Saturday, July 03, 2010

Beauty V Function

A gorgeous start to the 4th of July Holiday weekend and I just had to step out on the deck to admire the morning. It's cool and no humidity. The humidity is coming tomorrow.

The Chancellor is off to work for a half a day after a 6 - 11 shift last night. She is finding it tough to pick up hours in this economy and takes what she can.

While outside, I also admired my handiwork on the cabana. I say cabana like it comes with servants to wave fans at us and peel us grapes but it's really just one of those Target aluminum jobs that is now six years old. When I put the cabana up, I fully expected to see it in the pool some day after a thunderstorm but it has held up.

The cabana had one fatal flaw:

The western side was exposed to the afternoon sun.

The solution is one my Grandfather Sam would have been proud of: I took the old living room shades from the garage and zip-tied them to the west side of the cabana.

Yes, my "handiwork" was zip tying them up. It took all of ten minutes and was a win-win-win. I recycled something old, it served a very useful, functional purpose and it was aesthetically pleasing to the Chancellor's discerning eye.

The shades still go up and down and they seem to fit right in. It was a rare combination of function and beauty for us. As shown in this graph, we tend to two extremes. I like function and am OK with beautiful things. She likes beautiful things that sometimes have no function.

Some examples are in order.

This lamp is fine example of function taking a back seat.

In my mind this lamp has two major functions:

1. Stand up
2. Light up

It performs one of the two flawlessly and it's not the one you think.

In the physical world an object remains at rest as long as it's center of gravity remains above it's base. Once the center of gravity is outside the base, an object tips over. This specific object has a center of gravity somewhere on the edge of the base because anytime something like a small insect, a gentle breeze or a husband making the bed interacts with it, it tips over and falls down.

I have been knocking this lamp over for twenty years now with the same results:

me: Stupid lamp.
The Chancellor: But Wendy gave me that lamp as a wedding gift and I like it.
me: Ok, Ok,

Now mind you Wendy moved to California 15 years ago and disappeared. She has never set foot in either this home nor one we moved out of 17 years ago. My guess is that Wendy would have a hard time picking her wedding gift out of a police line up of it and four imposter gifts yet here I am, year after year, picking up the stupid lamp.

To be fair here is an example of function over beauty.
This is my data center/tool room in the garage. It's a handful of Linux servers, switches and firewalls cobbled together from what ever I could find in the trash. It's very ugly but is serves a useful purpose: my weather station, the web server, file server and firewall. It has a lot of wires. I like wires. I always have.


However, the data center is highly functional and when it falls, it does not hurt someone's foot.(except maybe that desktop balanced precariously on the other desktop - that looks like it might hurt)

This conflict is coming to head in one specific area: home remodeling.

We have a split level with the Kitchen, Living and Dining rooms all one level. It has been her dream to knock down all the walls on that level and make a larger, open floor plan.

I keep saying "But they hold up the ceiling".

Stay tuned.

No comments: