Odds and Ends, Real and Ethereal

As an artist living on a tiny road on the top of a hill  I need to get out one way or another, or my mind and my work becomes a tiny bit insular. At the desktop, the answer and the devilish details sit keyboard-close. Technology, for those of us over 50, provides an almost impossible challenge. I still am not exactly sure how one text-messages (or if I even want to do so.) Information is overwhelming; ideas are rampant; inspiration threatens to overwhelm. As artists we struggle to balance content and technique (especially , I suspect, in the rich anything-goes atmosphere and ever-more-innovative marketeers of fiber art/craft materials and supplies). As a human I thrive on input and finding and sorting all this new stuff, both real and ethereal.

This is all to say:

Beyond the sewing table, the rust bucket and the blogs I read everyday, some intriguing sites have found their way to my inbox recently. Some mindbending  -- OK, FM (f***ing Magic, as one of my friends terms them) sites, sounds and spaces to explore.

UNIVERSE by Jonathan Harris at http://universe.daylife.com/

This site is a newsreader with a different spin. Choose any topic and see what is happening in thousands of global news media (the "content site" www.daylife.com is amazing as well) that are circling that topic. He writes in the "Statement" section of the site:

"If we were to make new constellations today, what would they be? If we were to paint new pictures in the sky, what would they depict? These questions form the inspiration for Universe, which explores the notions of modern mythology and contemporary constellations. It is easy to think that the world today is devoid of mythology. We obsess over celebrities, music, movies, fashion and trends, changing madly from one moment to the next, causing our heroes and idols to come and go so quickly that no consistent mythology can take root. Especially for those who don't practice religion, it can seem there is nothing bigger in which to believe, that there is no shared experience that unites the human world, no common stories to guide us. Because of this, we are said to feel a great emptiness.

Harris's visual sense and metaphor of mythologies and constellations is pretty cool. To find out more about him and the site, go to one of my other favorites sources of thought provoking information, entertainment and design -- the TED talks.

TED Ideas Worth Spreading - http://www.ted.com/index.php/

These are free downloads of talks given at the annual California tech-world awards that honor, give a platform to and expand the synergy of some of the world's most amazing thinkers. Event invites are highly sought and the price is astounding, but they've made available many of the best talks, performances and ideas through this site -- all for free. You can search by speaker, title or theme. Some of the ones I reccommend:

Hans Rosling -- health statistics in a whole new light

David Bolinski -- on truth and beauty in the cell

These are just a couple of the hundreds available. You can join TED and save favorites, create a profile, etc. if you wish, but the site can be used without a membership as well.

On a more practical level, here's some tips for desktop management, parallel tracks to my somewhat-in-action GTD (Getting Things Done) organizational theory becoming reality:

5 Steps to a Kinkless Desktop  -- http://kinkless.com/article/kinkless_desktop