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Life & Philosophy Newsletter Productivity & Work Psychology Social Media Tech

Life in blocks, singing karaoke, thin slices of joy, #SaveFabric Tunes, and more

Arts and Culture

Sing to Me: Karaoke is self-compromise as spectacle

It’s no fun if you’re good at karaoke. It’s equally annoying to laugh while you’re signing. You’re supposed to be so bad that your friends can’t ignore you. Said it’s Japanese creator Daisuke Inoue:

“I was nominated [as] the inventor of karaoke, which teaches people to bear the awful singing of ordinary citizens, and enjoy it anyway. That is ‘genuine peace,’ they told me.”


Philosophy and Productivity

A disappointing film that highlights life’s stupid misfortunes

The Paris-based motion design team at Parallel Studio stitched together a series of GIFs that highlight some of the most unfortunate things you might have encountered in everyday life such as like a download that stops at 99% or a spoon that falls all the way into your soup. Watch

Thin Slices of Joy

When you’re young, it’s the big moments like our first car or getting our first kiss that shapes our lives. As we age, the small things matter like a sip of warm coffee or lunch with a friend. Joy all comes down to the art of noticing. Says Google’s former mindfulness guru Chade-Meng Tan:

“Noticing sounds trivial, but it is an important meditative practice in its own right. Noticing is the prerequisite of seeing. What we do not notice, we cannot see.”

Life in blocks

Everybody gets the same amount of hours in a day. It’s your job to use that time most efficiently. Instead of planning your day as a checklist, look at it as a series of 100 10-minute blocks that amount to about 1,000 minutes.

Cooking dinner requires three blocks, while ordering in requires zero—is cooking dinner worth three blocks to you? Is 10 minutes of meditation a day important enough to dedicate a block to it? Reading 20 minutes a night allows you to read 15 additional books a year—is that worth two blocks?


Social Media and Technology

The Binge Breaker: Tristan Harris believes Silicon Valley is addicting us to our phones. He’s determined to make it stop.

Reward and pleasure are addicting, so much so we get anxious when the pellets stop showing up. That’s when we reach into our pockets and pull out the slot machine disguised as a smartphone for another hit of dopamine.

McDonald’s hooks us by appealing to our bodies’ craving for certain flavors; Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter hook us by delivering what psychologists call “variable rewards.”


New Music

 

Episode 107 | Tunes of the Week
  1. Clark – Shadow Banger
  2. A Made Up Sound – Bygones
  3. Jesse Futerman – A Tribute To Horace
  4. Christian Löffler – Myiami
  5. Leron Carson – Lemonline

Listen here


Thought of the Week

“He doesn’t give out energy for the benefit of others. He absorbs energy at others’ cost.” – Francis O’Gorman, Worrying: A Literary and Cultural History

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Newsletter

How to do deep work, China’s ‘Chabauduo’ mindset, Giphy’s art exhibition, NEW beats and more

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Read of the week: Cal Newport explains how to do deep work

Scroll down for ‘tracks of the week’ 🔻


Arts & Culture

China’s ‘Chabuduo’ Mindset

Done is better than perfect, in some cases, as in updating a web design or app. But in China, ‘almost’ is a pervasive and dangerous mindset. Known as ‘Chabuduo’ or ‘good/close enough,’ can have disastrous effects when it comes to building everyday things, especially infrastructure.

“When you’re surrounded by the cheaply done, the half-assed and the ugly, when failure is unpunished and dedication unrewarded all around, it’s hard not to think that close enough is good enough. Chabuduo.”

A GIF art exhibition

Giphy is the new home of the GIFs, dethroning Tumblr and taking them to the next level, even to real life. Giphy recently hosted an exhibition in New York called ‘Loop Dreams,’ showcasing the GIF works of 25 artists “brought to life through holographic posters, projections, VR, and interactive installations.”


Philosophy & Productivity

Fran Lebowitz on Facebook, TV, and Trump

Author and acclaimed New Yorker Fran Lebowitz can’t sleep, can’t write, can’t stand watching television, nor does she like social media, yet she’s still on top of them all or at least, well-informed in her sardonic complaints about them.

“..years ago, I decided reading in bed is too stimulating. Watch TV. It’s boring. You’ll fall asleep.”

Obsessed with productivity

Skip breakfast. Shorten your work week to four hours. Strengthen your focus. The obsession with productivity is getting out of hand. Why do humans want to maximize their output so they can become more like computers? What are we going to do with the extra time, do even more work? Perhaps, but only if the work is purposeful.

“The most important possible thing you can do is do a lot of work.” – Ira Glass


Social Media & Technology

Your digital eulogy

Artist Gabriel Barcia-Colombo is giving people a chance to visit their own digital funeral at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to review the type of social media posts people would see after they pass away. According to BuzzFeed’s senior writer Doree Shafrir who experienced her own ceremony:

“All of my tweets started scrolling on a screen in front of me as though to say, you know, here are some words of Doree’s to remember her by – tweeting about wearing a dress to a wedding with pockets or Justin Bieber. And I thought, oh, my God, if I did die – God forbid – right now this is what people would see.”


New Music

  1. Youandewan – Waiting For L
  2. Hiatus Kaiyote – The Lung (Paul White Unofficial Remix)
  3. Abi Ocia – Running
  4. Arbes – Sun On My Back
  5. Danny Brown – Really Doe

Listen

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Culture Newsletter Tech

‘The map is not the territory,’ Alain de Botton’s Atheism, Seth Godin on social media, NEW beats and more

giphy (11)
gif via Casey Bloomquist

Read of the week: ‘The map is not the territory’

Scroll down to hear the tracks of the week 🔻


Arts & Culture

Start before you’re ready

Inspiration can be a distraction. Producing something original requires concentration and distance. Roger Smith is a watchmaker at Hodinkee on the remote Isle of Man, far away from Switzerland and Cupertino.

“The influences just aren’t around, and I can just get on with my days work and just make what I want to make.”

Roger Ebert wrote this after 25 years as a movie critic

The job of a movie critic is unusual. Instead of spending your time at the office or even at home penning away your novel in ample lighting, you watch 2-3 movies a day. You get “up in the morning and in two hours it is dark again, and the passage of time is fractured by editing and dissolves and flashbacks and jump cuts.”

Alain de Botton — A School of Life for Atheists

Alain de Botton is an atheist, but his perspective on religion is far more complicated. Instead of debunking religion in thinking that all pious people are idiots–as some atheists may presume–he shines a light on some of the things where religion excels: in values, wisdom, communions, and “the wonders of religious architecture.” As he says nearly eight minutes in:

“These religions at their highest points, at their most complex and subtle moments, are far too interesting to be abandoned merely to those who believe in them.”


Philosophy & Productivity

What are you going to do with all that inspiration?

Most creators think their work is original. It’s not; we steal from the artists that came before us.

“Beethoven depended on a Mozart to be a Beethoven. Picasso depended on a Cezanne. Without Michelson, there would be no Einstein” – James Altucher

“The map is not the territory”

The human head consists of a left brain and a right brain, each with distinct cognitive functions. The left hemisphere is known for processing logic and doing verbal and mathematical analysis while the right half excels in creativity and imagination, the visual stuff.


Social Media & Technology

Why Seth Godin opts out of social media

Seth’s thoughts on social media are thought-provoking and to the point. If you listen to his latest interview with Brian Koppelman, you’ll hear Seth say this:

“Social media is based on infinity. If you look at how many Facebook shares you got, if you look at how many Twitter followers you have, you have just enrolled in the wrong dialogue with yourself.


New Music

  1. Mark Ernestus’ Ndagga Rhythm Force – Yermande (Kick And Bass Mix)
  2. Big Peace – Diva
  3. Call Me Like – Mission Road featuring Ft. Anderson.Paak
  4. Alix Perez – Had I Known
  5. Complete Walkthru – Intuition Brought Me Here Intuition Brought Me Here

Listen

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Newsletter

The 100% Rule, Ai Weiwei on Beijing surveillance, the California Typewriter, new tunes from Joy Orbison, and more

Pick of the week:  In 2009, former Yale professor and best-selling author William Deresiewicz addressed West Point cadets on the meaning of solitude and leadership.Read on…For tracks of the week, scroll down 🔻 


Arts & Culture

Ai Weiwei on Beijing Surveillance

One of the key traits of any artist is to protect against and take advantage of the contradictions. It goes back to what F. Scott Fitzgerald said about intelligence: “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” In this video, Chinese dissident/artist Ai Weiwei explains why he calls Beijing his home.

“I wouldn’t think Beijing’s a prison for me. But Beijing is definitely a prison for freedom of speech.”

Trekking the Shikoku henro, Japan’s oldest pilgrimage route

Financial Times writer Barney Jopson went on the Shikoku pilgrimage in Japan, a route founded and dedicated to commemorate the original 750-mile trek of Buddhist monk Kobo Daishi. Also known as Kūkai, Daishi returned from studying in China in the late 7th century AD to help import Buddhism in Japan. Jopson biked the route but given the age of many of the participants, most prefer to travel by bus while others walk.

“There are no definitive counts but each year between 80,000 and 140,000 pilgrims — known as o-henro — are estimated to travel at least part of the route. According to one survey, around 60 per cent of them are over the age of 60. The vast majority speed around on air-conditioned bus tours but a hardy band of 2,000-5,000 are estimated to do it on foot, usually completing the circuit in 40-50 days.”


Philosophy & Productivity

Solitude and Leadership

A lot of people think thinkers can’t be leaders. But that’s exactly what leadership is: thinking. The leader of a group takes what they read and hear internally and externally and originates his/her own thought. They speak for themselves. As former Yale professor and best-selling author William Deresiewicz said in his 2009 speech to West Point cadets:

“If you want others to follow, learn to be alone with your thoughts.”

The 100% Rule

Half-ass efforts produce half-ass results. The same goes for 99 percent effort. If you don’t commit 100 percent to whatever it is–quitting smoking, writing a book, taking photography seriously–it’s going to fall to the wayside.

“99 per cent is a b*tch. 100 per cent is a breeze.” Jack Canfield, The Success Principles


Social Media & Technology

Clack-clack: California Typewriter, the movie

“Keep ’em typing!” says Kenneth Alexander, a typewriter repairer with over forty years of experience. He works for California Typewriter in San Francisco, one of the last surviving typewriter repair shop in the United States.

“If you want to concentrate, if you want to write in your own mind, write with a typewriter. You see the words hit the paper. There’s no distractions.”

‘That time when I…’

One of the ways mobile behavior has changed is that instead of sharing stuff at the moment, we edit and share it later with a caption like “That time I…”. According to Washington Post journalist Britt Peterson, the phrase, and its various iterations (“that time when,” “that moment when,” etc.) create immediate intimacy with your followers which is why it works so well for celebrities, who may not want to reveal their present location for obvious privacy concerns.

“That time I” works in real time to make readers feel like they’re part of an in-group, creating collective nostalgia for events that just took place. In some way, it’s a neat linguistic trick.”


New Music

  1. Tycho – Epoch
  2. CO/R – Bells, Walking
  3. Scntst – OTD (Break Mix)
  4. Lenzman – Don’t Let Me Go
  5. Kirk Knight – Young Ones
  6. Motion Graphics – Brass Mechanics
  7. Ash Walker Music – Dark Hour
  8. COMBAT! – Jacaranda
  9. Sam Gellaitry – Life
  10. Mood Tatooed – Outsider

> Listen

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Arts Creativity Newsletter Social Media Tech

“When the brain is listening to music, it lights up like a Christmas tree.” | WellsBaum.com Digest

1. This too can be yours: Why ‘AirSpace Style’ is making all places look the same

“Digital platforms like Foursquare are producing “a harmonization of tastes” across the world”

2. The obsession with Kate Bush, explained

“I don’t believe in god, but if I did, [Kate Bush’s] music would be my Bible.”

3. This professor describes the future educated person

“In the online world the only thing you’re the master of is your collection, your archive, and how you use it, how you remix it. We become digital archivists, collecting and cataloging things.”

4. Avoid making backup plans

“For some people, not making a backup plan might indeed be beneficial in helping them put their best effort forward”

5.  Music is a performance-enhancement drug

“When the brain is listening to music, it lights up like a Christmas tree.”

6. Google Photos frees up phone space automatically

“It’ll delete your photos off your phone after syncing them to the cloud so you don’t have get that 16GB iPhone nightmare that says “storage is full.”

7. Do we have to be sad to be creative?

“Using econometrics, he calculates that a 9.3 percent increase in negative emotions leads to a 6.3 percent increase in works created in the following year. ”

8. How teens and hipsters stain the resurgence of Vinyl

“I have vinyls in my room but it’s more for decor, I don’t actually play them”

9.  How libraries stay current in the digital age

“a modern public library can be a place of exploration, play, performance and creativity, as well as of contemplation, reading and research.”

10. Lance Wyman reveals his creative process in unreleased “designlogs

“The reason I started keeping log books,’ says Wyman, ‘was that I wanted a record of what I was doing. It’s my way of keeping in touch with the complexity of the design projects that I’m working on.”

New Music


1. Combat – Jacaranda
2. Elementz of Noise – Clock
3. Minor Science – Naturally Spineless
4. The South East Grind – Secret
5. BadBadNotGood – In Your Eyes
Listen to Episode 98 | Tunes of the Week

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Creativity Newsletter

Why You Procrastinate, The Legend of Genghis Khan, Apple Doesn’t Understand Photography, New Tunes, and More

Arts & Culture

Literature About Medicine May Be All That Can Save Us

Illness often gets lost in translation. The doctor-patient relationship comes down to clear communication. The doctor’s role is to understand the “arc of a patient’s history.” It’s no surprise, therefore, that some of best doctors (Hippocrates, Galen, Oliver Sacks, Atul Gawande) are not only empathetic, but they are also masters of language — they’re writers.

“Since Descartes we’ve had a tendency to believe that from the chin down we are just meat and plumbing … there is more to us than that … in some way we become aware when a valve is no longer working.”


Philosophy & Productivity

Ego is the Enemy: The Legend of Genghis Khan

Perhaps the greatest conqueror of all time was also an avid learner. Genghis Khan’s superpower was his ability to remain a lifelong student who absorbed the cultures and newest technologies of his expansive empire.

“It takes a special kind of humility to grasp that you know less, even as you know and grasp more and more.”

+ Why are people afraid of admitting their ignorance? Admit it: You don’t know.

The Akrasia Effect: Why We Don’t Follow Through On What We Set Out to Do And What To Do About It

Much success comes from your ability to delay short-term gratification for a long-term payoff. The problem is that most people find it difficult to resist the pleasure of the present moment. I’m one of them, often social networking instead of writing my books. Fortunately, there are strategies for defeating this procrastination, also called Akrasia.

“Akrasia is the state of acting against your better judgment. It is when you do one thing even though you know you should do something else. Loosely translated, you could say that akrasia is procrastination or a lack of self-control. Akrasia is what prevents you from following through on what you set out to do.”


Social Media & Tech

The New Instagram Feed Is Ruining My Life

When it comes to things like music, I reject the algorithms out of the desire for self-discovery. However, when it comes to Facebook, the algorithm is good at showing me the most relevant stuff from my friends. Both the Instagram and Twitter algorithms need work though because they’re often out of context.

“Why did a picture of today’s sunrise appear in my feed before a picture of today’s sunset? This makes no fucking sense!”

Apple Doesn’t Understand Photography

How many of you use your phone’s camera to remember information on a sign, what you ate, or what song you just heard? All of these temporary images cram up your photo library. You could opt to use an app like Evernote instead, but that requires more thumb work. Perhaps Apple/Google need to develop more AI-driven image software to understand the difference between a potential Instagram versus captures used post-it notes. Indeed, these are first world problems.

“If Apple can detect a face in a photo it should be able to detect a receipt as well. If it can detect a selfie surely it can differentiate between ‘holiday photos’ and regular snapshots.”


Thought of the Week

“A lot of people have taste but they are not daring enough to be creative” – Bill Cunningham


New Music

Episode 92 | Tunes of the Week

  1. Sorceress – Teacups (Chaos In The CBD Paradise Mix)
  2. Midland – Decompression Suite
  3. Phil Tangent – Follow You
  4. Tessela – Up (Jackmaster DJ Kicks)
  5. Rodrigue Milien et son Groupe Combite Creole – Rapadou

Listen here

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