Monday, June 20, 2016

Born Ruffians, Pizza Jockeys & Zhivko Terziivanov

Weekly Update 2016-25: I walked on some extremely hot tarmac in a normally-abandoned parking lot to see the Born Ruffians play this weekend, as I pondered the exactitude of cutting a pizza slice directly in half. Also up on the docket is the wonderful and whimsical work of Zhivko Terziivanov.

Music: Born Ruffians
Something insane happened to me last week. I was getting ice cream at Bang Bang on Ossington (whose website is almost as insane as their ice cream flavours), and the girl in front of me in line gave the cashier four tickets to NXNE, just like, for no reason! The cashier seemed a little bewildered and asked me if I wanted to go. Of course, I said yes, and two days later I was watching Born Ruffians for the first time since Rogers Picnic 2008 (eight years ago?!).

They're a great indie rock band from Midland, Ontario (I pass by there on my way to fishing trips!) and they have a lot of energy. And for a wee little Canadian band, they've toured with a lot of famous acts including Hot Chip, Franz Ferdinand and Caribou. Anyway, for a poppy song, I really enjoy this song:

I have somewhat started back into my Arduino projects. Using the tutorial on this site, I was able to use the API key from Slack to set a specific message to be sent by slackbot into a specific slack channel every time someone visits this page. Don't go crazy – I get an alert every time it happens!

I also wanted to take a moment to reflect on how my running is improving from last year. I have abandoned my habit from last year of running three times a week (though I feel like I'm making up for that with the cycling), but I am running distances of around 7 kilometres at a time now, while my pace remains somewhat the same. Similarly to last year, I want to keep my pace under 7 minutes per kilometre, with a longer-term goal of hitting 6 minutes per kilometre. I have already achieved this with the shorter 4-5 kilometre runs, but now I'm working up my endurance.

Tonight, I want to figure out exactly how to get the Arduino to talk to Slack (though I get the feeling I won't be able to do it without a Wifi Shield – which is $$), and try to play around with the Tone Melody exercise.

I also want to call Telus and see if they'll do anything for me in terms of buying a new phone...though since my plan is so good (and also no longer available), I doubt they'll tell me anything other than to go buy the phone outright, which is what I will most likely do.

Random Thought:
In an uncharacteristic fit of fancy as I walked home from a friend's house on Friday night, I decided to try one of the late-night pizza places in my neighbourhood. The pizza itself was decidedly not terrible (and definitely better than the vegan 'pizza' from the restaurant next door), but one thing about my slice made me a bit annoyed.

At least to me, there is something really satisfying about the first bite of a slice of pizza, feeling the sharpness of the tiniest point in my mouth. I really can't explain it...but I'm sure some other people must feel the same way. Pizza is already such a universal thing.

Unluckily for me, the pizza jockey cut my slice in half very unequally, so that while one slice had a good point, the other one was weird and misshapen. It didn't ruin my pizza-eating experience, but it did make me think about how much better the experience would have been if the slice had been cut properly. It's the little things.

While I was eating the misshapen piece of pizza, I thought about my days in the service industry and how my experiences relate to service design and user-centered design. I felt, in that moment, that true user-centered design is knowing that if I were a pizza jockey, I would never falter in cutting the slices directly in half. It's probably not humanly possible to get it right 100% of the time, but dammit, you have to try.

The feeling of having two equally skinny points is such an excellent and happiness-inducing vision, that I don't think I could serve pizza in any other way with a good conscience.

Inspiration: Zhivko Terziivanov
This guy is an amazing 3d illustrator from Bulgaria. I love the humour and whimsy in all of his work, combined with the serious medium he has chosen. It just works really well. Check out some select pieces:

Those bunny slippers.

See more of his work here and follow him on Instagram.

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