Embrace Randomness and Pursue Arbitrary Stupid Goals.

Buy local tacos.

Buy local tacos.


This past week marked the shuffle of the calendar into February— now one month along in this fresh new year. As I reflected on January, I found it to be a good month. (In some ways, it hasn’t gone exactly as planned, but perhaps it’s better that way.) At any rate, I thought I’d share a few of the ingredients that contributed to a pretty worthwhile month— plus a dive into this week’s links. 

Always carry a book. I read more books during this last month than I’ve read in some entire years. It’s partially due to those early-dark evenings, but additionally I’ve chosen to pick up a book instead of tuning to social media for inspiration or entertainment. The biggest help for this newly-increased reading habit has been to always physically carry a book with me. In the here-and-there moments of my day, I could pick it up and sneak a read— even if only a single page. 

Meditate. I’m in a meditation class at The Hive led by my friend Joey Taylor. It’s helped me get back into the practice and learn to go much deeper with it than I have in the past. There’s been a lot of self discovery through the engagement of the process. 

Embrace randomness. I read about Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies in Messy by Tim Harford. It’s a card deck, full of random tasks/suggestions to remind you to get out of your comfort zone. I made my own set of cards and used them on a few projects this month. During one project I pulled out the card that said “use a sharpie”— I promptly obeyed and proceeded to use a sharpie for the whole project.

Pursue Arbitrary Stupid Goals. I learned about abitrary stupid goals from the aptly-named book, Arbitrary Stupid Goal by Tamara Shopsin. She speaks of goals that “aren’t too important” but “gives you a driving force in life.” My arbitrary stupid goal? Take pictures of trash and post them to Instagram.

Support local immigrants. After watching The City of Gold, a documentary about Los Angeles food critic, Jonathan Goldstein, Meg and I have been on the hunt for our city’s finest ethnic cuisine. In the process we’ve found much enjoyment through this culinary adventure. It’s also a practical way to support our local immigrant population. Vote with your dollar, folks.

Use less technology to organize your life. Every few months I go on the hunt for a better system of efficiency for my design practice. I’ve wasted precious hours testing out time management systems, project organizers, and other applications that had promised to give me my day back. I’m not buying it anymore. This month I moved my to-do list to index cards (inspired by Tim Harford’s book Messy again). Next I might just switch to a paper calendar.

And now for the links. It’s difficult to identify a particular theme based on what I’ve been reading this week, but there seems to be a faint political and slightly-religious bent in what has interested me most. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions. 



Shostakovich: Symphony No. 7 "Leningrad"  We have an Airbnb guest staying with us who is performing with the Cincinnati Orchestra this weekend. (They're playing Shostakovich's Symphony No. 7 "Leningrad") Inspired by our guest, I'm listening to an orchestral recording of the piece. I love the album cover. And I love coming home to our guest rehearsing in the house.

Offscreen Issue 18 I recently became a subscriber and I’m in the middle of Issue 18. I enjoyed the interview with Erika Hall of Mule. She shared that Mule isn’t focused on User Centered Design. Rather, it aims for Value Centered Design. The objective is to create value for both the customers and clients. 

The 10 Worst/Best Things Trump has Done in his First Year in Office I’ve been conversing with my brother-in-law, a Trump supporter, about the President’s first year. It’s been an interesting dialogue. I’m trying to learn be more objective and non-judgmental, which is a difficult thing to accomplish nowadays. In that pursuit, I’ve sought objective and non-judgmental resources (tips welcome). This article struck me as a fair critique of the President’s first year. 

A Post-Obama Democratic Party in Search of Itself Piggy-backing off of the previous link, I found this article intriguing. It’s an objective critique of the left. In particular, I enjoyed the questioning of the litmus test the Democrats have used for their base. For instance, the belief that you can’t be anti-abortion and a liberal. I’m interested to see what will become new essential policies to adhere to in the party’s future.

AskNature - Innovation Inspired by Nature  Have a problem? Ask nature. Or, just go for a forest bathe.

Leveling the paying field: LA cafe lets patrons choose prices – and hasn't lost cashSnook said the inspiration did indeed come from a bearded disruptor - Jesus.”

Restoration (about collage) Collage keeps popping up in my readings. I've always been drawn to it myself. I agree that it can have restoring effects.

Twelve rules of life Following just a few of these rules will likely lead to a more exciting, less complacent life.

Rands in Response Slow writing is good writing.


Credits: Kudos to Tyler, Chris, Austin, and Tina for book/link inspiration and Christopher for edits.