Garden Photos, Lewistown, IL

My mom just sent me this batch of photos that combines her two hobbies: gardening and photography. This is from my parents' garden in Lewistown, IL:

That looks pretty good. The first thing that crosses my mind -- which shows how greedy I am compared to her -- is that she could monetize her hobby if she wanted to, since she knows how to take a good photo (and she's not afraid to snap them). The second thing is that the difference between the lively flowers and the dead background -- it is early spring and the trees haven't come to life yet -- is quite striking.

waxy.org brings back Infocom memories

Andy Baio of waxy.org recently posted a story that's close to my childhood: Milliways: Infocom's Unreleased Sequel to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. He has disentombed an old hard drive from Infocom, and shares the secrets behind a game that was never finished.

I never played much of the original Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Game -- since I hadn't and still haven't read the books by Douglas Adams -- so this particular game doesn't strike a heart chord for me. However, before HH, Infocom produced a series of games that I played the hell out of on our old Commodore 64: Zork [wikipedia.org].

Haven't heard of Zork? Too bad. It's probably not as fun to discover now as it was so many years ago...

Actually, come to think of it: it wasn't me that discovered Zork, I remember now that my dad had it. Hmm. Something to ask him after I ask him how the recent earthquake ride was.

...anyway -- probably not as fun if you discover it today, since Zork was a text-based game. No pictures, just text. You, the adventurer, had to make your way through a mostly-underground world, collecting treasures, making your way past characters that were trying to stop you from reaching the endgame (or in Zork III, past characters that were trying to help you).

Sure, text-only doesn't seem fun, but the game was great since the puzzles were challenging and the humor was odd. Without the corresponding graphics -- and if you were really adventurous, without purchasing the corresponding map of the game -- you were allowed to create the world in your imagination, to see the thief or the wizard or the house or the mine as you thought it would look.

West of House
You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door.
There is a small mailbox here.

>

This nostalgia bomb courtesy of Slashdot.

Mapped: Photos from Chandigarh, India, Jan 2006

The audacious background of the Rock Garden in Chandigarh was just as interesting as the sculptures and the architecture. The Rock Garden is a pile of junk. Nek Chand, the force and vision behind the project, created the garden -- a 40-acre spread of sculptures, waterfalls, towers, and courtyards -- from scrap and waste. Discarded wires, porcelain, industrial materials, broken bangles, pieces of glass bottles -- all pieces of rubbish individually, but part of something whole and substantial when brought together; it is much more than a pile of junk.

The most striking aspect of the Rock Garden, to me, is the dedication -- I mean obsession -- that must have driven Nek Chand to continue working on it. It's not that hard to initiate something small, a few sculptures that can be hidden away with no effort, but to work in secret for nearly 20 years, creating an enormous work of art out of the forest... I can't even imagine it. I can only wonder if, somewhere, in the back of his head, he had an idea that he knew was so incredible that he had to follow through with it. Or maybe he was just passing time, keeping his hands busy and the art created itself.

If you're ever passing through northern India, through Punjab, I highly recommend that you stop at the Rock Garden for a long stroll through Nek Chand's masterpiece. And while you're there, take your time, wander. As a bonus during my trip there, we met Nek Chand for a few minutes in his studio, which is located in the garden itself.