Jon Aquino's Mental Garden

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Outlook 2003 shortcut: Alt+[Number]

Discovered this Outlook 2003 shortcut by accident. If you press Alt+[Number] you can control how many days appear in your calendar. For example, Alt+7 shows you 7 days:

Outlook screenshot

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Reviews of Mechanical Pencils

I love product comparisons, and really like this one: Dave's Top 25 Mechanical Pencils. First, there's the sheer redonkulousness of having a blog devoted to mechanical-pencil reviews. But it's also a great list of good mechanical pencils in five price ranges - from the economy Staedtler Triplus Micro 774 to the $150+ Caran d’Ache Varius Ivanhoe.

I saw the $5 Pentel P205 at Staples the other day, and based on the review I think I'm going to nab one.

Pentel pencils
Remember these? Photo by mr_t_77.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Design Advice from Ellen Lupton

A couple of good bits of advice from Ellen Lupton's book Thinking With Type.

Think more, design less.

Many desperate acts of design (including gradients, drop shadows, and the gratuitous use of transparency) are perpetrated in the absence of a strong concept. A good idea provides a framework for design decisions, guiding the work.

Spend more, buy less.

Cheap stuff is usually cheap because of how it's made, what it's made of, and who made it. Buy better quality goods, less often.

(from the appendix titled Free Advice, p.171)

Daily RSS feed for the National Gallery of Art

I have created a daily RSS feed for the 329 works owned by the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. It starts with Giotto's Madonna and Child (painted in 1325), and ends with David Hockney's Sun (painted in 1973).

Let's tour the gallery together through 2009 – subscribe to the feed!

Ginevra de' Benci
Portrait of Ginevra de Benci 1479 AD by Leonardo da Vinci

Monday, January 12, 2009

My room

Trying out the panorama feature on my mom's Canon A75 camera.

Welcome to my room!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Let me take you on a quick trip to downtown Victoria

Come join me on a little Sunday evening tour of my hometown, Victoria BC. My hair's a little messed up, but don't mind that. Let's go!
Picture 1075

I hear it's sunny and warm in California. Not so in Victoria – we've got typical rainforest weather: cold, wet, and gray, just how we like it. This sidewalk will take us to our bus stop on Quadra St:
Picture 1077

The #6 bus will bring us to downtown Victoria for $1.75 CDN. Our buses are made in the UK by the Dennis company.
Picture 1078

This is one of my favorite spots on earth – St. Andrew's Cathedral in downtown Victoria. Beautiful vaulted ceilings and lots of stained glass, surprisingly mixed with elements of west coast native art.
Picture 1079

After Mass, we step outside into the cool night air. It's 6pm and most shops are closed. McDonald's is, of course, still open.
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In 20 minutes, our bus arrives. A handful of people, mostly students, climb onboard.
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And we're back where we started. A streetlamp lights our way in the dark.
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Why not post some narrated pics of a day in your life? Post them to your blog and let me know.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Five definitions: diaphanous, hermetic, liminal, sardonic, fabulist

diaphanous: Of such fine texture as to be transparent or translucent: diaphanous tulle.

hermetic: Completely sealed, especially against the escape or entry of air.

sardonic: Scornfully or cynically mocking.

liminal: The threshold of a physiological or psychological response.

fabulist: A composer of fables.

(from The American Heritage Dictionary)


Here is a list of "uplifts" (antidotes to stress) suggested by Dr. W. Doyle Gentry:
  • Engaging in regular exercise
  • Spending time with children
  • Working on hobbies
  • Enjoying a beautiful day
  • Reading for pleasure
  • Shopping
  • Making a new friend
  • Hearing some good news
  • Enjoying free time
  • Meditating
  • Giving and receiving love
  • Smelling pleasant aromas — vanilla, lavender, the smell of fresh bread
  • Being entertained
  • Spending time with pets
  • Doing volunteer work
The doctor advises, "Start by making sure you have at least one uplifting experience each day — no exceptions!"