...being the blog of steve kirkendall egomaniac-about-town

25/10/08

Beware the inner geek

The inner geek inside my head!

Like everyone these days, I’m time poor. I have one, maybe two hours a day to do creative, personal things. This is usually first thing in the morning (I always get up at six to study/blog etc before work) or at lunchtime during the week if I’m not running an errand. I try not do anything in the evening, because that’s family time (ie. shouting at the kids).

Sometimes I get ‘golden time’. That’s time when I have longer than normal for my personal work and I can disappear into a bubble of self-indulgence. And last week, lots of time, golden and otherwise, presented itself to me. So, did I spend it creatively animating with After Effects? Practicing my French? Playing the Guitar? Or even to post pithy blog entries?

Of course not.

Instead, I played around with Twitter, discovered Hahlo, installed Fluid so I could use Hahlo as a MenuExtra SSB and also made my Gmail into a fluidapp too. I wrestled with a Userscript for Hahlo to allow Growl notification and had another tussle with Dropbox. I put Firefox, Safari, Opera and Chrome onto our PC so I could be a browser floozy in Vista too. I also decided to sign up for Huffduffer. What time I had left, I spent reading a book I bought last year (but havn’t got around to reading yet) about Microformats.

At 3am this morning, I woke up covered in sweat and feeling guilty, realising what had happened – my inner geek had just hi-jacked my week.

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13/10/08

21st Century Music

Cover of 21st Century Music mailer by Designed

This mailer landed on my doormat over the weekend advertising the upcoming ‘21st Century Music’ series at the Norwich Arts Centre.

Nice Surprise Dept: As I was showing it to my son, I slowly noticed that the interesting grid of Op Art on the cover actually spelt out ‘21st Century Music’ (but it was early in the morning and I’d only had one cup of coffee by that point).

Designed by Designed.

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10/10/08

I won the cup (and saucer)

Pizza Express coffee cup decorated with drawings by Enzo Apicella

Coffee at Pizza Express is nice for two reasons. One, it’s strong. Two, it comes in these fantastic coffee cups, featuring cartoons drawn by Enzo Apicella. The drawings go all the way around the cup and when you lift it up to have a sip, there’s a nice surprise waiting to you on the saucer.

Pizza Express saucer with Enzo Apicella cartoon

I was telling my mate Dave all about Apicella as our waitress was sorting out the bill. She got involved in the conversation, which resulted with her giving me a cup and saucer to take home. Of course, I’ll never use it in case I break it, but it will make a lovely ornament for my study.

Match that, you global coffee chains!

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02/10/08

Bum’s the word

Cartoon of Steve K with the Mona LisaArt. I love it, my wife hates it. So visiting art galleries is often a solitary experience for me (suppresses sob).

A few years ago, desperate for some art-companionship, I suggested to my wife that I could take the kids (then aged 5 and 7) to the Tate Modern and give them the time of their lives. Fighting for breath, her whole body convulsed with hysterical laughter, she managed to wheeze out a reply along the lines of “They’ll be bored in 2 seconds, you moron”. Right, I said, I will take them to our nearest (and best) gallery, The Sainsbury Centre For Visual Art, to test your theory.

So off we go. They are wowed by the vast open space art hangar that is the Sainsbury Centre. They are equally impressed by the spiral staircase inside leading to the upper walkway. But what will they think of the art? We head into the permanent collection gallery.

We start with a Francis Bacon and I explain about his technique and style. The Kids seem stunned and awestruck. We then move on to a Degas. Again, they listen with rapt attention as I explain about his technique and his fantastic draughtmanship. This is going well, I thought, Tate Modern here we come! I then introduced them to an African statuette carved out of wood. He is naked except for a loincloth covering his vitals, but looking pretty fierce with a bone through his nose, clutching a spear and shield. As I start my explaination of primitive art, Joe, my youngest, walks around to the rear of the African warrior. And in a voice only slightly quieter than an nuclear explosion announces “I can see his BUM!”.

Joe says 'I can see his BUM!'

The word “BUM” richochets around the vast chasm of the Sainsbury Centre, ripping apart the genteel calm of the gallery, bouncing off unimpressed gallery-goers, their withering looks burning holes into my already red face. Sweating profusely, I swiftly move the kids in front of another painting to calm things down. This works until we meet another sculpture. Even though this one is fully clothed, again Joe wanders around the back and says “Look, that’s his BUM!” This prompts a fit of giggles from the kids, interrupted by either of them repeating the word “BUM” and giggling even louder. I try to calm things down with more paintings, but it doesn’t work. Mortified and defeated, I take them home.

Moral: My wife is always right.

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