Archives for category: Culture

 There is a full write up on my website

The Plans:

Google Drawing Google SketchUp
Kegerator Plans sketchup

Social Networking sites and often things Web 2.0 are based on user content. Users contribute what they like and from it is born something that came from a little bit of chaos and a lot of great people. Take for example Twitter hash tags, they are used to organize tweets around an event or idea. A lot of folks feel the urge to formalize it, to control it. You must mold the clay in order for a beautiful sculpture to form, right? It would be cool to give 100 people each a cubic inch of clay have them make something and then put all of the pieces together. The result I bet would be really amazing. This is user generated content.

The problem is in trying to control it. Twitter is about freedom, finding a gem in the chaos. It is a side discussion to a conference or to a political march and ultimately to life. In a lot of ways I feel like the tweeter stream is more like a stream in the @jamierob way (nature) and less in the @tomfite way (computer science), it flows freely and when you try to control a river it will go right around you. The commercial entities section seems to be getting the hang of this, better than the higher ed folks. There is a mentality in education to control what kids do in the classroom and to try to control what they do outside of the classroom (you must live in the dorm your first year…)

My advice: not only can you NOT control it, but you shouldn’t want to. If you really want to use the technology, just use it. Use it like everyone else, the twitter ocean is very big, and this time you aren’t special (the fail whale will catch you). Not only will going with the flow bring you a better sense of the how you can successfully use the technology, but your users will appreciate you more and will be willing to interact with you.

Yesterday i posted Critical Album based on these criteria and then Mr. Bowling posted his own. He talked a little bit about playing with the typography, so i decided to add one more rule to the mix, and change another. First i did a search on flickr for Creative Commons photos (instead of most interesting), and then picked one from that page, and the new rule is: use the “Font of the Moment” from 1001 Fonts for the title of the piece.  I think i would say that this is not an Album Cover but more a Hilarious piece of promotional material….


Thanks to immagina for the Creative commons photo on flickr

Cadavre exquis, or the exquisite corpse, is based on a couple of ideas, the collective unconsious, the belief (held by surrealists) that any one can be an artist, and, finally, the mystique of accident. For example, check out this:

It was created by Hans Arp, surrealist painter, who is said to have let the squares of paper fall to the canvas where they may and them adhered them to it. It was not intentional, it was accident they way they landed.

The actual game is based on an old parlor game played by several people, each of whom would write a phrase on a sheet of paper, fold the paper to conceal part of it, and pass it on to the next player for his contribution. The technique is said to have gotten its name from results obtained in initial playing, “Le cadavre / exquis / boira / le vin / nouveau” (The exquisite corpse will drink the young wine). These poetic fragments were felt to reveal what Nicolas Calas characterized as the “unconscious reality in the personality of the group” resulting from a process of what Ernst called “mental contagion.” (Just so you know, the source of the information in this paragraph is:

Another technique was automatic writing, where you sit down and write for hours (usually under the influence of alcohol or marijuana, the surrealist were not adverse to altered mental states). You don’t think about what you’re writing, you just do it. This is how they would write their poetry. Of course, you end up with pages upon pages of unusable material which you have to sift through to find the really striking images. Anyway, it was thought that in this way you could access the unconcious. And of course, there was the dream world. See Salvador Dali.

So we played the game, the basic rules are:  half of us wrote the begining of a sentence starting with If, and the other half wrote the second half of the sentence starting with Then. This is what we came up with.

If you were smarter Then I’m a Jelly Doughnut
If i were a little teapot whose spout is broken and whose handle is splintering Then Nick will be Awesome
If I were president Then i would get some delicious things

Thanks much to Tonya for introducing the game and giving me all this excellent information!

Tomorrow will be the first day of Collin’s new day care.  Our former day care was Amazing.  I would highly recomend Tinker Tots day care.  The only problem for us is that it’s Extremely far from our home.  I did some figuring and we were driving over 25 miles each day just to get Collin to and from day care.  That’s more than a gallon a day.  And so we decided to look for something a little closer, and more convenient.  We discovered there was an opening at The University of Montana’s ASUM Childcare center on campus, and so starting tomorrow our commute will go from around 30 extra minutes to zero.  As you can probably imagine, i am pretty excited. Tomorrow morning Collin, Jessica and I are going to ride the bus to work.  This will make our reliance on a moter vehicle limited to errands and groceries and the like.

We are very sad to be leaving Miranda and Justin at Tinker Tots, but after the car accident and realizing how poor a job missoula does to take care of the roads in the south hills, we decided it was time for a change.twitter wordpress

I went skiing today. We went to Lost Trail, and it was a really good time.  The last time i went skiing was probably five or six years ago.   And up until then i was a pretty avid skier, and at some point in my reckless attempts to hurl myself down myself down the mountain i was talked into buying a helmet.  And ever since I’ve worn one, for a couple of reasons: i find it more comfortable than wearing a hat; the obvious safety reasons; and back then it kind of set me and my buddy apart from the crowd.  it seems though that these days wearing a helmet is all the rage, i would guess that the number of helmet wearers is approximately equal to the number of non-helmet hearers. I was smart enough to pick up a new hybrid helmet this summer, the Camp Pulse and the Winter Kit which I would highly recommend.  It fit me really well and was warm enough for today, it was about 37 degrees, my only complaint is that I don’t feel like it came down as far in the back as other ski helmets did and that might be problematic on colder days, but I can see that that would be highly problematic while climbing, I think picking up a balaclava will do the trick.

Economic times are tough, we’ve all said it, heard it, listened to the news folks blabber on about it for days. Most of us I imagine are beyond sick of it.

This is not about the state of the economy, but about the way of the people. It’s about the shift in attitudes, buying patterns and consumer preferences. I worked at Fedex Kinkos for about two years making less than a livable wage, and trying to support my wife and son. My wife’s income was little more than her financial aid for school. Needless to say money was scarce and working at a dead end job after having just dropped out of school didn’t do much for my self worth. To combat thinking about the seemingly meaningless of my situation, I did little things to feel better about myself. Little well sometimes little purchases and going to to dinners I couldn’t really afford.

I was lucky enough to be given a “real” job at the University as a web programmer and my income more than doubled. My attitude changed my purchases nearly stopped. I suppose it’s a simple case of having another method of self esteem boosting. But whats interesting is I’m starting to see similar behavior in the people around me due to changing economic times, especially for folks who had no financial problems before and are now finding themselves struggling a little to stay afloat. I’m not talking necessarily about dire times and desperate measures, but I see that same need to fill the void.

The behavior while not necessarily problematic or destructive certainly isn’t the best way to deal with the problems that face us. I still recognize this in myself sometimes when I’m low on money or I can’t seem to make things at the office work the way I want them too. It’s interesting to see how we react when placed in difficult situations, or situations that we can’t control.

There is no one who can argue that facebook, and when i say facebook I am lumping all such services together, hasn’t revolutionized the way people communicate, especially the people of my generation (i’m 24). A good friend of mine was sent to Germany early in the summer and then deployed to Iraq in July. In a recent message to a friend (via facebook) he says:

“I am not suffering too much with such easy access to Facebook”

It seems very interesting to me the level of the use of facebook by the soldiers overseas, especially by those like Steve who drives a humvee through the worst parts of Iraq. He describes one of the places he frequents as “more like a Mad Max film than a city.”

Facebook provides something that no other type of “correspondence” in history ever has. Steve, and others overseas can keep up on what is happening at home, without waiting on emails, or god forbid a snail mail letter. He can tell how we’re doing and we can see how he’s doing, not only by the messages he sends us, but also by seeing what he’s written on other’s walls etc.

I resisted Pandora radio for a long time, but now i have to admit is pretty sweet. go there listen to the music you like. it’s nice.

An island from ikea., originally uploaded by jakonavitch.