Victorian Tiny Texas House

Click here for more info. I really dig this design. And the stain glass windows... perfect.


Kids-My Sincerest Apologies

This is a Swedish band. I typically like things that originate from this country so it makes sense that this video can be added to that list. This song will get stuck in your head in a great way.


Fernstone Cabin
I would like to construct a cabin like this in the next few years on a specific piece of land. I think I can do it.

(via grandfatheroak.org)


Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten was first introduced to me from a mix CD a friend of a friend made. Since then I've been eagerly awaiting her latest album. It comes out next month. I'm lucky enough to had a chance to listen to it in its entirety and must say it will be one of the best of 2012 in my opinion. Here are a couple videos for you to enjoy. I hope you do.


License Plates
I collect license plates. I have since I was about 12 years old. It all started when I pulled an old rusty piece of metal off my grandpa's old trailer that was decaying out in his pasture one summer while in Canada for a family reunion. I took that old Alberta license plate and cleaned it up a bit, and from that summer day on, I've collected license plates. When I got back home to California I had a conversation with my scout leader who happened to be one of the coolest old men in the world (he restored old cars, was a world war two vet, and had the sweetest wife a man could ask for) and mentioned the license plate I had found and how I wanted to find more like it. He had started a collection over the years in his garage and told me some of the stories behind his coming across some of them. It was fun to think of the future collection I would have. A couple weeks later I got a package in the mail. He had sent me a few old plates from his collection. It was better than getting gifts on Christmas or my Birthday because it was totally unexpected. I thanked him and from that time on I collected license plates.

Whether it was my grandmother finding them at the flea markets she would go to, me finding them on the road, or some other random circumstance that would bring me in contact with the newest piece of my collection, I continued adding to my quiver of plates.

The four you see up above are the latest I've found. The Hawaii one was inherited from The Goat House, the place I lived in Hawaii for several years. The other three were found in antique shops in Montana and Alberta over the summer. I don't know exactly how many I have but it's somewhere around thrity or so. I can't wait to have my own garage so I can hang them up in the rafters like good 'ol Scoutmaster Perry. Seriously though, I look forward to having my future garage more than my future house. I'm a weirdo.
When Were You Young?

I don't remember how I came across this video but I'm sure glad I did. This little collage of video and photographs set to this song by The Vaccines is perfect in my eyes. From what I understand this guy spent three years traveling around America on a motorcycle with friends and exploring all the different places along the way. If this doesn't put you in a good mood then you're an idiot. Plain. Simple.


Gregory Alan Isakov

I've been listening to a lot of Gregory Alan Isakov lately. Thanks to my buddies Kristopher and Aaron. It has been on repeat in my truck for the past week or so. Enjoy. The track above is a great live version while the song below happens to be my favorite from his album.
Jace- 3D is for Suckers

I met Jace last year through my friend Devin. Even though we didn't get to hang out much before I took of for the summer, I have really enjoyed seeing the projects Jace works on. He has some incredible talent when it comes to editing, photography, and videography. Here are a few of his favorite pictures of 2011 with a little bit of a twist to them. My favorites are of the hike Stairway to Heaven. He did a great job showing the incredible depth, height, and verticalness of the hike. Well done Jace. I like his music selection too. I'll post more about Awolnation in the future. Promise.


The New Groupthink

By SUSAN CAIN // illustration by Andy Rementer
NY TIMES Published: January 13, 2012

SOLITUDE is out of fashion. Our companies, our schools and our culture are in thrall to an idea I call the New Groupthink, which holds that creativity and achievement come from an oddly gregarious place. Most of us now work in teams, in offices without walls, for managers who prize people skills above all. Lone geniuses are out. Collaboration is in.

But there’s a problem with this view. Research strongly suggests that people are more creative when they enjoy privacy and freedom from interruption. And the most spectacularly creative people in many fields are often introverted, according to studies by the psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Gregory Feist. They’re extroverted enough to exchange and advance ideas, but see themselves as independent and individualistic. They’re not joiners by nature.

One explanation for these findings is that introverts are comfortable working alone — and solitude is a catalyst to innovation. As the influential psychologist Hans Eysenck observed, introversion fosters creativity by “concentrating the mind on the tasks in hand, and preventing the dissipation of energy on social and sexual matters unrelated to work.” In other words, a person sitting quietly under a tree in the backyard, while everyone else is clinking glasses on the patio, is more likely to have an apple land on his head. (Newton was one of the world’s great introverts: William Wordsworth described him as “A mind for ever/ Voyaging through strange seas of Thought, alone.”)

Solitude has long been associated with creativity and transcendence. “Without great solitude, no serious work is possible,” Picasso said. A central narrative of many religions is the seeker — Moses, Jesus, Buddha — who goes off by himself and brings profound insights back to the community.

Culturally, we’re often so dazzled by charisma that we overlook the quiet part of the creative process. Consider Apple. In the wake of Steve Jobs’s death, we’ve seen a profusion of myths about the company’s success. Most focus on Mr. Jobs’s supernatural magnetism and tend to ignore the other crucial figure in Apple’s creation: a kindly, introverted engineering wizard, Steve Wozniak, who toiled alone on a beloved invention, the personal computer.

Rewind to March 1975: Mr. Wozniak believes the world would be a better place if everyone had a user-friendly computer. This seems a distant dream — most computers are still the size of minivans, and many times as pricey. But Mr. Wozniak meets a simpatico band of engineers that call themselves the Homebrew Computer Club. The Homebrewers are excited about a primitive new machine called the Altair 8800. Mr. Wozniak is inspired, and immediately begins work on his own magical version of a computer. Three months later, he unveils his amazing creation for his friend, Steve Jobs. Mr. Wozniak wants to give his invention away free, but Mr. Jobs persuades him to co-found Apple Computer.

The story of Apple’s origin speaks to the power of collaboration. Mr. Wozniak wouldn’t have been catalyzed by the Altair but for the kindred spirits of Homebrew. And he’d never have started Apple without Mr. Jobs.

But it’s also a story of solo spirit. If you look at how Mr. Wozniak got the work done — the sheer hard work of creating something from nothing — he did it alone. Late at night, all by himself.

Intentionally so. In his memoir, Mr. Wozniak offers this guidance to aspiring inventors:

“Most inventors and engineers I’ve met are like me … they live in their heads. They’re almost like artists. In fact, the very best of them are artists. And artists work best alone …. I’m going to give you some advice that might be hard to take. That advice is: Work alone… Not on a committee. Not on a team.”

And yet. The New Groupthink has overtaken our workplaces, our schools and our religious institutions. Anyone who has ever needed noise-canceling headphones in her own office or marked an online calendar with a fake meeting in order to escape yet another real one knows what I’m talking about. Virtually all American workers now spend time on teams and some 70 percent inhabit open-plan offices, in which no one has “a room of one’s own.” During the last decades, the average amount of space allotted to each employee shrank 300 square feet, from 500 square feet in the 1970s to 200 square feet in 2010.

Our schools have also been transformed by the New Groupthink. Today, elementary school classrooms are commonly arranged in pods of desks, the better to foster group learning. Even subjects like math and creative writing are often taught as committee projects. In one fourth-grade classroom I visited in New York City, students engaged in group work were forbidden to ask a question unless every member of the group had the very same question.

The New Groupthink also shapes some of our most influential religious institutions. Many mega-churches feature extracurricular groups organized around every conceivable activity, from parenting to skateboarding to real estate, and expect worshipers to join in. They also emphasize a theatrical style of worship — loving Jesus out loud, for all the congregation to see. “Often the role of a pastor seems closer to that of church cruise director than to the traditional roles of spiritual friend and counselor,” said Adam McHugh, an evangelical pastor and author of “Introverts in the Church.”

SOME teamwork is fine and offers a fun, stimulating, useful way to exchange ideas, manage information and build trust.

But it’s one thing to associate with a group in which each member works autonomously on his piece of the puzzle; it’s another to be corralled into endless meetings or conference calls conducted in offices that afford no respite from the noise and gaze of co-workers. Studies show that open-plan offices make workers hostile, insecure and distracted. They’re also more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, stress, the flu and exhaustion. And people whose work is interrupted make 50 percent more mistakes and take twice as long to finish it.

Many introverts seem to know this instinctively, and resist being herded together. Backbone Entertainment, a video game development company in Emeryville, Calif., initially used an open-plan office, but found that its game developers, many of whom were introverts, were unhappy. “It was one big warehouse space, with just tables, no walls, and everyone could see each other,” recalled Mike Mika, the former creative director. “We switched over to cubicles and were worried about it — you’d think in a creative environment that people would hate that. But it turns out they prefer having nooks and crannies they can hide away in and just be away from everybody.”

Privacy also makes us productive. In a fascinating study known as the Coding War Games, consultants Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister compared the work of more than 600 computer programmers at 92 companies. They found that people from the same companies performed at roughly the same level — but that there was an enormous performance gap between organizations. What distinguished programmers at the top-performing companies wasn’t greater experience or better pay. It was how much privacy, personal workspace and freedom from interruption they enjoyed. Sixty-two percent of the best performers said their workspace was sufficiently private compared with only 19 percent of the worst performers. Seventy-six percent of the worst programmers but only 38 percent of the best said that they were often interrupted needlessly.

Solitude can even help us learn. According to research on expert performance by the psychologist Anders Ericsson, the best way to master a field is to work on the task that’s most demanding for you personally. And often the best way to do this is alone. Only then, Mr. Ericsson told me, can you “go directly to the part that’s challenging to you. If you want to improve, you have to be the one who generates the move. Imagine a group class — you’re the one generating the move only a small percentage of the time.”

Conversely, brainstorming sessions are one of the worst possible ways to stimulate creativity. The brainchild of a charismatic advertising executive named Alex Osborn who believed that groups produced better ideas than individuals, workplace brainstorming sessions came into vogue in the 1950s. “The quantitative results of group brainstorming are beyond question,” Mr. Osborn wrote. “One group produced 45 suggestions for a home-appliance promotion, 56 ideas for a money-raising campaign, 124 ideas on how to sell more blankets.”

But decades of research show that individuals almost always perform better than groups in both quality and quantity, and group performance gets worse as group size increases. The “evidence from science suggests that business people must be insane to use brainstorming groups,” wrote the organizational psychologist Adrian Furnham. “If you have talented and motivated people, they should be encouraged to work alone when creativity or efficiency is the highest priority.”

The reasons brainstorming fails are instructive for other forms of group work, too. People in groups tend to sit back and let others do the work; they instinctively mimic others’ opinions and lose sight of their own; and, often succumb to peer pressure. The Emory University neuroscientist Gregory Berns found that when we take a stance different from the group’s, we activate the amygdala, a small organ in the brain associated with the fear of rejection. Professor Berns calls this “the pain of independence.”

The one important exception to this dismal record is electronic brainstorming, where large groups outperform individuals; and the larger the group the better. The protection of the screen mitigates many problems of group work. This is why the Internet has yielded such wondrous collective creations. Marcel Proust called reading a “miracle of communication in the midst of solitude,” and that’s what the Internet is, too. It’s a place where we can be alone together — and this is precisely what gives it power.

MY point is not that man is an island. Life is meaningless without love, trust and friendship.

And I’m not suggesting that we abolish teamwork. Indeed, recent studies suggest that influential academic work is increasingly conducted by teams rather than by individuals. (Although teams whose members collaborate remotely, from separate universities, appear to be the most influential of all.) The problems we face in science, economics and many other fields are more complex than ever before, and we’ll need to stand on one another’s shoulders if we can possibly hope to solve them.

But even if the problems are different, human nature remains the same. And most humans have two contradictory impulses: we love and need one another, yet we crave privacy and autonomy.

To harness the energy that fuels both these drives, we need to move beyond the New Groupthink and embrace a more nuanced approach to creativity and learning. Our offices should encourage casual, cafe-style interactions, but allow people to disappear into personalized, private spaces when they want to be alone. Our schools should teach children to work with others, but also to work on their own for sustained periods of time. And we must recognize that introverts like Steve Wozniak need extra quiet and privacy to do their best work.

Before Mr. Wozniak started Apple, he designed calculators at Hewlett-Packard, a job he loved partly because HP made it easy to chat with his colleagues. Every day at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., management wheeled in doughnuts and coffee, and people could socialize and swap ideas. What distinguished these interactions was how low-key they were. For Mr. Wozniak, collaboration meant the ability to share a doughnut and a brainwave with his laid-back, poorly dressed colleagues — who minded not a whit when he disappeared into his cubicle to get the real work done.
I came across this article from a link a friend of mine had up on fb. He is an industrial designer and has done some pretty impressive things with his work. I like what this article talks about. It would be fun to have a conversation with designers and artists about various projects they have worked on and how it relates to the new groupthink.


Linotype: The Film

I'm looking forward to seeing this. The Trailer is good. See for yourself. Apparently Thomas Edison called the machine the "Eighth Wonder of the World". If that doesn't get your attention you should go back to watching cat videos on youtube or something weird like that.

(via swissmiss)


Dirty Three

I like Warren Ellis. He happens to be a part of the Dirty Three. This song is on their upcoming album. Should be good. Give it a shot. Please.


de Ville Cliff
I moved to a city. Salt Lake City to be exact. I live in a pretty nice area with a couple good friends and my situation is pretty comfortable. The apartment was recently renovated so everything is new. I have a balcony with a neat view and some really fun people that live quite close to me. The set up is ideal. Sure I miss Hawaii but all is well. I'll get back there soon enough. I'm lucky that there happens to be a lot of opportunity here for me. That coupled with the fact my brother and sisters live within an hour of me (not to mention a bunch of cousins and aunts and uncles) and for some reason a lot of good friends have migrated this way for school or careers or whatnot which makes this move a bit more logical. I'm just stoked on the fact I can drive 10 hours north and be in Canada with my family or drive 10 hours south and be in California (where I grew up) with my friends and warm weather. Splitting the diff isn't so bad.



Refused has influenced more bands than you or I even know. These Swedish musicians left a mark on music that will never totally be realized in my opinion. They broke up way too early for there to be any real system to gauge how much they left their mark on people in the decade following their dispersion. In high school, these guys were kings. Their album "The Shape of Punk to Come" was mind blowing. I would have done anything to see them play but they broke up before I even had a chance.

I'm gonna have to pull some strings to make it to Coachella to see them play live but I think I can do it. I have never really had the desire to go to that music festival but I figure this will be my first and last time so I might as well live it up. At The Drive-In is playing too so I figure I'll just write it off for history's sake. I mean, I flew to New York to see Texas is the Reason play for their reunion after being broken up for 10 years so I might as well keep with the theme. Plus me going to Coachella will make up for me living on an Island for 7 years with an overwhelming lack of good music hardly making its way there... this is how I'll justify it.

If you're not familiar with Refused, do a little research on the world wide web and listen to "The Shape of Punk to Come" in it's entirety. You'll be glad you did.


Driving & Moving
So about a week ago I packed up my stuff, put it in the back of a vehicle and drove south. I passed right through Montana (which is what you see above) and continued on down to Salt Lake City. This is weird. But I like it and the change is good. I haven't had a location change as permanent as this for quite some time. I've bounced back and forth from Hawaii and the mainland for summer breaks or the occasional semester off to work since 2005 but this move is big for me. I did it on my own free will and even though I'm in a cold, awkward place (relatively speaking) I like the change. I'm not happy about being away from my home in Hawaii but I know I'll be back out there soon enough and my goal is to end up back out there so all is well. In the meantime, I wear more layers of clothing and live right in the middle of a city. Different but neat. Plus my new place is new and perfectly located. Double bonus.


At the Drive-In

At the Drive-In made a bit of a commotion via textual message as they alluded to a reunion. Radical. I've always wondered if they would get back together. They broke up in the middle of their rise to fame. Seeing them play live was one of the most memorable experiences in my musical life. The swinging of the guitars and microphones along with their spazzy swagger on stage created quite the impression on me back in 1999. I'll travel long distances to see them perform live.


Is The Ocean Powerful?

Yes. Yes it is. I came across this video and it only further confirmed what I already knew. If there is one thing in this world I respect... it is the Ocean and all it has to offer. This little russian video which happens to be set to some dirty euro dubstep remix of Clint Mansell (I'm not in love with it but I'm also not complaining about it) is pretty impressive; 'specially the parts when the huge ships get slammed with the swells. My favorite parts are when you're watching it from the captains point of view. Radical. Enjoy.


Widowspeak-Harsh Realm

Dark and simple. I enjoy the hollow electric guitars. Real neat stuff.


Kid Brother Ballin'
While kickin' it in Canada over the holiday season I had the chance to watch my little brother Neal play basketball. It's pretty rare for me to see him play with me being in Hawaii for the past several years so it was a treat. I'm pretty proud of the kid. His team was down by double digits and came back and tied it up at the very end to put it into overtime.

That's when Neal decided to turn the notch up a bit. He got a steal at mid-court and took it in for a layup right after he hit a three pointer to start the extra time. His team went on to win it because of those plays... pretty neat stuff. It was a scrappy game but it was quite entertaining. Luckily the whole break was filled with basketball. My Dad and brothers and I were able to get some pickup games going quite regularly with my cousins and some of their friends. Good times. I'll never get tired of playing hoops.


The National-About Today & Start A War

#40.3 - The National - Start a war by lablogotheque
I watched a movie with my family a few nights ago that I really didn't think would be that good. I'm not into MMA jazz but I got over my preconceived notions of what the film would be like as soon as the opening scene had music by The National set behind it. From that moment on I was a fan of the movie until the very end. The video above is a live version of Start a War. Classic song. The movie went out with a bang set to another song by said band with the song being tweaked a bit from its album version. The end scene was not only incredibly climatic but quite motivational as well. The bar below should have the play button pressed and be listened to in its entirety. If you haven't seen the movie Warrior you should. It's not as meaty and tool baggish as you would think, in fact it's sorta masterpiece-ish. Incredible considering its about dudes with no necks wearing tapout shirts and fighting people in a cage. Go figure.

Seriously listen to the whole song. If you don't you should leave your computer and feel bad about it until you do. No guilt. Sike. Feel bad.


Cheers to a New Year and a New Location

So 2011 was cool. 2012 will be neat and interesting. I'm already way out of my comfort zone. Cheers to a new year and an awkward new location. Luckily this new location is filled with good, solid, and familiar friends and boat loads of opportunity.

Picture 1: Sunset view from the house.
Picture 2: Waterton was windy and wild and quite cold. There were actual waves on the lake and ice nuggets. Crazy. It's amazing what canadian weather and a couple months can do to a place.
Picture 3: I don't remember the last time I got to spend New Years with Brad, Laurel, and Michelle. It almost happened last year but Laurel had to peace out early. Glad we could all be together for at least part of the night. I have the greatest siblings.
Picture 4: Hitting the road (HWY 89 in Montana) in a vehicle packed with most everything I need to start over in a new city with a new job and with a lot colder weather.