Things have been a little slow on the site today because I broke one of my contact lenses this morning while putting them in. For most people, this isn’t much of a problem, but a) I wear hard lenses, not disposables, so they are not easily replaced (2 days to a week to order more), b) the prescription on my backup glasses is at least 7 years old and the lenses are scratched all to hell anyway, and c) without contacts or glasses, I’m functionally blind, so unless I wanted to listen to podcasts all day (gah, could you imagine anything worse?), I took off as soon as I could for the optometrist.
So, my new contacts are on order, and until then I have a new pair of glasses to wear. The thing is, since I went alone and can’t see a thing without corrective lenses, I had to choose new frames without really being able to see them properly. But I have two weeks to exchange them for other frames, so I wanted to ask your collective expert opinion…what do you think of my glasses?
Rebecca Blood posted the interview she did with me for her Bloggers on Blogging series. It’s a nice change of pace to be interviewed about blogging by someone who knows as much or more than I do about it.
Quick interview with me over at leahpeah. “I was never one of those kids who had a ready answer for what they wanted to be when they grew up.”
kottke.org isn’t a “particularly confessional site”, so I’ll let the New Yorker’s Rebecca Mead fill you in on what Meg and I have been up to for the past 6 years or so. Here’s the illustration that appears with the print version of the article. Rebecca’s original article from November 2000 (mirror). Here’s a small interview I did with Rebecca in 2001 concerning her take on weblogs. Oh, and I quite liked Gawker’s piece on what you’ll be reading in the New Yorker for the next 40 years.
According to Wikipedia (which in turn references the Oxford English Dictionary on the matter), the etymology of the word honeymoon is unclear. The American Heritage Dictionary (via answers.com) suggests it’s “perhaps from a comparison of the moon, which wanes as soon as it is full, to the affections of a newly married couple, which are most tender right after marriage”, which doesn’t sound all that positive. Returning to the Wikipedia entry, honeymoon may have been used in Babylonian times to describe the bride and groom consuming honey (in the form of mead, a beverage) before the next moon.
At any rate, I’ve just returned from mine, the most relaxing vacation I’ve ever had. For two weeks, we did without electricity, running fresh water, newpapers, showers (we substituted ocean swimming + saltwater baths), television, magazines, movies, computers, internet, email, mobile phones (except for two unavoidable calls out and periodic checking of voicemail to see if the cat was ok), and music (for the most part). It was so relaxing that we didn’t even know that Daylight Saving Time was in effect until 2 full days after the fact and may not have found out until we got to the airport if Meg hadn’t shown up a full hour late to her yoga class and everyone was, somewhat confusingly, just finishing up.
I read three books: one fascinating, one great, and one good. Ate lots of great Mexican food with zero instances of microbial confrontation. Found really good pizza in an odd place.
We made up names for the people we saw repeatedly on the beach at the small place we were staying. There were the Naked Hat People, Naked Yoga Guy — you may be noticing a trend…the beach was clothing optional — and Naked Paddleball Players, who we renamed Ketchup and Mustard because of their signature matching red and yellow ball caps (they exercised their option to wear nothing besides). Civilization kept threatening to creep into our media deprivation tank, as when we saw Ketchup and Mustard at dinner near the end of our stay, surfing the web on the wireless connection we had no idea that our hotel/resort had. They checked out the New Yorker site and then caught up on the Huffington Post. Meg turned to me and said, “if he brings up kottke.org, I’m going over there and introducing you.”
“The hell you are. Are you trying to kill Vacation Jason?”
So yeah, I’m back and am eager to get back to kottke.org, even though getting my &%#$^#*%& email this morning completely killed Vacation Jason much sooner than I would have liked.
And not least, thanks to Greg Knauss, David Jacobs, and Anil Dash for keeping up with the remaindered links while I was gone. Good stuff, guys.
Through an improbable series of clerical errors, I am scheduled to participate in a “keynote conversation” about professional blogging with Heather Armstrong at SXSW in Austin, Texas next month. Armstrong, so the story goes, got fired for blogging at work and was rewarded with a loving husband, cutie-pie daughter, photogenic dog, several television appearances, hundreds of media mentions, and a new job — talking about poop all day — that supports her entire family. And so but by the way, she’s also headlining the entire SXSW Festival along with Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Neil Young. Which makes me approximately chopped liver. When I told Meg about the headlining thing, she said, “boy, that conversation had better be good”. Pressure’s on, Heather.
To sum up, a piece of chopped liver will be having a chat with a nice lady from Utah next month about blogging for groceries. Should be fun.
Some player names I observed while playing Fastr (a multiplayer game based on guessing tags for a selection of Flickr images) last night for about 15 minutes under my usual online nickname “jkottke”:
yes no one likes kottke
For some reason, this reminds me of one of my favorite scenes from Being John Malkovich where he’s just popped out of his own head and onto the side of the New Jersey Turnpike and a passenger in a passing car says, “Hey Malkovich, think fast!” and pegs him in the head with a beer can.
If you happen to be in NYC on November 3rd, stop by Eyebeam in the evening and check out a panel that I’m on about criticism called “Everybody’s A Critic, Or Are They?” Here’s a description:
With 9 million blogs, umpteen online message boards, thousands of shows on hundreds of cable channels, and an increased number of magazines on the newsstand, the number of outlets for expressing criticism has never been higher and the barriers to would-be critics have never been lower. Is this devaluing evaluation or does the shotgun approach result in better criticism? YOU be the Judge!
Joining me on the panel are Emily Gordon, Village Voice film critic Michael Atkinson, and Columbia professor & author Duncan Watts. The wonderful Steven Heller will moderate and no doubt bring the conversation to a higher level. Details:
November 3, 2005
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
540 W. 21st St.
New York, NY 10011
If you’ve ever wondered what your lowly narrator would look like with a moustache, wonder no longer.
Well, summer is definitely over in the eastern United States. The leaves on the trees are going or gone, sweaters and light jackets have started making their appearance, and everyone is sick of tomatoes but drinking apple cider by the gallon. As a goodbye to a great summer, here are a few photos I took over the last few months:
The above photo was taken near the end of the summer on Nantucket, just before sunset.
I know you’ve always wanted to play Memory with pictures of me from Flickr and now you can. Memry works with any Flickr tag.
Today is my birthday — I’m 2^5!** — so I’m taking the day off. No posts or links, aside from this one.
** That’s ! as in exclamation point, not ! as in factorial. I’m not 1.33 x 10^36 years old today.
From September 15-18, I will be attending the AIGA Design Conference in Boston. As an experiment (for both the AIGA and me), I will be covering the event at their request on kottke.org. I’ll be covering the conference as a blogger, but the easiest way to think about it in terms of a conference is that I’m a speaker…a sort of roving speaker with the readers of kottke.org as the audience and my topic is the conference itself.
As usual, I have no solid plan as to how this is going to work exactly, but I’m looking forward to seeing how the conference goes and adapting accordingly. I’m hoping to provide a moving snapshot of the event so that readers of kottke.org can follow along fairly well without being at the conference. I’ll probably have comments open on most posts so hopefully those reading along at home and those reading along at the conference can have some dialogue, with each little world spilling over into the other a bit.
One other quick thing…if you’re going to be at the conference and plan to blog it, let me know…I’ll definitely be linking to other people’s stuff. I’m sure Design Observer and Speak Up will be covering things pretty well. I’ll also be watching Flickr and del.icio.us for links and photos…I’d suggest tagging relevent entries with aigadc2005 for easy aggregation.
More next week as the conference draws near.
 Disclaimer: Kottke.org’s budget for covering out-of-town conferences with costly entry fees is limited, so I’m exploring other ways of gaining access to be able to bring you some interesting content that you might not get otherwise. The AIGA is a curious organization and they’re looking at various ways of using weblogs, so they asked me to come and blog the conference as an experiment. To make it economically feasible for me to be there, they are paying me a small speaker’s honorarium and putting me up in a hotel.
In talking with the AIGA about this, they’ve made it exceedingly clear that I’m to consider myself independent and write whatever I want about the conference, which is pretty much what I intend to do. If I thought the hotel room and honorarium would be a problem w/r/t my objectivity in covering the event, I would have declined them both. The bottom line is that if money were no object (if the conference were free and took place entirely within walking distance of my apartment), I’d want to go and write about it anyway.
 Although I will also be appearing on a related panel about blogs, journalism, and design with Steve Heller, Michael Bierut, Armin Vit, and Jen Bekman.
Update: I’ve changed the first paragraph slightly, from “covering the conference as a blogger/journalist” to “covering the conference as a blogger”, which under the circumstances is more accurate. I am not a journalist in this instance or any other.
flickrTagFight pits tag against tag in a folksonomic battle to the death. fTF has already started a conflict in my household…results of the kottke(145)/megnut(34) tag smackdown are being hotly disputed.
I’m going to be on Attack of the Show on G4 TV this afternoon/evening. The show airs live at 7pm ET/4pm PT. So check your local listings and watch me be awkward and make mistakes in real-time (kinda like what I do on kottke.org already).
The Contagious Media Showdown Awards are Saturday night at Eyebeam, 6-8pm. I’ll be presenting one of the awards, so stop by and (please don’t) heckle.
I’ve got a short piece in the second issue of Make magazine about Mark Simonson’s Lego film scanner. This is my first bit of paid writing ever.
50 Things to Do with Your iPod. Besides listen to music with those white earbuds.