Monthly Archives: August 2009

Dreams of Flying

The Balloon Flyer

A few months ago, I worked on a client report researching expectations for technology in the future. One of my favorite findings was that the childhood dream to fly still lives in so many adults. When respondents envisioned life in the future, amongst the more realistic hopes for future technology, were many wistful responses from people who wished they were able to soar through the air. I think a great depiction of this dormant desire is the series of photographs by the German artist Jan von Holleben entitled Dreams of Flying.

The Pirates

The Future of Reading

reading workshop

A New York Times article explores a new approach to classroom literature and the Catch 22 that it creates. Inspire a love of reading by letting students choose their own books to read and assess? Or ensure a common body of literature and ease the weight of standardized testing by having all students read and analyze the classics together?

Most experts say that teachers do not have to choose between one approach or the other and that they can incorporate the best of both methods: reading some novels as a group while also giving students opportunities to select their own books. But literacy specialists also say that instilling a habit is as important as creating a shared canon.

Summer Reading

summer books

At the beginning of summer, I wrote a post about the books I had read since the start of the year and thought I would mark the closing of summer with the same review. It was a full few months of reading, inspired by my trip to Powell’s in June, where I gathered most of the above titles. I’m looking ahead to the fall, where I hope to read The Other Hand by Cleave Chris, The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, The Girl who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson, and The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work by Alain de Botton. Any other suggestions?

Distinctly German


At one time three-quarters of German television viewers tuned in. Now, when cable channels atomize viewers, more than seven million people still make a ritual of turning off their phones and getting together on Sundays at 8:15 p.m. for an hour and a half to catch the show at home or in bars, some of which, “Tatort” hangouts, receive advance DVDs so fans can pause the action before the killer is unveiled and collectively try to guess who did it.

New York Times article about the German crime series Tatort, started in 1970 and still widely popular. It’s part of my Sunday evening routine and my favorite way to practice German. Es ist fantastisch.

Learn Something New


Earlier this month the Manchester based agency Young started the project Learn Something Everyday, which will hopefully continue forever. I’m torn between thinking it’s the cute sketches that drive this home, or the random bits of knowledge that I learn and can intertwine in unexpected places.



Aspiring to Nothing

Like Okakura, I know that tea is no minor beverage. When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things. Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment?

This line from The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery keeps coming back to me even though I finished the book weeks ago…

Big Little Ideas

“We may need more than a singular big idea, but our little ideas better not be small. Our little ideas have to be Big Little Ideas. Otherwise they’ll never grab attention, be remembered, inspire engagement and drive results.”

Creativity Unbound (via Something Changed)