Archive for the ‘Daily’ Category

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Wonder Wednesday

April 19, 2017

A lovely Lynx Shaman design by Quidames:

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Philosophy Tuesday

April 18, 2017

This is a philosophical statement.  It is intended to spark thinking and examining.

Reality is what we take to be true.

What we take to be true is what we believe.

What we believe is based upon our perceptions.

What we perceive depends on what we look for.

What we look for depends on what we think.

What we think depends on what we perceive.

What we perceive determines what we believe.

What we believe determines what we take to be true.

What we take to be true is our reality.

Quantum Physicist David Bohm

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Architecture Monday

April 17, 2017

A nice little piece of adaptive reuse tonight, converting an auto body shop into a Japanese bathhouse.  Wait, what?

But yes, that is completely the case.  Often we overlook many of the buildings around us, indifferent to them and only noticing when we come across big-A or grand architecture.  Yet the everyday buildings make much more of an impression on us (very much every day as it says in their name), and everyday buildings are all capable of being spaces that invite and uplift.  And so, here, this everyday building was repurposed (I will not say rehabilitated, for I don’t think it was unhabilitated before) with care to create a serene space where we may not have expected one to be found.

Exposed brick, cleaned up timber supports and columns plus new walls made of reclaimed wood, an adjusted ceiling to transform the proportions of the space, skylight to bring light deep into the space, a sealed and polished concrete floor – all elements that make themselves seen in various combinations throughout the bathhouse.  Add to that an overall aesthetic that continually mixes opposites to heighten and enhance each and every part.  It’s straightforward and sensuous.  Lovely place.

Onsen in San Francisco.

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Beauty and the Remake

April 13, 2017

It’s a tale as old as time… and a movie as old as 1991.

Ahh, Beauty and the Beast.  A tale as old as time… and a movie that sailed into our hearts in the more recent times of 1991.

The original animated movie came as Disney was rocketing skyward once more in what’s come to be known as the Disney Renaissance (culminating with my beloved The Lion King).  It ended up being nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, the first and only time an animated movie has been thusly nominated (and likely to remain the only time with the subsequent creation of the Best Animated Feature category).  The ballroom scene remains one of the most stunning moments in animation history.  It is firmly entrenched as a Disney Classic.

So how does this classic tale and animated glory fare in its live-action remake?

(Caution!  Spoilers ahead!) Read the rest of this entry ?

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Wonder Wednesday

April 12, 2017

This is otterly cute…

Wonderful animated gif art by CL Terry

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Philosophy Tuesday

April 11, 2017

This is a philosophical statement.  It is intended to spark thinking and examining.

There’s a distinction that Sifu has brought up a few times in our training I call the “Olympic Distinction”.

Which is to say that at the Olympics, things are decided by the 1/1000 of a second.  That little extra oomph of training and effort often makes all the difference.

In that way it’s not an unfamiliar distinction, and one propagated on countless motivational posters. BUT!  In a very Niels Bohr-ian way, there’s an even more powerful distinction here, especially for those, like me, who can or readily do fall prey to streaks of perfectionism:

“1/1000 only applies at the Olympics.” *

There are many times in life when we can get caught in our own mental traps that drive us to over polished—and ultimately unproductive—excess. We push and prod and try to make perfect and fret and expend time and effort and sweat and oomph and get nervous and distraught and stressed and all riled up and lose sleep and then… either…

never finish the darn thing,

have to cut it short to finish on time thus parts are left ironically underdone,

have to make changes and the extra effort is lost,

or all that extra effort didn’t make a difference in the final result or even in quality.

It’s hard thing to grasp sometimes.  It’s even hard for me to type it out.  It sounds so much like “be sloppy” or “don’t try your hardest” or “everyone else is a fool they won’t notice anyway”, or “cut corners”  or “never improve” or…

But it’s not really that.  It’s a reminder that good enough is still pretty frikken good.  That perfection can be an illusion.  That not everything we participate in is the Olympics.  And above all to be simply present to the cost that comes with perfectionism.

Sometimes that cost is that we don’t even start.  We see the amount of work it would take to reach that level of perfection and we think, “I’m never going to be able to get to an Olympic level to do that, so why bother, it’s not worth even starting.”  And so we abandon all the joy we’d have in the learning, the doing, and losing ourselves deeply in that activity.

We can get trapped on both ends, never starting or never finishing.  We can hinder our enjoyment of the task, and we can hinder our time to enjoy other things as we burn it all into this moment of perfectionism.  And, in the most counterintuitive way possible, it can even hinder the work.

Finding that middle path, and walking it, is where we, and our work, can shine.  We can play full out and avoid the Perils of Perfect(ion).**

And turn out some quite frikken good stuff.

 

* In many ways, this sentiment is also captured in the more common phrase “Perfect is the enemy of good” (or the more original phrase by Voltaire, “Le  mieux est l’ennemi du bien” – “The best is the enemy of good.”)

** Hmmm… Beware the PoP?

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Architecture Monday

April 10, 2017

Sometimes, when you have a rock, you need to embrace it.

And that’s just what this house does.

Built around this large boulder that was existing on the site, it could be a gimmick house, the rock being no different than a fancy staircase of marble or an out-of-place chandelier.  Instead, there’s a wonderful balance and duality that is created that has the rock both be the metaphorical and physical heart of the home while also, in a way, disappearing into the background.

The simple and elegant frame is the key here.  Lightweight and straightforward, the corrugated metal roofing, the thin steel framing, and especially the increadibly generous amount of glass play off the ruggedness of the rocks both inside and outside of the house.  These clean and repetitive lines are a perfect foil to the natural rough textures of the desert landscape, heightening the experience of one another.  At the same time, the rock within unites with the view of rocks out the window, joining the two together, and it is in this way that the  still proudly jutting rock that the house envelops fades away.  Coupled with the large sliding panels that open up corners of the house completely, the space inside expands outwards towards the mountains on the horizon.

 

While the house is small, it never feels small.  Beyond the indoor/outdoor connection mentioned above, the elegant built-in furniture keeps everything tidy and makes the most of its small size.  Pinwheeling around the boulder, the furniture here too maintains a duality of keeping the rock at the centre while orienting the activities and attention to the rugged beauty just beyond the building’s confines.

Plus, there’s just something playful about a window that seems to merge effortlessly into the rock, with bright yellow curtains that are also cut to seamlessly snuggle up to the rock face.  That light switch, however, I would not have placed it there…

The conceptual foundation of an architectural design can be anything, even “a rock”.  Follow through with skill and care, and you end up with glorious space that is a delight to be in.

The Frey House II by Albert Frey.