Beck Tench

Archive for 2009|Yearly archive page

White Russians in The Big Lebowski

In Uncategorized on May 4, 2009 at 8:45 pm
The Big Lebowski drawn on a bowling pin.

The Big Lebowski drawn on a bowling pin.

Because I am doing much research on The Big Lebowski for my Troika Music Festival Pin Projekt bowling pin, I have come to realize the surprising lack of list-like information about the film available on the internet. For example, if you were curious in which scenes The Dude drinks his nine White Russians, you may find them listed below [SPOILER ALERT]:

  1. 00:20:00 – Dude makes a White Russian in his home while listening to his answering machine and drinks it while talking with Monty about his dance quintet.
  2. 00:45:10 – Dude prepares himself a White Russian in Maude’s art studio while she plays Logjammin’ on the television.
  3. 00:47:58 – Dude drinks a White Russian in the limo ride from Maude’s place back to his home.  He has the same drink (“Fuck man! There’s a beverage here!”) to Lebowski’s limo where he is handed the toe.
  4. 00:57:19 – Dude finishes a White Russian in the bowling alley while talking with Walter and Donny.
  5. 00:59:27 – Dude orders “another Caucasian” at the bowling alley bar after Walter and Donny leave and meets the Stranger.
  6. 01:02:05 – Dude makes a White Russian at Maude’s studio while he waits for her to arrive.  Instead of half and half, he uses powdered non-dairy creamer.
  7. 01:15:38 –  Dude tells Jackie Treehorn that a “White Russian, thanks” is his drink and drinks one made by Treehorn while they talk about the money.
  8. 01:18:30 – Jackie Treehorn asks Dude if he’d like a refill and he replies “Does the Pope shit in the woods?”  This is the White Russian that Dude spills on the floor because he has been drugged.
  9. 01:29:17 –  Dude makes a White Russian after he and Maude have sex.  The physical act of love.  Coitus.

My life on teh interwebs: March

In My Life on Teh Interwebs on April 3, 2009 at 12:41 pm
My first and favorite contribution to Marchs Experimonth, The Eyes of March.

My first and favorite contribution to March's Experimonth, The Eyes of March.

March was a particularly busy month for me at work, so my online contributions were a little less than normal.

  • 133 tweets/Facebook status updates
  • 40 pictures uploaded to Flickr
  • 15 pages of sketches in my sketchbook (and three 11×17 sketches)
  • 14 blog posts
  • 0 nights away from home
  • 1 video uploaded
  • 2 radio interviews
The pitch I chew. My life on teh interwebs: February
Memorable Tweet I’m tweetin’ that it’s sleetin’. (in SW Durham)
Twenty-eight Tables 59 days down, 306 to go.
Flickr Video Twenty-eight Candles
The Eyes of March eu•cho•lo•gi•on
The Eyes of March hol•o•gram
The Eyes of March sense
The Eyes of March Sha•vi•an
Memorable Tweet A drawing of mine was used on the blog today.
The Eyes of March ar•ma•men•tar•i•um
useum Martha Stewart Tweeting
The Eyes of March jow
The Eyes of March high’way rob’bery
The Eyes of March photo•taxis
The Eyes of March Car•o•li•na
The Eyes of March fat•head•ed
useum Measuring Social Participation in a Science Museum
The Eyes of March pa•tron
Memorable Tweet About to talk #experimonth on WXDU.
The Eyes of March Ma•gel•lan
The Eyes of March ship•lap
The Eyes of March ver•nac•u•lar
The pitch I chew. Now Recruiting for April’s Experimonth
Twenty-eight Tables Twenty-eight Tables Traffic Report
The Eyes of March mod•er•ate
useum An update on our Flickr Plant Project experiment
The Eyes of March lure
Memorable Tweet I’m already getting tired of people using the word “unironic.”
Flickr My (NCAA) Bracket Performance
useum Questioning the accuracy of Qwitter.
Another HCI Blog Piggyback Post: Sketching Tools
Memorable Tweet This is what I want to be when I grow up.
Memorable Tweet Yep, hammock still works.
The pitch I chew. A Good Cover Upper

A Good Cover-upper

In Uncategorized on March 31, 2009 at 9:55 am

Dick Cavett interviews Katherine Hepburn: Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

I discovered an unexpected heroine yesterday when I watched the (above) video Merlin Mann linked on his kung fu grippe blog (see also: this MetaFilter thread).  I spent my lunch and entire evening yesterday watching the entire interview and have so far recommended it to nearly every person I’ve come across.

One of my favorite parts is when Katherine says “I think the whole human race is petrified. I’m a good cover-upper.”  I also loved, “Cold sober I find myself absolutely fascinating.”

I don’t know all that much about Hepburn, more now than yesterday, but I found her undeniably inspiring.  I appreciate her perspectives on productivity, focus, fear, success and reality.  She talks of luck, but defines it as folks seem to be lately  (as a result of of dedication and circumstance).  Specifically requiring:

  1. An intelligent mother and father.
  2. A basic freedom from fear.
  3. A basic belief in yourself to carry you through uncertainty.

Like Cavett, I fell in love with her about seven times watching the thing.  Highly recommend.  (You can also order the Netflix DVD if you want to avoid the sliced and diced YouTube parts.)

Now Recruiting for April’s Experimonth

In experimonth on March 16, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Get the Lead Out

Get the Lead Out

April’s Experimonth experiment is called Get the Lead Out and the goal is to write a handwritten note everyday.  Sign up here.

My life on teh interwebs: February

In Uncategorized on March 1, 2009 at 4:56 pm
From my trip to Ft. Worth

From my trip to Ft. Worth

Here is a self-selected list of my online contributions from the month of February.

  • 169 tweets/Facebook status updates
  • 45 pictures uploaded to Flickr
  • 27 pages of sketches in my sketchbook (and two 11×17 sketches)
  • 31 blog posts
  • 3 nights away from home in one city (Ft Worth)
  • 4 videos uploaded
  • 1 presentation
The pitch I chew. My life on teh interwebs: January
Twenty-eight Tables My name is Beck and I’m a pal and a confidant.
Twenty-eight Tables The First Table
The Smartwool Experiment Still kickin’
Twenty-eight Tables Two for Table Two
Twenty-eight Tables Welcome Indy Readers
Twenty-eight Tables Name That Dinner Club!
The pitch I chew. Sometimes I Go Big
Twenty-eight Tables Five 4 Table Six
The Smartwool Experiment Episode 9: The Winner Is…
Another HCI Blog On Involuntary Attention and Web UIs
The pitch I chew. Recruiting for Marche’s Experimonth
The Smartwool Experiment Playing Catch Up
Memorable Tweet In a room full ‘o gays at a free power of attny clinic at UNC’s law school.
Memorable Tweet When the urge to watch The Goonies strikes, you should always follow it.
The Smartwool Experiment Episode 10: Another Mystery Package
The pitch I chew. Uncle! for Cryin’ Out Loud
Flick Photoset My First Apartment
Twenty-eight Tables Still Eatin’
Another HCI Blog Powering Up
Memorable Tweet For those with a crush on @maddow take a look at this hotness:
Flickr Photo Create Your Own Album Cover Meme
Flick Photoset Fort Worth 2009
Memorable Tweet Do this: 1) Turn on iTunes; 2) Pick a song; 3) Get out of your chair; and 4) Dance!
Useum Socialites (from the POV of an Institution)
Memorable Tweet Watching an episode of the Golden Girls, streaming from the iMac upstairs, on the TV downstairs using a classic xBox. Objective achieved.

Uncle! for Cryin’ Out Loud

In Uncategorized on February 15, 2009 at 10:02 pm

I’ve made the following tweaks to my laptop over the last couple weeks and recommend them if you have a Mac and use Gmail:

Avoiding Attention Grabbers

  1. Enable Gmail Lab’s “Hide Unread Counts” so that you no longer see how many unread messages you have in your Inbox.
  2. Turn off any Gmail Notifier or Mailplane/Menubar Gmail counters so that you are not notified visually or audibly when new mail arrives.
  3. As your computer makes a noise for something (culprits on mine were Mailplane, Adium and Twhirl) go into the preferences of the offending application and disable the noise notification.

Retaining Focus:

  1. Download FuzzyClock. It replaces the numeric time 08:58 with words “nearly nine.” Make sure you remove the OSX clock and tell FuzzyClock to launch on login. (Here’s how.)
  2. Install Spirited Away, tell it to launch on login, and set the timer for 5 minutes (300 seconds).
  3. Create a filter in Gmail for all the “notification” emails you receive and need to check (e.g. Twitter Follower notices, Google Alerts, Facebook messages, etc.) so that it that “skips inbox” and “labels as TBP” (TBP = To Be Processed).  Next, enable Gmail Lab’s “Multiple Inboxes” and create an Inbox for “is:unread in:TBP” and go through all those messages at the end of the day.

Working together, these tweaks are more than the sum of their parts so go all in or don’t bother.  Let me know how they suit you.

Recruiting for March’s Experimonth

In experimonth on February 10, 2009 at 9:54 pm
The Eyes of March

The Eyes of March

Announcing The Eyes of March, March’s Experimonth experiment. If you’re interested in joining the experiment, learn more about it and sign up here.

Sometimes I Go Big

In Uncategorized on February 7, 2009 at 2:19 pm

As I checked my RSS aggregator this morning, I stumbled across this video (via about How Pixar Hires.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I was so inspired and heartened by Randy Nelson’s description of Pixar’s four criteria – depth, breadth, communication and collaboration – that, even though I am content in my position at the Museum, I immediately went over to Pixar’s website and applied to be their next Interaction Designer.

This is what I do.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done this sort of spur-of-the-moment job application. The likelihood of actually getting a call back is slim, but there’s something in me that just has to go for it.  The whole domain of resumes, job applications, interviews, and negotiations is so hush, hush.  There’s some part of me that feels that it’s too much to reveal where I’ve applied and how. The heck with it!, I say.  Here’s the evolution of my resume for the past seven years (click company names below for PDFs).

The Evolution of My Resume

The Evolution of My Resume

From left to right, that’s a resume to Duke University (2002), Google (2005), Red Hat (2007), Channel Advisor (2007), The Museum of Life and Science (2008 ) and an IMLS grant (2009).  The IMLS grant has yet to be determined and Google didn’t bite, but the rest resulted in job offers.  Over the years I’ve also applied with variations of those resumes to Apple, The Motley Fool, NPR, REI, Netflix, MIT, nn/g and a handful of start-ups, agencies, universities and newspapers.

How do you roll?

  • Even when you’re happy with your current role, when presented with an opportunity to dream big, do you go for it or talk yourself off the ledge?
  • When applying for a job, do you aim to be different (a la my Google attempt) or more traditional (a la the IMLS grant)?
  • If/and when you  go big, do you tell others or keep it to yourself?
  • How much time do you invest in the spur-of-the-moment application?  How much time do you invest in something you are more likely to land?

I’m real curious to hear your answers.  Even more curious to see your resumes!

My life on teh interwebs: January

In Uncategorized on February 1, 2009 at 1:21 pm
This was my favorite photo taken in January.

This was my favorite photo taken in January.

I realize that I am sort of all over the place these days with what and where I contribute online. Here’s a self-selected list of what I’ve published in January.  (The first is actually from December and the last is actually from Feb, but they are part of January’s Experimonth, so I included them.)

An overview:

  • 135 tweets/Facebook status updates
  • 91 pictures uploaded to Flickr
  • 42 pages of sketches in my sketch book
  • 26 blog posts
  • 5 nights away from home in two cities
  • 2 videos uploaded
  • 1 presentation

Specifically (in chronological order):

A Month in the Raw My name is Beck and I love eggs.
Flickr Photoset Join Us for the Bubbly 2009
A Month in the Raw Lemonbar o’clock
A Month in the Raw I feel special (in a bad way)
A Month in the Raw RSS: Really Simple Salad
Sketch on Flickr Experimonth 2009
Memorable Tweet @kathysierra Can’t wait to hear what you come up with!
A Month in the Raw A reprieve from the whine
The Pitch I Chew Experimonth Finalized
A Month in the Raw OMGado!
A Month in the Raw Raw Tamarind
A Month in the Raw Work-a-day Raw
A Month in the Raw And henceforth she shall be know as the Raw Goddess
A Month in the Raw Work-a-day Raw Inspired
A Month in the Raw Zucchetti
A Month in the Raw Damn You Raw Baba Ghanouj!
Memorable Tweet Today is go thrift shopping with my girl day.
A Month in the Raw The Absence of Things
Memorable Tweet My workday in one tweet: Email (1.5 hours), Meeting(1.5 hours), Email (2 hours), Lunch (1 hour), Email (3 hours). Seriously.
A Month in the Raw How to go on any diet, ever.
Memorable Tweet Two thumbs up for Tom Bihn today.
YouTube NanoDays Rap
A Month in the Raw In the Middle of the Night
Memorable Tweet I just walked nearly 3 miles in 13° weather to get #raw nuts to eat with lunch.
Flickr Photoset Philadelphia 2009
Sketch on Flickr Inbox Art
Sketch on Flickr My Little Elves
Flickr Photoset Doing Really Neat (and free) Things with Google Alerts
Slideshare Doing Really Neat (and free) Things with Google Alerts
Memorable Tweet Y’know how throwing up sucks, but you feel so much better afterwards? That’s how I feel right after giving a presentation.
A Month in the Raw Making your own nut butter.
Sketch on Flickr Twenty-eight Tables Banner
The Pitch I Chew Recruiting for February’s Experimonth
Useum Doing Really Neat (and free) Things with Google Alerts
A Month in the Raw My so called raw life.
Twenty-eight Tables Recruiting Participants
Memorable Tweet We’re totally going to get snow. I just snow it.
Flickr Photoset Snow!
Memorable Tweet Inspired by @ruby and @brianr, just popped some bubbly.
Useum Twitter surpasses Digg in market share.
Useum Ways to create community through social networking.
Memorable Tweet Oooo, Writeroom makes me feel like Doogie Howser.
A Month in the Raw How to eat raw blueberries
Flickr Photoset I love eggs.
Memorable Tweet I have graciously prepared for you a collection of my photographs of eggs.
Memorable Tweet My packing for Asheville has been gluttonous. A theme, I suspect, that will last for the next few days.
Flickr Photoset Asheville 2009
Another HCI Blog What happened with the Smartwool Experiment
The Pitch I Chew Mining for Memory in a Photograph
A Month in the Raw 31 days down, 334 to go.

Mining for Memory in a Photograph

In Uncategorized on January 31, 2009 at 5:33 pm

Upon Merlin’s repeated suggestion, I purchased a copy of The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp and I’m reading through it.  For a self-described “self help” book, it’s quite the page turner.  I have no doubts that I’ll finish it by the end of the weekend and that’s unusual for me.

Anyway, the book is divided up between commentary/advice from Twyla and exercises that she suggests you do to practice or spark creativity.  They have so far been insightful to me, even if I did feel a little silly creating my own dance move here in the living room. (Wearing cowboy boots positively influenced the end result, no doubt.)

One of the exercises is entitled “Mining for Memory in a Photograph” and because I found Twyla’s description of her own photograph so interesting, I thought I’d share my own.  I’m not yet the keeper of my childhood photos, but I do have some from my highschool years and onward lying around.

My fifteenth birthday.

My fifteenth birthday.

This is a photo of me and my best friend, Michelle, on my 15th birthday.  We’re sitting at the bar in my dad and stepmom’s house posing before I blow out the candles on the cake.  Some things I notice in particular:

My hair.

I have had very long hair for the majority of my life.  In this picture, it was down to my waist.  Long hair is feminine.  It’s flattering if you are overweight (or rather, I believed that short hair was unflattering).  At very long lengths, it’s unique.  My dad seems to like my hair better when it’s longer.

I’ve had very short hair for the last six years, but I’ve been growing it out recently.  Seeing this picture makes me realize that one reason I’m growing my hair out is to gain my dad’s approval.  It’s not the only reason, but it’s an undeniable one. Sometimes I dream that I look in the mirror and realize my hair is long and I am embarrassed and ashamed and want to hide it.  I think subconsciously my hair represents my growing uncomfortability at living my life to please others.  I imagine that my hair will be one of those “the mountains are mountains again” things where I’ll be able to reclaim longer hair one day and it won’t be any sort of deal.

My jewels.

I am wearing silver dolphin earrings, a gold necklace (with either a dolphin or a cross on it), a gold bracelet, a gold panda coin ring, and I just bet a gold pink ice ring on the hand you cannot see.

The dolphin thing is a bit of a mystery.  I never particularly obsessed about dolphins, but I was given several dolphin pieces as gifts and I loved them. The panda ring was a gift from my mother’s boyfriend.  It was also a high school status symbol (as was the pink ice ring).  I remember John buying that ring for me at a Kay’s in the mall.  It was just me and him shopping that day, which was odd, and I liked him better afterwards.  I remember the clasps on the bracelet (I would clasp and unclasp it as a way to fidget in classes) and on the necklace.  If I close my eyes, my fingertips remember what it feels like to put them on and take them off.

These days the only jewelry I wear is a necklace I bought in a very spontaneous moment after lunch one day.  It’s a round silver pendant on a neoprene collar.  It was an expensive and totally unplanned purchase and I haven’t regretted the decision for a moment.

The food.

Looking at the picture, I recall the sweet smell of store-bought cake icing… the slippery, greasy mouthfeel… the dryness of the cake on the back of my throat.  The smell of Bryer’s Neapolitan (not pictured, but surely present).  I am not hungry, but my stomach grumbles at these memories.

These days my birthday cakes are small, flourless, bitter chocolate ones.  They go great with coffee and require you to close your eyes to finish the bite.  They are sweet only to a person who doesn’t eat much sugar.  I smile when I think of my birthday cake, but it doesn’t make my stomach grumble.

The friend.

Michelle is exactly the kind of friend I had over and over in my life before I had a real friend.  We weren’t real friends because we didn’t know each other.  How could we?  We didn’t even know ourselves.

These days, I am surrounded by people who are generous with their respect and love.  I can’t think of a single friend I have today who is passive with me or neglectful.  I have done a good job at avoiding people that treat me or others that way.

The bar.

I ate countless bowls of Applejacks and deviled ham sandwiches at the bar Michelle and I are sitting at.   I grew up eating at that bar while watching television on that little white TV.  The table behind us was a place where we ate when there was a holiday and holidays were sometimes shared with adults that I didn’t like very much.  I have very fond memories of that bar and not so fond memories of that table.

The first purchase I made for my home was a table.  My dad helped me put it together and it’s by far my favorite piece of furniture.

Now to answer some of Twyla’s questions…

What do you see in the photo that is indisputably similar to your life today?

This one is easy: my smile.  To most who knew me when, I am completely unrecognizable now.  But when I smile at someone who assumes me a stranger, their glazed-over look of unfamiliarity turns into a warm dawning of recognition.   My smile, specifically the shape of my mouth and the imperfection of my teeth, has pretty much stayed the same my entire life.

What’s vaguely similar?

My face. There are parts of my fifteen year old face that are tighter and smoother and plumper than my thirty year old face, but it’s still very much the same face.

What bears no resemblance or suggests nothing memorable?

The boxes in the very back corner of the dining room.  I’m not sure what was in there or why they’re there.  My dad’s house was always very clean and they don’t belong.

What ended up the opposite of what you see?

I feel nearly everything is different now.  (See descriptions of what I noticed in the photo, above.)

Twyla ends this exercise by saying that these thoughts are memory, “it’s buried in everything you’ve saved, patiently waiting for you to dislodge it and, hopefully, use it.

If you decide to do this and blog about it, let me know.  I’d be interested in reading yours.