The phrase “The Pick” comes from Creative Quest, a book about creativity by Questlove. He writes, “The Pick is a foundational part of modern creativity. […] You put your hand on something and it becomes part of your creative profile.”
This is a new (and experimental) section on notlaura.com for things that are part of my creative profile, so to speak.
Required Reading: Team Human
Have you ever read or learned something and wondered how you were able to operate without that knowledge before? I don't say this lightly: this book is game changer.
I had an idea for a birthday tradition that I wrote about a few months ago called Binary Birthday where I calculate my age in binary every year as a means of re-learning binary. You can read that post here, but it’s probably not Worth Your Time because that last sentence sums it up.
Anyway…today is my birthday! I am officially 11110 years old. It took me about 30 minutes to re-learn counting in binary this morning, and another 20 minutes to write this blog post. I used this tutorial, the first result on a DuckDuckGo search for “binary how to”, to guide my re-learning.
Will the above page have fewer mistakes next year? Will I utilize my knowledge of the binary number system in the next 365 days? Maybe, but probably not!
More important than the usefulness of my binary counting knowledge, is that this exercise reminds me of how much fun it is to explore math and computer science, and how much it improved my skills and confidence as a self-taught developer. That is certainly something I apply on a daily basis.
I am about to turn [age] tomorrow. I sat down a few minutes ago to do some last minute reflection on my life so far, and instead opened up my RSS feed. I’m glad I did because I saw this article by Ben Callahan on Sparkbox’s blog, the Foundry.
From Ben’s post:
For some reason, we associate “making an impact” with doing instead of being. Sometimes the way to make an impact is to stop doing. Shut up and listen; learn something. It’s a little thing for most of us, but putting yourself in learning mode means you see others as teachers.
This article is one solid nugget of perspective about both life in general and the web industry. I highly recommend reading it. Like most (all?) content from Sparkbox, it’s of reasonable length, well-written, and Worth Your Time.
I started reading The Artist’s Way by Julian Cameron last week, a workbook/course for being creative. Although the spiritual verbiage makes me cringe at times, the content definitely works for me. One of the exercises in the book is to take yourself on an “artist date” once per week – this week I went to this exhibition of Laura Owens’ work that I learned about from an advertisement on a bus bench.
A few words I would use to describe the exhibition: whimsical, huge, textural, accessible, satisfying, globs, playful, maternal. And here are a few photos:
Pittsburgh is and always will be my home city. I’m back for a long trip over the holidays and in between some east coast conferences, and it’s been a wonderful trip.
Walking down Penn Ave.
When visiting Pittsburgh, I stay at my family’s house in Friendship, a neighborhood on the east end of the city off of a main street, Penn Ave. I work from Catapult Pgh, a coworking spacing I helped kick start back in 2012, that resides in the thick of Pittsburgh’s hippest neighborhood, Lawrenceville. It’s about a 30 minute walk, mostly down Penn Ave., from the house to Catapult, and that’s possibly been my favorite part of this trip so far.
Penn Ave. is also known as the ‘Penn Ave. Arts District’ and there are many new creative spaces popping up, and still many spaces available. It’s quite inspiring. I’ve noticed that – unlike New York or LA – new places (restaurants and art studios alike) in Pittsburgh often stay open rather than close after 1-3 years, something quite common in big cities. That’s not surprising given the difference in cost of living, but it does make me wonder if more innovation and creativity happens in smaller cities simply due to the ability to experiment without the overwhelming pressure of increasing rent.
Creative Quest is essentially a holistic guidebook to being creative, by Questlove, the drummer from the Roots. If you're a creative person and looking to put some more energy into developing that side of yourself, I can't recommend it enough!
Creativity has been a big part of my identity for all of my life but, since college, it was hard to justify creative work that didn’t have direct business impacts. Now that I have a job though, two things in particular are different:
Work-work is contained to a specific space and time,
Sharing what I do no longer has the underlying goal of resulting in freelance work (read: money).
This is very exciting! I’ve been wanting to re-connect with my artist self for a while, and now is the time! That side of me that has been contained to journals and sketchbooks since 2011. Now, I’m on a mission to figure out how to get that contents into a medium that is understandable, easily shared, and that fits in well-enough with my public persona.
This talk affirms so much of what I have been working on with this “algorithms of CSS” business. Felienne is an excellent, engaging speaker, and we have a similar affinity for the Apple Pencil slides strategy 🙌
The tech community tends to be more negative and judgemental than other communities (shocking, I know) – if someone is excited about programming, the response, from at least a few outspoken people, is some form of “that’s not real programming”.
When other communities see enthusiasm about their topics, they encourage it. What is different about technology?