in simplest terms …

February 23rd, 2004 § 0 comments § permalink

i have also fallen madly in love with my handwriting and have spent the last hour scribbling thoughts on paper with a mechanical pencil–i only mention the mechanical pencil because for the duration of the past hour it was just as much of my social output as i was. i have grown rather fond of mechanical pensils over this hour. over this hour i have decided to buy a proper mechanical pencil that can hold its lead in a sturdy enough grip to allow long arcs with the sharp pencil tip without rotation and minimal breakage.

san francisco european city

February 16th, 2004 § 0 comments § permalink

one of the seminars i’m attending this term is called the modern city. the following is an idea trajectory i shared with the class last week, and now i share with you.

for practical reasons in the distant past, walls were built around cities. these walls also acted as areal contraints on the growth of the urban center. technical limitations prevented vertical growth. expansion was a prolem solved by creativity and increased complexity and “fractalness” within the limited area (as opposed to an urban sprawl.) the result is what is today a feast for the eyes.

having spent the past weekend in san francisco, in constrast to the last half year in europe, i realized just how european san francisco feels. keeping the last thought in mind, it is possible to formulate a hypothesis. while san francisco is not surrounded by walls, on three sides it is surrounded by water. vertical expansion is capped by earthquakes. these are the necessary conditions for increased complexity, and that is exactly what you get.

of course, we can theorize about san francisco without end; this is merely one observation.

Had a Hitchcock moment today

February 3rd, 2004 § 0 comments § permalink

while working at my desk, i was startled by something large smashing into my window. when i turned my head, i was staring into the eyes of pigeon in an unnatural flight position — prostrate in a cloud of its own plumage. it was a strong gust of wind and several feathers were already cascading onto my floor when the bird regained its composure at positive altitude and returned safely to the trees.

as they tend to, this shock reminded me of another, such, inexplicable moment. a bird rammed its beak into my head during the summer of 2002 (the day before my 21st birthday). i neither taunted or threatened it — in fact, i did nothing at all to deserve this — the worst i could be indicted of was a peaceful stroll along chicago’s waterfront while talking to kris. he’s a witness.

and what doesn’t the wind bring? it has been severe and whistling past our ears for a third day and counting. this was recorded yesterday:

on an occasional nighttime stroll through cambridge, leaning thick into a gust of wind, for a fleeting second i caught an unmistakable scent of the sea.