Doing Without?

Composition No. 10 by Piet Mondrian. An excellent example of minimalist art

There is a minimalist living thread on Talking Time that I occasionally read. A poster recently linked to a post on mnmlist which is a blog on minimalism (not the art style but the way of living.)  The post asks what you could live without accompanied with a list of examples. After thinking about it some I came to some conclusions, here they are:

  • Cable TV – living without it now. Not for miminalist reasons but because it’s a horrendous waste of money and time.
  • A smart phone – Nope. This thing in large part is replacing my computer for many things.
  • Any kind of cell phone – We don’t have a land line a cell phone is the only way for me to stay in touch with friends and family.
  • Any kind of TV –
  • An Internet connection –
  • A couch – We could get rid of the couch but I don’t know where guests would sit when we have them over for dinner/parties.
  • More than one pair of shoes – I probably do have too many pairs of shoes. I could cut down to three pairs: work, exercise, and regular.
  • More than a few shirts, or pants – Another area where I could cut down, somewhat. My work though requires a lot of formal wear.
  • A microwave – For a while we didn’t have a microwave and got along fine, it is convenient though and makes cooking/baking easier at times.
  • A car – fixing mine up to sell now.
  • Sweets – I don’t understand why you’d want to get rid of this? Food is one of the best, and simplest pleasures in life.
  • More than a handful of books (at a time) – I try to only keep books that I go back to again and again. This is a slow process of removal. I’ve made a lot of progress in the past year or so having donated/recycled more than ten boxes of books.
  • Makeup – don’t wear any.
  • Hair – How is getting rid of your hair minimalist? I honestly do not understand this one
  • Mementos – Outside of photographs, not really.

I’m sure some people “score” better than I do and some worse. I understand that the author’s point wasn’t to judge or imply that use/possession of items on the list above is wrong or bad, but rather to consciously think about the stuff we buy/have. Some of it though makes little to no sense, “hair” being the best example. I have a hard time seeing how having hair could distract you from the goal of conscious living, even people who take time to do their hair aren’t letting it control their life, if they are “stuff” isn’t the problem they should be focusing on… “Sweets” is another example, what does that mean? Candy bars, sugar, fruit? Why remove those things from your life? They are simple pleasures that can help us escape from a bad day.

I think my real gripe with aspects of minimalism is the focus on necessity. Again, from the mnmlist blog post: “just as [sic recte ask] yourself the questions. Is it really necessary? Can you live without it?” This is not the question we should be asking ourselves! Why? Because it leads down a destructive path. The fact of the matter is that humans can live without everything but water, food, and some form of shelter (and not even that depending on climate.) The human experience is not a race to the bottom. In fact by our very nature we collect and by collecting we can create and through creation humanity has bettered its state over and over again. Do modern people have a problem with consumerism? Yes. Can people become a slave to the things they own? Yes. The answer though is not to throw all that away. The answer is rather to live consciously, be aware of what you have, why you have it, and the costs associated with it. If you do that then you’ll be fine and you won’t have to live like a cave hermit.

And why would you? Those guys smell!

 

What Beautiful Art Direction

It looks even more amazing in motion

I’m not going to get into the argument over whether video games are art or not (because that argument is dumb; if a human created it than its art…) I just wanted to mention how beautiful Outland is to look at. How I simply like to walk around the levels taking in the environment. This is a beautiful game. The artists have done an excellent job conveying through the visuals how ancient this place is, how much of an outsider your character is, how alone you the player are in this world. It’s evocative.

It reminds me of art deco, art nouveau, and film noir

Watch the video below if you want to get a small idea of the visuals. Sadly, it focuses mostly on the gameplay (it is a game after all) but you might get a small idea of what I’m talking about:

I haven’t played much of the game yet. Like I said I’ve been too preoccupied with just exploring the environments and soaking in all the style the animators and artists put into the game. So maybe the game will be crappy or maybe it’ll be great. It is certainly nice to look at.

PS – click on the still images to see larger pictures, it’ll help you appreciate them more.

Birthday Celebration

Eat, drink, and be merry
Good Friends, Good Food, Good Drink

I turned thirty on April 17. To be honest I never thought I’d make it this far. But, here I am. I didn’t want to do anything big for my birthday. D insisted that something had to be done to mark the occasion. If only going out and socializing with friends. So, that is what we did and it was great.

Thanks to everyone who came out and everyone else who wished my a happy birthday! I’m lucky to have such wonderful people in my life!

Thanks Teeples for the gift!

You already know about the present D got me. My friends the Teeples picked up this board game (I got cards and free drinks too!) I can’t wait to have everyone over (or 2 to 6 of you) to give it a go.

Time to Get Planting! Spring Garden 2011

Down among the seedlings

It’s been a little iffy these past few weeks but I think it is safe to say Spring is finally here! Spring is the herald of many things (one of the best being Easter candy; I’m looking at you Cadbury egg) what it means in our household is spring cleaning and spring planting. The cleaning is all mostly done (I’ve just got to steam clean the carpets) so, that means it’s time to get our hands dirty in the garden.

Before we could plant we had to take everything else out. The winter garden still had celery, spinach, chard, arugula, and carrots in it; they all had to go:

After harvesting, all the greens had to be cleaned
Tiny carrots are yummy. I think we grew them too close to each other
Once cooked all this spinach will fit in a one measuring cup
Arugula is delicious. This was previously unknown to me

We kept the celery in the garden because it seemed so happy and I have no idea what to do with 4 heads of celery… Once the winter plants were out  all the ready compost out of our composter and went in, along with a bag of manure fertilizer, and soil to revitalize the plot. Then we laid out where we were going to put everything. Learning from last year we picked up fewer tomatoes and zucchini plants and got more cucumbers. We’re also attempting beans again this year to see if we can do better than the single green bean pod we got last year.

 

tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, eggplants, basil, parsley, peppers

 

Everything in its place.
I swear I helped put this garden in. It wasn't all D.

 

 

Beer traps in Sluggo spread. It begins!

I’m hoping that we do get a lot of produce this year. D and I are both looking forward to learning how to can and pickle vegetables! I’m still trying to figure out what to do with all the celery. As it is we’re putting it in absolutely everything.