Everyday Hygge

Negotiating Technology

4 Mar ’09

Amish settlements have become a cliché for refusing technology. Tens of thousands of people wear identical, plain, homemade clothing, cultivate their rich fields with horse-drawn machinery, and live in houses lacking that basic modern spirit called electricity. But the Amish do use such 20th-century consumer technologies as disposable diapers, in-line skates, and gas barbecue grills. Some might call this combination paradoxical, even contradictory. But it could also be called sophisticated, because the Amish have an elaborate system by which they evaluate the tools they use; their tentative, at times reluctant use of technology is more complex than a simple rejection or a whole-hearted embrace. What if modern Americans could possibly agree upon criteria for acceptance, as the Amish have? Might we find better ways to wield technological power, other than simply unleashing it and seeing what happens? What can we learn from a culture that habitually negotiates the rules for new tools? (via)

I often feel like a great contradiction; I have long been an advocate and avid user of technology (having been on every computer since the Commodore 64 & Apple ][) but at the same time have completely resisted so much of it – it took me years to get a cell phone. And although I’ve been online since 1988 and had a web page since 1995, I am really hesitant about spending lots of time reading other blogs and updating my own. I love connection and sharing information but still feel confused about Twitter and Facebook. I totally keep up to date on everything new media and tech because I both love and work in it but at the same time I read lots of books, garden and spend a great deal of time outdoors, disconnected.

Over the past two years I’ve had a really hard time trying to put all of this into words and accurately describe (or even catch up) to how I’m feeling about technology as more of it’s created and incorporated at crazy speeds. Because it’s not going away and really, I don’t want it to. It’s just trying to figure how to be a part of it instead of swept up in it.

With the addition of Twitter, RSS Feeds, and Facebook, I’ve found myself receiving the same bits of information several times over. For example, I used to just subscribe to a blogs feed and access their info that way. But if that person is on Twitter, they’ll also tweet about their new post and link to it. If they’re on Facebook, chances are their Twitter hits their Facebook profile and I’ll get an update there, too. LinkedIn now offers the same. So instead of getting one piece of information one way, I’m getting the same information 3 or 4 different ways which results in an overload.

But what happens if you then remove that person from your Twitter feed? Will they think you aren’t their friend? This has happened to me. People have equated my Twitter removal with a friend removal even though in real life I did a lot more and gave much more support than just clicking “follow” on Twitter. So once you incorporate technology, removing it becomes really hard because of social and sometime business consequences.

A lot of my work is in new media so if I’m not Twittering up a storm or talking about the same things as everyone else or Diggining’ every post, it can seem as though I have no idea about these things. The truth is, I do and almost always know about them from the beginning before main stream thanks to all my geek friends who build the stuff and I get to test it out. But there comes a point where I ask myself, in my personal life, do I need this? How much value does it have to me? How much value does it have to my readers? Am I overloading us both? Am being redundant? Am I just saying whats already said to several mediums just to stay relevant, but not even really being relevant?

Now lets add in the iPhone of which I have had for a couple of years. After my 4 year old more than basic cell phone died I decided to get an iPhone so I wouldn’t have to worry about upgrading for a long time and liked the idea of music/phone. But when people see mine, they think I’m insane. You only have three apps? they ask. Do you need helping knowing about apps? No, I’ll tell them. I’m actually up on a lot of apps, I know what’s out there, I know what’s being built it’s just that my needs don’t require them. I don’t want to be able to do everything all the time on my phone. It used to be if I didn’t have my computer with me, people understood not getting an email right away or me checking out their Flickr or their new MySpace page. But then laptops came to be and so vacationing got really hard. Now with the iPhone, every minute, every day, everywhere you can access every thing.

There’s no reason to miss an email, an update, a YouTube video, or everything you friend ate that day. In fact, I feel like all this technology and access has prevented us from doing more and instead made us monitor more. How much of your day is just catching up on what other people are (uselessly) doing? How much of your information intake is actually propelling you to a better life? How much is just a big time suck but you feel like you just have to keep up with your friends, comment on their status, read that popular blog post or contribute your own for fear of being irrelevant, seeming unhip or worse, out of touch.

I feel the need to reiterate that I love technology and am thankful for the web; it’s provided me a fantastic career and I’ve met the most amazing friends and counterparts because of it. There are so many amazing communities and sites out there from technology to health to home and travel that I have found more than useful, inspirational and just plain fun. But even though so much of my life is incorporated into new media and technology, I don’t want my life to be 100% about it. I don’t want to know that much about everyone or feel obligated to comment on every post or fear that not Digging will make me look stupid as will bailing out on this years SXSW. It’s so easy to get caught up in technology and make some things seem bigger and more important than they are instead of really thinking about each bit of technology’s use to each of us and finding whats really important to us as individuals and making all of that work.

Reading how the Amish use technology really struck a chord with me because I feel like I am constantly negotiating and choosing what to use and how it works for me. Yet I often feel like an outcast for doing so or worse, a really bad friend because I didn’t update as much as my counterparts or I didn’t acknowledge every single status update of every single friend.

I like the idea of being ‘sophisticated’ for choosing technology instead of a drone doing everything out of fear or greed. And I like the idea of really learning how to incorporate technology that I really do love and really think has great benefits into a world that still needs to have boundaries and breathing space and conversation instead of just giving personal updates.

I’d be curious to know how others navigate the technological waters; do you love getting several of the same updates? Do you feel pressured to comment on others status or follow their every move? Are you Blackberry free? Do you spend too much time surfing the web or do you have a great online/offline balance? Are you really connecting online? Has technology made your life better or harder to keep up with? Do you embrace every bit of technology and see the benefits personally/professionally in doing so or have you seen more benefits in being selective?

Wonderment

Her Heart Beats

1 Mar ’09


(34/365), originally uploaded by sweet olive.

When I first met Amanda it was years ago in a charming cafe in Seattle. She had just moved to Seattle and I had just moved away but was back visiting on business. I was nervous to meet her but once we sat down, we didn’t stop talking.

So even though I was only in Seattle for twenty-four hours a couple of weeks ago and wanted to spend as much time with my mum to celebrate her birthday, I knew I had to sneak a visit in with Amanda. Especially since I’ve fallen completely in-love with her Flickr Stream and stories.

And again I was so nervous to see her; it’d been so long. But as soon as we sat down in the Art Lounge, we seemed to pick up right where we left off and didn’t stop talking.

I shared with her my enthusiam and hope for the new year despite not knowing exactly what was next. And I told her that I owed a great deal of that to her and the creative energy she shares.

The way she sees the world and shows her heart truly, well, I think we can all use some of that.

My favourite photos are: Sleepwalking, Refugees, and one of the best little dance videos ever.

Everyday Hygge

Life After Domino

15 Feb ’09


Jack and I reading the last issue of Domino. What will we do without it?

My parents never subscribed to any magazines while I was growing up and I honestly don’t think I could have told you what one was until I saw my first National Geographic about age 8. But when I hit 15 I discovered Vogue and my magazine obsession began. Fashion magazines were my main indulgence until my early twenties; I learned Italian through Italian Vogue, I feel in-love with the 16 series in New Zealand and then, in America, found InStyle.

But when I got my first real home – the kind where I bought furniture and knew I’d be around awhile – my magazine interests changed to decor magazines. Back issues of American Victoria, Country Living, Elle Decor, House and Garden along with the English magazines Country Home and Country Living, my French staples Marie Claire Maison, Marie Claire Idees, and Maisons Cote Sud and my Danish loves Boligliv, Isabella’s.

There came a point, however, a few years ago when I was so tired of magazines; the same old, same old. So I stopped getting them and last fall recycled dozens and dozens of them.

But one magazine I have really liked – and was even going to subscribe to this year – was Domino. I couldn’t tell you one person who didn’t like it. In fact, when I went to the newsstand today, the two men that run it said, “You know it’s the last issue, right?”

“Yes,” I said, “It’s a sad day.”

They couldn’t understand why it was stopping publication since it was their best-selling magazine. They told me how much they both enjoyed reading it (big, tall, scruffy men reading Domino. Loved it!) and didn’t know what they would read in its place.

Neither could I.

One of my favourite features was the fact they included paint colour names for most of their stories. I also loved how they combined fashion with home, frugal items with luxury ones, were young and fresh but had lots of traditional ideas, too. It was a great mix of ideas that I often find lacking in other magazines which focus one just one idea (modern, country living, arty etc.).

So with Domino gone, what are you reading now? Are there any magazines you can replace it with? Web sites that are filling the void?

Everyday Hygge

Corny never looked so pretty.

13 Feb ’09

baby squirrel & BFF

I have been so busy this week taking care of business, preparing for my upcoming trip, finalising some projects. It’s been a hard week and I, for one, am ready for some magic and good laugh.

If you need some, too, I offer you some help. Just click the button below, as many times as you need and remembe how awesome it was to be a 9 year old girl.

Cornify

Wonderment

Wonderment

11 Feb ’09

The Gift

Slumdog Millionaire
I am so late to the game on this but last week I finally saw and loved it. I had listened to A.R. Rahman who composed the music talk about the score on NPR talk and was fascinated with that part and knew I had to see it in the theatre just for the sound. But the unique story, the idea, the incredibleness of it just blew me away. I have been begging all my Oscar-voting friends to vote for it.

Carrot Time.
This video cracks me up every time I watch it which is far too many to count.

Emilie Chollat, Illustrator
I have spent so much time on this site and love everything about it. From the opening, to the photos of her office, to how the music gets loud once you’re inside. It’s just so magical, creative, charming and a great break in the day.

Moonstiches
My mother sent me this link today because the little girl in the dress and hat reminded her of me when I was young. I read through the site and when I got to the Laura Ingalls/Pippi Longstocking dress I nearly died. How badly did I want to go back to being 7.

Alternative Medicine is Mainstream
I have so much to say on this that I’ll most likely blog about it soon.

Wanderlust

Twenty-four hours Seattle/NY

9 Feb ’09

My mum and I celebrating our birthdays in 2007.

Although my mother celebrates her birthday on the 15th of February and I on the 17th, it wasn’t until two years ago that we celebrated our birthdays together. And oh, how we celebrated.

I first flew to New York where I had twenty-four hours on my own except for a leisurely bunch with friends on the lower east side followed by coffee in the afternoon in the Village. My mum came the next day where we had a whirlwind twelve hours before flying off to Denmark for a week. We still talk about that birthday and with big numbers this year, we wanted to something just as special.

This year as she turns 65 and I 35, we decided we had to do another trip. There were only a couple of glitches; first I couldn’t travel outside of the US because I had to send my passport away for renewal and second she couldn’t travel very far or very long because of recent surgery.

The solution? Meet in Seattle on her birthday for twenty-four hours before I flew off alone to New York to celebrate my birthday. Perfect!

Although I lived in Seattle for the first five years I lived in the US, it feels like a stranger to me now, especially since it’s been a few years since I’ve been back. It wasn’t one of my favourite places to live but I’m hoping that time and being a visitor will change my views.

And New York? Well, that’s definitely a stranger to me since I had such a quick trip before but I did manage to see Grand Central Station, Soho, the Village, Rockefeller Center, take the subway, go to the Lower East Side, and shop 5th Avenue (I stayed at 70th Park Avenue which made a great base). This time around I’m staying across Central Park and hoping to see a museum or two and of course, head back down to Babycakes to pick up some birthday treats – a girl needs a cupcake, afterall!

If you had twenty-four hours in either city, what would you see, what would you do, how would you stay warm?! I’m consulting Girls Guide to City Life, New York and Seattle but as we all know, friends are always the best for advice.

Wonderment

Wonderment

21 Jan ’09

How Often Should I Wash My Dog?
I wash mine about once every 3-4 weeks depending on what he’s been up to and I do it in the tub. He’s actually really good about it and so happy after. I use the No. 17 Shampoo from Isle of Dogs. Expensive but totally worth it – Jacks fur has never been so soft and his skin never better.

Grand Canyon by Train
I love train travel and this looks like such a great adventure. Parlour class anyone?

Kiki in Paris
I am so, so, so enamoured with the photographs, the girl, the doll, the everything. I have looked at it often. I found it after I bought my own Jess Brown Doll and fell in-love.

Nancy Drew – The Movie
I was surprised how much I loved this movie! It was smart, it was funny, it was charming. I think if you have a young daughter this would be the perfect movie to watch with her.

The White House Website
At exactly noon yesterday, the new White House website was revealed. I was so inspired by the new design and the access to information that I spent over an hour clicking around. I had never done that with the old site. I love how the President’s executive orders and proclamations will be published for everyone to review. Talk about transparency and participation. Plus, it’s just great web design.

Pam Garrison’s Coffee Filter Garland:
So beautiful, so easy!