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Best quote from Paper Magazine's recent interview with designer and strategist David Gensler:

The British got it right when they invented punk rock. Fashion and youth culture are supposed to go hand in hand, and fashion and youth culture are supposed to push up against the mainstream and challenge it, and where do you see that? The darling of the fashion world, Alex Wang, makes black T-shirts.

If you buy a 500 dollar T-shirt, then the proceeds from that T-shirt better go towards building a school somewhere.

We have no punk rock, New York has no punk rock. The mindset of rebellion -- we've lost it. The youth no longer want to rebel, they want to stand in line. They want to just stand there like in the army and wear a uniform.

Yes on the ridiculousness of $500 t-shirts, and yes on how most people just want to wear a uniform. It's rather depressing to click through street style blogs from everywhere and everywhere only to find everyone photographed, whether they're in their teens, twenties, and thirties, is dressed pretty much exactly the same. I see really interesting outfits all the time here in New York—not outrageous, mind you, but interesting in a day-to-day way that never seems to make it onto street style blogs, and so I'm beginning to wonder how much of that is bloggers feeling like they have to match what they photograph and post to the current prevailing aesthetic.

Also: how much of that is because all the street style blogs I've encountered are either from North America or Europe, or from Asia but clearly looking West? I'd love to see blogs from Asia or Africa with a fresh local points of view, but where do I even go to start finding them?

January 31, 2012 4:05 PM comments (0)

Bo the English Bulldog insists on sitting in a box that's much too small for him:

[via Laughing Squid ]

January 31, 2012 1:22 PM comments (0)

"Uwe Boll has confirmed that the film will have a time travel story where Dolph Lundgren will play a former military officer who is attacked by ninjas and sent through a time vortex where he gets stuck in medieval times. Boll has also gone on to confirm that a dragon will be included in the film." I really need to see In the Name of the King 2, obviously. (I saw the first installment in the theater!)

January 30, 2012 4:20 PM comments (0)

I've never thought myself much of a romantic, and I don't think anyone who knows me well would either, but then how else would you explain my fervent teenage belief in writer's block? My first full-time job, writing for high profile, very high traffic site, quickly disabused me of this notion, as we were all expected to produce twelve pieces minimum each every single day. It was excruciating, and I was pretty unhappy at the time, but it cured me of ever thinking I couldn't sit down on any given day and chip away at something. [1]

Anyway, as a lifelong knowledge worker whose friends are mostly lifelong knowledge workers, I've always found Henry Miller's commandments (from Henry Miller on Writing to be helpful. (I'm still not as productive as I'm capable of day-to-day, nor as prolific as I should be, but I do get better year after year at working with pleasure!)

COMMANDMENTS
  1. Work on one thing at a time until finished.
  2. Start no more new books, add no more new material to "Black Spring."
  3. Don't be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
  4. Work according to Program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time!
  5. When you can't create you can work.
  6. Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers.
  7. Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.
  8. Don't be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only.
  9. Discard the Program when you feel like it—but go back to it the next day. Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude.
  10. Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.
  11. Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards.

Bonus! People share Miller's commandments all the time, but the next section is just as important to work/life balance, especially for freelancers—and most especially for introvert work-at-home freelancers such as myself, for whom making the time to socialize can require a lot of effort.

DAILY PROGRAM

MORNINGS:

If groggy, type notes and allocate, as stimulus.
If in fine fettle, write.

AFTERNOONS:
Work on section in hand, following plan of section scrupulously. No intrusions, no diversions. Write to finish one section at a time, for good and all.

EVENINGS:
See friends. Read in cafés.
Explore unfamiliar sections—on foot if wet, on bicycle, if dry.
Write, if in mood, but only Minor program.
Paint if empty or tired.
Make Notes. Make Charts, Plans. Make corrections of MS.

Note: Allow sufficient time during daylight to make an occasional visit to museums or an occasional sketch or an occasional bike ride. Sketch in cafés and trains and streets. Cut the movies! Library for references once a week.

The only improvement I'd make to Miller's daily program is to get a dog—if you live in a city, having a dog both makes it easy to get regular exercise and be social, because taking a dog for a walk instantly means you'll meet a lot of people in your neighborhood. [2]

[1] Having said that, while writer's block doesn't exist, the zone does. Working with people who never get there, and thus have no respect for it, make getting shit done hard by doing stupid things like organizing meetings in the middle of the day. Most meetings are pointless.

[2] The last time my mom came to visit me here in New York, she wondered why people kept waving at me while we walked around my micro neighborhood on the Lower East Side: "Are you the mayor or something?" I explained that everyone knew me because they were all Friends of Jarvis.

January 30, 2012 1:22 PM comments (0)

My favorite bits from the Wikipedia entry for the ellipsis, which I'd somehow never read till today:

  • from the Ancient Greek: ἔλλειψις, élleipsis, "omission" or "falling short"
  • The triple-dot punctuation mark is also called a suspension point, points of ellipsis, periods of ellipsis, or colloquially, dot-dot-dot.
  • In reported speech, the ellipsis is sometimes used to represent an intentional silence, perhaps indicating irritation, dismay, shock or disgust. This usage is more common amongst younger, Internet-savvy generations.
  • When applied in Polish language syntax, the ellipsis is called wielokropek, which means "multidot".
  • As the Japanese word for dot is pronounced "ten", the dots are colloquially called "ten-ten-ten" (てんてんてん, akin to the English "dot dot dot").
  • As a device, the ten-ten-ten is intended to focus the reader on a character while allowing the character to not speak any dialogue. This conveys to the reader a focus of the narrative "camera" on the silent subject, implying an expectation of some motion or action. It is not unheard of to see inanimate objects "speaking" the ellipsis.
  • Although an ellipsis is technically complete with three periods (...), its rise in popularity as a "trailing-off" or "silence" indicator, particularly in mid-20th century comic strip and comic book prose writing, has led to expanded uses online.

And because I'm not afraid to be servicey: instead of using three periods in a row, hit option + ; on a Mac or alt + 0133 on Windows to get a proper single character ellipsis and save yourself two whole characters on your next tweet. You're welcome!

January 27, 2012 2:51 PM comments (0)

This tweet made me laugh out loud for real the other day:

  1. Note that there are very few vegan-friendly Filipino dishes—the Philippines is, after all, a country where vegetarians barely exist, and the few that do routinely get asked things like "but you still eat pork, right?", because pork is really fucking delicious and why would you ever stop eating it if you can afford it?
  2. Man, homonyms are the best.
  3. If you want to know more about longganisa, the always amazing Market Manila has you covered: from recipes for longganisa and longganisang hubad a la Market Man, to a post on Vigan longganisa, to the strange beauty of longganisa burps.
  4. If you're in New York and want to get your hands on longganisa: I've seen some for sale at Asia Market and Han May in Manhattan Chinatown, a bunch of the Filipino groceries in Woodside like Phil-Am Foods carry longganisa as well, and apparently (I haven't been yet, but I'm very curious) the new-ish Maharlika in the East Village has it on their menu.
January 23, 2012 9:46 AM comments (0)

I've recently had cause to refresh everything installed onto my Macbook Pro, which got me thinking about the applications I love and use the most. The first five apps I immediately download and install onto any computer I have to work on are:

  • Jumpcut is a super minimalist clipboard buffering application that I've been using since 2003. It's easily my favorite application of all time, as it's saved my ass multiple times a day every day since I first installed it. You should get it!
  • Alfred lets you easily launch applications and search your computer or the web for anything. I used to use Quicksilver for this, but I've found that Alfred does the trick quicker and better.
  • Chrome is Google's browser, which I use because it loads pages faster than any other browser, lets you search in the address bar, and perhaps most importantly for my needs, it can handle having a gazillion tabs open in multiple windows at the same time for months at a time without constantly crashing on me like both Safari and Firefox are prone to doing.
  • Postbox Express is my favorite mail client [1], which says a lot since I've been dissatisfied by every single OS X option available to me since I left Windows—and Pegasus Mail!—behind over a decade ago. I use privately-hosted IMAP for my primary email (instead of Gmail like most people do) partly because I'm paranoid and don't want my entire life living on Google's servers, and partly because I find myself far more productive with a desktop email interface. It just does everything I want it to do.
  • Meteorologist lives in the menu bar and keeps you updated on current and future weather; it balances having a stripped-down view and being fully-featured better than all of the other current menu bar weather applications [2]. I walk a LOT, and like being appropriately dressed for whatever temperature it is outside, so this app is key for me!
  • Fraise is a super simple text editor. Everyone needs one, even if you don't work with many text files and so don't think you do, and this is the one I like best. [3]

A few other applications I use and love: the Last.fm scrobbler, for tracking the music I've been listening to over the past few years; Flickr Uploadr, for when I have a huge bunch of photos to upload to Flickr; VLC, the best media player for OS X; Transmission, the best torrent client; Paparazzi, for taking screenshots of webpages; Dock Dodger, for disabling dock icons of apps that are assholes about not letting you choose to keep them in the menu bar; Dockdrop lets you drop files onto its icon and immediately uploads them via ftp/webdav/Flickr; and everyone's favorite, Dropbox, for syncing shared folders to the cloud. What apps do you recommend?

[1] I'm sure Postbox 3 is fantastic, and I'd be more than happy to pay for an upgrade to it in the future if I need to, but Postbox Express currently meets all my needs.

[2] I switched to Meteorologist after WeatherDock 2, which I loved, stopped working, and might eventually switch to WeatherDock 3 when it eventually comes out if it's like the previous version.

[3] Fraise is based on version two of Smultron, before the latter's developer first stopped developing it and disappeared, and then reappeared, closed source, and started selling it. I might consider switching to Smultron 4 once I upgrade to Lion.

January 22, 2012 4:42 PM comments (4)

This video demonstrating the stability of a brown owl's head is seriously the best thing:

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go stand in front of my bathroom mirror and pretend to be a brown owl for the next half hour. TTYL!

November 2, 2011 1:17 PM comments (0)

I spend less than 20 minutes a month on the phone, and those minutes are usually spent doing either of two things: 1) ordering food, or 2) trying to get directions to find someone at a pre-arranged meeting place. I hate talking on the phone for pretty much anything that can be done more efficiently through sms or email, and I really resent most people who call me when I'm not expecting their call and it's not an emergency. So obviously it's not a surprise why this recent comment by villanelles at dawn on Ask Metafilter explaining why phone calls suck really resonated with me:

Because phone calls are incredibly presumptuous! You're basically inviting yourself unannounced into their home or wherever they may be at the moment. If phones had been invented after email they'd be regarded as the greatest social crime imagineable. Phones are useful for many things but I don't think you're crazy for preferring email for catching up with someone, it's an excellent way to communicate a large amount of information. Email (or a text) says "Here is what I have to say, consider it and respond when you can," a phone call says "TALK TO ME NOW, TALK TO ME NOW. I AM IN YOUR HOUSE TALK TO ME NOW" Not everyone thinks this way though so you're going to get some friction, but that doesn't mean you're wrong.

Related hateful things: people that leave me voicemail even though my voicemail message says I never ever listen to my voicemail so please text or email me instead; people that call you multiple times when you don't or can't pick up instead of just texting or email to let you know why they're calling and why you should return their call; people that make long phone calls on public transportation; people that make any phone calls in restaurants.

October 25, 2011 2:28 PM comments (0)

I mentioned in my last post that Movable Type doesn't have pagination built in, which is only slightly untrue—someone at Six Apart did actually put together a guide to enabling pagination for version 4.3 onwards, except that a) it's a pain in the ass to get working, and b) what it's actually doing isn't pagination-as-you-expect, but using search scripts to do the job. What? No. And again, it's unacceptable that pagination doesn't just work out of the box, since it's a feature everyone now considers basic.

Anyway, I wanted pagination for my front page here and in my archives (which will be up at some point), so I spent a few minutes yesterday getting Alden Bates' Paged Archives 1.4 plugin working on my 5.1 install. The only thing I really had to do to get it work the way I wanted was have it spit out the page numbers/links within <li>, so I could style them within an unordered list. All I had to do for that was replace lines 230-231 of pagedarchives.pl with:

$pagelist.=$spacer.'<li><a href="'.$filename.'">'.$pagetext.'</a></li>' if($ii != $pagenum);
$pagelist.=$spacer.'<li class="pagination-current">'.$pagetext.'</li>' if($ii == $pagenum);
October 17, 2011 1:49 PM comments (0)