Archive for May, 2010

Asking for Direction and the Truth

Posted in Thinking Patterns on May 30th, 2010 by Sandy – 12 Comments

One of the unfortunate products of the internet and the technology revolution is that we are on sensory overload. Information is pouring in akin to your kitchen sink spigot delivering water like a fire hydrant.  Not only will the volume increase, but the pace also. In the Summer 2010 “special Issue of The Futurist magazine it states:

“If you think things are changing fast now, you haven’t seen anything yet…   The rate of change is skyrocketing. As inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil notes, ‘ Because of the explosive nature of exponential growth, the twenty-first century will be equivalent to twenty thousand years of progress at today’s rate of progress: about one thousand times greater than the 20th century.” …Today it’s as if we’re driving 200 miles an hour and only looking into the rear-view mirror.”

You might want to sit with that for a few moments. read more »

Raising The Bar

Posted in Thinking Patterns on May 25th, 2010 by Sandy – 2 Comments

I was watching the Charlie Rose Show the other evening and he was interviewing Joel kotkin, the author of the The Next Hundred Million, a book about the next hundred million people to be added to the current population of the United States. Kotkin is a demographer. Aside from his prediction that the opportunity will accrue to the middle states of the union (because there is inexpensive land) his most disturbing forecast was that we will be accentuating the differences between richer and poorer, and this gap will steadily become more pronounced.

For the not so privileged the challenge will be finding a way up. Education will cost more and their environment will be much more difficult to navigate for a young person. As a result, like a lethal virus, low self-esteem, is one of the plagues. read more »

Building a Frank Lloyd Wright House-The 9th Post In A Series

Posted in Architecture on May 19th, 2010 by Sandy – 2 Comments

As you enter this house the front door is like a small portal in a large wall of glass. It blends in with no statement of its own. Stepping into the house you look immediately ahead to the dining alcove. The alcove is fitted with  lovely built in cherry wood shelving seating and storage under the seat. The unit was so well made that when it was brought up from the cabinet shop in Kona and slid into place, you could hardly pass a razor between the wood and the brick.  The large dining table is immediately ahead and off to the left. Barrel chairs replicating the original designs from the Robie house in Chicago surround the table. When you gaze to the right,  your eye see the expansive room that curves blending into the wall of glass making up the front of the house allowing you to see the distant alcove. It is over 90 feet. Wright liked to create what he referred to as the “great room.” It was the hub of social activity. Here was no different. As we had mentioned before, the fact that the second floor hung from the ceiling meant there were no posts on the first floor and made it look like the ceiling was floating. It also gave one the feeling that the outdoors was much closer to the interior space.

When building the house, we were planning on fabricating the three pair of ten foot front doors and the transom windows, which were above these doors, in a woodworking shop at the end of the driveway. Heaven only knows how long that would have taken. Roy Lambrecht’s cabinetry shop in Kona was light on work and had all of the right machinery. They fabricated the entire front of the house in no time.

The chairs around the coffee table in the living room were called “Taliesin” chairs. They were made out of plywood, and  were both heavy and surprisingly comfortable. The look was much like a Japanese Oragami design.

We will continue to move through the house in future posts.

The Rear View Mirror

Posted in Thinking Patterns on May 19th, 2010 by Sandy – 6 Comments

This last week I attended my 50th high school reunion in Tallahassee, Florida. It was a wonderful place to grow up and a wonderful time. We were blessed to be in the slipstream of the promise of the  American Dream. The town seemed like one big middle class to us. Kids all kind of seemed alike. Teachers ruled. Drugs and guns(the kind meant for shooting people) were not even wild dreams. We were all going to college, into farming, or some trade. It all seemed so orderly.

I stayed with Billy and his wife, Quincie. She is an archeologist turned fabulous jewelry designer and he  is morphing from a master mason/contractor to a stock day trader who also sells exotic Turkish rugs and eventually would like to get back to writing poetry, fiction and acting.

I duck into a cramped cubbyhole of a home office. As I watch Billy pour over five screens with charts, Bloomberg and CNN is streaming continuous news. I feel like I am in the control center of a NASA launch. Looking up at the two news screens I see an expert who, with convincing arguments, is sure the Dow will soon be at 12,000 . The moderator turns to another expert. He is equally convincing with the data to prove it that the Dow will tumble to 6,000. Meanwhile  oil is pouring from the Ocean floor promising economic and environmental disaster. The Euro is plunging as Greece’s transgressions like the plague threaten to unravel the European economy. Suddenly the screen turns to the enigma that is Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is like the ocean floor where  (substitute money for oil) is being sucked in rather than spewed out. Then the commentators return to talk about the 900 point plunge in the Dow the week before and the idea of “shadow traders”, a whole new kind of “black swan” boogie man to think about.  “Isn’t this kind of maddening?” I ask Billy. “Yes, it is,” he says. “But construction is off and the cash flow is down. I’ve been lucky to get the hang of this.” read more »

Building A Frank Lloyd Wright House-8th Post In A Series

Posted in Architecture on May 10th, 2010 by Sandy – 4 Comments

In the last post I showed you pictures of the narrow rather undramatic entrance. You would have no idea what you were to see as you entered this narrow passageway. These additional photos show the passageway emerging to  the front of the house, a view from the other side of the house looking across to the entrance, and part of the vista. Really, there is no photo that can do it justice. It is breath taking. There are some 360,000 acres of unobstructed views of Austrailian pampas grasslands and  three volcanoes, Mauna Kea, Mauana Loa, and Hualalai. The latter two are still active. In the distance and sloping down some 1800 feet over a 12 to 20 mile stretch is the Kohala Coast and Ocean. “The original site in Pennsylvania was I am sure unique, but this site,” said John Rattenbury, the supervising architect from Taliesin West, “was magnificent.”

And this was exactly the effect Frank Lloyd Wright was after. You would enter a mysterious small passageway not knowing what to expect, and then be blown into a whole new reality as you entered the expansive vista and the two story wall of concave glass paying tribute to it.

Creating An "Aha" Experience

Posted in Thinking Patterns on May 10th, 2010 by Sandy – 1 Comment

Like a good health drink there are several items that can go into a blend designed to help transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.

First of all how many times have you seen that bumper sticker that says, “Expect a Miracle.” I don’t know about you, but miracles fall into that sort of “Oh my god” category and they certainly don’t seem to happen frequently. So that kind of a sticker doesn’t have much impact on me. It can become an empty slogan because I don’t give it any energy.  But I do keep posted a read more »

Building A Frank Lloyd Wright House 7th Post In A Series

Posted in Architecture on May 4th, 2010 by Sandy – 2 Comments

In the last post I showed you the approach to the house is from the back and side. The idea is that you walk past the carport and the plantings on the right which forces you to focus on a very narrow tunnel like breezeway.  You enter this house  as if going into a birthing canal. Here are  photos of the carport area in both the day and night as you approach the entrance.

Harvesting The Group Mind

Posted in Thinking Patterns on May 2nd, 2010 by Sandy – Be the first to comment

One of the challenges as we rush head long into vanishing time as we know it, is that we are confronted with the breakdown of one our most cherished concepts, that one individual can know it all, and take care of things.  Perhaps it is comforting simply to be able to point a finger at one authority figure and say, “aha, this person knows best. Historically this seems to be the case. Mankind has felt comfortable with leaders, those who seemed wise beyond all others, to run the show. Our religious models have endorsed this idea with the concept that divinity resides in an identifiable source. Powerful leaders have arisen and people have willingly surrendered to them in exchange for the promise that they would make things better.

And now more so than ever before we expect the president, or the CEO, or the General to fix “it” whatever “it” is. The paradox is that whether it is government, religion, or business, the complexity of the world is simply asking too much.

James Surowiecki in a video presentation under the label POWER:2012 discusses in a short speech that the likelihood of any one person now having the answers to these complex questions does not square with reality. Authority figures are as likely to be wrong as right. The top down idea of a one or even a few having all the answers is coming up short. read more »

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