Life just bites you on the ass sometimes.
I’ve been trying to write this for ages: since receiving the phone call a couple of days before Christmas; since working on releasing the shock and pain and disbelief at the news; since writing that first condolence card; since the first time I could get together with my oldest friends face-to-face to share the wtf-ness; since standing blacked up and bare faced nursing a whiskey and hearing his Dad desperate for some insight, any scrap, at the wake, as to why.
Since, since, since.
I lived my 20′s in a little run down terrace in what is now SOGO, but was then the cheapest place we could find. It was dark, falling to pieces and smelled in the damp, but filled with what became a chosen family, and for me, a true home.
None of us had money, but we were all working doing stuff we loved- art, music, architecture, design. We all were good at creating something out of nothing: the kitchen transformed from a peeling crack lab into a place where mermaids played; a bare wall turned into an ever moving pop gallery of avant cards; a back yard that hosted now famous ‘drinks by the pool’ parties where the blow up wader was just an excuse for ridiculous cocktails and costumes.
There was dancing. Cooking. A million late night conversations. A million bottles of red wine. One very scrappy cat. Sometimes the dishes didn’t get done. People peeled out as they met their partners, or their career took them off to different horizons and eventually the place got sold and we moved on.
That was sometime ago. It lasted about 7 years and felt like forever.
I thought everyone had grown up since then. Not me, obviously, but other people had mortgages and businesses and children and partners. Eventually I only saw some in back yards, with tired eyes and gentle, humorous self deprecating stories of the domestic hurdy-gurdy their lives had become. Tucked in, I thought. Safe, I believed. Happy, I dreamed.
I can’t remember the last time I told my friend I loved him. That he was important to me. That knowing him has made my life better every day since I met him. That his take on silly and serious and determined and disciplined was a benchmark for me. That I respected his work, was totally crazy about his choice of partner and his children, in awe of his practice and held deep affection for the past we shared and held a desire to co-create memories for the rest of our lives.
Now I won’t get that chance. He is gone. He took himself off the merry-go-round. I don’t know why. No one seems to. I will never understand. I’m trying to come to terms with that. I’m not looking for a silver lining. It’s just crap.
Sometimes we let go of the gold in our lives, the people that we love, to pan for shiny trash. Sometimes the people that we think we know are very very good at hiding their pain. Sometimes the things we don’t say haunt us.
Since. Sometimes. Say it.
We were put here as witnesses to the miracle of life. We see the stars, and we want them. We are beholden to give back to the universe…. If we make landfall on another star system, we become immortal. Ray Bradbury Speech to National School Board Association (1995)
Ray Bradbury died today. I love his work: his defense of books, his fight against censorship, and above all the notions of the miraculous future that would unfold before my eyes as I grew. He was one of the writers that made me excited about the future, made me more conscious of the dark dehumanizing side of technology, one of the architects of the “What Ifs” that still guide my daily creative explorations and the provider of some of the more accessible componentry of my moral compass.
Here’s one of my favourites, I posted this to David Gillespie just the other day: Doing is Being
Doing is being.
To have done’s not enough.
To stuff yourself with doing — that’s the game.
To name yourself each hour by what’s done,
To tabulate your time at sunset’s gun
And find yourself in acts
You could not know before the facts
You wooed from secret self, which much needs wooing,
So doing brings it out,
Kills doubt by simply jumping, rushing, running
Forth to be
The new-discovered me.
To not do is to die,
Or lie about and lie about the things
You just might do some day.
Away with that!
Tomorrow empty stays
If no man plays it into being
With his motioned way of seeing.
Let your body lead your mind –
Blood the guide dog to the blind;
So then practice and rehearse
To find heart-soul’s universe,
Knowing that by moving/seeing
Proves for all time: Doing’s being!
Filed under: Zeitgeist
Inspired by David’s Every now and Then post:
Every now and then I plug my blog into Wordle and see what it spits out. As a summation of what I’m thinking about at the time, it often reveals things to me long before I would have stumbled across the themes myself.
I’m pretty happy that ‘people’ is my overarching theme here. As David noticed you do learn a bunch from this exercise. I do like the patterns:
- in 2006 ‘people’, ‘life’ and ‘others’ were the main themes.
- By 2007 I kind of got distracted with tactics, ‘online’ and ‘digital’ being the top two.
- In 2008 ‘community’ and ‘life’ were slugging it out to ge my attention
- 2009 stories came to the fore (luckily I was looking for ‘great’ ones)
- and now it’s ‘people’ , ‘time’, ‘creative’, ‘strategy’ and ‘experience’
Love the Wordle. What not create your own? I’d love to see it.
“Can you summarize your company’s strategy in 35 words or less? If so, would your colleagues put it the same way?”
I’ve never been able to find any strategist that has the same 35 words to describe what they do or what their output is. The role of advertising strategy is always a fun concept to bring to life with interpretive dance at a party. I find it quite a bit more effective than words. And it’s no more silly than the reality.
UPDATE: this afternoon I found a post Project in Progress: What is Strategy? where Bud Caddell is crowdsourcing the question “What is Strategy” and getting some great answers and nice charts from a bunch of people. He’s pout forward 6 definitions. In addition there are nearly 60 responses. All of them are differently articulated).
HBR maintain “Strategy creation is about doing the right things; implementation is about doing things right” but I’m not too sure about that split, if it’s true or if its possible. I personally like the tension between ‘doing the right things and doing things right’. It really all needs to work together if it’s going to get you to where you want to go.
Here’s what some smart people said about ‘doing the right things’ recently:
twitter.com/bud_caddell- strategy is the definition of purpose.
I’m thinking that this is the ‘where are we going and why’ bit of strategy.
I also like Andy Whitlock’s articulation of creative strategy, ‘ideas with purpose’, because it encompasses ‘doing things right’- and the ‘how are we going to get there and what do we do’ piece of the journey:
I can’t help but think that there’s often a disconnect between the choice of the destination, the itinerary and the experience of the journey. Creative Strategy identifies and describes how all those elements might work together. So kind of like Passepartout’s Travel Bureau to Awesomeness.
Filed under: Zeitgeist
It rained. Sheets and sheets. For days.
But that was just the bed that was made for strange. This weekend, it seems, is when Chatroulette (very VERY NSFW) shacked up in the spare rooms of our imaginations.
The New York Times states: “created just three months ago by a 17-year-old Russian named Andrey Ternovskiy, (Chatroulette) drops you into an unnerving world where you are connected through webcams to a random, fathomless succession of strangers from across the globe.”
17! Check out Fast Company’s coverage of the bidding war between the U.S. and Russia over where the company will end up. Some estimates put the site’s worth somewhere between €10 million and €30 million.
The site activates your webcam automatically; when you click “start” you’re suddenly staring at another human on your screen and they’re staring back at you, at which point you can either choose to chat (via text or voice) or just click “next,” instantly calling up someone else. The result is surreal on many levels.
The ever awesome Annik puts it this way:
If you haven’t checked out ChatRoulette, I highly recommend it. This kept me and my housemate entertained for no less than 2 hours during last Saturday’s never-ending downpour and at first I was embarrassed to be talking to complete strangers in my pajamas, but by the end I needed to be prized away from the computer. (and I do heartily suggest you visit her site for some seriously good funny)
During my session, the average “chat” lasted about 5 seconds and I observed several people drinking malt liquor, two girls making out, many many guys who disconnected as soon as they saw I wasn’t female, several girls who disconnected after seeing my face (but not before I caught the looks of disgust on theirs), 3 couples having sex, and 11 erect penises. In a Malkovichian moment, I was even connected to myself once…and then the other me quickly disconnected. In short, Chatroulette is pretty much the best site going on the internet right now.
New York Magazine’s Sam Anderson braved the fray in his piece The Human Shuffle Is ChatRoulette the Future of the Internet or Its Distant Past?
Although ChatRoulette feels radically new, it’s built entirely out of recycled parts—it’s just a potent combination of programs we’ve all been familiar with for years. Web chat has been around since the beginning of the Internet. Skype made the Star Trek–like experience of instant synchronized video communication an everyday reality back in 2003. But these experiences were almost always curated: The point was to chat and Skype with co-workers and friends, or at least with strangers who shared your interests
I really like this kernel
The internet has always been defined by (and drawn much of its energy from) the tension between chaos and control—and over the last ten years, web culture has skewed heavily toward control. Our most popular new online tools—Google, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Digg—were designed to help us tame the web’s wildness, to tag its outer limits and set up user-friendly taxonomies. ChatRoulette is, in this sense, a blast from the Internet past. It’s the anti-Facebook, pure social-media shuffle.
Once you dive in, there’s no way to manage the experience—to filter users, search for friends, or backtrack and reconnect with someone you chatted with an hour ago. There’s only the perpetual forward motion of “next.” It’s the Wild West: a stupid, profound, thrilling, disgusting, totally lawless boom.
Dip your toe in and catch up on the latest random adventures here: The Best of Chatroulette
UPDATE: and it had to happen…the first pitchslapping I’ve seen:
If you rise above the sea of failing men and charm a woman on Chaatroulette, we’ll give you a token for real life date-winning outfit: A French Connection voucher for 250 pounds
from Manifesto Feb 26 2010
Got to love visualisation.
Also check out the video game time line here.
You can search the timeline by person, technology, business, console, accessory, game or cultural.
The timeline starts at Charles Babbage in 1792 with some key turning points games development, like the establishment of Milton Bradley in the 1860’s and the launch of Nintendo in 1889.
1947 is believed to be the first year when a game was designed for playing on a Cathode Ray Tube (CRT). This very simple game was designed by Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann. A patent application was filed on January 25th, 1947 and U.S. Patent #2 455 992 issued on Dec 14th, 1948.
Spacewar! is one of the earliest known digital computer games. Steve “Slug” Russell, Martin “Shag” Graetz and Wayne Witaenem of the fictitious “Hingham Institute” conceived of the game in 1961. It took approximately 200 hours of work to create the initial version.
Anyways- there’s loads of history geekiness – and some really useful launch dates and synopsis of most of the major games up to 2010.
No wonder finding the right one is so hard……
Filed under: Zeitgeist
I’m musing on notions of “Atemporality”, Steampunk with Metaphysics, brought about by Bruce Sterling at Reboot 11.
While he didn’t use any visualization for this talk. I just wanted to clarify my own thinking.
I’m deeply in the Favela Chic camp myself….
Filed under: Zeitgeist
The darkness of the last couple of days has been a little overwhelming so this was a lovely reminder that where there’s life there’s light.
The Victorian Government has established a registration process for people wanting to volunteer in bushfire relief. To register as a volunteer go to the Go Volunteer Victorian Appeal website or call the Volunteering Australia hotline on 1300 366 356.
To help with wildlife rescue please contact Wildlife Victoria.
To offer help with stock fodder and agistment contact the Victorian Farmers Federation
You can also offer horse agistment and hay through the Triple R Equine Welfare Crisis Network, who are also helping with animal transport.
For offers of accommodation for small animals please contact Animal Aid
Wildlife Rescue and Protection Incorporated are also seeking donations to help them rescue burnt and injured animals in the Boolarra and Mirboo North Areas of Gippsland. For more information visit the WRAP website.
Filed under: Zeitgeist
Today is S…L…O…W
A cup of joe
Is all I know
A healthier glow
(this image and more coffee love from illustrator Christoph Niemann can be found here)
Filed under: Zeitgeist
Would you call you clients experts in online?
Would they have spent 10,000 hours devoted to this understanding ?
How about you? Have you spent 10,000 hours?
Malcom Gladwell’s latest thinking in his book Outlier describes the conditions which bring about expertise. I think this can help shed light on why it can be so difficult to get an “I see. I agree” from a client.
It might be this experience lag- not an unwillingness to learn, not a love of another media channel, not an inability to grasp the concepts- that is preventing the uninitiated from embracing new ideas.
The biggest misconception about success is that we do it solely on our smarts, ambition, hustle and hard work. There’s an awful lot more that goes into it than we admit.
This idea - that excellence at a complex task requires a critical, minimum level of practice – surfaces again and again in studies of expertise. In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is a magic number for true expertise: 10,000 hours.
You couldn’t say that it was a rocket science style observation that practice makes perfect, and that concentrated diligence on a task goes a long way to achieve mastery. For me the question is: how can you get people to understand new ideas when the experience gap is so large?
Cramming. The answer has to be: Tutor. Tutor. Tutor. You have to give your clients experience. So that they can get your experience. They won’t have time to practice.
“People don’t rise from nothing,” he writes. “They are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot … It is only by asking where they are from that we can unravel the logic behind who succeeds and who doesn’t.”
You need to be the beneficiary for your clients, build extraordinary opportunities, be the hidden advantage to their success and help make sense of the world in the way that others can’t.
“We’ve been far too focused on the individual—on describing the characteristics and habits and personality traits of those who get furthest ahead in the world. And that’s the problem,” says Gladwell. “Because in order to understand the outlier I think you have to look around them—at their culture and community and family and generation. We’ve been looking at tall trees, and I think we should have been looked at the forest.”
Do more than look at the forest for the seeds of success. Plant one.
Noted in the Tate Modern employee area by Neil Perkin.
Filed under: Zeitgeist
Click image. Read. Laugh.
According to Chinese folklore, when a child is born they are connected by an invisible red thread (or string of fate) to all who will care about them. As the child grows, the thread becomes shorter, drawing them ever closer to people who will impact their destiny.
I’m loving this term and how it can relate to consumer centric design and service oriented architecture- that you can design systems which, as you move through them, will allow the objects that will help you evolve, be drawn to you.
Some of my recent pulled strings:
- a wonderful piece on the power of Information Architecture: The full realisation of the power of the information when you add an access layer to data.
- Jay Smooth’s ill Doctrine smart styling rap hip-hop video blog http://www.illdoctrine.com/ Is he talking about politics, rap or the nature of masculinity? Or all three?
- Gartner predicts that by 2010, social-banking platforms will have captured 10 per cent of the available worldwide market for retail lending and financial planning.
- Astound your friends and amaze your colleagues with Canuckflack’s cheat sheet post “I Am A Capable Strategist and Thoughtful Person”
- one of the best recent articles on designing brand utility Fun Way to Lose Weight: Turn Dieting Into an RPG which also has a link to Jane Mcgonigal’s opening address at SXSW.
- the growing ‘ambient awareness’, smashing the Dunbar number and the rapid growth of weak ties in the NYTimes article “I’m so totally, digitally into you: Brave New World of Digital Intimacy” by CLIVE THOMPSON – and get into the readers comments
Filed under: Zeitgeist
For all the God-like powers that video games have bestowed upon us — from slaying armies to pretending to be rock stars — it wasn’t until now that players could actually build life. Spore, designed by Will Wright of Sim City fame, is based on evolution: you start with microbes and customize on up. Seth Schiesel declares it “probably the coolest, most interesting toy I have ever experienced.” Go create your universe.
“Playing God, The Home Game,” by Seth Schiesel
“Gaming Evolves,” by Carl Zimmer
Contageous special report on gaming
Interview with Sophie Peer , Amnesty International, about human rights in China, with a special focus on the Great Firewall of China. By Stilgherrian.
Other great tips from him:
- Empirical Analysis of Internet Filtering in China | Harvard Law School: An analysis of China’s Great Firewall which concludes that the blocking systems are becoming more refined even as they are likely more labor- and technology-intensive to maintain than cruder predecessors.
- Handbook for bloggers and cyber-dissidents | Reporters sans frontières: Tips and technical advice on how to to remain anonymous and to get round censorship, by choosing the most suitable method for each situation.
- The Great Firewall of China: how it works, how to bypass it