Photo essay: Breaking the Dam

1-IceDam-Roof-Gutter-Mansard-Dormer

Underneath the dreamy pleasure of sunny freeze-thaw icicles trimming a snow-laden roof, there lays the nightmarish pain of ice dams and massive interior water damage.

2-Ice-Damage

Sharp, sparkling rows of glass stalactites may look ornate and perfect, but to be managed well, they require a firm hand. The dam must be broken.

3-1-Icicle-Trim-Strip

3-2-Ice-Damage-Strip

Dam –  n. – A large reservoir of stuff trapped inside a person’s psyche: ideas, energy, and aspirations; concerns, criteria and conditions; wants, desires and passions. Normally these feed in and flow out reliably. However from time to time the floodgate gets frozen shut and a self-reinforcing build-up occurs. As the blockage persists, intervention becomes increasingly necessary.

4-Ice-Dam-Corner

The first rule of being an Ice Dam Master (or Mistress):  At first, you will fail.  You will not completely subdue the ice dam. You will also cause physical damage to the building and possibly to yourself as the intervener.

6-Hammer-Dont-Hurt-Em

This does not diminish you – in fact it provides you with the starting point of your credibility. Know that the vast majority of people won’t even step up and try their hand. They’ll call you crazy, but pay them no heed. The title ‘Master’ is one that is continually earned, continually improved upon.

5-Ice-Hammer

There is a difference between being ‘dominant’ and being ‘domineering.’   The icy core of confidence is a deep sense of humility and fearlessness. True confidence is a big part of that difference.

There is also the critical difference of having compassion and a purpose that is greater than yourself. A compassionate, purposeful focus on others makes (almost) all the difference.

8-Hammered-Ice-Dam

As you sculpt the ice and strip away its unnecessary blockages,

know that it does those things for you, too.

9-Ice-Dan

Linking Gardner to McLuhan — Extending Ourselves via Muscle Memory

danspira:

Starting the week off with positiv-e-motion and mo-mentum…

Originally posted on Dan Spira:

In his 1964 classic, Understanding Media, Marshall McLuhan described the wheel as an extension of the foot,  the arrow as an extension of the hand and arm, and electronic technology as an extension of the central nervous system. 

In defining what he calls “bodily-kinesthetic intelligence,” Howard Gardner (1983) described the ability of handling objects skillfully and controlling one’s body movements.  A person with this “intelligence” will have good hand-eye coordination and fine-motor control. They will also have a strong sense of the space around them (in terms of volumes of air and objects placed within those volumes) and well as a strong sense of timing or rhythm.

Putting bodies in motion
‘Cause I got the notion
Like Roy Cormier
With the coconut lotion

The sound of the music
Making you insane
You can’t explain to people
This type of mind frame

   – Beastie Boys, Body Movin’

Danny MacAskill (mac-a-skill?) of Scotland proves that…

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Photo du Jour: Ice, Damn

So much snow, so much ice.

Growing Icicles

Ice Dam 1 Ice Dam 2 Ice Dam 3 Ice Dam 4 Ice Dam 5

Growing Icicles 2

Time to break it up.

Photo-haiku-essay: Snow Roots

jackfrost

Frozen crystal roots

Splay and weave on glass edges

Coldly scatter light

snowroots

They burrow downward

Avoiding the air’s harshness

Remaining silent

garden snow blanket

Forget discontent

Under the blanket’s shadow

Our potential grows

holding potential and its shadow

(Re)capitulation

(#27 of 27, final post in the series)

After re-visiting 26 posts from last year over the past 30 days, it’s time to wrap things up. The goal of this “blog feed-forward exercise” as I described it, was threefold:

  1. Focused output
  2. Reflective practice
  3. Sheer experimentation

Stretch Goals:  You're going to feel a little pressure...

Re: 1) Definitely got the focused output  — but it took a huge effort. As usual, I was being more ambitious than I initially realized. But I got it done with only a bit of faltering… well within the acceptable parameters of self-imposed high standards.

Re: 2) Got a boatload of reflective practice, in a much deeper and rigorous way than ever before. Even when I came across an oddball post that seemed irrelevant and/or poorly executed, I was able to draw out value from it by forcing myself to revisit it in some way. This was particularly true when I considered a sequence of posts which had continuing threads or themes, but looked at them in reverse order.

Re: 3) Got a decent amount of sheer experimentation out of this exercise. However, because of the daily pace and competing personal and professional demands, I could not fully experiment as much as I would have liked. I’d love to put together a graphic map showing how each of the last 26 posts related back to the corresponding 26 posts from 2014, with icons indicating the approach taken on each pairing.  For example, in a couple of cases I re-blogged a post. In one case, I split out a post into two posts, and in another case I combined two into one.  Many of the posts were reversals, some were refutations, others were remixes or extensions. Got to play around with visual and audio elements a bit, too.

One of the biggest lessons for me was seeing what it was like to blog every single day. It had all the elements of a grind, and it often felt lonely, but I did manage to get some feedback — both online and offline — during the process. Some of my “interaction” with fellow WordPress bloggers during this time helped improve my perspective and/or validated thoughts I hadn’t yet fully articulated. For example, the essay  “Why I Write so Personally, Publicly” resonated deeply. Sinawali Clip Art WomanAt least one real world friend offered solid encouragement and insights. I now realize that I miss the dialogue and debate that I used to have in comment threads with my buddies, especially Nareg. Having bolstered my writing skills by running this mini-marathon of 27 posts, I’m now interested in slowing down the pace and delving deeper with a stronger element of conversation and co-creation.

All of this ties in neatly (of course) to the first two posts from 2014 — one of them written by me (“Rough and Refined, Filipino Style: Sinawali Eskrima”) and one ghost-written by contributor Jake Broce (“6 Tips for Making and Sticking to an Exercise Regimen”). My two biggest takeaways from this past month are:

  1. I need to keep writing on a regular basis — not necessarily daily, but more often than once per week; and
  2. I need to engage with a chavruta - a learning partner — whenever possible, to generate some creative and intellectual sparks.

As for now, it’s time to rest and recover…and take a few days off from the blog.

Onward into the rest of 2015.

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