Thursday, November 29, 2012

a day in the life of a (P)WM

I walk down the street. The sun has stopped smiling long ago. A car whizzes by. I pass it without a second look. It passes me without a look at all.

Stomach grumbling, I duck into a convenience store. I linger in the store, eyes closed shut from the cold. The cashiers are alert but their eyes are directed elsewhere, downward in trajectory.

I make it to my friend’s house, feeling the warmth of the lobby blast into my pores. I’m free at last from the frigid night air. Hopping onto the elevator, I see a stranger. We exchange polite smiles. She’s relaxed. The only thing I can think about is the beauty of the warmth.

White privilege. The idea of it initially stung me. Because I’m white I have some sort of advantage? I didn’t ask for this gain. Yet that’s no excuse to ignore the benefits of being a (Privileged) White Male:

I walk down streets alone without cops even glancing at me.

I enter stores and the cashiers aren’t suspicious of me.

I share confined spaces with others and they aren’t scared to interact with me.

At this moment in my life I am at the beginning of what I know will be a never ending journey to discover how my race, class, sex, and sexuality define my position in society. While many of you have been forced to contemplate these issues long before me for reasons I will never truly comprehend, I urge you to continue to do so. Invite white males in this conversation too, because without inclusive, intelligent discussion we will continue to wallow in a system of injustices.

Some of us will have to step down from the high platforms we have been on for far too long so that we can all stand together to see each other, and the horizon, on the same ground.

Thanks for the opportunity to share,

Montgomery County, MD

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fortune and Thanks

I was selected for this on American Thanksgiving. Therefore it seems only right to use it to give thanks. I am thankful for my family and friends foremost. Thankful for their love, warmth and patience. Thankful for all the people who work to make my life enjoyable, in whatever capacity. Thankful that some people really do want to make the world a better place.

For you reading this, it’ll be a few days post-thanksgiving, and you may be in a part of the world that has no such tradition. Actually I am a Brit, currently enjoying North Carolinian hospitality (and BBQ). Hopefully you can use as a sign to give a quiet thank you to anyone in your life you think deserves it.

Thanks to the people at The Listserve for this awesome opportunity. Thanks to Mark Frauenfelder at BoingBoing for introducing me to it. Being chosen today bolsters my irrational belief in fate. In my head, I know it was random that I got selected on Thanksgiving, but in my heart I just can’t quite believe that. It seems too lucky. Kismet.

Audentes Fortuna iuvat. Hopefully she’ll favour me. Hopefully she favours all that try. I am about to try and embark on a writing career. Will I succeed? Who knows. But I am thankful people will love me whether I succeed or not and even if I fail, at least I’ll know I gave it a shot. Wish me luck.

He who dares, Rodney, he who dares...


Andrew Tate
Durham, NC


I used to read a lot of poetry and want to get back into the habit of it. Below is a poem by Rudyard Kipling that I'd like to share with all of you, and I'd like to ask you to email me a poem or two back in response. I look forward to reading them.

By Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Ming Min Hui
New York, NY

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

21,612 is a lot

Hi, everyone.

I'm a teenaged girl. I'm not arrogant enough to think that I know much about the world. I'm 18, a freshman in college, and I struggle every day trying to see into the future: into what might be, where I might go. Recently I've decided that my destiny in life is to be a high-school biology teacher, but ask me again later and perhaps that will have changed.

One thing I feel passionate about is body modification. Somehow my standards of beauty have developed in a way that put piercings, tattoos, implants and scarification at the forefront. However, my parents have threatened to cut off their funding for my education if I modify myself in any way. I already have piercings, and though my family will never see them due to their private locations, I would love to be able to share this important part of my life with them and express myself through modification in a more public way. Essentially, they have rejected my lifestyle, and through this, they have pushed me away.

What I'm trying to say is: Don't let your standards of beauty bully someone else's into a corner. Don't judge people based on their standards of beauty. Shaming what someone finds beautiful, putting down what is truly important to them, can really undermine their happiness and their willingness to share any part of their life with you, so don't lose people because they think that full-body tattoos are wonderful and you find the idea nauseating or stupid.

Questions for you all: What advice would you give your 18-year-old self? Who is your favorite musical artist of all time? What do you love? What advice would you give to a young girl who wants to find love? Reply to me, if you like (I made an address just to field these, so I better get a few).

Advice for you all: Look up "futureme" and write yourself a letter. You write an email and then choose when you want it delivered to yourself. I receive emails from my past all the time, and it's alternately sweet and heartbreaking to get these tidbits from years past.

All the love,

Washington, DC

Monday, November 26, 2012

Time: a fast and furious beast

Ouch, I just skipped a heartbeat when I saw the "You've been selected" mail.

I don't know what to write. Well, anyway, here it goes!

Hi, I'm Vitor, I'm a 31yo Brazilian, and I just got through a quarter life crisis.

We're told to exaustion that time is a fast and furious beast that eats your life away every second, and around this age it gets really evident.

Finding a balance between dedication to my projects and actually getting a life without feeling like I'm wasting time is hard, and I am still struggling to find out where is the right point is.

I feel I had to throw away some things in life so I could grab new things to carry on. What I have learned is that there are three things you shoudn't throw away never ever, or you might lose forever:

- your health
- your family
- your friends

I finally realized that sleeping, eating well, doing exercises and go offline sometimes is essential.

I also found out that being kind to people around you is important too, or else *they* might feel like throwing *you* away.

Well, that's it! Feel free to contact me.


(I feel like playing on lottery right now!)

--- Vitor Carlos

The growth of knowledge

Today we live like kings compared to our ancestors because they learned to control fire, to construct houses, to build air conditioners, and to administer penicillin. These are all solutions to problems that once existed. All problems have solutions, and solutions come in the form of new knowledge. These solutions always have problems of their own. When a solution has problems, it's tempting to want to regress to the "good old days", but this is a mistake, because those "good old days" were terrible. The solution is *more* knowledge.

Here's an example: On November 6 I voted against California's Prop 37, which required labeling of genetically-modified foods (GMO) in stores. There are various practical problems with both the proposition and with GMOs, but my main objection was that Prop 37 was, in spirit, a conservative regression away from progress. GMO solves problems, and has problems of its own. The solution isn't to ban or discourage or vilify GMO, but to increase knowledge in the form of *more* GMO. In 200 years people will ask of us, "How did they survive when their food made them obese? When their food gave them diabetes and high cholesterol and cancer? Why were they okay with food coming from animals who suffered so much?" GMO will bring unimaginable improvements (and new problems) to our descendants' lives.

Resist the urge to regress when a solution has problems. The only way out is through, with more knowledge. We all have a moral obligation to our descendants to be a force for the growth of knowledge, so that they may live like kings compared to us.

Lawrence Kesteloot
San Francisco, California

I continue.

Hello everyone!

I am Rike and I am a medical student in my fifth year.

My parents have always been involved in several fields, they are active in the green party, town parliament, youth organizations and within something like the red cross. This stuff sometimes stretched my nerves when I was a teenager. It was not that I didn´t support them but I didn´t know what´s the magic behind volunteering.

I began to study medicine and slowly but steady I became students representative, was engaged within our national association of medical students and organized several projects regional and national.

A few months ago I thought of decreasing the amount of projects I had besides my medical education due to my success as a future doctor and my personal private life. But two things changed me: First there was an article in a popular German magazine about the inner conflicts German doctors have treating their patients in a humane way and meeting the controllers demands concerning economic aspects by the same time. This article made me think deeply and I was glad having applied for the second thing I want to mention here, which was the HEALTHCARE LEADERSHIP SUMMERSCHOOL in the Netherlands. Organized by some great Dutch medical students it was one of the best experiences I ever made. There were 73 soul mates (few of them are on that list I guess!) and we motivated each other in facing the challenges of our healthcare system and to SPEAK UP for our wishes in our 32 home countries as well as to inspire others with doing so. Due to social media we are still connected very close!

I think you already know what these things did to me. I will somehow stay committed to several projects and associations. It gives me the chance to speak up, to create and to take part in proceedings around us!

Being some kind of volunteer allowed me to meet wonderful people, have inspiring friends and to make experiences I would surely not have made if I had just followed my schedule as a medical student. I will continue.

I am sorry that it became more than 250 Words and hope it is still okay!
Warm regards,
Greifswald, Germany

PS: If you feel connected to health care, apply for the next edition of the Health Care Leadership Summerschool in 2013!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

This Body Pulls Back

This body of mine pulls back, the body that towers six feet, sees from a higher vantage point, with enormous arms to reach that which others cannot, arms to connect me to the iron that I love so much. Long, strong legs with thighs that rub, but if they were smaller legs I would not pull the weight, weight that slowly climbs until it reaches these gorgeously large and strong thighs, held by the arms that I use to hug and shove. And my stomach, and sides, and back- all of these things, the perfect size, holding those arms and legs together, connecting and shoring up, big because they have to be bulwarks against the iron that threatens to pull me down.

Twenty nine years of hating this body and believing all of the liars that kept telling me to reject my body, wanting to pull me down just like the iron tries to pull me down. But now this big, tall, strong body of mine says no, and PULLS BACK. This body doesn't leave weight on the floor. This body doesn't shy away from building more muscle, packing it on like slabs of beef, engorging my limbs till they burst through shirts, split seams in dresses, make the earth tremble when I walk. I build muscle to pull back; bigger every day, until one day I will pull the whole world.

Washington DC

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"The red pill"

I'd like to ask you, do you know that your computer can work absolutely differently? Most of you bought your PC with a pre-installed operating system. Of course you're used to working with it. It's OK, but often people don't know about variants, don't know that other operating systems for your PC exist, too! I'd like to tell you about my experience of working on Linux. About four years ago I started using Ubuntu 12.04 as the main operating system for my laptop, and, you know, it was one of the best of my decisions! I forgot about regular actions like the cleaning of system folders to make OS work faster, checking every external storage for viruses, etc. I didn't install any special drivers, didn't look for software on the internet. After a 30 minute installation my laptop was ready to work with all necessary software. Soon I got used it and lost all my habits and tricks of managing "the most popular operating system for desktop computers."

I am happy because my computers just work! Linux is free and stable -- you can also make a lot of changes inside it -- for example, set up another desktop environment, absolutely different, and it wouldn't be a hack, it's an ability of the system.

Try Ubuntu, 12.10 for example, the latest release. It's easy to install and easy to work with!

I want you to know that there are other operating systems, other platforms. Take the red pill and leave the Matrix :)

Thanks to Linux community for this OS and @bobuk for link to the Listserve.

From Ulyanovsk, Russia
Alexander Utkin
Thanks for reading.

P.S. My command is taking a part in Olympic games for system administrators by Yandex. The website is Wish "ulcamp::roots" good luck in the final game next Thursday. Thanks!

P.P.S Microsoft Windows and Apple MacOS are great products too. :)

Kindness is the King

Dear fellow Listservians ~

Here is a poem I wrote recently, and now I wish to share it with you:

Kindness is The King.
May you let it rule your Kingdom.
In spite of all those Dragons
That aim to break your Heart.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. I always look forward to reading what you have to say. I hope that peace may find you wherever you go.

Sean Manton
Toronto, ON Canada

Monday, November 19, 2012

English without the word "is"

Have you ever considered the effects of equating non numerical concepts as "equal" in your brain? Many English patterns include the word "is" to relate one concept to another. This gives our brains a kind of paradox: the semantics of "mary you are beautiful" or "i am happy" gives our minds pleasurable meaning yet the symbol "mary" is-not the symbol "beautiful". I could more accurately say "I find mary's appearance striking." or "I feel sensations of euphoria'.

Every day for a few weeks now I read a section from a book on Animal Behavior by Aubrey Manning & Marian Stamp Dawkins. The current section talks about signal processing and how you can convince a frog that a piece of wire pipe "is" a snake by curling it in a certain direction. I wonder how much cognitive dissonance we produce in our nervous systems from false alarms by relating two symbols with "is".

Have you ever felt "I am depressed"? Or "I am the best"? Many humans spend their communication dramatizing their personal experiences into an all encompassing identity with another symbol.

Try decoding conversations you hear with sweeping "is" statements and see if you can translate them into more subjective speech. You might find yourself feeling surprise and pleasure as you rationally parse another's statement, instead of letting their full neurolinguistic programming sweep through your nervous system: "the team is the best and no one can get in their way" "ugh, that is just the worst".

You might find yourself tempted to distrust communicators who use extremes like this. If a friend says "ugh, that is just the worst" talking about getting rained on, for example, can you trust their advice when they tell you that "choosing that path across the country is the worst"?

But instead of out-right distrusting or memorizing which contexts have which meaning you can try bringing your cognitive dissonance into their mind and help them form a more accurate reflection of their world. Remember to ask them to do the same for you.

I believe you will find some use out of the above. English without the word "is" goes by the name "e-prime".


I released a GPS mileage tracker iPhone app under the name "Mileage Tracker" on the iOS App Store. You can record distance moved for business trips with the app and e-mail notes to yourself so the your largest local gang, government, can pay you back for business expenses. (At least if you reside within the USA border lines).

I do iPhone & Rails contract work at $60 an hour. One of my current projects involves building a voting web application for the Rice University Business Plan Competitions in collaboration with a former employer, ChaiONE. With ChaiONE I spent a year working on the DeliRadio project, a free independent music radio iOS & Android app.

I dropped out of college to work as a computer game designer in Sydney with Bigworld Technology. I stayed there until the economy crashed and I returned to the USA and taught myself iPhone programming.

This spring I left my job at ChaiONE to pursue an opportunity with my startup company, Ariagora. We went to Chattanooga for the GigTank incubator. Wonderful experience and beautiful city. Water, trees, music, tech and great folks. Less than 200,000 people live there!

Ariagora will function as an equity based crowdfunding platform for independent musicians so investing fans receive a piece of equity in exchange for their support. We eagerly await the SEC's equity based crowdfunding announcements in 2013.

If you find any of this relevant to your life or work you can reach me @quantumpotato and also @gmail.


If you would like a manual to your nervous system, look up Prometheus Rising.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Soap bubbles are the fairies of our time

If anyone is giving advice, who's left to take it? True insight cannot be taught, only discovered. There is no absolute truth in the world, but different perspectives and angles, and by taking a step to the left or tilting your head, you can change your point of view. You might notice that hearts are tiny stars and only they can warm up flesh and bones and skin and eyes, and illuminate, what shadows menace, and where they fade, no life is possible. If you take another step and bend your knees, you might see that the moon is just a mirror and you will discover yourself when looking at it long enough. I dare you to question yourself and anything you take for granted. I'm not giving you advice or tell you the story of my life. I, today, dare you to become aware of your ignorance.

Dresden, Germany

Building a Community

Hello, everyone!

I am the founder and owner of the startup 42Kmi. My company develops products to enhance the competitive gaming experience, and we have a website dedicated to nurturing the community and incubating talents and hobbies in the areas of games, music, art, and design. I would like share a short story with you.

The day was beautiful. The sky was clear with few clouds accenting the ever extending blue. The sun was warm like a loving embrace. A light breeze gaily danced around anything in its paths. And the mid-morning hour had an afternoon air about it. The day seemed like it could last forever.

On this day, a mother took her two young sons to the market. She planned on buying lots of food and other things for the house, and she needed the help. The twin brothers, Gaius, the older brother, and Marcus, the younger brother, both loved visiting the market. The hustle and bustle of the market was always more active and exciting than their neat and orderly home environment. The structures and rules of their home hindered the brothers’ imagination, and Mother doesn’t usually ask the boys to accompany her to the market.

“Gaius, Marcus, we need to buy some more fabrics as well!”

“Okay!” the boys chimed, with their eyes barely peeking over the layers of bread and cloths stacked in their arms. Marcus and Gaius began to talk among themselves of fun and exciting thing they would soon see.

“Livia! Livia!” a woman in the distance yelled. She was addressing the brothers’ mother. It was an old friend of Mother’s whom the boys had never met, but from seeing how their mother acts around her usual acquaintances, they knew how it would play out.

“Boys, you two wait here. Your mother is going to talk to a friend.” Mother said. She then placed her basket of rolls on the dirt ground for the boys to watch before scurrying over to her friend.

“Ahh! They’re gonna talk forever!” All day about this and that!” a frustrated Gaius exclaimed. Marcus dropped the linens he was carrying and took his seat on them.

“Yeah,” Marcus added, “Gossip, gossip, gossip.”

Some time passed as the brothers waited for their mother to return. Gaius stood with his head down, eyes closed, and his arms folded. Marcus scribbled in the dirt with a stick he found. The stick was about arms-length.

“Ahh! They’re still talking! And there’s more of them!” screamed Gaius after looking over to see his mother. There were more of them. The women had flocked together like hens pecking the same kernel of corn, squawking and quieting as each took her turn talking to then listening to another. As the brothers waited, Gaius’s impatience grew. There was so much he and Marcus wanted to see. Marcus was still playing in the dirt, preoccupied with the stick.

Then, a thought came to Gaius. “This could be fun.” he thought out loud.

“Huh?” Marcus looked up from his dirt and saliva creations only to be welcomed by what seemed like a zephyr of dirt.

“Gaius! What was that for?!” a flustered Marcus coughed, demanding an answer as he stood up. The once friendly dirt now violently burned in his eyes. Gaius ran to another area, giggling.

“Come at me!” Gaius taunted, struggling to keep a straight face, “Come at me and put on a vicious face!” Marcus was angered. He knew it was Gaius who kicked the dirt in his face. He couldn’t figure why, but he knew he wanted to get him back.

“Brother! You wear your most vicious face!” yelled Marcus, pointing his stick at his brother. Marcus could hear Gaius fighting laughter as he took flight. He ran, chasing Gaius around the market. Gaius enjoyed his run, catching only brief glimpses of some of the things he wanted to see. Marcus wanted Gaius. Nothing else. They rushed past a pottery stand, almost toppling its wares. The stand’s artisan railed at the boys, but his voice caught neither brothers’ ears. Gaius focused on outrunning Marcus. Marcus focused on catching Gaius. The brothers continued running, dodging other patrons, ducking behind stands, and diving under tables.

“I think I lost him.” Gaius thought. Marcus was nowhere to be found. In his view, Gaius saw the most beautiful linens. “He won’t find me there.” He thought the sheets whispering with the wind provided the perfect cover. Without hesitation, he darted for the sheets faster than he could. He felt dizzy, as if he just finished a race and could take refuge in first place. But he could not stop until he reached his linen sanctuary. As he came closer, the wind picked up, then billowed. The sheets slightly rose from the ground, and Gaius could see somebody’s feet, with toes clenching the ground. He could not stop himself.

“Oh no!” Gaius yelled, as if to warn the person of an unavoidable accident, but the legs didn’t move.

“Got you!!” a familiar voice sounded. Before Gaius could recall the voice, a stick shot out and gashed his left cheek. Gaius’s eyes watched as the tip of the stick entered his cheek, and his eyes watched as the stick flung blood out and onto the brilliant sheets as it exited the wound. It was Marcus.

With his thoughts collected, Gaius stopped. He examined the wound with his right hand. His blood felt cool, then hot, and the wound was deep. With his tongue, Gaius could feel the wound inside his mouth. The skin was thinner in that area. His tongue could feel his fingers. This angered him, and with the blood still fresh on his fingertips, Gaius charged and took his fist to his brother’s vicious face. He made contact. Now stained with Gaius’s blood, Marcus rose with the blood flicked linen. His grip on the stick loosened, and Gaius felt the impact as his knuckles popped and cracked against his brother’s flesh. He could feel his nails enter the palm of his tightly clenched fist.

Marcus landed and a cloud of dirt rose then fell. Dirt fell on the blood his brother left on his face. Marcus whimpered. Tears welled. His vicious expression was gone. Gaius, enveloped in rage, walked the distance his brother’s limp body traveled before settling. He squat down examining Marcus and nursing his own wound.

“Brother,” Gaius began, “Be willing to strike vigorously. Vigorously to overcome!” Gaius picked himself up and saw Marcus’s stick. The tip inked in his blood was now caked with dirt. Gaius picked up the stick, the weapon forged against him. He examined it, his cheek, and his brother. He turned from Marcus and walked away with the stick in hand. Marcus lied where he lay in the linen sanctuary, surrounded by the blood speckled sheets. “Brother, you win, yet you failed,” he snickered aloud to himself.

Walking away, Gaius falls to his knees. He soon begins to cry. He now realizes the depth of what has just transpired. He can’t help his tears. What he thought began as play quickly became real, and blood, his own blood, was drawn. This feeling was too much to bear. It choked him.

“Curses!” Gaius yelled to the sky, pounding his fists to the ground, “Curses to this day! Curses to what it brought!” His tears continue to flow before he picks himself up. He continues walking, but the day’s events keep replaying in his mind. His walk becomes staggered and stuttered. Gaius slows his pace, and stops walking. He closes his eyes and hurls the arms-length stick forward as hard as he could. The stick spirals, traveling for a moment before a crash is heard. The sound of shattered pottery. Gaius looks to the sky again, “Curses to this too!” He runs in the direction of the shattered sound.

Among the pottery shards, Gaius finds the stick. It’s still about arms length, but its tip is broken, and along with it Gaius discovered three strangely shaped, beautifully colored rocks; a cardioid shape, a star shape, and a stone oddly resembling a tomato.

“What are these three?” Gaius asked himself. He reached for the rocks, wanting the day to be over.

“They are mine, Gaius!” It was Marcus. He wanted what his brother held. He charged at his brother. Gaius could see the hate in his eyes.

“Marcus, forgi-,” before Gaius could finish, Marcus pounced on him. They rolled and rumbled in the dirt. Gaius could feel the dirt filling his wound. Marcus wanted to hurt Gaius. Gaius didn’t want to get hurt, and he didn’t want to hurt Marcus again. The brothers tumbled into many stands and bumped into many people. The struggle was great. People watched as two boys fight and fought. No one cared to stop them. Soon the brothers tumbled into a large group of women. A woman in the crowd quickly looked as these vicious boys brushed against her leg.

“Whose children are these?!” The boys froze in position. Gaius laid on the ground, holding the stick, fending off Marcus, who held the stones in his left and a raised fist in his right. The shrill voice of the nasal woman snapped the boys, dirtied from a day of brawling, back to their senses.

“Gaius! Marcus!” Mother emerged from the crowd. “Why are you boys fighting?” They couldn’t answer. They had no answer. The bothers managed to point at each other in an attempt to escape blame. Mother saw what each brother was holding and saw that her sons were dirty.

“Your playing has gotten out of hand. You two are brothers. You should behave and share like brothers.” Mother apologized to the other women and took her guilt stricken sons to collect the items they left behind and they went to finish their shopping.

This is a sample of what we do, and we're so much more. Our goal is to tap into this vast talent well or gamers and help them make their hobbies more than just that! Thank you for your time reading, and I hope you will join us!


Friday, November 16, 2012

Be ready!

What happens when you win the lottery and you lose your ticket before you claim the prize? That's kind of what just happened to me...

Against all odds I was chosen to write to The Listserve, but my 48 hour period expired. Although I usually read all Listserve emails on the day I get them, this one I didn't open on time to respond to it (48h).

This may be a lesson worth to be shared. It's a metaphor of what life is all about: taking the chances, grabbing the opportunities. Because they will arise and if we are not ready to take them it may almost be like they never even existed to us.

But in my life I have learnt that there is always a second chance. If this message is reaching you it is the proof that it is true.

So, if you are reading this...

1) Be ready to take the opportunities in your life.
2) If you think you just missed one, try to pursue it anyways, cause it may not be completely lost.
3) Learn from your mistakes so you don't miss another one, and be ready for the next.


Miguel Borges da Silva
Setúbal, Portugal

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Advice from a College Misfit

Hola, people! My name’s Emilia. Psychology student. Intrepid author, archer, singer, fencer, guitarist, language lover (any German or Spanish speakers here?), blogger, and bunny enthusiast.
If you could tell the whole world something, what would you say? I want to give a tiny little piece of advice: be a little crazy. Be a misfit. Be bubbly and exuberant and just be yourself. Cherish everything. Keep track of every detail. Jump into someone’s arms and let them spin you until your head is spinning (or, be the catcher and spinner of the person running at you). Compliment someone, dye your hair a crazy color, write some poetry. Take a chance, because damn it, you don’t know if you don’t try. Find inspiration from those around you, not celebrities. Make your own way in the world. And most importantly? Whoever and wherever you are, there is always an opportunity for your voice to be heard. Know that you’re a good person. You’re AMAZING, more so than you could ever believe – even if you never hear people say it. Be confident in yourself. You can change the world, people. Believe me, I’ve done it in my own ways and seen the results. My roommate Mariah insisted that I include the quote, “everything will be alright in the end. If it’s not alright, it’s not the end.” She said that would make you smile. I certainly hope it did, because the world is a better place even but for a single smirk (also, there are a bunch of positive side effects – but I’m not here to go all psych major on you).

Much love,
Emilia =)

Also, not to be that annoying girl who promotes her own stuff, but please check out my blog at It helps me to pay for college, yo!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Try a Tri

When most people think about triathlons, one of the first thing they think of, are those extraordinary images of ironman athletes fainting at the finish line after swimming, biking and running continuously for over 12 hours. Regular folks immediately rule it out as a sport reserved for a rare breed of elite athletes and never look back, not knowing that there is a lot more to triathlon than this.

Had you told me 2 years ago that I would be doing triathlons in 2012 I would have called you out on your shenanigans. Back in 2010 I was a hefty 190 lbs couch potato. In the summer of 2011 I got myself a bicycle, read about multisport and picked up running and swimming. By the New Year I was down to 150 lbs and felt more physically and mentally stronger than ever before. For my first season, I completed 2 triathlons and ran a half-marathon.

If you are looking for a new challenge, trying out a tri might just be for you. You will get fitter, feel better and meet awesome people all at the same time. To start off in this adventure, you will only need some kind of swim wear, a pair of running shoes and a bike. You don’t need the latest generation tri bike, any bike will do. Many people race on hybrids or mountain bikes. I have even witnessed a gentlemen competing on one of Montreal’s bikeshare program bike at a tri I raced this year.

Let’s talk about distance. For someone like me, who had no fitness base, I would highly recommend searching your area for a Sprint distance event. The swim is 700m, the bike is 20km and the run is a 5k. You can find a lot of free training plans on the internet for this distance but generally training 4 to 5 hours a week for a few months will get you through the finish line of your first Sprint triathlon.

Next up is the Olympic tri. At double the Sprint distance (1.5k swim, 40km bike and 10k run) this is starting to become a serious distance. As the name implies, this is the distance that is covered at the summer Olympics. While some novice will choose this distance for their first events, a careful preparation will be required to successfully complete the event. Hiring a coach might also be beneficial if your budget allows it.

After that we enter the world of long distance events. The half-ironman (1.9k swim, 90k bike and 21.1k run) and full ironman (3.9k swim, 180k bike, 42.2k run) is truly the holy grail of most long distance triathletes. While some will choose these distances as their first events, it is not recommended. The training regimen for such distance is very strict. Get a feel for your body on shorter events first, like a sprint or Olympic and once you feel that you have mastered those distances you will be ready to move up the ladder.

Running you first race is an incredible experience and should you choose to try a tri, you will always remember that day as an unforgettable experience. You’ll also get the bragging rights to say you completed a triathlon, something that you might have not envisioned possible just a few months ago.

I hope I was able to give you a little bit of the taste for racing a triathlon and should we cross paths at an event in the future, don’t be a stranger, come and say hello!

Nicolas Bourbillon
Montreal, Canada

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Wanna be a star?

Hi! I hope that you're having a great day, I sure am! I got this "you won the listserve lottery" email on my birthday! OK, since I've got a big audience: I teach high school in a detention facility for teen-aged repeat offenders. One of the many things that we try to do for the kids is to give them some exposure to the different kinds of opportunities they might have as adults if they manage to hang in there and finish their education. Most of the students in our classrooms have had little exposure to the wider world beyond grinding poverty and limited adult support. That's where you come in (I hope).

I am using this platform to ask you to do something for my students. And maybe for students everywhere, who knows? I'd like you to make a video, maybe 3-5 minutes, about what you do for a living. If you can try to answer the following questions, that would be awesome: 1. What kind of work do you do (day to day duties and overall) 2. How did you come to do your job? 3. What kind of education or training does your job require? 4. What kind of salary, benefits, life enhancing joy does your job offer (either now or a range of projected earnings for a career) 5. How could a young person learn more about the kind of work you do?

Please feel free to interview your co-workers, show (legal!) video of what you do and projects you're working on or have completed. Please do not feel like your job is not interesting enough. My goal is to show a broad range of career opportunities to my students. I will preview all the videos before sharing them, although I'm sure that none of you would send along something inappropriate.

Please upload the video to YouTube and then email me the link to with any commentary that you feel might help or support your video.

Please do *not*: Tell us your last name or contact information in the video, although I would be glad to have that in the email that you send. Use gratuitous language or depict any violent or inappropriate images. Worry about the quality of your video - the students will be able to get something from it!

I have no idea how this will turn out. I'm really excited to find out.

I'd like to thank you in advance for doing something to help out a bunch of kids who were born between a rock and a hard place.

Yours in teaching and learning,
The Collaborative for Educational Services is the school I work for, just so you know where your stuff is headed.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Akasha, The most Noble & Greatest of Danes

Greetings Planet Earth! - Thank you ListServe for this opportunity & service.

Ok.. first of all, I don't want to come off as a freak that keeps a dog in my fanny pack & has to show you pics till your eyes bleed. I simply want to share an experience that I had with a particular dog that will have forever changed my life. & no offense if you do keep your dog in our purse/man purse, just as long as the dog is healthy & happy no beef with me. But I do find I get along with most animals better than most people, me thinks,... I need to Bark at the Moon.

I come from a large ranch in So. Texas. We had so many dogs, all sorts of breeds, some of the Shepherds we had will always live in my heart, somewhere. However It has been just over a month since my Wife & I put down my most impressive companion of 13 years, my Greatest of Danes, Akasha. So few dogs truly have near genius intellect. As a fresh pup I only had to show her, her the accidents twice, before she was at the door! Then I noticed at a very young age of some 50 days that she'd look in the direction of what I was focusing my eyes on when giving her commands. Soon she wouldn't let me leave the house without a defiant F*** You bark. As far as she was concerned, if i was suiting to go to mars, she expected there to be a perfectly Great Dane shaped space suit. I'm not saying even the average dog isn't incredibly resourceful & smart. But once & again a dog comes into your life & you come to realize that, the Noble creature is so much a companion & truly needs to attend to your needs. The very definition of man's best friend. She was nothing short of the finest of Canine Ambassadors to the Human Race. (& gave the finest and most plentiful of HUGS) It was my honor to make the last year of her life, unforgettable on her good days & cared for her every need on the bad. She never slept on the ground in her life, even when we backpacked, & because of this she had never had a callous, anywhere. I took the best care of her, as she took amazing care of me as well as several of the people so close to me, like a Mother. I know that Akasha would want me to set her ashes on the mantle & find myself a new best friend. Creatures comprised of such intense love & kindness can never die, she was in her life an old soul. I can only be most thankful that we were able to lay her to rest in the best possible manner here at our home. In foresight 13 years on a Great Dane is 91 in human years. Now I see it getting cold & I am a bit thankful she isn't suffering through it, it would've been one hard winter for her. So I can only hope that we allowed her to pass with dignity & love. I truly won the lotto when I picked her as a pup, & I hope I win the doggie lotto again :P. Truthfully, I could have an enormous amount of money & it would not make me happy, Akasha was priceless. I will forever have the hardest time referring to her as a Dog.

To all animal owners! Read about the food you feed your pets, Knowledge is power! If you take Vitamins, Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Fish Oil, youself. Chances are some of your animals can benefit greatly from these as well. I've had the great fortune in my life to have had some amazing animals & never underestimate how affectionate any of them can be especially Birds, or even some Reptiles, I had an Iguana that opened my eyes completely he loved attention. & would even wake me up in the morning 6am sharp for breakfast, kinda blew my mind cause he'd follow me in the kitchen climb up my undies to get at the greens as I was chopping em. Ever had an Iguana wake you up looking out the side of his head like a bird right on top of your face & he's some 7 feet long? Yea, Louie was a great Iguana believe it they can absolutely be housebroken & its so much better for them.

-just today PBS Nature Vid Great Dane & Deer best friends on youtube. Check it out its a teak jerker. The Dane is a splitting Image of mid aged Akasha- respond if you'd like a picture to see yourself. Well.. I'll stop rambling & yet you ladies & gentlemen get on with you days. its been a pleasure.

Please to all those who have lost noble creatures that have changed you, my heart goes out to you. I don't know if there is an afterlife, but if there is, & there are no dogs there, I want no part of it!

Quote from an old Preacher I met in Gatlinburg Tennessee- "A man has his Dog, His Truck, & his Wife, & in that Order" :P

Mike Hägg
Edgewood, New Mexico, USA

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Dark

Hello Listserve,

My name is Sloan and I am senior at Gonzaga University in Washington State. I enjoy reading all of your insights and reflection every morning when I wake up. I can relate and learn from each and every one of you.

Here is my story … in the course of 8 weeks last spring everything that I used to call familiar changed. My foundation of my family shattered when we learned my dad was having an affair and wanted a divorce from my mom. My heart broke further when I lost my hero and best friend in life, my grandfather. Everything that used to comfort me was now hurting me. Sometime I questioned if I was strong enough to get through what was the darkest time of my life. But I read a book:

“A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss” by Gerald Sittser. This book talks about his struggle with suffering after losing three generations of his family in the course of one night due to a car accident. In his book, he offers up some insights to dealing with suffering: he says, when dealing with suffering you have choices… you can run from your problems and the darkness, but that darkness will continue to chase after you trying to engulf you. Sittser questions, what would happen if you turned around and ran straight into the darkness and faced your darkness, however hard it is, until you reach the light at the end of the darkness?

That is what I decided to do. I faced my problems and ran straight into the darkness. It was not easy and it is still not easy. I do not know if I am completely out of my darkness but I know one thing: I am stronger than I ever thought I was.

I encourage each of you to face your darkness and run to the light. It is not easy and it will be hard most days but I will tell you that you will become stronger, more self-reliant, and understand yourself better than you ever imagined.

Here is my last thought, it is my favorite quote from another amazing book: "When you're deprived of all still have the most important freedom of all, which no one can take away from you: that is the freedom to choose what kind of person you want to be." ― Ingrid Betancourt, “Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle.

Thanks for reading my email. Feel free to reach out.

Sloan Westerman
East Wenatchee, Washignton, US

Saturday, November 10, 2012

“Oh god, I’m so old.”

I turned twenty-three last Friday and I now find myself at a bizarre crossroads in my life. I just hit the one-year mark of my first real career job. I’m in the industry that I went to school for. I’m sitting behind a desk inside an iconic building in Toronto where I schedule television shows for the largest Canadian television network. I have a salary, I have a benefit package, and I’m doing well enough financially to support myself for the next few years.

Getting back to that bizarre crossroads now – I feel like I’m older than I actually am. I can’t go on Facebook now without seeing people I know getting pregnant or getting engaged or also getting career jobs. It doesn’t help though that this is counter-balanced by all the people on my Facebook that are still getting hammered every weekend and doing nothing with their lives. Who do you want to be, Bon?

“Whoo! Dranks with mah gurlz!”
“Cancun 2012!”

You know what I mean.

Getting down to the nitty-gritty, I’m making a bold assumption that this is all stemming from the fact that I’m single and actively want to be in a relationship. No more of this going out and getting laid business. I think I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve made the joke, “We get it! You’re happy!” whenever a couple walks by – unfortunately there’s a half-truth buried in there somewhere. Truth be told, I haven’t had a steady girlfriend in a few years. Keyword: Steady. I’ve had a few “girlfriends” the few years that have always been on-off-on-off but never one steady enough to actually say, “Yo, I’m dating this girl.”

My problem is that I watch too many romantic comedies that star Ryan Gosling. Why can’t I be Ryan Gosling? Give me the rain moment – I totally earned it. I’ll totally renovate a house for you. Or I can pull that stunt from Love Actually where Andrew Lincoln shows up at Keira Knightley’s door with cue cards. You know what I’m talking about, don’t even lie. Now I just have to channel my inner Shane West in A Walk to Remember and name a star after my next girlfriend.

Wow, did I just write that last paragraph? Moving along.

This has played out like an overly long dating service video. It really isn’t. I’m not lying around going, “WHY CAN’T I FIND A GIRLFRIEND!?” It takes second-fiddle to whatever is going on in my life at the moment that is infinitely more important.

I’ve literally written this as a stream of conscious and know what I realized? I’m twenty-three year old. I’m not old at all. My life is so fun and I honestly couldn’t care less that I’m still single. I have a concert to go to tonight. I have two birthday parties next weekend. I have another two concerts the following weekend. And then it’s the holidays.

Did I say something about a crossroads earlier? Forget that. If anyone in the Toronto area wants to dance their heart out or have an evening of shuffling through my overly large collection of romantic comedies, let me know.

I had to end it as if it was a dating service video, it was just too easy.

Bon Morrison
Toronto, Ontario

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Story From Heaven

It is a cold September evening. A girl, tall, a bit shy, has her first ballroom dancing lesson. Her friends have persuaded her to go. But her concerns about not meeting a boy who is tall enough are quickly forgotten because of him.

While learning the first steps of Slow Waltz, the two enjoy a nice chat each other on first sight. It is time to say goodbye. But no, both are by bike and both are heading the same direction.

When the girl tells her mother of him, he is not an unknown. His grandmother is one of her customers.

When he comes home, he tells his mother that he has met the Love of his Life! She is skeptical because he is only 14.

They become a couple. But happy times shall not last very long. Her inner wound turns out to be a big obstacle. After only 6 months, he breaks up with her.

They are now going separate ways, but connected through an invisible band... for 3.5 years! Their love is given a second chance. Everything could be perfect. But life does not always follow logical rules. While she is healed, he feels lost and uncertain. It takes some time to recover.

*Magic evening at musical “Lion King” *Message in a bottle she buried for him *Proposal accompanied by two shooting stars *Many occurences of “7”, crowned by the Wedding on 07.07.2007

Who is writing stories like this?

I Love You, Nina

Hamburg, Germany

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Fernando Prado Miranda

Ei there.

I’m a Brazilian 21 yr old but my great-grandparents were from Japan - that can impress even those who know me well, given the lack of slanted eyes or a peculiar surname.

I think you should listen to Peter Bjorn & John songs that are NOT "Young Folks".

I’ve been working with account planning in an advertising agency for almost 2 years now, and my main freetime hobby lately has been bread-baking. This weekend I plan on baking my first bread made with a natural starter (or levain) I've been working on for the past weeks.

You should also google Inhotim and find out what it is all about.

I’m really into traveling, little into spending lots with it, quite into meeting new people.

So I think you should drop me a line if ever coming to Brazil, and I’d be very glad if anyone could offer me a couch spot in..say.. Tokyo or Portland anytime ;) (or whichever incredible places you all live at).


To me, that’s the thing about Listserve:

Actually connecting interesting people instead of accumulating versions of “life-is-short-do-what-you-love" messages that stream from sender to recipients and rarely the other way around. (no offence ;-))

I was quite pleased to read and reply to someone who cooks dinners from all over the world, and amused by the fact that Oxford Comma is not only a song by Vampire Weekend, for example.

Hopeful for connecting,

Fernando Prado Miranda
São Paulo Brazil

Monday, November 5, 2012

My two words

So the story goes.....A little bird was flying south for the winter. It was so cold that the bird froze and fell to the ground into a large field. While he was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on him. As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, he began to realize how warm he was. The dung was actually thawing him out!
He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy. A passing cat heard the bird singing under the pile of cow dung and promptly dug him out and ate him.

Moral of the story:

(1) Not everyone who shits on you is your enemy.
(2) Not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend.
(3) If you are happy and warm in a pile of shit then it's smart to keep your mouth shut!

.........and the doctor recommends (I really am one) :-

1) Make an effort to smile everyday, it will help you live longer.
2) Don't forget how to use a pen. 2) Enjoy your single malt scotch as it was intended...straight and unadulterated. 3) Take time to sit with your eyes closed for atleast 10 will open up your mind.
4) Read IF by Rudyard Kipling and Auguries of Innocence by Wiliam Blake.
5) Everything will be alright at the end, if it's not alright then it's not the end

Live long and prosper my friends!

Aniruddh Behere
Springfield Illinois, USA

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A quote and a joke

Once a friend told me, "o godz--the building across the street just grew a proboscis."

It was construction season in Boston.


Two mathematicians, Joe and Bob, are in a restaurant. Joe is talking about how he feels that math education has really improved in his lifetime.

Bob is a grumpy old man. He disagrees. Strongly.

Joe says, "You know, I bet the average person on the street even knows a little calculus." Bob laughs.

Bob goes to the bathroom. While he's gone, Joe calls their waitress over and tells her: "Listen, I'm going to ask you to come over here in about five minutes. When you do, I'll ask you a question. I want you to answer "One-third x cubed." If you do, I'll leave an extra $5 in the tip."

The waitress blinks at him. "One thir-dex cue?"

"Sure, close enough."

Bob comes back from the bathroom and Joe says, "Look, I'll bet our waitress knows the integral of x squared."

Bob scoffs. Joe bets him $10.

They call the waitress over and Joe asks her the integral of x squared. As instructed, she answers "One third x cubed".

And as she's walking away, she calls back over her shoulder, "plus a constant."

Boston, MA

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Frances Gill


1. I’m 21 and a pre-med student. I like reading writing cleaning yoga and drinking. I work in a pizzeria.
2. Who are you??
4. If by any chance you work at a zoo please email me and invite me to come hang out with and talk to and pet wild animals I would love that more than anything and would find a way to repay you for your kindness.
5. Currently waiting for Hurricane Sandy to hit Brooklyn…


There are a good number of days when I wake up hating myself. Sometimes I fall asleep hating myself and sometimes I have a weird dream that leaves me unsettled or off kilter and things start to crumble from there. It wasn't until about a year ago that I started to begin the process of realizing that this penance I was serving was not only unnecessary, but was destructive and self-perpetuating, was in fact the evils of the world coming to rest for a moment in my heart. I am starting to learn to take deep breaths and to override my own maladaptive mechanisms and to trust my instincts and to be free from this self-imposed tyranny and also of course to realize how much more frightening that is. I cry a lot but I think that's good and I'm extremely happy and lucky to have people in my life who can set my mind at ease.



Frances Gill
Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York

Friday, November 2, 2012

Happy Friday!

  _ _
 / | \__  __   __  _ _
/  ~  \_\ __ \ __ < | |
\  Y  // \|_> >|_> >__|
 \_|_/(__/ __/| __//__|
         |_|  |_|
________    _   __
\_ ____/__ |_| |_/  __  _ _
 | __)\__ \|  / _|  \_\< | |
 | \ | |   V //_/| /__\\__ |
 \_/ |_|   |_\___|(___/____|

I love Fridays.
The work week is winding down.
There is an air of excitement.
People planning, chatting, obsessing about what they are up to.
There are stories, laughs and guilty pleasures.
Then a beer or two and the weekend is in full swing.

What are you dong this weekend? You should do something awesome!
Happy Friday every one.

Trev Nowak

Thursday, November 1, 2012

From a country of (literally) thousands islands

Hey there

Such a pleasant, odd chance to write to you. Thank you. I am a gen Y living in a developing country named Indonesia, working as a marketer in fmcg industry.

I read listserve e-mails every morning, love it. Most of them come from US though, so perhaps on this rare occasion to be selected, would like to share about this country, Indonesia, in 6 points:

1. We're located in south-east Asia. Neighbor to Thailand. Malaysia. Singapore. North of Australia.

2. We have total 17,508 islands and more than 500 different local languages

3. The most famous holiday spot is Bali, i believe. Pretty island beaches, rich culture, great people. Get called island of gods sometime.

4. Your Sumatra and Java coffee come from here. Of islands with same name

5. We have the tastiest instant noodle ever: Indomie. Maybe you can find one in ur local chinatown. They sell it in Amazon as well :D

6. Second largest home of Facebook user, and 6th largest for Twitter. Well since we're like the 4th most populated country in the world filled with happy chatty people. Haha.

Ok that's about my wordcount limit I guess. Wish you a pretty day. Do write to me if you want, it's nice to find more real people e-mails in the mailbox full of engine-generated mails nowadays :)

Jakarta, Indonesia