tuesday, october 13, 2009
Let’s say you have a drab college building or office (or whatever) that you’re allowed to modify, and let’s say you have money burning a hole in your pocket. Here are some things you might want, based on what friends and I have looked at or gathered for our college’s little building to make it a warmer place to learn and hang out:
- Papercraft ceiling cat (free) — print this out and stick it above some computers.
- La Estrella and eye chart light switch covers ($4.50 each) — there are a ton of tacky switchplates for sale online, but the right ones are amusing in otherwise boring rooms.
- Elephant Party mobile ($32) — so cute that you can pretend it’s not for babies.
- Geek clock ($25) — to be placed in a room only visited by people who won’t get frustrated by it, aka the Physics and Math study room.
- Blik “fly” stickers ($25 for smaller restickable ones or $35 for larger permanent ones) — it’s much cheaper to make your own stickers if you have access to the vinyl cutter in the Art department, but not everybody has a convenient Art department.
- The World’s Largest Crossword Puzzle ($30) — perfect to install in a common area as a looming presence that can never be finished.
- Cost Plus pillows ($10-20) — make the dingy couch look fancier.
- World map (free if you have one hanging around) — hang this upside-down (or get an upside-down map) to remind yourself that cardinal directions are arbitrary.
- Vitra Algue ($30-35 for a 6-pack) — these are good to tuck into corners of pipes running along walls, as if plants are growing out of them.
- Right Brain Terrain “alternative motivational poster” ($15) — cheesy but pretty.
Also, if you have photos of people who spend time in the building, get them printed (for a few dollars at Snapfish etc.) and put them on the refrigerator with eccentric magnets. Add a magnetic poetry set and find out what kinds of horrible phrases your friends come up with. On a bulletin board, pin postcards and magazine clippings among the flyers.
Fake flowers usually aren’t a very good idea.
friday, july 31, 2009
- Anastomosis — a network of streams that both branch out and reconnect, such as blood vessels or leaf veins.
- Black fax — a prank fax transmission consisting of one or more pages filled with a uniform black tone. See also: Lace card.
- Blood wings — an officially banned military initiation rite/hazing ceremony where a badge is pressed into flesh.
- Bucha effect — a disorientation-inducing effect of a strobe light flashing at approximately the frequency of human brainwaves.
- Coprolites — fossilized animal dung, once mined on an industrial scale for use as fertilizer due to its high phosphate content.
- Drip gas — a naturally occurring form of gasoline, sneakily used in vehicles during the Great Depression with unpredictable results.
- Duplicating machines — the mechanical predecessors of the modern copy machine: mimeograph, ditto machine, hectograph, etc.
- Hibiscus tea — a herbal infusion consumed both hot and cold around the world, also known as roselle, jamaica, karkady, bissap, and sorrel.
- Hypomnema — the ancient Greek equivalent of commonplace books, according to Foucault. See the talk page for a discussion of factual accuracy.
- Shagreen — a type of rawhide made from stingray skin, fashionable during times of excess as a covering on household items.
monday, january 26, 2009
Some of what I’ve written in other places in the past few months:
A few posts on the Literature Collaborative blog with notes about recent activities, including a pamphlet that we distributed on paper: The Very Unofficial Collection of Helpful Hints for New Lit Students (PDF).
The state of the Delicious hive mind in 2008 — an end-of-the-year post on the Delicious blog about the usefulness of searching the site (along with browsing tags) for all purposes, especially geeky purposes.
Toy Chest (Online or Downloadable Tools for Building Projects) on the UCSB English Department Knowledge Base wiki — Alan Liu asked me to update this page in preparation for his Literature+ class this quarter, so I did. (I took his class last year; here’s my team’s project.)
Social Computing in 2020: Bluesky Innovation Competition, organized by the UCSB Social Computing Group — I helped make this page, which is about a contest for undergraduate and graduate students from all disciplines (deadline January 30, 2009). I’m part of the graduate-student division of the group, which means I go to meetings and talk about nerdy things with nice smart people. I like it.
Sky notes ➴➶➳ — a Tumblr blog where I post half-baked thoughts and links related to reading interfaces (including stuff about annotation, teaching literature, etc). Some of the items: blogs I’m reading, semi-organized thoughts, and a long list.
Into the Teeth of the Wind is my college’s poetry journal (which accepts submissions from non-students, including you) — I’ve helped select poems for publication for the past few years, but I finally redesigned the website last year and also got to design our 2008 issue. That was labor-intensive but I liked it: the first industrially-printed small book I’ve laid out from cover to cover. You can buy a copy for the low price of $5.50.
Also: more than 1800 replies on the Delicious support forum, an essay titled “Analysis of Discussions of Women’s Prominence in the Blogosphere”, another one titled “Typography and Class”, and notes toward an essay about Orientalism in The Adventures of Prince Achmed. Aieee.
monday, november 17, 2008
This quarter I have a bunch of classes and activities but I also wanted to contribute a little to the campus newspaper, The Daily Nexus, by writing a silly web column for its associated blog. I’ve stored thousands of bookmarks in my Delicious account, and this series of blog posts is an attempt to coagulate some of my favorite bookmarks into text-blobs presentable to a general audience.
Here’s what I’ve written so far, about once a week:
- Creativity with bugs, sometimes by force — an introduction to me and the world of insect art.
- Where the rainbow gets complicated — “aspects of color vision that I think are cool.”
- A few reworkings of bits of metal and plastic — “a few ways that people have misused computer hardware for the purposes of entertainment.”
- There’s more to paper than little cranes — complex origami, animation, papercraft, etc.
- Scans of old things people have tried to forget — weird old ephemera as entertaining history lessons.
- Movie-watching for slightly obsessive people — details including easter eggs, typography, and greebles.
tuesday, august 21, 2007
While I rewrite unfinished posts about information and the web, here are things I have posted elsewhere in the past few months:
- Limited time offer on the del.icio.us blog — everybody likes free stickers.
- Small multiples on Waferbaby — tagged “photography errors toys color amusing”.
- Core herring on my Livejournal — an animated GIF mashup.
- This happened on Waferbaby — tagged “trains california stories relationships”.
- Stakkaly on my Livejournal — about a graphic novel titled Stagger Lee.