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Wonder Wednesday

April 1, 2020

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Philosophy Tuesday

March 31, 2020

At the yell of “Go!” we pulled the Trojan Horse beyond the gates of Troy.

Ok, natch, it wasn’t the actual Trojan horse, nor were we anywhere near Troy.  We were standing on dusty ground at Burning Man, but there was a horse, and a big one at that.  Five stories tall, made of wood and nails and paint and weighing in at some 40,000 lbs.  It was something.  And we were about to pull it.  Hundreds of us, spread out over six ropes affixed to its base, with me an orange robed figure melding within the crowd.

In my mind, I knew how this was going to go:  we would begin pulling, the horse might rock a bit, then it would begin moving, slowly at first, gradually picking up steam as we struggled and pulled with all our might against its weight and the wheels sinking into the sandy playa.  I readied myself.  The signal was given.  I gripped the rope and… Just walked.  Like nothing was there.  I looked back – had something gone wrong?  Nope.  The horse was following us, as easily as a toy being pulled on a string.  What?

Turns out when you have hundreds of people, the load divides out to be individually a pretty small number.  As soon as we pulled the horse leapt forward with no hesitation and no ramp up in speed.  We were generating thousands upon thousands of pounds of force.  Collectively, we were mighty.

Ain’t that the truth?  In that moment it certainly became viscerally clear for me in a way that it hadn’t been before.  Our greatest strength as a species is our capacity for collaboration.  When we (whether willingly or unwittingly) align our actions, we produce immense results.

Again, ain’t that the truth?  We can see it all around us.  In so many ways.  And inside of that, the phrase and the thought of “what I do doesn’t matter or won’t make a difference” immediately loses its air of veracity.  Because it’s almost never just a single “I” that’s acting there.  It is countless “I”s acting in inadvertent unison, producing an equally inadvertently outsized result.  And this goes for many things, be it voting, or stewardship, or ‘norms’, or how we respond to challenges and adversities, and on and on all the way down to include how we treat each other when we go to the store.

“It’s just me” is often an illusion.  It’s a thousand me’s, a thousand us’, a collective of “I”s that together, through action or inaction can wreck and cause harm, but with a little intention and engagement can also move mountains.

(And giant horses too.)

photo source by Scott London

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Architecture Monday

March 30, 2020

Huh, now this is something different!  Once a parking lot now a co-working space… where each office is its own curvy pod, a bright yellow lily pads floating in a sea of 6000 plants, looking all like some futuristic botanical garden.

That’s pretty darn cool.  Funky little offices with 360 degree windows looking out to the jungle, intertwined and connected with pathways and bench areas should the desire to work among the trees really take you.

Bonus feature:  Adaptive reuse of the existing onsite building by Paul Williams, turned into conferencing, gathering, and eating spaces to support the coworking pods.

What a nifty project and a nice twist on what might otherwise be a sea of boxes crammed together behind nondescript walls.

Second Home Hollywood Office by Selgascano

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Gaming Thursday: SW Part 1

March 26, 2020

Alright, here we go!  Time to take the foundation laid out in the Aurora RPG Engine and expand it into the first complete ruleset and campaign setting.  Starting with… Star Wars. Read the rest of this entry »

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Wonder Wednesday

March 25, 2020

When you can’t go to the symphony… And the symphony can’t come to you… And the symphony can’t even get together… the music still can bring us all together.

Here’s the Rotterdam Philharmonic playing Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, playing their respective parts from home:

And, not to be outdone, here is the Toronto Symphony Orchestra doing the same, with Copland’s Appalachian Spring:

And here is Toronto opera singer Teiya Kashara belting out operatic amazingness from her balcony near the shore:

Thank you everyone for all the beauty you create and share with the world.

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Philosophy Tuesday

March 24, 2020

Another reason to practice being present is that if you’re not, you’re going to miss shit.  Shit that you do.  Moreover, shit you say you don’t do.  That you don’t want to do.  That you’re immune to doing.  That doesn’t represent who you are.  And yet, there you are, doing just that or those things.

And wow then are you ever wide open to some rather hypocritical shit.*

If you say you are committed to learning and mindfulness and philosophy and being a great human being, and yet you don’t practice it, yet you do not want to hear about it when you’re not, yet you are not even willing to be present to when you are not being present, then you are, quite simply, lying.

 

* And I, for the record, am completely fascinated by our human capacity for hypocrisy.  And I’m not being facetious here… I am genuinely fascinated that we can oh so easily flop around and speak out of both sides without even noticing it.  And that’s the kicker; we can so easily, readily, unintentionally, and automatically do it and that we are pretty much always completely oblivious to the fact that we have even done it.

We can and will and do proclaim and defend and argue and run up the ramparts about something on the one hand and then – sometimes even almost immediately – do the same for something that is completely the opposite.  And as above, this is even for things we say and vehemently assert that we hold fundamental to our core – beliefs, morals, theories, history, stories, ‘truths’, actions – they are all immensely and readably fungible at a moment’s notice.

Last week’s post is a prime way this can happen, but so too is this very much tied into our identities as well as various other things.  They all engage our rationalizing engines such that what we – unless we develop our mindfulness and bring being present to bear – say and do shit that in the moment feels ancient and pure and rock solid yet is anything but, born of the moment and as nebulous as vapour.  And in those moments, we undermine our authenticity, our integrity, our morality, our ideals, and our humanity.

As I said, I am fascinated by this capacity of ours… and inspired for when we, through mindfulness and being present and self-cultivation, interrupt it and instead create who we want to be, and live by our authentic, central, selves.

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Architecture Monday

March 23, 2020

Oh I do so like it when a building makes us do a double take and go, “wait, what?”  Like making brick into a sinuous wave that melts away from a heavy volume that now perches precariously…

And that’s just what this building does.  Even better is that the curvy bricks become a staircase, giving access to the office that sits within the more traditional boxy form balanced above, which in turn opens to the sky with a concealed rooftop garden.  Below, a retail space slips under the artificial hill, the articulated brick expressing itself as the ceiling cascades down through a series of carefully plastered waves.

Very neat.  While the brief was something so commonplace (and time tested as being a good urban model): multi-use building of office atop retail, the result is anything but commonplace.  It is a playful addition to the city’s fabric, a building that is both a delight to the eye and, especially for the tenants of the office, a delight to access every morning.

The Termeh Office Commercial Building by  Farshad Mehdizadeh Architects