Darren Barefoot
Darren Barefoot


Thinking Chaos, Thinking Fences

This is for those who descend into the code
and make their room a fridge for Superman

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

TipToe pointed me to this fine contraption, the lovely-sounding Frankfurter Converter. Apparently it turns regular hot dogs into 'octodogs'. This reminded me of the equally weird Popcorn Fork, 'the most unique eating utensil since the Dark Ages.'

I wonder what utensil revolution happened in the Dark Ages? The spork? What do you know? I did a little research:

10:59:52 PM        Mixed Bag Technology The Arts

Way back in the day, I used to work as a receptionist and admin guy for the Oak Bay Recreation Centre in Victoria. It was a fine job, and the only unionized one I've ever had. We were also back-up lifeguards for those on the pool deck, and so there were certain procedures we had to get familiar with. I just found a copy of the following one in some old correspondence:

DATE:  September 27, 1996
TO:  All Aquatic Staff, Maintenance and Receptionists
RE: Fecal Incidents In Pool Water

If there is a fecal incident in the pool, please follow these steps:

1. Lifeguards will clear the pool which the incident occurred in.

2. Lifeguards will remove the fecal matter from the pool.  If the accident occurred in the big pool, maintenance will probably close a portion of the big pool.

3. Maintenance follows pool superchlorination procedures and informs both pool staff and reception as to the length of pool closure.

4. Reception gives out courtesy passes to affected patrons.  If lessons are canceled, Reception ensures credits are put on lesson participants accounts.  If other classes are affected by pool closure, Reception calls lesson participants to inform them that the pool is closed for ___hours due to maintenance problems.

5. The Aquatic Coordinator or Programmer will take care of staffing concerns.  In their absence, the Team Leader or lifeguard on duty may need to inform any staff whose shifts are affected by a lengthy pool closure.

6. Lifeguards inform the Aquatic Coordinator or Programmer about the incident.

7. Lifeguards document the incident by using an accident report.

Makes you think twice about using the public pool, doesn't it?

9:10:29 PM        Mixed Bag Sports

As an avid iPod user and swimmer, I've often considered a waterproof MP3 player for the pool. I read about these MP3 goggles on Gizmodo:

The music player is integrated into swimming goggles and uses bone conduction to vibrate music direct to the skull. The sound quality is actually better than in a normal environment because there is no background noise.

Bone conduction? Does anyone else find that a little...yecch. I can see the headline in five years: 'Sound Waves from Goggles Cause Skull Cancer".

They haven't got a name for this product yet. Let's see...

  • SwimRock
  • PoolPop
  • Nager-Musique

I got nothing.

9:05:48 PM        Music Sports Technology

Dave Winer points us to The Road to Oceania, an excellent essay on Orwell and modern-day America in the New York Times by William Gibson:

In the age of the leak and the blog, of evidence extraction and link discovery, truths will either out or be outed, later if not sooner. This is something I would bring to the attention of every diplomat, politician and corporate leader: the future, eventually, will find you out. The future, wielding unimaginable tools of transparency, will have its way with you. In the end, you will be seen to have done that which you did.

9:00:30 PM        Politics The Arts

I've been thinking about tattoos lately. This article, on South Koreans avoiding military service by getting huge tattoos, brought the whole thing to a head.

I'm certainly not anti-tattoo, but I've begun to ask some questions about the tattoo selection process. I was walking by a tattoo shop the other day. It occurred to me that most tattoo parlors look the same. They've got lots of designs on the walls, and lots of books to browse through. In fact, this particular tattoo parlor had a couple of teenage girls leafing through one of these books. Here enlies the rub: 

The decor of the store suggests that most people, when they enter the store, do not know what kind of tattoo they want.

You're not shopping for socks. This is a relatively permanent procedure, and most people don't know what they want? Maybe the decision to get a tattoo is much more important than what tattoo to get, but I don't think so. Really, how are you going to feel about that 'Tweety Bird' in twenty years?

Now I recognize that there's a minority segment of the tattoo-owning population that is totally legit, with individual, meaningful designs. I applaud this approach. Mind you, these people tend to be the equivalent of Mac users--convinced of their superiority, but I digress.

And don't get me started on the whole cultural acquisition angle. First off, tattoos rose to prominence in Africa, where they presumably had important symbolic meaning. Okay, so we borrowed that over here in North America. But why is it that every second tattoo I see is either some Japanese kanji or a Celtic cross? It's a kind of skin globalization.

In short, think carefully about what you want in a tattoo. Next to say, crack, it's probably one of the worst spontaneous purchases you can make.

When I have this conversation with people, it always ends with a discussion of what, if I was to get a tattoo, what I would get. I'm not sure--I haven't thought carefully enough. I'd probably get a nice Shakespeare quote. Or perhaps Luther:

Man's mind is a factory busy with making idols.

That's got a kind of edgy tone to it, don't you think?

10:02:47 AM        Mixed Bag The Arts