May 30, 2013

May 28, 2013

the perks of ease and convenience

I traveled with West to New York. We stopped at a grocery store in which the cash registers were equipped with one of those devices that reads the price of an item automatically, a computerized checkout system. This one wasn't working well. West got down on his hands and knees and poked his head in under the cashier's counter to have a look at the thing. The clerk made her mouth an O. When West came out, dusting off his hands, he explained that he had helped design this particular model when he had worked at RCA. "It's a kludge," he said grinning. The clerk had some trouble figuring what the beer we bought ought to cost, and as we left, West said, out of her earshot, "Ummmmh, one of the problems with machines like that. You end up making people so dumb they can't figure out how many six-packs are in a case of beer."
(where are they now? a status update from december 2000.)

May 21, 2013

buff til shiny

this is wim delvoye at sperone westwater.

on the road again

new york, 2013; paris, 2009.

May 13, 2013

the right beer at the right time

When the cool of the pond makes you drop down on it
When the smell of the lawn makes you flop down on it
When the teenage car gets the cop down on it
That time is here for one more year
jonathan richman, that summer feeling*
(for illustration only; what we're actually Drinking now is la clarine on the fifth day.)

(and if you're watching jonathan richman anyway, you can't not see the one with the camel outfit.)

May 12, 2013

priorities

those visiting the motherland for the first time often ask me for advice. fortunately, the best places to eat in singapore are the ones which have been around for years (the wave of new food has been generally trumped up but mediocre). even so, i routinely consult my agents on the ground for Hot Tips about the latest and greatest.

minzhi: must your 4 friends go for chinese fine dining? can't they go to chin lee and have great teochew food?
vt: i suggested liang kee also. chin lee's better? never been.
mz: when are these people coming?
vt: they are in town already.
mz: what?! then what are these people feeding on NOW? this is terrible! they could be eating all the wrong things this very moment!!!!
it is important to always have the right priorities.

and, public service announcement: qun zhong, once purveyor of excellent guotie and xiaolongbao, is no more. an establishment styling itself jing hua xiao chi (confusingly the name once on the qun zhong storefront) has reopened in the same space and serving approximately the same menu. it is a new management and a new kitchen, however, and reportedly vastly inferior. so the cookie crumbles.

May 9, 2013

katsuhira's tiger

this long but worthwhile video documents ford hallam's meticulous reconstruction of the lost half of a pair of tsuba by hagiya katsuhira. nearly every stage is embedded in the workmanship of risk: the further along, the more stands to be lost by the commission of even a small error in work.

slow is always better ... you have to feel what's going on. this is why i reject power tools. they're simply far too fast. you can't feel the irregularities. the tool simply takes over.

[found thanks to joakim]