I took today and tomorrow off to keep a friend company post-surgery, avoid Halloween madness at work, have some sewing time, and get some fall cleaning done. (As you can tell by Doc’s note, he is very excited to help with cleaning. Toby was very excited to impede the sewing time.) So far, so good–the weather has stayed near 60 degrees and sunny for most of October. No complaints here.
Posts by Karen Kaminski:
1. This visualization of a later Beethoven quartet is really well done and completely mesmerizing:
2. Also intriguing: The Gay Architects of Classic Rock.
3. And finally, The Toast–beloved misandrist website–isn’t publishing any more but the archives are still there, and I used their “How to Buy a Car Without Interacting With a Human” this week to help my Sunday Night Conversations friend get a new car.
We did have to interact with the dealer because I knew my friend needed to see the car to be convinced I had obtained the correct one for him, but we ended up walking out of the dealer when they didn’t want to honor the price given in my email exchanges because my friend was paying cash “and that price included a discount for using dealer financing.”
Reader, on the way home from walking out, I got a call from the dealer that actually they could honor that super discounted price after all and my friend gets the keys today. As the article says, “You have forced men to the breaking point and beyond. You are a feminist hero. Play Liz Phair very loudly on the trip home.” I DID.
From Jake Likes Onions:
I was just telling Doc how lucky we’ve been to stay employed and have things like houses and cars (and how it all depends on staying healthy and able to work).
Here’s a long article from The Guardian about how “Google, Twitter and Facebook workers who helped make technology so addictive are disconnecting themselves from the internet” and the alarming state of the “attention economy.”
I didn’t get a smartphone until about 2013 but I can’t imagine life without it now. I use Maps more than I need to. I love the text string I have going with my girlfriends. I love Instagram, which I tell myself is somehow better than Facebook even though it’s the same company with the same goals. But after I read this, I’ve kept my phone more out of reach than it usually is. Is it time to delete some apps, too? Probably.
The whole article is worth your time–here’s a selection of terrifying quotes:
[The best app design] exploits the same psychological susceptibility that makes gambling so compulsive: variable rewards. When we tap those apps with red icons, we don’t know whether we’ll discover an interesting email, an avalanche of “likes”, or nothing at all. It is the possibility of disappointment that makes it so compulsive.
It’s this that explains how the pull-to-refresh mechanism, whereby users swipe down, pause and wait to see what content appears, rapidly became one of the most addictive and ubiquitous design features in modern technology. “Each time you’re swiping down, it’s like a slot machine,” [former Google employee Tristan] Harris says. “You don’t know what’s coming next. Sometimes it’s a beautiful photo. Sometimes it’s just an ad.”
This was great:
“Facebook and Google assert with merit that they are giving users what they want,” [venture capitalist Roger] McNamee says. “The same can be said about tobacco companies and drug dealers.”
I’ve read/talked a little about this before:
James Williams does not believe talk of dystopia is far-fetched. The ex-Google strategist who built the metrics system for the company’s global search advertising business, he has had a front-row view of an industry he describes as the “largest, most standardised and most centralised form of attentional control in human history”.
The same forces that led tech firms to hook users with design tricks, he says, also encourage those companies to depict the world in a way that makes for compulsive, irresistible viewing. “The attention economy incentivises the design of technologies that grab our attention,” he says. “In so doing, it privileges our impulses over our intentions.”
That means privileging what is sensational over what is nuanced, appealing to emotion, anger and outrage. The news media is increasingly working in service to tech companies, Williams adds, and must play by the rules of the attention economy to “sensationalise, bait and entertain in order to survive”.
Not to make light of this, but by the second time I read the whole article I had John Denver in my head: “Blow up your TV, throw away your paper…” Maybe blow up your smartphone too?
Boy, once you get a serger and a Wawak Sewing industrial supply catalog, you can really go off the deep end. Because you’re making a pair of pants a week, so you want the pattern to stay out, but the pieces are too long for your pinboard, so you spy an item called a “pattern hook” in the Wawak catalog, then you look up how real tailors use them (last picture), and then you start looking at IKEA storage cubes and hanging racks, and before you know it you’ve given a mouse a cookie and reorganized your sewing room.
I mean “atelier.”
The skinny bookshelf on the right used to be where the storage cube is now with just empty space in the corner, so this is a far better use of the room. The hanging bar is really great for works-in-progress and PDF patterns I use a lot, and the boxes in the cube hold more PDF patterns (in kraft mailing envelopes), notions, buttons, and, ahem, extra fabric.
These last few weeks before the time change, when the mornings are so dark until almost 8:00, are tough. (The weeks after the time change are also tough because suddenly 7:00 pm feels like midnight because it’s been dark for hours. I think we have a theme here.)
Here’s a poem to fit that theme.
Lines Written In The Days of Growing Darkness
by Mary Oliver
Every year we have been
witness to it: how the
into a rich mash, in order that
it may resume.
who would cry out
to the petals on the ground
knowing as we must,
how the vivacity of what was is married
to the vitality of what will be?
I don’t say
it’s easy, but
what else will do
if the love one claims to have for the world
So let us go on, cheerfully enough,
this and every crisping day,
though the sun be swinging east,
and the ponds be cold and black,
and the sweets of the year be doomed.
We successfully put the pet bed heater in Oliver’s little house and we bought him the extra-large dog house that Doc is now calling his “mansion.” Ultimately the little house will rotate 90 degrees and move into the mansion, which will keep his food under cover when the weather gets bad.
He didn’t mind the heater in his little house at all this time; we put it in Friday night (so I could supervise on Saturday) and he was in there Saturday morning. He didn’t move until nine o’clock–a good hour and a half past when he usually wakes up.
I am so delighted that Oliver is warm that I don’t even mind that the back deck now looks like a kitty tent city. Moral: it’s a short, slippery slope to cat lady-dom.
I thought I had outgrown the need to buy whatever new and popular release was out there from fabric designers (remember all the Amy Butler madness of the early 2000s?) but apparently I am still susceptible. I saw the April Rhodes blog tour for her line “Arizona After” and thought, “Hey, that orange rayon is nice.”
Because all I want to make are pants, I made another pair of Hudsons, thinking the drape of the rayon would be good with the pattern. It’s drapey for sure–but it wrinkles terribly, and there’s no dark color or twill weave to hide that fact (unlike the black pair I made).
Wrinkling aside, these sewed up with no problems and I think I’m going to love them–just maybe not as a four-season pant like I first thought. Like the fabric’s namesake, I think they’re going to work best in the heat, with Birkenstocks and a t-shirt and long summer evenings.