Thursday, July 17, 2014

what would you do with a single bill?

Emlyn, look at the first bit of advice!
I thought this collection of advice was such an interesting cross-section
of professions, people, ideologies, and whimsy.

Two dozen people—a JP Morgan associate, a sex worker, a pastor, a living statue, a marine, “the World’s First Publicly Traded Person,” and many more—tell us the best way to invest a single dollar.

Tw
David Opdyke, The One, 2007. Courtesy the artist and Lower East Side Printshop, Inc.
American dinner table rules are simple and standard: Don’t discuss religion, politics, or money. Money is especially lewd. Money makes people evil, petty, wretched. Still, we want it. We like seeing pictures of BeyoncĂ© on her yacht. We like that fabulous diamond chain that is mysteriously attached to her bikini. We bop around to “Royals” by Lorde and think, Lorde’s right, we don’t want that yacht. But what if we want a house?
Money is confusing. But little in American life is simpler and more symbolic than a single George Washington. Say you had a buck in your hand: What would be the best way to invest it?
 

Dev Aujla, Founder, DreamNow, New York City

I would travel to an American post-industrial town, find a boarded-up theatre, and buy it from the city for one dollar. Working with friends, I would rally the community together, raise money, and open it independently. This is what happened in the town of Cohoes, NY, and it can happen anywhere across the country. It just needs you and, of course, one dollar.

Xanthea O’Connor, Street Performer, Perth, Australia

A single dollar will get you pretty much nothing these days, but a crowd of dollars can mean a street performer making a decent living. I get down off my crate after a few hours as a living statue certain I’ve brightened the day of countless passersby. Invest that dollar in something that makes you happy or captures your imagination.

Chris Maddox, Creator of The Wild Woman Project, West Stockbridge, Mass.

Since you can’t buy much for a buck these days, a worthy investment could be to use a dollar as an object of meditation. Place the dollar bill out in front of you and sit and look at it. What does it communicate? How does it feel to you? Does a memory arise? During this practice, you may get a great insight or idea, learn something about the economy or yourself, even. At the very least, you will have been still for a few minutes, and that is certainly worth more than the dollar you put into it.

Serena Keith, Director of Product at Lovely, San Francisco, Calif.

I’d buy a (cheap!) cup of coffee for someone I admire and pick his or her brain for a half hour. Right now I’m focused on hiring and managing smart people, so I’d ask for advice, which I think would be worth far more than one dollar and the lessons of which I could pass on to many more people.
Daisy Freund, Senior Manager of the Farm Animal Welfare Dept., ASPCA, Brooklyn, NY
I’d invest in a packet of perennial vegetable, fruit, or herb seeds: asparagus, sorrel, rhubarb, Jerusalem artichokes, horseradish, lavender, and thyme. These are hardy, ancient, unfussy, and unapologetically feisty edibles. Not only are you planting once and getting delicious returns on that investment for years, some perennials are increasingly hard to find, like skirret and oca and hyssop. They’re too bitter or ugly or weed-like to appeal to modern American palettes, but will buy you all kinds of street cred with the hipsters and make you feel like a preservationist.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

be brave

Being brave has been on my mind lately--
I loved stumbling onto these quotes from those Greeks.
What are you trying to work through, what are you facing that needs a little extra push?

via {today is going to be awesome}

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

remember to be kind to yourself

And which ghost are you chasing today, my dear friend?
Perhaps a walk or a yoga class is in order?


And today, an existential crisis pun.


card4370
via {indexed}

Monday, July 14, 2014

snacks to get the creative juices flowing

I loved this collection of illustrations--Wendy McNaughtin does not disappoint!
I would agree most with Proust and Emily Dickinson.

When I sit down to work, I keep a small bowl of garlic croutons on my desk. These are little rewards for good ideas and strong lines, Pavlovian pellets to keep my spirits up. Recently, I began to wonder what fuel writers have relied on, and the answers turned out to be all over the culinary map. Walt Whitman began the day with oysters and meat, while Gustave Flaubert started off with what passed for a light breakfast in his day: eggs, vegetables, cheese or fruit, and a cup of cold chocolate. The novelist Vendela Vida told me she swears by pistachios, and Mark Kurlansky, the author of “Salt” and “Cod,” likes to write under the influence of espresso, “as black as possible.” For some writers, less is more. Lord Byron, a pioneer in fad diets as well as poetry, sipped vinegar to keep his weight down. Julia Scheeres, the author of the memoir “Jesus Land,” aims for more temporary deprivation. “When in the thick of writing I minimize food intake as much as possible,” she told me. “I find I work better when I’m a little starved.”


via {ny times}

Sunday, July 13, 2014

singledom is actually a delight.

Not sure why this is so funny to me except that it has happened to me on multiple occasions,
particularly with people--specifically those of the opposite sex:
those who I think have more potential than what they then prove to deserve.
Ah well, I got over the Prince Charming dream years ago--
a plain nice and interesting person would be fine with me now.
But honestly, being on my own surrounded by my own circle of good-hearted souls
is proving to be even better every day,
despite society's constant reminder that we all should have been paired up yesterday.

Who needs a single person when you have a tribe?

Hope you spend your day with yours--
Happy Sunday!


Deer in the headlights (and then, in the ditch).

card4366
via {indexed}

Saturday, July 12, 2014

honest slogans

This made me chuckle today.

Graphic designer Clif Dickens of the Honest Slogans Tumblr blog is back with even more truthful and amusing company logos for major brands. We’ve previously written about Dickens and his ongoing series of honest slogans.







via {laughing squid}

Thursday, July 10, 2014

cheese

Any day will count as a cheese day.
The industrialization of the process of making and selling such a staple is utterly fascinating.

A short film about how Neal's Yard Dairy, a top seller of cheese in London, works with producers to make cheese.



via {kottke}

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

a magnificent testimony

I loved this response from Buzz Aldrin,
one of my childhood heroes.
Read more of the Ask Me Anything interview here.




Q: Is there any experience on Earth that even compares slightly to having been on the Moon?
A: My first words of my impression of being on the surface of the Moon that just came to my mind was "Magnificent desolation." The magnificence of human beings, humanity, Planet Earth, maturing the technologies, imagination and courage to expand our capabilities beyond the next ocean, to dream about being on the Moon, and then taking advantage of increases in technology and carrying out that dream -- achieving that is magnificent testimony to humanity. But it is also desolate -- there is no place on earth as desolate as what I was viewing in those first moments on the Lunar Surface.
Because I realized what I was looking at, towards the horizon and in every direction, had not changed in hundreds, thousands of years. Beyond me I could see the moon curving away -- no atmosphere, black sky. Cold. Colder than anyone could experience on Earth when the sun is up -- but when the sun is up for 14 days, it gets very, very hot. No sign of life whatsoever.
That is desolate. More desolate than any place on Earth.
via {kottke}

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

happy summer days

Please do yourself a favor, and make this meal for yourself
the next time you are faced with the necessity of taking care of yourself.
Add lemon zest to the recipe, a glass of wine,
top it off with fresh summery fruit in the end (macerated with balsamic with a squeeze of lime),
and linger over the luxury of time and connection with your favorite company
in this big, beautiful world.
I can speak from personal experience after last night's meal--it was absolutely delightful.

























recipe via {savory simple}

Monday, July 7, 2014

what is a mistake really?

Not sure about this one,
especially every time I take an audition,
which equates 3 minutes of playing with employability,
not considering a plane ticket, a hotel room, transportation, and the innumerable emotional costs.
What measures are we using to define mistakes and its opposite, success?
Why is it so hard to think about the trajectory of one's growth as a success,
as opposed to the obvious marker of a job?


Can you afford to make a mistake?

card4365
via {indexed}

Sunday, July 6, 2014

a warrior in service of joy

I could not have said this better myself.
Happy Sunday, dear Brave Ones!

The artist who dances on the edge

You are brave.

Such a generous soul, someone who doesn't hesitate to leap when others shrink in fear. Your work means so much to you and to the people you share it with, we can't help but be inspired at the way you make your magic.

You're a warrior in the service of joy and you never seem to stop standing up and speaking up and doing your very best work.

Sometimes, a particular audience doesn't deserve you. But that doesn't matter in the long run, because of your relentless generosity in sharing your gift.

I can't wait to see your next work, and the one after that.

via {seth godin}

Saturday, July 5, 2014

sound effects

Behold the power of sound in everyday life. 
Hope this one makes you smile like it did me.

This comedy sketch by Matthias shows him waking up and getting ready for the day only to find out that all real life noises have been swapped out for bizarre sound effects. For example, Matthias was quite surprised to find out that the sound of water running from his bathroom sink had been dubbed over with an extremely loud air horn.


Friday, July 4, 2014

dreaming of southern France

Happy 4th Friends--I hope you have a good long weekend!
Instead of feeling patriotic, I am happily puttering around with one of my two favorite sisters,
making dinner, practicing, eating, and catching up on my inner musings.
This holiday always feels like the middle of summer--
I hope you suck every last sunny drop that you can out of it.




 



                    
photos via {pinterest}

Thursday, July 3, 2014

river tables

Although I do not love the look of these tables as a whole because of the blue glass,
the concept fascinated me.

Furniture maker Greg Klassen builds intricately designed tables and other objects embedded with glass rivers and lakes. Inspired by his surroundings in the Pacific Northwest, Klassen works with edge pieces from discarded trees (often acquired from construction sites, or from dying trees that have begun to rot) which he aligns to mimic the jagged shores of various bodies of water. The pieces are completed with the addition of hand-cut glass pieces that appear to meander through the middle of each table. You can see much more of work here, and several tables are available through his shop.




via {this is colossal}

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

striving to change a thought pattern

Thanks to the combination of the discomfort of long-term therapy
and the comfort of a loving circle of compassionate family and friends,
I have recently been confronted and persuaded by the realization
that there are some aspects of my learned behavior that will take hard work to unlearn and reroute
through a change of daily thought patterns.
Normally the ultra skeptic about the flippancy of the power of positive thinking,
this method one really caught my attention and resonated with me.


When faced with a mandatory monthly password change, Mauricio Estrella decided to use it as an opportunity to improve his life.
My password became the indicator. My password reminded me that I shouldn't let myself be victim of my recent break up, and that I'm strong enough to do something about it.
My password became: "Forgive@h3r"
I had to type this statement several times a day. Each time my computer would lock. Each time my screensaver with her photo would appear. Each time I would come back from eating lunch alone.
In my mind, I went with the mantra that I didn't type a password. In my mind, I wrote "Forgive her" everyday, for one month.
I think this strategy might even work with the world's worst password requirements.
For the full article, 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

a culture that teaches loneliness

After the famous speech on the nature of water (thanks Angi!),
I have been flirting with the idea of reading this book for the last year
(translation: I want to read this book, but am scared of the commitment to such a tome as this).
I love what he said about American culture and loneliness in the following interview.


DFW, on the cusp of literary stardom



Just after Infinite Jest was published, David Foster Wallace came to Boston and did a radio interview with Chris Lydon. Radio Open Source recently unearthed that interview, probably unheard for the past 18 years, and published it on their site.
When I started the book the only idea I had is I wanted to do something about America that was sad but wasn't just making fun of America. Most of my friends are extremely bright, privileged, well-educated Americans who are sad on some level, and it has something, I think, to do with loneliness. I'm talking out of my ear a little bit, this is just my opinion, but I think somehow the culture has taught us or we've allowed the culture to teach us that the point of living is to get as much as you can and experience as much pleasure as you can, and that the implicit promise is that will make you happy. I know that's almost offensively simplistic, but the effects of it aren't simplistic at all.
via {kottke}

Monday, June 30, 2014

Sunday, June 29, 2014

how we treat our nearest and dearest should be a gentle place to fall

I loved the concept in this article:
kindness above all else in our nearest and dearest relationships,
choosing to see our most cherished loved-ones through rose-colored glasses,
creating a culture of goodwill.

I am the first to admit that I can be horrible to my family
because they have the uncanny ability to push my most sensitive and reactive buttons.
That darn vulnerability that comes with closeness is just a pain in the tuckus sometimes.
And it is so refreshing and heartening to realize that we can choose to react
towards the most aggravating circumstances.
Because, in the end, the really good people in our lives make it worth everything else.

As a side-note, the most unattractive element about the otherwise perfect specimen of a potential partner  on a recent date set-up was his lack of kindness.
I am relieved I am not a weirdo for my desire of someone with a good heart and a gentle soul.
(and yet, I remain still proudly and conflictedly single).

It reminds me of a quote I recently encountered from a father to his wife:
"I want to end [this book] with an apology. I know my candor is often hard to bear. I was so committed to the idea of honesty that I forgot about her truth."

What is that fine line between truth and honesty, about respecting and valuing someone
even if they choose something differently?
How can we start and maintain an open conversation with people who seem otherwise bat-shit crazy?

Psychologist John Gottman has a crazy party trick: He can watch a married couple interacting and then predict with 94 percent certainty whether they will be broken up, together and unhappy, or together and happy several years later. Intense, right? Well, in a recent Atlantic article, Gottman revealed the key to a good marriage...


John Gottman says: “[Happy couples] are scanning social environment for things they can appreciate and say thank you for. They are building this culture of respect and appreciation very purposefully. [Unhappy couples] are scanning the social environment for partners’ mistakes.”

“It’s not just scanning environment,” chimed in Julie Gottman. “It’s scanning thepartner for what the partner is doing right or scanning him for what he’s doing wrong and criticizing versus respecting him and expressing appreciation.”

Contempt, they have found, is the number one factor that tears couples apart. People who are focused on criticizing their partners miss a whopping 50 percent of positive things their partners are doing and they see negativity when it’s not there...

Kindness, on the other hand, glues couples together...There are two ways to think about kindness. You can think about it as a fixed trait: either you have it or you don’t. Or you could think of kindness as a muscle. In some people, that muscle is naturally stronger than in others, but it can grow stronger in everyone with exercise.

via {cup of jo} and {the Atlantic}
 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

space to stop, think, and see the bigger picture by saying no

This makes so much sense in the context of my practicing--
developing a repertoire of saying no.

Greg McKeown saw first-hand how success can lead straight to professional and personal failure, during his career evaluating and coaching Silicon Valley executives. The heart of the problem, he says, is the insidious idea that we can do it all. As entrepreneurs and executives find success, they're often overwhelmed by expectations and options, and end up losing the single-minded focus that made them successful in the first place. Taking inspiration from legendary designer Dieter Ram's philosophy of "less but better", McKeown outlines an antidote in his book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, which features practical tips on how to figure out what's most important, eliminate the trivial, and establish routines for effortless execution. McKeown earned his MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business.




Find out more about Greg McKeown: http://gregmckeown.com


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