Archive for June, 2018

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Wonder Wednesday

June 27, 2018

by Amir Zand

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Philosophy Tuesday

June 26, 2018

“It never even occurred to me to take Gorkon at his word.”

Captain Kirk

I’ve really been digging that expression, “it never even occurred to me,” of late.  There’s lots of insight packed behind it’s familiarity.  It is such an acute, apt, and accurate description of how our mind and, more importantly, our experience works inside of our worlds and worldviews.

It’s not “I couldn’t figure it out,” or “I didn’t choose to do that,” or “I missed it,” or anything similar… it is, literally, “This did not exist for me in any way, shape, or form, within my reality.”

It just doesn’t come up.  And so in the same way that it doesn’t even occur to us to step off a ledge over a gorge to walk to the other side (because we live in a world where gravity exists and ow), so too do we not attempt, or even think of, muse about, or have an inkling to do things that do not exist outside of [our; personal] reality.  Nothing hits our consciousness, nor do we take any unconscious decision/action in that vein.

It’s as though it completely doesn’t exist in the entire universe.

It could be about taking someone at their word, like Kirk.  Or a multitude of other things.  Asking a particular question. Trying something new.  Pursuing an opportunity we’d be fulfilled with.  Approaching someone to talk to them.  Speaking to our kids/friends/lovers/parents/boss/clients/etc in certain more productive, ways.  Trying out for a team.  Ending something that is detrimental to us.  Wearing certain clothes.  Letting someone else “win”.  Starting a hobby.

From the myriad of possibilities out there we get narrowed down to a paltry few that may hit our consciousness.  Like touching (or more aptly no longer touching) the hot stove, we live completely inside of that we see to be real.

This is where mindfulness can be such a boon, to delve into our stories and worldviews and open them up.  To create a larger sandbox to play inside of, to give ourselves freedom.  To let those possibilities and options show up.

And, next time, we get to choose.   Really choose.  Granting us power, self-expression, and a myriad of pathways towards the relatedness, peacefulness, creativity, and the fulfillment we all want.

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Architecture Monday

June 25, 2018

The first word that comes to mind in seeing this house is “lantern.”  Maybe because of the warm glow amongst the dramatic skies of northern Nova Scotia, but also because of its vertically stretched proportions making it appears it has been set, gingerly, down on the land.  It catches the eye and marks a place without needing to invade or dominate the landscape.

Surrounded by woods and with views of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, the board pattern that adorns its face matches the trees that encompass it in both colour and thinness.  I love the updated interpretation of the traditional east-Canadian windbreak, rendered in heavy, rusting, steel that marries well with the marbled patina of the wood slats.

Inside, all that height is put to good use, with walls and a mezzanine becoming like freestanding objects within the lantern.  The narrow strips of window and skylights casting a playful air throughout the space, balancing the large windows that let the view flow out towards the water on the other.

Well proportioned, embracing vernacular architecture, and ensuring a light touch that nonetheless creates something special and a joy to be in.  My biggest add or alternate would have been to add a hearth.  Overall, a wonderful cabin retreat.

Rabbit Snare Gorge by Omar Gandhi Architect and Design Base 8

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Gaming Thursday: Mouse Guard Flowchart

June 21, 2018

In the same vein as last week’s Star Trek Adventures, here is a flowchart/reference sheet/cheat sheet for the Mouse Guard RPG.  Given the unique way Mouse Guard works, there’s a lot that rides on each test, as there are so few of them.  Hence each test is rather involved.  Couple that with a rulebook that suffers from some organizational issues (such as having various aspects of the test procedure scattered throughout), this flowchart proved invaluable at our table.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1peik86Gj454fIgQEBbKy7w5zvd9VoHYc

In the end, once we got a handle on how it works, we ended up loving Mouse Guard (see my end-of-game reflection here).  We are stoked to play again, so our mouse adventures will continue!  If I update the sheet I’ll be sure to repost it.  And if you see anything that I erred on, please let me know and I’ll wrangle it right.

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Wonder Wednesday

June 20, 2018

Desert Breath by Danae Stratou, Alexandra Stratou, and Stella Constantinides.

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Philosophy Tuesday

June 19, 2018

“Travel is a good thing.  You learn things when you travel, when you meet people out of your comfort zone from other cultures, you cannot help but learn and feel a certain [kinship], you see what you have in common with people around the world… that feels good.  And it can’t be anything but good for the world the more we meet each other and move around.”

— Anthony Bourdain

Travelling (whether literally or just figuratively) outside of our comfort zones is rarely, well, comfortable.

Sometimes it can be thoroughly unpleasant.

Sometimes, though, it is also downright necessary.

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Architecture Monday

June 18, 2018

Constraints can be fun, for they remove the paralysis of the blank slate, and call forth creativity and invention.  This project certainly had both in spades; for one, it’s a renovation (and perhaps adaptive reuse?) of a lovely and quirky stone building in an Italian hillside town, and for two, it’s absolutely tiny.  And it’s an apartment.

 

Here’s what the existing conditions brought:  a lofty space made of richly textured walls that constrict the further in you go thanks to walls not aligning.  It also brought a floor level that was several steps below the equally small entry yard.  Into that context, the renovation begins with an elevated deck and fire pit in the entry space, coupled with extended brick and rusted steel walls to create a private courtyard.

Inside, though, is a tonne of very cool additions and installations.  Most noticeably is the barrel vault that creates the second floor.  Much more than a flat ceiling would be, it maintains a sense of height (in what is not exactly a very high room) while also splitting the ground floor into different zones without walls or encroaching on the limited floor space.  Adding to this feel are the bits of built-in furniture and cabinets, especially the sofa/mantlepiece/fireplace that extends to accentuate the angular shape of the room.

Up the spiral staircase, a thickened closet becomes a restroom and shower, while on the opposite, angled, wall, the headboard grows in thickness to follow the closet and create depth between itself and the angled wall.  Nicest of all is the freestanding sink and mirror, a statuesque object next to the window (itself with a sweet thick steel plate sill) overlooking the mountains beyond.

My only quibble would be with the exposed wiring, not for its exposedness, but for its seeming lack of care.  In a space where there is a lot of play between the beautiful existing stone and the slickly crafted additions, the wiring occupies an awkward middle ground.

A very nicely done project, fully using the great character of the oddly shaped existing space and adding just what’s needed to make a beautiful abode.

Effegi House by Archiplan