The Mended Spiderweb Series

From… I don’t know.. click on the picture for the link. I’m too tired to go back to check.

The Mended Spiderweb series came about during a six-week period in June and July in 1998 which I spent on Pörtö. In the forest and around the house where I was living, I searched for broken spiderwebs which I repaired using red sewing thread. All of the patches were made by inserting segments one at a time directly into the web. Sometimes the thread was starched, which made it stiffer and easier to work with. The short threads were held in place by the stickiness of the spider web itself; longer threads were reinforced by dipping the tips into white glue. I fixed the holes in the web until it was fully repaired, or until it could no longer bear the weight of the thread. In the process, I often caused further damage when the tweezers got tangled in the web or when my hands brushed up against it by accident.

The morning after the first patch job, I discovered a pile of red threads lying on the ground below the web. At first I assumed the wind had blown them out; on closer inspection it became clear that the spider had repaired the web to perfect condition using its own methods, throwing the threads out in the process. My repairs were always rejected by the spider and discarded, usually during the course of the night, even in webs which looked abandoned.

(via Kottke)

The Billy Letters

From Radar:

In the late ’90s, pop-culture historian Bill Geerhart had a little too much time on his hands and a surfeit of stamps. So, for his own entertainment, the then-unemployed thirtysomething launched a letter-writing campaign to some of the most powerful and infamous figures in the country, posing as a curious 10-year-old named Billy.

As it turns out, no group hates to disappoint a child more than convicted killers, all of whom responded promptly to Billy’s questions about dropping out of school. Their letters, published here for the first time, range from criminally insane to downright sensible, offering snapshots of the personalities behind some of America’s most hideous crimes.

(via Boing Boing)

Chocolate From Beans to Bars

For Christmas, because I am insane and he loves me, Tom gave me a home conching machine.

Conching is the penultimate step in chocolate making. Chocolate liquor (the product of grinding cocoa beans that have been roasted and cracked and hulled) is combined with sugar, usually some additional cocoa butter, and sometimes vanilla, milk solids, lecithin, and any other flavorings you want to add, and processed in what is essentially a big, industrialized mortar and pestle for hours or (in the case of the higher-end chocolatiers) days to give the fantastically smooth product that we know and love. This step has always prevented me from making my own chocolate, because there were no home conching machines available before now. But now there are. So here, you can see the steps involved in making a four pound batch of chocolate, starting from raw cocoa beans (plus extra cocoa butter, superfine sugar, vanilla beans, and soy lecithin) and ending in bittersweet chocolate, ready to eat, to chop up into chocolate chunks for use in cookies, to mix with cream for ganache, or for whatever you would want to use bittersweet chocolate for.