Creative Challenge 14: Local List

Spring is here gang! The spectre of snow dissipating, courses wrapping up, either with whimpers or bangs, and the budding of summer plans.

There’s no better time to start creating a list of local experiences you’d like to take in over the coming months. That’s your challenge! Mine includes authors, libations, shopping, arts and more.

If you start looking around you might be surprised by all that’s out your own backdoor. Be sure to share!

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Local Author – Reading List 

  1. Bill Gaston – The Order of Good Cheer
  2. John Gould – 7 Reasons Not to Be Good 
  3. Carla Funk – Apologetic
  4. Jack Hodgins – A Passion for Narrative  
  5. Yasuko Thanh – Floating Like the Dead
  6. Lorna Crozier – The Book of Marvels

Local Libations

  1. Beaufort Winery
  2. Schramm Potato Vodka 

Local Arts

  1. Art Gallery of Victoria – Traces 
  2. Belfry Season Ticket renewal

Local Groceries

  1. Dan’s Farm 
  2. Root Cellar 

Locally Owned Spots

(in a shrinking downtown core)
  1. Brasserie L’ecole 
  2. Outlooks 
  3. Belmiro’s 
  4. Only Human 
  5. Munro’s Books 
  6. Russell’s Books

There’s my list of local amusements for the summer months ahead – make a list and share!

Personal Credo and Commitments

I’m reading yet another personal improvement book, similar to my adventures with The Happiness Project and The Element, this one is called the Speed of Trust and is written by Stephen M.R. Covey, the son of the gentleman who wrote The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

The Speed of Trust contains a number of exercises for the reader. I will share some of the results of these exercises over the next several months here at exploring-art.

The first exercise is to create a personal credo then make and document some personal commitments to yourself. The Speed of Trust approach to these commitments is simple, so it captured my attention after the somewhat convoluted exercise of resolutions, goals and strategic outcomes that I proposed earlier this year. Basically the Speed of Trust way is to start with small, simple commitments that you actually 100% intend to fulfil, slowly train yourself to keep those commitments and build up to more challenging commitments.

This could potentially have been quite a dry, boring and un-visually appealing post. In an effort to avoid that, I took some photo’s from Photo Excursion 2, Posterino software from the Mac App Store and mashed up my very own Personal Credo and Commitments motivational poster.

Final Happiness Project Rumination

Now that I’ve identified an additional shortcoming in my set of 2012 resolutions and established a new framework to fix it, it is time to further detail my resolve. Also I am inverting my modified Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs because a foundation must come first.

I’ve also generated a mission statement for my mini happiness project:

Pursue my happiness by being attentive to my vitality, my wife and home and by creating an atmosphere of growth in the pursuit of writing.

Vitality

Resolutions

  • Drink a litre of water every day
  • Wake up before the alarm
  • Exercise daily
  • Restrict myself to two cups of coffee a day
  • Weigh myself daily

Goals

  • Lose 10lbs

Strategic Outcome

  • Increase my energy

Home

Resolutions

  • Do kitchen clean up every night – Don’t procrastinate
  • Set the coffee pot auto start every week night
  • Complete one thing from the backlog task list every day
  • Make the bed everyday
  • Buy my wife a romantic gift every month

Goals

  • Keep a structured, tidy living space and a jubilant wife

Strategic Outcome

  • Increase my happiness

The Element

Resolutions

  • Write everyday (Journal, Blog, or a Project)
  • Read everyday
  • Read one page of the dictionary every night

Goals

  • Promote and maintain Exploring-Art.com
  • Distribute 100 Exploring-Art.com business cards before the end of the year
  • Starting immediately personalize every Exploring-Art.com “publicize” tweet
  • Get published in another format
  • Take Creative Writing 100 @ Uvic next year
  • Find my tribe

Strategic Outcome

  • Increase the quality of my writing

Conclusion

From time to time I’ll post an update to how I’m doing living up to my new mission: Pursue my happiness by being attentive to my vitality, my wife and home and by creating an atmosphere of growth in the pursuit of writing. I believe this concludes my rumination from reading The Happiness Project. Exploring-Art.com will now return to it’s regularly scheduled posts.

Creative Challenge: 10 Things You Find Attractive

#10thingsthatareattractive has Twitter-verse all a twitter… and I thought it was sufficiently engaging to repurpose for this weeks Creative Challenge. The challenge is to list out and share the top ten things you think are attractive – think about it! Here is my list:

  1. My Wife
  2. Long Legs
  3. Dark Haired Brunettes
  4. Eyes that sparkle
  5. Personality
  6. Laughter
  7. Open Mindedness
  8. Being Genuine
  9. Considerate
  10. Creative

TO-FU’s 29 Ways to Stay Creative

Despite this stylish illustrated video being online for about 8 months, being fantastic, and already earning a lot of praise from like minded people I had not seen it before.

I’m pleased to report that I already do most of these things. Even so, I shall be more diligent about ensuring I practice them and cross them off my list. The following three from the list of 29 are definitely the outliers in terms of my lack of adoption.

7 – Sing in the shower

I’m pretty noisy in the shower… it may be possible to classify it as some sort of gregorian chant but that might be pushing the boundaries a little… I must do better.

21 – Break the rules

I tend to be a rule follower most of the time. However I did do that video mashup of Sabrina and Lord of the Rings… maybe that counts?

23 – Read a Page of the Dictionary

This is an excellent idea. I’m going to read one page of the dictionary every night before bed.

Are you doing any of these things? Any ones you are not currently doing that you are brave enough to try?

This is a fantastic video, thank you TO-FU.

Poetry vs. Strategic Outcomes

Earlier this week I acknowledged that there was something lacking in my SMART News Year’s resolution model. By adopting the SMART technique it means that some of the overarching, higher level, bigger picture goals aren’t explicitly captured… these north stars are relegated to the land of the implied.

In my professional world of suits and ties here is how we would tackle this problem. We would take my list of SMART goals and categorize each of them under a heading, probably called a “Strategic Outcome”, so for instance you might do something like this:

Strategic Outcome: Increase Professionalism of Writing

  • Join Victoria Writing Society in January
  • Get published somewhere other than Exploring-Art.com this year
  • Complete a writing portfolio submission… by December

But that would not be very artful! So instead what I did is I wrote a companion poem to go with my SMART goals. Defy pigeonholes, embrace individuality and explore your passions – be brave! Without further ado, here’s my poem:

Three hundred and sixty five days make a year
Fear as always
Is the predominant barrier
Be brave – profess your goals
I must pursue writing with a professional rigour
I will spend effort, resources and time
transforming Exploring-Art
into a noteworthy cultural endeavour
I shall romance my darling wife and will also
pursue a healthy and nonjudgmental life.

Creative Challenge: SMART – New Year’s Resolutions

In love, life and work it seems to me that it is often the simple things that carry the most truth and capacity for change. Take SMART Goals for instance, a relatively simple management principle that has been talked about ad nauseum, has had many iterations, and yet really works as a framework for setting meaningful goals. A meaningful goal can be defined as a goal that is likely to be achieved. So what’s SMART?

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Agreed To
  • Realistic
  • Time Dependant

With this management 101 proverb dusted off let’s talk New Year’s resolutions. Like Christmas wish lists, and blogs in general, New Year’s resolutions are often looked down upon as frivolous – But I say this is not so! Having a list of things you want to accomplish, cast using the SMART Goals principle, might just help you be more accomplished, and what’s frivolous about that? Here’s mine for the new year – what’s yours?

  • Join the Victoria Writers society in January
  • Attend Word Camp in January
  • Distribute 100 Exploring-Art.com business cards before the end of the year
  • Starting immediately personalize every Exploring-Art.com “publicize” tweet
  • Rewrite and resubmit my Fine Arts Diploma Program (FADP) learning plan by Monday (tomorrow, gasp!)
  • Complete my 4th course in my Fine Arts Diploma Program by April
  • Complete my 5th course in my Fine Arts Diploma Program by December
  • Complete a writing portfolio submission for the UVic MFA in creative writing by December
  • Get published somewhere other than Exploring-Art.com this year
  • Get my taxes up to date by April
  • Buy my wife a romantic gift every month (flowers, champagne etc.)
  • And the obligatory – lose 10 pounds!… by… September
  • Lastly report out on my resolutions progress at year end.

What are your resolutions? Create a list of SMART resolutions and share them here!

Albums of the Year

I’m a huge fan of music – listening to it, not making it. With the exception of An Artist I Admire post featuring Zoe Keating, music has not enjoyed much of the spotlight here at exploring-art.com. Primarily this is because exploring-art is about investigating my less developed interests in the arts. That said, I feel the need to highlight my favourite albums of 2011.

Album of the Year: Kiss Each Other Clean

I am an Iron & Wine fan, but to me Our Endless Numbered Days stood out as the epoch of his achievement. Kiss Each Other Clean is at least on par with Our Endless Numbered Days, and it’s musically very different. It is a beautiful thing, dramatically different yet aesthetically alike. You’ll be left wondering why isn’t there more? Left wishing there were more, and yet you’ll be pleased to play it again.

Canadian Album of the Year: Land & Sea

I’ve been a long time fan of Sarah’s; I learnt of her in the early 2000’s living in Toronto, and I haven’t stopped buying her albums. With Land & Sea, an ambitious double album, Sarah shows off her spectacular vocals, as well as her meticulous compositions and arrangements. This album is one of my favourites, but why is it not at the top of the heap? Since it’s not the performance or the production, I suspect that it may be some of the lyrics that hold it back from perfection. But let’s not forget that Sarah is seen here towering over Feist for Canadian album of the year- No small achievement! For lovers of instrumental collections, I’d highly recommend Sarah Slean’s String Quartet Part II, it’s wonderful.

Underrated Album of the Year: Ceremonials

With headlines like, “More is Less”, I feel Ceremonials was unfairly treated in the press. I must admit after the single Shake it Out, the rest of the album wasn’t what I was expecting… but it grew on me, and now it’s a regular on the home stereo as well as my iPhone. With this album Florence and the Machine progress towards a sound that is more choir inspired and less modern bass line and alternative driven. The resulting sound is slightly reminiscent of the 80s, and more specifically, the Eurythmics; however, the music maintains its own identity, and more crucially, it is an evocative and enjoyable album.

Christmas Album of the year: Michael Buble Christmas

One of my wife’s nephews gets credit for this recommendation. He is a wonderful singer in his own right and performs in a number of High School ensembles. I’m not a Buble fan, so I was a bit of a skeptic. As it turns out Michael Buble Christmas is a fun, upbeat, and musical album which carries the possibility of  winning over even the biggest scrooge. Merry Christmas!

Christmas Wish List

I know maintaining a Christmas wish list is very consumerist and petty and yet there’s something whimsical, childlike, and magical about it too! Here’s mine in no particular order:

But truly the thing I’m looking forward to about Christmas most of all… is free time to lay on the couch with my wife, watching the fire, and r-e-l-a-x-i-n-g, and enjoying the beautiful tree! One week off from work, and with any luck it will be the only week in which Victoria has snow! Here’s hoping!