Do you guys know what open letters are? I don't mean like a piece of post that you've unsealed, or typographical glyphs with holes in them like the vowels 'e' and 'o', I mean like when someone writes a complaining letter to a company or politician but instead of sending it postally (obviously it would end up in the comment box incinerator anyway) he posts it on his blog, like as if a company or politician has ever thought, oh, I gotta go check my open-mailbox by searching the whole internet for letters that happen to be addressed to me. This is I guess because posting complaints in letter form rather than just in lj-whine style gives them automatic gravitas and posterity, for just the small price of having to write "Dear such-and-so" and "very truly yours" and if for some strange-ass reason you compose your blog posts in Microsoft Word then some dog jumps out of like nowhere and goes wtf dude are you trying to write a letter? And now you have two open letters to write. Anyway I find this phenomenon amusing and so today is Open Letter day on Tom 7 Radar.
Dear someone that makes shaving razors,
How come you think all dudes want to have close shaves that make their faces feel like a baby's smooth bottom? What if grizzled hard-style guys like the hombres in Lost or pretty much any movie with guns or horses (except if it's a unicorn horse or animated) want to freshen up a bit and they want to do it with a new store-bought razor and not some rusty old thing that they've been saving for a special occasion? What kinda extra rough shave offering do you have for these men?
Bet you didn't think of that but now you did, Tom
Dear assholes who think that cars are supposed to have the right of way through crosswalks with active walk signals, especially in the rain or snow but also any time, even just for thinking that and not merely when you are actually doing it,
You are assholes.
If I had to pick one thing about you (in general) that is my favorite, it would be the eagerness. If I had to pick one thing that is my least favorite, it would be all the pooping.
Try using a toilet, Tom
People whose job it is to write on hand lotion and soap packaging,
I hereby forbid you from using "science" words or mathematical symbols. Examples of things now disallowed: "With amino proteins!" and "Vitamin E + Jojoba oil = moisture"
Dear Thinsulate Company,
Sometimes when I put on black gloves it makes me feel like a murderer.
The highlight was a haunted (meaning burned- and weathered-down) house in the Central Northside, which had a stunning and limitless beauty born of its freeze-frame imploded decay. Aside from the apparent danger of being in there, it was one of the coolest places I've seen in recent memory, since it had thoroughly collapsed yet left some relics strangely unperturbed: like the purple dress hanging in the closet, or the conch shell and juju bees, or the coffee mug still sitting on the 45° electric range, or the bathtub and toilet that had fallen half-way into the basement or rollen down the stairs, repsectively. We spent so long in there that the rest of our party complained that they were getting bored waiting for us. Unfortunately my lens was not wide enough to capture what it was actually like to be in that place, making this picture of paint my only one that I'm really happy with. Still, an authentic Pittsburgh adventure of the highest order, and more to come!
Since voting has ended, I can now brag that one of my photographs was a finalist for the Wikimedia Commons (this is the part of Wikipedia that hosts free-only graphics for the project) Picture of the Year competition. Predictably, mine didn't win—some of those other pictures are way better. Still, it was a nice surprise to find myself in the finals (out of 500+ images that were featured this year) and to finish in the middle of the pack.
By the way, if you're an amateur photographer, and especially if you've got a fancypants digital SLR, I recommend Wikimedia Commons as an outlet for your best work. You do have to use a free license (meaning that anybody can use your work, subject to some conditions), but unless you're expecting to sell your photographs this ought to be easy to get over. It's (1) a nice way to contribute to a useful resource and (2) a good way to get visibility for your work. For me these kinds of chance encounters (like spotting one of my fonts on a poster somewhere or seeing my photograph appear in a Wikipedia article I didn't work on) are probably the most fun possible outcome from making something.
Well, I did it! There were lots of people that came (thanks!) and it went pretty well given the little amount of sleep. If you want to see what it's all about and for some reason didn't want to read the 396 page dissertation, you can take a look at slides from my talk: defense.swf. You need a newish Flash player to view it properly, or otherwise you'll know since all you'll see are monsters and rainbows.
I still have to do some revisions for my dissertation and then there is paper and signature shuffling and margin measuring, but basically this is it. Re: grad school, put a fork in it.