The Guts of a New Machine NOV 30
The Guts of a New Machine. NY Times article on the iPod
DFW is a favorite of mine, but I was disappointed in Everything and More. Perhaps I wasn't part of the intended audience, but with an interest in all things Wallace, a college degree in physics, a general interest in mathematics, and avid reader of popular science books, if not me, then for whom was this book written?
Mostly I was bothered by Wallace's signature writing style, which usually challenges the reader in delightful ways. In E&M, he ratcheted his style up to such a degree that it became as obfuscating as the math he was trying to explain. Not that he should have used only words of four letters or less, but a greater degree of clarity and simplicity would have been appreciated to let the parodoxical beauty and the beautiful paradox of transfinite math show (which Jim Holt did more successfully than Wallace in his New Yorker review of the book).
Among the featured designs at the National Design Triennial was the Demeter Fragrance Library. The company, run by Christophers Brosius and Gable, puts out perfumes, lotions, soaps, candles, and body gels with scents like Creme Brulee, Wet Garden, Funeral Home, Dirt, and Sugar Cookie. According to this article in Happi, the New Zealand fragrance was developed for the Lord of the Rings movie and Demeter's odd scents might have other uses:
Tomato, for example, was found to be an odor absorber. Some of the edible fragrances are said to help curb cravings. And though the company has yet to perform psychological tests, researchers said the Dirt fragrance made Alzheimer patients more lucid.
Perhaps I should tag along with Meg the next time she goes to Sephora. (Never thought I'd find myself saying that...)
Elf would have absolutely sucked without Will Ferrell. Which is to say that it was a bad movie except that Will Ferrell is so delightful and funny as a 6'4" man acting like a wide-eyed child/elf that you can't help but laugh a lot. I've fully embraced the idea of Ferrell as comedic genius, convinced that he can -- if he's careful not to do anymore movies directed by Jon Favreau -- avoid the fates of Adam Sandler (who only ever plays one character: the angry YELLING adolescent who grows up at the end of the film without losing any of his charming child-like qualities), Eddie Murphy, Chevy Chase, and many other former SNL cast members and mature into doing movies more on par with Bill Murray. Ferrell seems to me to have the potential to be more than just a comedian starring in his own vehicles (which Elf clearly was).
However, I fear that a more likely possibility will find America in theatres in winter 2005 watching Ferrell in Elf 2: They Drove a Dumptruck Full of Money Up to My House...
From an article by Paul Graham on Beating the Averages comes this gem:
If you do everything the way the average startup does it, you should expect average performance. The problem here is, average performance means that you'll go out of business. The survival rate for startups is way less than fifty percent. So if you're running a startup, you had better be doing something odd. If not, you're in trouble.
I've worked for many clients and companies who did nothing so well as obsess over what their competitors were doing and how best to do exactly the same. At the same time, there was always a belief that these same competitors were stupid, lazy, slow, wrongheaded, and whatever else they could think to make themselves feel superior in comparision. This contradictory behavior has always been explained to me as careful analysis of the competition with an eye toward borrowing the best and discarding the rest. But it seems to me to be a strategy based on fear and won't get you very far, relatively speaking. (via eb)
From his comfy chair in Minnesota, Lileks calls the Iraqis a bunch of wusses for not overthrowing Saddam themselves. Not that Salam's "thanks for the freedom, now clean up the mess" sentiments were any better
If only Peter Jackson could have found a way to make the LOTR book trilogy into four 2h45m movies instead of three. I just finished watching the Two Towers extended version and, as with the first movie, the extra 43 minutes of footage adds significantly to the plot and pacing of the film. This is how the film should have been shown in the theatre, but at 3h45m long, many wouldn't sit through it or even buy the tickets in the first place. Perhaps a way could have been found to split the entire tale into four parts so that the valuable extended footage could have been shown. The only problem is with three books and four movies...what do you call the fourth movie?
Kooky story about total strangers sharing music by jacking into each other's iPods. I wonder if the RIAA thinks this is illegal?
As competitive and crazy as he makes the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) sound, I was surprised that, even though he didn't attend a full slate of classes or do an externship like all of his classmates, Ruhlman was not only able to keep up with everyone, but seemed to excel at times. And somehow, he was able to take notes about what he was doing and conversations he had with instructors and classmates.
Breaking up in the digital age. "we both stared at the one Xbox that jealously guarded both our saved games"
Martina Navratilova still playing tennis?. Yes, and kicking ass, apparently.
Hotdish is a delicacy enjoyed by the inhabitants of the upper midwestern United States. For those of you who haven't spent a lot of time in the flyover states, hotdish is a dish typically baked in one pan and contains a meat, a starch, and a vegetable with optional cheese or onion crisps. It's what the rest of the US would call a casserole. Hotdish is the food of my people.
The Cadillac of hotdishes is tater tot hotdish, and here's how you go about making it.
Step 1: Panic.
You may want to skip this step. I did, and it worked out fine.
Step 2: Learn how to peel an onion.
I did not know this going in. Valuable minutes were wasted as tears welled up in my eyes from the onion essence.
Step 3: Collect ingredients and supplies
These should include:
1.5 pounds beef, ground
1 onion, chopped
2 cans of Campbell's cream soup (mushroom, celery, chicken, pick two)
1 soup can-worth of milk
1 can french cut green beans
1 package tater tots
1 pound cheddar cheese, grated
1 9"x13" baking pan
You can find all of these items at your local grocery store and/or in your kitchen cupboard. This task is immensely easier in rural Wisconsin than in, say, Greenwich Village; they practically sell all these items together in a blister-packed kit back home while locating the french cut green beans at D'Agostino's was a bit touch and go.
Step 4: Assemble the hotdish
Chop the onions. Grate the cheese. In a largish pot, brown the ground beef and onions. Into the pot goes the soups, the milk, and the green beans. Stir and cook until warmish/hot. Cover the bottom of the 9x13 baking pan with the tater tots, pour the hamburger/soup mixture over them, and cover liberally with the grated cheese. Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. Serve.
Family Guy returning to Fox with new episodes?. Reason is strong DVD sales
40 greatest US bands still performing. If this list is accurate at all, the US music scene is pretty sad
The incremental redesign of kottke.org continues today with a bit of tinkering with what is possible with the weblog format. If you scroll down the front page of the site, you'll notice that sprinkled in with the regular posts are remaindered links (the 1-line, 1-link posts that have formerly lived in the sidebar), movie "reviews", book "reviews", and excerpts from comments I've made on other sites. Five types of content, one list.
Each post type requires a unique "vocabulary" and a design/layout to go with that vocabulary. For instance, a movie post includes a title, a link, a rating, a photo, and some text and looks like this:
By default, most current weblog software, including the package I use, doesn't allow for different data for different post types displayed with different designs in the same list. Typically what people have done with their disparate data is to display them on separate pages or in separate locations on their site...so you need to visit the book page to see if there are any new book reviews or scroll down to check if they've added a new album to their "now playing" section.
To me, that seems not so optimal. A post is a post is a post. The newest content should appear at the top of the list of posts regardless of whether it's a short movie review, one-line link, latest photo, or any other type of update to your site that doesn't fit the typical title/text/category weblog paradigm and each type of content should displayed appropriately. And then if you want to view the complete list of movies, books, or all the remaindered links, you can.
So that's what I've done here. Sort of. What I've actually done is created 5 separate weblogs with MT and, using a bunch of MT plugins (MTSQL, Compare, MTAmazon, ExtraFields, etc.), have aggregated the 5 weblogs on the front page of the site. Which sounds complicated (and is!). But only in implementation (due to the limitations of the software). Really it's just the appropriate data presented with the appropriate design(s) in the appropriate context(s). One site, lots of content, many ways to view it.
Anyway, it's a start and we'll see if it works or not. I have concerns about displaying so many different types of posts in one list (especially with the minimal amount of information)...people are used to all the posts looking more or less the same. I've dealt with that somewhat by visually separating the posts to a greater degree than I have been. But who knows, maybe having a separate display for the remaindered links in the sidebar is a better way to go. We'll see.
Constructive feedback is welcome, as are bug reports, design critiques, etc.
Update: looks like the movie pages are a little funky on Mozilla, but not consistantly so.
Joe DeSalazar is an account exec at a NYC advertising agency, but all he really wants to do is cook. Keenly interested in food but frustrated by a lack of focus on food & drink at wine tastings and the expense of tasting menus at fine restaurants, Joe created a bimonthly event called foodie. foodie is Joe & 3-4 chefs cooking, 6 courses of food paired with 6 courses of wine, and around 50 people eating, drinking, chatting, and generally having a good time.
The latest installment of foodie was held last night near Washington Square Park. The inspiration for the meal was Joe's recent trip to Italy. The menu featured dishes with parmigiano reggiano, bologna (you know, from Bologna), balsamic vinaigrette, and basil. The most ambitious item of the night was the timpani, a dish inspired by Joe's favorite food movie, Big Night. The chef came around with the timpani before he cut it up...it was huge, about the size of library-scale Webster's Dictionary. My favorite dish was the tortellini with pork in a chicken broth.
If you'd like more information about foodie, you can email joe at foodieny [at] hotmail.com (web site coming soon, I've heard). Gothamist wrote about the previous foodie in September.
I really want to like the Harry Potter movies, but the potential just can't make up for their overall suckiness. Take Draco Malfoy. He's evil, we get it. But he's overwhelmingly, ridiculously, farcically evil, the kind of evil that bores but makes me want to smack the director, the sad Chris Columbus. But that would be ok by itself, but the acting is so bad that all of Malfoy's sneering and spitting is painful to watch.
With the cold weather officially here in NYC, there's few better ways to spend a weekend afternoon than to sample one of the city's many museums. Yesterday, Meg and I went to see the Design Triennial (catalog) at the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum. The curators did a nice job in highlighting good, solid, creative work, avoiding the temptation to include pieces that might have been highly creative but have yet to prove themselves useful in the world (this was a design *review* after all).
The Triennial runs until January 25, 2004; I recommend checking it out should you find yourself in NYC between now and then.
It's only been a few short days, but thanks to the Internet, everyone who's wanted to see the Paris Hilton sex tape has seen it, including those whose lives would be incomplete without a viewing, those who think it's already soooo 5 minutes ago but secretly whose lives would be incomplete if they hadn't seen it 45 times in the first hour they'd possessed it, and even a few uninterested folks caught up in the whirlwind.
I'd like to say I'm in the third camp (because who wants to be thought of as being interested in something...how gauche and unhip!), but I find celebrity sex tapes kind of intriguing. On one hand, they're a fulfillment of the fantasy that if TV shows like Baywatch and movies like Cruel Intentions or Showgirls are going to have celebrity actors and actresses acting all vampy and slutty, then they should just bite the bullet and go porno all the way. And on the other hand, these tapes are very celebrities-are-people-too; they look, sound, and act just as ridiculous as the rest of us when having sex.
But anyway, the one question about the tape I haven't seen answered yet is:
Is Paris Hilton a raccoon? And if so, why haven't we noticed it before now?
Paris & sex related stuff at Amazon
The Simple Life on DVD
Simple Life poster from art.com
Zoolander (Paris makes a cameo)
Cell phones ("fuck your phone")
Shop for more Paris merchandise with an Amazon credit card
Who Would You Do: The Totally Unauthorized Celebrity Sex Game
Sex by Madonna
The Big Bang: Nerve's Guide to the New Sexual Universe
Best American Erotica 2003
VW Touareg can't tow Airstream as shown in advertising. Their marketing department got ahead of itself
Annual Color Forecast for 2004 is all about serenity, harmony, and solace. The palette appears to be missing Iraqi Khaki and Smug Blog Orange, but includes a textured green color called Aloeminium (love that name).
The Ring wasn't scary, there was no suspense, and it wasn't thrilling. There was nothing. You can't just throw a bunch of weird things together with Naomi Watts and out pops a horror/thriller...or whatever this movie was supposed to be. I call it dull and boring. (zing!)
Outside the inbox, songs inspired by spam. buy a CD or download the mp3s
Map of the US showing who's donating to which party for the 2004 Election. You can also slice and dice by particular candidates
The Dick and Jane Reader for Advanced Students. "Spot knew Jane was a racist who saw the stew as a symbol of Dick's ethnicity."
I have seen the future of the web and it is the Gothamist events page. Here's how it works. Gothamist's editors use free tools and information (in the form of events already listed in the system) from upcoming.org to compile events that are happening in NYC and then publish those events to the site using Movable Type to pull in upcoming.org's RSS feeds. Gothamist's readers can add their own events to upcoming.org, which, if they wish, the editors can then add to the events page.
The Gothamist/upcoming.org relationship is an excellent example of a cooperative web service, in which information is not simply pushed from a provider to a user but flows both ways...and even flows to people not directly involved (i.e. everybody wins). Gothamist's editors don't have to build their own tools to easily offer event listings to their readers. Gothamist's readers are down with what's going on in NYC. upcoming.org's NYC events section gets "gardened" by Gothamist's editors and readers (i.e. events are added and annotated to upcoming's database). Users of upcoming.org benefit from the content added by Gothamist's editors and readers and they start using the site more often, adding more events and information to the system.
(Oh, if you want to add your own events listing to your site, check out Matt's instructions on how to make it work with Movable Type.)
List of Organizations, People, and Anthropomorphic Endangered Species That, for Funds-Soliciting Purposes, Purchased My Closely Held New Mailing Address from the ACLU, Which I Recently Joined, Ironically, to Support Privacy Rights. Boo for the ACLU!
[Warning: potential spoilers...] Well, heck. All that fooferall about the first two Matrix films and the philosophy involved and the whole Internet talking about it and how hard the Warshawski brothers worked to build this philosophical structure and they waste it all and make the last film a straight-out action flick with a love story and a bit of a twist at the end. Not that the movie is bad, it was actually pretty entertaining because they dispensed with all that stuff...but I have to wonder why they put so much emphasis on it to begin with. What did you think?
Amazon's best books of 2003. A Million Little Pieces is #1, Moneyball comes in at #4
NYC is a cupcake town. You can pry my Magnolia cupcake out of my cold, dead hands.
A few brave participants have kept the Matrix Reloaded thread going for 6 months and more than 1750 comments. And I think they're excited that Revolutions opens today
I'm tinkering with the templates on the site a little (I'm real-time templateblogging!!!!), so if things look a little noodles for awhile, that's why.
Ok, I think I'm done tinkering and everything seems like it didn't break too much. Not a whole lot new, but there was some behind the scenes stuff that will make changes to the site easier moving forward. Baby steps. More to come.
Wired now has weblogs. Which irritates me because I talked to them a year and a half ago about doing a Wired weblog and they said they *legally* could do no such thing.
Gillmor slams 60 Minutes for unbalanced look @ copyright issues in the movie biz. Report starts out: "It's no secret that online piracy has decimated the music industry..."
The NYC marathon is today. Practice is over, the carbs have been loaded, and it looks like an uncommonly nice November day is on tap for the runners: Yahoo! Weather says, "Mainly cloudy. A few peeks of sunshine possible. High 71F. Winds light and variable."
Though most of the news reports during and after the race will focus on the winners of the race, for many of the spectators, both here in NYC and watching on TV, it's all about tracking your marathoning wife, son, next-door neighbor, or coworker.
Here at kottke.org, I'm tracking my favorite weblog census taker & blogger, Maciej Ceglowski. To benchmark Maciej along his journey, I'm pitting him against runner #30972, one Sean "Puffy" "Puff Daddy" "P. Diddy" Combs, producer, lover, runner. Good luck to both runners, but we're hoping Maciej wins one for all the webloggers out there!
2:54 pm - Sad news, my friends. P. Diddy beat Maciej by about 28 minutes, 3:58:22 to 4:26:31. But really, both men are winners for finishing before I have even put on a shirt today (the pants made an appearance a couple of hours ago). Meg and I are looking forward to dinner with Maciej and his girlfriend tonight where I'm sure we'll get a full account of the exciting duel. We aren't sure whether P. Diddy will be able to make it out with us tonight, but we made a reservation for 5 just in case.
1:55 pm - The race is well and truly joined. Maciej crossed the 20 mile mark @ 3:16:34, putting him just 13 minutes off of Diddy's pace at that point. He's slated to finish 17 minutes after Diddy, but with Diddy fading so fast, it's anyone's race at this point.
1:40 pm - P. Diddy just crossed the 20 mile mark @ 3:03:17 with a projected finish of just over 4 hours. I don't know if Maciej is still on his former pace, but Diddy has fallen off dramatically.
1:36 pm - Let's check the inbox to see if there's any news about Maciej. Ok, we've got Viagra, Xanax, Russian wives, online casino, and increase your size. Nope, nothing about Maciej. And no Diddy at the 20 mile mark yet...I think he's in trouble.
1:21 pm - Diddy was just on the TV again. Security is a problem. He's being mobbed on the course and when he stops. He just shoved some kid out of the way.
1:12 pm - Diddy's in trouble...his legs are cramping up and he's been stopping to massage them.
1:09 pm - Alright, I'm getting fed up with NBC's lack of Maciej coverage and the 3 in-race updates on the web site just aren't enough. So, I'm enlisting your help. If by some chance you're reading this site, watching the race right now in person or on TV, and you happen to see Maciej (#18307, blue shirt, blue shorts, pasty-white complexion, possibly carrying Krispy Kreme donuts), let me know where and when you saw him.
12:42 pm - They're interviewing Diddy on the TV right now. Hopefully this will expend precious energy and give Maciej, who still has not been interviewed, a bit of an edge.
12:39 pm - Maciej has closed the gap on Diddy. He's at 2:06:05 at the halfway point, 9:37 minutes/mile with a projected finish at 4:12:10, only 22 minutes behind Diddy (as opposed to 34 minutes at the 10K mark). The TV is speculating that Diddy will continue to fade and finish at around the 4:15 mark. Come on, Maciej!
12:16 pm - P. Diddy is working hard at taking away from James Brown the title of The Hardest Working Man in Showbiz. Piddy's time at the halfway point is 1:55:27. He's running 8:48 minute miles with a projected finish of 3:50:54. I've got to hand it to P. Diddy...he's kicking ass.
12:04 pm - It's just after noon and I'm sitting here on the couch in my boxer shorts watching the marathon on TV and waiting for some cinnamon rolls to come out of the oven. How lazy do I feel right now?
11:32 am - If you'd like to track Diddy vs. Maciej yourself, here's the page to do it.
11:27 am - Here's what the race tracker looks like after 10K for our runners:
11:15 am - We have a fix on Maciej! He passed the 10K marker with a time of 01:00:58. He's doing 9:50 minute miles with a projected finish of 4:17:38. That puts him more than 30 minutes behind Diddy at the finish. Come on M. Ceggy, you can do it!
11:07 am - Oh no! P. Diddy has reached the 10K mark with no sign of Maciej. Diddy's time is 00:52:43 with 8:30 minute miles and a projected finish of 3:42:46.
10:55 am - TV says that Diddy is running 9 minute miles, projected to finish in 3:50. Whither Maciej?
10:46 am - The Marathon Tracker on the official site is only giving results at 10K, the halfway point, at the 20 mile mark, and at the end of the race. So unless NBC changes their unfair broadcast policy, we'll continue to receive P. Diddy updates throughout the race on TV, but will only have 3 updates on Maciej.
10:25 am - P. Diddy is through 1 mile. No TV update on Maciej yet.
10:08 am - And they're off!
10:06 am - Someone's singing the national anthem. It looks as though NBC has decided not to give equal interview airtime to Maciej. Disappointing.
10:04 am - NBC just interviewed P. Diddy on TV, minutes before the race is to start. I have high hopes for Maciej after seeing the huge diamond earring that will be weighing Diddy down during the race.
Gary Wolf discusses Wired's worst stories. Push!, Long Boom, etc.
What struck me most about this film was not how mature and immature the girls were but how, as I said on the way out of the theatre, "our country is failing us in so many ways". A description of the film from the web site:
[The film] tells two coming-of-age stories from the real America: Shanae, ten years old when she was gang-raped by five boys, responded by drinking and drugging, and then graduated to murder, with the stabbing death of a friend, at age 11. Megan, whose mother abandoned her to turn tricks to support her ravaging heroin addiction, ran away from ten different foster homes before being arrested for attacking another foster child with a box cutter. Both girls ended up in the Waxter Juvenile Facility, home to Maryland's most violent juvenile offenders. It is here that their journeys really begin.
I'm not sure how wide of a release this film is getting, but if you get a chance to see it, I'd recommend it.