Gaming Thursday

The Thornwatch kickstarter is reaching its final week push, and I heartily invite a look-see!  The fine folks at Penny Arcade have slowly been creating the Thornwatch world through the years (posting short-run comics) and it’s a nifty world.  The game itself sounds intriguing, an episodic RPG where nearly everything (including damage) is handled through specialized card decks.  I kicked in almost immediately, and I really hope it hits 5k backers — that’ll unlock a “world book” of sorts, filled with the lore and background info on this world they’ve teased us with over the years.

Check it out!


Philosophy Tuesday

I was somewhat lost in thought as I looked out the hotel’s fifth floor window.  We were three that had been brought up to the room, though only two of us now remained, chatting as we waited to be led off to our individual California Supplementary Architecture Exams.  My fellow test taker was sharing about his current project and, more specifically, about the troubles he was having in getting his permit.

“Yeah,” I said, still preoccupied about the upcoming exam, “lately I’ve taken on ownership of how everything goes on a project, including how it goes with the city.”

“Oh I certainly don’t do that!” he chuckled immediately.  There was a pause.  “I guess that only ever leaves me as being a victim, doesn’t it?”

I turned from the window.  He was looking my way with an expression of both revelation and peacefulness.

“Yes.  Yes it would.”

We looked at each other for a moment, a shared understanding passing between us.

“Huh,” was all he replied, with a slight smile.

With that, he was called out to his exam, and to his future.

Architecture Monday

A bit evocative of the Sydney Opera House (albeit inspired by the trees that surround the site),  this sculptural series of shells bursts forth from a terraced green roof, or more stunningly, from a white, snow-covered roof in this Switzerland town.  White reflective snow coupled with powerful colours makes for an impressive sight in the crisp winter nights.

Inside, the light scoops brings plenty of natural light into the pools and spa areas.  There’s an abundance on theatricality and fancy moments, but that’s fitting of a spa attached to a luxury hotel (the Tschuggen Grand).   Through the use of plenty of stone and warm wood, the building often has the feeling of a cozy little cave, a secret and secluded spot to hang out, from where you can gaze upward to the sky.  Fortunately, that’s all you can see from those shells, for they face the less inspiring facade of the hotel itself.

conceptual sketch by architect Mario Botta
conceptual sketch by architect Mario Botta

To which this is a wonderful  addition.  The spa gains light and can look out and upward onto something rather than being blocked by the hotel in front of it.  Conversely, those in the rooms facing away from the views into the valley floor now get a sculptural folly to gaze upon along with the trees.

And while I don’t know exactly where the photo below is vis-à-vis the building, it’s darn enthralling and makes me want to find out!


Gaming Sunday: First Squad

Here’s a shot of a squad of Hunters from that honkin’ pile of sprues from the Heavy Gear kickstarter…


It’s been ages since I’ve done any work with minis, and my first go at plastic minis.  Lots of (re)learning to do!  Overall so far I’m pleased with how the modelling turned out and how they’ve been going together.  I’ve needed to use a few drill bits and some judicious filing to get things to look and fit more nicely together, but nothing outrageous.  They are small though; I bought a 2x+ wearable magnifier which makes things much easier.

90+ minis still to go…

Saturday Hilarity

I received this flyer in the mail… and spent a good five minutes laughing.  And still laugh whenever I look at it:


When Photoshopping goes horribly awry.  And then gets sent out to thousands of households.

Perfect timing too, I just taught a class last week on inserting people into photographs.  Brought this yesterday to class to show as an example… Hehe!

Philosophy Tuesday

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

This post marks two years worth* of Philosophy Tuesday posts.   At the risk of sounding cliché, wow.   I’ve learned a lot writing these, week after week after week.  More than learned, I’ve discovered so much – about myself, about others, and moreover about who we all are as human beings.  I get so much joy when, in the middle of writing a post, I see something new about and for myself.  New windows, new insights, all new openings for transformation.

I’ve enjoyed the conversations that these posts spawn.  I’ve enjoyed the struggle, as they are sometimes, in writing these posts, and the satisfaction when it’s laid clear.  Conversely I’ve enjoyed the giddiness that comes when a post effortlessly glides out of my consciousness and into my typing fingers.  I’ve enjoyed writing some of these posts as poetry, while others as essays.  And, as you may have noticed,  I’ve enjoyed the point form quite a bit as well.

I enjoy that this is an endless journey.

One of the things I’ve learned along the way, in all my reading and travels and explorations, is that it doesn’t really matter the source.  Any philosophical tradition that is highly developed, no matter its starting point, begins to talk about the same things.  They may talk about them differently, they may wrap them in different language, they may have a different conceptual framework.  But, ultimately, they are all pointing to the same place, the same fundamentals.  They have to.

Because we are all the same human beings.

The same holds with all martial arts that have been developed to a high degree.  They also end up talking about the same things – because we are all the same human body.  There are only a few ways to use our bodies to generate maximum potential.   The arts have to reflect that.  And so too do we see the same discussions and movements and body use in all manner of sports, and dance, and athleticism.  They’re all linked.  They all talk similarly.  They have to.

We are of the same body.

We are of the same human being.

We are of the same human spirit.

For my own journey, I have tried to delve into many different traditions, many different entry points, many different angles, to get the best and fullest view of who we are.  To explore what’s possible.  It’s brought me closer to myself, and more importantly, to others.  It has brought me expanded freedom, self expression, joy, and peace of mind.  It is a road leading forever towards the horizon.

And all I want to do is link hands with everyone and keep on walking.



* Insofar as this is the 104th post titled “Philosophy Tuesday.”  This isn’t exactly a two year anniversary, taking into account both weeks off and weeks with titles other than strictly “Philosophy Tuesday,” nor does it take into account weeks (or movie runs…) with additional philosophy posts… ;)

Architecture Monday

I love this project.  Ostensibly a simple little boathouse, there’s nothing mundane about it.  It’s a shed that could store boats, yes, but it has also been created as a place to gather, a place to observe, a place to contemplate.  It’s a building that is made of a riot of different materials and where nearly every face is different in some way from the one adjacent to it.  And yet, it comes together in a way to create a space that truly signs and is a joy to be in.

The expressiveness begins right away with the frames that support the walls and roof.  While the shiny white frames are new, much of the materials (including the windows) are salvaged, and the contrast between the shiny white new the old enhances the richness of the re-used materials.  The natural rocks of the site, integrated into the room to form an edge, adds further texture and grounding to the room (as well a s a place to sit near the hanging fire pit).

While not a huge building, the shiny new frames a lofty roofline that, coupled with the windows that march their way up the walls and to become part of the roof, makes the space feel alive and expansive.  Contrasting this seamless march of wood and glass, the other wall is entirely comprised of shutters inset from the roof edge that can, using a simple set of pulleys, be fully opened to a deck.  Coupled with the two doors facing the edge of the water, inside flows outside and vice versa and the space joins the quiet landscape.

Inside, the shutters are wrapped with fabric, behind which are lights to illuminating the space at night with a diffuse ethereal glow.  At night, the light escapes the long windows to become a soft lantern in the countryside.

click for project info
click for project info

Made with local materials, the boathouse will patina over time and merge ever more fully with the landscape that surrounds it.

Beautiful, beautiful work.  I can picture myself there quite easily.

A request

It is not about driving hither and fro

It is about idling the car


Or looking at your phone

For minutes

Or tens of minutes

Two hundred horses

Jumping up and down


Doing nothing

Farting continuously


Turn off your car while you sit

I promise

The car will still start when it is time to go