Seeking Originality in a Distracted World. 

Everything unbiased, uncommodified, empowering. This blog is about reclaiming originality in an environment that constantly directs us to adopt prepared formulas. Exploring a meaningful, modern lifestyle while unplugging from commercialized culture and manufactured taste. 

In the Media

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Monday
Apr042011

A Classic Car

Source: Cherry Picked BlossomA classic car. Even though the consumption of gas is likely higher than a newer model, CO2 which generated by the production of a new vehicle which affects the atmosphere to a much higher degree. In addition, driving a oldtimer is fun, preserves cultural heritage and may also slow you down. Nice side effects might be that classic cars can be repaired by own means or locally and do not require specialized, contracted garages. Last but not least oldtimer cars are meant to last, so you unchain yourself from the car-making, car-dealing and status symbol society. Even better, by driving an old car powered by CNG (What is CNG?), green - and in most countries also tax-friendly. (contributed by framius)

Wednesday
Mar302011

Fewer Updates, Better Decisions

Photo: StefanWhich news and updates do you really need to know today? Coming off a conference around real-time technology I was enjoying my last evening in Paris alone winding down with a simple dinner in a neighborhood place. After ordering my first drink I found myself in a discussion with a Belgian man sitting at the table next to me. He was just finishing his "Liberation" paper and we started talking about newspapers in general, acceleration of human life and the little time left to think. I jumped to the defense of technology pointing out benefits of direct, unmoderated access to information and that we always have the choice to opt-out. What followed was his passionate response vehemently insisting that speed is not good, even the printed newspaper on his table was far too real-time for his taste. Instead, he said we need to look at news and information with a delay, days, preferably weeks. Noticing my puzzled face he backed his claim up with a story long time ago about working in a remote village of Alaska where he did not have access to news. When he came back after three weeks he read that England was at War with Argentina, which he didn't see coming and found entirely absurd. He argued, that the public can only buy into insanity if it is fed with incremental updates which are almost unnoticeable by themselves but ultimately add up to something unacceptable. I think he is right, real time might contribute to just that: less perspective and bad outcomes.   

Sunday
Feb272011

Vintage Fashion for Confident Clients

Image: Somewhere in the Lower East SideReese Witherspoon and Michelle Obama have already been spotted wearing vintage dresses at major events, including the Oscars. A new breed of vintage designer stores are hardly distinguishable from the SoHo fashion counterparts. Well clear of the stuffy salvation army image the shopping experiences feature upscale trappings such as a renovated lounge-style interiors, DJ music, including men's reading sections with comfortable furniture. Fashion selections are tightly curated, prices are not that cheap - the upside is that customers have a real shot at finding something original and meaningful at good quality. A nice competition for Prada dollars with the more confident clientele. 

Thursday
Feb242011

Turning Life's Autopilot off 

Photo Credit: AirbusSince the 50's increasing automation in households and personal productivity is a given and a generally uncontested feature of modern civiliztion. We learned to appreciate the dishwasher, car and our personal computer. Today, aumtomation looks slightly different: Google effectively suggests a doctor when you search for a physician (what does Google know about doctor quality?), your iPad can wake you up depending on realtime sleep patterns, it will soon suggest nutrition choices based on your health. Key decisions are increasingly being outsourced to algorithms we don't know. If you take the autopilot analogy the scenario is not unlike the situation professional pilots were facing in the 90's with cockpit automation. More and more flying tasks are pre-programmed and executed by the autopilot - the pilot's remaining function is to monitor, override or disconnect the system. The commercial and safety outcomes are very positive: aviation reliability and performance increased tremendously, most importantly, flight safety is at an all time high (after an initial accident spike due to crew cooprdination issues). The system works, right? Well ... pilots will tell you of rising boredom in the cockpit, distractions, likelyhood of addictions and a general decline in job satisfaction. With a lot more personal automation to come do we want to turn the autopilot "on" and be a comfortable passenger or rather turn automation "off" and hand-fly  our own life?

Monday
Feb142011

Travel your own Neighborhood

(contributed by DeCuire) Beyond the major metropolis, more and more cities have become melting pots for different people, cultures, lifestyles. We can experience aspects of diverse cultures without the need to travel remote places. All it takes is some courage and fantasy. I live in Munich and lately I have discovered a Japanese hairdresser Takahiro who has been living in Sapporo and Tokyo before. When I enter his shop it feels like being in a very different place, there are Japanese fashion magazines with totally different products, Japanese jazz music and an excellent collection of tea is served to customers, 90% of them Asian. While getting my hair done we have interesting conversations about our cultures and he has a different way of cutting hair than I was used to from the local hairdressers. It was a nice and perfect experience that truly widened my horizon. Walk through your neigborhood like a traveler, with your eyes open, look beyond the restaurants in your search for new cultural experiences around the corner. 

Sunday
Feb062011

Cooking with Local, Seasonal Produce

Restaurant NomaLearn from the Best: Claus Meyer and René Redzepi of Copenhagen’s Noma, considered the world's finest restaurant, are creating haute cuisine from a set of principles devoted to regional ingredients. The rules of their craft are published on their website as Manifesto for the New Nordic Kitchen and fiercely adhere to seasons, local produce and animal welfare. The concept of local sourcing is hardly new but running the planet's most celebrated eatery according to this is quite a feat, especially in winter. A great inspiration for re-thinking home cooking and grocery shopping: most of the rules can be easily applied to any household if we exchange the word "Nordic" by "Local" in their manifesto. 

Thursday
Feb032011

Unplugging, once in a while.

Picture: doebotz.com(contributed by decuire) Get Real, once in a while ...  When was the last time you HAD to be offline for an extended period, maybe on vacation or when staying at a house that does not have proper connection or during the last flight or train-ride. Do you remember what happend to you? After the initial annoyance on being disconnected you were probably glad about distraction-free time and new thoughts that came to your mind. Make it a habit to switch off the computer at designated times during the week or for an entire week and concentrate on something real and local, e.g the bookstore, a cafe, a spontaneous attempt to visit someone around the corner or start something creative. 

 

Friday
Jan282011

Transparency and the Banality of Elitism

It's hard to support the argument that elitism has a beneficial impact on society, infact unequal wealth and knowledge distribution is an indicator for less developed societies. On the other hand elitism is widely admired, most aspire to have an elitist education or be part of an elite in some ways. Transparency (and sharing) is indeed a threat which was highlighted by an Article "Is TED the new Harward?" by Fastcompany, describing the power of sharing ideas or information and the difficulties it poses to Elite Universities or gatherings like WEF Davos. Political elites are challenged across the world enabled by social media and real-time updates. Wikileaks moral premise for posting secret documents is the idea of fighting elites through transparency. Transparency reduces everything to the substance - and sometimes it's banality.

Wednesday
Jan262011

Living with 100 Items

guynameddave.comMinimalist Fun: The 100 thing challenge invented by Dave Bruno is a way to fight "American-style consumerism" by reducing the number of personal possessions to 100. He eloquently and convincingly states that living without an abundance of personal possessions for an extended period of time is the first step we ought to take in order to realize that we don’t need ever-more stuff. Reducing property to 100 objects might sound a bit harsh for starters. Either way, it serves as a powerful inspiration to purge more stuff.

Monday
Jan242011

Is Branding Outsourced Self-Confidence?

Luxury brands have a strong appeal. Wearing a luxury brand gives some reassurance of taste and buys a certain level of social acceptance. I felt that people with some form of insecurity are susceptible to buying expensive brands - it communicates affluence in absence of an own taste or a strong personal style. Picking a popular or trendy brand looks like a low risk choice, basically an insurance policy against being ridiculed for a personal  lifestyle choice.