Friday, November 23, 2007

Orange crush

The other day at work I was trying to come up with a clever name for my new workstation, and with the help of Ak and David, we decided it would be orangecrush (easier to spell than electrolite, less like an SNL actor than fallonme). But one of my worries was that Orange Crush was kind of a depressing song, although I wasn't quite sure what it was about. Some Googling found that wikipedia, songmeanings, and songfacts all had some interesting tidbits from interviews and concerts (interspersed with the usual population of clueless illiterates). I decided to make a handy dandy Custom Search Engine for the next time I need to do such a search. Try it out, it seems to work better than my other CSE attempts.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Colors and figures

(Emma's favorite was Cut)

I finally made it to the Whitney after two years of thinking I'd really like to go, now that there are two artists on exhibit I'd read about, Lawrence Weiner and Kara Walker. Both were as fascinating as I'd hoped. (I also liked the room in the regular collection that featured paintings of modern anxiety.) The profile of Kara Walker in the New Yorker was really interesting to me, since it mentioned how she had started out not thinking much about her race and then sort of grew into it. (Foolishly, I thew out the magazine assuming it would be online, and it's not. You can get a little bit of a sense of it in this interview and in the Times.)

It's not quite the same, but I find it sort of strange that this is the first time in my life I've had Indian friends or really referred to my ethnicity in everyday conversation (notably the ongoing battle with Neil, Ak, Vijay, and Rohit for most brown). I used to be annoyed I wasn't like everyone else, and just did my best to pretend I was, although somehow I was also annoyed if there were other Indians present, because then I wasn't special anymore. Maybe I'm just easily annoyed.

Not wanting to be thought of as Indian feels a bit like my friend's (can I say who you are, friend?) discomfort anytime someone discusses an Asian fetish. She's Asian, and I can sort of see why this sort of conversation might be troubling - it's sort of depersonalizing. I'd like to think that anyone attracted to me didn't just have an Indian fetish, but is that really so different than liking curly hair or a slim figure? (And shouldn't I just be glad someone's attracted to me at all?) I feel like in most cases these "fetishes" aren't really these mindless impersonal things, right?

Anyway, just wanted to put that out there. Say something interesting in the comments.

(Also, I wouldn't be really male without quickly switching the topic from emotions to technology, so... the Walker exhibit had some bits and pieces she'd typed on index cards. I really love the typewriter aesthetic, and the other week we were noticing how well magnetbox did (lcd soundsystem also has a good analog/kitsch vibe, though not so typewritery). After the exhibit, I started playing with trying to make Courier work harder programatically, rather than using fonts or Photoshop, but the best I could do in the moments I stole yesterday looks super-hokey and only works in Firefox. :( )

Thursday, November 1, 2007

New Notebook Version!

Just wanted to share my relief at getting a new version of Notebook out the door. It includes the ability to tag and sort notes and integrates with Google Bookmarks, features that people have been wanting since we launched a year and a half ago! It also includes (thanks to David's 20% time and Akshay's whining) the ability to export your Notebook maps into Map Shop. For example, I exported the final route of the Exponential Decay Bar Crawl.