Saturday, August 24, 2013

Here’s my Steve Ballmer Story.

It’s a small story but of interest, I think, because of what came after.

In 1995 I worked as a freelance writer and print designer and I had just made up my mind to put more of my time and attention into designing and building websites, something I had started doing the year before. Pitching web work back then meant selling clients on why they needed a web site at all – sometimes even selling them on what the World Wide Web was and why it mattered to their business -- and most still preferred the familiar comfort of a (paper-bound) marketing brochure. I was nervous about my decision then, but can happily report in hindsight that I bet on the right horse.

In August of that year I took a two-week contract to do some technical writing for the Excel product group, and spent my two weeks on Microsoft’s Redmond campus in, as it turned out, the same hallway occupied by Steve Ballmer.

I was warned that Ballmer had a scaled down Louisville Slugger baseball bat that he liked to carry and thwack into his hand, repeatedly, when he had a point to make. I was told it was unlikely that I would encounter him while I was there.

And then I did.

Or rather: I heard him. One afternoon, shortly after the launch party for Office 95 (remember those halcyon days? That was 18 years ago today.) I heard a strange muttering in the hallway. And a loud thwack. And then another thwack. A steady thwacking cadence emerged accompanied by a persistent, angry mantra. My office door was open just a crack so I could see his burly mass as it passed by my door, paced the hallway to its end and then back again, repeatedly.

I don’t imagine he paced for long, but the fear it struck in my heart made it feel like an eternity. The mantra he was repeating?

Screw the Internet.

And that’s my story. It’s a small story but of interest, I think, because of what came after that.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

@ the AIC

@ the AIC by suttonhoo
@ the AIC, a photo by suttonhoo on Flickr.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

consuming spirits

CONSUMING SPIRITS (trailer) by Chris Sullivan from chris sullivan animation on Vimeo.

You have never seen anything like it.
Film critic AO Scott in the New York Times on Chris Sullivan's animated feature Consuming Spirits.


auditorium by jovivebo
auditorium, a photo by jovivebo on Flickr.

I am not attracted by the angles or the hard and inflexible straight lines created by man. What attracts me is the free and sensual curve, the curve which I find in the mountains of my country, in the flow of its rivers, in the waves of the ocean, in the body of a woman.

The architect Oscar Niemeyer to the Spanish newspaper ABC. Niemeyer died last week a few days shy of his 105th birthday.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Des Moines, Iowa
State Capitol Building

Sunday, November 18, 2012

a passionate and gentle voice

Whatever contact I have with hope
Is clear to me on certain mornings
When a voice slips

Into my mind like a shy
Suggestion of love
That nothing will deny.

It is a passionate and gentle voice
Authentic as a patch of sunlight 
On a floor inside a window

And it has always spoken the same words:
'I live in the stripped branch,
Dying flowers on the kitchen table,

Pools of water after a storm
Uncomprehending as children
Strayed from their parents in a crowded town.

You understand I do not exhort.
My state is one of waiting
For you, for the most part,

And I am helpless till you observe me
With your electric blood
And your eyes

Redeemed from the tedium by the desire
To know
Why something begins to stir

In utter stillness like a memory
That will not let you sleep at night
But takes possession of you

And absorbs you into itself.
So I await that morning
When you emerge

From the tired night as from a mist
Into a decision of sunlight
Where I exist.'

~ Brendan Kennelly

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

all the books I have convinced myself I will read during the course of my brief trip to London

It's not true, of course. If I'm lucky I'll complete one. But the sad truth is: in the age before e-books I would have actually packed them all.

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."
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