20 November 2007

Float by Design Mobel

Float by Design Mobel, designed by David Trubridge

My idea of sleeping. Bonne nuit.

19 November 2007

5 Gorgeous Pens for 5 Nobel Prize Winning Writers

via Cool Hunting by Phuong-Cac Nguyen on 11/18/07

[Very appropriate, given that I was recently reunited with my long, long-lost fountain pen again...]


A person's handwriting says a lot about his or her personality; a strong right slant suggests a fierce emotional side while small size might refer to a penchant for details. This idea wasn't lost on Italian designer Cleto Munari, who asked famous architects and designers to come up with with a set of five beautiful pens, each inspired by a Nobel Prize-winning writer. The finished writing utensils with 18kt gold details are luxurious and inspiring to those who take the handwritten word seriously.

To start, Munari asked for handwritten letters from writers Nagib Mahfouz, Toni Morrison, Wole Soyinka, José Saramago and Saul Bellow, which he then gave to architects and designers Toyo Ito, Alessandro Mendini, Alvaro Siza Viera and Oscar Tusquetstook. The pens are very much based on the designer's interpretation of the writer's style and form.

Designboom has excerpts from the pens' accompanying The Book of Five Pens that show these letters, essential elements for potential purchasers wanting to first connect with a pen before they buy it.

The pens, available in roller or fountain form, start from $550 from Art Brown. At that price, you won't be apt to loan it out without forgetting to ask for it back.

Sent via Google Reader

10 November 2007

Silent films and their live music

A delightful first time with live music accompanying silent films. This was the Blue Grassy Knoll at my favourite bar, playing their original compositions for Buster Keaton and a 1922 Chinese silent film, Labourer's Love. The best part for me was hearing the simulated sounds of shuffling mahjong tiles. Nice!

Wall Street analysis of a woman seeking $500k+ earning man

Update: This and other great Craigslist ads are discussed in a »recent NYT article.

A hilarious dose of »Tim Hartford-ish humor in a Craiglist post - courtesy of a friend:

Woman seeking $500k+ earning man - advice

What am I doing wrong?

Okay, I’m tired of beating around the bush. I’m a beautiful (spectacularly beautiful) 25 year old girl. I’m articulate and classy. I’m not from New York. I’m looking to get married to a guy who makes at least half a million a year. I know how that sounds, but keep in mind that a million a year is middle class in New York City, so I don’t think I’m overreaching at all.

Are there any guys who make 500K or more on this board? Any wives? Could you send me some tips? I dated a business man who makes average around 200 - 250. But that’s where I seem to hit a roadblock. 250,000 won’t get me to central park west. I know a woman in my yoga class who was married to an investment banker and lives in Tribeca, and she’s not as pretty as I am, nor is she a great genius. So what is she doing right? How do I get to her level?

Here are my questions specifically:

- Where do you single rich men hang out? Give me specifics - bars, restaurants, gyms

-What are you looking for in a mate? Be honest guys, you won’t hurt my feelings

-Is there an age range I should be targeting (I’m 25)?

- Why are some of the women living lavish lifestyles on the upper east side so plain? I’ve seen really ‘plain jane’ boring types who have nothing to offer married to incredibly wealthy guys. I’ve seen drop dead gorgeous girls in singles bars in the east village. What’s the story there?

- Jobs I should look out for? Everyone knows - lawyer, investment banker, doctor. How much do those guys really make? And where do they hang out? Where do the hedge fund guys hang out?

- How you decide marriage vs. just a girlfriend? I am looking for MARRIAGE ONLY

Please hold your insults - I’m putting myself out there in an honest way. Most beautiful women are superficial; at least I’m being up front about it. I wouldn’t be searching for these kind of guys if I wasn’t able to match them - in looks, culture, sophistication, and keeping a nice home and hearth.

Reply 1:

I read your posting with great interest and have thought meaningfully about your dilemma. I offer the following analysis of your predicament. Firstly, I’m not wasting your time, I qualify as a guy who fits your bill; that is I make more than $500K per year. That said here’s how I see it.

Your offer, from the prospective of a guy like me, is plain and simple a crappy business deal. Here’s why. Cutting through all the B.S., what you suggest is a simple trade: you bring your looks to the party and I bring my money. Fine, simple. But here’s the rub, your looks will fade and my money will likely continue into perpetuity…in fact, it is very likely that my income increases but it is an absolute certainty that you won’t be getting any more beautiful!

So, in economic terms you are a depreciating asset and I am an earning asset. Not only are you a depreciating asset, your depreciation accelerates! Let me explain, you’re 25 now and will likely stay pretty hot for the next 5 years, but less so each year. Then the fade begins in earnest. By 35 stick a fork in you!

So in Wall Street terms, we would call you a trading position, not a buy and hold…hence the rub…marriage. It doesn’t make good business sense to “buy you” (which is what you’re asking) so I’d rather lease. In case you think I’m being cruel, I would say the following. If my money were to go away, so would you, so when your beauty fades I need an out. It’s as simple as that. So a deal that makes sense is dating, not marriage.

Separately, I was taught early in my career about efficient markets. So, I wonder why a girl as “articulate, classy and spectacularly beautiful” as you has been unable to find your sugar daddy. I find it hard to believe that if you are as gorgeous as you say you are that the $500K hasn’t found you, if not only for a tryout.

By the way, you could always find a way to make your own money and then we wouldn’t need to have this difficult conversation.

With all that said, I must say you’re going about it the right way. Classic “pump and dump.” I hope this is helpful, and if you want to enter into some sort of lease, let me know.

So there you have it. Beauty is a depreciating asset, good thing I don’t have much of that ;)

Reply 2:

Your also came across your posting with great interest. I am a 28 year old Wall Street trader who qualifies as an eligible suitor under your $500k/yr rule. In fact, I make over a million and can usher a woman into a comfortable, true middle class lifestyle (not like those 500k lower-middle class chumps who have to make do with the junior two-bedroom).

I am sympathetic to your goal in finding a rich man to marry. The milk needs to be sold by the expiration date. But since this is premium milk, why would you settle for less than premium prices? I would like to address some of the questions that were previously missed by the other gentleman and provide constructive advice on where to find your match.

I also do believe in the efficient market theory, and am surprised that $500k hasn’t found you yet. There are plenty of rich lawyers, investment bankers and hedgies to go around in this city. What gives? I think the problem might be that you have not been sufficiently focused in your search efforts.

The culprit, I believe, may be that you are also looking for qualities aside from money - such as looks, personality, and a sense of humor. However, men who have those qualities learn at an early age that they do not need money to attract quality women. As the saying goes, if you can get the milk for free, why pay up for the cow?

What you need to look for is someone who is long money, and short the other aspects. They are not easy to spot, since you are biologically wired to overlook and ignore them. However, the next time that you are at a expensive black tie event, and you are introduced to the short, bald, overweight man who fidgets nervously whilst making conversation with you, pay special attention to him.

Here’s an inspirational story for you. An acquaintance of mine who was also an classy and articulate woman as yourself was able to land that guy - who also happens to be one of the top ten guys at Google. This is the type of stuff that gold-digging moms read to their gold-digging daughters at bedtime. Perhaps you need to make a location change to Silicon Valley - miracles like these happen almost everyday in a land where you can randomly throw a rock and hit a rich nerd squarely in his Kim-jong Il glasses.

And as far as his deficiencies go, they turned out to be not so bad. With hundreds of millions in the bank, she’s been able to clean him up and give him a little sophistication. Think of it as a fixer-upper project with a massive budget (and yourself as a visionary real estate developer!). Although, I must warn you, it is a fine line you are flirting with - you must not overdo it lest he begins to attract younger women who are hotter than yourself. The trick is, you need build him up enough to be presentable, while simultaneously manipulate him into believing you are the best that he will ever do! That and having kids will be your insurance against your depreciation (or as I prefer to use the term, milk going sour).

I wish the best of luck on your sales project. As for me, I am also available for a short-term lease. However, for marriage I wouldn’t consider a woman unless she can bring beauty, brains and self-motivation to the table. I do not want to dilute my gene pool and end up raising a bunch of Paris Hiltons.

07 November 2007

Yahoo vs Baidu

Fun ad of Yahoo taking a jibe at Baidu:

English: "If you can search only 100 degrees [Baidu literally means 100 degrees], you might as well search 360 degrees with Yahoo."

But Yahoo probably didn't realize the etymology of Baidu's name, which comes from »众里寻她千百度. So Baidu is not just 100 degrees, but (at least) 1000 degrees.

As my elementary teacher used to say, it's good to do homework.

04 November 2007

The Pei connection

SUZHOU - Five years ago, during a break from tango class, Y had asked me what I would like from Paris. After a moment of thought, I said I wanted a postcard of the Louvre pyramids. At that time, I knew very little about I.M. Pei, only that he designed the Louvre pyramids (which invoked a greater desire in me to visit Paris than the Eiffel Tower*) as well as the Kennedy Museum that I was going to see a few days later in Boston. A photo I had taken at the Kennedy Museum later made it into the first issue of our grad student magazine, so that augured well for the start of a Pei connection.**

Rejuvenated from seeing the pyramids again last month, still so breathtaking even though it was my third time, I finally took the long-procrastinated trip to Pei's museum in Suzhou this weekend.

It was most brilliant use of gray I have ever seen. Single-handedly, it connects the antiquity of Suzhou and the modernity of Pei.

Next time I will pack a picnic and spend the day just looking at the gorgeous shadows.



*I had initially thought of posting a picture of the pyramids, so I poked around my photos for a street-level overview of them. I could not find a single one from all my trips to Paris. I must have concluded that it was much better to enjoy a private moment with the pyramids, than to have a menage-a-trois with hundreds of tourists.

**After coming back from Suzhou, I was delightfully surprised to know that Pei also did my favourite shopping mall and office of three years in Singapore - Raffles City. In fact, the connection can even be traced back further - it used to be my mum's office 20 years ago as well. I should have guessed from his motif of skylight, so classically and effectively used in both Raffles City and the Suzhou Museum.