Thursday, July 31, 2008

The rule of thirds

The rule of thirds, originally uploaded by peripathetic.

Taken with a brand-new Canon EOS 450D. It's a sharp learning curve!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Light graffiti

IMG_8720, originally uploaded by illum.

An amazing set of photos. Again, sorry, but that is all for tonight...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Money Talks - sorry, *talks*?!

Money Talks, originally uploaded by chinese_fashion.

I suppose this all depends on how snooty / particular / loving you are about your coffee. But it isn’t just about coffee, so please do read on.

So, a guy walks into a coffeeshop in Arlington. Over the water in the United States. The coffeeshop is apparently locally renowned for being Very Serious About Coffee. Just my kind of place, really, and everything that Starbuck’s isn’t. He wanders up to the bar, and orders a triple espresso. Poured over ice.

(Here, I have to explain that pouring espresso over ice destroys the crema, that brown greamy goo that sits on the surface. Inside the brown creamy goo are many, many, many of the flavour and smell elements of your little shot of caffeinated delight. Sorry.)

The barista apologises. Explains that it’s against their store policy to ice espresso. The guy fumes, and orders a triple espresso and a cup of ice separately. Pours one over the other. Gets warned that it will lead to a less-than-enjoyable drink. Becomes insulting. Isn’t thrown out, has another drink made for him (as he says, perfectly delicious) a bit later.

Then, he leaves a tip of one dollar with “FUCK YOU AND YOUR PRECIOUS COFFEE POLICY” scrawled on it.

Many interesting questions rear their heads here. One: who’s in the right? Unanswerable. Two: who’s in the wrong? Slightly more clear — the guy, for that insult. Third: does his dollar give him the right to demand anything from a coffeeshop that advises its customers that it doesn’t serve just anything?

I think it says a lot about the wider differences between the work ethic in his country and my country. Here, receiving a paycheck does not mean that you must put up with any shit thrown your way. Indeed, you may highlight important points about your products and policies to customers using your store, or tell off your boss (and, indeed, your customers) for saying something rude to you.

In the States, I get the impression, when you cash your paycheck you sign a lot of your rights away in a very real sense, and your customers (who, I might add, are also employees themselves and should remember their own workaday miseries when about to open their mouths to others) are practically to be treated as if they are on the same level as god. No space for human interplay in a 10-hour workday. No space for you. Or me. Just the wallet and the product.

I won’t harp on the injustices here, or on my distant admiration for the barista and coffeeshop concerned. I will just say this again, though: in their unashamed dedication to an excellent cup of coffee, they appear to be everything that Starbuck’s isn’t.

(Also, lookee here!)

Update: the coffeeshop owner has commented (in a, well... very fiery manner!) on the issue here.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Geometry, originally uploaded by Denise V&A Web Team.

Well, here’s a thing. A great big thing, made of lots of little ones. 15,000 little Swarovski crystals (black), to be exact. And the work is by Zaha Hadid, who has featured on peripathetic before — as if we matter beside her wider fame!

I don’t have many thoughts on it right now because it was only yesterday that I first came across a photo! But I’m going to do my best to stand underneath it and feel exhilarated, vaguely scared, and frustrated with my camera, when I’m next in London.

Speaking of London, another exciting thing is happening — yes, happening, at Hyde Park. Be sure you don’t miss it — we certainly won’t. We might even refresh ourselves with some coffee on the train on the way home.

Sexual surrogacy. I know: it’s rather jarring after the last thing, but very compelling all the same. Also compelling, a human mirror — a real, live human mirror on a train. People get puzzled and amused, gradually realising this is some glorious mass practical joke.

Not for the squeamish: death of a pig. From a live pig to bacon and pork belly. Videos included. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! But this is where your bacon comes from.

The other day in work, I wasn’t working. Instead I was perusing the work of Ansel Adams, having heard all about him (very famous photographer who had his heyday back in the early 30s and 40s and really made people realise that photography could be art) but hadn’t seen much of his work. And the links at the bottom of the article are really worth exploring. But then, surfing around, I forget where exactly, I came across a page full of old photos of New York City. Marvellous stuff, with which I will leave you. But hopefully not for quite so long, this time.