May 09, 2014by Eric Marcarelliin Culture, Walking, Writing0 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, […]
February 19, 2014by Eric Marcarelliin Culture, Nature, Walking, Writing0 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. […]
August 13, 2011by Eric Marcarelliin Books, History0 comments
Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America by Jeff Ryan was a fun, quick read. I have to agree with other reviewers that the book lacks a certain amount of depth, and anyone interested in the history of video games probably already knows most of the material in the book. It manages not to feel like a rehash, however, and there are a number of interesting trivia gems throughout. The humor is mostly corny, and not always in a good way. It doesn’t add much for me, but isn’t too distracting either. The book kept my interest all the way through, and it certainly makes you want to go play Mario. Overall I’d recommend it for any Nintendo fan.
August 04, 2011by Eric Marcarelliin Books, Culture0 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.