a new friend?

What's the plural of octopus? Octopuses? Octopi? Octopodes? Watch and learn!



book review: You Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know

by Heather Sellers

WOW! Ok, this book will blow your mind. Mrs. Sellers is face blind. That means that she cannot recognize people by their face. No, it’s not that she has problems remembering names. That is not the problem. In fact she is good at remembering names. She can’t remember faces. This is a problem only 100 people have. She is one of them. Her mom is schizophrenic and she has some other issues too, but, the lead as the say, is that she is face blind.

We have all met people like this I bet. I have a woman I see ALL of the time in my office. I say hi to her when I see her. I wave. Nothing. She does not react. She scurries away. Well, maybe she just does not who I am? (There are also people who are voice blind apparently...who knew?)

I loved the part when her shrink told her to stop telling herself the same story! That’s right readers, other people hide behind their stories too.

My friend Erin just posted on her website, when a co-worker told her to get over the fact that she did not want to work on the project she had been given with an asshole boss (my words, not hers), that a lot of people seem to be scared to change their situation. I think this is true. We are brain washed into thinking we can’t change our lives. Not true.

So back to the book review: Mrs. Sellers changes her situation. She takes control. She stops running from her problems, and we are there with her right along the way.

My only criticism is that I want to know more. I want to know how she is today? What happened with her husband? Did her parents read the book? And why doesn’t she mention her brother?

The book comes out in October, but if you want to get it early, I will mail it to you...just drop me a line.


avoidance: the oil spill

I have been actively avoiding the topic of the oil spill. I did however, come across this very interesting and interactive explination of the effects of the oil spill and wanted to share the link with everyone, incase you are not avoiding the horribleness of this story as I am. Click this sentence to go to the original website.


book review: Making Toast: A Family Story

By Roger Rosenblatt

This is a heart wrenching, yet not dramatic, look into a family faced with tragedy. Mr. Rosenblatt’s daughter suddenly dies while running on her treadmill from an undiagnosed heart problem. She was 38, the mother of three, and a doctor.

We are lead along as Mr. Rosenblatt describes, in largely chronological vignettes, how his life changed after his daughter’s death. We hear his thinking out loud about how his relationships with everyone have changed. We are made aware of the kind of fugue people walk around in after they lose someone. We suffer other losses with Mr. Rosenblatt.

The two lines that spoke greatest to me where first, when the children’s nanny tells Mr. Rosenblatt that: “You are not the first to go through such a thing, and you are better able to handle it than most.” The other line that spoke to me was about the need to value the passing of time. Quoted from David Loge’s Deaf Sentence, “If there have been, at various times, trifling misunderstanding in our life, now I see how one was unable to value the passing of time.” So true.

Mr. Rosenblatt tells the reader at one point that his two sons go into have their heart tested, to make sure it will not happen to them as well, but Mr. Rosenblatt leaves the reader hanging on this one point: we never find out if his sons are ok. No news is good news I suppose.

Worth a quick read or as a gift to a grieving friend.


i love breakfast

Watch the full episode. See more Breakfast Special.

Great PBS video about breakfast. I wanna try all of these places!


Vituary/Obituary: Nana and Papa

I sent this letter to my best friend in grade school's and my adopted grandpa, Papa about my memories of he and his wife, Nana, when I was little. Then, as now, I did not have a Southern Accent...so many of you won't know I was actually born in Atlanta. Nana passed away a few months ago.

My earliest memories of you and Nana were of the pool, naturally. There were rules for Jodi and I to follow: hang your towel up on the railing. Don’t come into the house wet. Make sure Jodi has her earplugs in. It is funny how, after all these years, I can still remember these rules. I can still remember your phone number by heart too.

I remember being in awe that my best friend, Jodi’s grandfather was the Mayor of Sugar Hill. I knew the Mayor! I even slept at his house. I might have even gotten the idea from you that I, too, could someday hold a public office. Jodi always slept so late: I would get up early and spend time with you watching football, and waiting for Jodi to get up. In exchange I got to spend time with you and Nana.

I loved eating at your house. Nana made the best eggs I have ever had, even to this day. Jodi and I would sit there cutting our piece of cheese in to small little squares. And, we were allowed to eat Peanut Butter Captain Crunch until the roofs of our mouths were all scraped up. I remember all of the times you tried to get me to eat grits, or to get either Jodi or I to eat your squirrel stew.

It was at your house, I watched Anne Richards, the then governor of Texas, deliver her iconic line: "Poor George, he can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.” You know the Democratic Convention was not on at my house! It worked: I vote Democrat today.

I remember Nana sewing, smoking, and drinking a coke with ice in it many a night. I can still hear Nana’s voice: “Jooodie, what are you doin?” That voice meant trouble. Stop what you are doing before you have to get a switch.

I remember Sundays spent driving over to either your mother’s house or maybe even your grandmother’s house. I can’t remember going in, but I remember the sun shining, and her coming out to say hello to us. And I remember boilt peanuts bought from a guy selling them on the side of the road. He would just appear and you would ask us if we wanted some. I guess now you knew were he was and went there on purpose. Then I thought it was just magic.

My memory of how you and Nana got married goes like this: You were both in high school, sweethearts and dating. A whole group of you and your friends eloped, maybe even around prom, so that the high school could not kick you all out of high school. That might be the first instance of mass demonstration I ever heard of.

I remember following you around at Bulldog football games, watching the cheerleaders, wanting dearly to be one when I grew up.

I remember you letting Jodi drive the truck, and how envious I was! I so wanted to drive! Years later, when my brother Montana was about her age, I let him drive my car down our driveway. He holds that memory dear.

You and Nana worked together, loved each other, and remain in my memory as an example of how a good relationship built on friendship and love can be successful. I have always thought of and told people that you and Nana were my extra grandparents. Papa, you are the closest thing I have ever had to a grandfather.

Thank you for all of your love, your little Yankee.


It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be.

by Paul Arden

We ran across this book at our local used bookstore. The book is small and unassuming, but is really full of great tips, not only if you work in advertising, as Mr. Arden did, but also for the average Joe. Full of quotes like, “Without having a goal it’s difficult to score” the book quickly floats along. Only later do you remember something Mr. Arden said, like his remark that while momentarily upsetting, getting fired all five times actually moved his career along, and incorporate his view point into your current thinking.

The book is organized into 8 sections, including the introduction. The sections that spoke most to me currently are the “Fundamentals” and the “You Don’t Have to Be Creative to Be Creative.” In the fundamental section he has a page about making the most of where you are currently in life. Seize the opportunity at hand. Make the place you are, the place you want to be. Do your best work today even if it is not your dream work. In the creative section, he outlines, quickly, how a senior manager, junior account handler, and buyer can all make a difference in an organization. Both sections make quick points, again, that you tend to ponder later.

At the end of the book, he has a funny pie chart outlining “Life’s Creative Circle.” In it he says, “Creativity is imagination, and imagination is for everyone.” Well said my friend. Check out this little book, full of little gems.



Have you been to www.ancestry.com? Be careful if you go...it is addicting. Brent mentioned that one of his co-workers was into it, so I decided to check it out. You put in whatever information you have about your family, and then it cross references the information with other families' family trees and the data that the Mormons have collected about people.

It is pretty amazing. I tracked Linda's side of the family back to England and Sweden. Dad's side was much more difficult, because Grammy Harkin was born in Gibraltar and grew up in India. I added Brent's family and Walt's family too. All fun.

I am going to have to cut myself off though. I have 12 more days before it starts costing $29 a month.


world cup fever?

Why doesn't the US go in for the World Cup? It is this huge event all over the world, and the US channels can't be bothered to broadcast the closing ceremonies of the World Cup. Luckily we have Univision.

What is a bummer about our lack of interest in the World Cup, is that it is a missed opportunity for the US to partake in an international, month-long conversation about a topic which is in large part about fun.


a dress a day

Can you imagine it: re:working one dress per day? Well, this is what Marissa is doing! She got laid off and decided to spend $365 and one year remaking dresses that she found in thrift shops. Some of her creations are perfect and some are not so perfect. I love that she is doing it!

Click here to see all of the dresses.


follow up on standing at work

Brent and I have been standing at work for about three months now. I would estimate I stand for between 5 and 6 hours a day. The other three are spent walking around, going to lunch, or sitting down to read stuff. I wanted to link to the articles we have read about the benefits of standing. I really think it is having an effect on our systems because, since we started standing, we have also started going for long walks in the evening. We are doing about 3 miles a night. I have also found that I am much more focused at work. I don’t have those moments where I find myself slouched in my desk chair surfing the net mindlessly. Standing up has made me more mindful. I also move around quite a bit. I put my leg on my underdesk leg stand; I switch from leg to leg.

I bought a gel mat at Costco. I am not super sure of its utility, and Brent does not use one. I stand on it barefoot, so I have to remember to put my shoes of when I step away from my cube.

The ergonomics people at work came around, as did the building supply person. He promised to get me a permanent solution to my standing desk, but I have not heard from him since, so I am still using the paper reams to stand. I need to buy the legs for my standing desk.

Click here to read each story about standing up at work:
The Business Week Story: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_19/b4177071221162.htm
MacWorld Article: http://www.macworld.com/article/146950/2010/03/standingdesk.html
Other links to articles (Hat tip to OWC Patrick):


make something cool every day 2009

So this artist, mentioned in Making Ideas Happen, set up a blog where he made something cool every day in 2009. That is a tall order. I mean, what if you just don't have a great idea that day? Well, one theme of the book I did not mention yesterday, is that creativity and art are hard work. You can't just wait for great ideas to come to you. Sometimes, you have to start working before you figure out what you are really going to do with what you have made.

This is definitely what happened with my postcard project. I started walking around Berlin all day taking pictures of stencil graffiti. Once I had these hundreds of photos I had to figure out what to do with them. That's where my community came in to help me. Matth, my graphic artist friend in Berlin, helped make the project a reality because he knew where to get the project printed and how to typeset the photos for printing. Without him, I never would have had the photos.

Anyway, check out the year of making something cool every day by clicking this sentence.


book review: making ideas happen – overcoming the obstacles between vision & reality

by Scott Belsky

Mr. Belsky, of www.behance.net, does a great job explaining to artists, photographers, and writers how to go about organizing their work flows to maximize their output. I read the book over the last few weeks and have already seen the results. My boss mentioned I was getting a lot of stuff done and asked if I felt overwhelmed with work. Cute.

The book is organized broadly into three areas: Organization and Execution, Community, and Leadership Capability.

So his organizational system goes something like this:

Get a notebook or note cards, whichever you chose, but make sure that it is on paper you like. (You are creative and so find fine paper to be important, so much so that you have a lot of it lying around and don’t really know what to do with all of it.) In the alternative, Behance sells books that are set up to work with the action method.

On the cards/in the book, set up a page for each project you are working on. For each project, write out action steps to take to complete the project and the date that you wrote down the step. The idea is to help you stay on task. Then set up a section for backburner projects that you don’t want to forget, but are not yet working on. These projects might eventually move to the front burner.

I have found that outside of work I can only have two other projects, max, to spend my time on. That said, I set up my system for both work and home. My projects currently are:
* memoir
* photography business
* screenplay (halfway on the backburner)
* personal to do's (dr appointments, etc.)
* section 2 of report
* section 4 of report
* backburner projects/ideas (my fiction book is on this list)

I have started carrying these cards with me everywhere, so I can jot down action steps to do, new projects for the back burner, or other stuff.

Mr. Belsky makes the point that people take a lot of notes, and then files them away. He wants you to stop saving all of these notes and other items. Filing everything away is taking too much time. In my case, I end up with piles of stuff to organize all of the time. Instead of working on my projects, I often decide to get organized first, letting my projects further languish. So, I bought a box with a lid, and put everything from my desk into the box. Now, I just sort through the box once a month while watching crime shows.

The author also spends a lot of time explaining how projects don’t get done without help. Without the support of your community, you are unlikely to get very far with your creative endeavors. He lists out a few websites to find like-minded people.

Finally, he talks about leadership and the qualities of a good leader. This chapter and the others are peppered with stories that have had success in their lives from their personal projects.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I think he makes some excellent points about how to get your work done when you are your own boss. The book does slow down a bit at the end, but I suppose that always happens with these kinds of books. On a strange note, the book jacket feels funny. I mean the paper itself.


4th of July pics

We watched the fireworks this year from Brent's office. We had the best view in the city. It was just amazing. We also stood in line to get ice cream with the chairman of the board! Super fun.

I started playing around with Lightroom Presets. These are photo processing tools which you can then apply to photos. I put a few pictures both untouched and then re-touched with the presets in my smugmug pictures so everyone can see the difference. It was a ton of fun to use these. Let me know what you think by clicking this sentence to see more pictures from the 4th!


idaho fly does websites too!

A few years ago my good friend Patrick set up my website: www.nicoleharkin.com. He did a super job. I am now getting ready to get a little more serious about the photography business, so my brother John, of www.idahofly.com is freshening up the site for me. I am going to send out emails to everyone nearby when it is all done, to help drum up business. I really appreciate all of John's work. Good brother.


physical exam

How many times have you left the doctor's office only to remember the one other thing you wanted to talk to them about?

I recently ran across the "History and Physical Exam" pocketcard on Amazon.
I bought it because it was cheap ($3.95) and I wanted to see what it said. The pocketcard, near as I can tell, is for medical students, to ensure that they are asking the patients the correct questions about their medical history.

The great part of the card is that you could use it to fill out your own history and then take this to the doctor when you go. I think this will be especially useful as we move toward having people shop around more for their health care. What better way to succinctly explain your history than to have thought it through before meeting the doctor?

The card covers things from social history to your neurological system to all of your other bodies parts...some you try not to think about! I would recommend picking one of these up if you have kids as well to plan ahead before doctor's visits, etc.