Wednesday, March 31, 2010
The above illustration was created by Mike Rohde for the essay "Mission statement impossible" from REWORK, the new business book from 37signals.
The full set of illustrations are available on Flickr and are pretty special.
Well worth checking out.
(via swiss-miss with thanks)
I have been listening to the following playlist for a few days now... and thought it apt to put it out there as a wee mixtape.
Tracklisting is as follows...
Go here to download (105mb / 193 vbr kbps) ... and have an awesome Easter break.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
"Finding contentment isn’t something that usually happens overnight, but rather comes in small doses. Some things you can do today to learn to find that contentedness:mnmlist.com :: finding contentedness
- Look around you right now, or perhaps when you’re sitting at home. Realize that everything around you is all you need for happiness. What do you need to be happy? Food, shelter, clothing, other people, something meaningful to do, and a mindset of contentedness.
- Want something meaningful to do? You don’t need to change jobs — just help others, in any way you can. Help co-workers succeed. Be there for friends when they need you. Spend time with loved ones and be encouraging. Volunteer to help the needy. Improve your community in small ways.
- Need others in your life? Find a neighbor, and make a friend. Volunteer and be friendly. Hang out with co-workers. Be considerate, friendly, positive, in all human transactions.
- Start counting your blessings — all the things that you have to be grateful for.
- When you find yourself thinking about what you want, start appreciating what you have, every day.
- Be more mindful in everything you do – eating, showering, walking, working, washing dishes, talking, writing, drinking water."
Sunday, March 28, 2010
This video makes for interesting and challenging viewing.
I gave up bottled water last year and use reusable "to go" tumblers when I am out and about for my coffee. I think everyone close has a tumbler or will get one for their birthday this year. Its a small step... but an important one. Make the change yourself.
(Thanks to my boy JD for sharing this video)
I am a huge fan of Kieran Hebden aka Four Tet and consider his latest solo album :: "There is love in you" :: my kind of glitchy folktronic exuberance. His sound is all encompassing, layered and deeply engaging... it sucks you in and treats you nice. A very rewarding album.
Spotify link :: Four Tet - "There is love in you"
The xx make some very pleasant indie rock and their album :: "xx" :: is simply wonderful. The interplay of the two vocalists over the sparse guitar and keyboard-orientated soundscapes is refreshing. More delicate than minimal... making beautiful an appropriate term to describe this album.
Spotify link :: The xx - "xx"
Human Resources™ Mixtape 02 / Beneath Us, The Waves - Creation by welcometohr
Last up... we have a fantastic mix from Neil Milton from we sink ships for the Human Resources blog. The playlist includes (but isn't limited to) ... Fryderyk Chopin, Jónsi and Alex, The Album Leaf, Brian Eno, Eluvium, and Jóhann Jóhannsson... along with Neil himself as "beneath us, the waves". Go here for more.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Need more tunes? Here you go...
Yeasayer are very trendy right now... and quite rightly so with their particular brand of experimental psychpop. On their latest album... Odd Blood... they great wonderfully catchy pop with real sonic depth. Impressive.
Spotify link :: Yeasayer - "Odd Blood"
I'm a big fan of Hot Chip and their soulful electropop sound. Fabulously now but with a real analogue vibe... their latest album... One Life Stand... is an extension of their previous albums and sound. Well worth checking out.
Spotify link :: Hot Chip - "One Life Stand"
Autechre have an idiosyncratic and deliciously dark electronic sound... that I find inspiring and dementing in equal measure, depending on my mood. Theirs is a sound that can feed the head with polyrhythms and provide distraction from the regular and homogenous... albeit with Oversteps being more ambient than their previous work.
The Magnetic Fields are an indie band with their fingers in a number of sonic "pies". "Realism" is beautifully crafted folky pop... pure and simple... and is well worth checking out.
Spotify link :: The Magnetic Fields - "Realism"
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Some more "choons" for ya...
I follow Matt Stevens on Twitter and was curious when he posted a link to album... "Echo". He takes the idea... the notion... the concept of the Spanish guitar and takes it to a whole other level. His music is deep, layered and beautifully atmospheric... reminding me of Rodrigo Y Gabriela. Well worth checking out. You can download his album for "whatever you want"... it is well worth something!
I am a huge fan of Massive Attack and every album is an event worth waiting for. Heligoland is awesome and a welcome addition to their discography... deliciously dark and brooding... with some fantastic vocals from the likes of Horace Andy, Tunde Adebimpe (TV On The Radio), Damon Albarn, Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star), Guy Garvey (Elbow) and the awesome Martina Topley-Bird... it really grows and gets under your skin.
I love Telefon Tel Aviv's sound... at times driving and insistent... at other times chilled and relaxed... always with an immersive ambience and soulful vibe. "Immolate Yourself" is a fab album and worthy addition to their canon. That said... I was gutted to hear that one half of the duo :: Charles Cooper :: died in early 2009. Have a listen and raise a glass to Cooper.
Spotify link :: Telefon Tel Aviv - "Immolate Yourself"
Atlas Sound is the solo project of Bradford Cox from Deerhunter... and Logos is a lovely slice of indie folk with classic psychedelic rock sensibilities. It has a special rhythm about it... almost dreamlike and pastoral. Lovely.
Spotify link :: Atlas Sound - "Logos"
Field Music are a welcomed discovery... with a "classic rock" vibe that I just soak up. "Field Music (Measure)" is wonderful, in my opinion. It has a real "timeless" vibe about it... with their deep guitar-orientated soundscapes.
Spotify link :: Field Music - "Field Music (Measure)"
Check them out... Tx
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
More new tunes...
"The BQE" is a strange album from indie folk superstar Sufjan Stevens... strange but delightfully wonderful. It is a "symphonic and cinematic exploration of New York City's infamous Brooklyn-Queens Expressway" and is very visually atmospheric... reminding me of George Gershwin for some reason. Lovely!
Spotify link :: Sufjan Stevens - The BQE
I am not the biggest fan of "worship music" because I think it can get pretty entropic... but Carlos Whittaker breaks the mould for me... and his EP is a wonderfully example of someone truly singing praises to his Lord. I can't wait for his album to drop.
Toro Y Moi aka Chazwick Bundick's album... "Causers of this"... is a lovely slice of indietronica that reminds me of 80s soul music crossed with glitchy IDM.
Spotify link :: Toro Y Moi - "Causers of this"
"A chorus of Storytellers" by The Album Leaf is a truly spectacular slice of post-rock ambience... it is sumptuous, warm and all-encompassing... like a summer's day.
I really dig Vampire Weekend and really love the follow up to their fantastic eponymous debut. "Contra" is bright, upbeat and lively like a madras checked shirt... and is what we've come to expect of them... in a nice way.
Spotify link :: Vampire Weekend - "Contra"
More tomorrow... Tx
Monday, March 22, 2010
I haven't posted about the tunes I have been listening to recently... so I thought I'd post a wee something each day... from today through to Friday... on what I've been digging...
First up is Delphic with their album "Acolyte" ... whose electro/rock vibe is something I find really uplifting and euphoric... in a New Order kind of way.
Spotify link :: Delphic - "Acolyte"
I love Bebel Gilberto and any new release from her is welcomed by me... albeit... none have ever topped her classic Tanto Tempo. Her new album... All In One contains some very beautifully crafted and classy bossa nova that is wonderfully chilled and atmospheric. She's on form!
I regret not getting into Johnny Cash sooner... and have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him through Rick Rubin's American series. American VI - Ain't No Grave is his second posthumous record and is simply wonderful... building upon the previous albums and yet sounding fresh.
Spotify link :: Johnny Cash - "Ain't No Grave"
I am a big fan of post and progressive rock music... and Tortoise are a fine example of such a sound... along with dubby vibes and cinematic soundscapes. Their latest album... "Beacons of Ancestorship"... is truly awesome... with some amazing synthy sounds and a pinch of punk rock bass guitar thrown in for good measure. A pretty intense trip.
Lastly... for today... we have something more experimental in the shape of Dirty Projectors whose harmonies and guitars on "Bitte Orca" make for compelling listening.
Spotify link :: Dirty Projectors - "Bitte Orca"
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Whilst Rick Warren's comment on Twitter may be factually correct... I don't like it. It smacks of smug triumphalism. It also encourages sectarian denominationalism.
And... most importantly... I don't know what the "it" he is referring to is but I feel the context in which he is saying it is from within the Empire and not outwith.
I guess this is why I don't worry about labels and denominations... and if I did... I would consider myself "post-evangelical".
It would appear the comment has been deleted.
I had a wonderful convo on my Facebook wall with my dear friends Jody and Roy on this subject. I thought I would add to the post.
I get the fact that Rick Warren is targeting his tweet at the media... and is basically saying "look... us Evangelicals aren't some leftfield movement anymore... we ARE the mainstream!" I get that.
I also get the fact he is, in doing so, challenging the media ignorance that comes with Christianity. I get that too.
I just think he could have done it better... to be honest.
I don't disagree with the sentiment of his tweet... I just think, in saying what he said in the manner he said it with the words he used... he could potential discourage folks... especially the folks who actually follow his tweets.
Whilst denominations maybe sidelined... people aren't. If they are then we are not following Jesus. Each and everyone of us has a circle of influence... each and EVERYONE of us! No one can sideline us. Our churches may be in decline but they are not dead... as long as we are alive and following Jesus. Where two or three are gathered... afterall.
"Evangelicals are comprised of a vast part of church- and it's not so much a wing as much as a wide array of believers that are part of every denomination and strand of the church. I know of Pentecostal Moravians; charismatic emergents; on-fire Spirit-filled baptists and Salvation Armyists. The old labels are dying off. If Warren tweeted this five years ago it would have made more sense. But then again Twitter did not exist way back then so people would wonder why the guy was writing in 140 characters."I guess... at the end of the day... 140 characters is nowhere like enough to properly express concepts like the one Rick Warren tried to... he has tried and, imho, failed.
I recently joined gravity.com and have found it an engaging experience. According to their "about"...
"Gravity connects people with shared interests and helps them engage in meaningful and fun conversations. While social networks are great for connecting you with people you already know, Gravity connects you with people you should know and should be talking to because they share your passions."It works as follows...
"Gravity makes it easy to nurture your interests by enabling group conversations around topics. Gravity is made up of thousands of Worlds, which are user-created topic pages for group discussion and sharing. Users can easily discover new Worlds and keep track of them, as well as any people or conversations that interest them, by clicking the Orbit button. Gravity gives every user a voice and makes it easy for anyone to share relevant thoughts, opinions and experiences."Basically... it takes discussion forums to the next level... and I like that. I even like their "error" page - dinosaurs are the new whales.
It is currently in beta... but I have 10 invites (you get them when you join) if you want to give it a go. Please leave a comment with your email... and I'll hook you up.
"Peter Mandelson is rushing to force the Digital Economy Bill into law before the General Election.If you live in the UK... please... please... PLEASE... go to 38degrees.co.uk and write to your MP urging them to stop the Government... OUR Government... from rushing the bill through.
The draconian law is opposed by industry experts, internet service providers (like TalkTalk and BT), web giants including Google, Yahoo and Ebay and even the British Library. Despite all this opposition, the Government is trying to rush it through quietly just before the election without proper debate – without a chance for us to voice our opposition. Email your MP now and urge them to stop the government rushing this law through.
There’s plenty to oppose in the Digital Economy Bill, it gives the government the ability to disconnect millions. Schools, libraries and businesses could see their connection cut if their pupils, readers of customers infringe any copyright. But one group likes it, the music industry. In a leaked memo a few days ago they admitted the only way to get the bill through would be to rush it through without a real parliamentary debate. Let’s stop that happening. "
"...all I care about, at the end of the day, is the craft!"
This is why this video is inspirational and very useful if you are a photographer.
My thoughts from Rob Bell's “Drop Like Stars”...
First off... it is important to state that I am a big fan of Rob Bell's. His writing and videos have had a profound effect in my life. He has a way of taking the old and familiar... and making them fresh and vital. His is an alternate perspective that I get... and for that I will always be grateful to him.
Secondly... my experience on Friday was enhanced by the people that surrounded me – having noodles with Paul & Jen Clement, and Katherine Sonntag... then joining with Andrew Berry and travelling to Perth... all five of us squashed in Katherine's Astra... having a real laugh about... well... what was said in the car stays in the car.
At the Perth Concert Hall... I met up with and spoke to Laura Bridge & Sam Davies, Chris Hinton, Dan Rous, Adam Howie, and Kevin Avis. People I am proud to call friends. I also had the privilege to meet Andy Weir (aka @theweir) for the first time (the bear hug was worthy of a tweet!) and Douglas Rae (my dear friend Innes Johnson's cousin).
Thirdly... my experience was also shaped by the kindness of my community... and the awesomeness of social media – I got my ticket from Douglas, whose wife was unable to attend, and arranged for Andrew's ticket via a twitter convo with the fab Lousie aka @sepiasunrise. The arranger, Ian Black, hooked me up with returns too... but, by that point, I had my tickets.
With all these things taken into consideration... when I sat down I was in a very positive mood and it just got better and better.
Rob Bell is an amazing orator... truly brilliant. I have seen Rob Bell, Shane Claiborne, Malcolm Gladwell and Brian McLaren in “concert” (if that's the right word) and by far Rob Bell is the best presenter. That isn't to decry the others but to highlight how very good Rob Bell is. He is truly first class.
The video used to set the scene was fantastic too... albeit I imagined someone being upset with all the flowers getting “smashed” (I'm not sure if there is an equivalent to PETA for flowers... but if there was, they'd be protesting).
The visuals through out were fantastic... a real exercise in the best of the best. The video was stunning. The slides were well proportioned and eloquent in their minimalist approach. Simple yet profound.
Then Rob Bell took to the stage and... well... time stopped.
He was funny... geeky... enthusiastic... eloquent... and considerate as a communicator - he ensured everyone was with him on the journey he was taking.
For the two hours he spoke... I never once though “omgoodness... this is dragging” and thankfully my bum didn't complain either.
And yes... he spoke for two hours... aided by the visuals I mentioned above, his fantastic wit and skill in speaking, and a wee exercise in audience participation.
Malcolm Gladwell spoke for half that time and cost twice as much. Again, this isn't an attack on Malcolm but more of an indication of what I was prepared for.
He spoke about suffering and the creativity that has the potential to come from this suffering.
To prepare us... he talked of the “what” as in the content of the happening and the “where” as in the context of said happening.
Our boxes (ie the things we think “in” or “out of”) act as insulators that frame and orientate the happening.
So the example used was if we were to go to the Ballet and were to be given a squirrel (and the visuals showed a huge squirrel...) then our “where” or context would be challenged.
We live with expectations and assumptions and plans for our lives... and then we face disruption through suffering... and we say “I never would have imagined this”...
Our suffering is bloody and traumatic... our insulators are smashed and destroyed... and yet the seeds of creativity and imagination are sown during this period of pain... for a creative act that brings a “new tomorrow”. This is “the art of disruption”.
During our pain... we become more honest. Pain has a way of bring this out in us. This is the art of honesty.
The thing is... it brings us together too.
Imagine a scale... on the left is true suffering and despair... and on the right is the safe, numb indifference of prosperity. This, on the right, could be referred to as “death by Rolex”.
People on the right... can and do have a realisation of their state of being... when the art of disruption moves to the art of honesty... and respond accordingly.
Rob Bell highlighted the story of Scott Harrison who moved from a NYC “Party Planner” to founding Charity:Water. He was living a “death by Rolex” life before stumbling into the suffering of people in the world who do not have access to clean water... and, in seeking to make a difference, he came to life.
Rob Bell then spoke of the art of elimination... where, as a result of the pain and suffering, we remove... we eliminate... all the clutter in our lives and, in doing so, find liberation. Think Johnny Cash in the later part of his life... recording for Rick Rubin and you'll get a sense of this.
Its in there... like Michaelangelo's David in the lump of stone that he carved him from.
From this... we look at the art of solidarity. In the pain, we gain an understanding of the suffering of others. We feel that we are not alone. We develop bonds of connection from this suffering that do not come so readily or with such intensity through wealth and abundance. People with diverse “demographics” are brought together through their similar pain.
It was at this point that Rob Bell brought in the story of Jesus... that his early followers were in the Roman world... the world of “peace through victory”... the world of peace through coercive violence.
Jesus demonstrated a new way... a way of peace through sacrificial love instead of through violence and victory.
In essence, as Jesus died on the cross, God was present in the most excruciating pain and suffering. God didn't crush people with the sword but was, instead, crushed on the cross.
God came into this world and screamed alongside us. This is what the incarnation means. God is present and he knows how we suffer because he, himself, has suffered.
He can say “I know how you feel” and does.
Rob Bell then went on to talk about the difference between ownership and possession... quoting Paul:
“...having nothing and yet possessing everything.”
In the disruption of our suffering... in our honesty and our solidarity... through the elimination of that which we do not need... we learn to appreciate all that we have. We may have nothing and yet... we possess everything.
From this... in final stretch of the story (and the book)... Rob Bell then talks of the art of failure. He spoke of how every artist must learn that even the failed pieces are essential.
We can be transformed by the opportunity our failures present us... this is a gift from “the God who wastes nothing”.
“This, too, will shape me.”
The questions is how? Will it make you bitter or better.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
I'm still doing Project365... taking (at least) one pic everyday. Here are my second set of 36 pics - from 37 to 72 ... enjoy! ::
1. 060210_ Hamilton Palace grounds (037/365),
I'm a big fan of John Burgerman and thought this wee time-lapse video was really cool. In it... AOL staff colour in the Burgerman mural in their NYC headquarters.
I wish my office had a similar mural... Tx
(via notcot #29,217 with thanks)
I walked across the Forth Road Bridge this morning with my dear friend George. He suggested the Bridge as something new... we have kind of "done" Strathclyde Park and wanted somewhere new to photograph... which I was up for.
That said... I am TERRIFIED of heights and... well... the Bridge is 150 metres above the Firth of Forth. What's more... it MOVES! Any big vans / lorries make the earth move... which is very disconcerting. Well it was for me.
All in... we had a fab time... talking and taking photos... which can be found here.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
I had an interesting experience on Saturday that I wanted to share...
Photographers, in my humble opinion, are being demonised. We are viewed with suspicion... either as a kiddie-fiddler or a crazy-bomber.
Now... as a father... the reserve that has occurred as a result of high profile pedophilia cases is warranted. I don't appreciate just anyone taking photos of my we'ans... and similarly, if I take any photos of we'ans at church I only do so with permission and make the pics public so their family can see there is nothing untoward.
As for the nonsense that surrounds terrorism... it is simply that - nonsense. With the rise of mobile phone cameras... no self-respecting nut-job will pull out a dSLR. They don't want to draw attention to themselves.
Honest photographers are being stifled and controlled by fearful yet bloated-with-their-own-self-importance bureaucrats. I recently got stopped from taking a pic in the building where I work... because "it was in the rules". Utter nonsense.
It was in this environment of suspicion and fear that I approached an elderly man at the local Catholic church. I asked him if I could enter the church's grounds to take a pic of main hall's steeple.
He looked me in the eye and said...
"Son... its a Catholic church... its open to everybody!"His comment... and the simple kindness that backed it were astounding to me... and got me thinking.
Are we open to everybody... and are our church communities?
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
I have added an advert to the ol' nanolog... and just wanted to be clear... I get nothing from this ad other than, hopefully, the joy of helping a brother out. Adam Howie aka @kimded is an amazing artist and someone I am proud to call a friend... and I wanted to help him out.
So please... check out his website... www.illusionaryconstructs.com and his stuff on redbubble.
Monday, March 08, 2010
I got another two rolls of film developed tonight... 25 pics from my Olympus Trip 35 & 13 from an unidentified camera (aka I can't remember which camera it came from).
I am very pleased with the Olympus Trip 35 (above)... and bemused, to be honest, with the unidentified output (below). My idea of fun. View the whole set here and let me know what you think. Tx
"We lose respect for a leader when he or she fails to acknowledge a mistake. What we want to see in our leaders is a sense of self-awareness and honesty. Personally, I gain confidence when one of my colleagues says, “Gosh, I don’t know what I was thinking, sorry about [fill in the blank].” It makes me feel like the mistake or false assumption is now fully understood and owned. It makes me feel safe."Scott Belsky