Peeked at @Acumen's Storytelling for Change week 2 work. So so glad I decided to do this. Sometimes leaving my comfort zone really pays off!
I haven't even started packing yet, but I'm sure I'm forgetting something
@jaynathan well next week is looking even better now ;)
@matthart we do speak the same language :)
Just renewed my Bikram yoga studio membership, wish more of the money I spent felt this worth it
@e_dalton @jaynathan @alvybrooks I love knowing these are on the walls and this spirit is alive in the building
Legend of Zelda, M*A*S*H, and underpants gnomes have all come up in legitimate work discussions today. Also, today is my Friday. #fullofwin
@aabhowell We feel the same way -- and we are even in the "least expensive" list!?
"shorthand description of who we are...will not guide us bravely and honestly towards what we want to be" http://t.co/aNMTJOTQoh via @thaler
Daft Punk is bringing back disco? Yes, please http://t.co/MAa1NhdJet
“if there are no difficulties ahead, what makes you think your project is valuable?“ http://t.co/WPkjqNIQaD
RT @TheDailyCowman: Herding cats is not as difficult as some make it out to be. #ranchlife #cowdog http://t.co/aBYEUDOfGQ
RT @StoneCropMaine: Check out this great image from last year's cell phone show by @jspad and submit yours today! http://t.co/kWZqYCvAK5
So twitter is going to bug me about posting now? Who do they think they are, facebook?
@librarythingtim It told me ten. Not sure if that is very good or very bad.
Thinking about thresholds, thanks to "professional observer of the ordinary" @janchip http://t.co/htOw5TSTXk
@karenmcgrane They've got to learn, it appears they think the middle-aged are ten.
@thaler I love George Saunders, thank you for sharing that link
@kviri Glad you weren't in town
This is photo is of Emily Belknap’s installation “Flight Zones”:
Flight initiation distance measures how close you can get to wildlife before you trigger an animal’s need to escape. Belknap hasn’t so much visualized this distance as made the zone palpable: if you were to step into the circle you’d disturb the dirt and become aware you were crossing a boundary.
It’s commonly called flight initiation distance (or FID, because people seem to love inscrutable to outsiders acronyms) even though it applies to wildlife in general, not just birds. I think it applies to animals in general, meaning us peopley animals, too. I wonder what our FIDs might look like.
These haikubes were a birthday present from my cousin. The idea is you roll out all the many-worded cubes, then create a haiku on the theme suggested by the prompt.
In order to keep it interesting and not torture myself I don’t spend too long coming up with each one, but I do try to stick to the prompt and the correct form (five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, five again in the third).
I don’t think that I could tell myself to sit down and write a poem, but I can tell myself to play with these.
I didn’t make New Year’s resolutions this year, but I have been thinking about how I spend my time and recognize there are changes I want to make.
In my head I can plan all kinds of activities, or endlessly mull over some dream schedule configuration, but these things don’t get me very far in reality. Apparently neither to resolutions so I am trying something different this year: paying attention.
I have this theory that mindfulness will help me be less stressed and anxious. (Not that I’m freaked out all the time, but more peace of mind is always a good thing.) I also think mindfulness means I will choose to spend time doing things I truly enjoy vs defaulting to “meh” stupid shit that leaves me wondering where those hours went.
What does paying attention look like? So far, I’m experimenting with a few different practices:
- Keeping a log book. I 100% stole this idea from Austin Kleon, right down to the moleskine I bought. I pay attention better when I write things down, and this is simple and straightforward enough the dailiness doesn’t seem like a burden.
- Doing a 52 weeks project. I think the more relaxed approach of one self portrait every week (instead of every day) will keep the project from being overwhelming, as well as give me the impetus to take more photos overall so my stream on flickr isn’t just my face. I also think it’s a good way to see how yeah, middle age is happening. The camera doesn’t lie; I look older than I did in 2007 because I am older. This is a good thing; here’s to hoping more wisdom comes with the years.
- Drawing things. On my list of things to do before I turn fifty, this took the form of “Draw, even though I think I can’t. (I can’t as in “that does not look real, it looks malformed” not can’t “my fingers don’t function well enough to hold a pen”)” This means making time, at least once a week, to fill a page in a sketchbook. It forces me to slow down, stop looking at screens, and concentrate in a different way.
So far, so good 2013. Happy new year.
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You can click on the grid to see a larger version, or view the individual photos:
Five of these were taken with a mobile phone, five with the fuji x100, and two with the Canon 40D. Two are double exposures (a technique I started playing around with this year), one is a composite, and one was with the lensbaby.
When I first saw this year’s grid my thought was that it was a quiet year, photographically speaking. Not that I didn’t shoot a lot (though less than last year, since I wasn’t doing a 365 project) but that I seemed to be finding, or looking for, some quiet in my photos. Not a bad thing to be searching for, certainly.
I spent part of my Saturday in the library reading poetry. Though I am there almost every week, I don’t read much poetry. I should read more; there are plenty of worse ways to spend an afternoon than finding things like this, by Daniel Hall:
For no reason,
all at once,
a dove and a jay
swerve and land
at opposite ends
of the clothesline,
and the clothes — mine,
all mine! — commence
to dance with reckless
love and joy.
The “new” job is less new every day — Friday marked seven months since I joined Blackbaud. (It is still awesome.)
Friday was also the first ever UX Day event at Blackbaud. It was a day filled with great talks about various aspects of user experience, and how everyone — not just practitioners — can benefit from learning more about UX principles. I was happy (and a little bit freaked out, in a good way) to be asked to give the keynote. As I was putting together my talk, here’s what I told the organizers I’d be talking about:
A Venetian boatman’s web-footed daughter,
Jesuits in space,
a storyteller with questionable ethics,
and a tiny red leaf
teach you about user experience?
Trust me, I’m telling you stories.
Fortunately, this worked for them and that’s the talk I got to give. I work with some really fantastic people.
If you are curious, you can grab this PDF version of my talk.
We went to our college reunion not long ago (my 19th, her 20th). I hadn’t been back since my graduation, so of course things were different: there’s a new science center, an arts building, and what would have been considered heresy in the early 90s, a sports complex. Things were also the same: the dorms with their not good for anyone’s back twin mattresses, the lawn in front of the main administrative building, the pillow room in the library. It was strange to see a place I hadn’t seen in nearly twenty years and still have it feel known. We walked into town — Bronxville is a very small, very snobby town in Westchester — and had burgers at the tavern where we sometimes went as students. Same location, new ownership.
Aside from the dinner and dancing (no one was more surprised than me and how much we danced) what I liked best was the new art building. It was open, as there had been an alumai/i show and reception the day before. There were photographs, paintings, and drawings from alums five to fifty years or more from graduation hanging in the gallery space.
Being nosy, we poked around and found most of the studios and workspaces open. Some still had leftover materials lying around and leftover art pinned up to moveable walls. I loved this space. I’ve always loved provisional spaces, places where imaginative work that I didn’t quite understand happened.
I found myself thinking that if I had it to do over, I’d do an arts third. At Sarah Lawrence, you could devote one-third of your time to art, or to theater. These weren’t necessarily single classese but an accumulation of efforts that in theory added up to the same workload as a seminar: you took three of those, and most of them lasted all year. (I spend a third of my time each year in fiction workshops, and most of the time another third in literature, with some anthropology and history thrown into the mix.) I was interested in an arts third as a undergrad but I was also scared, not believing I was an artist and believing that with the fiction workshops I was already full on my quota of classes that were probably never going to lead to a job.
As we kept poking around the space, checking out every floor and seeing which doors were locked and which were open, I realized the best part of a liberal arts degree is that it doesn’t matter so much what specifically I studied in college; I can take my arts third now if I want to. I can make it up myself, or with friends, with books and galleries and museums and the internet. Liberal arts degrees are good for teaching you how to learn. At least, mine was.
Some email subject lines, like some return addresses on envelopes, create an
excitement and anxious anticipation I can feel in my chest. This afternoon’s “Cell Phone Show Jury Results” was that kind of email.
When I see calls for entry I often think of responding, but something usually gets in the way. Sometimes it is what I consider a questionable entry fee, but most of the time it boils down to not wanting to take the risk. Reframing so it isn’t about rejection (who wants to sign up for that?) but about hey, I created this stuff, and one of the reasons I did that was to share it (so why not try and see what happens?) means I actually submitted this time. Yeah, it feels good to be picked. It feels great to be willing.
I liked this list, because I think it applies equally well to starting a new job. Which I am. A few weeks ago I joined Blackbaud, in a new role on the Products Ops team — Innovation Catalyst. As one of my friends put it, “so you make awesome?”
After laughing, I corrected her: no, I will help other people make awesome :) When you think about it, that is really the job we should all have, to help make awesome. Awesome products and experiences for customers, awesome places to work with each other, with an awesome sense of purpose that helps us get out of bed in the morning.
A few weeks after I started my last job (back in September 2005) I wrote a post that for years was a top Google result for smartass people, and as of this writing, is still the first hit for anyone looking for smartass people at work. (It isn’t what it sounds like, except of course saying that kinda means it is.) I am surprised that old post still shows up so highly, it isn’t as if there is a shortage of smartass bloggers, even in this new school twitter/facebook/pinterest no one blogs anymore age.
I like the idea that now I’ll come up when people search for “responsible for the awesome” because seven years later I’m less snarky, and possibly a bit less of a smartass.
Web geek. Photographer. Book nerd.
I like to help people use and understand the web.
Have an interesting project you think I might be able to help you with? Send email to email@example.com and tell me about it.