Philosophy Tuesday

This is a philosophical statement. It is intended to spark thinking and examining.

That we call philosophical traditions “practices” is not, I surmise, an accident.   Moreover, I would go further and say that it is a beauty that we do call it that.

Because with a practice, there is no end point.

In the same way we call the plying of medicine, law, architecture, etc, all practices: “She practices law.” In the same way my kung fu practice is a practice. In the same way even top performing athletes and musicians and actors and actresses all do tonnes of practice. Every day.

There is no having “gotten there” and “done”.

There is no idea of perfection or knowing it all.

There are stumbles and oopses and missed shots along the way. And there is getting back up and doing the work and going at it again.

There are coaches along the way to help guide us and help us find what we’re looking for.

And above all, simply and grounded…

There is just the everyday, ongoing, on the court, in the moment, ever increasing game to achieve greatly.


There is just the everyday, ongoing, off the court, reflective, ever increasing game to grow and learn greatly.


Architecture Monday

If you want to find a wonderfully designed small home, Japan is a great place to begin your search. There are countless delightfully and well designed small homes, tucking into weirdly shaped lots, narrow slots between adjacent buildings, or rising tall whilst sitting on a narrow footprint. They’re serene and minimal affairs by design, and they also almost always have an amazing sense of space, proportion, and offer liveliness and liveability that far exceeds their small sizes. And the Layer House by Hiroaki Ohtani is no exception.

The layer concept is brilliant. Both literally and figuratively. There are few traditional walls here – only alternating bands of concrete and glazing, each scant inches thick. The effect is sublimely luminous and dazzling, filling the home with a glow that just suffuses ever corner.   Skylights at the top level complete the effect. The concrete bands also serve double duty, whether along the perimeter or in the central core, supporting planks that jut out to be stairs, tables, chairs, and more.   These cantilevered surfaces further enhance the openness of the space, allowing the house to expand to its full 850ish square feet. Organized vertically, the house makes full use of its scant 9 foot width, rising all the way to a roof deck. Rich wood surfaces contrast with the concrete, and a quiet subterranean room contrasts with the vibrant kitchen near the top.

It is an exercise in rigour, deft and subtle and skillful proportioning and design, and a testament to creativity and showing that small can more than certainly be awesome.

It’s magical.


“I don’t vote because my vote doesn’t matter.”

It seems like that sometimes, doesn’t it?

But you know what? There are some powerful influences that are trying very hard to create that feeling.

They like it when you don’t vote. They know how to play the game as it is, the game where few people vote. They can control that. They get to win every time.

And so they do all they can to keep the feeling that the everyday person’s vote doesn’t really make any difference.

But here’s the thing.

They wouldn’t know how to deal with a lot of voters.

Sure, one of these current parties will still win. And they may not be all we want them to be.*

But when the voices have grown loud, they will listen.

And through that voice, we can have them turn to be who we want them to be.

I’ve seen it in California, where well heeled and well backed and very moneyed campaigns and referenda have fallen to the power of the pencil.

If you want to scare the living crap out of those in power, there’s one thing to do. Go to the polls in droves, and vote.

If you are a young voter, maybe a first time voter, I (and Rick Mercer!) invite you especially to vote.

It may seem intimidating, but the process of voting is very easy, secure, and empowering.

You will want to be informed, and there is a bit of a ramp-up to get familiar with the parties and the candidates, and to learn about what policies they have implemented, and they are proposing. And some time to think about what effects those policies have.

But it isn’t as long or daunting as those who enjoy their control make it out to be.

Even this late in the campaign, it’s still very doable.

That you’ll examine what they’re doing, and then speak up about it, is what keeps the powers that be up at night.

So let’s claim our voice.


* – Sure, sometimes it can feel like voting for the lesser of three evils, yet, remember that if you don’t vote, and evil wins, then that means you essentially voted for evil.

Philosophy Tuesday

This is a philosophical statement. It is intended to spark thinking and examining.

There is a promise I give to people.

I say, “I promise that I will never complete you.”

It seems odd, doesn’t it, in our current parlance of what relationships are all supposed to be about?

It might even seem cold, callous, or selfish.

But there’s a second line to the promise.

Which is, “Because I promise to never relate to you as anything less than already whole and complete.”

And from that state of centeredness, we begin.

Being.  Interacting.  Dealing with.  Creating.  Growing.  Loving.

Architecture Monday

That section above is a section through the Néstor Kirchner Cultural Centre, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and that great spatial complexity is the result of its transformation from a Post Office and civil offices to a full on public realm complete with multiple performance spaces, multi-purpose halls, museums and displays, and amenities for 10,000 people who stream to it daily.

It’s a fabulous adaptive reuse, retaining all its original ornateness and extensive detail and ornamentation, while inserting decidedly sculptural elements to properly house the new functions. From the blue whale to the crazy huge cubist lantern that hangs above it (that is really a series of exhibition halls), that’s gotta be great to travel through columned halls and stained glass ceilings to emerge into the huge void/courtyard and be brought face to face with the belly of the whale. I also really dig the the creation of the multifunction space atop the entry tower, replacing the mansard roof panels with glass that not only affords an excellent view and experience to those within, but glows like a lantern at night to those without.

This NPR story has some great photos in a slideshow about halfway down the story that show that great mixing of the existing and the new.  A splendid job of bringing new life to something already in place, bringing out its qualities in new ways, and finding a way to keep the existing excellence active and engaged in the city.