Doppelgangers in Namespace

Being born with a name like mine puts you in a strange position: in most places, at most times, you are unique. I’ve met maybe three other Cassidys in my lifetime. One of them was a woman, which was more than a bit disturbing, because she waited tables at my favorite cafe for a few months. But in general, I go through life pretty sure that if someone says “Cassidy” they probably mean me.

On the intarwebs, though, everything is different. Namespace collapses all us Cassidys and Curtises into one great big hash. Last names, first names, hyphenated names, who cares? It’s all just text.

So I thought you might like to meet some of the people I’m not:

Curtis Cassidy is a Canadian rodeo star. He looks much better in a cowboy hat than I ever will.

Timothy Cassidy-Curtis is an aerospace engineer. He got his sur-surname from his wife, presumably sometime after I was born. However, I was not consulted in this decision.

Lucy Cassidy Curtis may have been the first person on record, born in 1910, to have both of my names. Luckily for me, she didn’t think to park the domain way back then.

Good to Eat Mountain

Good lord of bad translations! I haven’t laughed this hard since I don’t know when. I’ve always been a huge fan of good language turned bad, no matter what the source. I once ate at a restaurant in Brazil that offered “Homelike Candies”, “Soaked Gold in Pieces”, “Half Kilo of Meat of Male Goat Roasted in the Ember”, and my all-time favorite, “Meat Fudge”. That same trip, I made my first and most glorious mistake in Portuguese when I asked the coconut-seller for “three shit waters, please”. Much eye-rolling ensued. But no two languages are more awkwardly matched than English and Chinese.

I dare you to read the whole menu and see if you can finish it without weeping real tears.

If that doesn’t do it, this one may send you over the top.

Thanks to Dado for the link.

Snow in San Francisco?




Sleet on Twin Peaks

Originally uploaded by otherthings.

There were rumors of snow in San Francisco today! Unfortunately those of us with day jobs in the burbs couldn’t be here to witness it in action… but we drove up to the top of Twin Peaks tonight to see if there was anything left. All we found were remnants of a slushy sleety crust. But it was still quite a thing to see our breath and feel real ice crunching beneath our shoes!

even yet still more timelapse fun

The only thing better than brunch on a rainy Sunday is brunch with dear friends, hundred-year-old comics, the Puzzle, and a camera shooting timelapse. Taken at the Rodenbecks’ stylish and newly de-bachelorized pad. (This one is a half-second exposure every ten seconds. I may have to spring for a neutral-density filter so I can get longer exposures by daylight!)

more timelapse fun

Had a little fun with the remote timer at a friend’s birthday dinner last night… we ate at Foreign Cinema, a very nice restaurant where they project movies in the courtyard. The movie this evening was Koyaanisqatsi, so a little timelapse photography just seemed like the natural thing to do. I’m trying out YouTube for the first time to see how well it works. You can click the Play button above to see the movie, or link directly to the video here.

Renaming this blog

Looking over my last several entries I couldn’t help but notice a pattern of vivid, glowing, colorful things. I guess I just like the bright and shiny. And really, who doesn’t? But it reminded me of a phrase my friend David Oppenheimer told me years ago upon returning from a trip to Nepal. He had learned that the Nepali language has this interesting property, where a word can be pluralized or emphasized by repeating it, but changing the first letter. Like how in English, you can say “taxes, schmaxes!” Except that there’s a certain pattern to which letters change into which other letters. It was totally fascinating to a linguistics-minded kid like me. I’m probably misremembering the details, but it was cool.

Anyway, the example he used was the word rang, which means “color”. Double the word and change the first letter, and you get rangi-changi, which means “splendor, display”. The word cij, “thing”, becomes cij-bij, “things”. Put it all together, and you can make rangi-changi-cij-bij, which loosely translates to “a whole mess of colorful stuff”.

So that’s the new name of my blog. A whole mess of colorful stuff, transliterated crudely from Nepali to English so you can enjoy how it rolls off the tongue: Rungy Chungy Cheese Bees! Say it loud! Okay, maybe not that loud, people are staring.

Hacking the alphabet, sketchy-style.

caligraft_example.jpg

Here’s a project after my own heart. Ricard Marxer Piñón has been using the proce55ing language to make beautiful pseudo-calligraphic variations on your favorite TrueType fonts. His technique appears similar to the one I used for my Loose and Sketchy rendering style: a virtual pen loosely follows the outlines of the letters, sometimes overshooting as it rounds a corner, other times missing a turn completely. He’s done a nice job coming up with interesting variants on the physics of the simulation, and the results can look like anything from frenetic chicken-scratching to leaves drifting down a languid stream. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the interactive applets or the videos to work on my computer… but the still images look quite appealing!

(Thanks to Spot for the link.)

LED “Throwies”

led_throwies_small.jpg

Okay, this may be the coolest little hack I’ve ever seen, and simple enough that even a non-engineer like me could do it: LED “Throwies”, brought to us by Make Magazine. They’re basically little LED lights connected to a battery and a magnet, which you can attach to any ferromagnetic surface simply by tossing it at it. Ever wanted to see your name in lights? Now’s your chance! Be sure to check out the excellent video by Resistor and Fi5e.

(via BoingBoing.)

Cassidy Curtis's splendid display of colorful things.