Stuff from June, 2008

This is the archive of tumbledry happenings that occurred on June, 2008.

Shop with Red Door

Shop with Red Door

Black House

Black House

Row houses with nice flowers.

Amsterdam House Boat

Amsterdam House Boat

Interior Detail of Rembrandt’s House

Interior Detail of Rembrandt’s House

Amsterdam Street Light

Amsterdam Street Light

House Boats and Canal

House Boats and Canal

Newer Towers

Newer Towers

Old and New

Old and New

The newer portion of the Sagrada Família is in the foreground, the older style from the early 1900s in the background.

Morning Sun

Morning Sun

The sunrise around the newer end of the cathedral.

Oil Prices

James Duncan Davidson, the photographer, is also a good writer. His latest, Surprised about Oil Prices? Really?, has some good (scary, too) points:

$4/gallon gas is definitely here in a big way and that’s going to have major impact on America’s suburban lifestyle. And, as a kicker, the news people are running around talking about experts and ordinary citizens being surprised. Surprised?

How the hell can you be surprised about this? Really?


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Sagrada Sculptures

Sagrada Sculptures

Buy vs. Rent

A stupendous interactive infographic in the New York Times titled Is It Better to Buy or Rent? allows you to twiddle the dials of interest rates, appreciation, rent increases, taxes, and etc. to see when it makes more economic sense to buy rather than rent.

Worst Company in America

Cast your vote for the worst company in America; this is the first part of the battle: Worst Company In America “Sweet 16”: Comcast VS Ticketmaster.


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Betrayed with a Kiss

Betrayed with a Kiss

lol Printer

Your document could not finish printing. There is a cat in the way.

Your New Twin Sized Bed

Another good song from Death Cab for Cutie’s latest album Narrow Stairs.

You look so defeated lying there in your new twin size bed
With a single pillow underneath your single head
I guess you decided that that old queen was more space than you would need
Now it’s in the alley behind your apartment with a sign that says it’s free


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Gaffigan Quote

The vicissitudes of life dictate that one is single at some point. Jim Gaffigan, with some observations:

I like being married, I hated being single. The worst is when you would ask someone out and then they would shoot you down, yeah. ‘Cause really what they’re saying is, “You know what, I don’t even feel like eating a free meal around you. You make me want to go on a diet.”


Bronze Doors

Bronze Doors

These doors were solid bronze; they were the first things you passed through on the tour of this cathedral, which is still being built today.

Macs and Dentistry

Mark Friedman, DDS uses Macs to enhance his dental practice in a wide variety of ways. Apple profiled this dentist and outlines the advantages that his approach affords.

“The implications are countless,” he continues. “Say my hygienist detects a speckled white spot in a patient’s mouth during a prophylaxis. She can capture it, at differing magnification levels, right into iMovie. Then, while the patient’s still having his teeth cleaned, an assistant can share the automatically compressed video file with an oral surgeon via e-mail. iMovie also lets us export a still image that we adjust in iPhoto and send to our color photo printer. So by the time our patient leaves, we know whether the surgeon wants a biopsy now or prefers to re-check it in a week.


Tree Columns

Tree Columns

The columns are modeled after trees — they are absolutely stunning in person.

Get Smart

This Get Smart trailer gives me high hopes for the movie, which opens next weekend. Incidentally, two weekends from now, Wall•E and Wanted both open.


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I love something unsustainable. It’s damaging, unrealistic, divorced from reality, and yet I love it all the same. The multitude of indisputable facts, which should corrode my fondness for the object of my love, still fail to tarnish the image in my mind. I’m subject to the delusion of addiction, I suppose.


Tree Columns Again

Tree Columns Again

I wish I had taken a wide angle lens, but alas, this was the best I could do.


Listen to the song Good Intentions by DoubtingParis at Last.fm. It’s very good. You’ll enjoy it.

Let me know if you do not enjoy it. We’ll work on it.

Heath Bar Shake

The “Unhealthiest Drink in America” is the Baskin Robbin’s Large Heath Bar Shake. It has more calories than the DAILY RECOMMENDED VALUE for all food intake.

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Eastern Cathedral End

Eastern Cathedral End

Sunrise filters through to backlight a sculpture in the eastern end of the Sagrada Família.

Tiger Woods Birdie Putt

The U.S. Open was this weekend. It was supposed to be done today, until Tiger Woods started putting together some ridiculous golf Saturday and today. I was watching yesterday, and Tiger was making everything. EVERYTHING. He chipped from just beyond the fringe, and the ball freaking HIT THE FLAG POLE and dropped in. That’s crazy. Makes the field he’s playing against freaked out. Anyhow, the big news today was this Rocco Mediate, who lives and breathes the U.S. Open. His is being billed as a “Cinderella Story” by the networks, because Mediate hasn’t won much in a long time and now he’s coming out of essentially nowhere to challenge, as he says, “the number one player on grass.”


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The Old End

The Old End

This is the older end of the cathedral, completed while Gaudí was still alive. The stonework simultaneously evokes the heavy Gothic style and yet the proportions and naturalistic bent of the decorations also pull in the Catalan Modernisme movement.

Picture Editing

I’m still working on editing down those European trip pictures. I am unbelievably busy taking care of dental school and other things, but I’m sure I will get these things posted.

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Ze Frank and Aphorisms

Ze Frank doesn’t need a weekday video to continue his brilliance:

Then “Respect The Time You Are Given” gave me a push. That lasted for about as long as it took me to jot it down. For the moment I am hooked on “What Would The Hero You Do?”. When I start to feel lazy or trapped I think of a perfect version of myself and try to imagine what he would be doing right then and there. I don’t always emulate him (my pecs aren’t big enough), but it serves me well…for now.


Trumpeters on the Old End

Trumpeters on the Old End

Modeled after the stone masons and their relatives who worked on the cathedral.

Parents Work for their Children

Our parents: “When You Weren’t Looking, They Were Working” by Ben Stein:

You were born on third base and your parents put you there, and you think you hit a triple. It’s not true. It’s time to give back.


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Sagrada Interior

Sagrada Interior

Abdoulaye Wade

Here’s a man that time forgot… not in a historical sense, but in the sense of doing any actual aging. Abdoulaye Wade is the president of the historically stable but deeply troubled country of Senegal. Look at his picture in that first link. Just look at his picture and then switch back here.


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Sketch of Modern End

Sketch of Modern End

In the Future…

I am just so unbelievably excited to own my own business fixing people’s teeth, I can barely stand it. If you’re in the Twin Cities area five years from now, and your tooth hurts, please do look me up.

But seriously, I am SO EXCITED.

On Recycling

Not so long ago, somebody looked at the heaps of tennis shoes and car tires piling up in landfills and thought “we can grind these up and sell the pieces!” Since then, these useful scrap rubber bits have been employed in a variety of ways, including replacement for gravel on playgrounds.


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Prototype Head

Prototype Head

Sagrada Workshop

Sagrada Workshop

Here’s one the most amazing parts of the whole tour: the cathedral is still under construction, so a small cadre of artists and craftsmen continue their work under the eyes of tourists. One critical component of Gaudí’s method was the use of plaster models — this workshop continues to produce those models so construction can continue.


Another Sketch

Another Sketch

Force Modeling

Force Modeling

Here’s a quick physics idea: compression forces can be modeled as tension forces. And that’s exactly what Gaudí did in order to get the angles of his fantastic arches correct.

Take a close look at what’s going on here — this is a photograph that has been turned upside down.


Love and Mortality

James McConkey’s essay “What Kind of Father Am I?” is in the latest edition of The American Scholar. An excerpt:

Without mortality—that is, if we lived forever, uncaring of the ticking of clocks—would we have need of religion, of families with children for a new generation, of dreams for a better future? Wouldn’t scientists lose their urgency to discover, artists to create? Without my ever-keener awareness of Jean’s and my mortality, I certainly wouldn’t be writing this account in my 87th year. And what about love? As lyrical expressions, sonnets typically represent the poet’s personal emotions. One sonnet in particular, by Shakespeare, moves both Jean and me; I liked it as a graduate student, but not in the way I do today. The first-person narrator acknowledges that life, like a fire, is consumed by the source nourishing it, and tells his beloved in the concluding couplet, “This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong, / To love that well which thou must leave ere long.”


Plaster Cut-Away

Plaster Cut-Away

A plaster cut-away of part of the interior of the cathedral.

Made-Up Soccer Goals

Awesome usage of city-as-soccer-field by Remi Gaillard. As reported by kottke:

Gaillard scores goals into police vans, trash cans, open windows, etc. to the annoyance of his oblivious goalies.


Park Chapel

Park Chapel

Park Güell is almost surreal in how far ahead of its time it was — it was meant to be a luxury gated community sitting at the top of Barcelona. The plans for it, with its gatehouses, wall, community markets and spaces, and meticulously planned lots look exactly like modern suburbia on paper. Unfortunately, the park was a financial failure and one of the only houses that was actually built there was Gaudí’s own.


5th Generation Shoemaker

The Sartorialist features a quick illustration of “(The Original) John Lobb, London.” Check out the relentless authenticity of this place. First off, William Lobb is a 5th generation shoemaker in London. What’s that, 150+ years of shoemaking? Above the front door there are coats of arms. An example of the caption below one:


Facebook Pictures

Slashdot linked to a presentation called “How Facebook Stores Billions of Photos” — fun facts:

Facebook efficiently stores ~6.5 billion images, in 4 or 5 sizes each, totaling ~30 billion files, and a total of 540 TB and serving 475,000 images per second at peak…


Park Wall

Park Wall

Seeing Eye Cats

Seeing eye cats are like seeing eye dogs, except they are the eyes for the dogs and the dogs are the disabled ones:

Cashew, a 14 year old Labrador Retriever owned by Terry Burns in Middleburg, Pennsylvania, is blind and deaf. Her best friend is a red tabby cat named Libby. Libby has become Cashew’s seeing-eye cat. She guides Cashew around obstacles, leads her to the food dish and even sleeps next to her every night.


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Antoni House

Antoni House

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Park Fountain

Park Fountain

Great story about this fountain: it isn’t electrically powered. I’ll explain.

Behind the fountain, set into a hill, is a large open-air hypostyle hall. The sheltered area formed by this hall, and the gravel roof atop it were meant to be used as a marketplace for Park Güell. Here’s the innovation: the gravel roof drains through the center of the columns of the hypostyle hall into a subterranean cistern. When this cistern overflows, the extra water gushes out and runs this fountain. Brilliant.

Barcelona Pictures

I jotted down some of my recollections of the art and architecture of Barcelona when I posted more European pictures today. You may find my pictures and captions of some of the incredible innovations of Antoni Gaudí to be interesting.


Jennie Finch

Check out Team USA softball pitcher Jennie Finch fire her pitches past major league players. I like the quote from the one player: “That’s unhittable.” (Via Peggy @ Buzzfeed).

mySQL Trouble


Curious? Ok. The max value for the TIME type in mySQL is 838:59:59. I’m sure you have some justification for picking 838 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds… but holy crap mySQL, could you warn me for functions like TIMEDIFF()?!


Decorative Detail

Decorative Detail

This style of ceramic work was pioneered by Gaudí: ceramic pieces and glass bottles (trash) were gathered from the streets of early 1900’s Barcelona, then broken. The pieces were fit back together and set in to mortar, producing vivid colors and a unique decorative effect.

Atop the Hypostyle Hall

Atop the Hypostyle Hall

Here’s the top of the open-air market I wrote about a few pictures ago. Incidentally, a continuous concrete bench lines the perimeter — Gaudí was obsessed with making chairs that conformed to the human physiology… and these things are a testament to his skill at that. They’re incredibly comfortable! If only all benches were this comfortable.

Reflections on Our Future

In this calm before an approaching intellectual storm of more school, I find all the energies of my brain bent on the Big Questions™. I’ve always found it interesting that I only begin to ponder these questions when the day-to-day worries of my life are at a local minima — indeed, the vast majority of folks are just too busy to care. Sadly, I’ll soon rejoin that majority. That reminds me of a piece from a great article (certainly the best item I’ve read about higher education since Nussbaum’s “Cultivating Humanity”) entitled “The Disadvantages of an Elite Education” by William Deresiewicz:


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