Nikki McClure and Sinful Folk

New York Times best-selling illustrator and author Nikki McClure and I know each other through our children’s school and our mutual interest in locally sourced art and supporting local artists. Nikki’s son and my children both attended the Lincoln Options Elementary School, and we are both very involved in the local arts community in the South Sound area in the Pacific Northwest. We first met at a Solstice Celebration that featured local children in an impromptu theatrical celebration of the season.   Nikki created the cover of Sinful Folk as one of her signature papercut pieces, but went in a new direction for the internal illustrations, which were created with charcoal. After reading the book in 2012, Nikki created her own graphical interpretation of SINFUL...

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Pumpkins

The really neat thing about carving pumpkins is that it’s a transformative activity. You’re taking a smooth surface — an organic substance (no two pumpkins are the same) — and changing it into something that resembles a human being. What’s even better is that it doesn’t last — perhaps that’s why I like both pumpkin carving and sand castle building. Neither one of them are permanent art installations; both forms of art are ephemeral. Oh, and they are also architectural. I love planning out how a pumpkin’s structure will support whatever I carve into it, and how to create a relief impression. Given the varieties of light and of differing layers in the pumpkin skin, I have successfully carved entire landscapes of...

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Inspiring My Kids Through Example

Cross-posted to projects for a dad: I think that Kevin Kelly really put his finger on something when he talks about the models we provide for our children. After all, whatever my children see me doing is what they feel is “normal”, or “expected” for an adult. So if I’m writing and performing drama or if I’m carving pumpkins or spending time coding on the computer, my kids on some subliminal level will feel this is a “cool” adult activity. Science fiction author Neal Stephenson mentioned this first to Kelly when he note an unfinished kayak under a tarp. He said he was slowly working on it, in part to mentor his kids, even though they did no work on the boat, nor express the least bit of interest in this project....

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Future of Technology: The Ned View

I recently gave an interview to a pair of researchers about what I thought was coming in future technology. Apparently, I said some useful things, so I got a transcript, and here it is!  Thanks to many for re-posting! 1. INVISIBLE A couple things I think are essential about technology. Really good technology should be mostly invisible to the user. Technology in general should be something that lets people get to their goal or their task focus. Without being in the way. It should be a layer that almost does not exist. So if you think about clothing for example, clothing can move smoothly and quickly rather than clothing that restrains and constricts you. The goal of good software is to enable you to move faster, not slow you down. For example, a touch screen gets...

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Farming as retro-tech

All sorts of news in the zeitgeist about how young folks my age and younger want to go back to nature. Not because of some mystical hippy connection with the backwoods, but out of a sort of Long-Now perspective on the world. Basically, they don’t think that the planet — or their kids — will survive without knowing about how food works, and how to be farmers. It’s an interesting juxtaposition of farming-in-the-backyards, coverage in the NY Times, an emphasis on last-days Peak Oil scenarios, and a feeling that all too soon we’ll all be living with horses and cows again (a trend? Maybe, maybe not….) there’s actually useful information about this. To cite just a few examples, seeNo Impact Man, a crazy stunt that thus far...

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