Monday, June 29, 2009
So I am about to start/get going on a new round of books. If you've read them I'd love to hear & thoughts.
1) Rejuvenile by Christopher Noxon - I've actually been "reading" this one for a while. It actually is a carry over from the last pile. It is about how the current American "grown-up" isn't so much a grown-up. Considering I just spent my bachelor's weekend playing tons of Fire Emblem- Radiant Dawn, I should maybe jump back in to this book to explain this behavior! (Actually, it was great fun; I hadn't played a video game like that since college.)
2) Nudge by Thaler and Sunstein - This is one of those - "change the way you look at the world" books (said by Steven D. Levitt who coauthored one himself) that is important for those of us in planning to be reading.
3) The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert - I am well into this one. Charlie recommended it; he knows my taste very well. I am growing my beard (again) in honor of this book. The book helps you understand this funny country of ours through one of our most endearing and authentic persona. I'm thinking I could use an Adult Camp experience at Turtle Island...
4) Can Poetry Save the Earth? by John Felstiner - We are so obsessed with how scientist our natural world. Have we been too myopic? Many brilliant people have been writing brilliant poetry about this world for a while now. I look forward to this investigation. The book was introduced to me by Chris Riley of Apple at the Influx Curated conference. Last night, I watched glass: a portrait of Philip in 12 parts (you can watch it instantly on Netflix streaming). WOW! A wonderful look into creative genius and collaboration, fulfillment, symphonic thinking (in its truest meaning) and inspiration. Like TLAM (#3) it is an intimate portrayal of admiration that still shows the difficult parts of a life and personality. Anyway, I need to spend more time looking at artists and less at planners and advertising for inspiration.
5) The Blue Sweater by Jacqueline Novogratz - this is one of those "we rich people can do better" books. I don't know too much about it; I just know I need to read it. (And yes you are rich if you are reading this ... how close are you to clean water, food, medical supplies? How big is your support network and what are their resources?, etc.)
OK, time to get ready. Please always send me books I should be reading. Thanks.
Have a FABULOUS week!
Nice sunset from the bedroom window, eh?
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Now, many people talk about how awful it is that people use the Daily Show as "their sole news source" (And I agree, it is bad when people do this, but you have to remember that this is probably mostly people who weren't using any respectable source for news. Not like people stopped turning to the NYT in order to grab their news from the Daily Show ... and the Daily Show does show us how ridiculous many "credible" news sources are. But anyway, off-topic...)
However, many people forget about the advantage of this easily-digestible, silly show about current events. They are fun to watch as a family. When I was Sam's age, I couldn't stand when 60 Minutes came on the TV .. I would stare at the ceiling and imagine it covered with elves fighting cockroaches, rather than go through one of those segments. But, Sam, Mary and I actually enjoy watching The Daily Show together; Sam is often the one requesting we watch it. (Now, I know it has an obvious political-skew, but one that is pretty close to our home values anyway. But that is a discussion/investigation/arguement for another time.)
After this particular Daily Show viewing, we spent much of the evening talking about abortion, reproductive rights and family decisions, etc. A topic that would have been hard to open if we'd led with, "So, Sam ... What do you think about abortion?" Instead, The Daily Show brought the topic into our home in an intelligent and less-heavy way. Sam actually said, "I've learned more tonight talking with you guys than I did all of 6th grade." Now, that is a bit of an exaggeration from a short-sighted kid newly out of school. (Sam constantly came home with really smart and interesting things that he learned at school) But again, homework took up the time for us to have these types of discussions.
I don't know if homework really helped Sam in his pre-teen years (I know it helped, but did it help at the expense of greater value from family interaction). I understand the need for it in the teenage (and after) years, because a certain independence is being discovered and a need for self-reliance, control and motivation. However, in this age-period of family learning and activity - homework sure was a burden and seemed to be just an extension of the skills he was already learning at school.
So, thanks Daily Show.
One of the things we've been doing to get away from the glowing rectangles (besides hiking), is playing lots of games. We've fallen in love with the store Gamescape North; I have over-ridden my knee-jerk purchases at Amazon to head to the store. We love the advice from the helpful, courteous staff as well as the collection of stuff.
So here are some of our favorites:
1) Hive - a board-less checker/chess-style game with bugs. A great 2-player to take with you anywhere: fun, quick and strategic.
2) Small World - a geeky "civilization" board game where you actually play several "fantasy races" but the game lasts only 10 turns. This game is fun because you actually have to decide when to put your present group into decline to adopt a new one and it all happens pretty quickly. Dice and other random elements rarely play a role in victory, but there are enough random elements to make each game incredibly unique.
3) Runebound - OK, this one is true geek: an extensive fantasy adventure board game. It is involved and expandable, so it can be a bit time consuming. However, we really dig the fact that the game revolves around going after a common goal, rather than each other. (We, especially Sam, have a tough time attacking or creating obstacles against each other.)
4) Settlers of Catan - This is a very popular game designed in Germany (like most great board games). Basically, you are on a search for resources in order to build and therefore acquire more resources ... very much the story of civilization over the past several centuries. While strategic, you are also much under the power of the dice.
One of the frustrating things we've noticed is how much we are playing now that it is summer. Why? Because Sam doesn't have homework. It is really stupid how much a family suffers in social interaction and strategy skills developed in game play because he has homework which is basically an extension of the rote skills he is practicing in school.
Anyway, I hope you are playing. Let us know if you want to play.
Mary and I dropped Sam off at the airport for a week with his Dad and family in Iowa. Mary is going to go pick him up in Iowa on Friday and spend a week in the Midwest playing with family & friends. So, Bachelor week!
ok, that is a gross over-exaggeration. I've filled my summer work schedule to the point of no time ... again. The week will be busy (and fun), but any free time will be reserved for cleaning and fixing up our place. We've been a bit neglectful.
But we had some time for adventuring.
5 cool things we saw this weekend instead of working on the apartment:
1) A dead mole
2) Prostrate, floating newts
3) So many butterflies in STRONG coastal winds (how do they do it?)
4) A Russian orthodox cemetery from a settlement over 150 years old
5) One of the best benedicts ever: shrimp and prosciutto on grits.
More exploring pics here.
recently gave me the confidence I need to continue a life in planning and/or teaching.
My favorite definitions of acceptable:
+ meeting only minimum requirements; barely adequate: an acceptable performance.
+capable of being endured; tolerable; bearable: acceptable levels of radiation.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
I have been so inspired by Three Cups of Tea (Thanks Charlie) and the work of Greg Mortenson that I was just itching to help women succeed in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
I was also inspired by the themes of the Influx Curated conference that I attended with many students. (Thanks for all who came and Ed Cotton for making it easier for student attendance.)
So, I finally started the Account Planner Kiva team I've been meaning to get going. It just seems to make sense; we have many shared principles. We believe in different. We believe in small changes having a big impact. We believe in diversity and creating sparks. We believe in inspiring and making interesting and wonderful things happen. So, we should be "doing kiva work", promoting ideas and entrepreneurial spirit around the world. And Kiva is so amazing in that it allows you to loan how much you want, to who you want and follow the impact. It gets you from outside the stadium to the sidelines of helping end poverty. I still hope that one day, we can get in the game.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Wow! What a semester. I came back to the Academy less than a week before classes started. It was real run-and-gun. We (Mary, Sam and I) also decided to put ourselves through a move, just to make the semester extra spicy!
First, thanks to Mary and Sam for all the support at home, you guys rock! I couldn't do it without you.
OK. So, I put together a "vision" for what I see we are building here. What is an "Art School Planner"? Here is it, messy explanation and all. (UPDATE: With vimeo video so that it actually plays the WHOLE thing.)
That's what I believe; I look forward to being a part of it all happening. I truly believe we should be more focused on artistic thinking, just as we have recently come to worship at the altar of design-thinking.
We did a kick-ass project with McCann SF this semester. My fabulous friend Leslie Ziegler who works there came to me with an idea. With the help of many McCann-SF people including Chris Callahan (major props), Katharine Lusk and Peter Rudy, they hosted a "create your own story using Microsoft Office" project. The winner (a planner-to-be Rob Beeson) gets to spend the day shadowing at McCann. Here is a cool video Chris put together to commemorate the occasion:
We got a student-only Facebook group (Art of Planning) and Twitter going like everyone else these days. We had fun learning our strengths, and figuring out how to apply them. With the help of some AKQA peeps, I put together a Digital Strategies class for the Fall (and beyond.) That class will be taught by Organic and Razorfish alumn Virginia Alber-Glanstaetten. She also came and helped judge some fun "digital chatter" presentations: Paris (planner-to-be) did a great job with that one:
Speaking of Razorfish, Malia Supe the Director of Planning there hosted a small group of planners to play. She even got their Group Vice President, Experience Planning, Garrick Schmitt to give us an interesting and thought-provoking presentation. I truly think of "digital strategy" differently now.
At Razorfish, the students and I discussed the future. Like, what are we going to do with artofplanning.org? We don't want to do an information dump blog ... we'll think of something ... we ARE artists after all.
We have some amazing conferences happening here this summer. Influx Curated is next week; Ed Cotton was nice enough to get us a student discount. It's a great idea for a conference. We also have THE planning conference in SF later this year. We are hoping to secure some AAU space near the conference and host our own "inspired by excellence" exhibit about future planners, who they are, how they inspire and what inspires them. And then there is buzz in the air that psfk may do another conference here in SF, like last year.
We have incredible people who are and want to teach here, or come speak with the students or impact the curriculum so that we are up-to-the minute (San Francisco wouldn't have it any other way.) It is so nice getting so many different perspectives and I greatly appreciate how welcoming the community has been to training our planners. THANK YOU to all of you.
OK, I'm done for now. Hopefully, I won't be posting too much work stuff here as Art of Planning starts to take on its own identity and digital self.
Thanks everyone for your time and playing with us; it is much appreciated.
Monday, June 1, 2009
We then headed to the theater to check out locally produced UP; we found it as funny, entertaining and touching as everyone else is saying. It was remarkable how many no-kid people Pixar has converted.
Sunday, Mary and Sam fixed a nice potato and pancake brunch at home.
Then we dropped off Sam at a friends where they were filming some homework (I'm very glad he is at a school where they do video homework...) Mary and I headed to Jack London State park in Sonoma County; Jack London has one cool grave: a wildly overgrown rock from his dream home that burned down. While up there we decided to stop and do a couple of tastings at Valley of the Moon and Schug. Valley of the Moon was nice, but Schug was exceptional. We walked away with lots of wine from both, so come visit.
Oh and on Friday I gave blood. Reminder: please give if you can.