31 December, 2012

Favourite Sites: The Poetry Archive

I thought I would do a series of blog posts over the next months describing some of my favourite sites and how their content enriches my life.

The first site I would like to mention is The Poetry Archive.  The site started out as a archive where you could hear poets read their works and has expanded over time into something quiet remarkable.

Initially, I went to the site with the vague hope of rediscovering the innocent pleasure I experienced listening to poems as a child. My school days did a fair job of making sure I thought reading poetry a highbrow, but torturous activity. Something best left to scholars. I hoped to change this perception.

What I discovered was, if I can read the poem while listening to the poet speaks it, I understand the musicality, the magical nuances of the words in surprising ways. Poetry is no longer inaccessible, but tangible and fantastical all at the same time.

What started out as just a happenstance visit to the site developed into a true friendship. I go there to heal myself from the miseries of my overly busy life, to study the works of my favourite poets, or just to randomly explore the poems depending on my mood of the moment. It is possible to find poems by themes (such as belief, eden, islands, neighbours, or shipwreck) or forms (haiku, short, songs). Sometimes, on a whimsy, I just put in any old word that mind in the search window and the archive usually comes up with a poem for me to listen to.

It is through the search window that I discovered Jackie Kay talking in Old Tongue about the yearning she feels to go back to her young self, her authentic self. She dreams about speaking the same language she spoke as a child, before she grew up and away from her home and neighbourhood in Glasgow.

I fell in love with her poems. She speaks with a voice that mirrors so many of the unspoken words in my heart.

It is also possible to listen to an interview with Ms. Kay. Her advice about how to create an environment and structure to encourage your writing to go well, is particularly insightful.

There are separate pages on the site for teachers, students, children, historical recordings, and guided tours. The guided tours are guides put together by poets or famous people who are poetry lovers and want to share their favourite poems.

As one of my favourite poets of my childhood A.A. Milne once said,

No one can tell me,
Nobody knows,
Where the wind comes from,
Where the wind goes.

It's flying from somewhere
As fast as it can,
I couldn't keep up with it,
Not if I ran.

But if i stopped holding
The string of my kite
It would blow with the wind
For a day and a night.

And then when I found it,
Wherever it blew,
I should know that the wind
Had been going there too.

So then I could tell them
Where the wind goes...
But where the wind comes from
Nobody knows.

A. A. Milne, Now We Are Six

So, let your kites fly with The Poetry Archive and discover where the wind goes...

30 December, 2012

New Year's Eve in Grenada

winter fairy lights

End of year, sitting on the terrace
Alone. Happy in my solitude
Looking over the oceanscape,
The Atlantic side, not the Caribbean
Warm seabreeze, tropical birdsong
Filling every cell in my body
Delicious pleasure. A blessing. Joy.

My mind drifts back into the cold
Snow-covered woodlands with the
Crunch, snap, whip of frozen winds
Shivering thrill of discovery.
Fairy lights, falling dusk,
Abandoned home. A suspended bridge 
Leading no where, for no one.

Thanks to Lady Fi for allowing me to use her photo in this collage.

28 December, 2012

Tar Barrel in Dale

I've been listening to the Northumberland band the Unthanks sing the song Tar Barrel in Dale every morning for days now whenever I turn on my computer. Please take the time and listen as well and think of me sending good cheer your way, to you my "friends and good company".

If you wish to sing along, here are the lyrics:

Tar Barrel in Dale(George Unthank)

  Tar barrel in Dale
  Fire in snow
  Toast the New Year
  Bid farewell to the old

The old year out,
The New Year in,
Please won't you let
The lucky bird in.
With bottle in hand
And a piece of black coal,
A stranger's a friend
When first-footing you go.


At midnight's approach
The band you can hear,
The fiery procession
Of guisers draws near.
With friends and good company,
With voices so clear,
Singing in harmony,
Bringing in the New Year.


Off the heads of the guisers
The blazing barrels are hurled
On to the bonfire;
Smoke, sparks and flames swell.
Amidst cheers and rejoicing,
The rites of Old Father Time,
We'll link arms together
Sing Auld Lang Syne


Throughout the year
When we sing this song
Old friends and new friends
Sing along.
May good fortune be with you,
From all sorrows refrain
Till that happy time
When we all meet again.


Source: Rachel Unthank and the Winterset

There is much to be thankful for this year. Most central is the continued health and happiness of my loved ones. Their love feeds my inner fire.

Work-wise, there were many lessons learned. Many roads explored. I survived (financially) my second year of self-employment. I thrived running after every interesting opportunity I could find. It has taken all my craft and creativity to slowly build up my business.

My dream (not goal) is to come back to blogging and making collages. I've missed writing and .... photoshoping (?)... whatever it is I do to make the collages.

23 December, 2012

Money Can Buy Happiness

Anyone who volunteers their time, effort, or money towards helping others will probably admit that they receive more in return than they feel they have given. It is an odd phenomena. Some cynics say most volunteers are self-serving, sanctimonious: for the true motive behind our work is so we can feel good about ourselves. Michael Norton has carried out some experiments that present another view on this matter.

A long time ago, I read somewhere the etymological root of the word happiness is "doing good". Mr. Norton's argument substantiates this.

08 November, 2012

Sigh of relief

I have to admit, I did not have the strong faith that the following people had in Mr. Obama's ability to win the election. It is nice to know some people did not doubt.
There is an Englishman speaking in the video, explaining why he came over to the States to help campaign for the Democrats. He felt it was as important an election for the world, as it was for the US.

Even those of us living outside of the States certainly did get a lot of media coverage of the election. I followed the press in Germany, Canada, France, and the UK. You couldn't ignore the long and intense coverage.

In the following video, you get a more quiet, but equally positive responses from people across the world on Mr. Obama's victory.I think the only reason there aren't more out-and-out demonstrations of jubilation, is because a) they asked the opinion of people living in countries that have strained relationships with the States, and b) interviews with persons-on-the-street are much more subdued in general elsewhere.
It is interesting to note that in the international polls, Obama was favoured 90%. I want to give special thanks to Ronni at Time Goes By for never dipping in the hyperbole. She concentrated firmly on political issues concerning elders in America, but there was plenty to read for non-Americans of any age. Thanks, Ronni.

28 September, 2012

Sorry, could not resist...

Can't explain it, other than to say, I couldn't resist....

15 September, 2012

What the world needs...

I know I haven't been here very much over the last few months. Still holding on. Still thinking of you guys. Thanks for dropping by.

Doing your watch well

Don't you love the poetry of machinery? The wish to carry on tradition? The beauty of craftsmanship well executed?

Towards the end of the video, John Kristensen, the proprietor of the press is asked if he is not saddened by the inevitability of dimise of his profession. He responds, "No. I am just here to do this watch." Implicit is doing his watch well.  You could say this about living a life well, couldn't you?

My project today is to make up a set of luxe moo cards. They are for a new e-learning business English training program I am hoping to launch in another four weeks time.

I've been using moo products since they started years and years ago. They are one of the few online companies whose product quality has remained excellent. (I am not being paid in any form to say this. I just want to give praise where praise is do.)

02 September, 2012

This could happen

The problem with so many modern dance styles (popping, krumping, b-boying ) they are amazing to look at, if what you are looking at are the creme de la creme dancing their top performances. Yet, for most of us, there is just no way we would everever try it out. There is just no scenario where the musc is playing and the people are dancing and I'd break out, let's say,  krumping.

The wall you have to jump over in order to start dancing these dance styles is so high, it must make it almost impossible for the normal dude to participate. Maybe it is meant to be so; you have to have some street cred before you can do the dances. I've always thought that dancing was meant to be done by all. 

If you watch the top video a few time, don't you think there just might be a possibility that Azonto is something we could do? Not the expert version of the video, but the swishing of the foot and the hips beginners' version. A beginners Azonto that would let you join in, without looking totally ridiculous.

19 August, 2012

Putting the Great back in Britian

Okay, it is just an ad for Adidas. And granted, Adidas is a German company, so what the heck? Why do I like it? Out of respect for the British team that brought in more metals than they have in over a 100 years. And in recognition for hosting the games in a manner that brings back the Great to the Britain it has become.

18 August, 2012

Mixed Messages

My husband bought a new shower gel from a very internationally known soap maker (think niv-ia) with a brand name Powerfruit, Relax. Really, power fruit relax... not power fruit energise, or serenity fruit, relax, or think about it... fruit... do we need fruit in the name at all? Is there ever any fruit in soap?

Did anyone attend the marketing meeting when they were coming up with this name? If so, have you ever heard of mixed messages?

12 August, 2012

Hippy Sappy Happy Spot

Ronni put me on to this viral video and my heart melted. As the guy says, its a happy spot sport.

When I saw the video for the first time, it got me wondering about those persons who decided to introduce Nordic Walking into the mainstream. "Hey, lets get these ski poles and vigorously swing them back and forth as we walk... we got to pretend this doesn't look funny, it will be great... come on, guys!"

This man (sorry, I have no idea if he is well known in the States or not) should be given a metal for standing before a camera and starting, hopefully, a new and wonderful sappy happy spot sport. Can't you just imagine in 20 years time Dance Walking as an Olympic sport?

The question is, would you take up dance walking? I think I would if;
  • I was in a city where I knew no one
  • If people knew the existence of Dance Walking
  • If I could wear sunglasses
.... actually, I'd probably not have the courage to do it. So, maybe I'll just have to pick out some solitary path in the woods and hope the birds don't break out giggling.

05 August, 2012

A first... "mark as read"

Usually, when I come home after vacation, I take a few days to go through the emails and my google reader. Today, just an hour after stepping through our front door I pressed "mark as read" on my over thousand google reader articles... never thought I would do so... but hey, it felt good.

We were down in southern Germany enjoying the sunny and warm summer that has alluded us here in the north. We were spoiled with good food and good company by our dear friends. It is almost 30 years ago that I came to Germany and the friends I met then have become part of my inner circle of chosen family.

23 July, 2012

Private Sanctuary

My paternal grandfather lived out with my grandmother in a beautiful white full-terraced house in the countryside outside of Ottawa. He had many occupations to keep his days busy; reading, gardening and woodworking being the central ones. He was a quiet man with quiet pursuits.

His woodworking shop was at the back of the house. We could access it through the kitchen. It was his private sanctuary. A place he could go to to smoke his pipe. To design and build his masterful woodwork. And, most likely, to escape the noise of visiting family.

We had to wait to be invited into the his shop, which didn't happen very often. When we were allowed to sit on one of the benches and watch him work, we did so quietly. Hoping he would forget us and let us stay forever.

Alas, we were just normal kids with persistent questions that constantly escaped out our mouths from inside our overactive brains, and our legs took to swinging and kicking the stool legs rhythmically, and we couldn't just look with our eyes, but also did so with our fingertips... eventually, grandpa would ask us quietly and gently to go outdoors to play. Which we did, but never without s slight feeling of regret.

21 July, 2012

Things to come?

There are probably very few people out there in the blogsphere that haven't at sometime, or regularly, ordered something from Amazon. Maybe you will find this video strangely plausible.

I remember when Amazon was a budding online bookstore. A site where I could, amazingly, order English books. This was the most marvelous innovation for an ex-pat living in Germany. In those years, it would take up to four weeks to get an ordered book delivered to a local bookstore and the book would cost up to three the regular price. You can well imagine my delight to be able to order books directly online.

Part of me wishes Amazon had continued being a bookstore. You are right... nostalgia.

19 July, 2012

Baaba Maal telling stories in a boat

A Room For London

Many warm summers ago, my family sailed with another family, the Rantis, over some weeks on Lake Champlain in the States. They were in their boat. We in ours. It was a very loose arrangement. Each boat would sail around during the day as we so wished in whatever direction the wind took us. We met up at some per-arranged destination in late afternoon. We spent the evenings together watching bats fly, swatting mosquitoes, squishing black flies, talking about sailing, and laughing at silly jokes. The parents teasing the children. The children nudging our parents stories into forbidden areas according to the consumption of rum they were imbibing in.

When our boat was anchored on those late afternoons, it meant my siblings and I had an hour or two to go off in the dingy and explore the coastline or island we were anchored near before dinner was served. When the Rantis put down anchor, it was time for the family to play music. The parents were professional musicians and had to practice the pieces for the next symphony season. The two children (flute and oboe) also had their practice sessions.

So off my sisters and brother and I would go out in our dingy accompanied by their music bouncing over the water right to the corners of beaches and rooks and wooded areas we explored. It was an magic experience.

Boats, dusk into night, family, friends,  stories, music... magic... Baaba Maal, Jim Palmer and Mamadou Sarr performance in A Room for London is all that and more.

14 July, 2012

A matter of intent

Ken Burns: On Story from Redglass Pictures on Vimeo.

"Ken Burns: on Story" is a very compelling short film about storytelling. He argues all of storytelling is manipulation. It is just a matter of deciding whether what you are doing when you tell a story is an acceptable form of manipulation or not.

It is difficult to get my mind around this idea. If you look at the definition of the word,

"Shrewd or devious management, especially for one's own advantage"

or of psychological manipulation,

"a type of social influence that aims to change the perception or behavior of others through underhanded, deceptive, or even abusive tactics",

then obviously storytelling being a form of manipulation can't be good, right?

What if we separate the intent (a type of social influence that aims to change the perception or behavior of others) from the means (through underhanded, deceptive, or even abusive tactics). What if the means we use arise out of a genuine honest wish to share or explore our ideas with others? Is that just splitting hairs? Is it just another form of manipulation?

11 July, 2012

Slowing down and speeding up

April, May, and June were crazy months... lots of contracts to fulfill, lots of people to talk to, lots of ideas turning around in my head. As of two and a half weeks ago, most of the busy-ness came to a standstill. Now, I will have time to slow down.

Sleep in a bit later if I wish. Got to be a bit earlier... And, this did happen. I felt the tension leave my shoulders. I watched rather too much meaningless television series. Read some light lit. Went out for some walks late in the evening with my daughter.

The whole time I was picking up project work I had put aside and managed to finish the last details. Even the pile of tax stuff is ultra thin. Nice to get those off the list. Tick.

Slowing down was doing the trick. Then I sat down on Saturday morning to type in some dialogs for a series of podcasts I am producing for a client and wham... seven hours later my brain was steaming and my fingers were typing away and I was speeding along with ideas. This state of creativity hasn't stopped since.

I know you can not force creativity, when it happens, it happens. Yet, I think slowing down does help to speed things up...

05 July, 2012

Making old men cry


On the surface of things, it might be hard to imagine why the words, "They combine to give us a combined significance of five standard deviations." were important. Yet, once the speaker speaks them, there is a momentary pause, a deep felt wonder, and then the audience explodes in clapping and laughter and a few old men cry. It does seem odd, doesn't it?

Not so, if you realise that what the speaker is saying, unequivocally stating is, "You were right. You aren't insane." And, more importantly, "Our knowledge of how the universe works is now forever changed by a combined significance of five standard deviations." The seats in the auditorium were filled with people whose lives were spent realising that significance. I imagine this new finding gives their lives new meaning.

Whether this finding is/was worth the cazillion dollars it took to find, we will probably not know in our lifetime. Presumably, hopefully, this was not purely done out of intellectual curiosity. Presumably, hopefully, this new-found knowledge can be used toward finding a new form of energy, a cure to cancer, a way to supply clean water to all beings on this earth. It has got to have some far-reaching significance, right?

If you want to know more about what the Higgs boson is, this video does well to give a simple explanation.


Just as an afterthought... It is odd, in Newton's time it took a falling apple to figure out how gravity worked...

30 June, 2012

One Classy Dame

I discovered this video on Ronni's blog today. What a delight. I love Rita Hayworth. And thank you, whoever you are, who spent the endless hours figuring out what films and what parts of the choreography best suited the song. Doesn't it make your toes tingle?

28 June, 2012

Unrequited Love

Long summer days spent lovelorn meandering an inner landscape populated with accidental encounters and meaningless light-hearted chatter laden with twisted subtext. Or not. Oh, the tortures of unrequited love...

We have all probably at one time wished we could stomp our feet loudly and sing bravely the words, "I belong to you. You belong to me in my sweet heart..." Yes, of course it is sappy, but dearly so.

27 June, 2012

Summer Hole

In Germany, we have this phenomena called the "Sommerloch", which translates literally into "summer hole". Most self-employed businesspersons, fall into this hole at the end of June and don't crawl out until sometime in September. There is just no one out there wanting any work done.

The hole is caused by every single person in All Of Europe going off for weeks and weeks of vacations. If you can imagine the huppla of a 4th of July weekend and just extend it endlessly over the whole summer, you get the idea.

This means, in theory, I have some time to twiddle my thumbs and write blog posts. So, you heard it here, I am back...

22 June, 2012

When Matt Grows Up

We probably have all grown up during the last seven years in matters of the internet, since the first "Where the Hell is Matt?" video appeared in 2005. Well, it shouldn't surprise you, so did Matt.

If you want to read a very interesting assessment about what that growing process encompassed, please read this article titled "When the world is your dance teacher" by Ethan Zuckerman. It points out some of those forks in the road Matt took while seemingly covering every corner of this earth.

13 June, 2012

Something silliy, something vain

It's been a while, not out of lack of interest, but life's wonderful challenges driving the direction my feet dance and where and when I can put my thoughts to pen, as it were, which isn't in ink or written in stone in these digital days. There are thousand small moments when I see quirky situations right outside me living room window or witness delightfully vain pursuits, like those of hairy legged skaters doing pas de deux with scrapped up boards in some shopping mall parking lot, when my heart bursts with the silliness that is our life, there comes the wish to share it all with you.

Please know that the sparsity of posting does not reflect in any way a lack of interest or willingness to explore or share my world with you... it is only an indication that self-employment is a cookie monster who never stops wanting more time or energy or ideas or TLC. Thankfully, things are running well at last, thought tentatively so...

26 May, 2012

A rant of sorts

There is so much that puzzles me about the US election process, politics, and economics. This particular election's elephant in the porcelain shop seems to be the government's failure to have increased taxes on high income earners. Nick Hanauer goes on this rather eloquent rant about this topic.

It is interesting how he tries to interject statical facts into his argument in a peripheral manner. Almost as if to say, "numbers are good, but common sense is better".

22 May, 2012

Jacqueline Novogratz: someone to follow

Jacqueline Novogratz has been one of my heroes for a few years now. If you listen to her words of her Gettyburg College commencement speech, it will be easy to understand why.

What I like about her advice to the young graduates is how she tries not so much to inspire, but to make evident the necessity to live a meaningful life, to make hard choices, to welcome the challenges, and to pick yourself up every time you fall.

She is someone to follow during these times. I only hope some of those graduates who attended the ceremony do.

(If you wish to read the speech, here is the text.)

19 May, 2012

Grabbing our Attention

I've been wanting to write you about the marvelous science channel of The Guardian called the Newton Channel.

I'm trying to sit down and look and make notes on one of the videos every month. It is one of the many projects I am doing this year (and thus explains why I am sadly not blogging so much) to focus more on quality than quantity of information. Over the last five or six years, I have been addicted to information gathering.  That is why this video is appropriate in explaining this need. Here is the video description:

"You can have too much of a good thing … or not enough. The hormone dopamine is responsible for the cravings of addiction, but when levels are abnormally low it causes the muscular twitches of Parkinson's disease. Studying dopamine has also revealed a fascinating distinction between the brain mechanisms that underpin 'wanting' and 'liking' – a finding that has implications not only for our understanding of human nature, but also for the treatment of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia."

Please do watch the video. It is excellent food for thought.

If you wish to partake in a good study program, perhaps you should consider making up your own curriculum. The LifeHacker website collected information on all sorts of online self-study courses.

For example, Professor Benjamin Caballero offers a course on the Principles of Human Nutrition at the Johns Hopkins University.

One of the other projects I have been working on for about two years is learning visualization techniques.  The idea behind developing one's own visual language is to ease information assimilation, differentiation, and recall.  This sounds so very formal and serious a pursuit, but actually it is returning back to childhood, to a time when self-expression was not only limited to spoken and written words.

13 May, 2012

Dare you not to tear up

Good advertising campaigns are few and far between. Here's one, don't you think?

12 May, 2012

The Politics of Gaming

It is hard to explain why, but I thought this video by Jay Cheel intriguing. Maybe it is because I have quite a few friends like the fellows in the film. They spend hours of each day or their weekends playing board games or online games. Scrabble or Settlers of Catan, it is not important; they just need their daily or weekly dose.

What is interesting is how the game brings out the bad in people's behaviour. It almost seems as if part of the appeal of the game is being able to heckle and tease the other players.

I've never liked playing games of any sorts (exception Solitaire) and so the film presents a fascinating world without awakening anyany wish to get involved in it.

24 April, 2012

The problem is not children... it's adults!

Love a good burst of ranting from someone with a good heart and intelligent mind.

18 April, 2012

Economy is Politics in Disguise

It is well worth your time to listen to Ross Jackson's proposal about why we, as a society, need to rework our economical system. He suggests we make economy a subset of our ecological system, operating within its (ecological) constraints.

15 April, 2012

Telling A Good Story

To all of us who, as children, built thousands of forts, went on countless adventures down the Amazon, explored the wilds of the Yukon... Caines Arcade rules.

To all of us who want to tell stories about the power of a child's imagination, or how strong is our inner drive to create something concrete from the ideas swimming around our heads... Nirvan Mullick shows us how to do so with mastery.

The best part though, or maybe it is just the cherry on top, is the song at the end. Can you imagine having a song written about you?

07 April, 2012

Down at Albert Brown's

This last month has been crazy. Crazy good and frantically busy. Time to stamp my feet and to jiggle along to a speedy tempo. I do hope I will be back soon writing on this blog regularly. Can't promise. Just wanted to say hello to all you guys and not to worry, all is well here.

Except for the fact that it snowed again today!

11 March, 2012

Wanted: Firsthand Knowledge

 I have a bit of a bad conscious this morning. One of the teachers I worked with over the last years asked me to become a part of a parent, teacher, and student work group. The topic of the group is “use of private media in the school”. Initially, I said yes to participate in the group. Now I’ve decided not to get involved.

It is not because the topic isn’t worthy of thoughtful consideration. It is not that it isn’t one dear to my heart. Also there is an immediate need to figure out how to deal with earnest infringements of current policies. My reticence has to do with the dynamics of the situation in general.

There has been a boycott in using mobile phones during school hours for a few years now. The students are allowed to use other forms of media (e.g. iPods). Now with the occurrence of smart phones there is no distinction between mobile phones and other media. The teachers want further restrictions into media use. The students want leniency. 

It is an age-old challenge. How can a younger generation be heard?  So, on the surface of the matter, it would seem all we need is constructive debate, collective aims, and mutual respect for the different parties’ positions.
If I have learned anything in the last ten years of working with new media (can we still call it new media if it is twenty years old?), talk will resolve little. The students will resist being shoved into one box. The adults will site actual misconduct to promote the necessity for more restrictions. Everyone is avoiding the one elephant in the porcelain shop. That is, how to find an acceptable solution when those in a position of authority, teachers and parents, know next to nothing firsthand about what they are talking about.
It is as if Mennonite teachers and parents were asked to be leaders in teaching their students and children about modern farming practices.

It just will not happen. It is not that their skills and experiences in teaching that are obsolete. Nor is it that traditional education is wrong. Admittedly, there are many uncertainties in adopting modern methods and technologies. I am not disputing any of these things.

My only dispute is that I think the misuse of media by children and teens on the school grounds or in their homes is, in part, a result of our inability to act upon our responsibility to lead them in it proper use in classroom learning and social situations. If parents and teachers don’t know through their own personal experiences how media is best practiced, then it is questionable whether they are in a position to qualitatively offer assistance in restricting its misuse.

08 March, 2012

The Opposite of Poverty is Justice

It has been awhile since I sat at the edge of my seat and shivered with anticipation listening to someone speak. Bryan Stevenson tells a good solid story about the saddening injustices of the US justice system.

To get a short insight into what Mr. Stevenson is speaking of, you can listen to Quantel Lotts' interview. Mr. Loots was jailed for life without the possibility of parole for the murder of his step-brother at age 14.


Please spread the word.

28 February, 2012

Spoof and Food for Thought

You have to ask the question, where in the video did you finally realise that this is a spoof? Right from the first moment on? Or, scary-ingly, a few seconds afterwards... Very clever and food for thought.

26 February, 2012

Sunny Sunday

An old couple walk hand-in-hand,
Wearing woolen hats of similar burgundy,
Sturdy, but slow steps they take
This sunny cold winter day.

I look out the window
Watch them pass by.
A day dream, a film,
Wistful thinking of me and mine
In another curving in time.

25 February, 2012

Commitment towards Change

Do you remember when the whole notion of change from bottom-up and not top-down began to resonate in the public and individual consciousness? When did it happen for you?

When Egyptians rose up and claimed change of regime?
When Mr. Obama became president and asked us to help make change?
The ending of apartheid in South Africa?
The fall of the Berlin Wall?

Or was it something less historically significant? Whenever or whatever it was that gave you serious pause for thought, wasn't it exciting to think of the enormous possibilities we all have to participate in creative and constructive change?

Where are you today? Does the fire still burn inside?

Video from KarmaTube

There are so people working with spirit to create long term change. I recently discovered the KarmaTube. Try browsing through the different videos and choosing one or two as a picker upper... it is bound to make you smile. 

Today, life is good. It is easy for me to believe in the power of small victories and quiet diligence bringing about the changes we need We just need to keep putting one foot forward...

18 February, 2012

Pearls of Wisdom

I love the internet. It has probably been one of the major change factors in my life in the last twenty years.
(That is, of course, second place, farfar behind, the immense joy and challenge of raising our delightful children.)

Since I was there right from the beginning (of the internet), and consider myself an "early adopter" in most things, there are only the rare moments when I discover something old, but fabulous.

This is what happened this week, when I stumbled over the blog, Letters of Note. What a fantastic site to while the days away on. What a learning opportunity for students and teachers alike.

Today's letter is from Groucho Marx. Wouldn't you love to it if he could have written a letter to some bank CEO today...

Other pearls of wisdom I discovered were,
This evening I went to see this lovely film,

Do try and take a look. The film leaves you with a warm feeling of having seen something well done.

12 February, 2012

Crickety Cricket

I've been to my fair shares of cricket matches over the years. Even so, I've never quite "got" why people play the game, or how it is played.

The best cricket games were the Sunday afternoon community matches played in Grenada. Lots of adults and children and smart comments from the sidelines. Lots of laughter mixed in with absolute seriousness of the game.

Even though many a good man has tried to teach me the finer points of the game, what goes through my mind resembles the moves in the above video.

I wonder whether it is as much fun to watch if you actually do know the game. Can any cricket fan comment?

04 February, 2012

That Summer

It is impossible for me to watch this video and hear the music without being transported back decades to That Summer, when...
All the days were bright hot and languid/
My friend's beat-up convertible was trés chic/
The music we played edgy, seductively low keyed/
We seemingly didn't have to eat or sleep,
but chose instead to drive long distances
on any excuse whatsoever/
... into the hot glare of the afternoon, or
through the night into early morning tenderness/
Never knowing what were driving into/
Blissfully, tragically, unconcerned.

28 January, 2012

Doing Small Things Well

The wonders of doing something well. Whether it is a freshly ironed shirt,

Or making a good cup of cappuccino,

It is delight seeing these two people doing something with elegance and care. Don't you think?

15 January, 2012

A living worth scraping

If I can only scrape a living, at least it will be a living worth scraping.” Mickey Smith

A while ago, I posted this video of Mickey Smith called, Dark Side of the Lens. The photography, music, and text are all done by this extraordinary man, who obviously/obsessively loves the wilds of nature.

Dark Side of the Lens from Astray Films on Vimeo

Today I stumbled upon his talk at Do Lectures. The Dark Side of the Lens is also presented during his talk. It is interesting to hear him tell of his childhood on the Cornish coast. Hearing how these experiences and the inquiring of his sister made him do the film, somehow makes the film even more brilliant than before.

He mentions at one point in his presentation how he lived one year by the flip of the coin. It was a strange year with a lot of adventures.

Even though I don't think I would ever be crazy/reckless/spontaneous enough to live like this, it really would be fun to do so on the occasion. What do you think, would you give it ago?

I am putting it on my to-do list of this year.

Do Lectures is a fine site to while away your time on. If you do so and find a presentation that is especially inspiring, please tell me.

14 January, 2012

Fotoshop by Adobé

About 15 years ago, I decided to try my hand at photo editing. Like any person setting out in this field, I went out and bought myself a version of Photoshop.

It's odd, but to this day, Photoshop rules and has done so for the past 20 years or so. Not many programs can say the same. It is not only a product name but a verb (to be photoshopped).

I love the video above. It parodies our societies ridiculous obsession for perfection. It also touches on the various bells and whistles of this brilliant software program. For someone who has spent probably hundreds, if not thousands, of hours using the program, the video is a real lark.

13 January, 2012

Sleeping in trains

Today I held a seminar in a place quite a few hours away. I had to get up a 4:30 am to be there by 9:00. Taxi, train, another train, street car, and then taxi... this is the sequence of transportation I had to take to get there (and then again coming back).

I was sitting in the taxi or train anywhere from 5 minutes to 50 minutes at a time. As you can imagine, this was not enough time to unpack a picnic or dive into a new book. Instead, I dosed away the hours in-and-out of sleep, watched the various commuters get on and off the train every few stations, and listened to bits and pieces of my current audio book.

I was going to write a post about this book, The Once and Future King, but since I probably will not get around to it, here are the absolute highlights:
  •  it is 33 hours and 3 minutes long
  • the reader, Neville Jason has a very soothing voice (especially for those of us who suffer from insomnia)
  • the story is delightful and entertaining, even though I know what is going to happen
  • I am very nostalgic about this book since a dear friend of mine and I discovered about 30 years ago that there where numerous version of this book. We went about reading every edition we could find
  • it is just a walloping good tale
I loved the whole experience of traveling far (for German standards) just to give a few hours' seminar. Not necessarily something I would do all the time, but it was a fun experience nevertheless.

07 January, 2012

The Big Picture

Please take a look at last year's National Geographic Photography Contest winners!

Source the Boston Post, The Big Picture blog.

04 January, 2012

Zero Inbox

Years ago, I watched this video of Merlin Martin explaining his method of Zero Inbox. I was intrigued with the idea of making instant, quick, possibly radical, decisions daily about how to handle the constant flow of information arriving in my inbox. So, for a while, I followed his methods (more or less).

Then like most practices stemming from good intentions, I digressed and even regressed into bad behaviour. Things went from bad to worse, when I tried embracing a new idea, "only touch once". This idea states you should only handle a piece of information once. Read, think, respond, act. No previewing. No hesitation.

If you get an email or phone message on your voice mail and you know that you are not in the position to act upon the information given, don't open it. Do so when you can complete the task. If you only partially read an email and have to go back later to look at it, you are wasting time that first glance (previewing).

"Touch on once" does make sense on many levels. Yet, it also means that I amassed nearly 100 unread emails in the last six months.

Today was my day allocated to reading my nearly 100 "unread mails" and zeroing my inbox. Mission Accomplished!