Tech-Upgrade Nuances and Hesitations

I get too worked-up talking about why I don’t think Uber/Lyft car-sharing or robomobiles will replace private vroomster in your garage any time soon. So instead I’ll post about some other tech-shifts that have had more mixed results or less implementation than expected.

The first one is maps. In the last three-four years I’ve been astonished at how difficult it has become to walk into a bookstore or even a tourist center and grab an old-fashioned physical map of some place. Yer supposed to use a device attached to your (rental?) car or your phone. Now, this has been a huge benefit for professional passenger-drivers. Back when, if you got into a taxi and wanted to go someplace and neither you nor the cabbie knew exactly how to get there, a crisis could ensue. But I think there’s no question that looking over and reading physical maps teaches you the relationships of locations and the meaning of distance in ways that cyberlocators never will. Lacking that knowledge and sense leaves you more lost in every landscape.

My second topic is clock faces. Not long ago, digital time presentation was supposed to make old grandfather tick-tock hands obsolete. I even owned digital wristwatches. Never again. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a household that didn’t have one or two easily checked hands-and-face chronometer.  And seems to me all the clocks on the arm I see are the trad-look kind. This is because digital-only destroys your sense of the relationship between hours, minutes and seconds. So it becomes waaaay harder to decide if you better hurry up to get some place/finish some task or if you can take it easy. One of the prime reasons to know what time it is.

BUT IT ISN’T TIME FOR SHARED CAR OWNERSHIP, GODDAMMIT, AND [SLAP! KICK! BONK!]

Final Note on Tomi Ungerer

Got and read (the whole whopping 32 pages) his flat-out children book, Crictor (1958). I feel I have enough of his stuff now. Points:

Lovely that it’s set in a “little French town” where he can get the costumes and shops and landscapes intriguing and correct. Especially fun parts include: Madame Bodot feeding her “baby” boa constrictor milk from a bottle; knitting him a long wool sweater to wear in the snow; his diverse and clever interactions with French kids; and of course his foiling of a burglary in Madame Bodot’s apartment which makes him a snake-hero. Especially weird part: Madam Bodot being tied up and gagged by the thief reminds you of Ungerer’s bondage proclivities.

The ages recommended for the book are 4-8 and I was 6 when it came out. Wish I had read something by him at that time. Can’t imagine my reactions. But I know why he didn’t turn up in my elementary-school bookshelves.

The teachers sensed he was weird. Could cause waves.

Hear Crictor read.

 

Madfunk Art After Xmas: The Hairy Who

Screamin Jay.jpg

I admit, there’s a couple Roy Lichtenstein works I like a great deal. They’re sculptures. I always disliked his comic-book art from the first time I saw it because, undeniably, it argued that his source material was commercial junk and that his treatments transformed trash into Fine Art. Flooosh. All the vitality and wit in the works sprung from the originals, not Lichtenstein’s re-dos. And it constituted a narrow, square view of what comics could do. No weirdos. No underground.

The first time I encountered work by a Hairy Who artist was when I picked up a Screamin’ Jay Hawkins LP late in my Missoula era that featured the above as a cover illustration. In the language of the day, I thought it was way outta sight. But I believed it was just ace art done by the record company. Hah. (By Karl Wirsum, as it turns out.)

So we’ll skip a couple-three hairy Hairy Who encounters over the years and get to my Art Book present to myself this holiday: The catalog of this exhibit I would love to see in Chicago.

Now, these days Art Books have a real problem. Too small and too-cheap reproductions are the norm. This book is an exception. While I would like it to be inches bigger on all sides, the reproductions are beautifully precise and color-lively and include media like ceramic dolls and photos of the artists at those dazzled-’60s art shows that I had no idea about.

This gets down to it: the raging passions of comics and design and funk and rock&roll had a deranging delight that could be represented in the gallery. Sometimes with downright ominous tones.

If you like what you see, like they say: go, go, gogo.

CD-Tech Update

OK, now have two-battery powered portable CD players (both Sonys), so the need to solve the problem of my sadly crippled outside-power player is way less intense. (See, kidz, I need to have a headphone player upstairs for my floor exercises and one downstairs for my treadmill exercises in the winter. And the nicer of the two also has to be able to go on the road with me. Yes, I would look like a turnip if I couldn’t select the music from my collection for workouts.)

What bothers me is that both of the players are fossils, no longer manufactured. Current portable CD spinners seem like toys in comparison. The newie is a CD Walkman D-E350 and while I’m not crazy about the zippy-blue plastic case, the controls are easier to use than the ones on my golden defunct oldie and the sound, aided by an Airhead amp of course, has space and detailed kick almost up to the golden oldie if I turn to volume up to 8 (ouch, so much for battery life).

As you see, programming the music I listen to every day is neurotically important to me. And I feel stronger that you need physical-item resources to ensure that can happen. The demise of Filmstruck was, yeah, striking.

I’m So Stuck in the (Old) Mud

Was at an event with media-design crazies who work all day online, who were explaining their methods and motions to a crowd of about 40 UX fascinateds. The panelists mentioned Medium a number of times (with notes about its shortcomings as a source of information). So I told my whole story about Medium and my “How I Capture Rapture” piece and how they stopped paying people.

Did I say who I was? No.

Did I name this blog? No.

Sure hope this is (Old) Beauty Mud.

Stuff in the Air That Came Out of Speakers Today #66: Swamp Dogg

The album features another of his classic frank-and-practical titles: Love, Loss, and Auto-Tune (Joyful Noise). Only gotten through all the way once, but I have this to say already —

Remember that album Hard Again by Muddy Waters? Far as I’m concerned this is Swamp Again by a 75-year-old and if anything a more urgent and inspired re-creation of the wildman you love to love. Outrageous (and moving) kickoff: utter electrofunk reading of “Answer Me, My Love.”

I’d buy it for the sardonic-surreal liner notes.

And the photo of Dogg that shows he’s not flourishing because he’s in killer shape.