Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It's only fair to tell you, I'm absolutely cuckoo

Some belated Valentine's pressies. Normally I'm not one for Valentine's Day, but I do love any occasion that involves making pressies.

A gift for the dear Nanni...

Pocky stick letter and pennies upon which to make wishes!

The delightful Chlohan sent me this mini (yet mighty) gift! The cutest little package in the world...


I think I'm alone now...

I am having trouble writing this posting. It's because I'm multi-tasking. I can't quite focus. There's a gazillion things going on. I've got multiple windows open, a dozen chats happening, Facebook, Twitter, music and TV on in the background. My attention is all over the place. How has my head not exploded yet?

I've heard that's the "Internet Generation", simultaneously overstimulated AND bored. Too much happening, everything vying for attention, yet nothing being able to hold it for long enough.

I've noticed I've become a lot more ADD since I started my current job. Demands coming from all over has spread my ability to pay attention thin. And I don't like it. There's a time and place for multi-tasking, just like there's a value to single-tasking.

Which is why it was a blessing to find this article by Mark McGuinness on meditation and creativity on 99%. So much of the creative process and writing requires a clear mind. And time to mull it over. I think it's good to have the ol' neurons firing, but they also need some down time.

McGuinness writes about the benefits of meditation. "Qualities such as focus, calmness, clarity, and insight are as important to your creative process as glamour and stimulation." So true. Yet, it's hard to quiet the mind when it's racing. It's like yoga. I like yoga. It allows me to slow down the mind, expel the day and just breathe. Just breathe. Like meditation, it gives me some clarity and insight. But it takes practice. The mind is so used to being stimulated, that we actually have to work at settling it down.

I spend quite a bit of time alone as is, but I'm not actually alone. I'm always plugged in. Phone, IM, computer, etc. And there's no stillness. Michael Sean Symonds wrote an excellent piece about stillness in Ode. He writes, "We become so obsessed in the doing something that all of a sudden we want to do everything. And all of the time, the value of doing nothing goes unrecognized...If more people spent more time doing nothing, they might become aware of their true nature."

I'd say so. I think there's a huge value in travelling alone. When you travel alone, there's a forced stillness and quiet self-reflection.

So I'm going to try an experiment. I'm going to try and tune out more often. Unplug. Unwind. And just sit. Maybe in the dark. Think. Reflect. Breathe.

Hush now. Shh...

Bjork - It's oh so quiet from Stage of the Art .net on Vimeo.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


I stumbled upon this amazing little gem when I was in Montreal last week. Bikurious Montreal is a rad bike shop and space on Rue Amherst. Its aim is to provide a safe and comfortable space where people can come in and learn about bicycles as well as other cool initiatives. Not only that, the website is a great resource for good places to support in Montreal and upcoming events.

What struck me immediately about Bikurious was how friendly and welcoming it was. I sometimes find bike culture pretty exclusive and intimidating, so it's nice to feel comfortable asking questions in a space that won't make you feel like an idiot for asking.

There are a couple places in Toronto (Bike Pirates and Community Bicycle Network) where you can go to learn to fix up/care for your bicycle, but they don't have that same cozy feeling Bikurious gives off.

Bikurious should just open a Toronto chapter. By my house...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Time is $$$

Your most important asset isn't your skills, capability, friends, social standing, money, looks or anything of that silly sort. It's your time. Time, time, time. I've been obsessed with thinking about time lately: How to manage it better, how to squeeze every possible second out of the day, what to do with the precious moments I have when I'm not working and importantly, how to juggle that work/life balance, and looking at who I spend it with. We already waste so much time working -- in some cases for people we don't even like doing tasks we loathe.

Your time is kinda like your virginity. A gift you bestow onto others. Depending on who you give your time to, it can either be an intensely enjoyable or soul-crushingly miserable experience. And you'll never get that time back, so you'd better choose wisely. Unless you like wasting it, a reckless forfeit of time, then by all means, pop that time-cherry and spend it with any random schmuck.

I hate wasting time. I'm not saying that you have to spend every moment doing something. There is a great value in relaxation and doing nothing. Just not all the time. And you're bound to spend it with some random schmuck or wish you could have chosen your companion wiser every once in a while.

The point is, most of the time you can choose how and who to spend your pockets of time with. (How many times will I say time in this post?) I'm not a television watcher, and I hate just lying about when I can be working on some kind of creative project. And I hate spending it with people who are time spoilers.

Oh yeah, I was pretty delighted to find this Make Something Cool Everyday project. Now, that's a nice way to spend your free time.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Inspiration abound

I went to Montreal over the weekend. Again. Every time I go to that city, I feel so inspired. There is a wonderful, quirky art scene there, and I am always in awe of the innovative and creative things people make.

As a result, I feel inspired to create again. More than just words. It's like Montreal kick-started the creative engine, so I'm going to work on some fun projects. One of my favourite things to do is assemble packages for people. My dear friend Ian suffered a loss recently, so I am writing him a letter and gathering some things to try and cheer him up.

I also picked up these beautiful letterpress blocks with images imprinted on them. I'm not sure what era they are from, but the one of the men in the library reminds me of the 50s or 60s. I'm planning to display them like photos on my wall, since I have such high ceilings and so much wall space. I <3, <3, <3 them. There's something so terrific about a moment forever captured on a wood block.