28 January, 2012

Doing Small Things Well

The wonders of doing something well. Whether it is a freshly ironed shirt,

Or making a good cup of cappuccino,

It is delight seeing these two people doing something with elegance and care. Don't you think?

15 January, 2012

A living worth scraping

If I can only scrape a living, at least it will be a living worth scraping.” Mickey Smith

A while ago, I posted this video of Mickey Smith called, Dark Side of the Lens. The photography, music, and text are all done by this extraordinary man, who obviously/obsessively loves the wilds of nature.

Dark Side of the Lens from Astray Films on Vimeo

Today I stumbled upon his talk at Do Lectures. The Dark Side of the Lens is also presented during his talk. It is interesting to hear him tell of his childhood on the Cornish coast. Hearing how these experiences and the inquiring of his sister made him do the film, somehow makes the film even more brilliant than before.

He mentions at one point in his presentation how he lived one year by the flip of the coin. It was a strange year with a lot of adventures.

Even though I don't think I would ever be crazy/reckless/spontaneous enough to live like this, it really would be fun to do so on the occasion. What do you think, would you give it ago?

I am putting it on my to-do list of this year.

Do Lectures is a fine site to while away your time on. If you do so and find a presentation that is especially inspiring, please tell me.

14 January, 2012

Fotoshop by Adobé

About 15 years ago, I decided to try my hand at photo editing. Like any person setting out in this field, I went out and bought myself a version of Photoshop.

It's odd, but to this day, Photoshop rules and has done so for the past 20 years or so. Not many programs can say the same. It is not only a product name but a verb (to be photoshopped).

I love the video above. It parodies our societies ridiculous obsession for perfection. It also touches on the various bells and whistles of this brilliant software program. For someone who has spent probably hundreds, if not thousands, of hours using the program, the video is a real lark.

13 January, 2012

Sleeping in trains

Today I held a seminar in a place quite a few hours away. I had to get up a 4:30 am to be there by 9:00. Taxi, train, another train, street car, and then taxi... this is the sequence of transportation I had to take to get there (and then again coming back).

I was sitting in the taxi or train anywhere from 5 minutes to 50 minutes at a time. As you can imagine, this was not enough time to unpack a picnic or dive into a new book. Instead, I dosed away the hours in-and-out of sleep, watched the various commuters get on and off the train every few stations, and listened to bits and pieces of my current audio book.

I was going to write a post about this book, The Once and Future King, but since I probably will not get around to it, here are the absolute highlights:
  •  it is 33 hours and 3 minutes long
  • the reader, Neville Jason has a very soothing voice (especially for those of us who suffer from insomnia)
  • the story is delightful and entertaining, even though I know what is going to happen
  • I am very nostalgic about this book since a dear friend of mine and I discovered about 30 years ago that there where numerous version of this book. We went about reading every edition we could find
  • it is just a walloping good tale
I loved the whole experience of traveling far (for German standards) just to give a few hours' seminar. Not necessarily something I would do all the time, but it was a fun experience nevertheless.

07 January, 2012

The Big Picture

Please take a look at last year's National Geographic Photography Contest winners!

Source the Boston Post, The Big Picture blog.

04 January, 2012

Zero Inbox

Years ago, I watched this video of Merlin Martin explaining his method of Zero Inbox. I was intrigued with the idea of making instant, quick, possibly radical, decisions daily about how to handle the constant flow of information arriving in my inbox. So, for a while, I followed his methods (more or less).

Then like most practices stemming from good intentions, I digressed and even regressed into bad behaviour. Things went from bad to worse, when I tried embracing a new idea, "only touch once". This idea states you should only handle a piece of information once. Read, think, respond, act. No previewing. No hesitation.

If you get an email or phone message on your voice mail and you know that you are not in the position to act upon the information given, don't open it. Do so when you can complete the task. If you only partially read an email and have to go back later to look at it, you are wasting time that first glance (previewing).

"Touch on once" does make sense on many levels. Yet, it also means that I amassed nearly 100 unread emails in the last six months.

Today was my day allocated to reading my nearly 100 "unread mails" and zeroing my inbox. Mission Accomplished!