A Month In

January 24, 2008

Originally posted to ydnar.vox.com in January 2008.

29 days ago, in a flash of brilliance with a bread knife and a slightly-stale bagel, I almost took off the end of my thumb. Well-drugged and stitched a few hours later, the immediate crisis was over. But what began was a few weeks of operating with half my opposable digits. I fumbled to pick up things and learned to press modifier keys with another finger, inadvertently writing whole sentences in a gimp substitution cipher. Other limbs substituted for missing abilities, and complex two-hand maneuvers such as opening spring-loaded door latches became new challenges.

Two weeks ago I took the stitches out. This was simultaneously fun and gross, the satisfaction of removing the black nylon thread from my thumbprint not unlike popping a big zit. I’d graduated to “normal” band-aids, the daily application of Neosporin being largely symbolic at this point—a huge scar is inevitable.

29 days later, I’m celebrating by trekking across Stockholm to the biggest climbing gym in Scandinavia. It’s been almost 2 months since I last climbed, and I’m really excited. Going to boulder a bit, and maybe find a climbing partner—hoping that “on belay” translates.

Minor Serendipity

January 23, 2008

Maia Hirasawa Buffeted by wind and the remains of yesterday’s snow, my breath visible as tiny crystallizing clouds, I was walking down Hornsgatan past exposed cliffs and Swedes making their day, back to my hotel on Långholmen when a beautiful voice drifted in, singing a song about Sweden. My iPod was set to shuffle, and while I’d heard the song before, I’d never paid attention to the lyrics until now. I shook my head a little bit, marveling at the tiny coincidence and kept walking, smiling.


January 23, 2008

I gots ten of them!

Crops for Green

January 23, 2008

Trio of biofuel articles this morning:

Via AP: Wrestling with environmental impact and food crop displacement in southeast Asia. In The Economist: Radically asymmetrical binding targets for emissions reduction, “carbon leakage” and cost in the EU. In the New York Times: Attempting to level the “other” carbon gap, tying biofuel subsidies to crops grown only in an environmentally friendly manner.


January 23, 2008

It’s not playing on this side of the pond yet, so I have to wait until I get back to San Francisco for a look. I do want to see it, though, despite numerous friends’ expressed hesitancy regarding J.J. Abrams. I liked Alias (the first few seasons, anyway), and Lost has been entertaining, if inconsistently good. Cloverfield makes a good trailer, and a good trailer does not bequeath good film—see Transformers, I Am Legend for recent evidence.

I’m going to see it with the expectation that it will suck, and that the handheld cinematography will pale next to the epic work in Children of Men. Deep down, maybe, I hope it won’t suck.


January 22, 2008

It hit me sometime after walking into a deserted replica of a midcentury military cafeteria, between handling a modern automatic rifle and its ancestor from WWI, and likely around the exhaustive display of killing hardware lined up in ordered blonde scandinavian cases. The prologue was a clinical comparison of the warring behaviors of chimpanzees and their tool-wielding genetic cousins. After stepping rapidly from Nordic and South American idols, their relationship to death, the textually dense displays waste no time gutting glorified depictions of battle. Its editorial patina diverges sharply from counterparts in the United States.

I was oddly reminded of The Wire: The descriptions’ writing was at once brilliantly thorough, in neutral voice, spending equal time detailing casualties as it did battles, kings and logistics of moving troops across Sweden, Russia and mainland Europe. After following the English version for half of the museum, I stopped reading and just wandered from room to room. The artifacts and dioramas carried the message too.

Maybe it wasn’t intended to be neutral at all. Maybe the result—my walking away being a bit more sickened by the idea of war—was what the creators meant all along.

Armémuseum - Riddargatan 13, Östermalm, Stockholm, Sweden.

Coachella 2008 Lineup

January 21, 2008

This year’s roster is an electronic wet dream. Filling out the lineup are Justice, Chromeo, Midnight Juggernauts, Cut Copy, Dan Deacon, The Streets, Hot Chip, Architecture in Helsinki, Kavinsky, New Young Pony Club, the Teenagers, M.I.A. and Portishead!

I suppose in a way it’s good. This helps the too-often choice of deciding between shows at home (singer-songwriter or local indie vs out-of-town electro band) a bit easier, if they’re going to be playing at Coachella.

Scene for Scene

January 20, 2008

While wandering the grounds of Kew Gardens under an aluminum sky—literally, planes landing at Heathrow flew over with a regularity approaching seconds ticking—this track, newly acquired and not previously listened to, drifted across my earbuds. I might have possibly leapt a little when I heard the lyrics, retooled by the original vocalists in français! It’s been remixed a fair amount, but this version steals my lt3.

Listen to Klaxons’ excellent As Above, So Below (French Version).

You Can Never Be Too Shallow

January 19, 2008

Stephanie lent me her crushingly fabulous 50mm f1.4 lens today:

Sebastien Tellier

January 19, 2008

Sebastien First this epic pic:

Then links to poppy sweet tunes!

(via Asian Dan)

Edit: Bonus link: Justice 2008 US tour!