Category Archives: friends

laugh more often

stolen / borrowed photo of Danny DeVito laughing

maybe i just need to laugh a little more often

ya know?

 

Me and Marco as Beware the HaberdashMarco came out to Boston this week from Seattle and i have to say — i don’t think i’ve laughed so hard for a long, long time

and i think for the amount of time he was out this way we actually laughed more often than i normally do on your average daily or weekly basis

 

i feel a little better because of it, too

and it was all about completely silly shit, too

we didn’t need to go to a comedy club or listen to CDs of stand-up comedy in the car or anything

i think we’re just both imbued with this kind of comedic outlook on life

certain perfectly inane sequences of events can set off huge bombing guffaws of hilarity at times — and i know a lot of it is kind of just in our minds, if you know what i mean — its a particular sensibility that you collectively cultivate with a friend or a small group of colleagues or acquaintances that quite naturally develops and grows within the space and experience of the relationships we build in life — and its something unique to just certain friends, just certain groups of people in your life, based on the time you’ve spent and the amount of discussions you’ve shared over the years

sometimes just a look can set it all off, ya know?

a knowing nod

you know the deal, right? 

as a friendship builds — as any relationship builds, crumbles, ebbs and flows — the mutually-shared experiences and the things you talk about build up a sort of pre-verbal vocabulary that is very much based on a private language that each of us develops without a need for words

and its a phenomena that can really only occur with live presence

at least that’s my feeling about this concept

here’s Marco — a photo i took of Marco — when we lived out at The Church Street Apartment in Watertown back in the mid-90s

marcoChurch_desat

the photograph could be called A Portrait of Marco with a Shovel, Plastic Watering Can and a Guillotine — that’s the title i would probably give it if i were including it in an exhibition in some local café, full-well knowing that nobody would purchase the photo or anything, but that coffeeshop-going viewers might spend a few minutes looking and fabricating their own interpretation of the private language Marco and i were using on that rather mild, Autumn day

you can just see it in the photograph, too, right?

the expression on his face isn’t due to a conversation we were engaged in, i wasn’t holding up and squeezing a rubber duck or anything like that, in the way they would at a Sears Portrait Studio back in the 70s

there’s a familiarity between us — between me, as the photographer, and Marco, my subject here — that you can feel if you really tune in to the warm details of the end image — i don’t know if you’d consider the photograph to feel casual or friendly, but you can see a certain kindness being expressed by Marco

i believe you can’t develop that depth of emotional connection and feeling without actual, live, human presence

when Marco and i wrote, recorded and performed as Beware the Haberdash back at about that time — in the early to mid-90s — i know that our connection through the music-makingour connection: through vibration and rhythm; through composition and improvisational, collaborative interplay; through talking about the music or planning for a show — our connection dove into a far deeper subconscious zone where speech, instruction, conversation — all of these things — were no longer necessary for us to actually communicate with each other through our shared live and present space 

its a rather fascinating phenomena

and its a phenomena that i am currently trying to better understand through my research into another very closely-related, uniquely human phenomena — the phenomena of laughter

my own personal beliefs — as informed by both my currently-collected, active research and from my gut — indicate that laughter, like poetry, is both immediately mutually-understood by a group of people at the higher, signal level within a given social context and is also involved in such a complex intersection of intellectual, cultural and physiological systems that simultaneously shatter that understanding due to all of the actual environmental and behavioral life experience we bring into the live and present social moment

to back up just a little bit here, let me first establish a background concept, a simple definition, if you will, that helps set the stage in a better light

humor and laughter exist as a living, breathing,
organic and found cybernetic, social system

its a system that learns and grows and develops and ebbs and flows just like any relationship that gets established between any 2 or more organisms in the world

at one point in human history — one could guess from the research done to-date — laughter evolved

we developed a way to laugh

we most likely started laughing as a human beings for the verySame reasons that any species begins to mutate or discover a new special skill or feature — we started laughing as a means for survival — as a way to endure certain psychological tensions that come embedded in our earthen, natural environment or that pulse within our sociological and cultural ecosystems

laughter came before humor

there’s no chicken and the egg that i can fathom from what we know about the theories and vast, eclectic academic areas that touch upon the phenomenas of humor and laughter, which include:

  • humor theory;
  • laughter theory;
  • tickle theory;
  • comedy;
  • psychology;
  • philosophy;
  • sociology;
  • neurobiology;
  • phenomenology;
  • language and linguistics;
  • natural selection and the theory of evolution;
  • cybernetics;
  • conversion, translation and interpretation;
  • and energy;

 

unfortunately this blog veryMuch reflects the rather powerful subconscious manner in which i produce and pursue my work as an artist, designer and performer — bits and pieces come to me in a rather random and sometimes chaotic fashion — i believe in chasing my inspiration in the actual moments when she whispers to me, so this means many pieces will feel undone, messy, but hopefully vital and real { or at least as real as you can get on the internetz }

so i leave you here with my thoughts from today to reflect upon

much of my previous thoughts on these subjects can be found on a myriad of other websites i publish to — for more on this thread of research and thought on laughter, humor and the areas in-between, check out Laugh Institute up on the webz — or you can always check back here to poke around some more and read up on my progress on the laughterLife, my continued experiments, writings, design and research into laughter as a human phenomena

Check out Beware the Haberdash online

myOwnMind, LLC and a little storyFirst out @ the UX Boston Conference #1

logo_myOwnMind

i recently established a new concept based on a slew of back-logged experience design ideas i’ve decided to revisiting again and really start actively digging into — i’m calling this latest self re-invention design exercise myOwnMind, LLC, and the original idea came out of my own improvisational humor in a passing conversation with friends

in a fun back-and-forth exchange of energetic and fun discussion, i told my friends,

‘yeah, i actually used myOwnMind { to do that } — its, like, the original app’

as if my brain were some mysterious technology that i somehow ‘tapped’ into in the process of getting some design work done for a client

 

i’ve actually evolved the idea in a very wonderful sort of way into an actual, semi-realistic business concept by putting some company information up on LinkedIn … and i seem to keep getting a lot of amazing positive response from the brand and the concept — here’s the basic gist behind myOwnMind as copy-pasted directly from my LinkedIn Company Page Description:

By leveraging a variety of somewhat nebulous experimental cyberSurreal techniques — the interdisciplinary consulting team at myOwnMind deeply focuses on both client- and self-initiated project-based work to create change for good. 

Don’t just think about it — and definitely don’t merely complain about the frustrating state of the world as we’re experiencing it today — work with us to actively engage in collaborative efforts to change the world.

in just the last 2 to 3 days since posting the newly-designed logo, wordmark and tagline to LinkedIn and to the myOwnMind website, i’ve received more than a dozen congratulatory messages for people in my network as well as other messages from several companies and individuals reaching out and expressing interest in finding out more about myOwnMind — which is truly cool news by me, right?

 

one last tidbit i need to mention before folding up this little twisty origami blogPost is how happy i am and how lucky i feel to get the opportunity to present my storyFirst talk out at the very first UX Boston Conference at the Microsoft NERD Center on Saturday, July 19th

i first presented storyFirst out at MassArt as part of the Continuing Ed Lecture Series back in February of 2013 — and although i previous discussed ways to better leverage storytelling { and aspects of story via narrative and various narrative elements } in some casual settings, organizing my thoughts on the topic and presenting at MassArt gave me the tremendous opportunity to really hone in on how to initially articulate my ideas and discuss the benefits of putting story at the center of such an interdisciplinary and complex set of processes

now, thanks to this fantastic opportunity to revisit the talk via this public speaking engagement out at the UX Boston Conference, i’ve taken a few steps back and thought through the core message in a far deeper, richer way — i truly feel that this second installation of ‘A storyFirst Approach to Human-Centered Design‘ will more succinctly and more powerfully reveal the core message of the talk while also elaborating on the significance and value of putting story smack dab in the middle of the process

i’m really looking forward to giving the talk at the UX Boston Conference and i hope to see you there!

logo_storyfirst

Chewbacca comes out

pinkChewbacca

[: just kidding :]

seemed like an appropriate title for this low-key semi-Warholization of our favourite wookie as he walks the desolate, snowy-white landscape of the ice planet Hoth

i really just pink-tinted Chewbacca to add to the June 17th stream of pink requested by IK on the Facebook Event ‘Gimme Some Sugar’check it out ;]

other than that, back to the trap

Sara June @ Woodstock4

i absolutely LOVE this clip of Sara June’s collaborative, improvised public intervention performance with Endguys out in Boston Common for Woodstock4

Sara June Woodstock4 from Uncle Shoe on Vimeo.

Movement artist Sara June in performance at Woodstock4, presented by Whitehaus Family Record on the Boston Common August 18-19, 2012. Improvised music by Endguys (Steve Norton, bass clarinet / Matt Samolis, flute). Video by Douglas Urbank.

coming, to a theatre near you

as an avid collaborator — and relentlessly sillyman and fool — my good fortune dropped me into the project work of Christopher Kentley Field back at MassArt’s relatively underground and superCool design graduate program Dynamic Media Institute

i mean, its like i had no shame at all when i take a retrospective egoSurfing search of love down interactive, online memory lane, ya know? looks like i’d do just about anything to ‘earn’ a graduate degree, ya know?

anyhow, Chris got the like of Andrew Ellis, myself and some even cooler people together to put together this excerpted short from a feature film idea that Chris had written prior to coming to DMI — see what you think — i mean, i’m pretty proud of how it came out despite the fact that i’m playing a part that seems way too naturally-acted by me — yep, that’s right, folks, i’m basically a washed-up, old, homeless-like dude on the Boston T — a real flattering way to put myself ‘out there’ as an actor, right?

anyhow, here’s the clip ‘Deadbeat’ courtesy of Christopher K Field and Vimeo — enjoy! ;]

Deadbeat (first cut) from Christopher Field on Vimeo.

Merry Christmas

st-nick-santa-origins_74676_990x742

some things i am thankful for this year

CYMERA_20131111_110757

a little corny, perhaps, i know — but i just want to take a few moments here on the old WerdpreSs blog to pay respect for some of the things i am truly thankful for

i know its readily apparent lately that i have a bit of angry energy lately — and that kind of energy, as unfortunate and typically unappreciated as it might be to our society, is hopefully, at the end of the day, NOT what i am all about as a person — its at least not the kind of energy i want to be all about, and so here i am in this blogPost making a bigtiMe attempt to show you the softer side of Sears at this time of the year when we all get together with the ones we love { family, old friends, new friends and sometimes even strangers } to traditionally give thanks for another bountiful harvest season in the Autumntime as we move into another Winter Season of earthen death and eventual rebirth with the advent of the new year in the Spring

anyhow

for those of you that don’t know the latest and greatest goings on in my life, i’ve had what one might call another interesting year 

never a dull moment with me, that’s for sure

but needless to say, i find myself once again in a time of transition

i am between jobs after my departure from Schneider Electric in midSeptember — not something i planned out entirely, but after a rough patch that followed several months of mutual discomfort, the organization deemed that my employment with the dev team wasn’t a good fit, and frankly i can’t say i disagree — i truly wanted to stay for a lot longer period of time but didn’t have the kind of support and guidance from management one would need to successfully introduce and implement a reasonably-vigorous user-centered design methodology to Schneider’s development team and processes, and i personally didn’t have the patience to withstand the strange stunted dysfunctional dynamics embedded in the slow-motion ennui of this kind of cardpunching manufacturing Industrial Era leftover work environment

getting bitter there

apologies

but — despite the unintended outcome and the sour aftertaste, i really learned a lot from the experience and the kind of mismatch i encountered between me and Schneider Electric, and that’s pretty important

some BIG lessons learned

and that’s important, this kind of learning from mistakes — but unfortunately this experience of human failure and learning gets a bum wrap in our Success-Driven Type A Society — i’m not gonna worry about it too, too much though — i like to put it all out there and even learn from that sort of naïveté

so i definitely have a lot to be thankful for my experiences this year with both Mobiquity and Schneider Electric — and i say this without the bitterness of the previous paragraphs because despite our philosophical and ethical differences and approaches to the work and business we conducted together, i really truly learned a lot this year and feel like a much better person because of it

strangely enough, too — i think i’m on the right track

this is MY path and i’m proud of it

quite frankly, i NEED to stand up for myself and what i believe in and i actually think that its not only the patriotic thing to do for the betterment of our country, but i also believe its the only way we’re going to ever make a difference in the world we all live in

we need to believe in ourselves — and we need to believe in something — and then we need to stand by our beliefs, sometimes at the risk of a stable sense of employment — and this year i learned all of that about myself — that standing for something like a strong work ethic and a decent pace and sense of urgency should not conflict with the mission of corporations and the kind of work we do on a daily basis — and i’ve learned that, as a designer, trying to iteratively optimize and smooth the processes of an organization is part of the gig and the challenge of what we do if we’re doing it right — removing yourself from the daily politics of the situation is quite literally NOT participating in the active endeavoring to be your best and do the best work you can possibly do for your company, for your country and the world

sounds heavy-handed, i know

but i’m just letting you know what i learned and what i am truly thankful for

and i am thankful for these experiences i had at Mobiquity and Schneider Electric as some form of human-centered experience architect for each firm because they helped me rediscover in a far deeper way who i really am and what i stand for — and they’ve definitely reinforced for me that the idea of leveraging story { i call my latest thinking around leveraging a story-driven ux methodology storyFirst } as the core, critical driver to a human-centered, collaborative design process actually work in an extremely powerful and successful way

 

CYMERA_20131109_111240

but before all of this employment or lack of employment nonsense, though — and as the most important area of life i am most thankful for — are the people in my life, and most of all for the amazing family i have in my life at this point in life — i couldn’t have even gotten through all that experience i just described above without the support, love and daily life with my wife, my children and my grandchildren

my family gives me the inspiration i need to move on

my family, of course, reaches out beyond the immediate family i just described — and everyone in my family is an important component to shaping who i am today and also helping me survive and learn and grow and live — i am thankful for and love each and every one of you and know that i would be a lot more lost in the woods without you { or worse yet, in the streets i bet }

you are my inspiration

i also have an eclectic and very talented and beautiful set of friends in the world, and you are all veryMuch like an extended part of my family — you all inspire me and i appreciate: your encouragement; your guidance; your presence; your existence; and everything you do

 

treetops

i also am very thankful for the week we are about to experience — the people i will undoubtedly see and celebrate our thankfulness with over a meal and children playing and conversations

i am thankful for the opportunities i have ahead of me and this time of re-invention and rebirth

i’ve had about 2 months now to seriously dig into myself and reflect and to re-discover what is truly important to me — the work i’m doing is very active work, work i am also guiding through a core of assessing and rewriting my own story, my life’s story — and its difficult work

i am definitely still in the forest, too

but its a glorious day

and the trees are beautiful

the sky is blue

and even the clouds are beautiful and peaceful and inspiring

and i am thankful for once again being able to see how beautiful life is and can be

but most of all

i am thankful for BitCoins®

i am thankful for BitCoins® and music, laughter and my strange sense of humor

and boy oh boy do i have a strange sense of humor, right?

ShoeStory1

Synthesize, Improvise and Otherwise — Saturday, June 8

on Saturday, June 8th — Lee Todd Lacks, Tom Swafford and i will appear at Matt Samolis‘ ‘Synthesize, Improvise and Otherwise,‘ a new and interdisciplinary performance works events out at Nave Gallery in Somerville

Check out more info up on The Book, aight?

we’ll perform a new composition of Lee Todd’s written in A flat minor with relative wholetone flourishes and micropolyrhythmic, purposely dissonant percussive undertone accompaniment with a slightly woody taste wildly reminiscent of 1984 or so aptly entitled ‘Ghost Mall’ — you won’t want to miss it — i’m serious — well, okay, i really have no idea who you are right now, right? the technology i used to put this blogpost together can’t really dynamically detect who might be reading this post in the moment and then, based upon your innermost desires and personal likes or dislikes in music then assess whether you might or might not want to miss it, this ‘Synthesize, Improvise and Otherwise’ that Matt Samolis is putting on out at that wickid cool Nave Gallery in the general Somerville districts of Massachusetts and all, but, hey, i have the write to pretend and play and let’s pretend for just a second that WordPress allowed for that post-humanic, überCreepy and simulated predictive functionality, okay?

woah

yeah

that’d be, like, kind of simultaneously amazing, this kind of stuff we dream up and invite, but also a little bit annoying and probably a little bit broken

like

it might not get it EXACTLY right, right?

but we’d kind of ignore the fact that it’d be a little ‘off,’ right? like we normally do — and we’d probably think, like, woah — oh my gawd, that’s pretty fucking awesome — who the hell dreamt this cool, new innovative trick up? how’d they implement that? was there some sort of direct emotional sensor that somehow reached out via webcam into my retina to pull out my wants, needs and personal tastes in music and performance art?

probably not

i bet it’d just be kind of random, but we’d believe there’d be this wonderfully creative and epically smart algorithm of pure genius behind it all — that somehow data answers every question we have and that any tiny miraculous event can be somehow utterly dewonderfied through scientific conjecture and fully quantifiable proof of anything seemingly magical, real or exciting

hey

i’d go out to this ‘Synthesize, Improvise and Otherwise’ — ‘sGonna be off da hook ‘n shit

i can tell it is

probably the best way you can spend your Saturday night { unless, of course, you’re going out to that competing Mobius event happening on the verySame night — jeez! }

moving on { from Mobiquity }

mMobiquitySmall

so, its in a somewhat sad and self-reflective mood that i leave Mobiquity, the enterprise-class, start up mobile services agency i’ve worked for over the last year and a half out in Wellesley and Waltham

i truly love so much about Mobiquity

and my final decision to leave the organization, believe it or not, was not one made in great haste or with any sense of impulsivity or reactionary spirit on my part

this was a difficult decision, and i actually leave the firm for so many very excruciatingly painful reasons, many of which are purely personal and life-design related

as i leave, i would like to take a few moments to quickly bullet-list reflect on those positive aspects i can think about and keep with me in my heart and soul as i start a new chapter in my career

here are some Lessons Learned — nearly spiritual concepts and observations — i can bring with me and thank Mobiquity for as i move forward { and I am truly appreciative in every way for the opportunity to work at Mobiquity over the last 17 or so months of my life, its been truly wonderful in so many ways }:

  • hire, trust and empower truly amazing and talented people
  • think of your company { or your department } as a prototype and iteratively optimize the experience of the company using a truly human-centered design methodology
  • take the time to listen to each other, truly listen to each other
  • collaborate as often as possible, and do so with an eclectic human involvement in each project or process as often as possible — it is appsolutely VITAL to understand each and every business challenge involved in each engagement from as many unique perspectives { from the POV of Sales, Business, Design, Development and Delviery } as the organization can afford to invest into the flow of a project at every single step of the process
  • everything is far more complicated than it seems on paper, especially if what’s been put on paper is too vague at the beginning to promote any reasonable sense of business accountability on the part of each partner involved in the engagement
  • professionally drive and guide each process in both a thoughtful and respectful way as a true leader for each and every project / engagement / partnership / relationship
  • learn from both success and failure — its the only way to evolve and grow as an organization { and as professional, talented and honest individuals }, so do not be so utterly afraid of ‘The F Word’
  • transparency — much-like the terms innovation and collaboration — is overrated, under-delivered and over-promised { in other words, if you can’t truly be totally transparent as an organization, don’t even bring up the term, it only hurts everyone involved, including the company, at the end of the day }
  • do everything in the most human way possible — people really appreciate it when you take the time to just talk with them face-to-face or when you try to solve an unsmooth situation by doing everything within your truly human power to show you love what you do and you love and respect the people you’re currently collaborating with
  • live in the moment and appreciate the good and bad of: each and every moment; each and every challenge; each and every opportunity
  • everything is possible

i’ll admit, i’ve been learning some of these things along the way regardless of my shortish tenure with Mobiquity — but i’ve been driving to consciously communicate these fundamental discoveries and understandings of experience design and industry in general in a far more articulate and effective manner to help deepen my understanding of myself, my business and my approach

thanks again for these last 17 or so months at Mobiquity

while working with The Mob, i focused on personally promoting a professional sense of fun, collaborative energy while simultaneously bringing the work to a higher place — and as much as i felt like a complete failure to celebrate my departure from such an amazing collection of talented individuals over a glass of wine and some humorous toasts with the crew, i do feel that i, at the very least, accomplished and embodied those 2 concepts — collaborative fun-making and over the top, professional project results — while contributing at the highest level allowed by the organization

thank you Mobiquity

much continued hope, love, success and happiness

[: long live The Mob :]