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Philosophy Tuesday

October 22, 2019

“Why should I ever feel or be beholden to a view or a decision that was made by me in the past, given it was made by someone who literally knows less than I do now?

— Hank Green (Paraphrase)

This is a great quote, and a great continuation of the post from last week on being wrong.  For one, it provides another point of liberation when it comes to altering what we do in the world.

For two, and even more importantly, it provides a huge opportunity into defining who we are.  Because who we are – these identities we wear and present to the world – they are of our own creation.  They are the story we crafted and now live inside of.  They are born of decisions, often under duress, and based upon our knowledge and the breadth (or lack thereof) of experience in that moment when we were forced to make that decision.

We decide, we set our view, and we proceed into life that way.

But they are, and always remain, just decisions we made.  Inflection points.  And we can re-inflect at any time.  We can re-examine the decisions we made about ourselves, about others, and about the world, and in the light of day, today, this day, with all we have learned since then and all we have experienced since then, set aside what we decided and instead choose.

Again, it’s not that the decision back then was wrong.  Or even bad, per se.  It’s just the decision we made.  At that time.  With what we had and what we knew.

We’re not stuck with it, nor beholden to it.  We get to choose a new we.  And we get to choose that which brings us and those around us more freedom, life, love, self-expression, and peace of mind.

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Architecture Monday

October 21, 2019

From last week’s post we’re going to walk just a few steps to the project next door, and BIG’s next apartment building.  With one successful project under their belt, the (same) developer was willing to loosen the reins a bit.  So, naturally, they built a mountain.

Named just that, the idea was to tweak the usual concept of parking below/apartments above by skewing the whole thing into a giant slope, and where this slope is made up of overlapping units.  Never thicker than one overlap, this arrangement allows each unit to be a balcony garden for the unit one level up.  In other words, starting at ground level, each unit has its own yard as the building slides upward towards the sky.  With each yard ringed by planters, it’s become a lush green hillside.

Just as nice, both the parking underneath and the pathways to the apartments are not rough afterthoughts.  The sides of the building are covered in giant metal scrims that follow the apartment’s stacking and onto which are etched a giant photo of a mountain.  Access to the apartments themselves are from the back of the units in a series of glazed hallways that open to the equally angled parking ramps, each hallway a unique beacon of colour.  (Which is also visible from the exterior and very impressive at night!)  Most niftily, since a regular elevator wouldn’t work, an angular funicular-like car connects the levels together.

Plus, as a bonus, you get this mural as you enter the garage!

Another great project idea, executed with aplomb.  It takes the programmatic requirements (a parking garage, a stack of apartments) and re-mixes them in a way that makes each one better and allows for that unique thing:  the spacious gardens.  I also appreciate how, despite it could be considered a “Phase 2” of apartments for the same developer on a site right adjacent the first, it became its own thing, providing variety for both the inhabitants and the cityscape.  Sweet indeed.

Mountain Dwellings by BIG Architects.

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Wonder Wednesday

October 16, 2019

a serene escape

in a space away from away

to contemplate the silence

and recapture our spirit

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Philosophy Tuesday

October 15, 2019

I really dislike being wrong.

In that, of course, I know I’m not alone.  I doubt there’d be many who’d say being wrong is an altogether pleasant feeling.  And that’s just by itself, before adding all the social angles and ramifications that we so (un)helpfully throw into to the mix.

Add to this that the opposite, being right, comes with such an amazing rush.  What a charged and great feeling it is!  We looooooove being right.  And we’ll do all sorts of things to be right.  Oh do we ever.  We’ll sell out, or sell others out, contort ourselves and situations into pretzels, start fights, you name it.  Being right is the best, and we’re ruthless in is pursuit.

Which, I’m sure you can see, can be a rather big problem.  Because we become so committed to being right that we all to easily, accidentally, screw ourselves (and those around us) over… just so we can be right.

So tonight, I want to propose something that will reduce instances of that thing we so despise, being wrong:

“If I’ve been doing something for a while, and I learn that what I’ve been doing isn’t as good or benign as I thought it was, I am not WRONG unless and until I choose not to change what I am doing.”

“I could could say, ‘oops, I was wrong’, but I am not capital-W wrong unless I choose to cling to my actions and barrel on ahead.”

That’s it!  We get to shift when we feel wrong.  For it is impossible to know everything, and it is impossible to know what we as individuals and as a species will learn in the future.  And sometimes, often even, we will learn things that shock us.  “Crap, I’ve been the bad guy!”  But not really… the villain arises only when they knowingly do, or continue to do, bad.  With this, we gain a moment where we needn’t defend ourselves to prove we’re right and avoid being and looking bad.

To put it all another way:  let’s not get our knickers all in a twist about it!  “Nuts, I didn’t know!  Crap… OK, what’s next?”

And with that we alter course, apologize and make amends if necessary, and move ourselves and the needle in the right direction.

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Architecture Monday

October 14, 2019

One of BIG’s first major projects was an apartment building (the story of how they got the commission is one of amazing gall and almost amusing slyness) in a newly emerging area within Copenhagen.  As it was their first project, the developer was not willing to give them too much leeway in what they designed.  “Keep it somewhat in the box” is essentially what he told them.  So they did… though they twisted the heck out of that box.

Starting with a basic 2-bar design for two apartment buildings, they proceeded to poke and prod the forms to create a zig-zag pattern, creating a park nestled within the v-shape of one and a shared courtyard between the two.  And while the second building is nice in its own right, it’s that building facing the park that everyone remembers, for its balconies.  It’s crazy, amazing, assemblage of balconies.

With their distinct shape and positioning, it’s an amazing sight to behold, filled with intricacies of form, space, and light.  What’s even better and what I really love is how much the residents have taken the expressiveness of the form and used it as a launching point, adding holiday lights, artwork, and more.  Even the apartments themselves become something fun by bathing the inside with coloured light.  We visited the building as the sun was setting and the burst of colour and play of lights through the shadowed forms of those triangular balconies was very cool to experience.

Alas we didn’t get to go inside (it is, after all, housing).  But from photos on the ‘net, the apartments themselves also seem awesome, with dozens upon dozens of unique configurations all interlocking around each other to create something way more than your typical cookie-cutter stacking.  Filled with light, they feel fresh and invigorating, with lots of little areas of interest and fun.

Great work, showing wonderful and playful design that fit within the caution of a housing developer.  And definitively indicatory of the start of a storied practice for BIG.

VM Houses by BIG Architects

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Wasa that doing there?

October 13, 2019

Wasa Bread is great.  Totally delicious.  So I was excited to find this in the store:

Hooray!  Must try.  And I did, and they are exquisitely good.  Happy dance time!

But… then there’s this:

Four.  Wrapped.  Bags.  Inside.  An excess.  Of plastic.  For crackers.

Still delicious.  But not keen at all on the packaging…

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Gaming Thursday

October 10, 2019

Heroforge now has centaur models!  Rejoice!

As someone who has long enjoyed playing centaurs (and other taurs!) in D&D, this is exciting news for me.  And if you’re not familiar with Heroforge, well, consider this doubly great news, for now you’ve learned about a site that you can make and order customized 3D printed minis for your character.  It’s as awesome as it sounds.

And hey, if you like centaurs, wemics, and other taurs (or even yuan ti) as much as I do, I’ve written a supplement for D&D 5e so you can add them into your game:

Check it out!