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The Though Kitchen - Dedicated to Stirring the Pot

Archive for June, 2007

Take a SiCKO Day

Posted by Rick | June 29th, 2007 | Filed under Positive Change

SiCKO, Michael Moore’s new documentary about the American healthcare system is opening today. Judging by the trailer, it looks like it may be worth taking a sick day to catch the matinee!

Digging the Dregs

Posted by Rick | June 27th, 2007 | Filed under Design, Personal Reflection

I’ve been a fan of the label Audiodregs since before I lived in Portland, when I discovered a musician named E*Vax’s Parking Lot Music. The mysterious album contained some of the most incredible electronic sounds I’d ever heard. Only later did I find out that E*Vax (Evan Mast) was on a bedroom indie label he founded with his brother E*Rock (Eric Mast) in my home state of Oregon. It turned out that Eric was a great musician in his own right, and also an incredible visual artist whose drawings not only grace many of the eclectic Audiodregs releases, but also have been shown in the most avant-garde galleries from New York to Berlin to Tokyo. The guy’s a DIY renaissance man. Cool Hunting‘s recent video (above) tells his story best.

Evan Mast is now half of the wicked electro-riff group Ratatat.
You can tag along on Eric Mast’s artistic adventures via his blog Light & Sound.

The Slow Move: Downsizing Wisely

Posted by Eugénie | June 25th, 2007 | Filed under Design, Personal Reflection, Positive Change

Picture 6.pngYou’ve heard of Slow Food, so why not Slow Move?

When Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini spoke in Portland recently, he said bluntly, “Mangiamo merde,” (We eat sh*t). I’m thoroughly convinced that we as a culture live with a lot of merde, too.

So why not be conscientious nesters in the same way that Slow Foodies are thoughtful gastronomists? The principles are the same (to simplify, to make informed decisions that support local and regional economies) and the practice (to be mindful, to enjoy the process) is equally fulfilling.

I recently moved from a two-story house into a 400-square foot studio. It was an exercise in downsizing wisely, and in peddling stuff: old stuff, new stuff, cheap stuff, valuable stuff…ultimately, just way too much stuff. It was also a hassle, and tempted was I ” many times ” to tackle the move as quickly and painlessly as possible.

But what a missed opportunity that would have been — not to mention wasteful. Instead, I employed Slow Move tactics. On the giving end, I identified local organizations that would continue the lives of my unneeded items (see S.C.R.A.P., the School and Community Reuse Action Project, the Raphael House, and the William Temple House). On the receiving end, I befriended local business owners whose expertise could shape my new place wisely (ReBuilding Center, Whole 9 Yards, and Pistils Nursery).

0525_bikemove_141x121.jpgIn the end, it was a journey through Portland’s local economy, the result of which has infused my new place with an air of mindful, minimalist, collective creativity. It is a good reminder to continue to strive to chuck the Big Box, regardless of whether it’s full of fry guys and cheeseburgers, home improvement items, or bed linens galore. As Petrini might remind us, these big boxes are really just full of merde.

And on the subject of moving, check out this truly Slow Move. Inspiration for us all.

Images courtesy Clarence Eckerson

A Different Countdown on MTV

Posted by Alex | June 22nd, 2007 | Filed under Environmental Change, Positive Change

Picture 31.pngHow much time do we have to reverse the effects of global warming? 30 years? 10 years? Even less? No matter which report you read, one thing is clear: the clock is ticking. Here’s a little video that beautifully illustrates the point.

Via Worldchanging.

Ride to Ride

Posted by Pierce | June 20th, 2007 | Filed under Outdoor Sport, Personal Reflection, Sustainability, Who We Are

Whoopdee_do_lg.gifUntil recently I had always put my mountain bike on the car, driven my car, then gone riding. It occurred to me that it was a bit strange to place one mode of transportation on top of another in order to then use the first mode of transportation. Why didn’t I ever just ride to ride instead of driving to ride? In response, I’ve made a pseudo-pledge this summer to try to “ride to ride.” So far, I’ve done it three times, and although it takes more time and effort, it’s been rewarding.

The best instance occurred yesterday, when I rode with a friend up to a local trail called the “Whoopdee Ride”. Getting to the ride involved a 45-minute intense hill climb on a super-steep road. As we were climbing and I was cursing my friend, the hill, and everything else, another rider came down the hill. Evidently, he had also climbed from town to ride the Whoopdee. As he blew by he shouted, “Hey, good for you, another Super-Whoopdee rider.” This one passing comment made the entire climbing agony worth it for me. I’d never heard of a “Super Whoopdee” rider, but at that moment it felt good to be one.

Connecting the Collective

Posted by Alex | June 18th, 2007 | Filed under Design, Positive Change

Besides being the coolest thing I’ve seen on the internet in a long time, this sweet little video blows wide open the potential that collective networks have to leverage the shared assets of the online community to create something spectacular. Here, Blaise Aguera y Arcas demos Photosynth, a photo-mapping software unlike anything you’ve ever seen. By linking the common elements of images taken from a photo-sharing site such as Flickr, Photosynth builds 3-D interactive models of those photos’ subjects. Frame by frame, merging thousands of individuals’ photos, it recreates landscapes, buildings”potentially whole worlds. The result, says Aguera y Arcas, is a “metaverse,” an incredibly detailed representation of every interesting place on earth.

Photosynth leverages shared photography, but what’s really exciting is how designing around such network effects has the power to change far more than digital mapping. It’s already reshaping philanthropy: organizations like Kiva.org leverage the online community to offer micro-finance loans to individuals in developing nations. The potential is obvious: if a snapshot from your phone can create a cathedral, imagine what a ten spot can do.

This video comes to us from TED (the Technology, Entertainment and Design conference), whose website hosts many such talks by inspiring and thought-provoking thinkers. Check out their blog here.

Wind Up Toys

Posted by Rick | June 15th, 2007 | Filed under Design

Theo Jansen - Animaris Percipiere - 1.jpg

Wind. As in, “The answer my friend is blowin’ in the…”

This is the work of an amazing Dutch artist we stumbled upon who makes massive kinetic sculptures/creatures that are powered by a stiff breeze. Part Empire Strikes Back, part Andy Goldsworthy, part Burning Man on steroids, Theo Jansen’s video is absolutely incredible. Check it out.

Visit his website and blog.

Write or Wrong?

Posted by Josie | June 13th, 2007 | Filed under Design, Personal Reflection

PDX Graffiti.JPGDays before an intoxicated twenty-something scribbled “Freedom” on the side of my car with spray paint, the topic of graffiti came up during an afternoon meeting. The conversation was about a piece of quintessential Portland graffiti art (see left), and at the time it seemed “hip” rather than thought provoking. I am more intrigued by graffiti art now, but I’m getting lost in where the boundaries lie between the visual art, the symbolism of the medium in which it is created, and the importance of who will see it before it’s destroyed.

The freedom and ability to express ourselves where someone will notice, appreciate and think about what we have to say is beautiful. I don’t believe the artist who decided to write “I’m Hungry” in the middle of my street after he decorated my car was really going though any personal struggle at that moment in time. The lack of effort he put into finding the right medium to provoke thought about his view on the world was disappointing to me, more so than the effort I put forth to clean it off of my Subaru. As I scrubbed my windows, it was clear that whatever message the artist was trying to send was completely lost in translation.

Read More »

Surf in the City

Posted by Rick | June 11th, 2007 | Filed under Outdoor Sport, Who We Are

Picture 3.pngCity living is great, especially in a place where you can reach the outdoors after work or on the weekends, then return home to enjoy the best of urban culture. It’s really cool to see that even in a concrete jungle like NYC, there are hardcore surfers who grab their boards and “take the A Train” to catch a few waves. Check out Jamie Brisick’s stellar photo/audio essay on Surfline where New York surfers like author Allan Weisbecker describe why they love where they live.

Found via Surfy Surfy

Portland’s Bike Masterplan Saved by Mighty Maus

Posted by Pierce | June 8th, 2007 | Filed under Positive Change

Maus.jpgI first met Jonathan Maus during a SEE(D) Change event hosted at a Nau store. He was the keynote speaker and he excitedly shuffled through pages of notes while detailing the method and the madness behind his blog bikeportland.org. During his talk he cited the famous Technorati quote, “71 million blogs….Some of them have to be good.” And as a member of Technorati’s top 6000 blogs, his has finally arrived as “good.”

As proof in the pudding for this somewhat nebulous statistic, Jonathan and his blog — along with the Bicycle Transportation Alliance — was a driving force in reclaiming Portland’s bike master plan. Somehow, Mayor Tom Potter omitted the $100,000 bike master plan from the City’s $3 billion dollar budget. Upon hearing this, Jonathan helped rally the second most emails and letters the mayor has received in over 18 months in order to overturn Potter’s decision. Hooray!

As a guy equally glued to his computer and Co-motion road bike, anyone who comes across Maus can tell he is dedicated to pushing things forward, two wheels at a time.

Click here for a fuller version of the story from the Oregonian.