Monday, November 24, 2008 gift guide

The holidays are here. We can tell because they have hung Christmas lights in our street. They have also affixed really strange cylindrical stereo speakers to the sides of the buildings on our street, which play insipid pop music all day long.  The one under our window mysteriously broke immediately after installation, which we didn't have anything to do with, but didn't cry over either.  The other speakers quickly followed suit.  Perhaps they were installed incorrectly. Perhaps the technicians got bored, or the neighborhood revolted?  We don't know.

So anyway, we are not big on gifts, but we have heard that other people might be. With that in mind, this is our holiday gift guide. 

First up, Rebecca received her complimentary contributor's copy of the latest installment of the journal Studies in Symbolic Interaction. Her essay entitled "Dialogics of Discomfort: Race, Roles, and Performance" was chosen for publication six months ago. Jeff has been reading some of the other essays and found them very interesting. Particularly the essay on Lonnie Athens' theory of violentization; how individuals become conditioned to use violence to resolve social situations, and how this theory might be expanded to larger population groups. It you know a loved one who would benefit from discussions of race (esp. Native American, African-American, or Persian), quilts, the development of violent criminals and violent societies, and the power of the mind in overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder the 31st volume of Studies in Symbolic Interaction may be just the thing you're looking for.  Only $110! (sheesh)

For someone who is more aesthetically minded, might we suggest some handmade furniture? Our friend Trevor, who lives in California, has completed another superior piece (he also made our hinged coffee table--currently in storage--with a little help from Jeff).

I like the contrasting color of the wedges in the tenons. Overall, everything seems to fit together exceptionally well (the style is Chinese, which we think means there were no screws, nails or other artificial fasteners used), and the instances of intentionally non-right angles here and there are interesting. In the email accompanying this photo, he mentioned that, though hard to see, the depth and width both vary slightly from top to bottom. He didn't mention a price, but we think he should ask for at least enough to offset the cost of his rent for the time it took to make it...$3600.

The economic crisis has hit everyone (even the french cafe culture is in trouble) and so we also have something for the budget-conscious. The Theorem of the Day is designed to make groundbreaking theorems accessible through clear explanations and examples using real world situations. For 2009, there will also be a special edition calendar available titled Theorems by Women Mathematicians. This will feature two of our favorite mathematicians (and really nice people): Carla Savage and Sylvie Corteel and their Polynomial Coprimality Theorem.

So, if you are the type of person who plans on buying stuff, wrapping it up, transporting it somewhere, and then giving it to someone else, we hope that this guide has made your life easier. Make good decisions and keep checking in with us here at arideaday.  We'll remain in our cave throughout the holiday season occasionally venturing out for supplies and, of course, fresh blog material for your reading pleasure. 


Josh said...

The absence of mechanical fasteners isn't exactly Chinese, or even Asian. That practice an be seen in any cultures true craftsmen. Remember the Craftsmen era of our own history? Any way a very nice piece indeed. Jefe, do you think the top/sides reflect a golden rectangle?

jefe said...

well, he mentioned a chinese craftsman style in the email. I wasn't sure what exactly that referred to, but found that classic chinese architecture is known for a lack of fasteners.Maybe the Chinese refers to the non-right angles and tapering, and craftsman implies a lack of fasteners.

the ratio of the height to the width is 1.23. the golden ratio is 1.61. It would have to a little skinnier (or taller) to fit that.

Trevor said...

When I described it as Chinese I was referring mostly to the subtle taper of the legs. Most Chinese furniture has tapers like this, sometimes you only notice it subconsciously- it appears balanced and comfortable in weight. Craftsman style- the wedged tenons and simple structural feel. It was also made without the use of any machines- true to the philosophy.

No golden ratio, it's Michael Cullen's design... mandatory for the first project.