The NASA Graphic Standards Manual. A style guide for the future that never was…
Colour photos of London during the height of World War II. Never forget what a (non-Existential) Crisis actually looks like. Kottke
Yours truly just came back from a week with family in Algarve, most precisely from Vilamoura. A place which I found, to be blunt, of pseudo-glamorous landscaped oppression for the nouveaux riche. Most tellingly were the demographics of the place, with a notorious gap from the age of the teenage patrons of expensive clubs to the age of their golf/yachting/casino-going parents. Surely most of the people of my own age/status I met were the attendants in the local commerce. I found myself with not much left to do except for eating icecream while reading newspapers about arson and looting.
My mood improved quite a lot on outings, though. Next to Vilamoura is the ugly and unfashionable Quarteira, but which at least feels like a real place, not like an open air shopping mall. It is a heartwarming and organic relic of 1980s mass tourism — and with an actually nicer beach to boot. I regret not having taken enough photos there. I also recommend a trip to Faro, the region’s capital, which not only is an old place with assorted monuments and whatnot, but also a rather good place to wander around. Photos coming soon.
So here’s my first (symbolic) picture of this year’s summer holiday (because beaches, boats and swimming pools are boring):
My behaviour during holidays is probably the best proof I am and will be Incompatible With Most People, being very much Unable To Identify with the typical southbound holidaymaker. Beach, for me, is a hot dusty and generally unpleasant place, made only bearable by a warm sea that invites swimming (sadly, not the case this year). I can’t stand the quasi-totalitarian ambience of tourist hotspots focused in one or two activities — i.e. sunbathing and riding high-powered leisure boats (which, had I actually access to one, would perhaps render the whole experience somewhat better) — at the expense of every other kind of human expression. Aseptic hells where no good (or any) coffee is to be had in a range that requires petrol consumption, let alone sitting down and spending an afternoon Reading In Peace. Granted, I already procrastinate in both quality and quantity during the remaining 50 or 51 weeks of the year, so I’m unable to abide to Winding Down or understand the appeal of ceasing to work or think hard for a predetermined and rigid amount of time.
I can’t, for instance, understand why I should force my mind into a low gear that handles at most the reading of formulaic prose bought in an airport. Perhaps there were more guys at the beach today not giving a fuck about looking too white and having a bit of fat in their bellies, but I’m willing to bet nobody else would be insane to take Zizek as beach literature (but hey — nobody’s doing my reading for me, right?). Or take tonight’s example: browsing the web casually while having a beer by the condo’s swimming pool, I found this, telnet’d into an emulated PDP-11 (computing wise, a bit like stepping into a time machine) and soon figured out how to get into BASIC. I find myself writing in a language I didn’t use since perhaps I was eleven (and it came back to me, like riding a bike). Is this proper holidaymaker behaviour, drinking beer while writing in the dead tongue of a 30-year old minicomputer? Do I have to be crazy to admit that was the least boring holiday moment so far?