jeweled platypus


thursday, october 16, 2008
A map of three summers in the Bay Area

Here’s a book I made recently for my book arts class. I’ll talk about my other classes at some point too.

the cover of my map book

This is a tetra-tetra flexagon that folds open three times to zoom in from California to the Bay Area to San Francisco to the Mission/Castro area. A flexagon sounds fancy but it’s just one piece of paper cut and folded in a certain way — here are directions for making your own (it’s easy, but it helped me to see them in person first).

the first spread of the map book, showing the bay area

This map only covers what I know. I labeled the cities and neighborhoods that I’m familiar with, and I left areas blank if I haven’t spent much time there. (Except I left parts of the Mission/Castro blank because I’d gotten tired of tracing and painting.)

the second spread of the map book, showing san francisco

A darker yellow background means I’ve spent more time in that area. A darker orange freeway or street means I’ve traveled along it more often. Green means a park.

the second spread of the map book, showing the castro and the mission

So, this book is a way to look at my three summers during college, focused on the past two summers because I couldn’t put the Sunset, the Mission, and the Castro together on one spread. If you fold up the map from its fully open state above, it tells a kind of story:

[4: Mission/Castro] I lived at 18th & Valencia in summer 2007 and 19th & Collingwood in summer 2008 (and 41st & Irving in summer 2006), and I spent a lot of time near those places. [3: San Francisco] I wandered around the city on weekends. [2: Bay Area] On weekday mornings I walked to the Yahoo! shuttle stop at 16th & Mission and rode to Santa Clara, and on weekday evenings I returned the same way. [1: California] At the beginning of each summer, I went from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles for a couple weeks since that’s my home, and then I went up to San Francisco. At the end of the summer, I returned from San Francisco to Los Angeles and then went back to school in Santa Barbara. I work part-time remotely from here.

An animation of reading the book, starting with it closed:

reading the book

This book also ties in with the Flickr photo map of my summer photos and seeing the Bay Area from above when flying to New Jersey for a few days during the summer, when my grandpa was dying, which is the part of my summer that the map doesn’t reflect.

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saturday, april 21, 2007
I like my name

At a family day at the old Getty museum (pre-1997), a person wrote “Britta” in Persian for me:

my name in persian

This name originated as a nickname for Birgitta, a popular Swedish saint. She is also known as Bridgid and Bridget, which are variations of the name of the Irish triple-goddess Brigid (or Brigit/Brighit), meaning exalted one, who was the goddess of poetry, fire, wisdom, etc., equivalent to Minerva and Athena, and the daughter of an all-powerful harpist god. All of this is nice, but I usually forget to celebrate my name day on October 7th.

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wednesday, february 07, 2007
The art of procrastination

I made my first home page in sixth grade, so it involved an interesting dilemma: how could I balance telling the world all about myself with my concerns about internet stalkers finding me? The result is detailed yet vague, a portrait of my interests in 1999 — complete with animated clip art and stolen images — that does not include my name. Here it is. Note how I mocked the web-counter trend by including an applet that looked like a counter but gave you a random number instead.

Now, what if I was sent back in time to create my home page as a 12-year-old, knowing all my 2007-era web skillz? You might get something that still looks bad.

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sunday, september 17, 2006
Recycling old wiki stuff

When I was nine, I decided that people bothered me too much. I wrote the following (with many scratchings-out) on a piece of notebook paper and posted it on my door.


For these reasons, stay out!!

  1. This room is a danger zone!
  2. There is radioactive material in this room!
  3. This room is poisonous.
  4. You are suposed to stay out anyway.
  5. Guard dog on duty.
  6. Mad scientists are inside.
  7. Dangerous experiment going on.
  8. Explosives are going to blow up once you step inside!
  9. People over 11 and under 20 are not allowed in.
  10. Movie being filmed—Do NOT DISTURB!
  11. Pay 700,000,000,0 dollars every secound you are in here.
  12. No credit cards.
  13. You have to PASS MY TEST first.
  14. All people at the age of 13 can not come in at any time.
  15. All rules are strictly enforced.
  16. Angry people inside.
  17. Do not come in

One exception— people of the ages 5, 6, 8, and 9 and lastly 10 can come in. Rules do not apply to them.

I like people more now, but I still like this.

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I’m Britta Gustafson.

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