Monday, August 7, 2017

Death From Above, Design Thinking & Fiesta Gardens

Weekly Update 2017-32: Headbang and shake your butt at the same time to Death From Above, pinpointing what exactly is design thinking, and finding my happy place in a garden centre.

Music: Death From Above
Epic synth-rockers Jesse F. Keeler and Sebastien Grainger have been making music on-and-off as DFA for the past fifteen or so years (but who's counting). I got into their music during what was thought to be a permanent “off” period, but luckily for us all they decided to make more music. And since then, I have seen this band in all sorts of strange venues from Wakestock 2013 in Collingwood to a secret show in Sonic Boom in Honest Ed's (RIP) to a free show at Nathan Phillips Square as part of Panamania 2015.

If you like fast beats, craaaaaazy bass riffs, a little bit of yelling and a really good time, you'll love this band. And they're from Toronto! Check out this amazing solo by JFK at Osheaga this year. They've still got it.

And that lighting is insane.

Well, I went to Osheaga and made it back in one piece. I'd say that's a big enough accomplishment in its own right! Between the extreme amount of rain, severely long and narrow layout (the normal festival location is currently under construction) and staying in an Airbnb boarding house in a suburb, I am happy to report I made it out alive. The festival was quite fun, but I'd definitely do it differently next time. On the plus side, I ate a delicious raclette from a food truck! I wish Toronto had these.

Eating Oka raclette on a bed of mushrooms and potatoes while watching a band called Foxygen. This was a weird mix.

This week, I'd like to combine my Arduino tests into a new portfolio piece so I can show the world (and you) what I've been working on so far. From there I'll collect my thoughts and hopefully finish the final project. It's also FriendCanoe time again, so I'll be working on that for our next meeting.

Random Thought: Design Thinking
An oft-misunderstood section of design, I've been trying to describe the profession of design thinking to my friends lately with some difficulty. To me, design thinkers are the unspoken superheroes of making things happen. They can see a problem from all angles, and have the ability to bring people together from different areas or walks of life who wouldn't normally interact but together are more capable of positive change than apart.

Design thinkers solve fuzzy problems with both sides of their brain. I found an interesting chart online that illustrates the intersection between business thinking and creative thinking (mind the typos):

Image from Pinterest.

You might think of design thinking as a problem-solving methodology that allows you to create solutions by taking into account human factor, design, technology and business.

Take an example: there are so many different kinds of chairs. Depending on the space a chair may occupy and the needs it is required to meet, its functional and aesthetic design will vary greatly. One might ask; will the chair be used in a residence? In which room? Or perhaps for commercial use in a restaurant or bar? A restaurant chair is optimized for about 45 minutes of comfy sitting, after which you might get a little uncomfortable, your back or posture might need repositioning and you start to wiggle around a bit. One must also consider who will be sitting in the chair and what action or task they will perform while using it. An office chair will be different from a waiting room chair. With all these options, it takes someone who can see the problem from all sides to determine what type of chair is best for the use case.

Inspiration: Fiesta Gardens
Whenever I am feeling down, I go for a bike ride. On such a bike ride, I usually subconsciously bike by Fiesta Gardens (the garden centre of environmentally-friendly supermarket Fiesta Farms). And if I'm biking by the garden centre, I'm going into the garden centre.

They have such lovely plants, I could walk around there forever. It's outside but well-shaded, has lovely things to look at, and even plays soft classical music on speakers throughout the store.

Plants that attract cool garden friends!

These cacti are so cute, they look plush or crocheted. But trust me, they don't like to be touched.

I must admit I was a little surprised at this Barbie-themed gardening display, which I can only presume is for girls. I don't know if we need to use Barbie as a role model to get girls (or any children) interested in gardening and plants, but whatever gets them in the door, I suppose. The Nickelodeon version (presumably for boys) is a little less inspired.

Did you know about these crazy things? They can die and come back to life forever! Plus, I didn't realize the song of the same name by Iron & Wine is probably named for this plant.

It's lovely to be around plants, and the little typed notes about caring for each one are nice to read. I especially love how closeby the centre is during bonfire season because they have lots of firewood and are pretty close to Christie Pits.

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