Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mobile Office

Since I work from my home office most days, I like to try to get out of the house at least one day a week to get some fresh air and socialize with other human beings. Lately I’ve been venturing out to my favorite Panera Bread, which is near my wife’s workplace and which I blogged about in my 06/15/09 entry titled “Mobile Avenue.”

The attached picture features my mobile office, including my Targus Sport backpack, Apple Powerbook laptop, Nokia cell phone, Moleskine reporter notebook and Cross mechanical pencil. Not pictured is my Touch iPod, which I was listening to at the time and my Leica digital camera, with which I took the picture.

What I particularly like about Panera Bread—besides their free Wi-Fi, which I mention in the above entry—is that they play classical music throughout the day and serve hazelnut cream cheese to go with my blueberry bagel and hazelnut coffee. And the fact that my favorite location features a gas fireplace doesn’t hurt either.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sabbath Manifesto

There is a growing movement among people toward a more sustainable mode of living and one way it is taking shape is in the form of Sabbath celebration. While originally a scriptural concept, the trend of throttling back one day a week has been gaining more and more momentum as the pace of life has moved to mach speed.

There is even a non-profit group, called Reboot and comprised mostly of both practicing and non-practicing Jews, which has established a National Day of Unplugging. Set to last from sunset today, March 19, through sunset tomorrow, March 20, guidelines for participating are outlined at the group’s website at

The group suggests ten principles for commemorating Sabbath: avoid technology, connect with loved ones, nurture your health, get outside, avoid commerce, light candles, drink wine [or non-alcoholic beverage], eat bread, find silence and give back. For purposes of unplugging, it is suggested to avoid all technology as much as possible.

My wife and I typically try to stay off our computers and cell phones on the weekends as it is, but we are planning to turn off our televisions, telephones and other technological gadgetry tomorrow also. There is a classic car show coming to our hometown tomorrow and I think that will be a welcome interlude for us to enjoy sans electronic intrusions.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Creative Corner

While online the other day I came across a picture of the actual desk where my wife’s favorite author, Jane Austen, is reported to have created her bestselling novels. What struck me about it was its diminutive size. No larger than a tea table, it looked barely large enough to eat scones at, much less create the literary masterpieces for which Austen is known.

What I can’t help thinking is whether Austen didn’t need as much exterior space because she had adequate interior space as a result of the time and place she lived. She not only lived during a kinder, gentler period, but she also wrote from a place more attuned to the reflective pace necessary to think and create.

One of the highlights during my and my wife’s holiday vacation to New York City was our visit to the Morgan Library, where there happened to be an exhibit of Jane Austen’s original writings. It was inspiring to see firsthand the handwriting of a genius and to witness the fruits of her creative labor.

And here at home, my wife and I recently sampled several movies via Netflix that adapt Austen’s trademark wit to the big screen. Nearly two hundred years later, it is readily apparent that she had an innate understanding of the human condition. What’s more, it is amazing how much creativity she was able to conjure up in her creative corner of the world.