Come and Join Me On My Cloud

It only took a pandemic (and watching Greta Gerwig’s Little Women) to get me to start writing again. On of the key reasons I began sharing my blogging in the mid-aughts was that I had a lot of free time to explore the Internet. Having been quarantined for the past 4 days I can safely say that feeling is coming back. I have a lot of time to stop, think, and be curious.

So far, Kyle and the dogs and I are doing pretty well in isolation. Kyle has a worrisome brain, paired with his love language of “acts of service” mean that we were stockpiled and ready weeks ago. His diligence and thoughtfulness during this time has been a blessing. Growing up an only child feels like a boon right now.

Technology has been a surprising asset. Twitter has felt more like a communal space to share things, it reminds me of a decade ago. Lots of group chats, FaceTime, Slack video conferencing, VPN, Apple Watch to make me mindful of standing. Grateful I upgraded to the super fast Internet long ago.

There’s a lot going on right now so I’m going to try and find and share some of the beauty that’s out there.

Making Sundays For Me

My this has been a long week. There’s quite a bit of irony in telling people, “Hey, I’ve got a new blog” and then having no time to write in it. Work-wise I’m helping develop the social media marketing for Disney+, which is on top of my job leading the creative team for Disney, Pixar, and Star Wars social. To say it’s a busy time would be an understatement 😊 Personally, Kyle and I are running Agility, working on freelance projects and putting on art shows and events in our converted living room. A lot of days I find it hard to be motivated to read, write, or make something.

My old therapist helped me realize that as an only child I tend to process things better when I’m by myself. I need this alone time to cope with all the things in my life, bad or good. It gets challenging when you have so many responsibilities. It feels hard to communicate that and I end up feeling guilty when I can’t make time for other people. I know that I’m doing the best I can though and ultimately that’s important.

I’m now trying to utilize Sundays as days to focus on personal priorities. Mostly reading, writing, and designing. I see so many articles or editorial pieces that I want to read and really focus on yet I never seem to have time. For example, today the new issue of T Magazine came out and there are four wonderful profiles on Rachel Weisz, Nick Cave, Nicolas Ghesquière and Shigeru Ban. I have to be diligent with my time though and ensure I’m spending it on my priorities. I have a list of bookmarks that I want to write about but haven’t had time. Hopefully today is the day.

A Perfect Circle

Can you draw a perfect circle? There’s certainly a specific skill, especially doing so on a computer, which this fun single serving site challenges you to do. In fact, it measures your accuracy, though I’m not really sure how. The best I was able to achieve was 96.4% yet that circle is FAR from perfect. h/t to kottke

How perfect of a circle can you make?

Watch and Learn

A few weeks back Frank Chimero posted a piece titled Leave the Phone at Home which highlighted the idea of utilizing an Apple Watch instead of a phone as your everyday communication device. The piece resonated with me and got stuck in my craw. If an Apple Watch has cellular service, you could do a lot with a little. It’s part of the reason why I have an iPhone SE, I love it’s compact size and it’s small screen makes me want to look at my phone less. It’s less distracting. So, I bought a Watch, enabled the cellular connection, and started my experiment.

The results have been positive but not yet life-shaking. A lot of the success in disconnecting from my phone is changing ingrained behaviors. Currently, I’m writing this on my phone in IA Writer, my favorite app for writing and note taking. If I truly was “disconnected” I should have written this in my notebook with pen and paper. But then I have to transcribe this which takes additional time. Not sure there’s a right or wrong answer here, it comes down to your personal preference.

Additionally, there are things to consider like listening to music (I wish they still made dedicated iPods) which I do, basically, as much as possible. To take photos I’ve been bringing my Canon along but then I need a phone or computer to download them, I’d want to edit them in VSCO etc. More steps in my process.

I suppose my intention is to not get sucked into the black hole of my phone, so if I’m actually using it a tool, then maybe that’s not so bad? I’m being active, not passive, and maybe that’s a big difference? I’ll write about my process more in a few weeks to see how things change.

Bonjour

Welcome to my new blog. As you’ll see there’s lots to catch up on, I’ve been writing for weeks now in private. I can tell you that this isn’t going to be like Kitsune Noir or The Fox Is Black, but there will be shades of it. I can’t stop being me. Expect a lot more personal stuff because that’s what I need right now. Consider this blog more of a brain dump than anything. It’s kind of like my old LiveJournal, but far less dramatic.

Additionally, big thanks to Myk Tongco for all the work on developing the site. He’s extremely talented, very patient, and creates amazing websites. I chose to keep the site bare bones aesthetically, he’s a superstar and you should hire him.

It feels good to be back 😊

Naive Calligraphy

I’m by no means an expert in typography but I know what I like when I see it. Simula is a typeface made by Justin Sloane who has no formal training in designing typefaces, which he views as a strength, creating something that is “both functional and unexpected.”

This has such a European newspaper vibe that feels timeless but also pretty contemporary. The italics are so damn sexy. Incredible details with lots of little things that give it life. Well done Justin, now I need to find a project to use this in.

Doped Up

Kyle sent me a fascinating article on the idea of “dopamine fasting” last week, and though it sounds, it feels kind of plausible. The idea is simple: we get hits of dopamine from our brain from things like cheeseburgers, TV, Instagram, sex, and our brain really loves them. With all this constant stimulation our modern lives our brains get a little numb, like a worn down tire. That’s the theory at least, though no one is sure how laid this claim is.

Eric Bowman, Ph.D., a neuroscience lecturer at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, hadn’t heard of dopamine fasting before Inverse reached out to him, but he grasped the concept behind it right away.

“My admittedly superficial understanding of the idea behind dopamine fasting is that modern life causes dopamine overstimulation, which in turn causes the molecular changes which ‘calm down’ dopamine neurotransmission, but that this results in dopamine transmission being too low between rewards,” he tells Inverse. “A break from the fast pace of modern-day rewards would allow the system to reset, or so the theory goes.”

Personally, I find myself needing to disconnect more and more. I’m sitting at LACMA drinking bubbly wine and writing this on an iPad, but I’m using the technology as a tool, not stuck in a black hole. My friend Lindsay recommended the book How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell (more in another post) which reaffirms a lot of the things I’m feeling lately. All of these ideas, essentially going back to simpler time (minus the racism, homophobia, misogyny, patriarchy), is having a renaissance.

The Changing Roles of Museums

Dan Graham is an American artist and curator best known for his integral role in beginnings of Conceptual Art during the 1960s. Antoine Catala is an artist who creates new and playful relations between language and reality. Together, they recently spoke in the fall issue of Bomb magazine, and this exchange about how museums have changed over the last century felt quite on the nose.

AC: And what would you say museums are now? How have they evolved?

DG: There are three stages. At first museums were historical buildings, surrounded landscape parks often from different historical periods. My work encompasses some these historical overlays. Then in the lat ‘80s, they became engaged with educational programs, because that’s how the money came in. I got interested in putting a children’s daycare center into a museum lobby, and later did a mezzanine area in London called Waterloo Sunset for the Hayward Gallery. It was free for people waling along the Thames, a place where children could watch cartoons as well as Arts Council England videos by contemporary artists, and it was also used by the museum’s educational department for children to make their own artworks–for example, Lichtensteins, if that’s what the Hayward was showing. Finally, it could be used for evening events like banquets.
Now, in the third stage of this evolution, museums become about spectacle. You get a lot of people in there for the corporate funding. And it’s specifically about the high-tech spectacle. There’s this new museum in Rome, the one designed by Zaha Hadid—

AC: MAXXI, the National Museum of 21st Century Arts.

DG: Yes. It’s totally a manifestation of this, and The Shed in Manhattan is too.

AC: Well, did this all start with the Guggenheim, where the building itself is more important than the art inside?

DG: From my point of view, the turn toward spectacle began with the Tate Modern, which reassembles a corporate atrium.

AC: Indeed, I was there when it was being built. There were throwing parties already.

It felt like the Louvre was in that first phase still which is what made it feel static and uninteresting. Museums like LACMA are actively heading toward the third phase. It’ll be interesting to look at museums through this lens from now on.

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