Dear friends and creative co-conspirators,
A new year’s promise of new beginnings tends to fade faster than expected. February, January’s quiet sibling, doesn’t ask so much of us. It doesn’t mind if we settle back into the comfort of routine and ritual without inflated expectations of life transformation.
Though based in New York City, this month’s Miscellaneous—Athletics’ no-frills round-up of the cultural items that inspire us each month—is a global affair. Those wrestling wanderlust may escape to the Amazon through the photographs of Valdir Cruz or in the pages of Peter Matthiessen’s 1965 novel, At Play in the Fields of the Lord. Others may explore the aural seascapes of the North Atlantic with a performance of Faroese folk songs at Scandinavia House, or behold the treasures of Auckland Castle on loan at The Frick. Others may seek pleasures closer to home.
Wherever your cultural wanderings take you, here are a few waypoints on the road to a February well spent.
Stay tuned for more editions of Miscellaneous in the coming months.
Interested in contributing? Send us an email!
Why she loves it
“The dual trash-and-recycling can is motion sensor and voice activated. Yes, it’s a little ridiculous, but amid time-sensitive cooking, it has become my most ergonomic and efficient kitchen tool.”
How it works
“The trash can opens by voice command (‘open, can’) and a motion-sensor, triggered when someone approaches the receptacle directly. The lid closes automatically five seconds after opening. Below the lid sit two containers, one for trash and the other, recycling.
On the back of the can, hidden from view, a built-in trash bag dispenser stores fresh trash bags for seamless bag replacement. The SimpleHuman bags fit the inner containers perfectly—they never bunch or slip—and they are made from extra-durable plastic with, rip-preventing double seams. Since the company makes a variety of trash cans, the box of bags is also stamped with a colorful alphabetical icon. So, when restocking online, one just has to select the orange ‘H’ button to buy bags that are a perfect fit.
After disposing of trash, I often find myself saying ‘thank you, can,’ which I read is normal. The can also responds promptly to ‘open, Candace.’ Lately, I’ve had trouble interacting with the can’s less-advanced contemporaries.”
What it can teach us
“Innovation spares no device. Kitchens are easily messed. A tool that supports keeping them more orderly and clean is invaluable. SimpleHuman puts an addendum to the culinary phrase Mise en Place — everything in its place, especially waste.
Cooking is organic; at its most successful when it flows. While powered by technology and perfected by industrial design experts, the SimpleHuman sensor helps mitigate friction between cookings essentials and urbanized life, making it easier to get lost in an experience that has always been sensory.”
“Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom – poets, visionaries – realists of a larger reality.”
— Ursula K. Guin (1929-2018)
(Header image by Martin Scott Powell)