First snow in a couple years.
Nine months into the pandemic, and we finally bought ourselves some painting supplies. Here's my output on the first go-round.
- Photo essay by Alec Soth on the inequality in Chicago.
- I was mesmerized watching this video of paper marbling craftsmen working in the 1960s.
- CHAI is the best newish band I've heard this year. Start by listening to absolutely everything they've released. Read this Pitchfork interview if you need further convincing.
- I'm excited to see what happens with Glass, "A community of photographers, amateur and professional alike." Currently awaiting my invite.
- A new code editor from Panic, looks promising.
- The WSJ has a great explainer for antifa. This is useful if someone you know has been misled by Fox or other disinfo networks.
- Neural Networks Create a Disturbing Record of Natural History in AI-Generated Illustrations by Sofia Crespo
- These images of natural history illustrations have been created by neural network AIs and they're beautiful.
- Why Chrome Is Bad. I wish I could delete this browser for good, but I need it for work. :/
- I love Wayne White's word paintings. Would absolutely love to do this Fanfuckingtastic puzzle someday.
Once this is added to enough browsers, I'll be one of the first to implement it! I have a masonry layout for my portfolio using jquery, but there's a bug with it. Often, the images all load scrunched up at the top. I've made adjustments which fix it, but only for a while, and then it starts happening again. Can't wait for this alignment to be possible with a single line in my CSS.
My Twitter feed has slowly been filling with more design and development chatter. Less politics. It's a very noticeable difference, and so very welcome. If I were to unfollow all the lawyers and reporters I followed these last four years, I bet it would even feel more like 2016, again.
Of course, I should probably just leave Twitter altogether. I know I know.
John posted this Isaac Asimov quote on Daring Fireball, and it's worth sharing further:
There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge”
The current state of this country leads one to assume a quote like this is a partisan attack. It's not. But it does accurately describe the position a troubling number of Americans have taken.
On Saturday, November 7th, Lisa and I stepped out to visit the bank before taking a train into the city. Time was about 11:30am. As we approached the bank door, we heard a scream. Then some honking. And then some light clapping. A few cheers. It dawned on us pretty quickly that the election had been called. Within a few minutes, Smith St. Brooklyn became a party, as did the streets all over NYC and the country. Everyone was coming out of their homes and filling the sidewalks. Bells were rung in Paris. Fireworks were set off in London. Someone joked that Earth had "real Endor energy" and they weren't wrong. I honestly can't remember ever feeling so relieved. It was real joy.
The last four years were very difficult to live through. Awful things were happening on a weekly basis. And not just sad, unhelpful policy, but deeply damaging actions by the Trump Administration that hurt Americans in every corner of the country. I don't think it's worth listing out here the crimes and officialized bigotry. There's just too much.
For a late lunch on Saturday, Lisa and I ate outdoors. The cheers and the honking had relaxed a bit, but they weren't over. That audible hum of jubilation that had permeated the city had died down as we settled into the news. That night, we watched Kamala Harris and Joe Biden give their victory speeches. On Sunday, we relaxed outdoors in our makeshift yard in beautiful and warm November weather. It felt so good knowing that America had not completely broken, that we will be entering a time of healing.
What's next is what's next. For now, we're celebrating.
The last two days have been beautiful in NYC. Inside and out.
Stanley Crouch died a few days ago. He was a good man.
When I remember my barista years, Stanley is the first person who comes to mind. How could he not? He was the most regular of regulars. His home was a few doors down from the café, and he'd stroll in nearly every day. Some days twice or more. He'd enter slowly, taking note of which neighbors were inside (he knew everyone). When he reached the counter, he'd quietly lean on it, eying me down. I'd eye him down too, knowing there was something on his mind. There always was.
I'm terrible at remembering exact conversations, but he'd ask my opinion on political news of the day, or about some movie he'd just watched, or about the books he was reading. Philosophical questions as often as trivial ones. I was a backboard for him to bounce ideas off of; one of many, I'm sure. He really did seem to value my opinion, though never hesitated to let me know when he thought I was wrong. The back and forth was the important thing to him. What I learned from Stanley was how to get more from a conversation by giving more.
We laughed a lot, too. Like me, his resting mood was a calm attentiveness, yet always quick to laugh if there was something funny in the moment. One day, he came in saying, "Ornette loved that joke you told yesterday," meaning Ornette Coleman. They were close friends. I wish I remember what it was I had joked about, but it doesn't matter. What mattered to me at the time was that I felt like a participant in a bigger community. Stanley made me understand I was a real person in the real world. I'm not sure it was his intention, but he gave me a source of confidence I had been lacking.
It had been so long since I'd run into him, nearly a decade, that I assumed he had moved. Maybe to Los Angelos, where his daughter had been living. I'm sad I won't see him again.
Before I left my gig at the café, he gifted me a copy of his novel with a kind — and funny — inscription. It will always be a nice momento. Rest in peace, Stanley.