Saturday, June 11, 2011

Good Stuff

This spin-off from the Farm has been sadly neglected, in part because it takes so much effort for my aging brain to curate the ephemeral events and objects I run across. Other blog-wunderkammern (like those on the blog roll) are much better about this than I am, and continue to inspire me, but my writing-energy is almost wholly devoted the mother blog, at least until I can get myself better organized. Nevertheless, I occasionally run across things that group themselves into curatorial categories--even as nebulous as "good stuff"--so I'll keep posting them as they collect.

My ambivalence about technology, frequently commented upon on the Farm, doesn't usually come into play here. But I do appreciate some of the mod cons that make it possible to enjoy the cultural benefits of living in a place like New York, even though I'm unlikely to get there any time soon.

In my weekly newsletter from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I was reminded of the new(ish) Cloisters blog, The Medieval Garden Enclosed, about which I posted back when it started up back in 2008. Like many of my favorite web places, it slips my mind frequently, but it's such a welcome and informative place to spend time that I thought I'd bring it up again. The blog itself is full of useful information on Medieval life in general, and plants in particular. The photographs are also lovely, offering a virtual visit to the Cloisters that almost makes up for not being there.

Anyone with an iPhone might be interested in two terrific apps. The new promotional freebie related to the J. J. Abrams film, Super 8, is almost more fun than you can have legally. I got it for my iPhone 4--newly acquired when the old Silverback version just got too clunky for my digital needs--but apparently also works with a 3GS and iPad2. In essence, the designers have given us our own miniature Super 8 camera from which we can shoot grainy movies that work like a time machine to take geezers like me back to "the day" when home movies were made like this. Similar, though not as sophisticated, apps are widely available for still photography as well, such as Old Photo Pro (free), which allows you to convert your iPhone photos into Daguerreotypes, cyanotypes, infrared images, and the like.

The second bit of technological wizardry I've come to admire is the New York Public Library's new app for the iPad, Biblion, an interactive multimedia tour of the 1939 Worlds Fair. I find this especially cool because this particular fair introduced all manner of forward-thinking ideas (not all of which transpired), including a decidedly Art Deco view of art and design. "The World of Tomorrow" was the source of many a science-fiction fan's dreams of the future: robots, cars (not flying ones, though), and utopia. There are quite a few shots from the Fair featured in Robert Hughes's episode "Streamlines and Breadlines" from his rather epic treatment of the history of American art, American Visions.

The Beloved Spouse has just begun to grind up wood-droppings into mulch for the garden, so I'd better go help. Our own garden should benefit immeasurably from this effort, and will perhaps spark another post before too long.

Image notes: I couldn't resist a doctored "flying saucer" sighting constructed in PhotoShop Elements, which came with my new scanner. I may alter it even more when I have some time, to make it look more like something I could get from Old Photo Pro.

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