Been thinking for a while about the growing challenge of panhandling in a progressively cashless society. Twice, I've seen someone panhandling at a highway exit, gone to an ATM to get cash, and returned to give the person money (Twice. I see panhandlers at exits most warm and many cold days of the year). Now also thinking about the difference in how panhandlers are perceived vs. Kickstarter and GoFundMe or even Kiva users (I don't at all mean to knock those great services). I think about panhandlers holding signs like "THIS CORNER IS MY KICKSTARTER" (someone must be!) or "HOMELESS & HUNGRY FOR ANYTHING...POTATO SALAD IF THAT'S WHAT YOU WANT." I'm tempted to do an art project about this (and how it relates to information literacy and the digital divide). If I don't, someone else will, because daily issues very often take art projects to be seen. And I don't want to do an art project about this, because that fact makes me queasy and suspicious of art projects, especially across class lines. 

How interesting (unsurprising?) that we're more moved to generosity when we can't see a person, outside of a photo on a website. That seeing your suffering (or even just asking) in my physical space might make me less likely to want to help you. That if you would just wait until I get home in 15 minutes and see a photo of you online asking for bus fare, you might get my money.


Peter at the beach

The other day at work I learned that you can remove backgrounds from images in Word 2010. What takes 10-20 minutes to do cleanly in GIMP takes 10 seconds in Word: insert picture, click "Remove Background" under "Picture Tools", and you're done (provided the image isn't too detailed). Insert a new background image, click "send to back", and you've got a new setting. Mind blown at the simplicity of a utility that's been there all along. Here's Peter from The Snowy Day and Whistle for Willie in new landscapes.


Amanda Palmer: The Art of Asking (TED)

I know many feel TED talk fatigue, & I can be one of them. But if you're interested in the sharing economy, or art, or Twitter, or bringing humanness to a busy impersonal place or interaction, or even just or maybe especially *how to present a short talk well*, I recommend Amanda Palmer's 13-minute talk (2013):


"The Friends List: a Poem in 292 Parts"--Carolyn Guinzio

I love Carolyn Guinzio's "The Friends List: a Poem in 292 Parts"--a short stanza on each of her Facebook friends. On Facebook, Kathleen Ossip shared it and wrote that it "chimes with affection and connection". I think so, too, but also think some sections capture the slightness and wisp-like surprise, the oddity of some of those connections--it's a poem that makes sense of Facebook, when "Making Sense Of Facebook" sometimes doesn't seem so far from "Making Love Out Of Nothing At All".

A few brief excerpts that I hope it's okay to quote (read the entire poem here*):

She was worried 
about the phantom
kittens in the grate.

I was won over
by the fictional contents
of the fictional little girl’s purse.

I both knew and did
not know that was her
at the next table.

You can look, but I think
he has already found
all the good fossils.

Where can she be
at peace?
On a horse.

Even at the hospital,
I see her in the light 
of chandeliers.

*link may be broken after a week or two--just learned of poet's intention to only keep the page up for a short while