December 2009 Archives


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Quite some time ago, I mentioned a hair brained scheme: a sort of hyper-purist, pseudo-lambic beer. Here's more on that topic. The idea, which I've been batting around since a good while before the previous post, is to do a beer full of buzzwords. Vegan, Organic, Reinheitsgebot compliant, lambic and to a certain extent, vertically integrated. That's vertically integrated not to the extent of distribution, but to the extent of ingredients. And yes, that means grain fields. The beer would be lambic to the extent that pollen would be introduced through louvred walls in the brewery. Needless to say, it's likely to never happen, or to take a pretty long time if it does actually see the light of day. In the meantime, I'm playing to my strengths. It has a name (Mertgart) and a logo (below). Colour variations of the logo are shown. I'm still not sure which one I like.


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Today, a somewhat clip art-y seaplane. A little late in the day, but better late than never.

Old timey hockey player

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From the grand old days when hockey players wore real sweaters, sticks were made of wood and everything was in black and white: a distressingly clip-arty hockey player.

Sitting alone

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Every time I'm in a public space equipped with tables, I think about the inefficiency. More often than not, tables for two or four are taken up by solitary people. Every table in a given food court or coffee shop can be occupied, with none fully or even half occupied.

Sure, there are existing solutions. There's the raised bar with stools. But the bar has its own issues. For one, it turns the diner or drinker into a spectacle, raised and placed on the periphery. It also falls prey to what I like to think of as the subway problem: if there are three seats next to each other on the subway, the middle one is invariably the last to fill. Strangers just don't want to sit next to each other. The same goes for bars in eating areas. Half the seats go unfilled because solitary diners are loathe to make contact with each other.

Today, I've got two solutions to attach to this problem. The first is the half table. I'm talking about tables that are half the usual width, maybe two feet. Line them up in rows, like a classroom, with one chair each. You'll get rows of solitary eaters, staring at each others' backs, taking up less space and (hopefully) leaving quad tables for larger groups.

My second solution addresses the sitting together issue. Even if there are four seats, even if there are no vacant tables, people are unwilling to plunk themselves down at the table of a stranger. But that can be fixed. Imagine a large, square table with the usual four chairs. The difference is that this table is divided on its diagonals by thin walls a few feet high. This divides the table into four separate, triangular eating areas. Think of it as cubicles for eating.

Of course, all of this does nothing to address the underlying issue of isolation. Maybe it's a problem that people don't want to be together, want to pretend no one else is watching them eat. Even so, I think that problem is too big to be solved in a half hour food court lunch break.

Disembodied dress 4

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Another dress sans wearer.

I hope I don't see anyone I know

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I've been thinking about it and have come to the conclusion that the phrase "I hope I don't see anyone I know" is profoundly flawed. We think or utter this phrase out of worry, because we hope that by not seeing anyone we know, we can avoid embarrassment. (I know there may be other reasons, but this post deals with the embarrassment factor.)

My conclusion is that there's no reason to be embarrassed. Why? If you're doing something which causes you to hope no one you know is there to see you doing it, you must perceive the activity to be embarrassing, wrong, or somehow out of character. (What spurred me to think about this was a trip to the mall. Very out of character.)

But here's the good part. There are two likely outcomes. If you do see someone you know, and if they also perceive the action/location to be embarrassing, then they, too are guilty. The two of you have equal leverage. You both know something embarrassing about the other. You both keep the secret for your own sake.

The other scenario is more pleasant. It's quite possible (like in my mall experience) that the person you know will take the location/activity to be completely normal. S/he enjoys visiting/doing it, which means that it should seem completely normal that you do, too. Your stock rises in the eyes of your observer. S/he perceives you to be more a member of her/his tribe than before the encounter. Win.

In short, it's a flawed sentence, provided that it's uttered out of fear of embarrassment. Whether through mutual squeamishness or increased affect, you avoid negative judgement. As I said before, win.

Imperfect Snowflake

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It's two for the price of one in terms of fast illustrations today. Below, a snowflake which is absolutely and concertedly not perfect.

Disembodied dress 3

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Continuing the series of disembodied dresses, here's the aptly named Disembodied Dress 3.