Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Steady and methodical. That's what these maps make me think of. Sometimes, when you look at a piece of art, you can see the process laid out for you. What I see is a steady series of very precise movements. The effect is strangely calming. For me, at least. 

Karen O'Leary cuts each map by hand, and sells them on Etsy. They're beautifully done. Precise. Geometric wonders. 


Monday, April 28, 2014


You write about your life. Your daily adventures. What you eat. What you wear. Where you go. You document your thoughts and opinions. You take pictures - possibly of yourself - and you share. This assumes, of course, that whatever you're writing about is interesting and beneficial. It's also a practice known as blogging. this narcissistic? Or is it just sharing?

I couldn't tell you. To be honest, I just like putting myself on a writing schedule, which to a certain extent keeps me on a creative schedule. I also keep track of how many times I use the word "I" in a post - only I'm not sure if that really solves the problem. I guess it's just something to have in mind, a pair of mental handcuffs, so that one day you don't up and think everything you say is golden. I think it's good to take stock every once in awhile, and see where things lie. 


Friday, April 25, 2014


Image via 79 Ideas
I really like the idea of this: to just take a regular image, any image - the more boring the better - and to put it through a filter to smear away any crispness, so that in the end, there is a kind of mystery there. One which only you can solve. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Mountainside gradation
Sometimes, when you're out and about, up and down, does it ever just occur to you that - hey, this life - it's not too shabby. This sometimes occurs to me mid-sweat, when I've just plowed up some horrifically steep path, thighs burning, mouth filled with ashes, and then turned to take a look at the view. 

These pictures are from Pinnacles National Monument park. It has a nice retinue of anti-sloth activities: some nice views, clever scenery, a lake, some caves. Then you can go home and mentally congratulate yourself on a job well done.
mountainside Pinnacle National Monument lake Pinnacles National Monument

Monday, April 21, 2014


Short Road

It's a fairly common excuse to say that you're too old to try something, to bring up that line about old dogs and new tricks. Well, think again!

If you're on instagram and looking for daily bits of inspiration to follow instead of just fashion and food, here's a good one. She puts up a some interesting quotes that help kick the mind into gear. There are good quotes, and there are some really generic ones out there. She provides the first kind.

An interesting read about how to keep your mind in top shape. 

Let's say you didn't read the previous link - the one about mental work outs? Well, here's the app he mentioned - it's basically virtual flashcards you can use on your phone. The more you use the flashcards, the more you remember. Let me know if this works. Seriously.  

Right now, every website is treated the same by every internet provider (think Verizon), so each website should load up and open at the same rate no matter how popular the site (this blog or Hulu should run at the same rate). But this may not always be true. Soon, larger websites who can pay for the privilege may get priority over smaller sites, and someone else may decide whether or not websites you go to will load properly or be accessible. The FCC recently lost their case against broadband providers to enforce net neutrality principles against them, so there may be some rough going ahead. I'm just spreading the word.  

The Man Repeller is one of the most successful fashion blogs in existence...but she doesn't wear makeup. It's intriguing to a certain degree. What's more intriguing is her response when someone calls her "ugly as fuck."

Just found out about this site. This blogger found a way to heal her Postural Tachycardia Syndrome through eating a healthy plant-based diet, and now shares recipes. Speaking of making lemonade out of Tachycardia...there's also an app.

Anton Chekov on the 8 Qualities of Cultured People
Beautifully said.

Friday, April 18, 2014


"I think perfection is ugly. Somewhere in the things humans make, I want to see scars, failure, disorder, distortion."
- Yohji Yamamoto

Thursday, April 17, 2014


This is happening. It's really happening. Registration of the Jewish people in the eastern part of Ukraine under Russian control. My God. Someone please stop this. 

Click on the link above for further details.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Tiny Sydney from Filippo Rivetti on Vimeo.

This video is a pleasure for the eyes. If you need a lift for the week, have a look. It's not terribly long, but the pleasure lingers.

Monday, April 14, 2014


Sources: Left Top, Left Bottom, Center, Right Top, Right Bottom
James Spader and I are not friends.

It's a shame, really, because I always have that thought in the back of my mind - when I happen to see him - that he's an interesting person. He seems to get put into roles where he plays the person people want him to be. If I had to put labels on it, I'd call it the emotionally-jaded drifter type. Or spoiled, emotionally shallow business-superior. Or even that slightly naive clean-cut upper-crust corporate exec type person.

There seemed to be no way around it - he just looks like that guy. Which doesn't mean that he isn't, but it's no fun being pinned to a type. If I were an actor, I'd like to pretend to be someone that was far away from what I saw in the mirror, but sometimes that doesn't happen. So you hang around, and you wait.

Recently, there seems to have been a shift. I saw an ad for the show The Blacklist, and my eyes almost shot out of my head. The prettiness is gone. The hair is gone. Everything that made him the James Spader of old is...gone. By the way, I don't watch the show. I've seen one episode, and it wasn't my cup of tea. I just wanted to see the new Spader in action, and he is magnificent. Not the way a lion is magnificent, but he gets to use a whole new set of acting muscles that I had assumed had eroded and died from lack of use. He finally gets to play a mysteriously complex criminal mastermind. The kind that authorities would never be able to catch...until he wants to be caught. It's the acting equivalent to watching a lion run free in the wild. I always suspected that he could do a lot more, and this confirms my suspicions.

This brings me to my next point: aging. I've always seen aging as a process of refinement. You cut away the external layers, until you find out who you really are, at your core. I've never thought of Spader as a shallow pretty person. I've always suspected that there was something underneath that bit. It's part of what made him interesting, because at some point, he would reemerge. Except he would have shed that old self, and what would appear next was unknown.

Now here he is again, and he can't be typecast as easily. He no longer looks like Spader, and all that that entailed. You can pretty much put him anywhere. I can't say for certain, since we are clearly not friends, but it looks now like he's having a very good time. He has this knowing quality now that wasn't there before - I'm not sure if anyone else notices this - but just behind his eyes, he seems endlessly amused.

Isn't that the ideal? To just let the pressures fall away and enjoy yourself. Once you have found your core (this may take awhile) - and I think this new Spader is the core that was there all along - you can finally relax and let it flow.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Design Files
Occasionally on my daily troll, I come across a space that breaks all rules of convention. This is the Melbourne home of Joost Bakker, a man known for creating large scale public works and vertical gardens. If I could divert your eye to the chair on the ceiling? Then you notice that the ceiling is made from wood plank. Then in another room, you see the lamp dropping down. This is the best use of ceilings I have seen in a long time. You can find more pictures on Design Files

Monday, April 7, 2014


If you write, you probably read. It's one of the unspoken tenants of writing: to write, one must read. So what I'm trying to say, however indirectly, is: I read as much as possible. Whatever I can get my hands on, but from the face of this blog, it may appear that I only read non-fiction. Not true. I've been on a non-fiction kick lately, but even on kicks, I throw in a bit of fiction - there just might not be much I have to say because it's hard to talk about fiction without giving away spoilers. If anyone's reading this now, I will try not to ruin the book for you.  

Sometimes, I can read like a reader (purely for pleasure), and sometimes, I read like a writer, and the two are not the same. When I picked up The Circle, I couldn't help myself. I admire what Dave Eggers can do. He never writes about the same topic. He jumps from horrors of Sudan (What is the What) (Based on the life of Valentino Deng) to Hurricane Katrina (Zeitoun), to California (The Circle). There's an inherent risk about the unfamiliar - you might get it wrong, it's hard to find the right tone, you might give a superficial account and miss a lot of important nuances - and what's the point of that? You step out on a limb when you take risks, and that is something I admire.

The Circle is a cautionary tale. Characters are tools that are given enough features to look like people, but are really there to help answer these questions: What would happen in a society where everyone willingly shared all their personal information through social media? What would happen to people that didn't want to do that? (Answer: You're SOL.)

Each of the characters is there to show you something. You begin by following Mae: naive, pleasant, a pleaser, who spends an average amount of her time online - and then you get to see her become addicted to social validation. In the Circle world, people use instant validation as their drug of choice - a written online recommendation, a "zing" - and if they don't get their fix, they go slightly insane. I didn't relate to Mae, didn't like or dislike her, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy hanging around her when she campaigned to send frownie faces to Columbian Rebels, smileys to one of their victims, and thinks she's making the world a better place. The point: social media is a waste of time. 

Now, on the other extreme, is the character I most related to: Mae's anti-social ex-boyfriend: Mercer, a "fat fuck" with back hair, who is so set against social media that he doesn't even have a website to promote his antler chandelier business. If you have a choice between Mercer (fat), or The Circle (hired Mae and gave her parents health insurance), it's not a debate. This goes to another point: Social Media - and sharing every little bit of yourself online - is winning.  

As a writer, I have to appreciate the craftsmanship of this book. Eggers sets up and delivers some beautiful moments of irony through Mae, as she gives up her right to think for herself along with her right to privacy. Maybe the two are connected? I have a soft spot in my heart for irony: when the reader knows something, but the character does not, and you watch with slowly dawning horror as the story unfolds. 

I like a lot of Egger's choices in this book: the ways he uses his characters to deliver a message, the choice to portray the alternative to social media as an unattractive hairy Ex. The writer in me sees every detail as a deliberate, conscious decision. 

That said, this is not a subtle book. In the world of The Circle, social media leads to totalitarianism. Characters chant "Secrets are lies. Caring is Sharing. Privacy is Theft." And where do you think it's going with this? The Circle is also more a book for the head than for the heart, if you know what I mean. There is a clear message at its core to really think about what it means to give up your privacy. It's a question worth asking yourself.   

Friday, April 4, 2014


"Jared Leto said that fame doesn’t change you, it changes everyone around you. While I’m not the centre of attention here (and fuck, the times I have, it’s never been fun), I do become aware of the people around me and their transparency. They fail to hide it. I’ve experienced being a target of the tabloids, finding moments I thought I was in safe hands splattered all over the internet, being pushed and shoved, or watching others get pushed and shoved by paparazzi just to get what they think they’re entitled to."
- James Lowe (boyfriend of singer Lorde)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


I have a copy of Lolita - a solid honest to goodness paper copy, not an eBook. I bought it new, so I can have it hanging around, because I love it. I'm not just saying that in the way that some people say they love James Joyce's Ulysses, so I can say I love a complicated monster of a book. I'm not saying it's my favorite - the way some people have a favorite animal. I'm not saying it's the best book of all time, a life-changing experience (so is going to prison), or some other sweeping statement. It's more a combination of elements (language, content, author choices, style) that come together to give you everything you've ever wanted. Completely subjective.

To name one thing: I like Nabokov's sense of humor. It's there in the words, the feel of someone having a lot of fun. Have you ever hung around people when they love what they do? It's bliss. 

Coming to the point - it blows my mind a little to know someone rejected this. I would love to have had a hand in publishing Lolita. The closest I hope to come to greatness is probably reflected greatness - standing next to someone great, and hoping it rubs off. Sad, I know. This publisher had a chance to be associated with Lolita...and declined. A little mind blowing. 

Another sad story: here's U2's rejection letter. You can find more letters here.

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