Behind the Music (and Other Stuff): Creating a Skating Program

During the 2014 Winter Olympics, a lot more people than usual will be interested in figure skating. As an adult skater, I appreciate any attention that my sport gets –  but I also realize that occasional watchers don’t always know how much has to happen off the ice for skaters to look so good on the ice. So I thought I’d give some insight, from my own experiences, into how a competitive skating program is created. (more…)

A Great Introduction to Skating Choreography

Anyone who wants to learn about choreography for competitive skating programs  should take a look at this excellent video, put together by American Ice Theatre. It uses examples from programs at the recent US national championships to demonstrate what a well-choreographed program includes, and what the judges are likely to be looking at in the choreography when they score a program. Thanks, AIT!

Cultural Products and Creativity: The “TMZ” Video and the Lego Librarians

Earlier this week I spent an afternoon reading trashy celebrity gossip magazines (give me a break, it’s summer). I learned way, way more than I ever needed to know about the antics of the Teen Moms, the possibly jail-bound Real Housewife, the sexting politician, and the Kardashians – and all that useless information about people I don’t even know made me think of one of my recent favourite music videos: (more…)

Why It’s Good to Be Bad at Something

A lot of writing about success and achievement encourages you to find your “passion” (a word that is getting extremely overused) or to set a goal, and then to single-mindedly work as hard as you can to achieve as much as possible. I’m going to propose an alternate strategy for improvement: do something you’re terrible at. (more…)

Good Content, Bad Design: Not What A Struggling Newspaper Needs

When I last wrote about recent events at my former place of employment, the Vancouver Sun newspaper, I commented on the leak of a doom-laden memo from newly appointed publisher Gordon Fisher, warning of financial crisis, threatening staff layoffs, and telling employees to be “part of the solution”. Since then, 62 Sun employees have taken a voluntary staff buyout and left the paper, while Postmedia (the Sun‘s corporate owner) reported a financial loss of $112 million in its most recent three months of operation.

On July 3, Fisher issued another memo, this time to the print subscribers of the Sun and the Province, the other Vancouver daily newspaper owned by Postmedia. In full-page ads published in both papers, Fisher announced that on August 1 print subscription rates would be “adjusted” – as in, increased – and promised “platform-specific content”. He wasn’t too clear on what exactly this would look like, or how this “content” would be produced with a significantly reduced workforce. But I’m really hoping that one part of last Saturday’s print version of the Sun is not representative of what the Sun’s print readers will get in the future – especially if they have to pay more for it. (more…)

Reflecting on Glass: the Dale Chihuly Exhibition in Montreal

I’ve written before about different types of interactive displays at art museums, and the pros and cons of different ways museums get their visitors to think about and react to what’s on display. This past weekend, at the Dale Chihuly exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, I had the chance to experience yet another type of art museum interaction: a show (more…)

“All About Work” Is Taking a Holiday Break

All About Work will be taking time off over the holidays – which I hope all its readers will be able to do as well. I’ll be posting again starting in mid-January.

I began this blog in March 2012, and the response has been extremely gratifying – more than 6,000 hits so far. I’m very appreciative of all the visits and all the reader comments – and I’m looking forward to continuing the interaction.

It's been a whirlwind year. (credit: my own photo)

It’s been a busy year. (credit: my own photo)

To summarize the year’s activity at All About Work, here’s a list of the most popular posts from 2012.

  1. Imagine: How Did This Happen? (Special thanks to the kind folks at WordPress who selected this post to be featured on the Freshly Pressed page.)
  2. Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000-Hour Rule” Doesn’t Add Up
  3. One Year and Counting: Rocky Mountaineer Lockout Keeps Chugging Along
  4. Best Author Acknowledgement Ever
  5. Things that Make You Go…Wow

Thanks, everyone, for your support. See you in 2013!

Things that Make You Go…Wow

I love art, and I love design. But sadly, I don’t come across a lot of innovative or thoughtful design in the publications I see in my academic work. (I’d like to think that my textbook’s cover design – centered around a wonderful painting by Group of Seven member A.Y. Jackson – is an exception to that norm.)

So when I went to the Association for Studies in Higher Education academic conference this month, at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas, I wasn’t expecting to find good art or good design. But I was very pleasantly surprised (more…)