Saturday, May 19, 2018
"That's why the philosopher's warn us not to be satisfied with mere learning, but to add practice and then training. For as time passes we forget what we learned and end up doing the opposite, and hold opinions the opposite of what we should."
culled from here
"You can't just hear something once and expect to rely on it when the world is crashing down around us. Remember, Marcus Aurelius wasn't writing his meditations for other people. He was actively meditating for himself. Even as a successful, wise, and experienced man, he was until the last days of his life practicing and training himself to do the right thing."
-Ryan Holiday, from this day's entry in The Daily Stoic
.............................one must surely be to beware of the self-appointed who throw out the collective wisdom of the past:
With the decline of clerical power in the eighteenth century, a new kind of mentor emerged to fill the vacuum and capture the ear of society. The secular intellectual might be deist, sceptic, or atheist. But he was just as ready as any pontiff or presbyter to tell mankind how to conduct its affairs. He proclaimed, from the start, a special devotion to the interests of humanity and an evangelical duty to advance them by his teaching. He brought to this self-appointed task a far more radical approach than his clerical predecessors. He felt himself bound by no corpus of revealed religion. The collective wisdom of the past, the legacy of tradition, the prescriptive codes of ancestral experience existed to be selectively followed or wholly rejected entirely as his own good sense might decide. For the first time in human history, and with growing confidence and audacity, men arose to assert that they could diagnose the ills of society and cure them with their own unaided intellects: more, that they could devise formulae whereby not merely the structure of society but the fundamental habits of human beings could be transformed for the better. Unlike their sacerdotal predecessors, they were not servants and interpreters of the gods but substitutes. Their hero was Prometheus, who stole the celestial fire and brought it to earth.
-Paul Johnson, Intellectuals: From Marx And Tolstoy To Sartre And Chomsky
Friday, May 18, 2018
Going into the Old School project we knew that adding a sprinkler system was a must. When the building was first erected in 1939 there was no requirement for such a fire suppression system. Building Codes have gotten a lot more sophisticated (and complicated) since then. If we had kept the building in use as a school we would have been "grandfathered," and there would have been no mandate to add sprinklers. But, the magic phrase "change of use" came into play as soon as we decided to convert the 30,000 square foot building into apartments. "Change of use" opens the door for the application of all sorts of building code requirements. A sprinkler system became a necessary part of the plan.
|Much of the sprinkler system was hidden by chases as the piping spread|
its way throughout the building
|Pipe fitting actually looks like hard work to me|
|Threading the pipe|
|Making pipe connections|
|Penetrating the walls actually took significant effort|
|Some of the sprinkler lines had to be exposed. No other affordable way.|
|But, when you paint the exposed lines they do tend to disappear into the wall|
There is more, much more, to the sprinkler system, but you'll have to wait for future installments.
We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls.
-attributed to Mother Teresa
image via APOD. Enlargeable with description
It's fun to think about the future. It's easy to ruminate on the past. It's harder to put the energy into what's in front of us right now at this moment - especially if it's something we don't want to do. ... There is an old saying: "How you handle anything is how you do everything." It's true. How you handle today is how you will handle every day. How you handle this minute is how you'll handle every minute.
-Ryan Holiday, from today's entry in The Daily Stoic
From 1921 Hemingway led the life of a foreign correspondent, using Paris as his base. He covered warfare in the Middle East and international conferences, but the main focus of his attention was on the expatriate literati of the Left Bank. He wrote poetry. He was trying to write prose. He read ferociously. On of the many habits he inherited from his mother was carrying books around with him, shoved into his pockets, so that he could read at any time or place during a pause in the action. He read everything, and all his life he bought books, so that any Hemingway habitation had stacks running along the walls. At his house in Cuba he was to build up a working library of 7,400 volumes, characterized by expert studies of the subjects in which he was interested and by a wide range of literary texts, which he read and re-read. He arrived in Paris having read virtually all the English classics but determined to broaden his range. He was never chippy about having missed a university education, but he regretted it and was anxious to fill any gaps its absence might have left. So he settled down to Stendhal, Flaubert, Balzac, Maupassant and Zola, the major Russian novelists, Tolstoy, Turgenev and Dostoyevsky, and the Americans, Henry James, Mark Twain and Stephen Crane. He read the moderns, too: Conrad, T. S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, D. H. Lawrence, Maxwell Anderson, James Joyce. His reading was wide but also dictated by a growing urge to write. Since the age of fifteen he had made a cult of Kipling, and continued to study him all his life. To this was now added close attention to Conrad, and Joyce's brilliant collection, Dubliners. Like all really good writers, he not only devoured but analysed and learned from the second-rate, such as Marryat, Hugh Walpole and George Moore.
-Paul Johnson, Intellectuals: From Marx and Tolstoy to Sartre and Chomsky
Thursday, May 17, 2018
"Now there can be no organic architecture where the nature of synthetic materials or the nature of nature materials either is ignored or misunderstood. How can there be? Perfect correlation, integration, is life. It is the first principle of any growth that the thing grown be no mere aggregation. Integration as entity is first essential. And integration means that no part of anything is of any great value in itself except as it be integrate part of the harmonious whole."
-Frank Lloyd Wright, The Natural House
"Instead of seeing philosophy as an end to which one aspires, see it as something one applies. Not occasionally, but over the course of a life - making incremental progress along the way. Sustained execution, not shapeless epiphanies. ... It is important for us to remember in our own journey to self-improvement: one never arrives."
-Ryan Holiday, The Daily Stoic
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
"It is not too much to say that as a young architect, by inheritance and training a radical, my lot was cast with an inebriate lot of criminals called builders; sinners hardened by habit against every human significance except one, vulgarity - the one touch of nature that makes the whole world kin."
-Frank Lloyd Wright, The Natural House
Let there be light! The Old School gave up its original wood sash windows some thirty years ago. The school district apparently thought saving energy was more important than giving the kids huge windows to look out from. When it came to replacement time, instead of glass, they inserted an energy efficient insulated panel in the upper two-thirds of the new aluminum framed windows. I'm sure that decision saved the district a significant amount on their natural gas bill. But, the rooms in the Old School have 11' ceilings. High ceilings scream for large windows. Most people seem to favor natural light. Replacing the insulated panels with glass just seemed to be the right, and logical, thing to do.
During the process, the historical folks had their say. Our original proposal did not include "muntins" on the outside of the glass. The muntins give the window the framed pane look, and by having them on the outside of the glass a three dimensional look is added to the window. The historical folks were adamant. Muntins were a must. It raised our cost for the replacement windows by more than 25%, but, in fairness, it also makes for a more attractive product:
|The building with most the original insulated panels in place.|
|A replacement window without the muntins. It got fixed later|
|A close up of the exterior muntins|
|The full glass dramatically enhances the interior of the|
|Nobody uses ladders any more|
|It's a three-man job|
|The old insulated panels are sitting on the ground|
|A pretty attractive finished product|
"If you don't wish to be a hot-head, don't feed your habit. Try as a first step to remain calm and count the days you haven't been angry. I used to be angry every day, now every other day, then every third or fourth ... if you make it as far as 30 days, thank God! For habit is first weakened and then obliterated. When you can say 'I didn't lose my temper today, or the next day, or for three or four months, but kept my cool under provocation,' you will know you are in better health."
as lifted from this day's entry in Ryan Holiday's The Daily Stoic
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
To become an Essentialist requires a heightened awareness of our ability to choose. We need to recognize it as an invincible power within us, existing separate and distinct from any other thing, person, or force. William James once wrote, "My first act of free will shall be to believe in free will." That is why the first and most crucial skill you will learn on this journey is to develop your ability to choose choice, in every area of your life.
When we forget our ability to choose, we learn to be helpless. Drip by drip we allow our power to be taken away until we end up becoming a function of other people's choices - or even a function of our own past choices. In turn, we surrender our power to choose. That is the path of the Nonessentialist.
-Greg McKeown, essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
The way of the Essentialist isn't about setting New Year's resolutions to say "no" more, or about pruning your in-box, or about mastering some new strategy in time management. It is about pausing constantly to ask, "Am I investing in the right activities?" There are far more activities and opportunities in the world than we have the time and resources to invest in. And although many of them may be good, or even very good, the fact is that most are trivial and few are vital. The way of Essentialist involves learning to tell the difference - learning to filter through all those options and selecting only those that are truly essential.
Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it's about how to get the right things done.
-Greg McKeown, essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
Monday, May 14, 2018
........................................taking a family vacation in Ireland:
|Leaving on a jet plane|
|First stop: Dublin. Enjoying library envy at|
|Good advice for the million visitors|
|Good eats and good drinks are found everywhere|
|A highlight: the Guinness brewery tour|
|My favorite: the tour of the old Jameson distillery|
|John Jameson's worthy motto: Without Fear|
|Saint Kevin's Sixth Century hang out|
|More of Glendalough|
|Always good advice, and easy to find|
|Killarney National Park|
|Mild winters yield some awesome rhodedendrons|
|Add some floors and a roof and we might have something|
|The obligatory kissing of the Blarney Stone|
|Who am I to judge|
|View from Connor's Pass, Dingle Peninsula|
|The Cliffs of Moher|
|Even more Cliffs of Moher|
|Looking for the pot of gold|
|No question about who has the right of way|
|My Sweetie loves the beach, even if its rock|
|It was that kind of week|