Thursday, December 29, 2011

what lies beneath

What several designers noted, though, were the crazy-quilt lines of what the publicity materials refer to as the “grand manor roof.” “With most houses, they could be colonial or modern, the roof line is so clear that you can see that underneath there is some kind of rational flow and layout,” said Mr. Hayes, author of “The Tailored Interior.” “With this, they’re unresolved and a bit messed up. You know that what’s underneath is not a lot of clarity.”
Hayes was speaking of Michelle Bachmann's Minnesota home in The Houses of the Hopefuls in today's New York Times.

The article features a run down of the architecture and interior design of the homes of the Republican presidential hopefuls.

Friday, December 16, 2011

soft, what light.

Morton Arboretum
Lisle, IL

Monday, December 12, 2011

fermi lab five ways

via cameraphone, of course.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

how not to die

There is no difference between art and activism.

UCSD professor of visual arts Ricardo Dominguez cited in an EFE wire story and reported by Fox News Latino »

UCSD professor of visual arts Ricardo Dominguez was speaking about a smartphone application that he created using GPS technology to assist individuals cross the border from Mexico to the US illegally by sharing information about the location of aid stations where water, clothing and blankets are stockpiled.

Domingo spoke to cell phones as part of a "poetic system that can save lives."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

theory of relativity

In America, the top 1% earn more than $380,000 per year. We are, however, among the richest nations on Earth. How much do you need to earn to be among the top 1% of the world?


That was the finding World Bank economist Branko Milanovic presented in his 2010 book The Haves and the Have-Nots. Going down the distribution ladder may be just as surprising. To be in the top half of the globe, you need to earn just $1,225 a year. For the top 20%, it's $5,000 per year. Enter the top 10% with $12,000 a year. To be included in the top 0.1% requires an annual income of $70,000.
Morgan Housel in the Motley Fool

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

desire lines

Desire lines generally refer to worn paths where people naturally walk – the beaten path that trails off the sidewalk, usually as a shortcut to a destination – but can be applied more broadly to any signs or traces of user activity in an object or environment. The implicit claim of desire lines is that they represent an unbiased indication of how an object or environment is actually used by people.

My grandfather introduced me to desire lines, but he didn’t call them by name. I can’t be sure that he knew what they were called. We were crossing the Quad at the University of Washington, cherry trees in bloom, and he pointed out the gentle ruts in the grass left by renegade feet in oblique purpose to the University’s imposed paths.

“Those are the paths they should pave,” he said, pointing out the bald earth. I think of him now whenever I see a transgressive groove slice through the corners of trim, paved plaza geometries.

Desire lines.

Rem Koolhaas oriented his IIT Student Center around the desire lines that students wore into the wasteland beneath the El tracks on their passage to class, long before the building was sited. In the belly of his building there’s a placard that maps the original paths so you can see at a macro level what you experience when you walk through the structure: his building breathes with a unique kind of respiration because it is so well-aligned with the passage of people through that place. It doesn’t obstruct their passage from point A to B: It shelters it.

spaces within

I’m surprised that I’ve only just discovered this name for the thing. It startled me when I stumbled across it yesterday, and left me to wonder if maybe I knew it before but didn’t notice it; am noticing it now only because of these first tentative steps off my trim path; this early attempt at letting my feet find the way they would prefer to go.

Monday, October 31, 2011

on speaking to the dead

Skeleton Donut
Originally uploaded by Thomas Hawk
The rabbi addresses the importance of talking to the dead. His premise is that we want to, need to, talk to the dead. It is an important, not a maudlin, thing to do. The rabbi suggests that we have four things to say to them: I'm sorry. Thank you. I forgive you. I love you. This is what makes us human, over time, over distance.

Sherry Turkle in Alone Together: Why we expect more from technology and less from each other

profuse or perish

Tiny bubbles...
Originally uploaded by peater
You have to write as much as you can. People have studied these things.

Principal Jay Richard of Oyster River Middle School, speaking on strategies for passing the essay portion of standardized tests in America's schools in today's New York Times.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

the intensity of strawberries

I remember

the intensity of strawberries
in a very, very narrow
band of time –

June, July
Wimbledon on TV

things like that
Simon Schama on strawberries and other edibles in the weekend edition of the Financial Times

Saturday, October 15, 2011

art alone

All Passes -- Art Alone Endures
Fine Arts Building
Chicago, IL

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

more movies for you

more movies for you
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
Downers Grove, IL

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

hello old friend

hello old friend
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
Central Camera. Just now.
Chicago, IL

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
Lincoln Park
Chicago, IL

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Originally uploaded by suttonhoo

Saturday, September 10, 2011

that's some pig.

that's some pig.
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
Sandwich County Fair
We do this every year.
The biscuits and gravy are to die for.

Sandwich, IL

Wednesday, September 07, 2011


Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
Chicago, IL

Monday, September 05, 2011

herb jelly (other than mint)

herb jelly (other than mint)

Sunday, September 04, 2011


When a redwood is injured -- like this one, struck by lightening sometime in the hushed twilight that is the steady state of Muir Woods outside of San Francisco -- the burl wood at its base buds and the tree regenerates through fresh shoots. Before long those shoots, too, grow into giants, ringing the roots of their fallen ancestor.

This is a belated post: I snapped this shot nearly a month ago, on my way up to Jackson, California to look in on my mother who isn't well. My aunts joined me there, and we took care of the kind of business that needs doing when lightening strikes and burl wood buds. My sister went before me, and was met by the strength of a dear aunt then, too.

Encircling, strengthening.

white bowl (summer peaches)

Friday, September 02, 2011

boarded & back again

boarded & back again
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
Hello, Weekend.

Chicago O'Hare

Saturday, August 27, 2011


(I like this wall very much.)

At the Minneapolis Institute of Art

Thursday, August 25, 2011

price point

The Apple I went on sale in July 1976 and was priced at $666.66.

While You Were Out: Apple's Years With and Without Steve Jobs, in today's New York Times.

Steve Wozniak on how they arrived at the price point:
I simply like triple digit numbers with all the things I'm involved with, the cost of making the Apple 1 was around $540 or there abouts and we agreed on the best markup, retail price above the cost of building it, which worked out to $666.

Jobs then tacked on the 66 cents to make it an eye-catcher price for the ads with the sale and promotion publications of it to the public.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

potted post box.

potted post box.
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
Bellevue, WA

Sunday, August 14, 2011

remains of the ride

remains of the ride
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
Probably wasn't wise to take that trail ride in yesterday's downpour -- but it was worth it.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

boston public, three ways

In total, this place may have the NYC Midtown branch beat. The courtyard puts it over the top. (But don't tell the Rose Reading Room I said that.)

Monday, August 08, 2011


Ducked another round of recreational eating and conference schmooze for a free concert at Berklee College of Music. Turned out to be the right decision. 

Thank you, Thom Brennan of the trumpet, and your brilliant, talented friends. Please keep playing. Always.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

what you can't see

This woman is bedecked with a sash that identifies her as royalty. From where I sit I'm unable to make out what domain of rural or urban significance she serves as princess. On the seat beside her sits her gem studded seven-pointed crown and a bag of McDonald's take out.

The princess is hungry and enjoying her fries.

Posting from O'Hare International, outbound to Boston Logan.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011


Two unexpected hours on the tarmac means I've just now checked in to a vending machine dinner of microwave popcorn and a nutragrain bar. Unsatisfying, when I had Pacific fresh sushi in mind. But hey: there's a pool outside my window.

And dear friends close by.

Bellevue, WA

Sunday, July 31, 2011

incarceration // liberation

So much depends on who holds the key.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

a rose is a rose is a rose

Two things I didn't know before visiting the surprisingly colossal The Steins Collect exhibit at SFMOMA yesterday:

1) Among her Picassos & Matisse & Bonnards, Gertrude also cherished an El Greco of St. Francis. It wasn't featured in the show, though it would have added tremendous texture had it been. Instead I spotted it in one of the photos of her apartment in Paris. Delighted me because I have a fondness for both the artist and the saint.

2) Michael & Sarah Stein commissioned an extraordinary home from Corbusier. The exhibit includes a full sweep of architectural sketches and blueprints. I neglected to write down the location, so I know only that it's somewhere in France (I hope, still) and will have to go hunt for it.

And a third important point: the image included here has nothing to do with the Steins. It's a Banksy in Chinatown that PT Power was kind enough to share later that same evening, and it was my favorite of my remnant snapshots from the day.

Posting from San Francisco after a very good day.

no one belongs here more than you

City Lights

Friday, July 01, 2011

peach pie drive-by

Took a side trip along HWY 6 & 220 to see the Armana Colonies, a strange little religious sect that gave the world household appliances.

On this day it also gave up a peach pie and some cinnamon twist bread, because I can't go home empty handed.

Posting from the road home
Amana, Iowa

Thursday, June 30, 2011

approaching Hoisington

approaching Hoisington
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
US K-4 outside of Hoisington, Kansas. Which matters because it's where my Nini was born.

cheyene bottoms

Vast wetlands in the middle of
Kansas. Who knew?

Cheyene Bottoms off HWY 156

historical kansas

historical kansas
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
Snapped at a rest stop outside Hays, KS
where it's currently 113 degrees.

outward bound

Eastern Colorado
Headed back to the Heartland

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

great expectations

Nini's Travel Journal

Driving overland tomorrow, back to Chicago, at the tail end of a year long something or other that I'm still trying to sort out.

I plan to drive by Hoisington, Kansas, where my Nini was born, and which her family left Grapes of Wrath style when the earth kicked up dust as fine as face powder in 1935.

I'm not expecting much from a little town where the only Yelp review is for the Dollar General store (4 stars, one review, "good place to grab a few cheap things"). I'm just going to see what I can see.

Monday, June 20, 2011

I-70 E

Saturday, June 18, 2011

el palomino

Grand Junction, CO

Sunday, June 12, 2011

soup (1904)

East Colfax
Denver, CO

Saturday, June 11, 2011

this inelegant habit

My Bompa was in the habit of folding a papertowel
two-ways and placing it between his coffee mug and
saucer. He trained me in the method the summer I
clerked for him, the law practice of his retirement
staged at the dining room table, my legal training
inadequate outside the ability to type 75 wpm and
deliver his coffee as he liked it.

I do it now often myself with napkins in cafes
because I like the way it deadens the clink of the cup
hitting saucer, the way it catches the drips, the way
it reminds me of him.

Posting by cameraphone from the Laughing Goat
in Boulder, Colorado.

Friday, June 10, 2011

what the back side of Friday looks like

Boulder, CO

Saturday, June 04, 2011

thumbs up for rock and roll

Posting this here so I never ever lose track of it.

Monday, May 30, 2011

nearly the night sky

Somewhere near
Golden, CO

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Astronomical seeing refers to the blurring and twinkling of astronomical objects such as stars caused by turbulent mixing in the Earth's atmosphere varying the optical refractive index. The astronomical seeing conditions on a given night at a given location describe how much the Earth's atmosphere perturbs the images of stars as seen through a telescope.

Thank you, Wikipedia.

For more of the Atacama Desert see Nostalgia de la Luz at BIFF'd »

used books

Sleepy Sunday
Boulder, CO

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