Dec 31, 2010

first casualty of 2011


it's clear now that the way into the future is fogged over like a morning in the presidio. our mandate thus is to hope for the best, be ready to change course midstream, mix metaphors without compunction, keep calm, and carry on.

happy new year!

Dec 28, 2010

timelapse blizzard!

michael black's timelapse video of the blizzard of 2010 is pretty sweet, especially how the clock keeps rising up.

Dec 27, 2010

the streams and creeks of the sea

Everythin' we ever knew about the movement of the sea was preserved in the verses of a song. For thousands of years we went where we wanted and came home safe, because of the song. On clear nights we had the stars to guide us, and in the fog we had the streams and creeks of the sea, the streams and creeks that flow into and become Klin Otto ... There was a song for goin' to China and a song for goin' to Japan, a song for the big island and a song for the smaller one. All she had to know was the song and she knew where she was. To get back, she just sang the song in reverse.

papa palheta

Dec 22, 2010


Attention to detail, like most facets of truly good design, can’t be (and never is) added later. It’s an entire development philosophy, methodology, and culture.
marco arment is the man behind instapaper, an application i use more than almost anything else on my iphone and ipad. instapaper's sole inexplicable design feature is the trashcan icon in the ipad interface. when pressed, it shows only an archive button which sends the article to the archive; no other action is possible.

a) trash ≠ archive, b) why have a 2-step button push when just one would do?

update, march 2011: after talking this over with hammer, who thinks there is a subtle, behavior-changing motivation behind the decision, i remain unconvinced.

the motherland

where i've been since last thursday night, after a diverting couple of days passing through miscellaneous airports. but a total of 14 hours in assorted forms of transit = 14000 words of fieldnotes transcribed (on which, perhaps, more anon), so maybe that was a good thing. because it is the cool season here in the motherland, i only have the feeling of a post-it note (i.e., sticking to everything i touch) 18 out of every 24 hours. leather upholstery is not advised for these most moist and tropic climes. here is a preliminary report from the front.

  1. congratulations!: to isaac and hwa, my cool cousin and his cool wife. their nuptial chariot was a volkswagen bus tastefully festooned with satin ribbons, which should tell you something about how they roll. the obligatory multicourse wedding dinner was prosecuted at jing, an ultrafancy chinese restaurant co-owned by his new brother-in-law that looks out over the water at the sands, a new and massive casino-hotel. this small dinner couldn't have been further from the usual hundred table affair with the cold dishes entering a hangar-sized room borne aloft by a small army of unhappy-looking waitstaff wreathed in clouds of fog. the band was great and moved seamlessly from the air-conditioned salon to the open-air dining area outside; they did chinese oldies (teresa teng and her ilk) for the dignitaries inside, and jazz standards (of the ella and louis variety) for the unwashed masses without. i saw cousins i hadn't seen in over a decade, and one of them sang for us for the first time in years. it was nice.
  2. caffeine update: papa palheta, where i met minz and julian for coffee. it's a tiny shop on a sleepy stretch of bukit timah road just cityward of newton, with mostly outdoor seating. it roasts its own beans and you pay what you think the coffee's worth. the espresso drinks were good (5oz lattes, nothing but glass and ceramic = good sign), but the v60s were questionable. but these are minor quibbles because what are the odds of finding genuine coffee nerds and a halfway decent latte on my second day back?
  3. congratulations again!: wedding dinner number two for isaac and hwa, this time at raw kitchen bar, in the old firehouse on upper bukit timah road. i was glad to have worn my ironic shirt, for there were many hipsters, architects, and musicians in attendance, and also a whole barbecued pig from which much in the way of crisp and burnished skin was extracted. most people left around 11.30pm, and then we closed two hours later with a little bit of a hoedown and quite a bit of scotch. that was nice too.
  4. greetings, salutations: tytus, two year old son of randall and sharon, who tried without success to stab me with a plastic fork at lunch. well-met, no hard feelings, and i hope you enjoy the stuffed ernie, the stuffed hermit crab, the stuffed wiener dog, the stuffed shark, and the stuffed serpent. they are a little dusty but it's nothing a washing machine can't fix. 
  5. overconsumption: hyang to gol sounds like an exclamation or a directive but really it is a korean restaurant beloved of the korean embassy, at which minzhi now works. having been exposed to much korean food in the last year, she is now on a mission to share the love. yen, sulon, and julian came too, and there was both too much and not enough kimchi. because we were crass yokels, the management served us insulting bowls of rainbow sprinkle covered mango ice cream, followed by bowls of a subtle and pellucid ginger tea, each with a sliver of red date and a pine nut floating serenely within.

Dec 20, 2010

the taco binder

Dec 19, 2010

isaac and hwa

talk about a strong opening. congratulations y'all.

Dec 16, 2010

best croissant of 2010

this maison kayser croissant and an apparently unlimited supply of skytime yuzu are about the only benefits of a long layover in narita.

Dec 9, 2010

it's been too long