The aesthetics of joy

A few years back C came across a website called The Aesthetics of Joy. It is a ongoing project from a woman named Ingrid Fetell.

This is the bio from her website:

ingrid fetell

My work explores the emotional relationships between people and things, particularly the basic objects we interact with every day. Many of these interactions are unthinking—the way we sink into a chair or grasp a cup—and my goal is simply to expose the emotionality inherent in the material action. On a deeper level, I’m interested in the dialogue between objects and our long-term emotional well-being. Much has been said about the unhealthy culture of consumption in modern life, and I believe part of the solution lies in designing products that are emotionally satisfying in a more durable way

Just the name delights me. Life should be about joy and, as a visual person, the idea of joy having an aesthetic should have been a foregone conclusion, yet I never thought of it that way. I discovered her site about the same time that Sony Bravia released their commercial/short film with 250,000 colourful balls bouncing down the streets and hills of San Francisco. It’s delightful if you’ve never seen it.

I am not sure of the cause and effect relationship between Aesthetics of Joy and the Sony commercial — I may have just seen it on her site or C may have pointed them both out to me at the same time — but they are now both inextricably linked to my mental images of joy. So take some time and watch the video and wander through her site. And check out the making of video too.

And embrace the joy.



Twitter Digest


ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) is the most common format for text files in computers and on the Internet. In an ASCII file, each alphabetic, numeric, or special character is represented with a 7-bit binary number (a string of seven 0s or 1s). 128 possible characters are defined. It is what is often refereed to as text (as opposed to code) when referring to email or file types.

Back in the late 60s people started to use the symbols to make drawings. These eventually evolved into high art.

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ASCII art is a graphic design technique that uses computers for presentation and consists of pictures pieced together from the 95 printable (from a total of 128) characters defined by the ASCII Standard from 1963 and ASCII compliant character sets with proprietary extended characters (beyond the 128 characters of standard 7-bit ASCII). The term is also loosely used to refer to text based visual art in general. ASCII art can be created with any text editor, and is often used with free-form languages. Most examples of ASCII art require a fixed-width font (non-proportional fonts, as on a traditional typewriter) such as Courier for presentation.

A lot of us will remember these from the local carnival (The Calgary Stampede in my case) booths that took your picture then printed it out using text.
This is not me. I can’t find mine.

But there are tons of great images out there and you can do all sorts of weird things with them. For example if you want see a nekkid lady you can find one buried in the source code of this post. (See here if you don’t know how.)

The possibilities are endless. See’s ASCII Art page for literally hundreds of cool drawings.

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T. infernalis


Hesh-Sheh slowly opened it’s eye and peered towards the slowly brightening flames of the eastern sky.

Soon. Soon.

Already it could feel the first licks of warmth on it’s scales and the long night’s lethargy sloughing off like old skin.

Soon. Soon.

And with the creep of awareness came hunger. It had been many days since the last hunt and it was time. Time to slake the thirst and feel the ecstasy once again of prey slipping down its throat.

Soon. Soon.

As that first dagger of light crawled across its coils, a small shudder ran across the iridescent pattern along its back like an undulating  ruby and emerald necklace in piercing blade of sunlight. The tip of its tail twitched now in a slow rhythm.

Soon. Soon.

Warmth suffusing deep into its core, the energy began to surge along its powerful muscles and the coils started to pulse and writhe in time to an invisible solar metronome.




The machete took off it’s head with a solid thwack and buried itself into the hard, dead wood of the fallen tree.

“God I hate snakes. Even these harmless garter snakes. Give me the creeps.”

The man stretched out his arms to the rising sun and basked momentarily in the warmth.

“Git your ass up, Seth. Sun’s up, I’m hungry. And we got some fish to catch.”

Soon. Soon.


California Red-Sided Garter Snake

Thamnophis sirtalis infernalis


T8N March 2015

The latest issue is out!

I’m kinda proud of this one. It shows great gains in all sorts of places. Unfortunately for me the print copies are still driving around in the boss’s car. If I’m luck I will see one before half of St Albert.

Life is…

My ex-wife used to say tongue firmly in cheek “Life is a bitch… and then you marry one.” She was never a bitch, but she used it to try and get away with outrageous things. Life is Life: one of my favourite 80s songs. Tim reminded me yesterday the “Life is short…and unpredictable.”

Que sera, sera… Ironically I first heard that one, and the song (the version by the Raes), when I was 13 or 14 (Grade 8 anyway). Carlton Hughes and I were over at Cheryl Hutch’s house ‘hanging out’ in her basement. I remember having to beg for my parent’s permission to be out that night. Carleton was ever the mover and shaker and had set up that he, I, Sue-Ellen Ingram and of course Cheryl would hang. Cheryl and Sue were best friends and Carlton had his eye on Cheryl, so we all know how that was supposed to go. As it was, I considered 14-year-old Sue stunningly beautiful — and I still do I suppose. She had the greatest nose, lovely eyes, and oh, those 1970s jeans… The two best looking girls ever had invited us over…good times. So I wasn’t in any way opposed to the plan.

I remember very little of the evening except the moments approaching the climax as it were. Carlton and Cheryl had left the main room. The lights were down low and Sue was sitting in my lap. Que Sera Sera was playing on the stereo and I was having a long and drawn out internal argument about whether or not Sue wanted me to kiss her or, at the very least, wouldn’t freak out if I did. As C would say, “Boys are stupid.”

And I never did kiss her.  We eventually said our goodbyes and I never again found myself in that intimate a situation with the best looking girl in school. Carlton moved away the next year and my ‘adventures’  shifted to a different course. Que sera, sera. Whatever will be, will be. The future’s not ours to see. My 14-year-old self really was a bit of an idiot, but then I’ve had a fear-based personality most of these 50-some-odd years and I guess I can’t fault the little moron. But I’ve tried to use that little ‘mistake’ as a reminder ever since: always kiss the girl! I don’t always manage to do it  and it’s just funny that it never gets easier ;-)

Gaudeamus igitur, iuvenes dum sumus: Let us rejoice, while we are young. I’ve used it as a personal motto since I first heard it in University. It’s seemed more appropriate than my previous motto — care of Rob Dyck: Give ‘er till ya puke. But the sentiment remains the same.

So ya. Life. Huh.

For those who wonder, the whole verse is:

Gaudeamus igitur,
Juvenes dum sumus;
Post icundum iuventutem,
Post molestam senectutem
Nos habebit humus.

Let us rejoice while we are young
After our youth,
After a troublesome old age
The ground will hold us.


Turn it sideways and it’s a tunnel?

Three drums and cymbal fell off a cliff: ba-dum bum bum… crash.

As previously mentioned I have a manilla envelope full of pre-internet jokes all typewritten…on a typewriter. Some of them I can’t ever post here (Indian Job Application, Polish Vacation Itinerary) because they are just too dated and too -ist—by which I mean so very not politically correct or even acceptable. But  few still make me smile. They seem to all be predicated on the classic ‘misunderstanding.’ So here’s a typical one with a boat theme. (I left the typos in!)

Once there was twin bothers named Jack and Jim. Jack was married; but Jim was single and the proud owner of an old boat. Disaster struck them both on the same day. Jack’s wife died and Jim’s boat sank. A few days later a friend mistaked Jim for Jack and offered his sympathies saying “You must feel terrible.” Jim replied “Oh. not really. She was a wreck from the beginning. Her bottom was all shrivelled up and smelled like dead fish. The first time I got in her, she made water faster than anything I’ve ever seen. There was a bad crack in her back, and a pretty big hole in her front. The hole got bigger everytime I used her, and she leaked like crazy. But what finnished her was these five guys I know who borrowed her and I told them she wasn’t very good, but they said they’d take a chance with her anyhow. So I rented her out. Then the crazy fools tried to get into her all at once. It was too much for her and she cracked right in the middle.” At this point the friend fainted.