Monthly Archives: May, 2012

Someone’s getting married!

No blogs posts for awhile. I’m leaving this afternoon for Michigan (where I grew up). Things will be pretty crazy for the next few days, because on Sunday May 27, I’m getting married! Planning the wedding has been stressful and I don’t know how it will all come together, I only know that he’ll make me happy, now and forever, and that’s all I need to know.

How to Meditate in a Moment

With my wedding less than a week away, things are getting stressful around these parts. But even without  planning a wedding, life gives all of us many moments where we want to scream, or run and hide.

The “close your eyes and count to 10” advice is pretty common, but  learning to integrate meditation into small moments of your everyday life is likely more effective. This method that teaches you to start with one minute meditation and work your down to one moment (which can be practiced anywhere!) . Sounds so much more accessible for distracted busy Westerners than the conventional meditation advice about starting with 5 minutes sitting in a quiet place and work your way up to 30 minutes (not that that kind of meditation isn’t beneficial, it’s just intimidating and impractical for many people).

Here’s the video from www.onemomentmeditation.com, created by Martin Boroson author of  One-Moment Meditation: Stillness for People on the Go 

I know I’ll be using this method a lot in the next few days…

Total (Solar) Eclipse of the Heart

Another instance of wishing I lived on the west coast…Asia and the Western US got to see an awesome “ring of fire” solar eclipse last night.

There’s such magic in it–things like this happen sometimes only once in a lifetime, and remind us that in our normal predictable world, there are still moments of wonder.

Here’s a collection of the best coverage:

Videos of live coverage from Wired

Flickr collection of images

NPR coverage

http://www.funnyordie.com/embed/f03d464867

The Great and Terrible Truth of Clichés: A Collection of the Best Commencement Speeches

It’s that time of year again: Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Weddings!, and lots and lots of poor saps graduating from high school and college, realizing that they are going to be broke and paying for their education until their kids are in college. I graduated from high school 13 years ago, and I one of the most overjoyed and hopeful graduates you’d ever like to meet. I even signed up to speak at graduation (but didn’t get picked–one of my teachers told me that I should save the speech to give at another point in my life, so maybe if I can find it I’ll post it here).

The speakers that did get selected were pretty safe (they were trying to avoid what happened the year before when the student commencment speakers were drunk). The best part was when someone read part of Dr. Seuss’ “Oh The Places You’ll Go.” I graduated from college 9 years ago, still pretty hopeful, but the ceremony was pretty unmemorable (the speaker was a radio journalist who put most people to sleep).

So since I’ve been inspired by a speaker at my own commencement, here’s a collection of some of the best commencement speeches at colleges I did not attend. (in no particular order)

Rachel Maddow at Smith College in 2010

Inspirational quote:  “”personal triumphs are overrated, and  some dreams are bad dreams.”

Conan O’Brien at Darthmouth in 2011

Inspirational quote: “Whether you fear it or not, disappointment will come. The beauty is that through disappointment you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality.”

Barack Obama at Wesleyan in 2008 (filling in last minute for Ted Kennedy) 


Inspirational quote: “Our individual salvation depends on collective salvation. Because thinking only about yourself, fulfilling your immediate wants and needs, betrays a poverty of ambition.”

JK Rowling at Harvard in 2008

Inspirational quote:  “I have been poor, and poverty means a thousand petty humiliations and hardships. Failure means a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself to be anything other than what I was. Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I built my life.”

How Smart Phones Make You Socially Dumb (or please don’t read this on your iPhone)

Sometimes I feel like my fiance and I are the last two people in New York City (or even the entire US) without smart phones. Even the scant few of our friends that were old flip phone hold outs now worship at the altar of iPhone. Sure,  much like I finally had to trade my cassette tape tower (that thing was cool) in for CDs and then MP3s, I will have to eventually have give up the ghost and get some sort of smart phone too. But until then I’ll let myself feel slightly superior (it is of course partly out of envy that I have to make myself feel better about my perpensity/financial necessary for older technology)

Faculty at the  Laboratory for Contemporary Urban Design at Tel Aviv University,been studying smart-phone users relative to their old-school, flip-phone counterparts. And the difference between the two groups they found to be  surprisingly vast. ” Smart-phone users are much more commonly under the illusion that they have privacy even when walking down a public sidewalk. They’re less skittish about having personal conversations in public. They’re more detached from their physical surroundings.”  Unsurprisingly, when they asked smartphone users about a place that had just visited, they were far less likely to remember anything about it.

Their conclusion being this is a bad omen for society as people isolate and lock themselves in their own private worlds (and view the public world as   inconsequential) and stop interacting with strangers (no need to ask for directions when you can google it), or the people they are with.

That last bit is my biggest pet peeve–even above getting stuck behind a slow-walking screen tapper (giving them their own lane isn’t a bad idea, but they probably would be too distracted to stay in it). Pretty much every single smart phone owner that I’ve encountered has been guilty of this to some degree: paying attention to your little glowing screen when there’s a living breathing person in front of you.

I don’t care what the name of that actor was, let’s just continue with our conversation. No one needs you to live tweet what’s happening or cares what grocery store check in at on FourSquare. Just talk to the person you are with, or take your headphones out and listen to what’s going on around you, or stand in line, wait for the show to start, wait for the bus, without constantly distracting yourself. Be comfortable with being alone with your own thoughts, making conversation, or being uncomfortably silent. (four years ago I wrote a blog post in which I mentioned the outside world has more to offer than anything on a screen–I still think that’s true).

Sure it would be nice to be able to look up an address or movie time when I’m out and about, but by and large I am happy to have many  unconnected moments of my life, and I have never once found myself wondering what was happening on Facebook when I was talking to a real life person.

via. the Atlantic

Raps for Nerds/Raps about Words.

Today I offer, with little commentary, three awesome rap videos about writing, grammar, and reading. Being smart is cool, and if this is what it takes to get people to use your and you’re properly, I’m totally on board.

First: Your vs. You’re by “The fastest white rapper”

“See this one belongs to you and this one is something you are it’s true”

Next: A rap for my fellow journalists, The Elements of Style Rap by Columbia grad students Jake Heller and Ben Teitelbaum.

“Split infinitive, never definitive, sounds unintelligent, dumb and ineloquent. Just say it like you meant, always write with intent.”

And finally, one that was posted a few months ago on my Book Club’s page. La Shea Delaney  & Annabelle Quezada’s “Bitches in Bookshops”

“You use a Kindle? I carry spines, supporting bookshelves like a bra–Calvin Klein.”

 

Word.

World’s Oldest Yoga Teacher Makes All of Your Excuses Look Pathetic

The next time you hit snooze and look for a way to justify skipping exersice think of Tao Porchon-Lynch, Guinness Book’s “World’s Oldest Yoga Teacher.” She’s 93 (the previous title was held by 91 year old  Bernice Bates

Porchon-Lynch teaches yoga four days a week, does ballroom dancing and guides wine tours in New York State (sounds like my kind of lady).  And as if that’s not inspiring enough, she’s a great example that you can start any age and no matter what state your body is in. While she’s been practicing yoga since she was 8 years old, she didn’t start teaching until she was 73!  Further,  at 87, she had hip surgery but a month later she started dance lessons. 

I believe that we can always reach just a little bit further,” said Porchon-Lynch. “I’m inspired to bring yoga into others’ lives along with helping people unearth new talents.

Now get moving whippersnappers!

(via YogaDork and MSNBC)

 

How we’ve been “Photoshopping” Women for over 60 years

I blog at PopPhoto.com regularly, and I write frequently about Photoshop–the countless crazy ways women’s bodies are altered (or their clothes removed). But today I did a post with a link to a gallery of images of the before and afters of 1940s and 50s pin-up illustrations.  Turns out these now iconic images were based on photos that the artist took the liberty of removing clothing, slimming down thighs and waists, and adding hair and make-up.

 

The before and afters are fascinating to look at, especially since as a culture we always point to the  Marilyn Monroe-era of the pin up girl as a time when curvy size 10 bodies were worshiped. It’s just disappointing that nearly every image we’ve ever been shown of a woman’s form (even “curvy” ones) had to be whittled down, gussied up, or stripped down.

Why Living Without Regret is a Bad Idea

Last week I have a job interview with 7 different people, and throughout the course of the afternoon I was asked a lot of questions I was prepared to answer, and one I wasn’t. One of the section editors asked me what my biggest regret (work or non-work related) was. I’ve interviewed a lot in my career, and I’ve read many articles about how to answer interview questions, so things like “what’s your biggest weakness?” or “tell me about a time when a project you were working on failed.”  are things I’m prepared to answer.

But what do I regret? That’s so loaded, because when you talk about your weaknesses or failures you can turn them into lessons and strengths, but when you talk about regret it’s all about something you wish you could change but can’t–failure and hurt that always remains that way in your memory.

Like a lot of people I try to live my life without regret, thinking that mistakes that I’ve made in my past have led me to where I am now, made me the person I am and have been by and large learning experiences. The exception being times that my words or actions have caused hurt other people, especially those I care about. But I wasn’t about to talk about careless or hurtful words I said to my mom when I was a teenager in my job interview.

Since that question though I’ve been giving the idea of regret and my relationship with it some thought.  Like most people, I’ve always considered regret and worry useless emotions, which of course doesn’t stop me from worrying endlessly about a million things that I have little to no control over (paramount right now: my employment and upcoming wedding).

But if re-framed maybe regret isn’t so useless and maybe living without it shouldn’t be the goal. As journalist Kathryn Schulz points out in this engaging TED Talks video: “Regret doesn’t remind us that we did badly — it reminds us that we know we can do better.”

Happy Mother’s Day

I am lucky enough to not only love my mom, but genuinely admire, respect, and like her. Margaret, you are an amazing woman. I don’t know how you pull it off, but thanks. Enjoy your bunches and flowers moms!