Finally!

USB Typewriter

The trick is finding the ‘escape’ key

I love my computer, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes the keyboard just lacks that “punch” that I remember from the olden days. When I was a kid my family didn’t have a computer, but they still thought it was important for me to learn how to type, so they got me an old typewriter from the local thrift store. A few months back I got a brand-new iMac and the keyboard that it came with is one of those super-flat, laptop style keyboards, where the keys only go down about an eighth of an inch when you press them. I have always thought that a typewriter that you could plug into your computer would be a cool thing to have, and now there is finally a kit that can turn almost any typewriter into your latest peripheral.

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You blew it up!

Lady liberty is among the most recognized landmarks in America. She is an icon of freedom, her torch, a beacon, lighting the way for immigrants sailing toward a better life.

She's so fucked and she doesn't even know it

Lady Liberty lighting the way

 

So lets blow her up!

Lady Liberty hasn’t aged well

Destroying the Statue of Liberty has become a standard of any film depicting large scale disaster, from the nuclear holocaust of Planet of the Apes (1968) to the renegade monster of Cloverfield (2008) forty years later. Showing the Statue of Liberty in ruin has become the preferred method of demonstrating that shit has hit the fan. The symbolism is so obvious that using any more of the internet to explain it would be a waste of ones and zeros.

JJ Abrams is so creative! Where does he get it?

Left: Escape From New York                                                        Right: Cloverfield

It’s time to think of a new thing to blow up!

Are filmmakers so uncreative that they just can’t think of another icon to blow up that would resonate just as much? Ok, don’t answer that! But still, maybe it’s not just what you destroy, but how you show it being blown up. Planet of the Apes was the first (I think) to blow up the statue and they did it off screen, thousands of years before when the movie takes place. There’s no huge special effects explosion, an entire nuclear war is only implied, but the implication is HUGE. Not seeing what happened is what gives the scene such gravitas and what makes Apes such a stand-out science fiction film. It’s not just about a planet of ape-people, it’s about Earth! There’s a message! Every subsequent film to include this image has only done so with the message: The Statue of Liberty got blew up. There is no substance, only a trope that grows more and more tiresome every time it rears its green head, or headless body, depending on how the director wants to do it this time.

Roland Emmerich hates the Statue of Liberty

Roland Emmerich has destroyed the statue in Independence Day (1996), The Day After Tomorrow (2004), and I’ll just say 2012 (2009) although it might just be in my head, either way, I’m not going to re-watch 2012 just to find out.

Got any ideas for what else Hollywood can blow up?

Leave a comment and let me know!

Treasure!

I have just moved out of my apartment of the last one-and-a-half years. On my last day I wrote instructions on the underside of the toilet tank lid to find buried treasure. My hope is that the future tenants will find the map, and though they may not find the treasure, I hope they enjoy looking for it. Also, I’ve always wanted to open the boarded up fireplace, but never had the courage.

Cheers future tenants, enjoy the apartment.

IMG_1917

A weekend away

A weekend away

Sorry I haven’t been updating. I’ve been out of town pursuing a job opportunity. Fingers crossed.
I have included a photo that I took right after my interview. Based on the photo, see if you can guess what city this job is located in. The reward for the first correct guess is one healthy dose of satisfaction.

The better necktie knot

The Four in Hand knot is a knot that hangs perfectly ’round the necks of fidgety schoolboys. The adult professional, however, must move on from this familiar, but sloppy standby.

The four in hand is a sloppy knot, and a tie should never look sloppy.

The Pratt knot has the symmetrical look of a Windsor, but uses less length, making it perfect for shorter ties or taller men. Also, the knot itself is smaller, making it well suited (no pun intended) to the narrower ties that are coming back into fashion.
Follow the link or the slides how below to practice the Pratt knot and gain ten more handsome-points.
Note: The knot begins reverse side out.

The Great Walled City of China

Kowloon Walled City

Kowloon Walled City in Kowloon, Hong Kong was, at it’s peak in the late eighties, the most densely populated place on the planet. It was originally a fortress that became a Chinese enclave when the surrounding area was leased to Britain in 1898. After World War II the city was flooded with refugees who could not stay in the outlying British territory. Though they claimed ownership of the Walled City, the British had little regard for it, and developed a laissez-faire approach to most matters concerning it.

Kowloon Walled City has inspired works of art, like this painting, by Jared Shear.

Eventually, the walled city descended into lawlessness and fell under the rule of various Triad groups, bringing with them prostitution, gambling, and drugs. The Triads’ grip on the Walled City eventually loosened in the early-seventies, after a long series of police raids from outside resulted in the seizure of 4,000 pounds of illegal drugs. As the Triads left the district, so did much of the crime and drug use that had come with them.

Buildings were built so close to each other that sunlight rarely reached the lower levels of the Walled City. Fluorescent lights were installed in the sixties and seventies, during a period of construction.

With the Triads gone, Kowloon Walled City began to govern itself, ushering in an era of prosperity for the otherwise troubled area. Despite the fact that crime was relatively low, the British and Chinese governments had grown tired of the Walled City, a district that they could not govern, which they considered a blight on Kowloon and Hong Kong at large. The decision to demolish the Walled City was announced on January 14th, 1987 and concluded in April of 1994.

Monument at Kowloon Walled City Park

All that remain of Kowloon Walled City are a public park and photographs.

 

Greg Girard, a Canadian photographer who works mostly in Asia, produced an excellent series of photographs of Kowloon City Park, some of which you can see in the gallery below.

San Francisco’s tallest icon celebrates forty-years of being completely overlooked.

When people think of San Francisco landmarks immediately start popping into mind. Icons like The Golden Gate Bridge, the Transamerica Pyramid, Ghiradelli Square, Alcatraz, and Clam Chowder have all become ambassadors of the city. But there is one landmark that has eluded many visitors to the City by the Bay.

“San Francisco photographer shits out another bridge photo” -The Onion

The Golden Gate Bridge stands 746 feet above the water and was, at the time of its construction, the tallest suspension bridge in the world. The Transamerica Pyramid stands at 850 feet tall, making it the tallest building in all of San Francisco. But this behemoth is not only taller than both of these icons, at a staggering 977 feet tall, it is also built on one of the city’s tallest hills, at an elevation of 834 feet in the air. What is this mighty, yet esoteric landmark? It is the Sutro Tower!

That was a lot of scrolling! Be sure and take a moment to let your finger rest.

Yes indeed, the Sutro Tower is the tallest landmark in San Francisco, quite a feat considering the competition. Back when it was built, more people got their television over-the-air than from cable or satellite, but reception was tricky in San Francisco. The city is tremendously hilly, which makes the near line-of-sight transmission that radio signals depend on difficult to achieve. Building the tower, not just incredibly tall, but on top of one of the highest hills in the city, means that it can be seen (and heard, and watched) throughout most of the city. This is also what makes it one of my favorite landmarks. Fisherman’s wharf is overcrowded with tourists and the Golden Gate is a bridge to nowhere, AKA Marin (and you have to pay a toll to get back in) but you can see Sutro Tower from just about anywhere. I still remember the first time i noticed it, plodding though the tourist-trap of Haight St. when I looked up, the fog parted and revealed the orange and white striped giant, reaching up through the clouds. I didn’t even see the top of the tower until my second trip, that’s how huge this thing is.

I hope you enjoyed learning a bit about a real San Francisco giant. Please enjoy the gallery below.