Clippings — week of 21 September 2015

I don’t tend to buy magazines, but Uppercase issue 26 was the exception I made this week. There was a large focus around postage stamps with a showcase of enviable collections and even self-issued postage stamp sheets as art pieces. I’ve been accumulating vintage New Zealand stamps to use, and it was a good prompt for me to write some letters and put the stamps in use.

Much to my delight, the iPhone 6S (in space grey of course) arrived on schedule on Friday. I’ve been tolerating the cursed battery life in my iPhone 5 for the last three months. The phone would suddenly die without warning all too often, leaving me silently fuming and burning my insides. On superficial examination, I prefer how the Watch looks with the black iPhone 5, but I’m appreciating everything else about the 6S so far.

Writing by omission →
Speckled with personal anecdotes and advice, I really savoured this article. The process of taking away things that are unnecessary when working on a piece of writing is similar to that of working on a piece of design.

The creative writer leaves white space between chapters or segments of chapters. The creative reader silently articulates the unwritten thought that is present in the white space.

The idea of ‘greening’ words intrigues me. A process that I will try my hand at in my future compositions.

The things they carry →
A response to the refugee situation in Europe, the author describes the difficult experiences of her mother as a North Korean escapee. It’s easy to look at the media reports and abstract the individuals as numbers. It’s simply convenient to think of the refugees as a large group. But it’s important to take time to think about the fact that each and every one of these refugees carries a personal narrative.

Home brewing the perfect pour over coffee →
Complete with tasteful photographs, I enjoyed reading about Yozo Otsuki’s brewing technique. It’s very similar to how I go about with the Chemex. I guess coffee jargon makes me happy. There are lots of interesting equipment on Kurasu, with the collection of kettles looking particularly tempting.

IBM animation fundamentals →
I came across a section on animation from the IBM style guide that I hadn’t seen before. Taking characteristics and timing of movements from their physical machines, the animations of the interface today have been defined by the historic achievements of the company. I appreciated the unambiguous language that described the unifying style of motion that the company is striving towards.

Offline reading

I’ve just finished reading The Martian by Andy Weir. I usually shy away from science fiction, but the tale of a stranded astronaut on Mars was surprisingly unputdownable. The science and engineering behind Mark Watney’s attempts to survive in Mars were impressive. His resourceful and comedic thoughts read like my own in his log entries. The shifting narratives between the mission control centre and Mars made me feel like I was jumping from scene to scene in a movie. There were some toe-curling moments, and during those times, I felt like I was in dire situations with him. It was easy to imagine the terrains, piecing together photographs and footage that I’d come across before. The atmosphere described by Weir’s language was like looking at gritty brushstrokes of an expressive painting. I’m looking forward to watching the film interpretation.