Eric Marcarelli

Software Developer, Writer, Painter


May 09, 2014 by Eric Marcarelli in Culture, Walking, Writing 0 comments
Some time back I came to a stop second in line at a red light on my way home. Out of nowhere, the car ahead of me started to roll forward and drove away through the light. I pulled up in its place in a state of complete incredulity, but for the moment it seemed nothing more than one more “idiot driver” story. As days passed I reconsidered. I noticed that this stoplight was placed fairly close to the next light and recalled that the car ahead of me pulled up far over the line. The two lights are not synced — the one farther ahead always turns green first. Being pulled up past the line, the driver in front of me might have seen the green light ahead without straining up to see the light above his car. He might have reasonably believed he was holding up traffic sitting at a green light and hastily drove away to cover his “mistake” as quickly as possible before being assaulted by horns. While he might be condemned for putting himself in the position of not being able to actually see the light, I believe it is possible that the driver had, […]

Memories of the Cold

February 19, 2014 by Eric Marcarelli in Culture, Nature, Walking, Writing 0 comments
Recent days have been the coldest I can recall. In previous years I’ve seen a few -1° or -3° days, to be sure, but they’re usually the apex of cold, sprinkled among relatively warmer days. This has been quite a stretch. Most notably, last Friday, the day of the season’s biggest snowfall to date, there was a combination of strong, snow-filled wind and a temperature of -9° when I ventured out into the pre-dawn darkness. I dressed for adventure. I started with two pairs of pants, which was not unusual, as I often wear sweat pants over my jeans when it snows. But this was the first time I ever put on both my lighter weight and heavier winter coats at the same time. Luckily I was still able to lower my arms. It may be the first time I’ve worn not two but three pairs of socks, and it was definitely the first time I wrapped a scarf around my face so that only a slit remained for my eyes. Over the scarf I wore my heavy coat’s hood. Under it, in ascending order, I had a winter hat, a sweatshirt hood, and the hood of my lightweight jacket. […]

Review of The Design of Everyday Things

August 04, 2011 by Eric Marcarelli in Books, Culture 0 comments
This book is a classic, but until now I’ve never gotten around to reading more than a chapter of it. The major premise of the book is that things should be designed in ways that make it as easy as possible to use them. While this sounds obvious enough, Norman points out how the every day objects around us, from doors to telephones, consistently violate the principle. He gives concrete guidance for designing just about any sort of project, be it physical or digital. At times the book delves deeply into psychological analysis, yet it provides many entertaining antidotes throughout and avoids coming across as dense. Definitely a must read for anyone who designs (or uses!) any product.

Lands of Marvels and Monsters: The Far East in the Medieval European Imagination

August 08, 2010 by Eric Marcarelli in Culture, History, Writing 0 comments
As a research prospectus I wrote for my historiography and historical methods class, this piece is not quite a finished essay. Nevertheless, I love the subject and believe others will enjoy reading through it. If you’re working on a similar project, the annotated bibliography should be quite useful. The numbers scattered throughout the text refer to the notes at the bottom. To medieval Europe, Asia was a distant land of marvels, inhabited by strange creatures as well as monstrous races of humans. The difficulty of travel prevented more than a trickle of European visitors, and it seems that even the few accurate accounts of the region did little to change these views. Europeans based their image of Asia on ancient accounts inherited from Greece and Rome, and filtered these ideas through the lens of Christianity. The view of Asia in Medieval Europe does not seem to receive much attention; it is often relegated to the role of setting a foundation for examination of European colonialism that occurred in later centuries. Nevertheless, there are plenty of secondary sources that cover aspects of the issue to some extent. There are also a fair number of primary sources to draw from, and though […]

Circular Migration as a Means of Challenging Social Hierarchies in India

August 08, 2010 by Eric Marcarelli in Culture, Writing 0 comments
Circular migration refers to the practice of temporarily traveling some distance in order to work. The distance and duration of the stay vary from a nearby town, traveled in a single day, to months or years spent in a remote location. The number of migrants in India has been estimated between 12 and 30 million, and the figure is believed to be rising (Bird N.pag.). While many migrants are forced into their situation by economic necessarily, this paper will focus on a different type of migrant. To these people, circular migration may not necessarily provide economic improvement, but it presents an opportunity to escape the confines of traditional social and economic relationships that dominate their lives. The essay will also examine problems associated with migration that must be balanced against its potential rewards.