Sunday, November 17, 2019

Night Music, Nunchi & Double King

Weekly Update 2019-45: Relaxing with the severely underrated soundtracks of the Animal Crossing series, practicing the art of a quick nunchi and the years of toil it takes to make something as cool as Felix Colgrave's Double King.

A still from Double King.

Music: Relaxing Animal Crossing Night Music
Oh yeah, it's time for a YouTube compilation. Amongst the world's best and most accessible collection of Chillhop lies a series of Animal Crossing-themed mixes for calm evenings at home. So many aspects of the game series are amazing, but its music is truly in a class of its own. Each building the characters visit has its own theme song along with different seasons, holidays and even times of day or weather all taking part in shaping the audio soundscape of the game. The simple nature of the tunes, alongside the nostalgia for the game, provides a calming experience that is simply unmatched for me.

This one is a particular mix of relaxing night music overlaid with ambient nature sounds (like being at a campfire) but there are lots of other Animal Crossing Chillhop mixes to pick from.

Halloween round 3 is complete, and I have now worn out my wings as a Halloween costume. They're good for one more photo, though. I especially love the pumpkins in the background.

I attended a movie night at my friend Phil's place after a long hiatus from the semi-annual event. The group has been carrying on well without me, expanding in both audience members and involving a food aspect. His roommate is a graduate of George Brown for culinary arts, and made the most delicious chilli and cornbread. It really inspired me to make a cornbread chilli casserole soon. Tis the season for casseroles.

Ruth-Ann and I had a lovely spot of tea at Kitten and the Bear over the weekend, and I picked out an Apricot, White Cherry and Amaretto jam to take home. I can see whole apricots poking through to the wall of the jar, it's gonna be a good time.

She surprised me as well by having Pop Tarts pre-ordered as an extra treat. Anything made with K&B jam is just 1000x better.

I finally got to do some stuff around the house that always makes me feel more balanced and calm. I installed some insulation film on my window to keep out some of the draft this winter, put away summer clothes, and brought out some heaters. I try to use smart timers and such to auto-control heaters in different parts of the apartment without wasting too much energy. Having a heater auto-start in the bathroom five minutes before my alarm in the mornings is key - no one wants to sit on a cold toilet seat.

This is possibly the most excited I have ever been for a meetup. VentureOut is back with a night of talks surrounding Employee Resource Groups. I would probably attend any event hosted by VentureOut, I really like the topics they focus around, and the other attendees that are attracted to their events all seem like cool, smart and empathetic people.

Employee Resource Groups are voluntary, employee-led groups that foster a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with organizational mission, values, goals, business practices, and objectives. Other benefits include the development of future leaders, increased employee engagement, and expanded marketplace reach. Vena has one - our Network for Women, and I am motivated to keep that number rising. Specifically, I want to know what other companies are doing and how we can create an ERG for accessibility concerns.

Another EventMobi reunion is planned for this weekend: I get to hang out with Christine and Sasha (first time seeing him since he returned from Japan). It's been almost a year since I last saw Christine, even though our offices are so closeby that we've recently switched a few employees between the two companies. That's tech in Toronto for you. It's also Sasha's big 30 birthday so we've got to make some kind of commemoration.

Random Thought: Nunchi
A friend turned me onto the idea of nunchi, a Korean "secret to happiness and success" that has been practiced for quite some time. As per the New York Times article linked above, the author recalls being scolded as a child by her strict Korean parents, "Why don't you have any nunchi?"
There is a Korean expression, “Half of social life is nunchi.” You need nunchi to get along with people, to get what you want out of people in a purely pragmatic sense and to protect yourself from danger. Nunchi emphasizes speed — if you are a skilled nunchi practitioner, Koreans don’t say you have “good” nunchi, they say you have “quick” nunchi.
To me, nunchi feels like a mix of mindfulness, common sense and spatial empathy. Being able to read a room is a big part of this; from walking into a party that has already started to deciding how to present ideas to a room full of C-level executives who look bored or annoyed.

It can be hard to practice nunchi in today's world full of distractions. It requires a quiet mind in order to open up to the information being presented from the outside. Nunchi feels similar to being a sponge - if you're all filled up with your own thoughts then you won't be able to absorb anything external.

Before I read about nunchi, I had been practicing improving my listening skills. It's so easy to fall into passive listening, focusing on what we want to say next instead of actively listening to our conversation partner. I think nunchi aligns well with focusing on the information others can offer us (through speaking, body language, room position, facial expression) so that we can make more informed choices about our actions.

I definitely recommend taking a bit of your Sunday to read the full article on nunchi.

Inspiration: Double King
It had been so long since I had attended Phil's movie nights that a new addition had been added to the playlist. After two vaguely Sci-Fi-genred film features from the same director, we now enjoy a palette cleanser in the form of audience-sourced YouTube videos. Our friend Alexis suggested a nine-minute animated story by Australian animator Felix Colgrave entited Double King. Check it out below:

Lovingly, painstakingly hand-animated over two years by Colgrave alone, the piece is an animation marvel of its time. From character design to backgrounds and landscapes to the fluid motion of the characters themselves, there is so much to see here. I had to watch it twice in a row the first time I watched it.

Perhaps what I enjoy most about Double King is the cheeky flitting around in the tone of the story from surreal to humorous to extremely dark, perhaps a little tear-jerking at times. Colgrave's dedication to cover so many moods in nine short minutes pays homage to his knack for storytelling, rivalling his excellent illustration and animation skills.

Colgrave has been influenced by animations from a young age, his earliest works found on YouTube date back to when he was only 15 years old. More recently, Colgrave has created animated videos for various musicians such as Nicki Minaj, Fever The Ghost, and DJ Mustard. These music-videos helped Colgrave expand in the community. In 2017, Colgrave released the legendary animation Double King, which sits at 30 million views as of the writing of this post.

Reiterating that such a thing of beauty takes a long time and lots of hard work to bring into reality. This nine minute animation took two years to finish, not including the years and years that Colgrave spent honing his craft before embarking in this project.

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