Friday, January 31, 2014

The world's 'one-liners'

I enjoy one-liners.

Anything that can make a person laugh in one sentence is pretty brilliant.  Late night comedy is great for hour of quick jokes, generally not intended to do any sort of harm.  They often poke fun at our own craziness and worries and our obsessive self-consciousness.

I think that's why pickup lines are so great.  I don't ever hear them and think "that's going to make someone fall madly in love with that person." I think "!  That person just broke down a wall."

The "wall" is the self-preservation technique that we build when we leave our homes in the morning.  We put it up as a block between us and whatever might try to interject on our plans for the day.  That's why I think people seem so much happier on vacation...they don't put effort into building walls or plans.  They are open to what happens next, including the billions of other people that live on this planet, the beauty of the day around them, of the weather, of the architecture and nature.  Come to think of it (and I recognize this is a bold statement to make) I actually don't think people are ACTUALLY happier on vacation...I think they LET their lives be interrupted...kind of like a million pick-up lines that make us stop in surprise and laugh.  Perhaps out of shock, out of flattery, out of the beauty that is in front of us, out of joy that we have been approached or come in contact with something wonderful.  Vacation is just a bunch of surprises that we allow to happen to us more willingly than on any other day.

I base some of this belief on the way I look at my day.  When I have a bad day, I become self-absorbed.  I don't tend to notice the weather or people around me unless they happen to be interrupting, which annoys me.  Sometimes I reach out but it is usually only to complain...I become a killjoy.  Who likes a killjoy?

BUT...when I have a bad day and I REALIZE what is happening...I make a conscious effort to notice the good things.  I notice that it may be 6:45 am and I don't want to be up walking the dog in the freezing weather BUT I just saw the sunrise for the first time in almost a year.  Spectacular.  What a pick-up line!  It surprised me.  It made me realize something right in front of me that I might have ignored otherwise.  It made me smile.  The rest of my day I might still be a bit off, because I started it on the wrong foot...but now it's a little better than it was before.

It's an effort sometimes to get those pick-up lines that we crave.  Sometimes it's just a downer of a night and no one approaches us to tell us how awesome we are.  But then's pretty awesome to see how happy those girls are dancing with their friends and having so much fun.  That makes me smile.  It reminds me of my friends and having fun with them.  It's a pick-up line;  I've allowed my plans of talking to someone new fall to the way-side to be interrupted with the reality of the world around me...and it's a beautiful reality that reminds me of other happy memories!

So next time you hear a one-liner, a joke, a pick-up time you're feeling down and you make the effort to take down your wall and just let the world happen to  It's a great way to say "thanks for taking the time to be part of my life, world" (even if it's for a fleeting moment before you leave the bar).

;) "That's what it's all about"

Passionate and want to get involved?

Sometimes we have lots of passion but not the time, energy, or wherewithal to start our own campaigns to save the rainforest, fight poverty, or affect immigration reform.  I know...there are lots of things we each want to work on.  Whatever your goals are, there are quick and easy ways to get involved and NOT be the leader of the band (it's a tough job, so you can let other people do it sometimes)!

A great organization that can give you updates on worthwhile campaigns and how to help with a quick email, e-signature, or phonecall is SumofUs.  They have over 2 million members around the globe interested in making positive changes in the world in their own way.  You don't have to champion every cause, you can choose the ones (if any) that speak to you!  I signed up for emails so they let me know when there's big news or ways to help out.  Check them out, and get involved in something (without "getting involved").  This is an actual "no fee, no obligation" investment of as little or as much time and energy as you choose that will actually make a difference in your life and the lives of others.

Happy involvement to you!!

What career SHOULD you be doing?

"How did you get to where you are?"
This is a question I would love to ask every person I come into contact with.  How did they arrive at their current job/career/lifestyle?  It's fascinating how so many small decisions lead us to where we are going!

I'm an architect (lawfully that isn't true but since computer programmers are allowed to call themselves architects despite not completing their 5,600 hours of internship and 7 registration exams, I'm going with it because it'll be easier to imagine what I do if I don't call myself an "architectural intern" or an "architectural designer" or just a "designer" - end rant).

I was terrified before college about what I wanted to do.  I took a trip to NYC with my mom to take the Johnson O'Connor Aptitude Test.  In many ways, it wouldn't be far off to state that because of that test, I am what I am today.  You can take this in a few ways:

1) A test told me what to do, and I listened.

2) My body/brain told me what to do on the tests, the tests verbalized what my body/brain were saying I wanted to do.

3)  Science is ridiculous.

I like to think #2 is closest to correct...although the test didn't say "be an architect, that is all" like the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz or anything.  It gave me options.  It said, you score REALLY high in your skills and abilities with spatiality and language, and actually quite a few other areas.  This, perhaps is why I was such a confused kid when it came to picking an area of study - or maybe it was just being 17 and thinking you have to decide on the rest of your life like...yesterday.  (If you're that age right now, I promise you, you didn't have to decide yesterday, and the future you will most likely still be wondering what you want to do quite a number of years from now, so don't fret, you'll find your way)!  So, I think my top two career paths suggested were law and architecture.  You might not think they're all that related but I've actually met quite a few people who have gone from one to the other, leading me to believe there must be some sort of innate connection between the two.

Anyways...I studied architecture, and I was passionate about language and health and social problems so I got an extra masters, played sports, and was socially active on the side.  I've come and gone from architecture, and I'm back again.  I still think I have a great desire to make a (positive) difference in the world, through architecture or not, and so it comes as no surprise to me through this recent BuzzFeed survey that it tells me that I should be a Humanitarian.

So now I'll ask you the question(s) I always long to ask friends and complete strangers: 

How did you get where you are?  Were there any major events or decisions that helped you?  If you take the survey/quiz, what does it tell you?  Do you find that it is relevant in your life and passions? If it resonates but it's not what you're doing now, I leave you with this inspiration:

Chime in by commenting below!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The World Cup Is Coming...start singing!

I don't know about you, but for me, the olympics and the world cup are just about the best two events on the planet Earth.  Thank good they happen every couple of years.

The reason I think they're so great?  For me, they are an example of peace.  You might wonder how that's true, given that it's all out combat for the gold.  I think that's secondary, though.  I think what's amazing is that the world unifies around these events.  They tune in at the same times around the world to watch their teams, their sports, their athletes.  They might be cheering for an underdog, or for someone else's countryman because they know him/her from their league playing or from interviews or because they love the sport that person represents.  Whatever the reason, people tune in.

I, for one, would probably watch them both non-stop if I didn't think I'd lose my job over it.  And I'd TIVO the ones that overlapped (I don't have TIVO).

I've always dreamed of going to the opening ceremonies.  All of those people from around the world watching at once, the same things!  Music and dancing and culture, a parade of nations and colors and excitement.  How can you NOT be swept up?

I love the sportsmanship.  I love that you see real life triumphs and failures.  I imagine the countless hours of dedication that these people put into what I see just seconds, minutes, or a few hours's inspirational.  It makes me want to go and do it myself.  The commercials are better than the Superbowl's (which, I maintain, have been mostly terrible since I was in about 5th grade minus the few standouts which I'm sure I'll post for your viewing pleasure at some point).

SO...GO OLYMPICS!  GO WORLD CUP!  GO WORLD!  Thanks to all of you who work so hard to make them happen: athletes, coaches, fans, world leaders, coordinators, photographers, videographers, architects, builders, media outlets, hospitality teams, etc.  Can't imagine life without these short weeks that the world looks forward to for years!

And now...get pumped for World Cup Brazil 2014 with this awesome montage of national songs for this summer's participating teams!

Dance like no one's watching...even if they are!

This is my FAVORITE example of starting a's only crazy is no one joins in!

I saw this years ago.

The scene:  The Sasquatch Music Festival.
A video of a lone dancer, doing his thing.  What he manages to do is incredible!

He leaves the leftover viewers not only SINGING but wondering aloud "How did he do that?"
Be the change!  Be "Unstoppable!"

Want to get intellectual about this example of leadership?  Here's a followup analysis that I only saw when searching for this video to share with interesting take and good information for starting your own movement in the world!  

Yoga...path to change

I just finished reading an absolutely BEAUTIFUL blog post from a woman who has dedicated herself to making changes in her life to be more healthy in all aspects.  This post in particular has a great focus on her physical efforts through yoga, and her emotional and mental strength to see herself as she is now in order to rate her continued progress forward with her balance, strength, and CORE!

She makes me proud, and I don't even know her.  That's a great writer and a great inspiration.

We all have insecurities.  We all have strengths and weaknesses.  We all do unhealthy things or have unhealthy thoughts once in a while.  That's not us, though.  We are the hard work and effort and goals that we have.  We are the motivation that we give to others.  We are the eyes that we see ourselves and the world with.  We are the passions that drive us to want to get up and "get through it" on the tough days.

Thank you, Hawaiian Princess, for your courageous, vulnerable, and beautiful post that allows us to reflect on our own goals, insecurities, and passions.  Thanks for the motivation to make a change in ourselves and, in that way, affect change in the world.  As we better ourselves physically, we cannot help but to become more mentally in-tune, and when that happens we are much more capable of a complete energy to make changes outside of ourselves.  Keep up the great work!

Kids do the darndest things (at homework time)!

I laughed out loud. - It's good for you!
So glad I don't have to do homework anymore!

A little bit of beach...

On winter days when I haven't seen the sun, or at least my skin hasn't...with the temperature averaging about 15 F/ -9 C...I miss the beach. 

And then I see fantastic videos and artwork and photos, and sometimes a combination, and occasionally it makes me feel a little better.

Here is one such example, a twist on the snow art I shared a while back...beach art, by Andre Amador.

Enjoy...(Spring is on the way)!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Reward Good Service!

Just wanted to let you know that rewarding good service is one of the best experiences out there and if you haven't done it yet, you should give it a try!

If you've had great service, a helpful chat, or a positive interaction with any team member(s) of a company you do business with, I suggest you take down that person's name and title and send their company a "thank-you" note. 

Someone did this for me once when I worked at a restaurant.  I was away on vacation when it was sent in and by the time I got back and found out about it, it had been posted in the national newsletter for our company.  Not only was I thrilled to have been noticed for my service, I was elated to know that the people who had given so much to me, personally, during their visit to dinner had also gotten something from me.  What an excellent feeling!  I still remember their names and stories years later.

I have definitely given my fair share of "feedback" to companies that haven't met my expectations, but I'm sure you've had other great experiences deserving of compliments and praise like I had recently with JetBlue Airways staff at JFK International Airport.

Most large companies have a specific form you can fill out with comments and/or compliments, others you can write simply to their "contact" information and they will usher it to the correct department.

Do something nice for someone who gave you great service. 
Do it before you forget about it. 

Why not make someone's day today?!
Judging by the way I feel right now, it might improve your own, too!

Monday, January 27, 2014

"Selfie" it.

Just saw another great workshop on "selfies" that was directed at female students AND their moms...thought this was relevant given the topic I posted on creating strong women...but expands to everyone, independent of gender, despite the focus of this particular documentary...we all need a little boost of self confidence about how we look, no?!

I also read recently that "selfies" are actually a great way to help people build self confidence because by taking multiple photos, you can find the angles and lighting and aspects of your face and poses that you feel confident and comfortable with.  So whether you like to make a duck face or wink or blow kisses or have a serious smirk...take more.  Be confident with who you are and how you're seen and others will, too!

My case you're wondering

So, you might wonder where I get my energy and drive from.  

*If you don't, I'm not worried about it and you can skip to another post easily enough.*  

But if you are wondering about 

the fountain of youth

or about why or how I have the nerve to tell you 

to leave your social norms and "go rogue" 


to try jumping out of an airplane 

or booking a trip solo 

or changing jobs or moving to the opposite side of the planet 

or any other number of things that most people probably find ridiculous AND alluring 
at the same time...


the blog post I just found might just help you understand where I'm coming from.

Mirror Neurons & Empathy!

We have things called mirror neurons...these are neurons that fire in our own system when we empathize (put ourselves in someone else's position, as if we were experiencing their experience).  Meaning, the same neurons I have active when I feel or do something will be active if I see YOU feeling or doing the same thing!  How amazing is that?!  This means, empathy is actually biological...a humans are built to empathize, to feel what others feel.

I saw this video a while ago, but I am SO glad I just bumped into it again for it's incredible ability to explain a lot of science and humanity in about 10 minutes (and he talks fast, but there are pictures to help you stay with him)!


Perhaps my favorite part (although there are SO many) is the following taken from the script:

"There is no empathy in Utopia because there is no suffering.  Empathy is grounded in the acknowledgement of death and a celebration of life and rooting for each other to flourish and be.  It's based on our frailties and our imperfections.  SO when we talk about building an empathic civilization we're not talking about a Utopia, we're talking about the ability of human beings to show solidarity not only with each other but with our fellow creatures who have a one and only life on this little planet."

"To empathize is to civilize, to civilize is to empathize."

Go out there and mirror your neurons (you don't have much of a choice in that), and THEN act on those mirrored internal responses.  If you see someone angry, feel for them instead of being angry with them.  You know what it feels like to be angry.  If you see someone sad, feel for them instead of walking away or ignoring them.  You know what it feels like to be sad.  Lend a hand, an ear, a shoulder, a word of encouragement.  Do what you wish someone would say to you when you are feeling the way others are feeling.  

Happy, sad, indifferent, elated...we know these feelings.  
Let's start acting like it!  Empathy!

How to treat girls, so they become strong women

New article out on the Forbes site.  I agree with most of it, I think, and why not since they tend to include a good number of related studies.  One thing I wish they'd do is take some time to make their titles more one likes to be told "this is what you're doing wrong."  By titling the article "7 things you can change to help young girls become strong(er) women,"  I think they might find a more receptive audience.

Anyhow, I think it's a good article for parents, or people who want to be parents, or just people who interact with children (and I'm talking all genders here because teaching boys that they are equal with girls is just as important as teaching girls that they are as equally capable as boys - which the article fails to mention), nieces, nephews, grandchildren, friends' children, students, neighbors, etc, etc, etc.

So take a look, it's a pretty quick read, and you might learn something new.  I know I did (specifically, the idea of turning the "princess culture" on its head was a new one to me)!

Oh LOVE! Another Fabulous Disney Short

Love...or something like it: "Paperman"
A short film by Disney.

JUSTIN BIEBER (No, I have nothing to say)


Craig Ferguson explains how I feel every time that I see one of these young (or old) stars that millions of people adore, lots of children idolize or look up to as role models, and others swoon over, being caught getting into trouble, making bad decisions, and seeming to take complete 180s after stardom has befallen them.

I feel bad for them.  I have no desire to make fun of them.  I want someone to HELP them.  I felt bad when Bieber was booed at some awards ceremony for doing some supposedly newsworthy bad-thing that I must have missed.  I feel bad for all celebrities that they are stalked by paparazzi day in and day out because "normal people" have so much time on our hands that we'd rather live all of our free time vicariously through people we don't know (another reason I generally avoid television and the news).

Take a look at Ferguson's take on Brittney Spears' craziness a while back...and see if it doesn't resonate with you.  You don't have to have an addictive background to know that addictions happen and can ruin peoples' lives.  You see it daily in our society.  Instead of bashing these people you don't know, send out some positive vibes that someone who CAN help them, WILL help them.  And then, let it go.  Take it as a reminder that you are healthy and in control, or use it as a prompt to get help for yourself or someone who you actually know firsthand.

 The only thing I have to say to Justin Bieber is, I hope you get better, man. 
Thanks Craig Ferguson, for being able to speak so eloquently about your experience, your personal belief and "self-preservation."  I would repost this were you a celebrity or not...because it's the message that is most important here.

In tough moments, counting the blessings

So...this happened yesterday.

It would have been easy to have a pity party.  Instead, I took my own advice.  I started to count all of the amazing things that I recognized because of this incident.

1)  I have an incredible family.  I was out visiting them to celebrate my birthday and to see my parents who were visiting and my grandmother who is moving out of assisted living.

2)  I was full.  My aunt and uncle always provide a ton of food (you can see my aunt's new blog if you're in the NY area and in need of desserts for any upcoming parties!  She's an incredible cook and does everything with love and style!) and beverage and good conversation and positive energy.  So you could say I was full both physically and emotionally.

3)  My dog.  The pup was calm, cool, and collected.  And it's so true that they have an effect on the way we perceive our situation.  I didn't feel alone while I had to wait.

4)  Complete strangers are good people.  Just 30 seconds after pulling off the road (only a few miles from my destination and about 2 miles after my car first began making noise - oops!), a nice man named Jeff stopped his car, put it in reverse for a good 1/4 mile, and, upon reaching me, asked if I was ok.  I informed him that I know how to change a tire, but that it'd been a while (I did it twice in one week during high school), and I welcomed the help.  Jeff got out of his car and spent somewhere between 45 minutes and an hour helping me to jack the car, remove the rusted spare from the trunk, and remove the rusty nuts from the bolts before finding that the tire was either frozen or rusted to whatever the thingamajig is that connects it to the axle (me and my scientific auto knowledge).  Jeff didn't give up.  He grabbed a brick and more tools from his car and worked away for another 15 minutes in the freezing temperatures and as darkness fell, trying to free the tire to no avail.  Finally, we gave up.  The fact that he stopped what he was doing to help a complete stranger in the freezing cold for over an hour?  If that doesn't restore your faith in humanity, I don't know what will.

5)  Friends who will drop everything.  Bryan picked up my phonecall to request info on tow-trucks since I'm not from around here.  I could hear the smile in his voice when he answered and immediately upon understanding my situation, said he'd call right back. Within minutes he did just that, telling me the truck was on the way.  AND THEN he and Britt packed themselves up and came out to pick us up since the driver wouldn't take the dog.

6)  Friends who will keep you occupied.  Cait kept me company via text while I waited to be picked up.

7)  Friends who greet you when you get home.  My roommate was waiting up for me and made tea for me when I reached home, and my best friends from childhood didn't disown me for being late to our vacation planning meeting (again).

8) Sunshine and no snowstorm.  Sunshine made the first 30 minutes of the wheel attempt more bearable and the lack of snow falling made it easier for Jeff to make the decision to stop and help.  Thank goodness for that!

9)  Good public transportation.  I can still get to work on time and without too much hassle because the public transport is nearby and relatively inexpensive.

And so...though my bill for the tow and a new tire may shock me later this afternoon, I gotta' say, I'm pretty blessed.  Great family and friends, food, a loving pet, a car to get me where I need to go (most of the time) and a job to be able to pay for my car troubles. 

Count your blessings, and you won't have time to worry about the rest.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Powerful words over a century and a half later...

Sojourner Truth was a black woman, freed from slavery and one of the best-known freedom-fighters of her time and after.  She was anti-racism, anti-sexism...she was really just pro-people.

She was intelligent, strong, and daring in a time when those things weren't expected of any woman, let alone a black woman.

Her words are still important today.  Not solely for the messages of race and sex, but for the ultimate words of this recreated speech, I paraphrase: "If one person was able to turn the whole word upside-down singlehandedly, then why can't these people turn it back to its right place again?  If they want to, why not let them?"  And I'd add...why not help them?

Be the change you wish to see in the world...let's get it right side up again!

Get up and keep moving. Dog inspiration.

Sometimes you get knocked down.  Something terrible happens, life altering even.  If this is you right now, find a little bit of solace and inspiration in this young pup. He lost his rear legs, and is still working out the "balance" in his life, literally and figuratively...but doing it clearly makes him ├╝ber-happy.  So, I know it's hard.  Find the joy in getting up, and moving little paw at a time!
(Love the song lyrics, too)
You can find more videos of this little precious by searching "Duncan Lou Who" on Youtube!

"Hey, How's it goin'?"

Have you ever muttered the words "Hey, how's it going?" or "How was your day?" and meant it completely as a salutation?  If you have, you aren't alone.  There are dozens, if not hundreds of salutations these days that were, at one  point in time, actually meant to be asked and seriously pondered and answered.  Somewhere, though, they got a little lost.  The questions became so monotonous that we forgot they were questions, maybe. Or it was so commonplace to ask, even if we didn't want to, that we did it not to be rude.  Whatever the case, the questions in salutations are mute.

"Hey, what's up?"
"Nothing.  Just going to the gym."

Wait, what?  "Nothing...I'm just going to the gym."  It sounds like the second part is "what's up"...but you just said "nothing" in response to the question.  See how this works?  We literally have an autopilot.  The same thing has happened to me when someone has called crying: "nothing (pause)...tells everything going on."  So, you see, we have created a world of interactions where we ask something and even  though we might be interested in the answer, we aren't given the answer because the other person also knows this is now a typical space filler and doesn't want to answer in case you actually DON'T care.

So a therapist who spoke to a couple, parents of 3 children, who realized they were just having a hard time being present with one another and communicating in the time they had together, suggested that they stop asking empty questions, so they could stop answering/being answered with empty answers.  What a brilliant idea!

Love is specific.  Loneliness is specific.  Feeling crazy, is specific.  Generally, there are individual things that trigger these individual feelings, and many others, and knowing about or asking specific questions about feelings or situations can often get us much better answers and interactions because they show a few things:

1) respect for the other person usually saying "nothing" because they don't know how to sum up "EVERYTHING,"

2) effort to really understand how a person is/was/will be feeling,


3) that you are listening for a complete answer, because you asked a complete and thought-provoking and specific question.

It's actually a genius way to help us all to start bringing some meaningful communication back into our lives.  So I encourage you to take the time to read it, especially the second half of the article since it really talks about the solution and the ways they have used the advice in their daily lives.

And then comment here, and let us know...what did you take away from this article?  Could you relate?  Do you think that asking specific questions makes a difference?**

 (**that was my legitimate attempt...and it already made me feel more connected with whomever decides to respond than if I had written "what do you think?" because I recognize that you THINK lots of things...but I'm being specific, here!  Get back to me!)

How you present yourself matters...

So the title is obvious.  It matters because other people see us, unless we are hermits.  And when people see us they judge us, whether right or wrong, and if we are trying to communicate something verbally, then the less time they take to judge us, the more likely they are to have the time and focus to listen to what we are communicating.

That's my simple summation of a great article in Forbes that it's worth taking the time to read.  It's written from a female perspective but I think that the psychology behind it is equally valuable for men and women.  So if you want the expanded version of my summary above, take a look, and see if it makes a difference in your life!

Raw Foods Lifestyle, the fountain of youth?

I'd like to share something that I learned from an acquaintance while living next door to him in Costa Rica.  My friend is probably in his 50s, looks like one of those runners you see in commercials for sneakers that could just go for a marathon at any moment.  He always liked to take a seat out on the patio and enjoy his meal or drink looking out over the road or off at the beach in the distance.

None of this seemed unusual to me until one day when he asked me if I'd like a drink, or dinner.  I thought it a strange question until he expanded upon this and also invited our other neighbor.  My friend lives by a raw food diet.  This means he doesn't eat anything processed from animals, and only eats natural growing items.  Beyond that, the food he eats is never cooked.  In order to make his nightly dinner, he generally ground up his ingredients in a blender as little as possible to make them liquified but before the blender could heat up enough to have the slightest effect in 'cooking' his meal.

That night, sipping on a glass of thick, rich liquid, of which I can't even imagine all of the ingredients, he explained to us that a year ago, he'd been over 300 pounds.  He was told by a doctor that if he didn't make a drastic change in his life, that it was likely he would not live for another 6 months.  And change, he did.  That's when he found the raw foods way of life.  As I said, the man looked like a lean, strong, runner.  I never would have guessed all that he had been through.  He swore by the method, by the energy that he felt every day, and by the life that he felt was perfect for him and made him feel great every day.

In addition to telling us about how eating raw foods helped him to meet his energy and weight goals, it also encouraged him to do more research.  Raw foods lifestyle generally avoids all forms of modern day medicine.  Quoting him, you take one and it causes another problem that requires you to take another and before you know it, you're my mother and taking 28 pills a day."  "It really works," he told us. "I got my mom to try it.  The doctors didn't even know all of the different things they were each giving her and how they were causing other problems.  Now she eats like me, the raw foods...she takes 2 pills a day.  That is a lifestyle changer.  And she says she feels alive now."  I never saw him after we moved out of the apartments there, but I clearly ever forgot his words, either.

Seeing this video made me think of him.  Raw foods is for real, and while I am not at the point where I am willing to take the time, energy, research and money it would take to get myself inspired me to have "maintain a garden" on my 30x30 list.  Check out the video and see what you think.  I it right for you?  Is it something you can take baby steps to achieve?

To my acquaintance...thanks for the life lesson.  I hope you're still well, wherever you are out there!

Friday, January 24, 2014

No matter where you come from...

I've said it before, and I'll continue to do so, music saves lives.  
It gives life.  It is life.

No matter where you come from, you can do great things.  This video speaks for itself.  
Wishing the best for everyone out there going through a rough time.  Keep going.

...and by the way...he made it to the finals...
and took second place.
Thanks for the inspiration, Choi Sung Bong!

Caring for the Poor & The Environment

I'm always impressed when I see people reaching out to care for others.  I'm thankful when people do things to protect the environment.  I'm in love when they do both...

Peru's government has decided to spend $200 million on their poorest citizens in order to give them free access to free electricity.  This will not only help these people save the little money that they currently have to spend to stay warm, cook, and to see past dark and before sunrise, it will also improve their health as they will no longer be utilizing costly, less efficient, and harmful oil and gas heating techniques.

But wait!  It gets better.  Peru is 'giving their people the power' via the donation of solar-electric panels which you, in case you have been in a coma over the past few years and don't already understand, should know that this is a fantastic and ecologically friendly form of electrical production which steals only the natural sunlight that reaches the surface of the panel in order to create electricity that can be used to power the homes they will be implemented on.

The Peruvian government has already begun their multi-year process, hoping to complete the installations to over 500,000 residences by 2016.

Good for politics.
Good for environment.
Good for people, (especially those who need it)!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Earth's newbies

What would you tell a newbie here on Earth?  Hopefully, if you've ready any of my recent posts, you'd be inspired to tell them about all of the amazing, awesome, inspiring, beautiful, miraculous, fabulous things that there are to see, do, meet, encounter and experience.

I love Kid President, it's no secret, so take a look at what HE thinks we should tell the planet's newbies...What would YOU tell them?

I'd tell them to be themselves, whatever that means.  I'd tell them to do things that make them smile and to enjoy laughter.  I'd tell them we have bad days to make us appreciate the great ones.  I'd tell them that people are GOOD.  I'd tell them they should be honest and fair.  I'd tell them they can change the world, and that I hope they do it for the better.  I'd tell them that everyone has something special worth learning about.  "You're going to be ok!"  The list goes on...what would yours say? 

**You can leave a comment below by clicking the word "comment"...if there are "0 comments" you can click THERE and be the first!**

Don't be a hypocrite when it comes to trash

It always amazes me when I see people throw garbage out of their car windows, cigarette butts (often still wafting their toxins into the environment for passersby to inhale), and cups, plates and other trash on the ground.  What amazes me even more is when people (often the same as those who dispose of their waste by simply removing it from their possession (ie: not in a waste receptacle where it can be properly processed and/or 'disposed' of)) complain about "cleanliness." 

One such incident is that of the beaches of Bali.  I'm not going to pretend that I know anything about the type of people that go to Bali.  I'm sure there are all walks of life and both receptacle-using and non-using visitors.  Complaining about the trash  brought onto the beach from faraway places while on vacation, however, should not be cause for complaint to your local should be a rude awakening that everything you do impacts something else. 

The trash washing ashore is unlikely a product of the beach where it has landed.  It is much more likely that it came from far, far away. 

It's also unlikely that it was one big truck dumping something into the ocean.  It's much more likely that it was individuals like you and me, leaving a plastic bottle behind after our trip to the beach, throwing trash out our car window instead of waiting until we got home. 

So if you happen to see the side of the road on the highway near you, or your beach is littered with someone else's lack of global courtesy, use it as a reminder.  Tell your friends and family and strangers about it.  Get involved in community cleanup.  Let visitors know that what they do affects those around them.  Ask strangers who you witness doing such things to pick it up (nicely of course, to encourage positive behavior, and with a "thank you" and kind words to reward and reinforce their good actions).  Maybe when people start to realize that (even though they don't care about the environment, which their garbage also affects) their own lives (and vacations) will be affected by their lack of discretion, they'll be able to make a change. 

Be the change. 
Help make the change. 
Communicate what matters. 
Pass it on.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

English 101: A word worth knowing



the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

What a beautiful word.  What a beautiful world.
So now that you know it, what will your appearance be?  Will you be the type that gives a good vibe as the "random passerby" passes by?  Will you be the stranger that lets him or her into your traffic lane?  Will you be the one overheard saying kind words of others when you least expect to be overheard?

The word exists because the reality of the word exists.  Now that you realize this definition, you, too have experience sonder.  How will it affect you?

Nature is ART!!!

I, for one, have always been fascinated with flight.

I specifically remember in my 6th grade math class, being asked where our favorite place to go was, and many of us agreed on "the airport" as our answer (for various reasons).  

There's something about birds in flight that give us hope.  It's something so natural and effortless-looking that makes our hearts and minds soar with them.  I think the "natural" part is what really gets us...why else would be swoon when we see a bird with a broken wing return to flight for the first time?  It's just another flight, after all...right?  Or not...because with a broken wing, the bird missed its natural, joyous, freedom of movement and expression.  I think this is why we envy birds of flight.

Freedom to move as they wish, where they wish, when they wish. 

So, if you also find beauty and hope in watching flight (and even if you don't), you should definitely take 2 minutes to watch this video and then see the site below.  These are two unrelated flight sightings/studies that touch on the freedom of expression and the art of nature found in flight!

You will not be sorry you took the 2 minutes to watch this...
(and no, your screen isn't freezing, the first 2 seconds or so are still shots with overlay audio)
The beauty of murmuration, the flight of starlings, is a natural phenomenon.

And this is just the beauty of unified movement!  Artists and scientists have tracked bird flights for years to understand how and why and where they go.  Different bird species create different patterns of flight.  Check out the invisible art of flight by clicking here!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A message from a deceased woman.

It seems impossible that a dead person can talk...but they can.  They speak through those they have touched in some way.  Mary A "Pink" Mullaney, is one such person whose numerous family members, friends, and strangers-made-friends are unlikely to let her voice stop speaking to others, even long after she is gone.  Mullaney, from the amazing obituary that her family wrote, was a person who acted instead of speaking about "what one should do."  She did all of the things I often WANT to do but don't think to or make time to.  She sounds like a pretty stand-up lady to me.  And if you don't believe me, listen to her yourself; She is still giving advice, even after she's gone.  

Live your life so that you never really die.

Adults are just little kids in big kid bodies...

More proof that we are all just little kids trapped in big bodies!
I love when people let their inner wild out.
This gave me the most natural smile!

Funny Interview Questions!

If you've ever had a job, and needed to interview to get that job, you're probably aware that you have to be prepared for ANYTHING (I was asked to hula hoop in front of the interviewer at an interview once).  Glassdoor has started to put together a list of crazy interview questions each year, and 2014 just came out.  You can check them out below and see their website for this and a list from last year!

What is the strangest or most difficult thing YOU have been asked at an interview?  

The most difficult for me (on the spot) was to choose the top 5 words friends would use to describe me.  I still think about that question to this day and always change my answers.  Haven't found my own perfect response yet!

  1. "If you could throw a parade of any caliber through the Zappos office what type of parade would it be?" – View answers.
    Asked at The Zappos FamilyMore The Zappos Family interview questions.
  2. "How lucky are you and why?" – View answers.
  3. "If you were a pizza deliveryman how would you benefit from scissors?"– View answers.
  4. "If you could sing one song on American Idol, what would it be?" – View answers.
    Asked at Red Frog EventsMore Red Frog Events interview questions.
  5. "Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer ?" – View answers.
  6. "Question was asked: "If you were on an island and could only bring 3 things, what would you bring?"" – View answers.
  7. "If you were a box of cereal, what would you be and why?" – View answers.
    Asked at Bed Bath & BeyondMore Bed Bath & Beyond interview questions.
  8. "Do you believe in Big Foot?" – View answers.
    Asked at Norwegian Cruise LineMore Norwegian Cruise Line interview questions.
  9. "Why is a tennis ball fuzzy?" – View answers.
  10. "What is your least favorite thing about humanity?" – View answers.
  11. "How would you use Yelp to find the number of businesses in the US?"– View answers.
  12. "How honest are you?" – View answers.
    Asked at Allied TelesisMore Allied Telesis interview questions.
  13. "How many square feet of pizza is eaten in the US each year?" – View answers.
    Asked at Goldman SachsMore Goldman Sachs interview questions.
  14. "Can you instruct someone how to make an origami "cootie catcher" with just words?" – View answers.
    Asked at LivingSocialMore LivingSocial interview questions.
  15. "If you were 80 years old, what would you tell your children?" – View answers.
    Asked at McKinsey & CompanyMore McKinsey & Company interview questions.
  16. "You're a new addition to the crayon box, what color would you be and why?"– View answers.
    Asked at Urban OutfittersMore Urban Outfitters interview questions.
  17. "How does the internet work?" – View answers.
  18. "If there was a movie produced about your life, who would play you, and why?"– View answers.
    Asked at SinglePlatformMore SinglePlatform interview questions.
  19. "What's the color of money???...." – View answers.
    Asked at American Heart AssociationMore American Heart Association interview questions.
  20. "What was the last gift you gave someone?" – View answers.
  21. "What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?" – View answers.
    Asked at Applebee'sMore Applebee's interview questions.
  22. "How many snow shovels sold in the US last year?" – View answers.
  23. "It’s Thursday, we’re staffing you on a telecommunications project in Calgary, Canada on Monday. Your flight and hotel are booked; your visa is ready. What are the top five things you do before you leave?" – View answers.
    Asked at ThoughtWorksMore ThoughtWorks interview questions.
  24. "Most unexpected question: Describe to me the process and benefits of wearing a seatbelt." – View answers.
    Asked at Active NetworkMore Active Network interview questions.
  25. "Have you ever been on a boat? (Creative Open-ended question)" – View answers.
    Asked at Applied SystemsMore Applied Systems interview questions.