Lemon-Scented Bivouac  

Fatherly and, eventually, teacherly blather. Also: graphic design, baseball, synthetic fabrics, jug band music and, lord help us, the occasional politics.

Friday, March 21, 2003  

From today's trip to the zoo:

  posted by Andy @ 10:26 PM §

This is enjoyable, for those who can handle more stock-related crap.

  posted by Andy @ 7:45 AM §

Thursday, March 20, 2003  

Dana was alert with the camera today. In the bathroom of the diner where we had lunch she saw a towel dispenser that looked sort of like this (I'm afraid the photo of it got eaten when the camera software crashed):

Only with a tighter towel loop, and it was hanging directly over a sink. Next to it was this sign which Dana was able to photograph:

I'll mostly let that speak for itself, except to just ask: harmful or injurious? In what way harmful if not injurious?

  posted by Andy @ 8:51 PM §

Holy crap.

Those who have had to endure my conversations on the matter in recent weeks have had to hear me talk about macroeconomic issues. I'm trying to figure out if our economy is about to collapse or what. (That's economist-speak, "or what.")

Anyway, look at the stock market since 1935 as Yahoo first presents it. Looks rational, right? Now look at the scale on the left: From 43 to 5000 occupies 90% of the scale, and that (apparently inconsequential) remaining 5,000 points from 5000 to 10000 is given a few pixels. The result looks like one steady, irreversible climb with little pits that hardly matter.

Now force Yahoo to use a linear scale -- in other words, ask it to stop lying -- and this is the result. Like I said, holy crap. Look at it for a while and explain what happened in 1995. People now grudgingly admit that the "Internet bubble" popped, but they imply it's of a limited scale, like the little go-go mutual funds of the late Sixties, or the recession or the oil crises of the mid-70s.

But the scale of the entire system exploded beginning in about 1986 and really beginning in 1995 -- it's staggering. The problem is that so much of our economy got sucked into the stock market, and so much of it got vaporized, with so many overlapping debt structures, that we can't imagine we'll feel the end of the crash for at least another few years -- we may not even be halfway through the fall from the top at 11,000. (You'll notice that volume of trading hasn't really dropped since the 2000 peak -- it's just more volatile.)

I may be entirely wrong, but the image itself -- along with a lot of what I've been reading lately -- tells me that we've gone through, and are going through, experiences that are not market norms. These are extraordinary times.

  posted by Andy @ 7:52 PM §

Wednesday, March 19, 2003  

Today I bought our brand-new first-ever digital camera. You know, for Baby. It's a tiny thing, as Baby will be, so we can carry it everywhere as we will carry Baby. Not only consumerism but any number of other vices can be justified in a cheap manner by saying you do it for your child.

Using it has been so much fun, though, that I've now realized I can take pictures everywhere and share them with you. I envision a new medium -- a photo-journal, if you will. Perhaps we could call it photo-journalism. Anyway, this is what my day was like today.

Dana and I didn't gag on lollies all day -- instead we worked on our labor mechanics. Dana worked on breathing through her eyes, something she'll do during contractions:

Here you can see me working on that consistent + caring look I'll give to Dana while she struggles:

After we were done rehearsing, we went with Dana's mother to La Palma, a nice Mexican restaurant. We had chips:

I cleaned my plate:

A really funny waiter would have asked me if I wanted a box for that. Instead he only asked Dana, who, it turned out, did:

I don't know why, but this made Dana pouty:

On the way out, we were greeted by friends:

Just think of the visual storytelling yet to come!

  posted by Andy @ 9:54 PM §

A while back I posted a link to Yugo Nakamura's handwritten clock. I can't tell which of the many other online clocks are follow-ups to that original idea and which came first. But some of them, I think, actually address a more interesting design question: What does time look like? Okay, one of them does. But they're all interesting:

I think the scrolling clock is interesting. Interesting, I tell you. I don't know if time is horizontal, and there's something unsatisfying about the past and the future just getting cropped by the edge of the screen (maybe they should fade out of the blue and into the black?), but the more you watch it the more rewarding it gets. I would guess that if we had all been raised with some sort of appliance that works like this our minds would take on this shape.

Barcode clock is amusing.

The Block Clock is also amusing but it should be much smaller -- it barely fits on my 18" screen. It would be cute if it were tiny!

The time stamps for the Human Clockare all in photographs sent in by readers. You have to wait up to a full minute to see the screen change.

There's the ever-scary world population clock, for those who enjoy watching Koyaanisqatsi and feeling like a pest.

Fans of bureaucracy will enjoy


If you have $7,800 you can buy this reproduction of a Napoleon-era clock driven by a ball that endlessly winds its way over a tilting platform (okay, not endlessly -- they don't cotton to such talk at the Patent Office).

More later, perhaps. We're off to our regular doctor's appointment -- our last before delivery?

  posted by Andy @ 9:31 AM §

Tuesday, March 18, 2003  

I just wanted to point out to people that cockeyed.com is really great. I particularly enjoy the series of How Much Is Inside? experiments, but the whole site is worth visiting for pranks and droll little comments with which to pack long afternoons. And, to excite people like Dana, he lives in Sacramento and writes about it.

  posted by Andy @ 2:35 PM §

Sunday, March 16, 2003  

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  posted by Andy @ 2:22 PM §

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