there are 8 posts from May 2005

May 27, 2005

the sprawl of high imagination

The summer issue of Bookforum has a great piece on Thomas Pynchon by Gerald Howard of Doubleday, with sidebar “appreciations” of Pynchon from Jeffrey Eugenides, Lorrie Moore, Richard Powers, George Saunders, Lydia Davis and Don DeLillo.  Here’s DeLillo on Pynchon…

It was as though, in some odd quantum stroke, Hemingway died one day and Pynchon was born the next. One literature bends into another. Pynchon has made American writing a broader and stronger force. He found whispers and apparitions at the edge of modern awareness but did not lessen our sense of the physicality of American prose, the shotgun vigor, the street humor, the body fluids, the put-on.

I was writing ads for Sears truck tires when a friend gave me a copy of V. in paperback. I read it and thought, Where did this come from?

The scale of his work, large in geography and unafraid of major subjects, helped us locate our fiction not only in small anonymous corners, human and ever-essential, but out there as well, in the sprawl of high imagination and collective dreams.

Bookforum’s online archive policy seems pretty liberal, so hopefully the piece will stick around for a while.  Nevertheless, if you’re a Pynchon fan, put this on your reading list for the weekend.  (Via Don DeLillo’s America.)

May 26, 2005

tabbed tying

The IE team continues to post news about IE7, including an in-depth look at their approach to tabbed browsing.  There’s lots of interesting stuff about how tabs will interact with the browser window and third party helper apps / toolbars, but long time watchers of Microsoft’s legal battles will certainly enjoy this paragraph…

Another example of what makes this challenging is that IE and Explorer windows share the same code for the frame and chrome (toolbars, menus, etc.), which means there are more code paths and different types of interactions with the hosted view (in this case, a ShellView) that were required to continue working after adding tabbed browsing to IE.

Remember when a post like that would have made its way into evidence?  Good times.

May 25, 2005


I have a feeling that Caterina just ruined the new Star Wars movie for me.

May 23, 2005

pure richard meier lifestyle

File this under “living vicariously,” a piece of direct mail on very tasteful letterhead, sent from 165 Charles St.  Ignoring the fact that someone really screwed up the database pull on this one, it’s worth blogging in its entirety for the pure jaw-dropping lack of irony in its salesmanship.

Dear  _______,

We are pleased to report that Richard Meier’s residential masterpiece, 165 Charles Street, is nearing completion with occupancy scheduled for early this summer.  The simple, elegant beauty of its shimmering glass silhouette can now be experienced firsthand.  A limited selection of 2 bedroom plus study and 3 bedroom homes remain priced from $5.150 million, as well as one spectacular 4897 square foot full floor residence with an 1160 square foot Great Room.  All enjoy breathtaking Hudson River and cityscape panoramas and benefit from the privileged Pure Richard Meier lifestyle, including 24-hour concierge, 50’ infinity-edge lap pool, state-of-the-art fitness center and screening room.  Private wine cellars and storage are also available.

Enclosed please find a recent article featured in The New York Times portraying not only Richard Meier’s undivided attention to every exterior and interior detail, but also his love for this collection of private homes.  We invite you to make an appointment to come experience his masterpiece with a private tour of 165 Charles Street.

Kind regards,

Just a few notes, because I can’t resist…

  • If I’m parsing that second sentence correctly, does that mean that one can actually gaze upwards at the building’s remarkable facade?  For free?
  • I’m surprised that they haven’t trademarked the phrase “Pure Richard Meier Lifestyle.”  How will they sell the rights to Target?
  • Private wine cellars.  Sweet.
  • What, they couldn’t get the rights to the Vanity Fair piece on his towers?  Or ship a DVD copy of the Law & Order episode it turned into?

And in case you missed it, this building is a masterpiece.  Because they said so.  Twice.

May 15, 2005

msft desktop search to hit 1.0 milestone

Just noting that Microsoft is shipping 1.0 of desktop search tomorrow, and it will include results previewing.  I’m still a fan of the tool; looking forward to 1.0.

May 06, 2005

the waiting is the hardest part

At some point in the near future, an enterprising sociologist will write their doctorate thesis on the minute interactions that take place between people waiting for espresso drinks at their neighborhood Starbucks. Obvious distinctions will be made between these interactions and those previously documented in studies of behavior in elevators, medical waiting rooms and traffic jams; extra care (control groups, hidden cameras, longitudinal analysis) will be taken to distinguish the wait at Starbucks from the wait at the local deli, the drycleaner and other retail establishments. 

It will be a dry piece of work. But after being approached by an up-and-coming editor from Harvard Business School Press, the author will publish a heavily edited and fully illustrated version titled No Foam, No Whip, No Eye Contact:  How Luxury Retail is Redefining Social Space, and go on to Paco Underhill levels of fame.

May 01, 2005

what a lovely shade of pink

Via Jerry Michalski, a presentation by Jay Cross titled Another Pattern Language: Real Life Patterns Chez Christopher Alexander, which details the patterns of Alexander’s own house in the Berkeley hills.

Warning: not for the architecturally faint at heart.

May 01, 2005

that's one way to pitch a story

Seen scrawled outside the Journalism School on the campus of UC Berkeley this afternoon:

Journalism students. I have a good story, maybe a great story, a local government mini-Watergate. You want it? The first one to contact me get exclusive. (the story ties to Atty. General Bill Lockyer) Oh, I have Lockyer’s home number, too. Might come in handy.

The home number thing is a nice touch, don’t you think?