And so I reach the final post in this series of 101 x 101 words. As I mentioned in the first entry, they draw their inspiration from Michael Beirut’s 100 Day Project. Jeremy Keith’s 100 x (exactly) 100 words got me interested in exploring that length for a block of text, both from a reading and writing perspective. And it was the 101 word posts that I discovered on Chloe Weil’s site that gave me the idea of adopting that number for mine as well. The discipline of a precise word count! Here’s Thinking of a Dream I Had, my favourite.
South Africa still has bookstores. I never seem to make much use of them in Copenhagen, but everytime I visit South Africa a trip to Exclusive Books tells a little about how the country is changing. It is there that I picked up Carapace 23 and Anjie Krog’s Begging to be Black. This time round it was Breyten Breytenbach’s Parool / Parole I chanced across. I heard him talk at WITS circa 1990. Now, starting with the first of this collection of speeches, given in the year in which I was born, I’m having to get used to reading Afrikaans once again.
Post number 99, almost at the end, time for a little reflection: The majority of these notes have been written (and published) using the device that I have enjoyed the most out of all the computers I have used over the past few years – my iPad Air 2. Light, quiet, portable – home to some of my favourite apps: Drafts, iA Writer, Paper, Tweetbot, Transmit. It seems to ‘get out of my way’ more than my Mac does. And with the split screen possibilities, keyboard shortcuts, and “trackpad” now available in iOS 9, more of a pleasure to use than ever before.
Archie Archambault makes Maps from the Mind – rather than relying on GPS, he aims at “simplifying structures and neighbourhoods in the most efficient and beautiful way”. What interests me is the focus they place on how we experience spaces rather than aiming at some kind of “objective representation”. They got me thinking about the representation of events in our minds – how certain aspects might take on more importance than others. They also got me thinking about the representation of musical forms – how particular musical events might fill more space in our mental representations of them than the actual durations they fill.
Last night we were shuttled out by bus to the Boeing 787-9 that flew us from Johannesburg to Heathrow. A truly magnificent flying machine with two huge Rolls Royce engines glistening in the airport lights, it made an impression on me as a machine, an incredibly accomplished human achievement, perhaps partly from seeing it up close.
Maciej Cegłowski refers to this aircraft in one of his talks, pointing out that it’s not that different from its predecessor the 707 – Boeing’s first jet airliner introduced over 50 years ago: Polish and refinement rather than radical progress as we once imagined it.
It’s hard to imagine, but as we pack our suitcases in a Johannesburg baking in the heat of a day reaching 35 degrees, many Danes will be preparing the duck for tonight’s Mortens Aften dinner: A celebration well into the Scandinavian autumn, clearly marking that we’re now on our way to Christmas.
On this side the equator the shopping malls are already filled with the incongruity of fake Christmas trees and reindeer, while the sun beats down outside those air conditioned spaces. Incongruities can have their own charm though. I’m thinking of my grandmother’s Butterkuchen happily enjoyed in a similar heat.
VoiceOver Piece, for Tessa (a South African voice)
Ag ja you know. I mean I've said it a hundred times before. You can't just. I mean. Ja. What we need to do is… And then we can. Like ja we should. I mean it's like I said, But ja you never can tell you know. No man I'm telling you… It's not that. Ja, no, It's just that Ja. Okay. I don't know. Ja. I just keep coming back to the same thing again and again, And then just when you think… No. You realize… I'm not sure what you said.
In a few days we’ll be driving back along the R24 to O. R. Tambo. Taking that same road in towards Johannesburg a few weeks ago, and looking at the Linksfield Ridge as we turned north at Gillooly’s, got me thinking of Ivan Vladislavić’s Double Negative and the story that unfolds across the valley to the south of that spine after a trip up Langermanskop. Photography (the book has a preface by Teju Cole), memory, and social perspectives are central themes in this novel that was written to accompany TJ – the probing pictorial history of Johannesburg documented in David Goldblatt’s photographs.
I recently got a new pair of glasses – a long overdue update that’s been a little like getting a retina screen upgrade. This newfound clarity, while very practical, has gotten me wondering how ‘natural’ it is, and to what extent it’s actually desirable. The high definition is great for my long distance vision but within a meter or two I’m happier not wearing anything. At a restaurant table I find it more pleasant to just have my fellow diners in focus. It’s gotten me thinking about Peter Grunwald’s investigations into the relation of the eyes to the rest of the body.
Craig Mod recently questioned the need for short URLs in an age in which all URLs are equal – at least for Twitter. Justin Reese’s reply, taking longevity in account, confirmed my own thinking on the matter:
Best justification these days: short URLs are harder to mangle, protect against crummy wrapping and poor URL pattern matching.
Inspired by indieweb POSSE principles, I purchased a ‘short’ domain last year and have happily been generating my own short URLs until changes in hover.com’s backend meant that they suddenly ceased to work. Struggling to get a fix in place I’ve now returned to Twitter’s truncations.