Monday, December 21, 2009

Furniture I will probably never make

In my current (rented) apartment, in a foreign country, I am uncomfortable making big renovations.  when the opportunity arises, I would like to make my son's bedroom feel like a coral reef or the like.  You know, dark (ocean) and light (sky) blue walls with waves, fish and birds, maybe an island and possibly even a few mythological sea-creatures.
I have been working in my head how to make a 'whale bed'. There would be a standard sized mattress inside, but the bed would be enclosed, looking from the outside like a whale.  Perhaps the tail would be arched up, to reduce the length, but if it pointed out the back, it could have a rod for hanging clothes from.

Inside, I guess the pillow and blankets and such could be chosen for the ocean prints or colours, but I would also include a small bookshelf, radio (is that so old-fashioned?) and a light or two.

I don't have the tools or any good idea on how to buy the materials for such a bed.  In my head, it is made of wood, like a cabinet, but I have also considered a metal frame and nylon or fabric walls.

Basically, it would look something like this, but an aquatic rather than a pre-historic theme (my son would love either one):

Image fromLisa Katayama of Boingboing, who found it here.

The other bit of furniture I just thought of was a dresser for clothes that open forward (as a dresser normally does) on it's wide side, and to the side.  I feel you could take clean clothes to the dresser, open it on the wide side and push the current contents to the side opening, then place the fresh clothes furthest from the side opening.  I don't have that many clothes, I think, but i always put clean clothes on top of what is already in the drawer, then wear them again, leaving the contents deeper in the drawer to waste space, basically.  I liken my idea to the way grocery store clerks fill the milk from the back, keeping the older milk closest to the consumer.

I thought of this second idea when I found some summer clothes that haven't been worn since last year.  I didn't notice them or think about them five months ago, when they would have been useful.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Creating things online

On my iMac, I have photo editing software (that I am not entirely thrilled with), movie editing software (which does have a lot of great features) and software that makes MP3s.  Oh, and iWork, which includes presentation software.

There are lots of programs that create content online though, and they fill wonderful, specific niches.

Bitstrips allows non-artists, like me, to makes comics.  This is handy for ESL teachers, again, like me, but also for people who simply like comics.  I have used it a little and find it still takes time, but the results are so much better than what i would make holding a pen in my own hands and drawing.

Xtranormal creates movies based on the text or script you give it.  The computer generated voices are so much better than I recall from my Commodore 64 days.

A cool site I just found today is screenr.  You prepare by opening various windows on your computer.  Screenr is something like taking 'screenshots' and adding audio, although the effect is not stills,  but video. This looks great for making 'how-to' videos.

This site, remixgalaxy, looks like a place to make MP3s.  I am not musical, but I do make podcast-type audio fairly often for students.

Since I finished my introduction with presentation software, let me finish the post by mentioning Google Docs and their simple-but-useful presentation option.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sex, love and creativity

Boy, with that first word in the title, searchers will now find this blog!

Dr. Shock has a post comparing how brains and minds work when thinking about Sex and Love.

But if love and lust aren’t completely the same, what different psychological effects do they have in humans? Researchers from The Netherlands and Germany proposed a cognitive model for the effects of love and sex. They hypothesized that when in love, people start thinking globally, love entails wishes and goals of attachment, needing a long term perspective. Love triggers global processing in the brain. This is closely linked to creative thinking.
When reminded of sex people start processing cognitively details of objects, it exists in the here and now. Sex triggers local cognitive processing, this is closely linked to analytical thinking.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

How does creativity work?

I recently wrote a blogpost at Gangwon Notes about the DMZ and if it is a symbol for anything.  At first, the post most mostly describing and summarizing several recent newspaper articles.  Summary more than analysis.  By the end of the post, though, I suddenly decided that the DMZ should only be a symbol for war and for the unhappy people living on the North side of it.  If you want more detail, read the post.  I am proud of it.

The reason I am mentioning it here is that I hadn't intended to come to any conclusion.  The conclusion I did come to was not a surprise in itself; I am concerned with how blase' Koreans are about the DMZ.  The words and the plan to write my conclusion were founded on significant past experience but still appeared to come out of the blue.

What is it in the sub-conscious that worked out how I should end my post without any deliberate planning from my conscious mind?  It seems the same 'genius hand' that pushed an ending to the short story I posted here in November.

Again, I am not saying the story or the blogpost were objectively special or brilliant, only that the ending felt both satisfying and surprising to me.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


A few years ago, I put an hour or two into learning how to juggle.  I did not succeed and felt I had put enough time in that I should have seen some improvement.

I found a site that discusses the benefits of juggling and has rekindled some interest.  It's time to put an hour or two more into seeing if I can learn to juggle.

Juggling is a really good exercise for life. It has a lot of the fun parts of a soul sport (working to better yourself, non-competitive activity, etc.) but isn’t dangerous — unless you’re juggling fire or pancakes or something. That’s why I want everyone to learn. I’m offering juggling classes in Hollywood (free for your first class) and an inexpensive (and most helpful) DVD because I want the world to juggle.
I’m sure juggling’s not a cure-all like alcohol, but it does a great job with the following 8 thingies:
brain growth
body comfort
stress relief
focus retention
coordination boosting
being interesting
unboring meditation
Via Boingboing.