Who Knew?

December 31st, 2005  |  Published in old and busted  |  3 Comments

For starters, because it serendipitously flitted across the aggregator, comes this comment from Slashdot, which I’m sticking here because, well … it needed somewhere to stay (put one big fat [sic] behind any typos you encounter … I just copy and paste this stuff):

> I swear, between their computadora cases, laptops, and most definately the Ipod (Gen 4), Apple’s got the best looking set of hardware. Why so sexy? I think its simply the golden ratio. Its why bodies look good. 1:1.6 is everywhere. The best looking body has 1:1.6 ratio in forarm to arm, waste to shoulders, thighs to calfs, calf and knee girth to ankle girth. Plus, for a side profile (on women) breast to waist width, and (on all, a side profile still) buttocks to thigh width.

> So it only makes sense to put this ratio in every product: it makes it inherently more attractive, just because. And thats what this guy did. Width to height, scroll wheel width to Ipod width, etc. Ingenious, really. Its also the reason why I expect the video Ipod and the Nano to not sell nearly as well as their previous incarnations (Gen 4 and Ipod Mini). The Nano and Ipod Video are lacking in the 1:1.6 ratio department.

Wikipedia has more on the matter. Live and learn. It’s something I know I’ve heard about before, but I never read much about it. I had no idea that Dealey Plaza was designed using the golden ratio.

That was a joke.

Two Mensies-related things in the last few days:

Taking a passive cue from Sven and deciding that I should learn about this wonder-material called Sculpey. I spent yesterday’s putative “lunch period” making my first sculpey-ture at the kitchen table and headed out to the nearest Fred Meyer to score some paint. I can’t discuss what I made yet, but I was encouraged enough by the pre-painted result that other set-building projects have sprung to mind.

The thing that’s pretty cool about what’s going on over at ScarletStarStudios’ blog is the way stuff is getting documented. You get to see what’s being done as it’s done, you get to read about the decisions that are being made to make stuff happen, and you get a stronger sense of the “ferment” part of “creative ferment” instead of being reduced to spectator status where it’s the “consumer’s” job to wait passively until Art is Presented for Appreciation.

I think it must be fairly hard to be that honest, because other artblogs I’ve come across sometimes stumble into an attempt at creative transparency that becomes a sort of droning lecture on how perfectly the process was executed instead of a conversation or narrative about the inevitable pitfalls along the way. The “lecture” format inevitably ends back where lectures do … a black box that spits out Art for Consumption.

That isn’t to say that I think every artist or creative type should be a documentarian. It isn’t going to be for everybody. It’s kind of the same with corporate blogging and the Cult of the “Authentic Voice.” Some people have it, and their company blogs are a credit to their company and themselves; other people don’t and they’re just part of the branding strategy.

knight and ninja

Anyhow, in the process of buying the paint, I drifted back to the toy section hoping to score some plastic people of some sort. There was almost nothing … just some plastic tubes with “safari animals,” which didn’t ring any immediate bells, and some expensive and elaborate “fantasy warrior” toys that look like they were made to be sold on the “little plastic men” market before it collapsed, so they got rolled into some mutant hybrid miniature combat/trading card game. They cost a lot, and their well-craftedness was a point against them … they’re too detailed. You can make out every ring in their mail and their exact expression, and there’s a nagging sense that one collection was probably “Norse Gods” before someone decided market pressure against pagan deities might militate that they be called “Angardian Warriors,” rendering them objection-free with the slip of an ‘s.’

The mono-colored “little plastic army guy” or “little plastic cowboy” or “little plastic caveman,” all of which are becoming rare as they slide off the bottom of the market for toys with better margins, sort of relies on the viewer to be the most it can be. Some people might imagine a kind of grubby Vietnam-era grunt a week out in the bush, others might imagine a late-campaign dogface from the European campaign in WWII, and others might imagine the idealized version of that WWII soldier, perfectly pressed and lantern-jawed.

So I was bummed about the lack of those simple plastic men when it occurred to me that there’s a Dollar Tree nearby, and that it might be a sort of sink trap for misfit toys in the process of sliding down the drain. So I drove over to Dollar Tree, headed back to the toy section, and there were at least six different lines of little plastic men, ranging from fire fighters to classic movie monsters to medieval knights and ninjas. At a buck a bag it was hard to go wrong, even if I suspected that in the crazy world of Dollar Tree economics, they actually probably make some of their tidier profits on those particular toys.

So that’s that. Happy to have some more actors in the fold, and I’m looking forward to coming back from the weekend to paint my first sculpey project.

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