“One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do in a stormy world is stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times…struggling souls catch light from others who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.”—
Let me tell you a little story about innovation and creativity. Years ago, I worked on a wiki-based project to find the first instance of ideas/techniques in video games (like the first game to use cameras as weapons, or the first game to have stealth as a play element). It excited me to dig to give credit to those who laid the foundations of ideas that we now take for granted. I couldn’t wait to show the world how creative and innovative these unknown game designers/developers were.
I went into it with much passion and excitement, but unexpectedly, it turned out that there were almost no “firsts”. Every time someone put up a game that was the first to do/contain something, there was another earlier game put up to replace it with a SLIGHTLY less sophisticated, or SLIGHTLY different version of the same thing. The gradient was so smooth and constant that eventually, the element we were focusing on lost meaning. It became an unremarkable point to address at all. We ended up constantly overwriting people’s work with smaller, less passionate articles, containing a bunch of crappy games that only technically were the first to do something in the crudest manner. Sometimes only aesthetically.
After a lot of time sunk into this project, I came to the conclusion that I was mistaken about innovation/creativity. It would have been a better project to track the path of ideas/techniques than to try to find the first instance of an idea/technique. I held innovation so highly for years before that, but after this project, I saw just how small it was. How it was but a tiny extension of the thoughts of millions before it. A tiny mutation of a microscopic speck that laid on top of a mountain. It was a valuable experience that helped me very much creatively.
“Poetry is a kind of witchcraft. We have the power to manifest, to call forth, to make what didn’t happen, happen. I think of the griots who delivered stories from town to town, the soothsayers and playwrights and brujas, all the ceremonies and dedications and incantations and proclamations, everything that starts with the word. And how the word gains its power by being spoken and handed to the next person and how what we write will last longer than our skins, our poems are the truest husks of our former selves.”—Rachel McKibbens, interviewed by Leah Umansky for Tin House (via nps2013)
So we will have a surprise early in the week around how we move into this next astrological stage. Let’s hope it’s a nice one.
We are dealing with some things we’ve just committed to until March 2014. Lots of chaos in the household, lots of conversations this week about what is ahead. This sounds exhausting to me.
These conversations are to be actions, though, not talking about what we want (that moment is past, sorry), but talking with people as we manifest the things we said we wanted and are working toward. Re: meetings with prospective collaborators/troublemakers.
Thursday we are going to admit a failure or mistake we made or that is lurking around in our lives. We may ask someone to leave or admit something publicly.
And this weekend it’s one of those serious relationship moments. But think of it as holiday engagement season with projects in your life too. Venus is going to be retrograde for many of us until January, FYI. It is the time to commit to things this weekend, though.
We do have a lovely new moon to light our way as we make commitments and DO THINGS. Have a great week, star friends.
On the Pacific Northwest coast, Haida families inherit rights of association with certain ‘totemic’ species by virtue of legendary events in which their respective ancestors were involved. Stories of one clan descending from a supernatural salmon or another emerging ancestrally from a cedar tree are typical. But such tales do not merely recount legendary events of the past: they shape how people interpret the present. So Raven, the central character of Haida mythology, brought light and fire (by theft) to the world, and enabled the original Haida to emerge from a clamshell. And today, many Haidas continue to interpret the actions of particular living ravens as communicating to them, signalling messages of value from which their human relatives might learn.
“Nationalist pilots devised an original method of dropping fragile supplies. They attached them to live turkeys which descended flapping their wings, thus serving as parachutes which could also be eaten by the defenders.”—The Battle for Spain, Antony Beever. (Giving myself history lessons.)
Posting a bit late, but obviously today (Tuesday) is excellent day for doing what you need to do. Run down the list of things, sort the inbox.
Wednesday looks good to finish projects you have already started, but it’s not the day to start a new jam.
Thursday is what it is, your goal is not to feel like Salem the Cat if you’re feasting.
Or this if you’re shopping. Creepy.
The weekend is the time to make things and again, we are through the eclipse season, it’s time to dream new dreams. Don’t buy or agree to keep stuff from your old life that you know you don’t want in your future.
Figure out what you dream about and why by Sunday.
It’s Sunday that we are paying careful attention to this week - who we meet, ghosts from the past that drop by to say hello, the whole day is full of clues about what happens next and you should have some realization on Sunday night…
See you next week, star friends.
I am having a pretty good time with my side project, Gif Horoscope.
“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.
– Dorothy Parker”—
Learn Around the year 1612, early French explorers through the Great Lakes region noted that the Iroquois popped popcorn with heated sand in a pottery vessel and used it to make popcorn soup, among other things.
Cultivate Popcorn has a long agricultural history. Precisely how popcorn originated is a topic of debate, though it did originate in the Americas. Some experts believe that corn was developed by centuries of breeding and crossbreeding wild grasses like teosinte. When farmers are considering seed selection, expansibility and maturity are two key factors. Maximum popping potential hinges on the corn reaching full maturity and there are many factors that can prematurely terminate plant development such as drought stress, disease, and frost. When harvesting, it is best to wait until the corn has cured on the stalk as much as possible, but not so long that it is damaged by fall moisture or by corn stalks falling over. Once picked, the corn must be dried until it reaches its optimum moisture level of 13.5% to 14%.
Taste Popcorn is delicate and starchy, and depending on what topping you choose, sweet or savory. Jim Fitkin’s popping corn is unique in that it has a subtle taste of the Iowa prairie it was grown from.
Identify One of the more desirable traits of popcorn is expansibility; a measure of the volume ratio of popped corn to unpopped corn. Popcorn kernels can come in two shapes: “Butterfly” which are irregular in shape and have a number of protruding “wings”, or “Mushroom” flakes which are largely ball-shaped, with few wings. Jim’s popping corn is grown in northeast Iowa and is a hybrid variety with mushroom-like kernels.
Prepare We all know that when popcorn is heated it expands from the kernel and puffs up. But why? The folklore of some Native American tribes told of spirits who lived inside each kernel of popcorn, and who grew angry if their houses were heated. The real expansion happens because the kernels have a hard moisture-sealed hull and a dense starchy interior and under the right temperature, pressure builds inside the kernel, and a small explosion - or “pop!” - is the end result. Once popped you can eat popcorn with whatever toppings you choose; salt, butter, chili flakes or cream and sugar. When it comes to Jim’s popping corn, we’re staunch traditionalists and hold true to this recipe complements of the McVay family.
People who are serious about food often keep popcorn kernels around for dinner for one. I keep it in the refrigerator (for freshness and to preserve the moisture content ratio), use only oil in the pan, butter and oil to finish with some cayenne, and order it in 24-lb. bags from Fitkin.
This is an experiment to pair favorite gifs with horoscopes.
Eclipse season is now over with yesterday’s full moon. Eclipse season made me feel like this:
November 17 through 23: This week we are thinking about investments and what dreams we want to build on (starts this week and we’ll be thinking about this until March). There will be a door closing (or something ending) that later on we will understand and be happy about. Less drama this week than the past few weeks and Wednesday and Thursday look fun. Tuesday the moon is void so it will be difficult to make things happen most of the day. Next weekend will be good for personal projects.
So, congrats on making it through the eclipses. Thanks for reading Gif Horoscope! And here’s our gif for the week ahead. What’s your dream? What is worth investing your time and energy in?
Memory scholar Aleida Assmann distinguishes between two kinds of memory. First, there is memory as ars. That’s the art of remembering, of committing to mind entire books or intricate maps. It’s an art that needs practice to be mastered. As an art, it’s artificial. It’s not the way the mind works when we try to call up the experience of, say, our first kiss or how we felt on 9/11. That is memory as vis, the organic, fragile process of remembrance. Much like a ruin refers to a historical moment, our memories, too, may well reference actual, material events. But they’re by no means an accurate representation of those events. Like these buildings, memories are ruinous—full of holes and lapses. Like the countless and ever-changing graffiti appearing on the walls of the former listening station at Teufelsberg, our memories are subject to constant change, to effacement, to being overwritten every time we call them up.
In Japanese folklore there’s a term called Tsukumogami, which means “artifact spirit.” It’s such a beautiful concept — it’s applied to an object that’s reached its 100th birthday, when it becomes alive and self-aware. An idea that as an object ages, it acquires character, and a soul.
Amazon used to have literary ambitions. In the late ’90s, the company hired professional editors who commissioned and wrote thousands of reviews a week, as well as features, interviews, and previews of forthcoming books. Later…
The installation is part of the Gwangju Folly series, curated by Nikolaus Hirsch, Philipp Misselwitz, and Eui Young Chun, with the goal of using “the ambiguities of a Folly as a tool of inquiry to address the expectations of public space.” You can see its fellow follies, including a reading room by David Adjaye, the UNESCO Bathroom by Superflex, and a polling station by Rem Koolhaas, here.