One of Hokusai's "36 Views of Mount Fuji"

Exploration of Houston, A Museum, and Japanese Art

As I travel for work, I’ve found it’s easy to spend a week in a place and barely leave my hotel room. After 8 hours of standing in front of a class, actively teaching them, I don’t have much energy to explore. So, I spend half an hour Sunday evening planning a small excursion for some evening that week. Houston was a challenge. I stayed in the business district, where everything closes at 5:00 to 6:00pm. But after some digging, […]


From Tim Kreider‘s article “The ‘Busy’ Trap” in the New York Times: Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes […]


As I mentioned in my last post, I feel lost. Not depressed; just unmoored. So I’ve been thinking about how I want to spend my time. That’s a clichéd phrases and an important thought. How do I actually spend my time? What do I actually do every night? I work on lots of little things. I keep up with Google+ and email. I chat on IRC. That’s not how I want to live my life. Unfortunately, I don’t know how […]

'Mist' by frielp on Flickr

No More

Good gravy, I’m tired. I’m tired of outrage. I’m tired of walls. I’m tired of anger. I’m tired of working late into the night on yet another project. Because everybody’s busy. So what are you working on? I’m tired of feeling tired. This exhaustion is thanks to a wonderful Monday night with historicula (not in that sense!). We saw Snow White and the Huntsman, which lived down to its […]

Advice Taken

It’s 1:00am. I’m writing a distressing number of these posts after midnight. A few days ago, my Google+ stream gave me this video of photographer Scott Kelby. [iframe_loader width=”500″ height=”300″ src=”” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen] In the video, he exhorts a room full of photographers to understand the basics of photograph composition. He spends no time on lenses or cameras; he explains concepts like the Rule of Thirds and filling the frame, then walks through […]

The Dark Hotel Room

The Dark Hotel Room

I’m sitting up in a hotel bed at two o’clock in the morning. The room is dark. The hotel’s silent. This would be a good start to a Stephen King novel. And books are on my mind. I recently posted this photo of my (physical) to-readpile on Google+: In contemplating that mountain of wood pulp and ideas, I came to a realization: I should be smarter about my reading. What would be wisest to read? That question bounced around my head for a few days. I quickly […]

'FOOD!' by galfred on Flickr

How Then Shall We Eat?

Been thinking a lot recently about food. I eat poorly. But what’s the standard? The USDA food pyramid–once the nutritional standard–has come under fire. Research increasingly shows that foods once thought bad are actually important in certain amounts and ratios, and overall we’re finding that food is a matter of relationships. So, to begin with, I must admit that there are no simple rules. One can’t simply […]

IMG_4243 by prijordao/priscillajp on Flickr

The Core Productivity Life-Changers

A few habits boosted my productivity dramatically in the last few years. They are presented here in the hopes you find them useful. 1. Schedule half hour chunks of time each day. When you get to work in the morning, or if you have a large chunk of empty time, break that down into half-hour or hour pieces and determine what you’ll do. Combine this with your priorities. You probably […]

The 6 Most Important Productivity Tips I’ve Ever Received

In truth, I hate “tip culture,” the idea that you can achieve balance, harmony, and rightness in life with a few painless steps in 5 minutes a day. It’s never that easy. Also, I don’t want to tell you what to do. Who am I? So, these aren’t tips as much as they’re pieces of advice that I’ve taken, which have powerfully affected my productivity and efficiency. 1. Keep a list of projects […]

Cleaning Out

Spent a good chunk of last night reading It’s All Too Much, based on a recommendation from Merlin Mann on the “Back to Work” podcast. It’s an excellent, kick-in-the-butt response to having too much stuff, and guides the reader through ways of tossing out a lot of it. I was inspired by this image of Steve Jobs, way back in the day: This was his apartment. He was a millionaire at the time this photo was taken. […]

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