I jumped into a cab after de-planing in Fort Lauderdale late Sunday afternoon. An uneventful flight. Largely uneventful that is, with the exception of the couple sitting in the front of the aircraft in premium seating. They were wearing face masks and plastic gloves synched with rubber bands. (Ebola.) If you gotta fly and you’re freaked, put on the protective gear. (It would be a cold day in Hell before you’d see me absorbing the ‘looks’ on a three hour flight.) Face-Mask-Man catches my stare. His eyes lock on mine as if to say: We’ll see who’s the Fool.
“Do you take American Express?”
The cab driver’s response is undecipherable.
I’m guessing he’s in his 60’s, his accent places him from the Islands, and he’s wearing a day or two beard.
I ask again.
“Do you take credit cards?“
This ‘Sir” thing is de-stabilizing. When did I become a Sir?
I note that I have plenty of legroom in a Yellow Cab. I’m grateful for one of life’s rare and simple pleasures.
How was your flight?
Good, thank you.
Where you coming from?
Is it cold?
It’s getting there.
89°F. The air conditioning is either not working or he’s conserving fuel. I open the window to let the tropical air blow in.
Do you want me to turn on the air?
No, it’s fine, thank you.
Is the friendliness a ploy for a larger tip? I scold myself for the unprovoked cynicism. And then reverse course and conclude that a friendly driver would earn a larger tip and that my cynicism was rationally placed. And the wheels on the bus go round and round.
What is the address again?
I repeat the address.
Is that on A1A?
I have no idea. Sorry.
Anticipating a bad outcome, I grab my smartphone and turn on Google Maps. And wait. I don’t want to be pushy and start offering instructions. Not yet anyway.
For the first time ever, researchers have used an unmanned hexacopter to monitor killer whales in the wild. In August 2014, Dr. Lance Barrett-Lennard, Vancouver Aquarium Senior Marine Mammal Scientist, collaborated with Dr. John Durban and Dr. Holly Fearnbach from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to use the hexacopter in the field.
Researchers will use the 30,000 photographs taken during 60 flights to assess northern resident killer whale health. From above, the scientists can assess their girth and determine whether the killer whales are sickly or pregnant. These photographs have already revealed several pregnancies, previously undetectable. This information will help guide management of the protected northern resident killer whale population, as well as the endangered southern resident population.
The APH-22 marine hexacopter was built by custom aerial photography company Aerial Imaging Solutions and is owned by NOAA. Its use was authorized by a marine mammal research license issued by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, a special flight certificate from Transport Canada, and animal care permits. The team of scientists also assessed the impact of the hexacopter itself on the animals, and they were able to determine that it went unnoticed by the whales.
Note: The noise in the video may sound loud, but these drones are actually very quiet. You would have to listen hard to hear the drone 10m above your head. The audio is recorded off a camera 30cm from the motors and attached to the frame. In the field the drone was high above the water and researchers noticed no reaction in the whales.
Thank you Rachel. Incredible.
The human heart beats
approximately 4,000 times per hour
and each pulse, each throb, each palpitation
is a trophy engraved with the words
“you are still alive.”
You are still alive.
Act like it.
~ Rudy Francisco
6:02 am. Sunday, October 19, 2014. 52° F. Breezy. Autumn.
Mind rolls back to yesterday afternoon. Saturday at 4pm, and my body was signaling late Sunday. The heaviness of Work returned early, a thick Bay Area Fog. (Where’s my weekend?) I’m on a JetBlue flight heading South on Sunday afternoon to catch Monday morning meetings.
I’m ten pounds up from my six-month low. Ten pounds! My last running post was Sept 7th. My last run outside was Sept 14th. Over one month ago, and THAT run is still fresh. I glance at my notes from that day:
Garmin flashing 0.72 miles. Stomach cramps. They will work themselves out. Just slow it down. Keep your feet moving. 0.78 miles. Legs moving, body is haunched over. 0.80 miles. Pain ripping through left calf. I moan, stop and clutch my leg. No Mas. I turn and return home. To the couch.
I decide to break my pre-run routine. (Which, besides complaining about running, is to do nothing, but get out the door.)
I get down on my knees. I’m thinking 1 Plank. I position my iPhone stopwatch where I can see it. I take a deep breath in preparation. (My blogger friends are deep under my skin. Bone deep. If Lori can do three two-minute planks in one work-out and Carolann can do a four-minute plank, this is just a matter of practice, right? And, last time I checked, I’m a Man, right?)
I get in planking position. I’ll knock one of these off before my run, and then have something to write about when I return. I’m glaring at the stopwatch. (I’ll show them.)
(Think I got this.)
(Breathing a bit heavy, but I’m just finding my groove.) [Read more...]
Is not this a true autumn day?
Just the still melancholy that I love -
that makes life and nature harmonise.
The birds are consulting about their migrations,
the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay,
and begin to strew the ground,
that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air,
while they give us a scent that is
a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit.
Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird
I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.
— George Eliot, [Letter to Miss Eliot, Oct. 1, 1841]
Don’t give up on this one too soon. The location is Byron Glacier in Alaska. “Byron Glacier was essentially a gift of unclimbed boulders sitting in a valley draped with hanging glaciers. Heaven on earth, or so I thought.” (Read more about inspiration for this video here: A Vertical Life.)
LOVE the music. It’s “Work Song” by Hozier. Hozier, 24, is Andrew Hozier-Byrne who is an Irish musician from Bray, County Wicklow. He released his debut studio album Hozier in Ireland in September 2014.
SMWI*: Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration
It had been crossing so long it could not remember.
As it stopped in the middle to look back,
a car sped by, spinning it around.
Disoriented, the chicken realized
it could no longer tell which way it was going.
It stands there still.
— John McNamee, Kafka’s joke book
And don’t miss a full series of terrific penguin gifs here: observation deck
Short video titled: “A Typical San Francisco Morning” which was shot with a hand held camera out of a helicopter during two morning flights this month. Incredible…
The quote, paired with Meryl Streep photographs, was erroneously attributed to Streep and has been going viral on the internet. The quote was written by Portuguese self-help author/life coach José Micard Teixeira. It’s not clear that this quote has any connection to Meryl Streep, but, we love the quote and we love Meryl, so we’re going with it…all of it.
“I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me. I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.”
Source: Jaimejustelaphoto. (Timestamp is directionally correct with our 7:05 am sunrise)
It’s dark. 5:40 a.m. I’ve got an early morning jump, and I’m high stepping it to the station. It’s October 14th and the weatherman is calling for mid-70’s. (And it’s damn humid before sunrise.)
I’m feeling Prime this morning. Another night of solid sleep. Something is working, exactly what, is unclear.
I strap on my earphones. I get off the train. I’m lost among the throng, and fidgeting with my ear pieces. (Apple.co can drag music from the clouds and shoot it into my head but can’t seem to get these earbuds to stick.)
I enter the main Grand Central terminal. The wall size Red, White & Blue greets me. O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
As do Police. Police Dogs. Bullet proof vests. And Guns.
I glance up as I exit the station. Nestled within a green leafy planter on a pole eight feet up is a sign: NYPD Security Camera. And surrounding the station are Police Cars. Police Vans. Unmarked Cars. And more German Shepherds.
I turn up the music to drown out the dark, and I continue down 42nd street. Fink is playing: Looking too Closely. Looking too close. No. No. No.
I pick up my pace. Everyone is standing still, or moving in slow motion; I’m passing them on my right, on my left. (The DK Express is hauling a**.)
With no safe jaywalking opportunity available, I wait for the Walk sign. Dark thoughts roll back several weeks. (Ocean Voung whisks in: “There’s enough light to drown in but never enough to enter the bones & stay.”)
It’s mid-morning, mid-week in August.
The Gods called your name
and the seas turned dark;
the earth quaked with power.
You looked up at Olympus
screaming at the gates;
“What will I become?”
The Gods fell silent, then-
with a thunderous roar replied;
“Who are you now?”
As if to spare the birds at the feeder
any more competition than they already have
a snowflake drops right past the perches
crowded with finches, nuthatches, sparrows,
and without even thinking to open its wings
settles quietly onto the ground.
~ Ted Kooser. December 23, Cold. Winter Morning Walks: One Hundred Postcards to Jim Harrison
Koala goes for a morning run…Get those knees up!
Notes: SMWI* = Saturday morning workout inspiration. Source: themetapicture.com. Thank you Susan.
Source: So Many Cute Animals. (Photo so much like Zeke, not Zeke!)
I’ve been searching for a passage that I read weeks ago. I can see the font size, the paragraph, the white space, the light above and below the words. Strings that dangle in my consciousness. Yet, despite my end of day Google searches, I’ve come up empty. It goes something like this:
People ask you: “How are you doing?” You turn on the auto-reflex-reflux. You pound the drums with your sticks and dust up dregs. You don’t want others to know, but Life is Good. Very good actually. So, why? Why lead with the dark?
She stands at the turn of Exit 10. The front end of the last mile of my morning commute. The entire elapsed time is less than five seconds, tops. I turn the corner, I look for her, and I’m gone. And she’s gone.
She’s standing with other early morning commuters waiting for the Bus.
Correction. [Read more...]
Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn?
Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends?
Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven’t the answer
to a question you’ve been asked,
or the hush of a country road at night,
or the expectant pause of a room full of people
when someone is just about to speak, or,
most beautiful of all,
the moment after the door closes and
you’re alone in the whole house?
Each one is different, you know,
and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.
~ Norton Juster
Some days one needs to hide from possibility.
~ Jim Harrison & Ted Kooser, Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry
Notes: Photograph via YourEyesBlazeOut
She has been coming to work with her mother since she was just six weeks old. And now it seems three-year-old Vittoria Cerioli, daughter of Italian MEP Licia Ronzulli, is taking an ever more active interest in mummy’s work as she joined her in a session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg yesterday. Stealing the show at this month’s session in eastern France, adorable Vittoria took part in proceedings as she lifted her arm up along with her mother to vote.
Don’t miss the full set of pictures here: Enchanting Little Girl Following In The Footsteps of her MEP Mother
Headphones strapped on. A Pandora Mix of David Gray.
Situations running through my head.
Three good nights of sleep to rejuvenate the soul. A Southern Baptist Preacher, arms reaching for the Heavens: Praise the Lord.
If there is a God, she sang The Best Thing I Never Had on The Voice last night. Beth Spanger, a young lady from Aiken, S.C. I see Light, the woman is Light.
Liz Danzico is the creative director for NPR. Here’s how she opens her post:
I think a lot about what I would say to the younger version of myself if I met her again, if I met her through the still moments of all the motion of youth — when she was sitting at the piano, or if I saw her alone on the playground, or if I watched her read, voice quivering, her short stories in front of the class…
Don’t miss the rest of her post here: Stillness in Motion.
GrindTV: Chinese Man Sets World Planking Record:
Mao Weidong is a 43-year old Beijing special policy deputy commander and member of Beijing SWAT team.
He set a planking world record for the longest time in an abdominal plank position with an incredible duration of 4 hours, 26 minutes.
Resting only on his elbows and tiptoes, Mao proceeded to smash the previous planking world record of 3 hours, 7 minutes and 15 seconds set by American athlete George Hood in 2013.
So, to show I still had it, I gave it a whirl. I lasted a full 90 seconds, the last 30 seconds of which my body was fully contorted. After collapsing, I noted that I lay in the recovery-face-first position longer than when I was in the plank position. (Now there’s an athlete!)
Mao Weidong, you are SuperMan.
- SMWI*: “Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration
- Source: GrindTV
You are looking for the “right” word.
For a paper, an article, a story, a blog post, a presentation – – you’re trying to express a intense moment, a feeling, an emotion.
Words, sentences, paragraphs, a continuous stream flowing…your back and forth rhythm now rudely interrupted. You have hit The Wall. You can’t climb over without the Word.
It’s right there. On the tip of your tongue. Your mind is searching. You feel the Word. It’s Sizzling, Searing. The perfect Word to capture the moment, the feeling.
Yet, you come up Empty.
Your frustration grows. You use a substitute. You re-read the passage again, and again. The Word doesn’t fit. It doesn’t feel right. It’s an impostor. You go with it anyway. And it hangs, like an ill-fitting jacket or pair of oversized shoes.
Suppose we try to recall a forgotten name. The state of our consciousness is peculiar. There is a gap therein; but no mere gap. It is a gap that is intensely active. A sort of wraith of the name is in it, beckoning us in a given direction, making us at moments tingle with the sense of our closeness, and then letting us sink back without the longed-for term. If wrong names are proposed to us, this singularly definite gap acts immediately so as to negate them. They do not fit into its mould. And the gap of one word does not feel like the gap of another, all empty of content as both might seem necessarily to be when described as gaps. . . . The rhythm of a lost word may be there without a sound to clothe it; or the evanescent sense of something which is the initial vowel or consonant may mock us fitfully, without growing more distinct. Every one must know the tantalizing effect of the blank rhythm of some forgotten verse, restlessly dancing in one’s mind, striving to be filling out with words.
~ William James, 1890
And, then you read a poem that captures this, all of this.
She’s gone and done it.
Source: themetapicture.com (thanks Susan)
Her name is Sarah Marquis. She’s 42. She’s Swiss. She spent three of the past four years walking ~ 10,000 miles by herself – from Siberia through the Gobi Desert, China, Laos and Thailand, then across all of Australia.
…Marquis tried to minimize human contact (and avoid dangerous characters). She hid her femininity with loose clothes, big sunglasses, hair piled up in a hat. (Be sure to check out what she looks like without disguise.)
…She has starved and she has frozen…To supplement the inadequate supply of noodles she could carry, Marquis brought a slingshot, a blow gun, some wire to make snares and a net for catching insects. In the warm months, Marquis ate goannas, geckos and bearded dragons. In the cold months, when the reptiles hid, she subsisted on an Aboriginal standby, witchetty grubs — white, caterpillar-size moth larvae that live in the roots of Mulga trees.
…When water was scarce, she collected condensation, either by digging a deep hole and lining the cool bottom with plastic or by tying a tarp around a bush. If those techniques didn’t yield enough liquid — and they rarely did — she drank snake blood. At night Marquis slept close to the trunks of trees, touching the bark in a way that she describes as “almost carnal.” She fell in love with a particular twisted and wind-bent Western myall tree on Australia’s Nullarbor Plain.
Don’t miss this story by Elizabeth Weil in the NY Times: The Woman Who Walked 10,000 Miles (No Exaggeration) in Three Years
- (Note to self: And you bi*tch about the humidity walking across town?)
Our minds are all we have. They are all we have ever had. And they are all we can offer others. This might not be obvious, especially when there are aspects of your life that seem in need of improvement— when your goals are unrealized, or you are struggling to find a career, or you have relationships that need repairing. But it’s the truth. Every experience you have ever had has been shaped by your mind. Every relationship is as good or as bad as it is because of the minds involved. If you are perpetually angry, depressed, confused, and unloving, or your attention is elsewhere, it won’t matter how successful you become or who is in your life— you won’t enjoy any of it.
Most of us could easily compile a list of goals we want to achieve or personal problems that need to be solved. But what is the real significance of every item on such a list? Everything we want to accomplish— to paint the house, learn a new language, find a better job— is something that promises that, if done, it would allow us to finally relax and enjoy our lives in the present. Generally speaking, this is a false hope. I’m not denying the importance of achieving one’s goals, maintaining one’s health, or keeping one’s children clothed and fed— but most of us spend our time seeking happiness and security without acknowledging the underlying purpose of our search. Each of us is looking for a path back to the present: We are trying to find good enough reasons to be satisfied now.
Acknowledging that this is the structure of the game we are playing allows us to play it differently. How we pay attention to the present moment largely determines the character of our experience and, therefore, the quality of our lives.