We Tell Ourselves Stories

I don’t usually do this, but what can it hurt? Six resolutions for 2017:

  1. Return to blogging (after an epic hiatus).
  2. Begin learning Adobe Photoshop and learn more about Adobe Lightroom.
  3. Take more pictures, use what you learned in (2) and tell people about it.
  4. Explore more vegetarian and vegan recipes and foods.
  5. Engage more on social media and share what you know; in other words: connect.
  6. Question everything and ask your questions out loud.

One down, five to go….

From The White Album by Joan Didion:

We tell ourselves stories in order to live…. We interpret what we see, select the most workable of the multiple choices. We live entirely … by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, by the “ideas” with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual existence.

Or at least we do for a while….

Here’s to a time of greater focus and clarity, and with it: simplicity.

Happy New Year!

“Think Different”


Here’s to the crazy ones,
The misfits, the rebels,
The troublemakers,
The round pegs in the square holes,
The ones who see things differently.

They’re not fond of rules
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them,
Glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.

Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.

While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world
Are the ones who do. – Steve Jobs, from the video below:

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart…

“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition…. Everything else is secondary.”

Steve Jobs, from: “You’ve got to find what you love

Source: Remembering Steve Jobs by Jason Kottke.

Couple of Guys, Middle of Nowhere

Just saw this commercial for Google Chrome and Angry Birds on television:

 

“It’s a simple metric….”

“Are you angry, Peter? You look angry….”

I use Google Chrome (beta) almost exclusively and have since shortly after it was launched. It’s come a long way, especially in the last year. I rarely use IE or Firefox anymore, and even then just to do a browser check when I’m toying with web page changes.

I played Angry Birds once on my iPhone … for about five hours. Then I removed it.

Not that is wasn’t fun … it WAS fun … but the time I spent with it seemed to qualify as “lost time” ….

“Games of that sort are designed to grab your attention…. But apart from a few isolated images, or a little thrill of achievement when you scored points, you come away with no memories. It is as though a black hole had swallowed up this piece of your life.” – Stefan Klein, The Secret Pulse of Time

A Sunday Morning Look to the Heavens

“We pointed the most powerful telescope ever built by human beings at absolutely nothing, just because we were curious, and discovered that we occupy a very tiny place in the heavens.”

Just because we were curious….

You’ll often hear people say that the size and complexity of the world and the universe around us makes our individual lives seem petty and unimportant by comparison. Yet I’ve always believed that the opposite is true….

If I said that the fact that you are one of the 6.7 billion people alive today, sharing in the legacy of the many more billions who have come before you, on a single planet among hundreds of billions of galaxies full of planets — is something that makes your life more significant, not less … would you understand what I mean by that?

David Satter on Natalya Estemirova

From this interview with the International Affairs Forum:

IA-Forum: [Would] you please comment on the recent murder of Natalia Estemirova?

 

Mr. Satter: This is part of a whole string: Stanislav Markelov, Anna Politkovskaya… One of the signs of the cruelty or the lack of morality of the Putin regime is the fact that their protégé, Kadyrov, is really absolutely free to murder anyone he wants to, to torture, to kidnap with complete impunity; whether it’s in Chechnya, whether it’s in Russia, whether it’s in Vienna; as long as he keeps the situation under control for the leadership in Chechnya. This was a woman who was monitoring the human rights situation in Chechnya. She was a colleague of Markelov, who was a colleague of Politkovskaya. So who’s behind it? We know that Kadyrov said the people who are disappearing are being murdered. These are people who are his opponents and enemies.

 

And don’t expect any serious effort to investigate. When Markelov was killed along with Anastasia Barburova—in broad daylight near the Christ the Savior church on a crowded street—no one thought it worthy of comment until nine days later when Medvedev did an interview with Novaya Gazeta and said something. This shows the character of the regime. Bearing that in mind, an American president should not bend over backwards to praise Putin and to praise the Russian leaders. They are not deserving of that.

Original source: Satter on Obama at La Russophobe.

Frank McCourt: “They thought I was teaching … I was learning.”

As he put it in “Teacher Man,” his third volume of autobiography:
Instead of teaching, I told stories.
Anything to keep them quiet and in their seats.
They thought I was teaching.
I thought I was teaching.
I was learning.

Good words to live by: teaching is learning.

Full story here on Frank McCourt’s teaching (and learning and writing) methods from the New York Times:

McCourt: A Storyteller Even as a Teacher

“Raise our voices in more pleasing and more joyful sounds”

From Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Fourth Movement.

In a world that sometimes seems to have gone mad, it’s reminder of what human beings can accomplish when they are free to live, create, work together … and sing.

Here’s the English translation of Friedrich Schiller’s Ode to Joy (written in 1785), which Beethoven adapted and used in the symphony, the composer’s “musical representation of universal brotherhood.”

Oh friends, not these tones!
Rather, let us raise our voices in more pleasing
And more joyful sounds!
Joy! Joy!

Joy, beautiful spark of gods
Daughter of Elysium,
We enter drunk with fire,
Heavenly one, your sanctuary!
Your magic binds again
What custom strictly divided.
All men become brothers,
Where your gentle wing rests.

Whoever has had the great fortune
To be a friend’s friend,
Whoever has won a devoted wife,
Join in our jubilation!
Indeed, whoever can call even one soul,
His own on this earth!
And whoever was never able to, must creep
Tearfully away from this band!

Joy all creatures drink
At the breasts of nature;
All good, all bad
Follow her trail of roses.
Kisses she gave us, and wine,
A friend, proven in death;
Pleasure was to the worm given,
And the cherub stands before God.

Glad, as His suns fly
Through the Heaven’s glorious design,
Run, brothers, your race,
Joyful, as a hero to victory.

Be embraced, millions!
This kiss for the whole world!
Brothers, above the starry canopy
Must a loving Father dwell.
Do you bow down, millions?
Do you sense the Creator, world?
Seek Him beyond the starry canopy!
Beyond the stars must He dwell.