Monday, January 14, 2013

Timeless/Displaced Observation

I added displaced, because hearing things from your past, or mixed in a way that isn't true to how a piece is originally created seems to open up inspiration.

Seeing an old industrial fan repurposed into a chandelier, listening to Tribe Called Quest, or seeing cassette tapes turned into lamps all seem to help shift the viewer from the familiar into a new territory.

I've ordered a piece from a friendly Etsian combining old poetry with a cassette tape (pictures are coming) and this serves as a way for me to help escape the limitations of my own reality and remind me of the freedom and inspiration that come from an active imagination.

I purchased my first A Tribe Called Quest cassette on the day the Lion King was released to theaters.  My siblings wanted to see the Lion King and I wanted to buy ATCQ's Midnight Mauraders album.  My mom approved trading a ticket for a tape.  It was this album that made me value the samples used.  Specifically the heavy sampling of jazz.  They would take a moment of a recording or a motif and loop it to build an entire song.  Sometimes sampling 3 or 4 vinyls from separate artists.  To this day this album and all others they've released have served as a source of inspiration.  A little nook I can slip into and shift my mood, and perspective to hit the day in a fresh way.  I've collected my favorite songs from ATCQs albums --one from each album they released-- into a playlist I'll include in this post.

Favs from ATCQ for blog by Ruben Brito on Grooveshark

Not There

I've been listening to and it feels like a black hole happened after listening to this album.  All the things I liked about the retrospect suite combined with the things I didn't like about the music I've heard recently sucked into this hole and where I didn't see the point in making more music, I feel happy now.

The first song from the album is a peculiar one, in that it is centered around words I don't understand.  The french poem is rhythmically pleasant and the entire beat and music around it is set to not take away from the lyric.

The album will be called Not There after what I've read from Christopher Alexander's books.  He speaks of people making things in a way that they were born to make.  That tools and patterns enable this way of making, but aren't necessary.  Often it is the simplest growth from the surrounding resources that don't interrupt the system, but are at one with it, alive, comfortable, and whole.

Trying to apply this way of thinking is not the goal.  Getting to the place where it comes out naturally is the focus.

My musical history started with me sitting on the piano at 4 and my teacher at the time, Mrs. Armstrong, was a gifted pianist.  I ended up learning how to listen and copy versus sight read and this affected all future experiences in piano lessons.  In college I was given a guitar and learned a lot of Nirvana songs.  While in college I took a digital composition class and the world of making music on a computer opened up like stumbling on the Garden of Eden after a routine hike through a familiar path.  

After college, in the times I was laid off, I made a few albums (under the name Tobali) wrestling with my own ideas of composition learned in school, and the sounds I loved from other electronic musicians.

The last album was very dark and contained 1 song of low hums and swells reminiscent of a cicada, but sounding more like a mammoth robotic cicada stuck in a dark warehouse.  That was made and it seemed to bury
the darkness I felt during the layoff or worthlessness and tired ways of working without passion.

I expect this album will be a bit more cheery since that's what my daughter likes to dance to.  I'm also facing a situation where I want all songs to be dancable, but the songs I'm feeling I should compose deviate a bit.  This deviation is something I need to learn to embrace and step away from to figure out where I draw the boundaries for the final album.  

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Automatic Door Stickers

I've been testing out the timeless way theory for a few days now and I've noticed there's a spill over happening.  I start thinking about things and re-imagining places and situations whenever I have to wait for something.

As a parent, mornings can be difficult.  There are lunches to be made, and the entire house has to shuffle out of the door.  Recent temperatures have dropped and there's the added steps of making sure the kids put on the right layers, gloves, right shoes, and a constant check to make sure there are no runny noses.  After all is said and done, I find myself cruising down the highway and realize I've forgotten to make my lunch.

I have a few options where I work, but because it's a suburb in Massachusetts, there are mostly chain restaurants available, and that gets boring very quickly.  I've chosen the more expensive path of getting a protein source from a place within walking distance.  The closest place is a Walgreens 10 minutes down the road.

Walgreens is a chain, but they've grown on me recently due to their no-questions-asked return policy.  I used it last year when I grabbed mustard Spanish almonds by accident.  I specifically go to the refrigerated isle where I grab an energy drink and some protein sources like beef jerky and nuts.

It is monotonous, but I at least have the option to walk there and the protein heavy meal in the middle of the day really does great to keep any junk food cravings away.

I had beef and bacon jerky along with a couple energy drinks at the checkout last night and an old man in front of my went to grab change out of his pocket.  I'm not sure exactly how much time passed while he meticulously dug into his pockets for every last cent, but it was enough time to help me slip into timeless observation.

There was no beautiful nature to stare at --it's a chain after all-- so I jumped to re-imagining the store.  Looking over to my right I noticed each automatic door had 3 stickers on it for a total of 12 stickers.  One sticker let customers know the doors could be pried open if there were a power failure.  Another sign told customers these were automatic doors.  I don't remember what the third sticker sign said, but these 3 stickers really bothered me.  Why 3?  Why couldn't there just be 1 sticker or sign for all 4 doors?

Something else I noticed, when the old man was almost done with his penny search, was the baskets stacked up in front of the door.  I immediately thought these baskets could be put to use, and instead of standing and waiting, I could slip my credit card into some device in the basket and ring up my items as I shopped.

Eventually the old man paid for his things, and I swiped my credit card before driving home.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Timeless Guide

I thought about this more over the weekend and I really enjoy the theory.  I'll provide some reasons why it helps make time more meaningful.

The Timeless Guide

The main idea grows out of a desire to make the most of your life using a series of phases to bring a person to enhancing their creative self.

Here's the phases:
- Timeless/Displaced Observation
- Imagine
- Be Inspired
- Inspired Creativity.
- Thoughtfully Package the Creation
- Share the Creation
- Rest

They aren't numbered because you can slip into any of them at any point.  Yes, you can rest first if you need a good nap.  If you hit a block during creation, jumping to timeless observation and imagination can help you quickly get the inspiration to hop over the block.  Packaging and Sharing most likely starts with observation and imagination to craft perfect presentation and stories with gravity.

Timeless Observation: 
   - Timeless thought or meditation can be focused on relationships, crafts you love, slow growing nature, etc.  It will be clear what to think on and appreciate if you begin to loose track of time during the thought.  It can be done while sitting still, or between other activities.  This can also be done during mediation or prayer.

   - Use your imagination to create a mental environment free of limitations.  One way to proceed could be through remember an event from... a bar visited, time with a loved one, a favorite trip.  Then take each element of the memory and change it.  If you flew on an airplane or drove a car, imagine sailing to the same location.  Often times childhood experiences can be revisited and recreated.

   - Actively observing timeless things and imagining new worlds will lead to inspiration.  Use the inspiration as a compass and fuel.  The inspiration will often be the most potent with the creative activity to start doing.  It is fuel, because of the unique creative energy one has while being inspired.

   - The hands on, dirty work, experimentation where you explore several avenues, colors, trails, lighting conditions, and see what inspires you.  It is similar to Imagination, but with physical limitations and shareable results.  The work may need to be shared several times before one thinks it is "complete".

  - An extension of the creation.  The package prepares the person about to see the work for what is to come.  People naturally reject change, but the package helps ease the viewer to a new concept.  Book covers, leather boxes, and silk bags are all good examples.  A teacher can frame a lesson for a theatrical imaginative student, by packaging new information into character for a play.

  - To rise above a creators perspective, you must share your creation and get feedback.  A sporting a new outfit, designing a toy, developing a game, or concert poster all need to be seen so the response can help refined in the creation.

  - Resting helps you go back to your relationships and be respectful to your connections.  It also is the perfect way to sensitize yourself and slow down for finely attuned timeless observation.

Take this up as your life's work and you will help others to know this truth:  

That a part of us is timeless and invaluable and have the ability to create timeless experiences.  

Anything to affirm this truth is worthy of your time.

Parents, Teachers, Artists, Counselors, Architects, Blacksmiths, Authors, Neighbors, Landscape Designers, Janitors, all are in the powerful position to guide others to enter this reality with their life and their invaluable works.

Friday, January 4, 2013

New logo for my bitcoin blog.

I needed a new logo for my Bitcoin blog and after some thought I stuck with this.

I began with the hash code of the current block being worked on (1/4/2013) and applied that string of numbers and letters to squares, circles, the letter B.  These didn't feel right, so I tried a spiral.  Bingo!  The whole concept of bitcoin mining is it takes several hours, and teams of computers to process bitcoin payments and get a reward for their efforts.  The spiral symbolizes the complex process in which bitcoin payments are verified.  The B in the center is the tasty nougat.  The reward for all the energy it takes to verify payments.

I wanted to grab a more meaningful hashcode, but looking up the hashcode for my birthday didn't yield the search results I wanted.

The normal 'B' used on bitcoins and in most logos has serifs, but I like this modern look, since it is a  futuristic electronic currency.

I walked away from the blog October of 2011 after having immersed myself in research on mining rigs, online wallets, and finding great mining pools.  I was burned out and at the end of last year I noticed a huge spike in visitors.  Particularly on this page, which explains how to fine tune pool mining.

I entered this new year trying to be more open to new opportunities and returning to the blog and the core of what was interesting about bitcoins became a clear path to return to.

Timelessness to Inscription: The Creative Package

There's something in me that sees packaging and thinks it is wasteful.  For a brief moment you are paying a bit extra to trigger a feeling and in a moment the package becomes useless.  It is recycled or becomes part of the clutter that visually and physically slows us down.  It eventually is recycled or thrown in the trash.

Nature, in all it's glory, packages it's products quite nicely.  An orange peel can be zested, dried for tea, and dried for fragrance, but in the end, the packaging was alive and soon dies to break down into the original elements from which it came.  Potato skins carry theirr seeds. Pears have an edible package.

I wish there was a way to ship something dipped in chocolate!  Or even embed herb seeds into the side of a box.  Stick the box in the ground and you'll have new life at your feet.

As of now our recycle bin is always filled with packaging.  Most of our purchases are from Amazon and they've done better to ship with less.  Somewhere within me there is still an expectation for receiving a hidden surprise and I'm sure this is why people enjoy having a package that tells a story about the product or displays it in such a way that it features it at it's best.  I'll shut up now and share some of the most interesting packages I've seen recently.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Timelessness to Inscription: The Creative Pursuit

"How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death."

I say this to my ounce or 2 of espresso.  I roasted those little beans until they were oily and when I get to have a quick sip first thing in the morning.  Mmmm.

This all started when I was a barista at Starbucks in 2005.  I was unemployed and somehow convinced the manager that I had what it took to be a barista.  With all the responsibilities, drinks to memorize, floors to clean, display cases to keep stocked with fresh pastries, coffee to rotate, and smiles + stories to share, I ended up learning to love black coffee and the lowly straight shot of espresso.

I never had tasted black coffee before Starbucks and figured black coffee drinkers enjoyed bitter beverages and growing hair on their chest.  Unfortunately, this was a requirement for all barista's.  You had to taste the roasts of the month and jot down the first three flavors in a notebook.

Some of the coffees tasted were from Indonesia, South America, and Africa.  Other coffees of the world were samples as well but these first three regions really help me understand the coffees I loved the most.  South American Coffee was a light to medium roast and seemed appropriate for the morning or those who liked very little bitterness.  Coffees from Indonesia always seemed smoky... kind of like Lapsang Souchung tea.  My favorite was always the big bold African coffees because there would always be this mysterious fruit flavor.  I remember tasting lemons in my coffee when I tried the Ethiopian Sidamo.

By the time I figured out how to churn out a decent shot on the older machines (new machines automatically brew espresso in the same way) I fell in love with espresso shots.  Starbucks recommended waiting 18-24 seconds brew time for an espresso shot.  The distinct layers (crema, body, and heart) got me every time.  The shot starts out mostly crema and body, but as soon as the heart forms every sip has a bit of each layer in it.  the crema shields the heat as the body delivers the flavor and heart gives the shot its strength.

I say all this about espresso shots to say the creative endeavor, much like the Elizabeth Barrett Browning poem I quoted can be long and arduous.  It will take so much of us we crumble under exhausting.  We search so many avenues, write and rewrite, tweak variables in families of formulas, that we literally collapse.
But finding a solution, in my case, finding my favorite beverages made from the coffee bean, can be a pleasant and ever rewarding success.

This creative exhaustion from is truly good reason to be fatigued.  It's the stuff wonderful stories are made of.  You can ride on others work for a time, but creativity will take you to new places in the real world.  Give you your own stories of the ways you tackled a problem and if you follow the inspired energy through with creativity you will be more creative and have something to show for it.  Often many things to show and this effort turns out to provide you with skills valuable in any future endeavor.

The variety coming from the creative approach sometimes is best when we are forced to reduce our choices.  Sometimes it is the lack of choice, bad experience, or life struggle that serves as a backdrop for us to add our piece and find others who are alive in the same process.

Timelessness to Inscription: From Imagination to Creation

In this silly real world we don't always have the opportunity to bounce around the globe and peer at bigger than life architecture.  Sometimes we are restricted to being in a lab most of our work day.  Other times a home.  In other cases a bed.  There is another way to tap into and be inspired through the world of imagination.

It seems so easy for children.  They dance about and slip into an imaginary place so easily.  I see this with my son who just is sick of the constant trips to preschool.  I see he wants a change and the quickest and cheapest way for him is to slip into his imagination.  This isn't good when I'm trying to get him bundled to deal with the single digit weather New England has dealt us this month, but I know it is a good ability to have.

Imagination can take a given even that's occurred and treats each element within the story or memory and tweaks it to see a new outcome.  Call it mind experiments.  The end is observed and you continue to return to the beginning and tweak something else.

What if Rosanne Barr won the Presidential Election?  I would hate to hear her yell at us in America!  Oh that piercing voice!  What if Michelle Obama was voted in as President?  Would we all be forced to have 20' x 20' gardens in our backyard?  Would the FBI raid our house if our shoulders got a little flabby and we we're caught scarfing Doritos in our basement?

What if we could grow precious gems from our mandated gardens?  Little stocks of Indian corn with every shade of precious gem right there for the taking?  What if we stuck that Indian Gem Corn in the microwave? What type of light show would we see?

No, I haven't smoked weed recently, but you can see how anything times an imagination creates an insane path with infinite variations.  Changing one element changes the story and introduces new elements until we are left with an imaginary microwave overflowing with puffy gem popcorn all over the place and puddle of  rainbow butter to clean up.  This may seem useless, but an ear of corn filled with gems might send someone else into a timeless space.

In a more practical approach, just go over your day.  Is there some problem where you've hacked a solution together?  Are other people dealing with the same exact problem?  If you redo the hack or scenario and change a few things could there be a simple and good way to fix the problem you've been ignoring?  May be a little some of your effort could lead to you helping others who are suffering?  

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Timelessness to Inscription: From Inspiration to Imagination

My son was born in this month 5 years ago.  I remember him not crying when he was born.  My wife had preeclampsia and they gave her enough magnesium that my son needed a bit of help before taking his first breath.

Our breath, acknowledging our presence and arrival in a new place, is an important step during and after a timeless experience.  The air is so good and contains so much that it hurts.  So much we tear up and cry.  Enough to knock us off our feet and onto our butts.  It may be we had no control over the cold or illness that is slowing us down, leaving us bed ridden, or has us driving many unexpected miles to care for someone we love.  It is in this silent place we are spoken too.

We may have planned to see a piece of architecture, and notice a field of vineyards set like seams on the earth cloth aiding in wine production.  Or a new person at a party who went from acquaintance to friend in a few sentances.

It is much more than the passing greeting. It is greatness careening out from somewhere far away and hitting your  heart and mind in a warm and pleasant way.  You have the opportunity of shifting how you see life and you feel bigger and younger inside an older body.

It is this inspiration from one person to another that pulls us up and calls us to walk in it's footsteps.  Copy it and you won't be sued.  Try to copy it and you have in your hands your own unique piece of inspiration with the potential to open someone else's eyes to a twist on the inspiration leading you to continue on.

Inspired us moves through with boundless resources of energy and we pour ourselves into what we make.

"(...Length, the need of a wide embracing rhythm, is almost the measure of the force of the inspiration, a sort of counterpart to it's pressure and tension).  Everything happens quite involuntarily, as of a tempestuous outburst of freedom..."

It is the wind.  It sends us on our way and often times off course.  Leaving us to rewrite maps and find new lands.  New ways normally eluding us in our plain efforts.

"The irrationality that is inspiration, thought analogous to a kind of insanity, is understood to be sui generis, a peculiar, unique and probably rare state of being.  The creative is less irrational than, so to speak, 'supra-rational.'  It achieves feats unattainable by any merely rational or procedural method."


Inspiration: an anthology of utterances by creative minds defining the creative act and its lyrical basis in life by  Jack Lindsay
The Theory of Isnpiration: Composition As a Crisis of Subjectivity in

Timelessness to Inscription: From Timelessness to Inspiration

And by timelessness, I am not talking about having to hear your kids whine, which feels like it takes forever! Or waiting for that cop to return from his car after pulling you over.  Or even the painful commute that is held up by stand still traffic.

The timelessness I speak of is like one door of many doors leading to a place where you forget time passes.  Very much like the wardrobe in the Chronicles of Narnia.  This timelessness, this brush with experiences past our human limits beyond words, will propel a person to have potent inspiration.

There are all sorts of obstacles to carving in timeless activities into your day.  It may be staying up too late or getting up too early.  It could be sinking 40 hours a week into 1 job title or locking yourself into 1 location for 40 hours a week.  Excessive travel could essentially do the same, but it is up to us to figure out our own balance.  We need to identify what triggers us to slip into moments where we forget where we are and what time it is.

In an effort to be a bit more timeless, I've lined up a quote conga line from authors living in my lifetime and before it as well.

The Timeless Door of Nature

"Nature is a timeless source and inspiration for the creation of the beautiful by the human species."

Bear with this hippie thought a bit.  Consider a tree that is much taller than any human could ever be and having it span many human lifetimes while only providing a healthy and safe habitat for humans and animals is quite a feat.  You really feel it in your lungs when you roam about the dense Green Mountain forests in Vermont or the mossy garlands on the Pacific trees in Washington's Hoh Forest.  Where one deep breath feels like a weeks worth of air.  Every sense is engaged from the branches snapping beneath shoes to the sounds of the wild life and the sights of sunlight brightening the hues in the acres of old growth.  This sensory overload is a great way to escape.

Time-Stopping Relationships

"Personal relationships can have something of this timeless quality too.  Although they involve a series of encounters, a relationship does no consist only of these:  it continues between the encounters, in the thoughts and feelings of the people involved.  Intense relationships contain the experience of time standing still when the participants are together, and while the relationship continues there is often a sense that it will go on forever: not necessarily a belief that it will go on forever, but a suspension of the sense of the relationship as a mortal."

Timeless Literary Islands

"Can poetry provide places that are stopping off stations, spots of refuge where history goes on around you with a sense of your being apart from it as well as a part of it?  And do these places of the imagination prefigure a timeless place that awaits us?"

Don't get me wrong.  There's lots of poetry I don't jive with.  Yet, the Journal and Poetry subscriptions still arrive in small poetic booklets and rest in my mailbox.  I hope to continue to find those poets who can catch me off guard in just the right way to detach me from where I am.

I'm a slow reader with a shameful attention span, so often times spoken word is more effective.  I've attended poetry slams overflowing with talent  (and Frank Zappa references) then I hear into a poem I don't get.  Only to hear a friend explain what the poem meant to them and the obscure words are unlocked.

Timeless Spaces

"For it is not only true that every building gets its structure from the language which people use.  It is also true that the spirit which the buildings have, their power, their life, comes from the pattern languages their builders use as well.  The beauty of the great cathedrals, the fire in the windows, the touching grace of ornaments, the carving of the columns and the column captials, the great silence of the empty space which forms the heart of the cathedral... all these come from the pattern languages their builders use as well."

This quote from professor Christopher Alexander who was tasked with taking the humdrum campus at the University of Oregon and making the college a living space.  Sets of buildings were tailor made for student use.  Hours upon hours where spent watching how students passed through the campus and this book reveals a bit more of the philosophy of architecture and even the end game of any artistic endeavor.

All these are doors to places that open our mind.  The limitations we've placed on ourselves and others disappear and we stand before the work, the person, the piece.  The longer we are exposed to these timeless Chernobyl creations the more we alter our own perspectives and permanently leave behind our old selves.

There is so much competing for our own time.  Lock us into scattered news on the darker/distant lives from places we may never go and in ways out of our control.

We need to make space in our lives for more timelessness.  To make greater works helping people connect to each other.  And also to be connected and see others make timeless escapes out of thin air.


Timeless Beauty: In the arts and Everyday Life by John Lane
Food For Thought: Philosophy and Food by Elizabet Telfer
Wagering on Transcendence: The Search for Meaning in Literature by Phyllis Carey
The Timeless Way of Building by Christopher Alexander

Timelessness to Inscription (Human Timelessness)

You may have partied your ass off on New Years Eve and are wondering... Who am I? How did I get here?   Don't be ashamed!  These are great questions!  As you age, you'll start asking yourself these questions every hour!

Ah, but to figure out how to get from the start of 2013 all the way to the end with something to show for it... that is the true conquest!  Are you looking to reclaim some of your time and make something out of it?  Great let's go!

I by no means am an expert in figuring out the best thing to do with my time, but I always wander back to similar things.  I love learning how to cook a new dish, or doing something crafty with my hands.  Gardening a seed until it bears fruit is always a thrill.  Other times I'm trying to figure out how the hell I can make a decent buck from an idea or creation.

This whole process, the frustration, exhilaration  exploration, and everything in between, is what drives me and many others to create.  It is the tokens from this creative process that allow me to look back and say,
"I am still alive."

I noticed mornings are often swallowed up by requests for breakfast, and pressing chores and errands which are dying to be taken care of.  Before all this, however, there is a moment.  This moment is the final hour before any feet are pattering about.  It is a quiet hour in which I just sit and think.

I have attempted meditation before, and I've failed several times.  I now intentionally let my mind wander and after saying a few prayers I return and revisit the previous day.  I remember every mundane thing, anything that made me smile, and I hover over these memories like a ghost.  Sometimes I end up counting my blessings.  Other times I get ideas.

Mind wandering leads you to notice the silly life problems that piss you off.  You see them and wonder why do I suffer needlessly?  Why do I do I need 10 steps to make this meal when I can do everything in two steps?  What if I were to smudge colors and make a tree instead of using a watercolor brush?  What if I took the long way home once a month?  Where would my curiosity lead me?

Curiosity is the yellow brick road to innovation and challenging the herd mentality within and without.  It's the
same curiosity that propels one from the present state to wonder filled discoveries.  It is this same space for curiosity that is often penciled out of our schedules as the day swallows our time month after month until the year is done.

What if we were to block out time to just goof around or think about the previous day?  If we turned off the TV or Internet and just played or talked to family or a friend?  Or chose to try something new every month?

I plan on exploring this path and I hope to have tokens when I'm done.  Something physical, I could potentially give to someone else and say this is what I did in 2013 and the little explorations I did along the way.  There is an outline to this little blog series called Human Timelessness, that will skim across the many ways to optimize an open mind, push ideas through their paces until you hold your little precious thing in your hand.  I'll also be harvesting responses from those who I view as idea and execution machines.  People that are raising their game with a mysterious amount of confidence and aren't afraid to fail.  Who pull astounding ideas out of the clouds and live to tell the tale.