aGogh alpha hi

(deleted the last official first post because comments weren’t working)

This is the first semi-real blog post for, a site I put together just so it’d be easier to find things to do in New York City. I apologize in advance for the many places I haven’t gotten around to adding, especially for all the other cities. I’m working on a way to make it easy for institutions to submit their own information; in the meantime, you can contact me at

aGogh also has a Twitter and Facebook page for updates.

For the tech-minded of this audience, if you’re curious on how this site was put together, I’d say my time was spent 10% coding, 5% designing, and the rest just going to each website and copying down their information. It is a Ruby (1.8.7) on Rails 3.x site that reads a bunch of data I put into a Google Spreadsheet. With the exception of account statistics from the Twitter/Facebook/Foursquare APIs and Wikipedia info, most of it is hand-collected.

I’m using Slicehost’s Ubuntu 10.04 basic Apache setup and deploying through something I call Crapistano – generating the site’s pages on my computer and uploading them as static HTML – until I have time to properly optimize the site.

  • ‘mysql’
  • ‘fastercsv’ – for parsing the Google Spreadsheet data
  • friendly_id‘, ‘3.2.1’ – to generate pretty URLs
  • jammit“, “~>0.6.0” – Jeremy Ashkenas’s super-convenient library for packaging CSS/JS seets
  • rest-client‘ – vastly simplifies calls to remote APIs
  • crack‘ – vastly simplifies parsing remote JSON and XML
  • chronic‘ – for parsing human-typed in times (‘8pm’, ‘14.00’, ‘6:40AM’)
  • rmagick‘ – to generate differently-sized image versions
  • geokit‘ – to geocode address
  • ‘geokit-rails3’ – to do “Show nearest locations” kind of queries
  • typus‘ – a lightweight admin panel
  • andand‘ – because I haven’t fleshed out all the data models and routinely run into nil issues
  • The black-and-white Google Maps theme I took from my colleague Jeff Larson and his various ProPublica projects.

On the design side, finding out about the Blueprint CSS framework after I had already built the site was a little annoying, but with a few days work, I was able to rebuild the site into something much cleaner and actually viewable in IE6…I can’t say enough how much using the well-defined grid made this project even possible, given my terrible, terrible CSS-writing habits.


My normal job is news-app developing at ProPublica. I also take photos and blog at my personal site,


van Gogh bio 2 (Wikipedia)

Little appreciated during his lifetime, his fame grew in the years after his death. Today, he is widely regarded as one of history’s greatest painters and an important contributor to the foundations of modern art. Van Gogh did not begin painting until his late twenties, and most of his best-known works were produced during his final two years. He produced more than 2,000 artworks, consisting of around 900 paintings and 1,100 drawings and sketches. Today many of his pieces—including his numerous self portraits, landscapes, portraits and sunflowers—are among the world’s most recognizable and expensive works of art.

Van Gogh Bio 1

Vincent Willem van Gogh (Dutch: [faŋˈxɔx] ( listen), English: /ˌvæn ˈɡɒx/ in British English and /ˌvæn ˈɡoʊ/ van-GOH in American English;[note 1] 30 March 1853 – 29 July 1890) was a Dutch post-Impressionist painter whose work had a far-reaching influence on 20th century art for its vivid colors and emotional impact. He suffered from anxiety and increasingly frequent bouts of mental illness throughout his life and died, largely unknown, at the age of 37 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

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