Thursday, October 9


I wrote this on October 9, but forgot to post it. I continued picking fresh raspberries until the middle of October!

On October 9, I am still picking fresh raspberries and harvesting tomatoes. Remember when we used to have frost in September?

I'm also endlessly painting doors (screen door insert, storm door insert.) Muntins. That's what I've been painting. Muntins.

I'm not a tidy painter but I have adopted the motto "Progress, not perfection." It's better to have a primed and painted door than one with peeling paint. I'll get out the razor and the Goof Off and clean up when I'm done.

By the time I get home the day is cooling fast, and I worry that it's getting too cold for painting. So I slap some paint on and when I get cold and the light is fading I quit until another day. The E.N.D.L.E.S.S. P.R.O.J.E.C.T. . .

The trouble with beginning any deferred home maintenance (or cleaning) is that you suddenly see all the other projects that need attention. Sometimes I could do without a new clarity of vision.

Gnod, Gnooks, Literature Map

Check out this interactive Literature Map - the tourist map of literature. You key in an author name and it shows other authors you might like, or that are similar. You can click on any of those names and keep going. Very fun. I find associative lists endlessly fascinating, since they are reflections of how we classify things -- there's more than just alpha order or LC or Dewey, as we know, so I love looking at other systems of relationships.

It is part of a Literature Site called Gnooks, which has an author recommendation engine too. You type in the names of three authors you like. I typed in Garrison Keillor, Lorna Landvik, and Elizabeth George, and it recommended Jon Hassler. A good recommendation, except I've already read all his books!

Gnooks in turn is part of Gnod, an AI project developed by Marek Gibney. Here's what Gibney says about Gnod:

Gnod is my experiment in the field of artificial intelligence. Its a self-adapting system, living on this server and 'talking' to everyone who comes along. Gnods intention is to learn about the outer world and to learn 'understanding' its visitors. This enables gnod to share all its wisdom with you in an intuitive and efficient way. You might call it a search-engine to find things you don't know about.

Gnod has recommendation engines for music, books, movies, and people.

(Note: I cross-posted this to Sub 2.0.)

Wednesday, October 8

Happy Ant People

I'm working in a room with 90 other (quiet, pleasant) people, scoring reading comprehension and writing tests which are required for graduation from State "X." It's a crowd of word people, ranging from introverted to extremely introverted. People really do look at their shoes when you say hello. I feel right at home!

I can't think of the last time I worked in a job that was so intensely focused. We work individually on writing samples we pull up on our computers. We're, apparently, the sort of folks who are easily sucked in by the screen. We arrive on time, get right to work, and keep at it. It's not draconian--we certainly can chat, or get up and walk around, or get coffee, but there tends to be more coffee-getting than chatting.

There are six rooms of about 90 people working on this project, so breaks are necessarily scheduled. Our room breaks from 10:00 to 10:15, lunches from 11:30-12:00, and breaks again from 2:00-2:15.

We get caught up in the writing samples and have to be told, "It's break time!" Then 90 people burst out of the room (in a quiet, orderly fashion, naturally) and line up at the coffee urn, the bathroom, the microwave. The walkers scurry outside and scatter in every direction. The break room fills up from the corners in; people prefer to take a single tables along the wall for quieter reading. Newspapers and novels come out; people make phone calls; there is quiet conversation. At 10:14, 11:59, and 2:14, the ants scurry home to Room 3 and the next group of ants bursts out of the next room to walk, get coffee, file into the bathroom, and read.

Most of us choose to start at 7:30, so at 4:00 there is a mass departure. This one is equally polite but more hurried: half of us form a line a block long as we wait to make a left turn onto a busy street, and all of us would prefer to be at the head, rather than the tail, of the line. Nevertheless, as we wend toward the one parking lot exit, people scrupulously take turns merging from several aisles and calm order is preserved.

People bring candy to share and anything chocolate is gone by lunchtime.

It's a congenial group of ants and I enjoy their company.

Saturday, October 4



I remember years ago when the Internet was new (and I'm talking Gopher and alt- groups), you almost felt you could put your arms around it and keep up. Now I find thriving web sites and blogs that I CAN'T BELIEVE I DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT, and BibliOdyssey is a prime example.

BibliOdyssey is an ongoing e-exhibition of long-forgotten imagery, now surfacing on the Internet as libraries, museums, and other institutions digitize their collections, collected and published by the author PK. The range and variety of images is absolutely amazing, from familiar architectural, anatomical and botanical drawings, alchemical and occult engravings, creepy things that are supposed to be creepy, drawing styles that creep me out even though they aren't intended to, to darling whimsical drawings of children at play, the Nepal horse book, and on and on. RUN DO NOT WALK (OK, CLICK RIGHT NOW) to this site. Give yourself some time.

It gets better -- BibliOdyssey, The Book! is now available.
BibliOdyssey: Amazing Archival Images from the Internet, by PK

Here is blogger and author peacay's description of the book:

The book (like the site) covers a very wide spectrum of styles, time periods and subject matter. You can expect everything from astronomy to zoology and from Art Nouveau to the Renaissance, in something reminiscent of what I call a multi-post (except on steroids and growth hormone and with better grooming habits and no noisy computer fan in the background). I like to think that the trajectory of the book aims somewhere roughly between our internet users' penchant for a concentrated package of beguiling ephemera and as an introductory overview of the cultural wealth accessible from web archives for luddites. [redacted marketspeak: "making it the ideal Christmas present for everybody"] As a final point I'd offer that, while it might sound like a totally haphazard collection of unrelated visual material, the book is in fact much more of a cohesive and interrelated survey of illustration history than any loose-canon wording here might suggest. The book is also a beautiful product - FUEL have done a wonderful job in the designy-printy stakes, and my objectivity is of course unimpeachable as I was on the other side of the planet and had no role in this facet of production.

My library doesn't have this ordered yet (or at least not available in the online catalog), and if yours doesn't, you can go to a bookstore and browse the book.

Color Junkie Alert!

Color junkie alert!

Dale Chihuly : 365 days / [editor, Margaret L. Kaplan]. is FUN! Dale Chihuly, celebrated glass artist, makes play visible with his colorful, kinetic art. The book is composed with a brief quote or description of Chihuly and his works across from a full page photo.

Lovers of word play -- note the Lakawana Ichibana installation!

The mosaic is by SleepingBear on Flickr.