Categories
What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#71)

A quote that I was thinking about:

The best test of a person’s intelligence is their capacity for making a summary.

Lytton Strachey

Why we should bring blogs back:

Twitter is dominating the deployment of information currently, and I agree that it would be good if there was something more behind it.

I’m not sure if this particular idea will take hold or not. I do believe, however, that we need innovative thinking not just about medical treatments, but also about how we handle the deployment of information relevant to our response.

A lot in here is about the infatuation with Twitter, which is great at some things (i.e. a lot of obscure smart people are getting the attention they deserve) and not great at many others (most ideas can’t be compressed into 240 characters and tweet threads aren’t any fun to read):

In this proposal, these experts wouldn’t abandon social media. On the contrary, they would continue to actively engage with these platforms to summarize their ideas and comment on events, while the platforms would continue to work their algorithmic magic to amplify the more impactful content. The big change, however, is that this short-form content can now be pointing back to their longer, more stable elaborations.


Categories
Art

The side of the mountain

Here is some inspiration for a little morning brush pen drawing.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this metaphor of the side of the mountain versus the top over the past week.

“Mountains should be climbed with as little effort as possible and without desire. The reality of your own nature should determine the speed. If you become restless, speed up. If you become winded, slow down. You climb the mountain in an equilibrium between restlessness and exhaustion. Then, when you’re no longer thinking ahead, each footstep isn’t just a means to an end but a unique event in itself. This leaf has jagged edges. This rock looks loose. From this place the snow is less visible, even though closer. These are things you should notice anyway. To live only for some future goal is shallow. It’s the sides of the mountain which sustain life, not the top. Here’s where things grow.” (Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)

This book was not the easiest read, but it keeps coming back to mind for me. I think I could re-read it another two or three times and still find new things within.

Another excerpt in the same categorey and from the same book that gets to the point more succinctly:

“The past cannot remember the past. The future can’t generate the future. The cutting edge of this instant right here and now is always nothing less than the totality of everything there is.” (Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)

Finally, the only recording I’ve re-listened a number of times on the subject of recognizing that the most important thing is right now:

Categories
Art Kids Parenting

Four little fires

I like to think of art projects like little fires. First you gather your wood (the materials), you built it (get everything set-up) and then you light it. When inspiration strikes, you get burning.

I love the process of gathering the materials from the store (art, craft, book, hardware, etc) and have them all ready, meaning out and in view, so we can work when the mood strikes. Until I have a dedicated studio space this means transforming our dining table over the weekend, but here’s proof that it’s worth it: four projects done over the past four roughly four weeks that just sort of happened because the fire was ready to be lit.


The mini-zine

I got this idea from Austin Kleon. I never knew how to fold and tear a piece of paper like this until now, and it’s a little detail that makes it super easy to transform any piece of paper into a mini-zine. No idea where the story came from either.


Mixing by hand

Me: “Sam you want to do some painting?”
Sam: “Yes daddy!”
Slide out some large sheets of card stock. Squeeze tubes of different color paints on. Watch him mix. Repeat!


The paper laptop

Vivian created this paper model of a laptop complete with fold out keyboard, sitckers on the case, kick stand, and laptop sleeve with handles. It’s just like what her parents use, and she even drew a browser on the screen showing “Google: Unicorns” on it with the search result.

No one helped her, no one even knew she was working on it. We were just going about doing chores while she was busy doing something at the dining-table-turned-studio.


The box critters

Kav made these with the kids, starting with some cutouts from a magazine and expanding into homemade hands and eyes and tails of all sorts. Reusing materials from around the house is a bonus, as it the fact that this art gets named and played with after. This genre of art project (box critter-making?) is an underrated wellspring that we’ll be sure to tap into more often.


I love art projects. Keep burning those fires!

Categories
Kids

Lighthouse

Early morning before anyone was up, Vivi showed me how she learned to draw a lighthouse.

Later, Sam and Kav were waiting for me after my run, full of goofball faces.

Feeling more than grateful.

The night before I read this:

Studies have confirmed what’s pretty obvious – having children makes people even unhappier. But what people want, above all else, is not to be happy; they want to devote themselves to something, to give themselves away. Some parents had told me that you couldn’t understand what it meant to truly love someone until you’d had a child, which had always seemed to me like not a very impressive advertisement for human altruism – most people only ever experienced selfless love toward people who were genetic extensions of themselves? But now here it was, a force as matter-of-fact and implacable as the gravity of the planet, the deceptively gentle pull of six thousand sextillion tons.

(Tim Kreider, We Learn Nothing)
Categories
What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#56)

Book excerpt I loved:

“The professional tackles the project that will make him stretch. He takes on the assignment that will bear him into uncharted waters, compel him to explore unconscious parts of himself.” (Steven Pressfield, The War of Art)


Some thoughts about what being the best means.


The 2019 reading re-cap from Tim Ferriss: I am a subscriber and still missed a lot of these. I enjoyed the discussion of his process (of course) at the outset.


I need to try Copic markers: I’ve seen these on the shelf and have never tried them. This illustraion looks amazing though, and made me put them on my wish list.


Some modern inspiration from a well-executed idea about un-modern tech: Primitive technology is a YouTube + WordPress site about primitive technology. From the About page:

Primitive technology is a hobby where you make things in the wild completely from scratch using no modern tools or materials. This is the strict rule. If you want a fire- use fire sticks, an axe- pick up a stone and shape it, a hut- build one from trees, mud, rocks etc. The challenge is seeing how far you can go without modern technology. If this hobby interests you then this blog might be what you are looking for.

He has millions of views on YouTube and, ironically, a really low-tech simple site.

https://primitivetechnology.wordpress.com/


Two great places to find free images: There are so many great resources for art in the public domain. Here are two more that I could peruse for hours:

  1. Art Institute of Chicago: https://www.artic.edu/collection?is_public_domain=1
  2. Paris Museums: http://parismuseescollections.paris.fr/en

We’re nearing the end of the open internet:

​At some point in the next decade, the Chinese government, with the support of Russia and other authoritarian regimes, will move forward with plans to establish a separate root system for their share of the internet. When the split happens, we will mark it as the end of the global internet era. When the history of that event is written, we will identify a series of seminal events in 2019 that were harbingers of what was to come.​

-from News Items.

https://www.cfr.org/blog/2019-beginning-end-open-internet-era


New tool for calendar scheduling: Calendly is great for not only scheduling meetings, but if you run a business that requires your customers to make appointments, you can embed it on your site, take payments for meetings via PayPal and automatically create online meeting links.

https://calendly.com/


Having the right materials at the right time is important: Rainy days are no match against the well-prepared art project.


What Will Happen In The 2020s: A short but sweet set of predications about the next decade.


What I was grateful for last week:

  • The feeling at end of the day after a good days work. The good type of empty.
  • The brief bit of sunshine makes all the difference on a afternoon run. It changes everything.
  • The sunrise on a weekend morning.

Lastly, check out what we’re up to now.