Eliot Porter on knowledge

Our knowledge, which we set so much store by, helps us mostly to further our exploitations, to extract from the environment what we value, and to destroy that which, in our present state of ignorance, seems to have no utility.

—Eliot Porter in Maine

Getting Things Done by David Allen: a brief review

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free ProductivityGetting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I bought the audio book; the GTD method is fantastic and quite flexible, but David Allen is not the easiest to listen to. He’s quite monotonous and plodding. Listen at 1.5x actual speed if you can. It’s worth getting through, and the repetitiveness actually helps it to sink in.

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Painting on walls

Cave of Forgotten Dreams poster

Tonight, as part of The Sackville Film Society’s fall series, I watched Werner Herzog’s wonderful, quirky documentary The Cave of Forgotten Dreams.

The film was an exploration of what it means to be human, to share experiences through story-telling, through what people in the art community call mark-making.

Reaching back as far as 35,000 years, these oldest known cave paintings show that their makers had an intimate knowledge of horses, bison, rhinos, lions, bears, and more, that mocks the facile notion of the artists as primitives. Their lines are as practiced, as stylistic and as skilled as any human can make.

As someone whose personal drawing style tends towards contour drawings, I felt an immediate connection with whoever rendered these magnificent images on rock. It’s impossible to know if they were teaching aids (be successful; be safe), storytelling devices, spiritual touchstones, pure decoration, or the only thing an artist could do to express something inside them that they needed to share in order to feel human. To be human.

I also couldn’t help but wonder what these people would have thought of the technologies we have at our fingertips today; cameras, smartphones, video, communications satellites. We’re not really doing anything fundamentally different with them than they did with these paintings. We congratulate ourselves that our great-great-grandparents would be mystified by iPhones and instant, global communication, but we use them to tell the same stories. Be successful. Be safe. Learn. Share. Marvel. Wonder.

These long-dead artists can’t see us, but we can see them. They’re a little out-of-focus, but they look familiar. They’re not so different, are they?

Dan Mangan, Live at the Vogue Cinema

Friday night my friends Kelly and John and I took in Dan Mangan’s live show at the Vogue Cinema in Sackville, NB.

The show was, in a word, amazing.

As it happens, I was first in line, so I was able to get front-row seats. Having had good luck recording video at Garnet Rogers and U2, I thought I’d give my new iPhone 4S a whirl. Sadly, I missed the first song (stupid, stupid, stupid), but I got the rest of the show in 1080p.

After the show, Kelly and John met Dan, got autographs, and had a chat. I asked Dan if he was okay with me posting these clips to YouTube, and he said you can’t stop it these days. I pointed out that if he didn’t want me to, then I wouldn’t post them. He said he appreciated that, but to go ahead.

So I have. I shot 18 GB of video, and it took almost 48 hours to upload. Hope you enjoy it. If you get the chance to see him live, do not hesitate.

Dan Managan: Sold

Dan Mangan: Oh Fortune

Dan Mangan: Post-war Blues

Dan Mangan: Basket

Dan Mangan: You Silly Git/Road Regrets

Dan Mangan: If I Am Dead/Daffodil/Starts With Them, Ends With Us

Dan Mangan: How Darwinian

Dan Mangan: Some People

Dan Mangan: Rows of Houses/Regarding Death and Dying

Dan Mangan: The Indie Queens Are Waiting
The Crackling: Keep Me Drunk

Dan Mangan: Robots/So Much for Everyone