Oblique things

Being laidback, easygoing types, the spouse and I often end up having long and tedious conversations about where to go eat, along the lines of:

“Are you hungry?”

“I guess so.”

“Let’s go out.”


“Any ideas?”

“Umm… don’t mind, really.”

“What kind of food do you feel like?”

“I don’t really have any strong preference.”

I used to have similar problems with Richard in Cambridge, and came up with an idea I called Oblique Restaurants.

It was basically a variation on Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt’s Oblique Strategies: a deck of cards with names and locations of local restaurants. I had the idea that notches in the cards could be used to allow you to filter out (for example) all vegetarian-suitable restaurants, or all Italian restaurants.

Then, when faced with a lack of restaurant-related inspiration, you could shuffle the deck and pick a card—but you would then be obligated to go to the restaurant on the card.

A while ago someone implemented Oblique Strategies as a widget for OS X. And now someone else has implemented Oblique Restaurants, except they call it Dine-O-Matic.

Now we just need Oblique Recipes for quick stuff to cook at home.