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Category Archive for ‘The World’ at The Green Peugeot: Listen up, you.
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Archive for the 'The World' Category

This is a charming thing.

You know what never fails to make me grin? An Alpaca Parade!

alpaca parade

(this was taken at Rhinebeck back in October…I was feeling grumpy and then this happened! It was awesome).

From Franklin Ave to Franklin’s House

A few weekends ago, my friend Michael Gately and I went on a small voyage up to Hyde Park, NY to visit the FDR library and museum. A few weeks previous, we had been eating crumpets and marmalade and discussing presidential china patterns, and decided on a trip to visit the closest presidential library to New York — which turns out to also be the first presidential library. FDR!

Mosaic Map
Mosaic Map

There’s a great mosaic tile floor map in the main hall, which also serves at the meeting point for tours of the grounds or of FDR’s house — which is really Sara Roosevelt’s house, but Franklin lived there, and Eleanor too. The tour was led by Shannon, a park ranger and delightful history nerd who answered our questions as fast as we could think of them. She had worked at a different historic site/national park before she came to Hyde Park, and we asked if she had been deployed here. She looked at us like we were crazy and said “I applied for this job. The national parks are not the military.” She then confessed to us that her dream job would be to work at Gettysburg, but whenever a job opens up there, 500 people apply, so it’s best not to get one’s hopes up.

wheelchair with swivel mounted ashtray

In addition to the house, we saw the library, which is FDR’s former study, and broadcast location of at least two fireside chats. It’s the only presidential library that was actually used by the president in question, and the study is preserved with FDR’s things — including his special made wheelchair with “swivel mounted” ashtray.

wheelchair with swivel mounted ashtray

We learned a lot of things about America’s longest-serving president. Like he was a cheerleader. And had a lifetime membership to the Natural History Museum. And that Eleanor knit during meetings!
FDR was a Leader of Cheering
National History Museum lifetime membership
Eleanor's Knitting Needles

We also got to pose for some photos with Eleanor and FDR:
Franklin and Michael and Eleanor
Franklin and Dory and Eleanor

And then we hit the gift shop. All in all, a successful and educational adventure. We’ve pledged to return in the summer, when the rose garden is in bloom and walks in the woods can be taken.

I'll bet my shirt

Reading McClelland Generously

I’ve been thinking a lot about this Mac McClelland thing.

McClelland is a journalist who wrote an article in GOOD Magazine about having PTSD after she experienced and reported on a wide range of horrifying atrocities, including a rape in Haiti, and how she used violent sex as a means to deal with the PTSD. The tile of that article is “How Violent Sex Helped Ease My PTSD.”

I read the article twice, first after I saw it on twitter and again after I saw it on Jezebel. I was really impressed with the piece–I found it honest and courageous, but mostly I was moved by the discussion of What It Is To Do Journalism, especially as a lady, in situations that are dangerous, complicated, difficult, and emotionally charged. I think about this a lot regarding the research that my academic friends and colleagues do–I am impressed that a friend who studies municipal anti-immigration legislation manages to seriously interview his subjects without displaying contempt for these folks’ racism. It seems even more important to think about this with regards to journalism, as we read and listen to these stories and reports every day.

So here I was, thinking about how exciting it was that this bold piece of writing was going to open up all sorts of avenues for discussion about feminism and work and news and the place for personal narratives. I noticed some negative comments about the way she described the violent sexual encounter, most of which were dismayed at the lack of details about how to make sure that it was the right idea, and how it was discussed and executed to be both helpful and safe. Those critiques felt right on.

But then a second round of criticism rose up, from those who felt that McClelland was sensationalizing and misrepresenting Haiti in order to tell her own, self-centered story. Jezebel printed an open letter from a group of female journalists and researches that cover Haiti, in which they write:

she paints Haiti as a heart-of-darkness dystopia, which serves only to highlight her own personal bravery for having gone there in the first place. She makes use of stereotypes about Haiti that would be better left in an earlier century: the savage men consumed by their own lust, the omnipresent violence and chaos, the danger encoded in a black republic’s DNA.

This didn’t feel quite right to me. It seemed to ignore the fact that this was McClelland’s personal story based on her experience; it seemed to undermine any solidarity that is so necessary among women in a field that has its own difficulties for women. (In McClelland’s original post she writes about CBS’s Lara Logan, who was raped while working in Egypt, and the disturbing fact that some people “blamed the reporter for putting herself in a risky situation, and for being reckless enough to enter one when she’s so hot.”). Mostly, though, I didn’t feel that McClelland’s piece did any terrible damage to the image I have of Haiti–I am aware of the horrific things she writes about, but have no illusions that that applies to all Hatians.

But then I notice that one of the signatories on the letter is a friend of mine, Susana Ferreira, who I had the immense pleasure of working with in Toronto in 2006, and who was in journalism school with Zach (finding friendship in the fact that they were both loud, mouthy, Canadians). I trust that Susana knows what she’s talking about–she is a journalist and I am not, she has spent time in Haiti and I have not, she is much more aware of the work of journalism and the situation in Haiti that I will ever be, so it sure isn’t my place to argue with her about these things.

This morning I read this piece on The Rumpus, titled “Still With the Scarlet Letters” by a Haitian American woman who manages to excellently articulate my thoughts on this, with a lot more acuity that I feel like I am able to manage. Go read it.

I still think that there are some questions that remain unaddressed, though.

1. The writers of the letter critiquing McLelland accuse her of taking the incidents she describes out of context. However, McLelland’s other writings on Haiti, her journalistic pieces, are available and easy to find. Here is the Mother Jones article she was writing in the backdrop to the GOOD piece. I’m sure that there are a great many people who read the exciting article about violent sex therapy and didn’t look at her other writing or anything else about Haiti, but I don’t think that’s McLelland’s fault. But I don’t know the way journalism works very well–do we consider each article individually? Ought we to look at a writer’s oeuvre? Or do we need the whole collection of writing about post-earthquake Haiti, from multiple voices, to get a picture of how things really are?

2. In academia, we talk about “reading generously.” That is, looking at a piece by what it is trying to do, and evaluating it based on whether or not it succeeds, before moving on to address whether we think it’s goals are valid at all. This is how I want to read McLelland’s article, and why I am satisfied with the comments that chide her lack of detail about her decision to deal with her PTSD in a certain way.  Do we read generously when we read journalism, or just uber-critically from the outset?

3. With that in mind, how and when do we talk about how to do the emotionally charged work of journalism (and, in some instances, academic research on the social world)? If McLelland is continuously slammed for misrepresenting Haiti, that just serves to distract us from talking about the issues she is trying to raise about her work. How do we talk about what it means to consume research and writing without understanding how that work is produced?

4. Finally, we can’t stop picking apart what “rape culture” means, and we can’t stop thinking the impacts of sexual violence on victims and well as observers and everyone who lives in a world where these things take place. When can we talk about fear, emotional damage, and the overwhelming horrificness of the world, and still work to make change in the ways that we know how?

Tallest

tall buildings

So Mount Prospect Park, which is right near me, is apparently the highest point in Brooklyn. Which is a silly thought because there are so many buildings in Brooklyn, which are clearly higher, and Mount Prospect Park is a park, which means it does not have tall building built on it (although, given NYC’s love of public private partnerships, that could change).

My real question though is this: If you accounted for elevation, would the ranking of the world’s tallest buildings (and structures, okay CN Tower, you can play too), change?

New Orleans Stories

I hand-sewed a final seam on something the other day, and turned on a podcast from The Moth to listen to while doing it. I just reached over to my computer and clicked the most recent one to play. The host introduced The Moth, what they do, etc, and then said “Today’s story is from Mack McClendon.” Mack McClendon! I know that guy.

See, in early January I took 9 students from the University of Vermont to New Orleans on a Jewish Funds For Justice service learning trip. For a week we volunteered, heard from speakers, took tours, ran sessions, and had great conversations about race, class, history, activism, and social justice.

One of the organizations we worked with was The Lower 9th Ward Village–a community centre started by Mack McClendon.

Mack Talking to the Students

Mack was incredibly generous with his time and stories. In this photo above, the UVM students are asking him questions and recording his responses.

In his Moth story, Mack speaks about the building that the Lower 9th Ward Village has: how he set his sights on it, and how he acquired it for use as a community centre. It was incredible to hear him tell this tale on the internet radio, to everyone, and also have a personal experience with the building, and a sense of pride in having seen the UVM students use that building to build relationships and build their own community .

Here’s the building from the backyard:
Lower 9th Ward Village Building

Listen yourself: Listen to Mack.

December 31, 2010

I have all these excellent friends with excellent blogs that I read and marvel at–Lindsey and Kat and Hollis and Becky are all making stuff and writing about things and I love them for it. And then Naomi sends me new things that she’s writing and I’m amazed.

So, given that it’s the last day of 2010 (see the subject line) it’s time for show and tell, with a bit of resolve to have more focus (here and everywhere) in the new year.

ozzy and patrick
Ozzy and Patrick giving each other a good stare-down in my apartment
laugh
Hollis and Lindsey during an afternoon of knitting and in Prospect Park
Girasole
My Girasole, which I’ve been knitting for months and will keep working on for a few more.
shirt
The shirt I made and wore as part of my jar-of-pickles halloween costume
My American Thanksgiving
Sara Bergen Franklin and her brother, whose family thanksgiving I went to this year.
Go moves
Our Go swatches from the MST festival
zach and jess and ozzy
Zach and Jess and Ozzy.
serious faces
Walking across the hudson with David H.
No Art
No Art on Franklin Ave.

Okay, that’s what I have for now. See you all later.

Dory

on the radio

Internet radio!
(Internet Radio Station, Beacon, NY)

I found this in a folder on my desktop called “working on.” It’s about radio and it’s better than I remember feeling it was when I was writing it. It’s charmingly dated–pre Obama election (you’ll see it mentions the campaign, months and months before the election happened), I was living in Canada, I had just devoured Late Nights on Air, which had won the Giller Prize. It’s unfinished, but here it is:

My father and I have been bickering about the National Research Council official time signal. “The beginning of the long dash, following ten seconds of silence, marks the beginning of ten o’clock” the man says, “that can’t be ten seconds” my father says, “that’s only four or five seconds!” They wouldn’t lie to us, I say, it has to be ten seconds. My father tells me to listen with a stopwatch tomorrow, but tomorrow I’ll be in Toronto, where the announcement is at one, and I’ll be at work and I won’t remember anyhow. It won’t be until two weeks later, while I’m drinking coffee on a Sunday afternoon, having just listened to Stuart McLean, when the short beeps begin and the announcer begins his spiel: “the beginning of the long dash….” I look at my watch. I count ten seconds. I call my father.

According to the CBC website, the official time signal is the longest-running feature on CBC radio.

Lately, I have been thinking too much about radio. Partly because I have been doing a lot of listening: to As it Happens in my home as I make dinner, to WNYC podcasts on my headphones at work, to the snatches and snippets of country music and American election talk in the car as I was driving around New York and Maryland and Pennsylvania over my winter holiday. More so, it’s because everything I read seems to be about radio.

The start of this wave was Rick Moody’s short story, “Pirate Station” published in the 2006 edition of The Best American Nonrequired Reading. It begins:

“For the first twenty-four hours, the pirate station broadcasts the sound of someone cough nervously. An august beginning. It’s not the dead air of the rural FM dial. It’s someone coughing nervously.”

The Pirate station goes on to play 6 solid days of improvised jazz by people who have never before picked up insturments; a bird-call request program, a study of whistles, and several weeks of the sound of southwestern cacti “until, by general assent, it is agreed that cacti make no sounds”

(It goes on. It is wonderful. It’s short. You should read it yourself. Or let Rick Moody read it to you: http://www.ubu.com/sound/moody.html)

Everything I think that I know about Pirate Radio comes from watching Pump up the Volume as a teenager. It is a movie of high school students, in their bedrooms with tiny pink radios or in groups gathered in parking lots, listening to the seditious sounds of Happy Harry Hardon tell them that the world is messed up and adolescence is hard, but they are not alone; he swears through the airwaves, plays Leonard Cohen, and encourages his audience to “talk hard!” What they don’t realize, of course, is that Harry is actually the shyest, most anonymous boy at school, ignored in the daytime only to be worshiped at night. And this is what radio is–it is superhuman, it is a cyborg, it is an individual enhanced by machine to be something powerful and unifying that exemplifies the hope of possibility. This true for Happy Harry’s midnight broadcasts, and for Moody’s tituar Pirate Station, but it is also true for the more quotidian radio; the radio of the National Reserach Council official time signal, weather reports, and news.

This year a book about radio won the Giller Prize, and as of this writing there are 1617 holds currently on the 299 Toronto Public Library copies of Elisabeth Hay’s Late Nights on Air, the story of certain set of characters working at the CBC in Yellowknife in the 70s. The book deals with the conflicting ideas of isolation and intimacy, both in the Canadian north and is the radio booth, where you sit alone yet talk to everyone. It is about a quarter of the way through that Gwen, who has driven 3000 miles in pursuit of her northern radio dreams and has been given the night shift, begins to experiment with Pirate Radio-eque tactics:

“She experimented with sound. “Can you identify this bird?” she asked into the night, playing a persistent, rather eerie bird call she’d recorded through an open window in the early morning hours, not expecting an answer and not getting one either. She recorded Eleanor’s impish, girlish, delighted laugh. She recorded a Venetian blind clicking in the wind and Bill Thwaite typing in the newsroom.”

Here is the secret about radio: it’s always about somewhere.

If I were going to finish this, the last line might go away. I would write about listening to podcasts while I walk around New York, about moving to a new city and adapting to a new morning voice on my alarm, about about listening to CBC Sudbury on the internet in order to hear Tracy read the news.

What I didn’t get to in the essay was something about Sarah Vowell’s Radio On, especially the part where she goes on a trip with her grad school class to new mexico, and she takes her portable radio and listens to the radio of that place, on the bus, walking around, looking at landscape art. I was amazed by this description (the book is from 1995); these days you can listen to New Mexico radio from anywhere, like I listen to Sudbury from Brooklyn. And this was written before Satellite Radio, which really is from nowhere.

All to say: there is more to say.

community resources

I just read about the Baltimore Virtual Supermarket project–grocery delivery to libraries in the food deserts of Baltimore. It means that people can get access to fresh, good food, pay with SNAP, and not have to worry about delivery charges or minimum orders.

I think it’s really great that they’re using libraries as the hub–they are community resources that are well-distributed throughout cities (usually, hopefully).

It reminds me of this article that Kurt passed along about the US Postal Service, which mentions that post offices used to offer small savings accounts, especially important and useful for folks who live in places that banks have ignored. Seems to make a lot of sense to me to utilize already-existing infrastructure to do good things.

G’bye, Freddy’s

This is fun: at about 1:36 you can see my friend John and I cross the street (from bottom left corner to the bar), lock up my bike, and go inside. And then my bike gets to be front and centre for the rest of the little clip.

Freddy’s Bar - Last Days from tracy collins on Vimeo.

NYT article and slideshow about Freddy’s here.

Coop Haul

Inspired by Emily’s farmer’s market haul photos, (inspired, in turn, by Sweet Juniper), this is today’s Park Slope Food Coop haul

everything I bought

1 cucumber
bag of brussels sprouts
cream cheese
blue cheese
peccorino cheese
2 avocados
bag of baby carrots
2 packages of frozen ravioli
1 loaf amy’s bread
4 tomatoes
1 kiwi
4 limes
1 bunch kale
3 packages frozen peas
yogurt
milk
4 bottles of beer
2 leeks
6 eggs
bag of salad greens
bunch of mint
handful of basil
2 lemons
2 lightbulbs
current issue of the coop newspaper

$48

someday there will be songs about the Ace Hotel like there are about the Chelsea Hotel, right?

The Official Management Company is responsible for all the lovely design at the Ace Hotel (in New York and Portland and a few other places).

These are some of my favourites, but the OMC website is certainly worth a look.

every exit
postcard back
sidewalk writing

mail



second class,originally uploaded by dorywithserifs.

I’m addressing 12 envelopes to mail CDs off to people in my CD exchange. It feels incredibly magical that you can just write where you want the thing to go, put it in a box, and it goes there!

This feels especially true as I write “Canada” on the envelopes. Go to Canada little package!

Lululemon follows my advice

The other day, I suggested that you could talk around Olympic trademark rules: “the year between 2009 and 2011 models now in store!”

And then today I read that Lululemon is doing just that, with their line of clothes called the “Cool sporting event that takes place in British Columbia between 2009 and 2011 edition.”

Of course, this isn’t enough for VANOC! They claim that lululemon has “broken the spirit of Olympic trademark regulations.”

Their commerical rights management dude says:

“We expected better sportsmanship from a local Canadian company than to produce a clothing line that attempts to profit from the Games but doesn’t support the Games or the success of the Canadian Olympic team.”

It just totally makes me crazy to hear them use words like “spirit” and “sportsmanship”–like they’re pretending this is about anything other than money.

If trademark people really believed in the “spirit of trademark regulations” rather than the letter of the law of trademark regulations then we wouldn’t have events like when Starbucks made Puddleduck, a kids clothing store, take away the sign that said “starducks” on the table where they offered free coffee to customers. There are a million other examples.

new york and food

All of my work these days, for my final papers and such, is about New York and Food. So I sit in piles of photocopied printed and stapled articles and reports and draft legislation about food and agriculture and farm-to-cafeteria initiatives and maps of food deserts and on and on.

It is wonderful. It makes me happy to read these things.

The American Journal of Public Health Research and the Journal of Planning Research and Education do not have pretty pictures though.


But this week there is new Maira Kalman in the New York Times! And it is about thanksgiving and food and bounty and cities. It is lovely, twee & smart at the same time.

things I am halfway through (or thereabouts)

  • the food issue of the New Yorker
  • a sad article about fetal alcohol syndrome in an old issue of the Walrus
  • a secret quilt project
  • the first year of my PhD

when the water gets cold and freezes on the lake

Yesterday I went to see Julie Doiron and Herman Dune play at the Bell House. I used to have a “no Julie Doiron in November rule” because it can be such sad music and November is often so grey. But her new stuff is more upbeat and November in New York isn’t really winter yet, so the rule doesn’t apply. Both She and Herman Dune have lots of songs that mention months–mostly Octobers and Novembers and Decembers.

There’s one HD song that he played that talks about “when the water gets cold, and freezes on the lake” and I was thinking about a lake I walked on a few winters ago, in Northern Ontario.

snowshoe feet
break

on coffee and neighbourhoods

There are a lot of empty storefronts in my neighbourhood, in what I think is a one-man gentrification scheme spearheaded by my landlord. In my estimation, he’s sitting on these spaces waiting for fancy coffee shops and boutique kitchenware stores to open up and attract more folks like Zach and I. I remember learning somewhere that landlords actually get tax breaks on vacant retail space, so there’s actually quite a bit of incentive for this sort of behaviour.

But nonetheless, across the street there’s been construction for a while on the soon-to-open Breukelen Coffee House (blogged about on I Love Franklin Avenue here). Exciting! Hooray! Now I don’t have to walk the full block to the Glass Shop when I need out of the house for some reading-and-coffee.

Except, maybe not so much.

There’s been a lot of discussion about this new cafe on the Crown Heights message board (excuse: I got sort of addicted to the message board after I fell down the stairs and couldn’t explore the neigbourhod on foot. Thanks, internet), including posts from the owners who describe the new cafe as such:

The Breukelen Coffee House is a holistic and organic coffee shop. Our intention is to serve organic whenever we can (we are aiming for 100% of the time- but it’s not always available and accessible).

We are proudly serving Stumptown Organic Coffee. And organic milks: almond, hazelnut, oat and hemp milk. Milk will not be available nor conventional sugar. We will only be serving non processed, all natural sweetners such as stevia, agave syrup and Manuka honey.

We’ll also have delicious organic smoothies!

Equally important are the holistic workshops we’ll be holding. They will focus on proper breath, proper hydration, eating with ‘life foods’, etc, etc.

Our motto is: Order anything from our menu without guilt! Holistic, healthy eating is what we do and where we pride ourselves.

Last but not least- we’ve heard your requests! We will adjust our weekend hours of operation to:

Mon-Fri 7:00AM-7:00PM
Sat 7:00AM-6:00PM
Sun 7:00AM-5:00PM

And here is a photograph of the space. It’s not my photo, but it could be, because this is pretty much what I see when I leave the front door of my apartment. It’s slightly unsettling to share a corner of the city with someone I don’t know who blogs about it all the time, with overly wide-eyed enthusiasm (look! a new bus shelter!), but that’s neither here nor there.
breukelen coffee house

So the discussion on the board is mostly “milk please,” for a few different reasons, mostly “I want it” and “you’ll lose customers.” In truth, I would like real milk (which could be bought from Ronnybrook at the Grand Army Plaza farmer’s market once a week, and be walked over to the store and support local economies and upstate farms), and it probably will push people over the also soon-to-open cafe run by Tony Fisher of Fisher’s Market (actually the cafe which started the thread on the message board), who does a good job of keeping me away from his store by talking too much about the number of hot girls in the shop over on his twitter account.

But really, this shop seems to be sending a big f-you to the neighbourhood, which is now mostly discount stores and roti shops and hair braiding. I would like more retail diversity, yes, but this just seems like it’s skipping over too many steps in a reasonable evolution, and ignoring a whole mess of people who really would just buy coffee and a brownie if they could. I think agave nectar and almond milk are good things (though I am much less fond of the reported hollistic health workshops–seriously, gag me with a spoon and then maybe buy me a beer), but to the exclusion of other things is to the exclusion of other people.

As David says, “white people are great, but they’re not the end-all be-all.”

I just want to say that I was really really wrong! I let my cynicism get in the way of generosity, and that’ not fair. The Breukelen Coffee Shop is actually a wonderful addition to the neighbourhood, it’s full of all sorts of people, and the owners are three incredibly great people. I’m sorry for being mean and suspicious! -Dory

New House News

Kalin Reads the New House News

(That there is Kalin Reading the New House News)

So it happened! I moved into the new place–a wonderful apartment with a big kitchen, high ceilings, wood floors, a fire escape and windows that don’t overlook the highway, a reasonable amount of stairs from the ground–and a whole new neighbourhood (and it’s requisite neighbourhood blog).

Huge thanks to the fine friends who helped me pack, move, clean, disassemble and reassemble my furniture: Caitlin Dourmashkin, Adam Esrig, Avi Fox-Rosen, Emily Frye, Rachel Gurstein, Leah Koenig, Ben Murane, David H Rosen, Ari Shapiro, Abby Weiner, Joe Wielgosz, and Sarah Zarrow.

As a present to the new house, I bought a set of the New York Postcards from Yellow Owl – they haven’t arrived yet, but they’ve already got a spot on the wall by the door waiting for ‘em.

Thing is, less than a week after moving in, I took a tumble down the stairs and f’d up my left ankle something good, so I spent 5 days housebound&bedridden, imagining what walls get what things once I can freely move about the apartment (and the world).

I’m getting there, though! Yesterday I wandered the neighbourhood, hitting up the oh-so-cute Franklin Flea (5 vendors!) where I bought some pinapple pepper salsa from a very earnest young man, walked through the About Time kid’s skate day, and towards the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket (which is so huge and overwhelming compared to McCarren park, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it), and a picnic in Prospect Park.

When I got home I totally overcompensated for not being able to do projects the past week (other than knitting while watching Battlestar Galactica)–I set some pickles to ferment, made bread, and put some suntea out on the fire escape to brew.

I will stop typing now before I get all earnest and gushy about how lovely the world is when you’re allowed out of your house on a sunny day. Instead, here are some photographs of my trip to America for the 4th of July (from Vancouver to Bellingham/Anacortes, I know that I live in America but such voyages are still exciting).

billboard blues

When I moved into the apartment on South Fourth Street, the billboard outside the kitchen window (target audience: BQE drivers) was for a Land Rover. I made the joke that in 15 years I’ll buy a Land Rover, and though I won’t remember living by the billboard, it will have made its impression on me. Then the billboard was for paint, and then insurance.

But then things started to go downhill. One morning the words outside the window were large, in yellow, and said “STOP CUTS TO DOWNSTATE MEDICAL AND OUR SUNY SCHOOLS.” The pictures were bad flash photos of doctors and 20-year-olds standing in a line. The billboard was still annoying, yes, but this one kind of amused me.

I started to talk about how this billboard was an indicator of the recession, getting less and less high-paying advertisers. Zach said I should submit it to Andrew Sullivan for BOTH his “The View From Your Window” and “The View from Your Recession” projects.

And then things got ugly:

got hemorrohids?

A “Got Hemrrhoids?” billboard with a butt as the “o” in “proctology.” I started keeping the curtains drawn.

But now that I’m leaving this apartment, the view has changed. Kurt sent me this cameraphone photo of the swtichover while I was in Vancouver:

on cbc radio or sirius sattelite radio 137

So maybe the economy is getting better along with the view?

Cult of Done

So since I’ve been writing about getting things capital-D Done, it makes sense to post the Cult of Done manifesto here:

The Cult of Done Manifesto

  1. There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion.
  2. Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.
  3. There is no editing stage.
  4. Pretending you know what you’re doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you’re doing even if you don’t and do it.
  5. Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.
  6. The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.
  7. Once you’re done you can throw it away.
  8. Laugh at perfection. It’s boring and keeps you from being done.
  9. People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.
  10. Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.
  11. Destruction is a variant of done.
  12. If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.
  13. Done is the engine of more

I can’t say that I follow all these rules, nor that I want to. I’m a graduate student, a planner, I like to think things through and make sure that I’m picking the right course of action (which is especially important when making decisions about other people’s lives and environments!), but keeping all this in mind is really helpful. Especially if thinking is doing (it is), and writing is doing, and telling other people about your idea is doing.

My favourite is point 8: the anti-perfection declaration. That’s how I felt in quilt class; while I was impressed that people were taking their blocks apart and re-doing them because pieces were a quarter-inch wider than they wanted, that’s not my style. I’d rather do, work, make more. I don’t like to agonize.

I guess I just mean to say that the Cult of Done doesn’t apply in all circumstance, and you have to know when it works and when it doesn’t. I probably need to focus more on NOT following these rules and I’d be prouder of some of the papers I’ve written and sweaters I’ve knit, but I’d rather be a doer who makes some mistakes than deliberate forever and have one perfect thing to show for it after 15 years.