The best parts of Winston Churchill’s Painting as a Pastime*:
“As you browse about, taking down book after book from the shelves and contemplating the vast, infinitely varied store of knowledge and wisdom which the human race has accumulated and preserved, pride, even in its most innocent forms, is chased from the heart by feelings of awe not untinged with sadness. As on surves the mighty array of sages, saints, historians, scientists, poets and philosophers whose treaures ne will never be able to admire — still less enjoy — the brief tenure of our existence here dominates mind and spirit.”
“It is a mistake to read too many good books when quite young… The first impression is the one that counts; and if it is a slight one, it may be all that can be hoped for.”
“The boy learns enough Latin to detest it; enough Greek to pass an examination; enough French to get from Calais to Paris; enough German to exhibit a diploma; enough Spanish or Italian to tell which is which; but not enough of any to secure the enormous boon of access to a second literature.”
“Just to paint is great fun. The colours are lovely to look at and delicious to squeeze out. Matching them, however crudely, with what you see is fascinating and absolutely absorbing. Try it if you have not done so — before you die.”
“One begins to see, for instance, that painting a picture is like fighting a battle; and trying to paint a picture is, I suppose, like trying to fight a battle. It is, if anything, more exciting than fighting it successfully.”
Me: It’s mah birfday!
Bryan: You’re mispronouncing that.
M: It’s mah?
B: No. Itsmah was the Prime Minister of Israel in 1979.
M: I don’t want to talk about this. Or things related to this.
B: But it sounds plausible right?
M: It does sound like something you would say.
M: You do an awesome imitation of yourself.
Bryan: What do you want to watch?
Me: I don’t know.
Bryan: (clicking through channels) WIPEOUT!
Bryan: Let me watch for 20 minutes, then you can watch whatever you want.
Me: For the rest of our lives?
(Image from Bembo’s Zoo, which is also an awesome book).
You may remember my husband, the delightful Bryan Mason? The one who considers his Twitter feed a valuable tool for marital communication? That’s my guy.
Well, as many of you already know, he started a new company called Small Batch Inc., and they’re currently working on a project that will rock your face off. It’s called Typekit. In a nutshell, it will let you choose from a giant library of fonts to use anywhere on your site, without having to render them as images or text files. So, for example, the text you’re reading now could look like this:
But you wouldn’t have to save it as an image or Flash file to have it appear. You could just type it in to your blog editor of choice. The W3C has been working for a long time to find a way to display any font across browsers. Now that it’s possible, Typekit will essentially make it affordable for people like you and me. The little people, I mean.
The little people will roll around in the silken, fonty glory of it all!
Go to the Typekit Blog if you want to know more, and visit the Typekit site if you want to get updates or be notified when the service goes live.
Good job, Mr. Mason. I’m off to Twitter about how proud I am of you, and then see how long it takes you to notice. You’re making the Web prettier, and it’s nice to be married to you.
A couple weeks ago, Bryan lost his keys, causing much upheaval. They’re the kind of keys you can’t copy, thus leaving us with only one key between us and the sitter. This morning, I saw them sitting on the dresser.
Me: Hey! Where did you find your keys?
Bryan: (slightly annoyed) I told you already.
Me: What? When?
Bryan: Yeah, I already told you this.
Me: No. I’m sure you didn’t. Where did you find them?
Bryan: Remember when I was all, “Me and a bottle of cabernet are besting the toddler?”
Me: What? What are even you talking about? Where did you find them?
Bryan: Didn’t you read my Twitters?
Me: … You mean you told me via your public Twitter? Are you kidding me right now?
Bryan: Yeah, remember I was all, “It only took six days, but I bested…”
Me: No. No. Stop saying things out loud.
Photo by Peter DaSilva for the New York Times
This is a photo of Bryan and some other guys drinking bourbon in the New York Times. So now he gets to check that off, while I add “shoot tequila for a profile piece in the New Yorker” to my list. Bryan is a constant source of inspiration.
For Bryan’s fortieth birthday, I gave him forty presents.
I lost a few days to wrapping, but it was worth it.
Happy 40th birthday, Bryan! A few of the reasons I adore you:
1. On our first trip to Argentina, you were excited about my suggestion that we spend two hours a day of our vacation in private tango lessons.
2. When I’m upset, you infuriate me by cracking jokes until I laugh.
3. You took me on a road trip with our 5-week old baby.
4. You have a steel-plated backbone.
5. On one of our first dates, you took me on a surprise kayak camping trip. You packed candles and a tablecloth.
6. You make a mean chili.
7. You cried over our vows.
8. If it’s important, and you say you’ll do it, you do it.
9. When someone handed you the microphone unexpectedly at one of Hillary Clinton’s rallies, you introduced a stage full of political bigwigs, one by one, without a list of their names.
10. You’re humble about your smarts.
11. It takes you about an hour to wrap a present so it meets your standards.
12. You’re a fighter.
13. Your resume is so absurd, it reads like fiction.
14. You’re helpful.
15. You taught me to respect bourbon.
16. You look incredible in a suit. Or a white cotton undershirt.
17. You’d be just as comfortable chatting with a Nobel Laureate or the drunkest guy at the dive bar.
18. You have more energy than anyone.
19. You can’t wait for the new episode of Dancing with the Stars.
20. You’re one of the kindest people I know.
21. When you’re phone rings, and the caller ID reads unknown, you assume it’s the Secret Service because it almost always is.
22. You like to help.
23. Once you’re in the shower, there’s no telling when I’ll see you again.
24. You have a lovely voice.
25. You married our friends in English, German, and Chinese.
26. You always smell good.
27. You take me seriously when I ask you how my makeup looks.
28. You love to celebrate.
29. You drink the water, eat at roadside stands, sample charcuterie in a village with 12 houses, and you never get sick.
30. You make things go.
31. When you arrive at the bar, you’re there to close it.
32. You are snuggly.
33. When you dip me, I know you won’t drop me.
34. You like to make things.
35. You’re an optimist.
36. I have never had to ask you to do the dishes.
37. You love to swim.
38. When I asked you to stop pointing out coiffed and professionally lit ex-girlfriends while we were watching TV, you did.
39. You can’t stay mad.
40. If our little boy grows up to be exactly like you, I’ll be proud.
Attention reference-guide addicts! My genius husband’s company, Small Batch Inc., just built an awesome tool called Wikirank, and you should go play with it. Wikirank shows you which Wikipedia topics are the most popular, and which ones are seeing the most action on a particular day.
It also lets you compare topics against one another and embed pretty graphs on your Internet website, like so:
As you can see, monkeys are kicking robot ass, but ninjas are still a contender. I feel smarter already.
Me: No. No. … No.
Bryan: But this is Batman vs. Dracula.
Bryan: Csssh! I can’t wait until Hank is old enough to get a vote.
Me: Hank only counts for a quarter vote.
Bryan: And so, it will always be 1.25 to 1.
Me: Shit, I suck at math.