i think i am addicted

I need to stop using the email so much. My yahoo email is not working and I just can't stop trying to make it work.

What was it I posted a few weeks ago about an internet Sabbath?


bringing the world together

This week's, To The Best of Our Knowledge, is about travel. Rick Steve's talks about his new book on travel, Travel as a Political Act. The article I really liked was about a guy who went around the world recording people singing Stand By Me and other songs on the street.

Listen to the show by clicking this sentence. If you have itunes you can also download the show weekly automatically as podcast.

Watch a video of the music here:


sad story: raising awareness

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Early Onset Alzheimers affects people starting as young as 40 years old. This touching video was on CBS Sunday Morning this weekend.

I remain thankful that life is not a burden for us.


mean people

I have had some up and down days. I am working on revamping my photography website and posted on Craigslist that I am in the market for clients.

I got a call! A guy wanted me to take some pictures of his daughter. Fun. Nothing planned yet, but he was super nice.

Then this morning I get not one but two emails from mean people about how crappy my pictures are and how they can't believe I would charge people for them.

Really? Why would they go out of their way to be mean?

Trying to let it roll off.



My friend Tania had her wedding invitations done by this great little press called Orange Beautiful in Lincoln Square, Chicago. We dropped by the other day and I took this shot. If you are in the area, make sure to go by. They are open early and late!


olive tree

For some time now, Brent and I have only been using olive oil for cooking. We use it anywhere a fat is called for. Today I just ran a cross a website where you can adopt an olive tree! You get all of the olive oil from the tree sent directly to you! I am so excited about it. The total cost, including shipping, was $139. The trees are all in Italy.

"Nudo is an olive grove. And part of it can be yours.

Adopt one of its trees for a year and you'll receive all the produce from your tree. Imagine dunking your bread in your own oil from your own tree thousands of miles away on a hillside in Italy.

It's delicious, it's good for the world and you get to show off to your friends.

Hang the consequences. Adopt an olive tree."

Click here to adopt your own tree!


book review: hamlet's blackberry

From Brent's blog:
I tend to read a fair amount of news, and I pretty regularly read the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. I've noticed that, after a decent interval, one of those newspapers will run a story that the other has already run. They're never completely the same, but they're pretty close. And I don't mean run-of-the-mill daily news, I mean the kind of feature stories that one would think ought to be unique.

I bring that up because this weekend the Journal ripped off a feature from Wired magazine. Both features offer a sort of debate between about whether the Internet is making us smarter (WSJ, Wired) or dumber (WSJ Wired). Nicolas Carr, whose new book is about how the Internet is making us shallow thinkers, is on the "dumber" side. For example, he says that studies show that the mere presence of links in an article degrades our ability to retain information--even if we don't actually click the links--because our brain is distracted by the need decide whether or not to click them (so, sorry about those links up there). On the "smarter" side is Clay Shirky (in the Wired article he's joined by Dan Pink) who's noticed that we spend a lot of time watching TV (surprise!). That TV time might be more productively spent, say, adding information to Wikipedia. For example, Shirky's Journal article cites a statistic that the total number of hours people have spent editing Wikipedia is about equal to the number of hours Americans spend watching TV ads over a weekend. (Makes the Wiki-geeks seem less geeky doesn't it?)

I bring these news stories up because they demonstrate a large theoretically debate going on about the promises and perils of the Internet and I recommend either feature, although the Journal articles are not free. But those article don't do what William Powers' Hamlet's Blackberry does: offer some practical thoughts about how we are all living today with interruptive technology. I wish everyone would read the book, especially the people who won't like it. For many of us, the constant mind-candy and threat of being always reachable is degrading our lives. Work never leaves us and we can develop the feelings of a "hunted mind." But we cannot blame just our employers, we spend our free time scratching at our smart-phones like crack(berry) addicts. I am, after all, typing this on my shiny new iPad.

Powers' book is great and simple but not simplistic. He reviews 7 philosophers from Plato to Seneca to Ben Franklin to Thoreau who lived in times of fast-paced technological change, and he pulls out practical wisdom from each. At the end of the book he details his family's habit of having an Internet Sabbath each weekend. No in-home Net access; they must walk to the library if they must get online. Powers finds this liberating and good for family togetherness. We plan to try it.

So I highly recommend that people read the book and spend some time thinking about how well we are integrating technology into our lives (and letting our employers have more of our time than we'd often like). What's funny is that I heard about this book in an interview on the Monocle weekly podcast (#59). And a few weeks later the interviewer (and founder of the Monocle) Tyler Brûlé wrote a column in the Financial Times about how he can't stand people who have out-of-office replies on their email. He thinks they must only do that because they hate their jobs and so they should quit and be entrepreneurs like him. (And he thinks they're the sort of people who wear sweatpants.). But not everyone wants to be connected all the time and I really wish that Mr. Brûlé would spend some more time pondering William Powers' excellent book.


book review: one day

One Day
by David Nicholls

When did you read the last book that made you stay up long past your bedtime to find out what happens? Do you know that feeling, where you just need to find out? You can’t keep the characters there in limbo? One Day is that kind of book. It is to be published in the US on June 15, but is already, according to the proof a “huge bestseller in England.”

The book chronicles a friendship between two people, Dexter and Emma. They meet on July 15th, the night before graduating from college. They almost miss becoming best friends. We follow the two as their lives develop. But the reader is given only one day per year of their lives to fill in the blanks with. For example, one day we are told that Dexter’s mom has something important to tell him but she decides to wait. We are forced to fill in the holes when we get to the next year; we must piece together what has happened.

Naturally, it is a love story, with a completely unexpected ending. Which was quite cruel considering I finished the book at 2 am on a Tuesday, or was it Wednesday? No matter. I hope the book is a great success here because it really is a wonderful book.

I loved this idea about how to live life:

“Better by far to simply try and be good and outrageous and bold and to make a difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you. Go out there with your passion and your electric typewriter and work hard at...something. Change lives through art maybe. Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.”


white sticky note*

- a few down
- chemo not helping
- bump Not Lung
head & neck tongue to lungs
nasal flomegona
6 months outside
organ to organ

* written while on the phone
listening to the doctor on the
tell me about my mom’s cancer.


gram and storycorp

A few months ago I posted those questions from StoryCorp that everyone should ask their family members. I spent a lot of time with Gram and finally got around to asking her and recording the conversation. The video above is about 11 minutes long. You get to hear about Gram's earliest memory, the day I was born, and other fun stuff. (Ed and Kate you should listen to the end.) I am sorry the sound quality is kind of bad. It was a fun little project. I really urge everyone to do this kind of thing before it is too late.

(Past post about StoryCorp, click here.)


pictures from denver and vail

We had such a great time last weekend, lazying around, chatting, catching up, celebrating our lives and friendships. I have wonderful friends.

See pictures from Denver by clicking this sentence.


book review: little bee

I hated this book. I am angry at the publishers and the writer. I borrowed the book because the back of the book said there was a secret in the book, and asked you not to tell you friends about the secret once you finished the book.

The secret: everyone dies. Yep. At the end of the book, all of the characters you care about are killed.

The book is a political thriller, I suppose, based on the Nigerian oil conflicts currently on going. Women are raped, killed, mutilated. They are then held in detention centers in the UK, and then sent back to their homes, to be raped, mutilated, and killed.

The book lied to me. It was not a happy secret. I thought it was something like that movie: The Sixth Sense. No. It was not. The secret, again in case you missed it, is that everyone dies in Little Bee, including Little Bee.

I am not even posting a picture of the book, so you don't get confused at the book store or library and think this a book you want to read because I recommended it. I am not recommending it. I hated it.