Memorial: RIP Steve Jobs – A Year in Passing

RIP Steve Jobs.

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1R-jKKp3NA]

His speech inspired my own Valedictorian Application Speech in high school. Steve Jobs inspired me.

“Do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do! …don’t settle.”

– Steve Jobs

He is probably the only CEO who has ever (and possibly will ever) make me cry. I’ll never forget the Keynote speech where he announced the Macbook Air. I was in the height of my Apple fangirl phase and I hung on his every word. I was moved to tears by the beauty of that piece of technological advancement (The Macbook Air), not so much for it’s own merits, but for what it represented. Progress, advancement… the fact that something so powerful could be so small blew my mind in terms of design possibilities

“Follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path, for that will make all the difference.”

– Steve Jobs

I leave you with this quote, that now appears to me in a somewhat ironic fashion given the circumstances.

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.” – Steve Jobs

Think different.

How Not To Get Screwed Over as a Freelancer

Zacharias Legal Document Collection - 1743 Power of Attorney

During my travels as a freelance creative (I do photography, graphic design and video work) there have been a few occasions where things have not worked out as I had hoped. Recently I learned some lessons and got lots of different perspectives on how to keep myself safe in client relationships.

Here are the tips I collected:

  1. Create a contract. This contract should have clear terms and conditions such as payment information, cost, delivery method, communication guidelines, copyright information and usage. This site, dontgetscrewedover.com has some great tips and links to http://www.docracy.com/ which provides free, open source legal documents for use.
  2. Someone recommended getting referrals to me before working with a new client. Most of my clients have been friends or friends of friends and with these people I have had few conflicts.
  3. Get 50% payment up front (deposit) and have the client pay the balance upon delivery of the finished product. This is especially important for substantial jobs.
  4. Watermark all drafts and content sent before payment is delivered.
  5. Include a creative brief (either in written or oral format) to explain why you made certain choices to the client. This can be helpful in ensuring clear communication.
  6. If someone does not pay you a substantial amount of money and they are a homeowner, it is possible to put a “lean” on their house, and they will need to pay you before they can sell their property.
  7. Get a new job! Freelance work is not for everyone and running your own business can be hard. A different job might be the best thing your your lifestyle and preferences.
  8. Small Claims Court (at least in BC) can help you with amounts over $1000 but will probably cost you more than it’s worth for smaller amounts.

Stay Safe! Thanks to Allison, Jeremy, Sam, Julian, Cedric, Amanda, Jacquie, Jay, Dari, and everyone else who contributed to this list and gave me their wisdom!

The Fault in our Cancer

Untitled

The Fault in our Stars.

Gosh, even the name of this book is beautiful. I typed it several times to quote my favourite passages into Tumblr and never got tired of entering those five gorgeous words into my laptop. I was both moved and bothered by this book.

Moved because of the witty banter, the eloquent wordplay and the finely crafted innocent romance that drew far too many parallels to my own life like all John Green novels I have read. I related to TFioS so much. In some ways it was like my life story. In others it was dramatically different.

Bothered because much like 50/50 (the movie where Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character has cancer), it completely disregarded any alternative cancer treatments or therapies. Though Hazel, the protagonist in TFioS, was a vegetarian, throughout most of the novel she ate SAD (Standard American Diet) meals of pizza, mac & cheese and other dishes slathered in animal fat.

Movies like forks over knives and my own research into alternative therapy have convinced me that there are other ways to deal with disease. I wish

Though I think movies like 50/50 and books like TFioS likely paint a very accurate picture of life as a conventional cancer patient, I can’t help but want the best for the characters, to see Hazel heal and grow old. I want her to eat plants, stop taking medication and having tubes put in and out of her… I think it is all very unnatural (Google G-Tube to see what I mean) and I wish that no one had to subject themselves to that.

I am a bit scared to post this and write about my thoughts on the cancer topic… I may not be the best person to write about how we should treat cancer, after-all I have never had cancer and am not a nutritionalist or a doctor, however I have seen the differences in my own health. When I was in grade 11 I had chronic bronchitis and was constantly sick. I lived on antibiotics and I was SO TRIED ALL THE TIME. I was depressed and had no energy. And congested, couldn’t sleep. Awful. But since then I have switched to a compassion-based lifestyle and a plant-based (vegan, now mostly raw vegan) diet and I cannot express how much of a differences these changes have made and continue to make for my quality of life. I have also noticed that some people get very defensive and very upset when I mention alternative treatment and therapies. My intention in sharing these thoughts is not to upset anyone, but rather to communicate my wish for the world to be healthy and nourished. And I think we can do it… an apple a day (but not in a twilight way.. literary joke haha).

Vocab

endgame
Yesterday I read two plays and I learned the following things…

From The December Man by Colleen Murphy…

  • Crisse means Christ in Quebec French Profanity
  • Va Chier means “fuck” or GTFO in French haha.

From Endgame by Samuel Beckett

  • Engender is to give cause or rise to something (such as a feeling).
  • Elegaic is having a mournful quality.

Alternative Education

Education

There are some really innovative program offered at my university, many of which I have/will take part in. My initial major, Interactive Arts + Technology, involves a trip to Seattle for one course and most course use group projects and hand on applications instead of exams and mid-terms. I just auditioned for the acting program (aka: BFA Major in Theatre Performance) which is also highly immersive. I love that when I go to an acting class I learn so much about life and humanity just by observing other people and reflecting on my own experience. Yay!

Outside of these “special” programs there are also some courses which are quite innovative. Next semester I am taking SFU’s Semester in DialogueAccording to their site…

The Undergraduate Semester in Dialogue addresses what we believe is the principal challenge for contemporary education: to inspire students with a sense of civic responsibility, encourage their passion to improve Canadian society, and develop innovative intellectual tools for effective problem solving. Each semester we develop an original and intensive learning experience that uses dialogue to focus student education on public issues.

Our topic is Sustainable Food Systems and after my studies in permaculture I am quite excited to explore this topic. We have already planned a camping trip for our first week to visit a farm on Vancouver Island! Cool!

SFU also has some really cool geography courses that go on trips for learning, in addition to field studies (such as ItaliaDesign) and exchange opportunities. And I have a couple friends that did an experiential learning course called The Change Lab. I am so lucky to attend a school with so many opportunities!

Thinking back on it, I have had a number of alternative education experiences in my lifetime. In elementary school I was identified as “gifted” and received special support throughout my education as a result. In grade three I got to be part of the “challenge” program which basically meant I got to skip class once a week and the principal would drive me to another school where I got to learn about a special topic with other kids in the program. My topic was circus! In grade 6 I did some special testing and was accepted into Surrey’s first ever MAC class where I stayed for a few months before returning to my “home” school. It was really cool to connect with other kids who learned the same way I did. I am still friends with some of them today! Then in high school I considered joining Inter-A (a largely self-paced learning environment with independent research opportunities) when I entered high school, but I had already established friends and volunteer commitments at my home school so I chose to stay where I was. At my home school we had a gifted coordinator and about once a semester we would meet with her, and the other gifted students in our year to discuss our “issues”. I really valued the opportunity to meet with other kids who were “like me” and I always thought we had a special bond. We all got to make Independent Education Plans (IEPs) and the coordinator tried to put us in classes with other gifted kids, and tried to support us in doing special projects and other initiatives. I got to skip one year of high school social studies through this method. I was also a year ahead in Math. Online courses were another opportunity I took advantage of. I took English 11 online and some other courses later on (Math 12 and Chem 12 to upgrade my marks) through Surrey Connect. I also recall a district Gifted Education Coordinator (staff person). She supported me in joining a gifted environmental conference planning committee. I got trained to be an SFU Philosopher’s Cafe facilitator as a grade 10 student which was pretty cool. I am realizing that I always felt really connected to other “gifted” students and educators. I think it was my idea that we were somehow the same and had something in common if only through or labelling.

Moving forward

In my own city we have the discovery school

Discovery School is a unique program of choice within the Surrey School District. The school draws students from around Surrey and other parts of the Lower Mainland.  Approximately sixty percent of the students come to Discovery from outside the Whalley area.  This is a public school, and there are no tuition fees.

Classrooms are free of clutter.  There are no desks, tables or chairs.   Toys, books, manipulatives and other equipment are stored on shelves lining the rooms.   This uncluttered environment allows for maximum flexibility in arranging small groups for a variety of activities and, most importantly, allows the whole group to sit in a circle, which encourages inclusiveness. Students’ artwork, and other art related to the themes being studied, is treated with respect; mounted and hung on the walls of the classrooms and in the front hall.  Otherwise, walls are generally clear and free from distractions. Even the playground reflects the ideas of cooperation, imagination and tradition. Along with the common adventure playground, Discovery has ‘logs and rocks’, string games, hand games and other areas where children learn to play timeless games with their peers.

I have also heard of Windsor House School, a democratic school in BC! Cool! I am sure I will continue to discover alternative education mediums. Vancouver has a whole brochure of them!

Political Slogans I found amusing

Wow! Political Slogans I found amusing (all courtesy of wikipedia):

  • All Power to the Imagination!
  • Are you thinking what we’re thinking?
  • Black is beautiful
  • Black Power
  • Don’t Stop, Keep Going On!
  • Eat the Rich
  • Had enough?
  • We Polked you in ’44, We shall Pierce you in ’52
  • This is a White Man’s Government!
  • Vote as You Shot
  • Full Dinner Pail
  • Keep Cool and Keep Coolidge
  • Hoo but Hoover?

SIAT Showcase tomorrow! Come vote for me 12 to 5 at SFU Surrey : D

What are you up to tomorrow?

Come see my work and vote for it at the SIAT Spring Showcase!

Location: SFU Surrey – it’s by Central City Mall (Surrey, British Columbia, Canada)

Date & Time: Saturday, January 28th, 2012, 12:00-5:00pm

Facebook Event

I have several projects being featured…

( And vote for me! ;D )

Cool Immersive Apps and Experiences

Lately I have been introduced to a bunch of really immersive media experiences! I wanted to share some of them with you.

I recommend closing your eyes, finding a comfy, immersive chair, and experiencing the following…

The virtual haircut is an interesting experience. Didn’t work for me at first so try to find some good headphones for this one.

GO DOWNLOAD THE INCEPTION APP. I almost bought an iPhone just to use this. I honestly have had so many crazy experiences with this thing. One of my friends cried while using it and at first it really scared me but it was definitely worth trying and experimenting with.

RJDJ is another cool sound based app! You can make your own songs and have some really cool experiences!

Walking in Brugge
If you want to have a low-tech immersive experience you can take a “sound walk”. According to this website

A form of active participation in the SOUNDSCAPE. Though the variations are many, the essential purpose of the soundwalk is to encourage the participant to listen discriminatively, and moreover, to make critical judgments about the sounds heard and their contribution to the balance or imbalance of the sonic environment.

In order to expand the listening experience, soundmaking may also become an important part of a soundwalk. Its purpose is to explore sounds that are related to the environment, and, on the other hand, to become aware of one’s own sounds (voice, footsteps, etc.) in the environmental context. A soundwalk may be scored in the form of a map which the participant uses both to guide the route and draw attention to features of acoustic interest. The map may also act as a score, directing the performer’s listening and soundmaking activities in a way that is not limited to a specific locale.

Basically, don’t talk to anyone, don’t get lost inside your mind, walk, and listen. It’s sort of like a very active form of meditation.

l’histoire de la vie – an interactive multi-linear narrative

This is what I do at school…

This project is intended to take inspiration from the concept of a “semordnilaps”. A “semordnilaps” is a word (or pattern of any sort of thing) which creates
something new in reverse (the word itself is a reversal of the word palindromes). The project uses the visual film medium and the power of storytelling to create a
piece which can be viewed entirely in either directions of playback, creating two different experiences for the user, the giving the user control and agency over their
experience. The story could also be described as a “mise en abîme” because it is a never-ending narrative loop. The beginning is the end and the end is the beginning.
In this way, the narrative structure symbolically represents the central theme of the piece: the circle of life (hence the title, l’histoire de la vie).

FORWARDS

BACKWARDS

an IAT 313 final project
featuring Manon Pouget