Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Political Compass

I got this from Furtheron's blog.

Unsurprisingly, I'm a Social Libertarian that leans to the Economic Left. I'm pretty much in the same place politically as the Dalai Lama.

My political compass
Economic Left/Right: -5.75
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.13

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Incomplete Manifesto for Growth: 16-30

Bruce Mau's Incomplete Manifesto for Growth Continued...

16. Collaborate. The space between people working together is filled with conflict, friction, strife, exhilaration, delight, and vast creative potential.

17. ____________________. Intentionally left blank. Allow space for the ideas you haven’t had yet, and for the ideas of others.

18. Stay up late. Strange things happen when you’ve gone too far, been up too long, worked too hard, and you're separated from the rest of the world.

19. Work the metaphor. Every object has the capacity to stand for something other than what is apparent. Work on what it stands for.

20. Be careful to take risks. Time is genetic. Today is the child of yesterday and the parent of tomorrow. The work you produce today will create your future.

21. Repeat yourself. If you like it, do it again. If you don’t like it, do it again.

22. Make your own tools. Hybridize your tools in order to build unique things. Even simple tools that are your own can yield entirely new avenues of exploration. Remember, tools amplify our capacities, so even a small tool can make a big difference.

23. Stand on someone’s shoulders. You can travel farther carried on the accomplishments of those who came before you. And the view is so much better.

24. Avoid software. The problem with software is that everyone has it.

25. Don’t clean your desk. You might find something in the morning that you can’t see tonight.

26. Don’t enter awards competitions. Just don’t. It’s not good for you.

27. Read only left-hand pages. Marshall McLuhan did this. By decreasing the amount of information, we leave room for what he called our "noodle."

28. Make new words. Expand the lexicon. The new conditions demand a new way of thinking. The thinking demands new forms of expression. The expression generates new conditions.

29. Think with your mind. Forget technology. Creativity is not device-dependent.

30. Organization = Liberty. Real innovation in design, or any other field, happens in context. That context is usually some form of cooperatively managed enterprise. Frank Gehry, for instance, is only able to realize Bilbao because his studio can deliver it on budget. The myth of a split between "creatives" and "suits" is what Leonard Cohen calls a 'charming artifact of the past.'

The conclusion on my next post.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


I thought I would make a note of this historic day. For the first time EVER, the members of my family are in different, separate locations. There's always been at least 2 of us in the same city at the same time. But today, we are scattered all over the place!

I'm home, here in Toronto, blogging away.

My sister's home in Calgary, holding down the fort.

My brother just finished climbing Machu Piccu, and is on his way to Costa Rica.

My mom's visiting a friend in Edmonton.

And my dad is travelling through Korea and China.

It feels strange, like unseen threads of myself, parts of my tribe, are dispersed all over the world.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Incomplete Manifesto for Growth: 1-15

I've always loved this, and try to live by it as much as possible. This is Bruce Mau's Incomplete Manifesto for Growth.

1. Allow events to change you. You have to be willing to grow. Growth is different from something that happens to you. You produce it. You live it. The prerequisites for growth: the openness to experience events and the willingness to be changed by them.

2. Forget about good. Good is a known quantity. Good is what we all agree on. Growth is not necessarily good. Growth is an exploration of unlit recesses that may or may not yield to our research. As long as you stick to good you'll never have real growth.

3. Process is more important than outcome. When the outcome drives the process we will only ever go to where we've already been. If process drives outcome we may not know where we’re going, but we will know we want to be there.

4. Love your experiments (as you would an ugly child). Joy is the engine of growth. Exploit the liberty in casting your work as beautiful experiments, iterations, attempts, trials, and errors. Take the long view and allow yourself the fun of failure every day.

5. Go deep. The deeper you go the more likely you will discover something of value.

6. Capture accidents. The wrong answer is the right answer in search of a different question. Collect wrong answers as part of the process. Ask different questions.

7. Study. A studio is a place of study. Use the necessity of production as an excuse to study. Everyone will benefit.

8. Drift. Allow yourself to wander aimlessly. Explore adjacencies. Lack judgment. Postpone criticism.

9. Begin anywhere. John Cage tells us that not knowing where to begin is a common form of paralysis. His advice: begin anywhere.

10. Everyone is a leader. Growth happens. Whenever it does, allow it to emerge. Learn to follow when it makes sense. Let anyone lead.

11. Harvest ideas. Edit applications. Ideas need a dynamic, fluid, generous environment to sustain life. Applications, on the other hand, benefit from critical rigor. Produce a high ratio of ideas to applications.

12. Keep moving. The market and its operations have a tendency to reinforce success. Resist it. Allow failure and migration to be part of your practice.

13. Slow down. Desynchronize from standard time frames and surprising opportunities may present themselves.

14. Don’t be cool. Cool is conservative fear dressed in black. Free yourself from limits of this sort.

15. Ask stupid questions. Growth is fueled by desire and innocence. Assess the answer, not the question. Imagine learning throughout your life at the rate of an infant.

Numbers 16-30 on my next post.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Six Degrees

On Good Friday, my friend Em and I went to McDonald's for a greasy, guilt-inducing breakfast. We ordered our sausage'n'egg McMuffins, and then moved to the side to await our salty feast. We giggled away as we read our horoscopes and discussed the events of the past week.

Em and I are always giggly together, like little girls. I have come to realize that this closeness comes from a profound connection between our "inner children." Hanging out with Em is like playing. When we're together, it always feels like we're about to embark on some grand adventure. Even if we're only going to McDonald's. We have the innocence of two little kids out to explore the brave new world, and it's always a lot of fun.

"Hey, do you guys know if Eaton Centre is open today?"

We turned to see a tall young man, smiling and looking at us inquiringly. While we weren't able to answer his question definitively, we did end up having a strange conversation with him about V for Vendetta and astrology. Standard fare when Em and I are together. Our order came up and that was that. Or so we thought.

Fast forward to Saturday night.

I went to this great new lounge/club in my neighbourhood to celebrate the launch of a friend's book. After a few hours inside, we headed outside for a break. Lo and behold! Who was standing at the door, but the guy from McDonald's! Talk about a coincidence! His name was Shaun.

Shaun ended up coming inside and hanging out with us for awhile. Now, here's the really weird part. As we were sitting in the club chatting, Smelly Belly looked over curiously. And then looked over again.

"Hey!" she exclaimed, "You're my next door neighbour!"

It turned out that Shaun knew quite a few of the same people as we did. I love it when this kind of stuff happens!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Vinyl Monstrosity

This is my old couch.

As you can see, it's a lovely mustard yellow colour, and made of a sticky, sweaty, pleathery vinylish type material. I'm not exactly sure what it is. I do know that it's disgusting. It was a hand-me down from a friend that moved back to Germany a few years ago. I took it despite it's monstrous appearance, because I'd just bought a condo after a year of unemployment. How that works, I'm not sure. Still, it happened. So there I was, in a beautiful condo in the heart of downtown Toronto. Nine foot concrete ceilings, floor to ceiling windows, stainless steel appliances - a dream come true.

With no furniture except an old futon, a table and 2 chairs, it was pretty empty. Until of course, that couch arrived. But hey, what're you gonna do? I had to have something to sit on, and couldn't afford to buy a new couch.


This is my ultra sexy and stylish new couch. I am pleased to report that the vinyl monstrosity has finally been retired. The last time I saw him, he had been stolen from the garbage dumpster, and was being loaded into someone else's moving truck. I was amused by the sight to say the least.

I hope he serves his new owners as well as he served me.

Farewell vinyl monstrosity. I wish you well.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Words of Strangers

"Finally, caught up with you!" he says, laughing, as he rollerblades by.

Through panted breaths, I laugh with him, squinting under the brilliant azure of the afternoon sky.

Swish. Swish. Swish. Arms swinging smoothly. Then he is gone, lost in the distance. The sun obscuring my vision.

He was being kind. Yesterday, I went for my first run of the spring season. I am not a natural runner under the best of conditions, so the first time is always really tough for me. I was running really slow, and labouring pretty hard when he passed me. I was ready to quit.

His words of encouragement spurred me on. I pushed on for a few extra painful minutes, before stopping satisfied and proud of myself.

It reminded me of something that happened to this guy I knew a few years ago. I wouldn't call him a friend now, but he was then. He was a friend in the way that people who enable each other are friends. We partied pretty hard together. He was part of a group of friends on a downward spiral. A few of us made the choice to stop and move forward. A few of us didn't. They are lost forever.

Back then, it was just about the party. We were dabbling, being rebellious, having fun. Except him. He was a hard case. There was a darkness and sadness in him that we couldn't touch. He was always in a drug-fuelled state of depression or anger, running desperately from himself. At one point, he sunk so low, that he decided to kill himself. The only thing that stopped him, were the words of a stranger.

He walked into a convenience store to buy smokes, and the clerk behind the counter looked at him, and said, "today, the sun shines only for you." I don't know why he said this. Perhaps he could sense his despair.

Words. They make a difference.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


I recently made a commitment to being on time for work. For 2 years, I was able to bend the will of management to my schedule, and come in at 10:30. I'm not exactly sure how. Still, it worked for me. I am a noctournal creature by nature. My mind and body truly wake up around 11PM every night. My most creative hours are definitely when it's dark outside, as many all-night editing sessions would attest to. And back in my party days, the breaking of dawn was cause for great disappointment. I didn't want to go home!

But ever since I took on the mantle of permanent government employee, the demands to come in on time have increased exponentially. I am exhausted. It's killing me. I am not designed for this! However, I have decided to stop fighting the establishment on this. I have been putting too much of my energy into something destructive, rather than constructive.

Still. It burns me. As far as I'm concerned, we live in a 24 hour world. I wonder when cultural norms will catch up to our technological capabilities? Why can't I work from home? As long as the job is getting done, why should I have to sit at a desk killing time? Is it so that all the timeservers in the world can feel better about the absolute monotony of their lives? What a waste of resources. It probably takes me 2 hours a day to do all the work I need to do. Some days, I do NOTHING. If we all had the freedom to serve the world with that extra time, what kind of changes could we create?

And if you really think about it, society would run much better on a 24 hour clock anyways. Traffic would decrease, people would be less stressed, and we wouldn't feel paralyzed, exhausted and depressed all the time. Instead, we'd be able to contribute in a way that's real.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Birthday Pic

Well, I'm feeling pretty lazy about posting right now, so I thought I'd share a birthday dinner pic with you.

This is at Flow in pretentious Yorkville. The restaurant was beautiful, service was great, but it was way overpriced! Martinis were $18, tea was $6, and my latte was $12! Twelve dollars for a latte if you can believe it, and it wasn't even that good!! The lobster and crab ravioli appetizer for $22 came with a grand total of THREE average sized pieces. Sigh. That's Ruth, Mariana, Me, Em, Sasha and Mel.

The dessert plate on the other hand, was absolutely beautiful, and tasty too!! That gelato was soooo good.