Philosophy Tuesday

It was just one of those days where I woke up being annoyed.

I didn’t know why, or about what, yet I was.  Grrrr.  Wrong side of the bed and all that.*  Just farking annoyed.

But it was a Saturday, and I wasn’t going to waste it or have it be ruined by being annoyed!  So I didn’t let myself be.  I ignored it.  I pushed it aside.  I resisted it.  When it welled up and I got growly, I growled it back down.

Soon after dinner, though, it was getting old.  A whole day of this!  What the heck?  So I swore and told myself, “Fine, you want to be annoyed?  Then go ahead, be annoyed!”

And in that moment, the annoyance completely, utterly, lifted and disappeared.

Then I got really upset!  “Come on … I’m finally ready to be annoyed and now I can’t be?  Gah!”

With the annoyance gone, though, that passed pretty quickly and I could only laugh.  I was so odd!  And as I sat in that oddness I got something for myself, that whole thing was a great example of the adage:

“Resistance equals persistence.“

I’d spent the whole day resisting the annoyance – I don’t want to be, it shouldn’t be, this is stupid, there’s no reason for it, not gonna let it get to me, etc. etc…  Yet to do that I had to keep creating the annoyance in order to have something to resist against.**

But when I listened to it, got present to it (in a mindfulness way), and let it be for what it was (I’m feeling annoyed) and what it wasn’t (everything else), then it disappeared.  Like I’d flipped a switch.  Being heard and known, it ceased to be.

And I had a most lovely evening after that.

 

* Though, at the time, I was living in a place where there was really only one way to get out of my bed, so…

**And it’s good to note too that I also didn’t just succumb or surrender to it.  That’s not the same as being present to it.

Architecture Monday

Seeking out tiny lot homes in Japan is always a lot of fun, they’re often amazing expressions of creativity and ingenuity, fitting lots of function and great feels into a small form.  This particular example is nestled on a small triangular lot that borders a river.

As is often the case with these types of narrow houses, this one uses the vertical direction to its best advantage, while also playing with the angular nature of the triangular lot to let the second and main floor open and expand in three dimensions, even creating enough room for a loft.  The main room sports a pair of large bay windows, one of which opens to a small balcony facing the river.  Despite (and in some ways enhanced by) the small size, each room has its own feel, and all abound with light.

Very neat.  Constraint can be a great impetus for design, and this is a mighty fine example of that, an exciting series of rooms that make the most of the boundaries.

The Riverside House by Mizuishi Architects Atelier

Wonder Wednesday

Ohhh yes, more Perseverance! Starting with these amazing videos of the landing, taken from the descent ship, sky crane, and the rover itself:

And then this 360 degree panorama of the Martian landscape that Perseverance finds itself in:

And to cap it off, this wonderful little bit… turns out the descent chute had a hidden message in it!

Which has already been decoded by internet sleuths (it was in binary):

“Dare Mighty Things.”  The motto of the JPL, and boy, they dared and did a great thing indeed.

 

Philosophy Tuesday

When told by a violinist that a difficult passage in the concerto was virtually unplayable, Stravinsky is supposed to have said: “I don’t want the sound of someone playing this passage, I want the sound of someone trying to play it!

— as recounted within The Art of Possibility


“It’s seductive to stand outside the arena and think: I’m going to go in there and kick some ass when I’m bulletproof and when I’m perfect. And that is seductive.

But the truth is, that never happens.

And even if you got as perfect as you could and as bulletproof as you could possibly muster when you got in there, that’s not what we want to see.

We want you to go in.

We want to see courage.

We want to be with you and across from you trying to play it.

And we just want, for you, for ourselves, for the people we care about, and for us all, to dare greatly.”

— Adapted from the words of Brené Brown

Architecture Monday

Richard Rogers is well known for putting the structure on display at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.  And so he did here… but there’s also something kind of insane going on.  As in the building juts out 90’ from the edge of the hillside, with nary a support beneath it.

Just look at that, what an insane cantilever!  It hovers 60’ above the ground (and a historic Roman track) at its outmost point, seeming to defy gravity (and almost daring you to walk under it).  Meant as a gallery, it’s a perfect folly, taking the ground plane and extending it until you’re floating amongst the treetops, looking out over ancient ruins and a national park below.

Wild and crazy!  But nifty, and as a capstone (he has retired) it’s a nice callback to one of his earliest and most well known buildings.

The Drawing Gallery at Chateau La Coste by Richard Rogers.

(The Chateau also has buildings by Ando, Gehry, Piano, Nouvel, and more… so clearly a spot I need to keep in mind!)

Wonder Saturday (from Thursday)

Another amazing achievement by NASA and JPL in landing the Perseverance rover on Mars!  I watched the livestream just as I did during the descent of Curiosity back in 2015, and it was just as exciting.  And doubly so to see ‘familiar faces’ in the control room who also worked on Curiosity.  Also fun to note the differences several years of tech have made, with better telemetry and images coming in much sooner after touchdown.

And as if that wasn’t amazing enough… the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter managed to capture a picture of the descent, with the rover capsule dangling beneath its (largest ever, supersonic) parachute!

Wickedly cool all around.

Wonder Wednesday

As a bit of a rail fan, taking the Oslo to Bergen railway during my visit to Norway was a definite highlight.  We didn’t go all the way to Bergen, shunting off at Myrdal to take the even more famous Flåm railway line, one of the steepest regular rail lines in the world, dropping 866m over about 20km in length.  As you might expect, it is a visually stunning rail line, nestled in the mountains and full of gorges and rivers and waterfalls.  We traveled during the late summer and it was gorgeous, and I imagined it would be absolutely stunning to also see in the snow.

And now I know!  Here’s a cab-forward view of the line, taking the route from the bottom to the top, in full, 4k glory, filmed by one of the operators:

And if that’s not enough, her channel has a multitude of videos from all along the Oslo to Bergen line, in all seasons, including a continuous stream (but not live) to leave on in the background and ‘look out the window’ at every now and again, while chatting with fellow rail enthusiasts.  Lovely!

Philosophy Tuesday

I used to think of myself as a pretty introspective person.  An earlier website of mine even had a section on it titled Miscellaneous Debris, into which I wrote longish dissertations that were intended as introspective.

To which, of a fashion, I guess they kind of were, for they plotted out in detail that which I was witnessing externally and noticing internally.  But – and this is the key – they were decidedly limited in what they saw and, hence, limited in their actual introspection:  I could only see what I already knew to see.

I could only witness, react to, and ponder on the already known truths that comprised reality as I perceived it.  I hadn’t yet learned that key little piece of information… no, that’s not strong enough, because of course I knew it but only within that realm/domain of knowledge and thus I hadn’t yet gotten it (or groked it) in that way that allows for profound awareness of it…. and so I hadn’t yet gotten that key revelation that my view was nothing more than a view, entirely created by me, and shaped by the views I already had and the truths I already knew.

My ability to reflect was limited as I had not yet been exposed to, and taught, how to be present, nor had I been walked through the process to begin to glimpse the heart of ontology and explore the being part of human being.  And, even more so, to begin to glimpse and get present to the, quite remarkable, frameworks that made up the frameworks that supported the frameworks of those views and truths.  To reveal what I term the fundamental operating system of being human.

Without that revelation, all I could see and comment on and be so aware of (and even arrogant about) was the results of the frameworks, without ever realizing just how far down the rabbit hole could go.

It was the intensive workshops I took and, even more importantly, the coaching afterwards that allowed my perception and experience to open up and blow through into these new realms.  It was only by discovering how circular and shallow my awareness had been, and how righteous hit had been, that allowed my practice to begin.

And through that, allow me to gain a deeper understanding of what introspection really is:  the being willing to go beyond and to see the gnarly bits underneath;  to be willing to give up the automatic, already, always present to see what’s actually there; to engage in thinking instead of thoughting; and, ultimately, to give up what we already know for what’s possible.

Architecture Monday

This office project intrigues me.  Built in Paraguay, where daytime temps often hit around 40~C under intense sun, it uses the simple yet brilliant idea of shading structures to keep the actual offices (surrounded with their own heavy mass walls, which further helps keep things cool) at a reasonable temperature.  It’s like putting the building under a tree.

Letting the breezes through is just as important as the shade, and the deep open cells of the side walls along with the gap between the hanging and office roofs let the air flow through.  To minimize its structure and to allow for the rest of the building to be made from locally available and sourced material, the parasol roof uses a tension system to string itself over the building.  The natural hanging shape also allows for rain to be collected in a central pool, which in turn is circulated via pumps onto the roof to provide for evaporative cooling when a little extra escape from the heat is needed.  It will also allow for additional plants to be grown across the site, making for a veritable little oasis.

Very cool (pun semi intended).  A building that totally responds to its context in all manner of speaking, creating a building that functions well and that is a delight to behold and be in.

Nordeste Curuguaty Offices by Mínimo Común Arquitectura

(Also reminds me of this house which uses a similar shade+mass idea!)