The dark days of COVID winter were not my most productive period, but I think I was busier than usual with work (product launch time) and did a good job developing some old patterns into high form.

Swings

In Q4–2020 we stumbled across a broken swing, which Renee and Lydia fixed up. I heard later about a kid who had been hanging swings across Oakland parks during the pandemic.

So I decided to start making my own swings! This is my initial crop of 4 pink swings.


Staying at home so much is difficult in many ways. For me, it is quite sad to have no audience for whom I might produce art. Earlier in quarantine times, I have made art for events, for the street, and for my home. By the fourth quarter of this long year, there is hardly anyone to make art for at all. My ties to aesthetic concepts or artistic purpose have become very weak. Why make art? Why do anything?

I feel like some scribbler trapped in the spire of a sound castle, occupying his time with this and that endeavor…


Precis of Narrative Fixation in Economics by Edward Fullbrook

Supply and demand, market equilibria, utility, and revealed preferences; the conventions of economics are largely neoclassical ones.

However, since the publication of an open letter by French economics students in 2000, it is increasingly clear that the world is ready for other approaches.

Edward Fullbrook’s Narrative Fixation in Economics makes the case that the neoclassical approach has stultified economics by shutting out other approaches to relevant subject matter. …


Notes on the O’Reilly book UX Research by Brad Nunnally and David Farkas

Somewhat helpful as a field manual, somewhat helpful as a guide to selling the esoteric commodity, this is a decent book with some good content, mostly around interviewing.

Why Do UX Research?

There is a good reason that research exists in the social sciences.

I think of it like this: there exist a number of researchers who have studied a particular group of people for a while (let’s say Inuits). These researchers have, by whatever means, learned about Inuits and want to share their findings because they think there is value in developing a deeper understanding of Inuit life. Quite often, this happens is…


Really just some cozy stuff around the house and a couple big pieces for events.

I drew this dinosaur during a meeting, based on someone else’s dinosaur. The top is ok, but proportions are weak.

Bedroom Art Projects!


What is worth doing, during shelter in place? Why is the answer so different from regular life, whatever that means?

Plants

A new idea: all fabric hanging pot. A bit of wire forms a circle at the top.

People say they love art, but rarely put their money where their mouth is. What’s up with this?

In pondering this question, I read Bill Grampp’s Pricing the Priceless, a tour of ideas from neo-classical economics applied to art. This book is a treasure trove of straightforward economic summaries of various aspects of art. It concludes with typical 1980’s Republican arguments to the effect that taxes supporting nice things (such as art) are morally wrong. (Most reviews highlight these final chapters, but I suggest ignoring them. Cost-benefit analysis studies can be really dumb. If Grampp had written these chapters about…


Notes for myself on how to write html emails that work

Outlook is the worst. It uses Microsoft Word to render html. Look at this nice transactional email in Gmail. Now see it in Outlook. Thanks, Microsoft.

Layout

Padding

The CSS box model is how we do layout for the web. Want this text above that text? Want a space between the body and the footer? Width and height of the object, padding to space things in from the edge on each side, and then margins to push it away from other things outside it.

Sadly, you can’t trust Outlook with padding. So I just don’t use padding.

Tables

Build out your layout as…


Erving Goffman’s classic research on how people do mainstream interpersonal vibiness presents an eerily clear model for stuff we do all the time but never talk about openly.

In this short essay summarizing Goffman’s essays collected in Interaction Ritual, I will examine what a face is, how people work to save and build face, and then explain the very off-kilter contrast provided by the book’s final essay on folk notions of character (which are nearly the opposite of how Goffman says face really works).

How to Have a Face

I came to this book sure that I was not into “face.” I don’t care about…


Looks like I didn’t have much occasion to produce cool art projects, but did churn out a few good projects and a lot of nice little exercises. The major project during this time was getting a job, with a contract ending in January and a new job not coming together until the end of May, I had 6 weeks of hardcore job hunting with some art making. …

Chuk Moran

Essayist.

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