Monday, February 19, 2018

Crumb, Small Hands & Nas Daily

Weekly Update 2018-08: So much inspiration from Brooklyn psych-rockers Crumb and the 60-second vlog gems from NasDaily, along with the nuances of owning small hands.

Music: Crumb
Brooklyn-based four-piece Crumb delivers just what I need: a melancholic yet upbeat psych trip through a land made of clouds. In other words: sometimes it's poppy, sometimes it's jazzy, all the time it's amazing music that lets itself right into the doorway of your soul. Lead singer and guitarist Lila Ramani is a gifted songwriter who invites us into her world of emotion and funky guitar licks. Listener beware, these songs will stick to your gut like molasses.

Favourite tracks include all of them (they only have seven on Spotify/Bandcamp at the time of publishing). If you forced me to choose, Vinta and Thirty-Nine both take me on a spiritual vision quest when I close my eyes (though each of a very different sort from each other).

Catch Crumb at The Baby G in Toronto with Luna Li on April 4.

Also deserving of a shoutout is the album art from their two EP's (one of which is especially topical of the Random Thought further down the page):

2017's Locket.

2016's self titled.

This week I made pulled pork for a potluck (which is a really fun sentence to say out loud), and added to my room-collage. It's getting pretty unruly after 28 months of contribution. I also finally cleaned off my desk, so I present you with this picture in the hopes that you won't think I have gone insane.

I don't have a problem, I just like paper ephemera, okay?

I also went a little silly on the frozen edge of Lake Erie at a friend's cottage in Long Point yesterday, and attempted to vault a huge branch across the lake with the help of some friends. Of course, when the log was vaulted, it took me with it and sent me across the ice a few metres. All in a day's work – and totally worth it.

And if that weren't enough, Mondo Mascots (mentioned in last week's update) thanked me for the shoutout! Guess I'm getting a hang of this Twitter thing after all...

I've saved a lot of cool things on Facebook and Instagram, but have yet to discover a good way to actively use them when needed. There are some recipes, pieces of inspiration for the blog, articles I've yet to read, bands I've yet to truly discover - and only so much time. So I'm devoting this week to sorting and organizing them.

Random Thought: Small Hands
Certainly a topic only ever considered by owners of small hands, life can be challenging at times for such people. By no means would I classify having small hands as a disability, but it can be troublesome. I am currently the owner of a pair of small hands, and I have only ever met one person over the age of 13 with smaller hands than mine.

There are obvious things, like the fact that a bracelet will never fit my wrist properly without sliding off my hand, but I want to talk about the deep cuts like holding a mug or fork. I don't know if I should be doing some hand exercises to strengthen them, but most mugs and cutlery are simply too big for my hand to use comfortably. Handfeel of a mug is very important, especially as I already find mug handles to be largely poorly designed in the first place. Now imagine that issue exacerbated with a full cup of coffee inside it.

But the most difficult thing about having small hands in this year of 2018 is the abhorrently large size of most popular smartphones. I love to consider this charting of phone sizes throughout “history”:

Some say screens became larger when we realized we could view porn on our phones. 
Makes sense to me.

Honestly, I was really happy in the era right there in the middle (2002?) when I would borrow my dad's indestructible Nokia phone on the occasion. It fit so nicely in my hand, and I could even use it easily with one hand. Today that is just not the case - my (relatively) new iPhone SE is the only modern option for a small-sized good-spec phone, and people still ask me if it's an iPhone 4. Because of this, I often fail to reach the keyboard keys I aim for, and end up using Autocorrect to remedy this issue over a lack of spelling knowledge. Let's be real, I've rarely needed Autocorrect to actually spell a word correctly. But that's the glory of well-designed features, right? They work in different ways for different people, but are as universally useful as possible.

And hey, when that diamond tennis bracelet slips off my hand and down a sewer grate, my hands will be small enough to fit in between the grate to fish it out. What a charmed life.

As a bonus random thought concerning hands: my friend was explaining his recipe for Miso soup at a potluck yesterday. He mentioned that it required a handful of clams (about five or six in his hand, argulably three or four in mine). I liked the sound of a handful of clams, but I much preferred the sound of a clamful of hands, which was repeated throughout the evening. While playing Jackbox's Quiplash, the best thing ever happened:

This feels like a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Needless to say, the left side was the clear winner.

Inspiration: Nas Daily
I have spent the last six or eight months actively curating my Facebook feed. I realized that I had become somewhat addicted to the social media platform, but that it was leaving me feeling kind of empty and like I was wasting my time (spoiler alert: I was definitely wasting my time). I wanted to use my downtime on buses and the like for something more enriching, so I decided to try to find some better content on Facebook.

One of the enriching feeds of content is the amazing daily 60-second videos from NasDaily, or rather, a man named Nuseir Yassin, who realized life was too short to be working a job he did not love. He quit that job and every day for the past two years, he has created a 60-second video about lots of varying content involving his travels around the world and ways he connects with people from all walks of life. His message is so simple and clear that it rings really true with a wide audience. Life is too short not to love, not to choose peace, not to do something fulfilling (even on a small level) with each passing moment. On top of that, his vlogging personality is so friendly and magnetic that he just makes me want to keep watching forever. Which I almost did this afternoon.

With each video, Nas makes more friends.

I can't recommend these videos enough, and even moreso that you follow Nas on Facebook. I can't link to my favourites here because he only makes them available on Facebook (because that's where his friends are) - but I implore you to check them out. Especially useful are his tips on how to travel in countries on a small amount of money, but more importantly on how to understand the social climate and cultural nuances of these places. While not inherently political, he even touches on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in a handful of the videos among many other topics. It's truly wonderful to see such a loving, honest and level-headed person give their take on parts of the world to which I have never been, displaying them as an outsider but as someone who could easily fit in anywhere and is a true citizen of the world.

Nas wears (a version of) the same shirt every day, displaying the percentage of life he's already lived (statistically based on his date of birth, sex and country of origin). He's currently 34% through his life, which he uses as a mantra to live to the fullest. You can calculate and make your own version of the shirt on his website. I made mine:

And his $1200 drone-shot footage is really spectacular as well. Check out NasDaily on Facebook and Instagram.

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