torsdag, maj 31, 2007

something small, with Hs

From Dan Waber:

The first time I read that bpNichol had a favorite letter of the alphabet I was sufficiently steeped in his work that I wasn't really surprised, but, it did strike me. I ran quickly through the alphabet in my head and tried to decide if I had one. I didn't, but, I couldn't rule out the possibility that I could have a favorite.

The idea of a favorite letter struck me more than the fact of the specific letter--though there is much to be said for H as a favorite (his own stated reasons included some very strong and early connections).

Over time, in no planned or constant fashion, I've taken advantage of a few opportunities to connect back with H, some more notable than others. One example (from many):

On a trip to New York City we found ourselves in a street fair, one of the vendors was selling baseball caps. Off to the side, tucked back in a corner, away from the official teams was a series of caps that just had individual letters of the alphabet on them, and H was right at my eye level as we walked by. How could I pass that up? So I bought the hat, and would wear it from time to time. Sometimes people would ask
me "What does the H stand for?" And I'd reply variously with Hello, Hi, Howyadoin, Heythere, Happy, Hotdamn, or Hoodoggy. More often than not, this became a conversation starter and I'd get the chance to tell the real story and end up in a talk about bpNichol and his work and how it affected me and my work.

I've been camera-in-hand for a couple of months now because of an unrelated project, and I've taken advantage of that by hunting for Hs in the wild, and taking pictures of them.

So I had this accumulated group of Hs, and even without any intentional plans to continue adding to the group (which I do have), it became clear that it was time to give these Hs a proper home. I'd put some up on for a while, but have lately become disenchanted with them as a service, ever since they were bought out by Yahoo! and made some changes to the way they operate that rub me the wrong way.

After a frustrating day of hunting for a canned solution that met all or most of my needs, I decided it was time to call in the experts. I contacted Marko Niemi, described to him what I wanted (a grid in the shape of an H that would randomly cycle through all of the images in a directory on a webserver that I could just upload images into), and asked him if that was something simple or difficult--it's a minor and obscure project, and I didn't want to waste his time on it if it was one of those things that's really easy to describe and really difficult to implement. Within hours with only a couple of back and forths, it was completely finished.

Reason #378 why I love collaborating with Marko Niemi: only AFTER everything was completely finished and ready to launch did Marko ask me, "Btw, is there a particular reason for the obsession with the letter H?" Create first, ask questions later.

I am pleased to offer for your ongoing use, "Hs for bpNichol", a piece that will continue to grow and shift and change as Hs drift in, through, and out of my life.


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