that was a fortnight, 25 May 2020

One highlight of the fortnight was going on a tour of friend’s Animal Crossing islands. With a WhatsApp call for chat. It makes you realise how big the game is – not in what you can do, but in the number of characters, and the number of objects. It’s all so extra – the detailing, the actions, and most of all the weird algorithms that power everything that happens. They’ve had 20 years to hone and perfect them (they haven’t changed radically from edition to edition), but they just get more nuanced. This is how flowers work. And because the rules are so dense and obtuse, there’s extensive myth making amplified by social media.

Animal Crossing link load:

Newcastle Metro

The Void

Nook Street Market

grey market hacked items

thread of island tours, showing what’s theoretically possible (most must be hacked or time travelling)

Other highlights were meeting George and Yumiko in the park (separately). It doesn’t feel long since I last saw them, but in reality it’s been ages. Idle chit chat but really it’s comparing coping strategies. And I managed to offload some of my fruit gluts that regularly seem to be happening (everything-can-be-delivered is great, apart from quantity).

Several people I know have had birthdays too, plus it’s mine this week. Mine’s a minor number, but it must be hard for those reaching an arbitrary life milestone. Is it memorable? Maybe in hindsight. Mainly it means even more deliveries for me this week.

One day soon us queers are going to take the rainbow back. You ruined it first with PACE, and now it’s some generic heartwarming kid’s fridge poster drawing. You take our identity, we will steal it back.

Jerry Saltz’s piece will be the best thing you read in a while

What the next generation of console’s games will look like, and why a AAA game will be eyewateringly expensive to make

Talking Pictures, and lifestyle TV channels

Mark Pawson’s on Instagram, which makes 15-year-old-me very happy

Some food things I’ve liked:

Italian food social media: Rafael on TikTok, Debora, Italian pizza queen on Insta. Optimo!

Nathan on TikTok. He’s obviously got some cheffing background, but seems to be a photographer? Anyway, he reminds me of Max of Max’s Sandwich Shop.

F4ts never-ending snack reviews

Queer things:

Good interview with Florian Hetz, who takes very different, intimate photos

Elegy for the gay bar

I enjoyed Circus of Books on Netflix. The most unlikely tale of an SF porn shop and the family that ran it. Including an interview with Jeff Stryker! And a coming out story that made me cry, plus AIDS hangs over the whole film.

Jack Cullen’s lockdown blog. He lives and works in a pretty alternate universe of gay London to me, but the posts are interesting and thoughtful.

Haven’t had time to have a poke around The Julia Stoschek Collection, but it’s a comprehensive video art collection that they are starting to make available online. Which is weirdly a first.

Paul sent me a link to a postcard in the SFO Museum Collection. This of course led me to spelunking into other great postcards (thanks to Aaron who works there). And then that got me into a tailspin of the Golden Gate International Exposition. And the Bureau International des Expositions. And Floridade flower festival in the Netherlands in 2022!

That’s probably enough. Stay safe, stay home, stay alert, stay tuned, stay still, stay awake, stay alive.

that was a fortnight, 10 May 2020

I saw 30 or so Starlink satellites go past. Satellites, space stations, meteors are all pretty awe-inspiring. This was just eerie. Perfectly spaced satellites, constantly moving overhead for 10 minutes. Taken something magic and industrialised it, making it mundane/creepy.

I knew that plantboys was a thing (several insta accounts, there’s even a book), but I didn’t encounter plantbears until this week. There’s one on This Morning.

Been enjoying Grayson Perry’s Art Club (even if it is a bit Channel 4). Contrast that with The Price Of Everything. It’s amazing – the main white rich guy collector gets a fake made when he puts something into a museum. And sees no irony with that. The only people who come out of it well are some of the artists, frantically trying to get work into museums rather than disappearing into private collections.

We really are in the upsidedown for copyright, streaming, media and insider knowledge at the moment. Ikea have even published their meatball recipe.

I saw Tom Walker’s Very Very at the Edinburgh fringe last year, and it’s one of the funniest things I’ve seen. It’s rude, crude, silly, intelligent and funny. You’ll be snort laughing. It’s now on Amazon Prime. See also Sam Campbell’s The Trough.

Channel 5 are excelling at (slightly overly long / cheap) travel shows. I really enjoyed Michael Palin in North Korea. It’s one of those places I really wanted to go when I was younger, just for the novelty, but now Michael Palin’s been, I don’t have to go. It covers a lot more of North Korea than I’ve ever seen before, even if still completely mediated by his handlers. It gets a bit communist Wes Anderson in places. [I can’t find a link because the My5 site is baffling… maybe on catchup still?]

The BBC understand video conferencing better than Ghibli (backgrounds, not people)

Lovely collection of Northern shop fronts, which reminded me of Dan Lockton‘s excellent curation of old UK petrol stations and brands. I remember a lot of these: UK, National, Q8…

CLUI exhibition of the US’ Minor Outlying Islands

Bought some more masks from Studio Masachuka in Stratford and they are lovely.

Got distracted by a fake Naomi Campbell house, when the reality is weirder.

Korean foot peels are all the fun of peeling surprising amounts of skin off with no need for sunburn (everyone likes doing this, don’t they?)

I’ve now worked at GDS for 8 years. Ups and downs, naturally. Still lots of good people doing important work. More people and more important work than ever, really.

that was a fortnight, 26 April 2020

Lots of things to talk about, almost nothing to talk about.

Mainly I’ve been sunbathing on my balcony. April’s been amazing, hasn’t it? Well, the weather. Not everything else. I realise sunbathing is now considered a private luxury and I’m lucky.

I’ve not developed agoraphobia, but there’s definitely rising fear of other people in public spaces. With the good weather, the park and the marshes have been a bit busy for me. Hopefully this is temporary.

I did make it to the allotment. Watered the mustard greens that are trying to bolt in the heat and marvelling at a now massive beetroot I had forgotten to pull up last year. Planted a few peas.

I’m not a flower person, but daffodils represent hope in the dark, and my collection has grown every year. And this year I added a few tulips, as they represent spring. What next? And now Leif is here (in Animal Crossing) and I can buy lilies and chrysanthemums.

I’ve also realised I’ve not been listening to much music or to podcasts. This is definitely bad for me, but I don’t like music on when I work, and I never leave the “work” spaces because they are my “not work” spaces as well. The one thing I have listed to is 2 episodes of Off Menu (probably the only appropriately socially distanced restaurant at the moment) – the Paul F. Tompkins and Sara Pascoe episodes are some of the funnest things I’ve heard in a long while.

I’ve been ordering more and more specialist, esoteric lockdown supplies. Goat shoulders, specialist cheese, natural wine (also), even pre-mixed cocktails. I’m the wrong side of the tracks (in E15) to get delivery from the more hipster Hackney places, but the combination of a lot of restaurant quality food and drink that needs using now floating around, plus many trade wholesalers turning retail for a bit, means there’s all sorts of things that I couldn’t normally get.

But you have to remember it’s pretty desperate for producers and supply chains. I’m not optimistic about what we’ll have, food or restaurant wise, on the other side of this. Gabrielle Hamilton’s piece about running Prune in New York for 20 years captures a lot of the essence of the questions we all should be asking:

“The concerns before coronavirus are still universal: The restaurant as we know it is no longer viable on its own. You can’t have tipped employees making $45 an hour while line cooks make $15. You can’t buy a $3 can of cheap beer at a dive bar in the East Village if the “dive bar” is actually paying $18,000 a month in rent, $30,000 a month in payroll; it would have to cost $10. I can’t keep hosing down the sauté corner myself just to have enough money to repair the ripped awning.”

“The girl who called about brunch the first day we were closed … is used to having an Uber driver pick her up exactly where she stands at any hour of the day, a gel mani-pedi every two weeks and award-winning Thai food delivered to her door by a guy who braved the sleet, having attached oven mitts to his bicycle handlebars to keep his hands warm. But I know she would be outraged if charged $28 for a Bloody Mary. … No. We are not open for brunch. There is no more brunch.”

In the UK, Jonathan Nunn’s new newsletter, Vittles, is approaching food journalism from a very different place to most mainstream media (I still love Grace Dent’s columns).

Boxsetted DEVS. I nearly didn’t watch it as the clip they used to promote it has someone say “What is Devs?” in a perfect Philomena Cunk intonation. It’s nowhere near as clever as it thinks it is (and not as good as Russian Doll), but the production style and values are impressive. I’ve like a few articles about how they made it – specifically

“There is a sequence in episode one where Nick Offerman’s character Forest takes his new employee Sergei into Devs for the first time. Chatting, they walk across a bridge through the redwoods in the heart of the Santa Cruz campus, enter another redwood forest we miraculously found in an arboretum outside London; come out, still talking, into a field at the edge of the Californian campus; approach the VFX Devs building; and finally walk into a set on a stage in Manchester. In the final show it’s seamless. As Forest says to Sergei as they walk, that’s “pretty neat”.

Telly magic.

The pandas are mating for the first time at Ocean Park in Hong Kong. Maybe having thousands of people visit each day is… bad for them?

I’ve not watched any of the livestreams or replays being put on by all the theatres and venues (I may pay to watch Fleabag). Something about the time-limitedness of them, and the fact they couldn’t or wouldn’t do this before they were forced to close, rankles a bit. Like closed archives always do.

BBC4’s How to Make is good on both product design and materials.

There was probably something else. Time is doing that super quick super slow thing for me. Definitely lost track of days.

that was a fortnight, 13 April 2020

I was meant to be in Ragusa right now. Living the Montelbano dream. Instead I’ve been pretending to be on holiday.

I’ve managed to configure my balcony to have room for a sunbed. In the Before, I’d’ve gone to Ikea and bought something cheap. Last year I went big on Korean ultralight deck chairs. There’s been a revolution in “things made with tubular aluminium”. Helinox produce super-light deckchairs (500 g) that use tubes with internal bungees to make assembly quick and then, crucially use the ballistic chair fabric as tension throughout the chair. You sit very low, and there are balance issues if you reach or twist too far, but they’re pretty amazing. I…. bought a Chinese copy of these. And then I bought a high backed Chinese version (that Helinox have now expanded to).

Helinox do make “cots” (the tactical name for a sunbed). But most ultralight cots are very low to the ground. There’s a Chinese brand called Kingcamp that are pumping out all sorts of camping equipment, but also making quite innovative designs based around this cheap sturdy tubular aluminium. There’s quite a lot of great packable sunbeds/cots at around 6kg – including the Kingcamp hammocky-thing that’s pretty amazing. In the end I went with the “KingCamp Deluxe Lightweight Off Ground Rip Stop Camping Cot with Stuff Bag KC3988” which was around 100 bucks delivered, but is only 2kg. It took a lot of watching videos to assemble (and realising the included Allen key is vital) but it’s comfortable and pretty amazing engineering. The only downside is that as it’s all tensioned through the fabric, it’s pretty noisy when moving around. It creaks like a ship.

April suntans.

The other thing filling my time is Animal Crossing. The White Pube nail why it’s relevant and important especially now. It’s taken up some time of mine, but that’s replacing Mario Kart completely, and some TikTok time. Before that it was Two Dots time. Share of fingers is the new share of stomach. I’ve been watching the Ghibli movies now on Netflix – and I’m struck that Animal Crossing is rendered like anime movies. The characters that move are simple, but the backgrounds are stunning. It’s truly beautiful at sunset.

I’ve finally planted the first seeds for this year. Mainly tomatoes, chillies, sweetcorn to start with. They’re already getting their first true leaves. Nature is amazing. I’m loving Gardener’s World focussing on the obsessives – this time the daffodil people (from 17m30s on). Plant intelligence.

Interesting to see comedy adapt to the Now. Have I Got News For You doesn’t work. Those used to producing on their own – like Limmy – have all the tools they need in their home to make broadcast quality TV. There’s some interesting experiments like the Covid Arms, which mean that (for less/no money) some comedians are playing bigger gigs than ever before.

I was in central Manchester in 1996 when the bomb went off – but there had been some warning and some people managed to escape. In 1999, I worked in Brixton, lived in Bloomsbury and hung out in Soho when the 3 nailbombs were planted. I grew up with terror. But not on this scale. Every day, there’s a bomb going off with no warning in a crowded cinema or theatre (or closer, a hospital ward or a care home). It’s the oddest feeling. I can’t pretend I can work or live like the bomb isn’t going off.

that was a fortnight, 1 March 2020

Literally nothing to say last week. I suspect a combination of minor base level of illness fighting from all the colds and flus floating around, plus the weather. A storm every weekend is mean.

I’m never seen straight white men in more conniptions than when presented with a dress code of “fancy, not formal”.

A good week for online archives, with a load of photos from Thames Water being digitised – a lot of pumping machinery and closeups of things in the water. Also Smithsonian released 2.8 million images into the public domain. It’s very rich in descriptions and metadata but when you get down to an object page, there’s little you can explore sideways from the object. There’s 3d models, too, which probably need some playing with.

It’s food from here on out, sorry.

I am gradually being drawn into the Bon Appétit cinematic universe. It’s interesting to see what works on video – any recipe with a technique needs video, the comparative restaurant reviews could do with a step back and more comparisons drawn after the event (which written journalism can do so well).

The online written side of Bon Appétit is nailing it too. This large exploration of all things taco is great.

I want to become the Chief Egg Officer. Or at least the Chief Omelette Officer, Omurice Division. I’ve never been good at them. Pépin is the boss (watch for the distain of the US / “country” omelette vs the second classical one). Then there’s Yoshimura, Kyoto’s king of omurice. And up and coming Korean versions. I don’t know if it’s even possible to make a proper French omelette on an induction hob. I don’t feel that Bon Appétit nailed it. I have learnt that frying pans have changed – few these days have the turned lip that make getting the right shape and turning out a wobbly omelette a lot easier. Also the sides are more upright and less of a curvy slide. Time to go pan shopping.

More on British vs American food critics. The curse of queues for food.

Most of the new series of The Chef Show is men talking to men about men cooking men food (and I like Roy Choi’s cooking). But watch the Border Grill episode – it’s not their original restaurant but the owners Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger have been making proper Mexican food for Americans since the 80s. I’ve got some of their cookbooks.

The next series of Ugly Delicious is released on Friday and I’m hoping it balances up the diversity somewhat.

North America’s largest-known Mexican cookbook collection.

Ice cream with sweet chilli sauce is confirmed as good.

My brexit stash has been similarly renamed.

If KFC have been doing influencer marketing for the 80 piece popcorn chicken bucket, then it’s working.

that was a week, 16 February 2020

I finally started to take apart my brexit food stash this week. Most things still in date, but the plastic wrapped stuff like rice is the first that needs using up. I’ll be leaning heavily on Jack Monroe’s Tin Can Cook.

I was listening to the latest episode of Off Menu where they talk about strawberry sauce being the same as sweet chilli sauce, and I instantly wanted soft serve ice cream with sweet chilli sauce on. Obviously, people being people and the Internet being the Internet, this has been tried this before (with chile crisp and salsa matcha!). Still trying to work out how to either bring chilli sauce to a McDs or get the ice cream home quick enough from somewhere. (update: I am a fool – of course McDs does sweet chilli sauce. Here we go!)

More recent podcast recommendations:

The founders of Honest Burgers talking about how they’ve scaled into a chain without reducing quality

Dave Chang talking to critic Adam Platt – very surprised that no-one mentions service being important to enjoying a meal. Great food is ruined by bad service, ok (even terrible) food can be redeemed by great hospitality and buzz.

Who wouldn’t want to listen to Davina McCall trying KFC for the first time? (be aware, after they try it the podcast gets very heavy very quickly (not the aftermath of the KFC, another topic))

I made Anna Jones’ dal and chutney. It was good (I’ve never had a zingy sour dal before), but I’ve realised why I didn’t get on with her book as much as others – I find some of the instructions oddly tricksy and either far too detailed or not detailed enough. I mean – this is unnecessary: “Once the fat is hot, add the curry leaves, chillies, mustard seeds, fenugreek and garlic, one at a time, pausing for a second between each addition and swirling the pan.” And then being very specific about using different kinds of oils to cook with. But then just saying a thumb sized piece of ginger.

Robin Sloan hit the metaphor on the head about coding and cooking. I’m even less than a programming home cook these days. I can barely microwave a meal. I know what I want at the end but I don’t often recognise the ingredients or the microwave. Whilst cooking methods do change, it’s far slower than how programming has changed (since I did it. for money!).

I am very here for the Wuhan food stans – Robert Sietsema is eating his way round Wuhan cuisine (presumably in NY?), this pancake looks amazing (is it doupi?) and Helen Rosner following up on the epic food post of cooking under lockdown.

Google maps on iOS now has incognito mode. It’s unclear what that means.

I’ve never got into Youtube as entertainment, but it’s nice to see what someone like Matt Haughey watches to replace traditional TV broadcasting.

NYT unpicks how dances and sounds move (or are appropriated) between online communities and apps. It’s maybe a bit inside baseball. I am, however, interested to know if anyone is recording, archiving or cataloguing these things. Less easy to do than, say, knowyourmeme. There also isn’t much coverage or criticism of it, other than when things get massive and leak into the mainstream.

Yet another Clive James postcard, this time from LA. I think I remember watching this one the first time round – from a time (1995) where having a personal trainer or going to the gym as a hobby was weird, or at least niche. Interesting to see what has changed, and what hasn’t.

that was a fortnight, 9 February 2020

Didn’t post last week as I’ve been the CEO of colds for the last fortnight. A particularly long running but pretty low impact cold – hard to justify not being in work (apart from the first few days when I couldn’t think straight), even though I’m pretty hard line on ill people staying away. Anyway it’s left me feeling run down and not in the mood for adventures.

Did go to Margate for a run around the shell grotto and some of Felix’s cocktails. It was particularly windswept and all the men had mustard yellow beanies.

Went to see Leopoldstadt, currently on an extended pre-press night run. It just made me realise how few traditional plays I see and everyone just seemed to be talking at each other in staccato sentences. You’re obviously going to get emotional impact with the subject matter, but there were few other redeeming features.

If you’re not in the Snapchat/Instagram story/TikTok media bubble, you won’t be aware of “things on foreheads” as a new UI/interaction design. I think the best I’ve seen is ‘which Bosch character are you’.

Tiktok remains the best place to find out what life in Wuhan is actually like at the moment (I suspect Douyin may be better, but I haven’t got round to jumping the hoops to install it). This epic post about how to cook in a pandemic is great too.

I don’t like tension in things that I watch, so I’ve avoided Uncut Gems so far, preferring Vera and Inspector Montelbano. Terrible things have happened but there’s absolutely no tension whilst they’re investigated – at best it’s a historical murder with a recent incident just to add some degree of spiciness. My only complaint is recently a lot of the murderers aren’t even mentioned or seen for the first hour, or even until the last 15 minutes.

Some more of Clive James’ postcards, that often feel a bit forced in the premise (every episode is weirdly car-centric), vs the equally contrived but very barbed Frankie Boyle’s Scotland travelogue.

Onion platzels from Beigel Bake (the right one, not the wrong one)

The online version of iCloud Notes is now really good (just in time as work have turned off our Apple logins)

Via TikTok I learnt that teenagers are still speaking to complete strangers, via omegle. Terrifying. As a committed introvert that only uses video chat with people I know under extreme force, I can’t imagine why you’d want to do this. Anyway, you go you.

that was a week, 27 January 2020

(consider everything this week NSFW)

Another week down the TikTok meme mines.

Really enjoyed Charlie Shackleton‘s video essay about criticism in the age of TikTok (thanks Kim). The style of in-device movement around apps reminded me of Grosse Fatigue.

There is some criticism on TikTok these days, notably people getting angry at appropriation of foreign language lyrics, where creators are using what it sounds like rather than what it actually means – eg “no I know” versus “não vai não” – or not understanding quite how rude the lyrics they’re dancing to are. The Duet filter/function is a natural mode for in-TikTok criticism.

One of the hardest things to get used to is the American take on what rude words are (b-s and n-s are allowed, but f-s are bleeped), and that most of the dancing is to pretty offensive rap. I realise this is my problem, not theirs – and it’s not like there wasn’t similar music when I was a teenager. But there’s something jarring between the all-white American smiles against descriptions of precisely how, where and who will be gunned down.

Sounds like Tesco have now caught up with TikTok, and forced employees to take down all the videos filmed in Tescos or in uniform (but I haven’t heard of anyone being fired). I think they’ve missed a trick.

There’s a whole other side to TikTok I haven’t engaged with – live broadcasting. It’s the only way for users to directly make money off the app. But it feels like a step too far for me to explore. I’m old enough to be their dads.

Going back to using TikTok for criticism – I’m really surprised no-one is doing, for want of a better word, GoggleTok: clips of TV reaction criticism, given how embedded the Gogglebox format is in UK vernacular. There’s been some posts around Sex Education (eg which characters people like or dislike) but there’s very little reaction to bits of TV, even though a lot of the sound clips people reuse come from TV and film. Given some phones can now record from both front and back cameras at once, it feels like a natural split screen format for TikTok, or an upgrade for the green screen filter that’s one of the most interesting genres on TikTok.

This week’s old person on TikTok who gets it is Max Foster from CNN.

Also, Byte launched – a Vine remake. It’s likely to be popular with a different demographic to TikTok (ok boomers), but there’s a lot of reposting between the two at the moment. It’s currently very stripped down compared to TikTok, and I miss the richness of background sounds, innovative use of titling and filters, and the difference between a few seconds of video and the 60 seconds TikTok now allows.

In non-short-form-video news:

Started watching the Bon Appetit cinematic universe. Not quite hooked yet.

It’s great to hear that the Thomas Cook archives have been kept as a collection and will be properly looked after. Good work by the Business Archives Council.

Sourdough real talk

that was a week, 19 January 2020

Let’s get back on the horse.

I was away for 3 weeks over Christmas and the New Year. It was fun, and I’ll try to write something up, but I didn’t get the weird timeless lull of days doing nothing. Tried to do very little over the last few weekends to recreate some rest.

Finished the second season of Sex Education on Netflix. Maybe a touch more unbelievable than the first series (even set in the hyper world of US education facilities in small town UK). Weird pacing too, with a real lull in the middle and of course the last episode is trying to sort out way too much. Only cried 5 times.

There’s nothing new to say about Netflix’s relentless pushing of the next thing to watch, in audio & video, but some kind of soft landing after a boxset would be really nice. Maybe with the horrible fragmentation of video on demand, viewer’s experience may become more important again.

It’s January, so unlike December, all the supermarkets are full of vegan and plant based meals. The no chicken kiev from M&S is, if anything, better than the original. You’re eating a kiev for the crunch and the garlic, rarely for the chicken. I’m not vegan, or vegetarian, but I don’t see the point in eating meat, if the meat isn’t the point.

Channel 5 ended up doing slow TV better than the BBC – watch the train go from Glasgow to Mallaig.

Two of Clive James’ Postcards series were shown by BBC4. Maybe more withering on the 80s, and class, in retrospect.

Was pointed to papicocafe on Instagram, highlighting some old timey Japan. Something to pair with craigmod’s epic essay about pizza toast and kissatens.

Rob Auton’s podcast is good but the novel format (2-5ish minutes daily) doesn’t fit with the created strictures of modern podcasting (30 seconds of bad adverts at the beginning and end).

Was looking for something else on the Ikea website, but found this very cheap plant water sensor. I’m intrigued by the new acoustic panels too.

Keeping an eye on this court case over a piece of light art. It feels really at the edge of art expression, but also involves Chinese product manufacturers advertising how to recreate.

The Guardian’s post on European city museums is good. Lots of gems in the comments, for once.

Mostly I’ve spent a lot of time watching TikTok. Once you get over the initial headspin and general revulsion of the first half an hour it’s both interesting and fun. I know Vine was something similar, but I never really got into that, and the scale of this is massive. It’s different to most social media in that it’s generally watching strangers, and very different to YouTube due to the length of the posts (10-20 seconds of video).

Given it doesn’t know anything about you at the start, its filters start very location specific (UK), but the main page (For You) is completely atemporal. There’s nothing to indicate when the post was from, so even now, I’m getting some posts from before Christmas. It feels like the algo thrashes about, giving you 10 minutes of cat videos before heading off to another data point. It’s very receptive to “full watches” of videos.

The first half an hour was horrible. If you’re used to Instagram, it’s very… ITV1/2/3/4 compared to Instagram’s Channel 4. You’re in a lot of people’s houses, workplaces and schools. There’s a lot of singing and dancing. There’s weirdly specific TikTok lighting for teenager bedrooms. There’s also a lot of privilege on display, from “private school check” to “rich person check” and the inevitable shysters selling drop shipping, cryptocurrencies and forex trading as get rich quick schemes (which if anything lends credence to the platform, as a place where people are and things are happening). And sure, there was some very upfront homophobia – the blocking and reporting tools are pretty meagre but are there. Between some blocking and giving it a few hashtags, people and songs to watch for, it became a far more manageable place.

The flip side to potential abuse is that it’s also got lots of LGBT+ and other minorities finding themselves, and finding others.

It feels like a richer description of humanity than Twitter or Instagram. It’s bored people at work or school or at home – I don’t know if the social media policies of all the large companies hasn’t caught up yet, or if they don’t care. Tesco and McDonalds seem to do pretty well out of it in the UK. Also seeing people reacting to their university and Oxbridge places over the last week has been quite something.

I spent a good half an hour in tears laughing at the “sent these lyrics” thing. With the in-phone green screen effect, it’s people singing and laughing over the text conversation they had. It’s different and new. And funny (and already splintered into several different memes – find the ones where they text old(er) people).

Beverley Knight is really good at it. And can’t quite understand, like all over 25s on the app, famous or not, why she’s not more popular. I don’t want to post any videos on there, but I kinda want to learn the dances just to be able to jump in the back of anyone I see recording.

It’s people having a moment of fun. The kids are alright. It is nice to see people having fun on the Internet, again.

that was a week, w/e 8 December 2019

Not quite a week, but Sunday feels a good time to catch up.

Feel in a rush, as to my mind, Christmas is in a week’s time, as that’s when I finish work to go to HK and Seoul. Sifting 76 CVs didn’t help much.

Intrigued by Seoul but realise it’s a very different culture to any I’ve visited before, especially, for my purposes, in how they view single diners. So quite a lot more prep and reading and making of maps (all in KakaoMap as Google doesn’t really work). Learning a lot from the Netflix category “Korean TV Programmes about Food”, which are mainly sit… coms? dramas? reality? Mainly watching “Let’s Eat“, a drama about a group of single neighbours in Seoul (also Men Are Terrible, Global edition), and “Chef & My Fridge“, a never-ending reality show with random k-celebs and random chefs cooking things. All are impossibly full of customs and seeming rudeness.

Amazing performance of Reich’s Drumming at the Hayward, where it was originally performed 40 years ago, even if the acoustics meant most of the last third on glockenspiels were lost and almost painful (the Riley exhibit is great, but apart from the main room on the top floor, not given any space to breathe).

W3C have funded an online course about web accessibility, but I’ve already received 5 needy emails from the learning platform they’re using for it.

The ‘Christmas special’ of Live at The Apollo features great sets by Ahir Shah and Laura Lexx.

Let’s not talk about the banana. It’s kinda sorta maybe not the end of the decade, so here come the lists; like the “best art”.

VR developer update: the weird 3d camera I bought only has an app for the Oculus Go, and not the Quest. You can, after much googling, only upload files to the headset using Android File Transfer if you are *not* in developer mode. Accessing through Dropbox is almost the easiest method.

Anyway, in Venice I took some 3d photos and video to start exploring what works. It’s interesting for vistas with things in close and middle distance, and room sized 3d with some objects around; not got the resolution or the optics for exploring close up objects in detail. Some of the videos really work. More to explore.

Why? It feels like when I discovered the Internet, and the same with mobile phones. The tech now is horrible, expensive, ugly and heavy (and most importantly, antisocial), but there’s a glimpse of something new – it won’t be VR, it’s that AR will creep up on you without you noticing. So some early experiments hopefully puts me 5 minutes ahead of the curve.

If you do have an Oculus Quest, this list of immersive experiences by NoProscenium is great.

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