I spent solid twenty-five years of my life in school. It began in kindergarten and I then headed straight from high school into undergrad, a master's degree, and then a Ph.D (I know, I know...) One of the things I truly miss now that I'm no longer an enrolled student is the optimism and excitement that comes with shopping for school supplies. Nerd or not, there is something that is just exciting about having fresh notebooks, new pens and pencils, bags, folders––all the "stuff" of school. Adult life may entail the occasional new notebook, but there isn't a season for it in the Fall where everything is potential, and all the success and mistakes are in the future.
That we don't do this as adults is a shame. Because there is every reason for all of us to be ready for school. The longest project in a any maker's life is the constant, endless craft of oneself. And there is no way to make progress on this project without the proper tools. I think most people dedicated to craft have slid into a life of learning whether consciously or not. And there's no reason not to prepare ourselves with supplies to complete this project well. But, of course, a life of learning is not the same as preparing for a school year. It has a different set of requirements and it calls for some different kinds of supplies.
I really should kick this off with a big disclaimer: I'm a book guy.
I grew up in a book house—my dad is a professor and the author of several books, and my mom worked in a library when I was a kid. Bibliophilia is in my genes—my toddler already goes straight to her books immediately on waking up. I love places where books live—I've haunted libraries, bookstores, and free book spots in every town I've ever lived in. I read books in multiple languages—I'm literate in German, with passable French and Spanish skills. I even write books—I've got several novels in progress, including one story with a finished draft that I completely scrapped instead of sending to an agent because it wasn't quite there yet.
But recently, I've ditched at least 300 volumes from my personal library, some of which I had owned for over 15 years.
If you're trying to downsize too, read on for 10 tools to help you winnow the chaff from your personal library. But first, a brief aside to answer the why.
Leatherworking may start out as a hobby, but somewhere along the way, you're going to get hooked. So whether you're just getting started or well into the craft, here are a few free content channels to give you a boost down that well-tanned road.
These are thoughts, the artwork, the news stories, the tools, the food, the conversations, and whatever else we just can't get out of our heads this month.
It seems like a cliche now, but for what feels like a generation we've been living with the idea that libraries are dead. The idea of a library, for many of us, is of a kind of museum full of things that might be curiosities. But like many brick-and-mortar institutions of old, we don't need what's inside. This point of view is understandable, but it is a huge mistake. Because libraries are not falling behind our digital way of thinking––they were way ahead of all of us in realizing how we would wish information to be available and how we wanted to engage it. Think about it: Libraries collect all kinds of information, all kinds of media
Remember when you were a kid, and you never went inside during the summer, except to ask permission from your parents to run around the neighborhood with that new kid you just met, or to get another PB&J, which you promptly marched right back outside?
Let's all do that again. Let's embrace bare feet, and staying up too late, and smell like chlorine and sunscreen. Let's have a summer.
Hey ... welcome back to What's Good. In case you're new here, What's Good is our monthly series where we (the ManMade guys) get to talk about what we're currently into. This month, it's media, clothing, and wonderment. Yeah, you read that right. Wonderment is a thing too. Read on to get your monthly dose...
Chris: In honor of Halloween this month, I'm immersing myself in the whole of the Hannibal Lecter world, in all formats: books, movies, and TV. I've read the first three novels, seen both the Red Dragon and Manhunter films, and am on the third season of the Hannibal TV series (which is streaming on Amazon Prime.)
The Cabinet of Invisible Counselors is a term coined by success-guru Napoleon Hill referring to the great thinkers and authors whose work he found influential, whom he would summon in his imagination to consider their opinions on the tasks before him. Similarly, you may have heard the statement that, "You are the sum of the five people with whom you spend the most time." Combining these two ideas has been one of the great decisions of my life.
I stumbled upon Mind of a Chef on PBS one saturday after my usual ritual of This Old House and Woodrights shop and completely fell in love. If you haven't yet, I highly recommend you add the first and second season to your Netflix list and binge watch the heck out of it.
Part of being a good man is about continually expanding your horizons and having a sense of the things you like and the things you don't. That's why we're kicking off a new Everyman's Guide to some of the things about which we think every man ought to have a knowledge and opinion. And we're starting out with the great American genre of Jazz.
I think it's incredibly hard to make an argument for casually browsing talk radio in the modern age when there are so many amazing podcasts on any subject a man could want. There are even podcasts (many of them) that are entirely devoted to simply bringing you a fascinating assortment for random information for those of you who really like browsing. According the PBS, the number of unique monthly podcast listeners has tripled over the last five years to 75 million, and there's never been a better time to jump on board. I personally listen to podcasts pretty much whenever I'm cleaning, driving, or working out, and so I figured I'd give a shout out to some of my favorites that other men might be interested in as well.
I still remember the first ManMade-ish project I ever made: a hollow book safe. I was about eight, and my buddy Nick had this awesome "how to be a secret spy"-style book to inspire us, and we snagged two big hardbacks from his parents' library and used a utility knife to carve away the pages. I remember thinking we probably shouldn't be cutting up books off the shelf, nor should we likely be using a utility knife without supervision, but - hey - we were spies, and spies don't ask permission.
I shared last week that during October 2013, my house won't be buying anything other than food and utilities. And while the month is certainly focused on what we're not gonna do, it's equally about what we are going to do... and what I'm going do is watch a whole buncha movies.
Say what you want about the decline of the bound paper book, but, as a someone who spends most of each day online as part of my full time job, I believe the internet, at least the parts where I interact, loves books and print media. Every day, I've see folks talking about books, making stuff with them, sharing their experience of reading them, and most interestingly, sharing awesome ways to store and display them.
The days of giggling, LATFHing, and even hipster bingo are now, decidely, over. "But, really?" you say? "There's just so many of them, and they're so easy to point out, and the look is sooo ridiculous."
You're right. And that's the point. With the total cultural saturation of hipsterdom, the joke? It's over. This is a group that have been defined by the ability to be mocked, and the masses - those culturally aware enough to know it's a thing, but then not purposely avoid defining themselves thereof - are the only ones perpetuating the stereotypes.
The Art Directors Club recently released this humorous and true campaign that encourages creative types around the world to "Keep fighting the good fight" despite obstacles to creating great work.
It's a match for the ages. Accessibility to powerful digital creative tools, exposure to amazing design inspiration, and a generation raised on pop culture have produced the inevitable - thoughtful, and better designed posters for beloved contemporary films thataren't intended to sell tickets, but honor the film and be beautiful as original works of art.
Filmmaking, as an artform, is a powerful medium. It combines visual compostion, photograpy and exposure, dialog, acting, music, symbolism...kinda everything art is about. It can portray mindbending subject matter, like snakes on planes, hot tubs that are actually time machines, and what happens when cowboys meet aliens.