Good Reads, La Niña Edition

Here in the Caribbean, the rain doesn’t stop. For over a month now we are back in the city, and after a couple of dry days, I hoped the rainy season would take a longer break. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case, and last night we had a nice thunder storm, driving the dogs crazy. (And, as a consequence, me.) Is it La Niña who will accompany us until 2011? We will see…

This night was rather short, then, but I still wanted to leave you with some great articles and posts I read during the last couple of weeks. What I noticed was that much of this content isn’t from the sites I usually visit. I think I’m getting a little bored recently. There’s so much mediocre content published everyday, and so much repetitive, even incestuous blogging going on in the scene. I would love to see more content that matters and less fluff. More original posts and less bullshit written only to sell me a hot dog and a soda afterwards. Or another ebook.

While there are thankfully some people in my reader that never fail (many of them are hugely popular because of it), I’d love to see more and find new bloggers who really write to make a difference. So if you have great content to share, please let me know.

On a personal side note, Srini from BlogcastFM and The Skool of Life did an interview with me recently. It was a pleasure to talk with him for half an hour about my dilettantic blogging ventures, so if you’re interested in that, feel free to check it out!

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Kirk Tuck was observing how photographers and artists in general get more and more hung up in their personal little world, instead of creating art that has an impact on a broader scale and that takes a looks at what’s happening on the planet:

“For some reason I get the impression that millions of “enthusiasts” who, in our father’s day, would have been roaming the street and putting in time hoping to become informed observers of the human interplay have abdicated the exterior life in preference for trying to “create” art in their basements and living rooms.  Everything has become so self-referential as though we, as a culture, have lost our ability to attach to things outside our selves or to people outside our isolated, one degree of separation spheres.  We seem to have lost the feeling that we are all part of an interconnected bio system that’s interwoven and interdependent, not just physically but also spiritually.”

Isn’t this the same thing that’s going on in the blogging scene? Kirk’s blog is a big recommendation for anybody interested in a more philosophical view on photography – and, of course, in beautiful photos.

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“And now for one of the best ways I’ve found to create a successful blog, ready for this?
DO SOMETHING COOL.”
(True words by Sean Ogle. That’s not the only way to do it, of course, but it’s a good one!)

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How to drive people crazy by communicating with them. This mail exchange with Blockbuster was a big, big laugh for me:

Dear Megan,
With the possible exception of Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, the movies were not worth watching let alone stealing. In Logan’s Run, for example, the computer crashed at the end when presented with conflicting facts and blew up destroying the entire city. When my computer crashes I carry on a little bit and have a cigarette while it is rebooting. I don’t have to search through rubble for my loved ones. The same programmers probably designed the Blockbuster ‘returned or not’ database.

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This was one of the best posts I read in months:

Insulated from real hardship, I voluntarily created hardship to challenge myself. I put myself deeper and deeper into debt, bought things I didn’t need, and pushed myself to work harder and harder until I burned out and needed to take a vacation.

I lived in a bubble where everything I needed was provided for me so long as I chose to conform to the rules of the bubble and keep the mask over my face.

When my thirst for reality finally got strong enough — when my burning curiosity finally overcame the fear of change and the unknown — I broke free. I stepped outside of the bubble. I took a walk on the wild side, into the great unknown, where I might get mugged, shot, kidnapped, or catch a deadly disease and die a horrible death with no medical care.

And you know what happen? I got a taste of reality.

It was written by Raam Dev, whose blog I only recently encountered. It’s great quality content, some of the best I have seen recently, and there’s no business bullshit inside. Totally worth an extended visit and an RSS subscription.

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And this is another great post. It’s a very personal story by Kim Wood that will take you more than 10 seconds to read. There are no bullet points. If you’re a 10 second reader, skip it. (If you’re a 10 second reader, stay on Twitter.) Anyway, it’s valuable stuff. It’s blogging with a message:

I last spoke to my brother nine years ago today.

Barry called to wish my daughter, Kathryn, a happy birthday, but as she wasn’t around, he talked to me. Stories of his life in Darwin. How he was going to take Kathryn to India when she was older. How much he was enjoying learning capoiera, and that he was going to be part of an experimental Noh theatre performance. He had a new motorbike and was thinking of riding to Melbourne at Christmas. He’d been riding to Litchfield National Park, camping and swimming. What an incredibly beautiful place it was. More things … I don’t remember. I just enjoyed listening to him. He’d told me almost the same set of stories the week before, when he’d called for my birthday, but it didn’t matter – listening to him talk, I felt a closeness and connection to him that I’d rarely felt before.

About a week later, he was listed as a missing person with the Northern Territory Police. He was last seen on Nightcliff beach, the night after I spoke to him. Nine years ago tomorrow.

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Two good posts by Julien Smith:

“Here’s what I’m thinking: the society (or individual) who makes the cost of failure the lowest, while retaining the ability to reap rewards, gets the greatest increase in productivity and living quality.” (1)

“You can pay someone to tweet for you, but consistent participation is expensive and doesn’t work very well if it’s outsourced. Being clever is hard (impossible?) to pay for, but personality plays such an important role that often, it’s best just to do it yourself. You can’t pay to keep passion going, either; instead, it often gets snuffed out just as you’re trying to encourage it by paying for it.” (2)

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But in the field I am alone. Its not a dream, I’m standing on the ground. I seem to be realizing I have always been there, or not really so far away, anyway. And I am squatting, digging with my fingers, trying to see what’s under that dry grass, brown from August, grasshoppers flying and stinging my legs below my skirt. If I know the quality of the soil here it could give me a sense of impending possibility, of nascent spirit-wealth, of rural self-reliance.

Words and pictures by Aaron Huey. If you like emotional writing and streams of consciousness, this is for you.

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“Whether it’s a dream photography project you’ve been putting off for years or whatever else, the window of opportunity eventually closes. We have to seize the chance or regret things for eternity.” (Travel and documentary photographer Mitchell Kanashkevich about doing what we must do. I stumbled upon Mitchell yesterday, and found his words to be remarkably similar to the point I made in The Open That Gradually Closes. If you are interested in photography or art as a career, I think you might also benefit from reading this post by him. And check out his photos, they are incredibly well done!)

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Things I wish my phone did.
A new cartoon series by Hugh MacLeod. This post’s illustration is (CC-BY-NC-ND) from that series. I would consider buying a cellphone if it came with that alien death ray.

Comments 6

  1. James October 2, 2010

    Great links as ever. Particularly like the Blockbuster one. Somebody showed me that website recently and it was hilarious. Loved the lost cat one, particularly when he did an actual “Lost” poster :D

    • Fabian October 2, 2010

      Thanks for pointing me at that one. Absolutely brilliant: ” If it had been my dog I would have asked for all its legs to be removed and replaced with wheels and had a remote control installed.” :)

  2. Jonathan Ziemba October 3, 2010

    This line by Raam Dev “The lack of education and easy access to comfort didn’t make them more primitive, it made them more motivated to do things that mattered” is along the reason I stopped supporting the “rich” in their quest for more. The clients I served never seemed real to me, never aspired to be more only to obtain more money.

    The Kim Wood piece will be with me the rest of my life. I wish this thought by Kim was not real “Does pain and loss make you more loving?” But I know we need comparisons. We move from A to B to C, we live in a world of our own making. Sad that our vision of the world needs comparisons to be fully lived.

    Thanks for mining the web Fabian.

    • Fabian October 3, 2010

      Jonathan, you are saying something very valuable about our need to compare. There is probably an evolutionary reason for us having it, but it’s really questionable if it doesn’t do more harm than good. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here!

  3. Earl October 4, 2010

    I hadn’t heard of most of these blogs so thank you for the list. These are exactly the kind of blogs I prefer to read but haven’t had much time to try and find :)

    And that Blockbuster post is ridiculous!

    • Fabian October 4, 2010

      Glad you enjoyed the links, Earl. I try always to include links to stuff from other niches or smaller bloggers, in order to avoid too much repetition…

Comments are closed.