Posts Tagged ‘geek chic’


Came across this while reading this morning…

The great city, then, could not be understood as an artifact of human choice. It was much closer to a natural, organic process — less like a building that has been deliberately constructed and more like a garden erupting into full bloom with the arrival of spring — a mix of human planning and the natural developmental patterns that emerge with increasing energy supplies. — Steven Johnson


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Happy new year indeed. I recently started using the glass quill and petit inkwell that the lovely Y.S. and A.L. brought me from Italy awhile back. The quill is utter brilliance — small fissures spiral around to converge at the tip, so that no matter how energetically you dunk it in, the ink flows in steady rivulets for a smooth, decidedly non-blotty line. The design also leaves you having to dip less frequenly, since the aforementioned fissures also hold some ink in reserve.

In any case, I was writing on night and upset the little inkwell, making a big black puddle on the coffee table. Fortunately, it was only a small fraction, and I was able to salvage some more using a straw (probably, if I recall correctly, because plastic and ink are slightly attractive chemically?), though I was still able to write from the remaining puddle the rest of the night. Regardless, the running-out-of-ink concept dawned, and I scrounged around for any and all places that might carry inkwells (not exactly popular nowadays, it seems), and gathered this lovely collection from a musty dusty box that the Paper Source clerks on Fillmore unearthed from some forgotten corner.

Oh, and the title comes from Lord Byron: “Words are things, and a small drop of ink, falling like dew upon a thought, produces that which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.”

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a red sun rises…

redsunI spent a lovely weekend in LA, and news of the wildfires near Montecito broke just shortly before our flight down Friday morning. 22,000 acres and over 800 houses (though apparently not Oprah’s) have burned in LA, Santa Barbara, Riverside and Orange counties: not exactly delightful. I did, however, finally discover that there’s a lot of heft behind the words that J.R. Tolkien wrote for the elf Legolas: “A red sun rises…blood has been spilled this night.”  Smoke, for some reason (this reason apparently being that particles, smoke invariably far more strongly so than even normal LA smog, scatter sunlight on its path to your eye.  This path is longer when the sun is lower in the sky, so we see more of the red wavelengths that are longer and thus less affected by particles; and the effect is enhanced by smoke and smog), turns setting or rising suns red.  Given that, for the large majority of the human timeline, battles have come hand in hand with fire and smoke, it makes sense that a smoky sky (and a red sun) would signal battle and its attendant bloodletting.  Something new. Every day.

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lockI saw (and sailed through) my first water lock last month while visiting Chicago (another first-time experience).  It was quite a trip, even though the water level change was only about 18 in. (by contrast, the Pedro Miguel lock in the Panamal Canal has a lift of about 31 ft.; the canal lifts ships up a total elevation of 85 ft. across all its locks).  Apparently, while most locks are constructed to make water transport across varying elevations possible sans detour, the driving force behind the construction of the Chicago Harbor Lock was instead a deep and vehemently expressed concern of other towns on Lake Michigan that reversing the flow of the Chicago River (completed in 1900 via the construction of a 28 mi. canal, followed later by two more artificial rivers) would “drain all the water out of Lake Michigan.”

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arts & crafts

Got on a creative bent today and repurposed a decently sized stack of old magazines into small display blocks…end tables…pedestals…whatever you want to call them.  It’s a “united we stand” sort of deal: lots of pages together make for structural integrity.  The whole fiasco required, surprisingly, a far lower percentage of my magazine stash than I’d thought (read: hoped).  Regardless — yay for green fun!

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easy on the eyes

Cucumbers have long been famed for doing wonders to your eyes, supposedly reducing puffiness (though it’s unclear whether this is due to their innate properties or simply to the coolness of the slices constricting blood vessels and thereby reducing fluid into the soft tissue around the eye). But they seem to also refresh the eyes just by looking at them, and I had a soothing time slicing one of the cucumbers that I picked up at the little farmstand in Livermore. 

amble on for the recipe!

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corn on the cob

The lake where I’ve now spent many weekend hours boating (and which will certainly reappear in its own right later on) is at the end of a twenty minute drive from the nearest town — a drive that takes you on a pleasant tour through vineyards, small farms, and shaded countryside.  Partway along this route is a small roadside stand that sells incredibly fresh fruits and vegetables.  The makeshift lean-to kind of a structure (which is charming in its own dilapidated simplicity) sits on a patch of farmland where some of the produce is actually grown (the rest comes from another little patch some two miles away, the daughter of the farmer tells me).  The first time we spontaneously veered off the road to ooh and ahh over their offerings, I came home with bags of fresh fresh corn and cucumbers.  And it was that late afternoon, cooking in the late light after an day in the boat, that we discovered the simplest, most brilliant way to perfectly butter a cob of corn.
amble on for answers!

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