Archive for May, 2018

h1

Wonder Wednesday

May 30, 2018

My first trip to a Disney resort came in 1988, when we visited Walt Disney World.  Back then, only the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT were in operation, and while I enjoyed the heck out of them both, the future world section of EPCOT was my favourite.  All the science and sci-fi and future focused attractions captivated me.  One pavilion though was a bit different, for it traveled someplace quite different… it was a Journey Into Imagination.

That was some 30 odd years ago.  Of the ride itself I remembered only little bits and pieces, including, most importantly, Figment, the little imagination dragon.

I have not thought about, sought out, viewed, or just about anything of the ride since then.

And yet… just the other day when I stumbled upon the song below…

… it was instantly recognizable, familiar, and downright comfortable.  I felt giddy and couldn’t help but smile right away.

Unbeknownst to me, something from so long ago still held such a sweet spot in my heart.

The song got stuck in my head real fast, and I didn’t mind that one bit.

 

* Then again, I revel and value imagination so much, perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised it holds such a spot in my heart…

** Of course, once I saw this I did do the deep dive online.  And there’s a bit of a sad ending to this all.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but my trip came when the park was only 5 years old; as such, I saw many of what now can be termed “classic” versions of the rides.  With Disney’s financial woes around the turn of the century, and with their reliance on sponsorship, the ride ended up getting a “refresh” that was anything but.  Shortened, done on the cheap, and jettisoning both Figment and the song, while also closing the various other parts of the building including the original ImageWorks, the new ride was quite poor.  So poor and roundly disliked that the new version was itself re-done just a couple of years later.  Re-introducing Figment and upping the game somewhat, it’s still shorter and seemingly not as well made nor as magical as the original.

But, thanks to the internet, we can re-live it once more, even if only through old tape-bound handicam footage!

And here’s another video that pulls the narration and the song directly from that amazing opening scene (which itself is a wonder – it’s a carousel that the cars face as it goes around, allowing for the long time on the one scene while still letting the cars move) from the original ride!

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

May 29, 2018

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been musing on a companion to the phrase/idea/distinction of “Over and Next” that Norman Lear expressed back here in this post* : “Notice and Next.”

As in, Notice what’s so, or notice what was so, and notice what’s there for you about it… and then look towards what’s Next.

“Oh, hey, I felt too embarrassed to talk about that thing back there…”

“Well, things are right now not as I’d like them to be.”

“Ugh, I did that thing again.”

“That was glorious.  Bet that was the best anyone’s ever seen.”

That’s the Notice.  And Notice is just that, a Notice.  A “hmmm” sort of moment, a taking stock that remains in that realm, and doesn’t become a further well of story spinning and interpretation and decision sentencing.  It’s a call to avoid going down the rabbit hole that these thoughts can often lead us.

In many ways, it’s a reminder to, not take ourselves so gosh darn seriously.

And then, what’s Next?

“Next time, I can and will talk about that.”

“I will institute a plan with my friend to hold me accountable to get this cleaned up.”

“I will do the notepad exercise to see what’s there, and create something new.”

“I had fun.  I will play that game again in the same spirit of fun.”

It isn’t, to be clear, that the Next is just waiting for the situation to come up again.  The Next includes inquiry and action and intention and more.  But at the same time, it is also totally about Next time.  And it might be as simple as “huh, ok, next time I’ll be this way instead.”

I think the two phrases also work great coupled together:  Notice, Over, and Next.  Notice, remember/recognize it’s Over, and look towards what’s Next – while also remembering the hammock in the middle that Norman labelled as living in the moment.  And, be in that hammock when Next arrives.

Simple and succinct, and thus far has proven to be quite empowering for me to try on, a way out of reflex self-recrimination, a release from significance, and an invitation to breathe, to practice, and to play.

 

* Itself a good thing to go back and (re)read anew, and get re-grounded in the idea.

h1

Architecture Monday

May 28, 2018

So, you want to build housing in an already developed urban area while keeping it affordable and avoid mass demolition and relocation.  Cool.  In that case, you can adaptive reuse, and/or build in the interstitial spaces, those little lots and underused and awkward side yards and alleyways.  In the case of Starter Home* 1 (the * is part of the name, not a footnote…), that’s exactly what OJT did.  Squeezed into a narrow lot in New Orleans, the home is pretty much what it says on the tin, a nice house for those just starting out.

Befitting the nature of the project, the constraints and surroundings of the site informed the design.  And while there are a few choices I’m not fond of, it is a nicely done solution.  The front face of the house starts low, to maintain the scale with its neighbors, before rising towards the rear, up to the maximum height allowed by code.  In addition, the front gutter and first of the sawtooth roof ridges closely align with the roofline of one of the ones next door, a subtle but harmonizing move that further ties the home to the community.

Inside, we have a two and a half level home, sporting an airy loft near the back.  I especially like the interval between the house and the cleaned muscular brick of its neighbor, as the space between acts both a lightwell and, with its gapless wood deck kissing the wall, a nice textured backdrop. The open plan and plethora of windows keeps the house feeling big and grand, ready to accommodate multitudes.  And if you want to curl up in a cozy spot, that loft’s got you covered.

It’s always great when a research project gets built to really test things out.  This one came out quite fine.

3106 St Thomas by OJT.

h1

Impressions of an Electric Car Driver

May 24, 2018

When I posted my little musical interlude a couple of months ago, it wasn’t just a random whim – I’d received my invite to configure my Tesla Model 3.  A few weeks later, I got the call to come and pick it up.  It’s the only thing I ever stood in line for to pre-order, plunking money down in a sort of ultra-Kickstarter production wait deal.  And thus far, it’s been totally worth it. Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

Wonder Wednesday

May 23, 2018

A little fairy tale vision for us all today…

Dreamy photo by Jaka Ivančič

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

May 22, 2018

You absolutely cannot un-saw a tree. 

“To share something is to risk losing it, especially in a world where sharing occurs at tremendous scale and where everyone seems to want to be noticed, even if only for cutting down a beloved tree. If you’d never photographed the Broccoli Tree, it might still be there for you to see on your commute every day. It might still provide shade to the real people who live with you on the southern bank of that lake. But, then again, the far away people who loved your pictures of the Broccoli Tree were real, too. They took shelter under its canopy as well, even if only virtually. And, the truth is, if we hoard and hide what we love, we can still lose it. Only then, we’re alone in the loss. You can’t un-saw a tree, but you can’t un-see one either. The Broccoli Tree is gone, but it’s beauty survives.”

John Green

h1

Architecture Monday

May 21, 2018

Just saw that Hiroshi Sambuichi won the 2018 “Daylight Award.”  Ok, somewhat odd sounding award to win, natch, but his work is a beaut and does indeed do some lovely — and quite stunning — things with light and views.  I spoke of his building that I visited on Naoshima Island here, indeed making note of the qualities of light that were present.

Every picture above makes me want to visit and explore each of the buildings in detail.  The angled frames crossing a path with light at the end of a dark corridor?  What is it?  Where does it lead?  I can feel the experience of the space just from the photo.  Or feel the serenity of the setting sun, reflecting off the perfectly smooth pool of water at the edge of the forever-going overhang that frames a riveting horizontal slice of the world.  Or that cistern!  The old and worn and rugged brick in contrast with the smooth and vibrant wood, punctuated by the flash of green, the moss that brings life in the shafts of light, heightened even further by the glass block that catches and makes physical the rays of sun.  Sign.  Me.  Up!

Wonderful work.  All noted for future travels.

Hiroshi Sambuichi, laureate of the 2018 The Daylight Award.