The old apartment rule

This evening I had dinner with a friend who just bought a new car and consequently sold his former car, a dilapidated old second-hand BWM that had become totally unreliable. He described poignantly how sad it was to part with the old car, despite how much he’s enjoying having a new one. The sense of finality, of parting with an old friend, etc. I compared it to the dislocating feeling when you move out of a flat you’ve lived in for a few years, hand over the keys and just walk away.

I think it would be nice if there was an agreed-upon social convention whereupon you could show up at an apartment you had lived in before, explain that you were a previous resident and reasonably expect to be shown around for a few quick minutes. Not as some strange favor, but simply as a quirk of agreed-upon social convention.


Clarion Alley, San Francisco. This was the back exit of my old apartment on Sycamore Alley.

Stuffed Animal Lamps

An old friend of mine has a new art project —  stuffed animal lamps.


Simple concept, elegant execution.  A grafitti artist friend adds some decoration.  There are a ton of them displayed here; I had trouble picking out my favorite one (I also like the sleeping camo guy, and the spiderman).

I like the marriage of functional and frivolous.  I’m also reminded of a case I worked on as a law clerk for a judge, about whether it is legal to copyright a Halloween costume.  The law in this area turned out to be completely incoherent, based on something called the “conceptual severability” test — the idea was that you could not copyright “functional” things, but if you could “conceptually sever” the design from the functional aspect of the object, you could copyright the design.  Of course this test posed an issue for costumes — what’s the function?  The law, of course, had an answer: masquerading!  Anyway the details were absurd — for example, some aspects of the test had to do with the “plushness” of the object, and whether it could stand on its own (hat) or needed to be on something to assume its shape (glove). 

Somewhat of a digression, but these lamps got me thinking about that — is the function just lighting, or also cuteness?

Good times

Thompson&ThomsonIt always warms my heart to read about Eng and Chang Bunker, aka the original Siamese Twins. Despite being conjoined, they managed to lead dignified, productive lives, ride horses, marry two sisters (?) and sire loads of children (!). However, things were not always rosy. Eng and Chang’s fondness for gambling and drinking, respectively, caused several heated arguments and even a few fist-fights, the logistics of which boggle the mind.

Another case of brotherly pull-though-it-ness: a few months ago, the news channels here showed footage of the Prague Marathon and of the Karanjan brothers, Francis and James, from Kenya. Francis is blind and runs marathons holding the hand of James, who I guess sort of guides him along, describes the sights they’re passing and concentrates on running the 26.2 miles himself all at the same time. I like this.