conversation is an engine

A lot can happen in a conversation

Jargon: Just Say No. (DGtC #28)

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Make a human happy—speak to be understood


No matter what organization you are in, there are choices to be made about how you talk with the people around you. No matter what gathering you attend, you speak to communicate or you speak to impress.

We’re never rid of rhetorical flourish and persuasive intent, but can we at least work at speaking to be understood?

You don’t have to be obscure, you know—choose your own space on the continuum.


Dumb Sketch: Kirk Livingston

Trebor: Proper Mints for Proper People

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Still, confession is good for the soul


Via the Sell! Sell! Blog (click to check out the other soft mint fever-dream ad)

Written by kirkistan

May 1, 2015 at 11:19 am

Posted in Advertising

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Note to self: Don’t be (so) boring.

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Why do what we do? (Gotta keep asking)

Do something every day.WhatIsArt-04302015

Do that something every day for 30 years.

Has that something lost its freshness?

Over on Dumb Sketch Daily—my ongoing project of learning to see—every once in a while I get caught up with trying to create art. It is almost always a mistake for me to try to create art. I am no artist and the impulse to create art results in weirdly earnest dumb sketches, sort of like a child putting on dad’s tie (do dad’s wear ties these days?) or mom’s high heels.

Still—one must experiment. And that experimentation is good because it draws the questions forward yet again.

Doing something every day, and somehow keeping it fresh, means asking the “Why am I doing this?” that drives the behavior. Yesterday I had to remember that my goal is not to create art. Making art is simply too high and too unrealistic a goal for me. It works for others, and many who comment on that blog and whom I follow are creating honest-to-goodness, bona fide, Grade A art.

Every single day.

But not me.

I’m just trying to see better. That’s a goal and purpose I can rally around. Trying to see how light shines on stuff. Trying to see what a face looks like, the creases, the asymmetry, the tractor beams that shine from eyeballs. Seeing what posture says. Seeing how shadow falls across a 100 year-old building. All of that happens as I try (and mostly fail) to capture real life on paper. The real life happening around me.


Something good and productive happens with revisiting the “Why?” question. My sense is that if I can be reengaged with the question, and with seeing how it was answered differently today, I may even be less boring. At least for a few moments.


Dumb sketches: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

April 30, 2015 at 9:06 am

Road Trip Fever

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Starts just about now.



Written by kirkistan

April 29, 2015 at 9:23 am

Posted in curiosities, photography

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True Love. And Separate Checking.

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What? Your bank doesn’t give relationship advice?



Via Ads of the World

Written by kirkistan

April 28, 2015 at 1:02 pm

Welcome to the Arden Hills Library

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Despite online, people still gather in physical spaces


Library, reduced.

Library, reduced.

We are fans of the library. Specifically, the Ramsey County Library. We order constantly and compulsively. If the Ramsey County Library doesn’t have it, there is the MnLink Gateway, which has access to most everything printed, or so it seems (books printed in Australia are hard to get, but otherwise…).

A year ago, maybe two, the library moved to a more sustainable location and this old building (built in 1969) overlooking a wetland, was sold. It had been a low-slung structure with a 60’s vibe and lots of hard brick surfaces for our kids to bump into. It sort of resembled a mushroom from the outside, but the inside skylights brought in lots of light on sunny days. It was a cheery place where you came to know the librarians by name.

Library archives via Lillie News

Library archives via Lillie News

Even though much of what I use the library for today is online (that is, ordering books), there is still the showing up to pick up books and the dropping off of (sometimes overdue) books. And the picking up of more books. And in this picking up and dropping off, we see the same librarians and many of the same patrons, again and again. The local library is an honest point of connection.

Though the Arden Hills branch has now been reduced to a pile of rubble, it is hard for me to imagine the local, physical library going away or even dropping in importance as a community meeting point.


Images: Kirk Livingston,

Written by kirkistan

April 27, 2015 at 9:50 am

Come as you are

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Park right there.

Bring your baggage—your leaky car.

Bring your baggage—your leaky car.

It’s the price we pay to interact.

These catalyzing conversations–they are a privilege.

No matter what happens to the driveway.


Image credit: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

April 24, 2015 at 10:05 am


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