't pretend that anyone else can or should follow my path into the field; everyone approaches learning and careers differently. But here are a few things I think worked for me and might work for you:
  • Be aggressive and clear about your intentions. Tell prospective employers or supervisors what exactly you want to do, what you expect to accomplish, and what you want to receive. Bosses are like boyfriends; they're not mind readers. You have to tell them what you want. Lay out your goals so they understand where you're heading and hopefully can help you get there.
  • Articulate what you can do for your organization, not what you can do generally. Many people focus job application cover letters and interview content on what they've done so far. That's fine, but for a prospective employer, it's much more powerful if you can explain specifically how your skills will improve their organization. It's not overreaching to tell an interviewer your ideas for programs or exhibit fixes or even to mock up an example. It's a good way to demonstrate thoughtful intent, and at the same time, to see if your ideas are welcome.
  • Take opportunities to do things you love, even if it means more work. If I had spent all my time at the Spy Museum on the admin part of my job, Anna would have seen me as a great administrative assistant. Instead, I got all the admin work done quickly and well and spent extra time differentiating myself as a creative producer. That made her see me as a creative asset beyond my initial job description.
  • Seek out mentors. I'd rather work for someone brilliant somewhere lousy than vice versa. Even at conferences, I tend to pick sessions 75% based on people, 25% based on content. This may be a personal defect, but I learn more from people who inspire me.
  • Find a starting point for conversation. At those conferences five years ago, I literally didn't even know what I might say to someone like Kathleen McLean. It took blogging and developing a specific interest for me to gain the confidence and voice to know what I wanted to ask. (I'm fundamentally terrible in cocktail party/conference situations, so if you're more naturally shmoozey, you probably don't share this problem of finding something to say.)
  • Share your ideas. I used to say that the Museum 2.0 blog's popularity was a case of "right place, right time." I expected the museum blogosphere to explode in 2007 or 2008. But here we are in 2010 and I can count on my hands the number of frequently-updated blogs by people sharing ideas and experiences in the museum field. There is lots of room for new voices online. If writing isn't the way you like to share your ideas, there's room for video series and podcasts and drawings and photo sets too.
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The weather is supposed to be beautiful this week, but I'm posting this poem anyway, as I often look for it at this time of year.

No sun - no moon!

No morn - no noon -

No dawn - no dusk - no proper time of day.

No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,

No comfortable feel in any member -

No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,

No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! -


-Thomas Hood, 1844

A question came up in  conversation after dinner: Are you taller or shorter on the internet than you are in real life?  (At 5' 4", I think I'm shorter in real life.)
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Eraser pig meets post-it notes.  (Discovery/invention of smallstreams.)
Clipped from CraftZine. The project is far more sophisticated than the colored-letters-credits I've had kids do for animations at day camp - but it works on the same principle.  I begin thinking about other ways to create animation with a large group of people. Maybe something like the 10000 sheep drawing project using Amazon's Mechanical Turk?


Faythe Levine's documentary,Handmade Nation, is playing in Pittsburgh this weekend.  I Heart PGH has a post with more info.
A day full of snatches of overheard conversation - glimpses into other lives.  Turnout at our district was high, so we were steadily busy.  No long pauses for drawing or reading - the voters kept on coming.
I'm interrupting the ordinary eclectic mix of entries to remind people in the US to vote on November 2, if they haven't voted already.  Thanks!

(I'm an election official for my precinct, which means I help set up the voting machines, and print the paper tabulation at the end of the long day.)



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