Week 47 - 22 April 2022

The anchor tenant of this weeknote, the Tesco Extra to my mall, was meant to be Disneyland. That feels like weeks ago, and I check and it was weeks ago, and it's been a month since I wrote these. Every note, destined to begin with an apology to no one but myself.

I guess part of my writing itch has been scratched by having published notes about stuff I come across that's interesting. Ursie told me about Dance notation when we were hanging out over Easter. We had a really good lecture on Semiotics, thing-power and extreme weather from Peter.

Anyway - I went to Disneyland. We stayed in Woody's Roundup Hotel. The experience was both masochistic and punishing and a lot of fun. We stayed in the park from 9 in the morning till midnight, which is long enough to forget how stuff works in the real world and make you feel a bit mad. The queues to meet the characters were all absurd except for Geppetto, I guess because no one knows who he is anymore. Disney is bringing out a live action Pinocchio in September so maybe we're ahead of the curve. Probably not.

Here's a pic of my favourite rollercoaster Big Thunder Mountain. You start off on the 'mainland' and then emerge onto this big man-made island in the middle of a big lake.

Big Thunder Mountain

Trifecta of websites

Two websites I made went live recently, with a third on the way. I've been really enjoying this sort of freelance work - where design and code is all wrapped up in one.

System of Systems

The first has been in the making for a while - a new website for System of Systems, a research project looking at systems of migration around Europe. There was lots of juicy text formatting stuff to dig into here - footnotes, block quotes, all that.

System of systems website

Toy Invention Programme

The second is a playful little site for a new toy invention course at Kingston University. Had lots of fun working with Is, Nat, Rebecca and Kieran to transform their brand and art direction to a thing you can play with. Particularly enjoyed implementing Kieran's idea of what we ended up calling 'big booty punctuation' made from the brand's shapes.

Toy Invention Programme website


The third is launching at the end of the month - so I'd better get a move on...

I've really gone down the rabbit hole of Sustainable Web Design. There's an addictive quality to 'how low can you go' when building a site - like I'm doing with Mater - which is a platform exploring materials through the eyes of artists and researchers.

Mater website

For example, the composition above is made with an 8kb image and system fonts, meaning it's a fraction of the size of a typical hero image. The homepage is coming in at around 200kb right now, which is a tenth of the size of a typical web page.

One of the contributors has submitted a text piece with large ASCII art pieces dotted throughout which I'm working hard to make work. Even though it's not what we expected to receive, it feels like a real commitment to the ethos of the project of working with the constraints of the medium - so I hope I can do it justice.

O genki desu ka?

I've been pushing myself this month with freelance work to save a bit before I head to Japan, in hopefully less than a month. I've been running research sessions with a mental health startup, which have been really interesting.

Applying for my Japanese visa was one of the most convoluted things I've experienced - with two separate certificates to apply for first, circular dependencies on different forms, kanji to input...it feels like a miracle that I got it just because of the number of times I guessed what they wanted on a form.

As part of learning Japanese I've come across the phrase 'O genki desu ka?' which literally translates as 'Have you got your original energy?' - or less literally 'How are you?'. My Japanese speaking course is obsessed with teaching it.

It makes me laugh because TianHe, an international student once asked me 'Why are you so obsessed with asking how I am?' - genuinely perplexed by this British custom. I've asked some of the Japanese students and apparently 'O genki desu ka?' is not a normal thing to say, but I really enjoy the image of all the British people in Japan going around asking people if they've got their original energy. I will be using it incessantly as soon as I land.

O genki desu ka?

Last update: 2022-04-13 12:24