Friday, May 31, 2013

Balcony Lights

In order to get on the bus in Las Vegas, your skateboard has to be in a bag. This usually means pulling a plastic grocery bag out of the bus stop trash can and draping it over the wheels enough so that the bus driver just gives up and nods you on. I took the Rainbow bus south from my house to my best friend’s house, then we’d take the Tropicana bus east to Maryland Parkway to Balcony Lights.

The shows were always on punk time so they wouldn’t be starting for another hour, at least. We’d go upstairs and read zines or comics in the zine library, our impressionable minds fascinated by the revolutionary ideas of CrimethInc.

We saw Kaospilot, Van Johnson, Bafabegiya, Curl Up and Die, This Virus Makes Us Human, Zann, D’amore, and End of a Year, maybe all in one summer. These shows were the first time I can remember feeling like a part of something bigger than myself, crowded together with dozens of sweaty bodies, moshing around with the restrained aggression of angry punks that wanted to fuck shit up… without knocking any of the records off the wall. We had a really cool secret, avant garde and hardcore.

I picked up flyers there for crazy house shows that I’m still not sure how I convinced my parents to drop me off at. Later, I dropped off flyers there for my own shows. Later still, I came to help clean up and pick through the last of the records as the record store that raised me, closed its doors.

I love Balcony Lights.


My Mom, a schoolteacher, is allergic to kumquats. As a kid, she and I always liked when the music truck would drive through our neighborhood. Imagine my surprise years later when I found out the music truck served ice cream. I love her, and my Dad who showed me how to be man.


I’m embarrassingly proud of my friends that do impressive and creative things:

Get inspired by Darcie Burrell’s book ‘Fine.’ or ‘Sorry Mom’ on her website. I’ve known her since middle school.

Watch Oh Nickel on YouTube tell more awesome stories and make original music videos. He came with me to Balcony Lights.

Wear Labyrinth Clothing, made by my friend Nader Boraie

Listen to my buddies in the bands Caravels and Leather Lungs.


To Do (Good):

Learn about how Monsanto is the absolute fucking worst.

Read ProPublica online and Howard Zinn offline.

Microfinance; Kiva makes it easy.

Eat less meat. Add nutritional yeast and Bragg’s aminos liberally, to everything.

Take a theater or improv class. We’re all just acting here.

Vote(?) and do something about it.

Couchsurf, obviously.

Give trees as gifts – Arbor Day Foundation.

Set SMART goals. Classify and prioritize them like this: 1) Low Work, High Reward, 2) High Work, High Reward, 3) Low Work, Low Reward, 4) High Work, Low Reward.

Recognize which of the balls you are juggling are rubber and which are glass.

Invest in the places you spend the most time. Remember, you’ll spend a third of your life in bed too, so get a good one.

Visit Tribu Hostel on Isla Holbox with someone you love.


Call my Google Voice +1(810)373-2677 or go to dialadream at blogspot, especially if you have a cool accent. It’s a project I started but never finished. I’ll call you back if you want!

Email me with links, bands, vegan recipes, and travel recommendations, especially warm places with waterfalls.

I’ll have Google Fiber soon, so come visit.

Thanks for the incredible honor and pleasure.

Quinn Bott @quinnbott
Kansas City, Kansas, USA

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Leap of Faith

I have moved countries to be with the person I love. To be specific, I moved from a small town in Germany, away from a great job and a great apartment, to the beautiful land of New Zealand.

Ten years have passed and it wasn't always easy. There are still moments where I very much miss my loving family and my german friends, but looking at me now and then-how much have I grown personally and professionally! It was the best decision of my life!

What I am trying to say is, sometimes in life it is important to take a leap of faith. I know it is scary, overwhelming (and exciting) but don't hold yourself back from venturing into life. Live your life to the fullest. Sometimes it takes a leap of faith to really start up your life.

(The person who I met 10 years ago at 2 Kingsley Street in Auckland is now my husband, my best friend and the love of my life who has brought out the best in me. The past ten years have been the best years of my life…may there be many more to come x)

Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorial Day

The timing for winning the lottery is pretty good. As a veteran from a family with a long military history, Memorial Day means a lot to me. But not really for the reason that most people think. There is a difference between Memorial Day and Veteran's Day. Veteran's Day is the one where we give thanks to all that have served, but Memorial Day is supposed to be a somber day set aside for remembrance of those that have died serving their country. It is just a day for a barbecue or a killer sale at Best Buy or the like. It is not a happy day. If you want to see what Memorial Day is really about, search for the video of the Marine that stood at attention and saluted for something like 6 hours during the Rolling Thunder parade in D.C. He was there to salute his fellow Marines that could not be there because they made the ultimate sacrifice.

I don't think I can sum it up any better than my friend did today on Facebook. She is a master sergeant in the Air Force. She wrote:

"Please learn and teach your children the difference between Memorial Day and Veteran's Day. If you want to thank a Veteran - thank them on Veteran's Day or any other day of the year if you're so inclined."

"Memorial Day is set aside for remembering those that died while serving their country. It is not a happy day. It is a day of rememberance of comrades, friends, and family members who have fallen in service to their country. Never wish anyone a Happy Memorial Day. If you can't think of something more appropriate to say, simply say nothing. We understand and respect your silence much more than your cheery well wishes."

Thank you, Mic. Well said.

Tony Bundschuh
Parker, CO

Monday, May 27, 2013


Today. May25th, 2013 was our 89th Sisters’ Day adventure! Almost 7 ½ years ago, my 3 sisters and I realized that even though we all lived close, we didn't see each other often. We have always been a close family, but between work and taking care of our families, we were letting too much time go by between visits. After our mother died in 2003, we all grieved separately, coming together mostly for holidays. We have always been a family that puts fun on the top of our list, but after mama died, our fun times together became fewer and farther between.
I am not sure who came up with the brilliant idea of setting aside one Saturday a month, come hell or high water, that we would do SOMETHING together. We really had not formulated a long term plan.
The first Sisters’ Day outing was in January of 2006. We started off easy - with a trip to an Antique Mall and lunch, A couple of more trips and we discovered our passion…….HIKING! So the majority our Sisters’ Day have been day trips to State Parks. When the weather is too cold or too hot we choose something else: a play, a museum, botanical gardens or a movie. We have had some wonderful adventures, but whatever we do, we find humor, laugh til we cry (or wet our pants) and sing all the songs we know (and some we don’t!) Occasionally we even allow our younger brother, Bill, to tag along.
We have gotten lost on unmarked trails in the North Georgia Mountains, had picnics in the rain, gone to a Kangaroo conservatory, a butterfly Festival, saw some great shows at the Fox Theater, discovered a frozen waterfall on Pigeon Mountain, and climbed to the top of Amicolola Falls. We have hiked countless miles, visited wildlife parks, and corn mazes. We had a whirlwind trip to the beach…………yes in one day…….we drove 5 hours to Tybee Island, basked in the sun, had a picnic, toured a Fort and drove the 5 hours back. Our big day trip was to NYC in December of 2008. We boarded a flight from Atlanta at 5 am, got to New York and hit the ground running! Top of the Empire State Building, Central Park, Times Square, Staten Island Ferry, Ground Zero then back to Atlanta by 2am. What a wonderful, exhilarating exhausting day!
No matter what the “trip of the month is” long or short, we make the most of it. It is not so much WHAT you do or WHERE you go, but the time that is spent with one another. Don’t let time slip away and the stress of everyday living get in the way of making time for family. It doesn't have to be expensive or time consuming. But you have to make a conscious effort.
Now after 89 trips, countless hours in the car together, hundreds of miles hiked, and dozens and dozens of picnics ………we are still going strong and we are still having fun!
I would love to hear from you and your thoughts or experiences about family and your time together!

Yours truly,

Sunday, May 26, 2013

You're not lost. Just somewhat off the way.

I feel like there is only one thing I should use this llittle space I have to speak to you for.

Most of us know our ups and downs, those moments when you think it couldn't get any worse, but then it does. Or those, when you're just feeling overwhelmed by your past, present and the future you imagine yourself in. You know the deal, felt that darkness, I guess.

I have a best friend. Her name is Tina, and through the years she had to deal with quite a few bad things happening to her, herself. Lately, she hasn't been feeling well and I really wish for her to feel better soon, and to not feel guilty about being in the state that she is in right now. I love her. I won't give up on her. She is a great person. In fact one of the kindest, most intelligent, funny and warm ones I have ever met. So, I guess what I want her to know, is, that she's not alone. And that everything about her is right, and being sad is not a personal flaw of hers. And if you, the person getting this e-mail, are feeling sad or lonely, I wish for you to feel better soon! I know there are things in life, that make you feel like the sun won't come out anymore. Please talk to someone. If not a friend, maybe a professional. You are not weak just for asking for help. You. are. not.

This one is for her, for my wonderful friends and the ones feeling lost. You're not! If any of you want to give Tina the warm fuzzies, I would appreciate it a lot!

Love. Take care of yourself. Look out for each other.

Leipzig, Germany

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Wow. WOW.

I am excited to be doing this. Some might even say I'm fazed! WOW. Wow. .

Lunch time seems to be the time people go get ripped. They prefer to do this over wasting their time on the internet spending time with people like me.

A few of them seem to like being in diapers, and will often interject with a... better diap it up!

Peter is having bacon.

I Thank! all of you for reading this. I hope you get something out of it.

I might go to the supermarket later and get some tangerelles.

What is ticking you off?

What rox for you?

Please don't eat all those corndogs!

Did you know about rusty car?


Friday, May 24, 2013

Down with "capitalism"!

I have no life lessons or inspiration to offer you. Mathematical beauty is "my thing", but I can't give you pictures! (But you can search for my name; I seem to be the only one on the Web.)


I've been a political (or antipolitical) radical for long enough to lose the appetite for preaching without provocation. But I'll take this opportunity to make one point about the word CAPITALISM, which means at least two very different things:

* A free market, in which private property and services are exchanged without anyone's permission.

* Government benefits to existing businesses, including subsidies and regulations designed to prevent or discourage competition from new businesses.

Conservative politicians point to the first to gain approval for the second. Progressive politicians point to the second to scare you away from the first. Despite their rivalry for office, they share a vital interest in preserving the system, and thus in obscuring the difference between the two "capitalisms".

So I've stopped using the word "capitalism", at least on its own. For the first I say "free market" or "open market". I haven't quite decided what to call the second; it has been called "crony capitalism" and "neo-mercantilism".

Next time you use or hear the word "capitalism", I hope you'll stop and ask, "Wait, which capitalism?"


If you've read this far, your reward is my favorite quick'n'easy recipe:

In a baking dish, melt one-third of a stick (40g) of butter. Blend in half a cup (118cc) of honey, one tablespoon (15cc) of prepared mustard, and one tablespoon (15cc) of curry powder. Roll two chicken breasts in this sauce. Bake for an hour at 350°F (176°C), turning & basting once. Serve with rice.


Anton Sherwood

Thursday, May 23, 2013

On the Importance of Making Things

I am a procrastinator. True to style, I've left this to last minute (won't be pulling an all-nighter for the Listserve, so this has to be sent off before bed-time, no exceptions) and haven't spent much time on what to talk about, or why I should.

It's going to be easiest if I pick something fresh in my head. And since I procrastinated to get here... procrastination it is. Yesterday I had an argument (neither of us angry, so maybe 'argument' isn't the right word) with my partner-in-crime, about my lack of follow-through on things that interest me. He thinks I could do more with the things I know, and he hates seeing me do things he sees as a waste of time. I think he's got a point, but I also partially disagree.

There are a lot of things I like. I love to learn, even if that learning never goes further than being useful when it's pub trivia night. I put into practice some of the things I've learned, but most of it just sits there in my head.

His point (I think) is that I should put my interests into practice more, because I have it all there so I shouldn't waste it. Make stuff, write things, become better at things that are right now more like abstract interests than actual skills, so I can make more things.

It is disheartening to think about how little I give back to the people who've taught me things. The internet is perfect for people like me: I can learn whatever I want, because other people have done the work to put it out there. I wonder how many people actually contribute actively to the internet, excluding Facebook and blogging. Surely there's not all that many people, proportionately, creating and contributing to the giant crazy online world the rest of us get to enjoy. More watchers than makers. Perhaps it's always been that way.

Back to the argument ('discussion'?). He's a consummate maker, and it suits him. I don't know many people who DO as much creatively as he does. I'm not sure I'll ever keep up, and I think that's ok. With that said, I definitely should do less of the putting-stuff-off, and more of the 'doing'. But I'd like to extend his definition of 'making stuff that's worthwhile' beyond just unique creations. I reckon it should also count if you can plan a great party, or have a well-kept garden, or can name all the moons of Jupiter. The things I like to read about feed into making me myself, which feeds through into everything else I do.

What do you think? How much do you 'output'? Is it enough to just learn? I'd like to know what you think, even if it's that I'm being wanky and dull and should stop rambling. Which I'll do now, in any case. Thanks for listening!

Melbourne, Australia

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Girls just wanna have fun

I was going to take this opportunity to talk about something entirely different, but after something that happened yesterday, I'm going to use it to clear up a few misconceptions about a topic very dear to me.

My mom is an English professor. During one of her classes, she looked at her students and asked "How many of you here would identify as a feminist?". To her dismay, about three or four of the twenty-some students raised their hands, and all of them were female.

"Let me ask you something," she said. "How many of you believe in equal rights for women?" Everyone raised their hands. "How many of you believe women should be paid the same amount as men in the workplace?" They all raised her hands again. Mom smiled. "Then you are all feminists."

The first two definitions of feminism, as per, are:

[fem-uh-niz-uhm] Show IPA
the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.
( sometimes initial capital letter ) an organized movement for the attainment of such rights for women.

If you'll look, you see none of the common misconceptions of feminism, which include:
1. hating men
2. burning bras
3. getting angry when men hold doors open for them
4. trying to take over the world with our feminine wiles
5. obliterating men altogther and releasing them as a fine powder into the atmosphere (okay, I'm embellishing just a bit)

The reality is that feminists are sick of the way women are portrayed, the way they are pitted against each other and the way that society tells their bodies are shameful and that they should hate them for not looking good enough for men.

Yesterday I had a guy refuse to let me help him lift heavy things for the mere fact that I was a woman, even though I had just carried one of those "heavy" things (which, for the record, really weren't that heavy) across the floor to him with ease. Instead of standing there and arguing with him, I decided it said more about him than me, and I left. And that was when I knew what to write about for the Listserve.

A few traditional sexist practices need a little clarification, too. If a man refuses to hit a woman because he just doesn't hit women, he's doing it for the wrong reason. You shouldn't hit a woman because she's a person, just like you shouldn't hit a man because he's a person. When you hold a door open for a woman, you should hold it open because it's polite to hold a door open for anyone. And, regardless of which gender the person holding the door open identifies with, you should always say thank you. But that's a "common courtesy" issue, so I'll stop there.

My aim with this e-mail wasn't necessarily to change minds, but rather to help some of you understand that you might just be a feminist without knowing it. And that's okay. Most of the negative aspects associated with feminism are radical and certainly not the thoughts of every feminist, or are non-existant altogether.

I have a lot to say on various topics, not all of them necessarily political, social, or even negative. If you're interested, I invite you to check out my blog. Google "kcooperwriting" and you'll find me a few links down under my Twitter account.

Thanks for reading. I've really enjoyed all the Listserve e-mails so far, especially those with projects linked to them.

Katie Cooper Butland
Moncton NB Canada

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Sense of Place

Hi there,

If we've met before, hi again.

My name is Anthony Albright and I am lost. In that, my hobby is drifting — across places, across people, across ideas. I enjoy finding myself surprised and delighted by the energy of the city street, which finds its own uses for things.

If you were at Nicole He's Listserve Internet Picnic in Prospect Park last August, you might remember me as the fifteen-year-old from San Diego. If we got to chatting — or if we ever have, for that matter — I've probably told you that my greatest fascination is with airport wayfinding signage.

Wayfinding signage represents for me an intermodality that I understand as a cognizance of the nuances that distinguish for us between platforms and cast a sense of place. This intermodality is some kind of fully lucid weave through fleeting moments of interstitial space.

It is a consciousness that I have come to understand as a constant process of at once being completely awash in the present and being a complete reflection of everything from there to now.

It is a hasty jog across the metro station platform, as a transfer is made from one arriving train to the next departing one. It is the intuitive dance of starting to dismount from your bicycle as it is still decelerating, so that as it comes to a full stop, you find it at your side. It is a foray into the crosswalk on a brisk afternoon. As your hands dig into your coat pockets, your head falls into a low nod as you lean your leading foot off the curb. You are compelled onto the street and into a future that becomes the very moment.

To characterize this consciousness of being lost in the city, I think immediately of a prose poem written by Charles Baudelaire, stumbled upon during a long trip taken to my city's central library a few weeks ago.

…'O night! O refreshing darkness! For me you are the signal of an inner festival, you are deliverance from anguish. In the solitude of the plain [...], the blaze of streetlights, you are the fireworks of the goddess Liberty.'

It is now 1:24 a.m. on Sunday, May 19th, 2013. I gaze at the soft red luminescence of the late-night MTS trolley car and I hear the distant sputter of the viscera that is the city at this hour.

This multi-sensory post-midnight glow that San Diego is bathed in, I am awash in it. And it is most beautiful.

I find myself now in tenth grade, but that does not mean that I am not an unschooler at heart. This means that I allow myself to be awash in everything. It entails frequent trips to San Diego's Lindbergh Field. I visit not to travel, but to take in the experience of movement. It entails getting lost in people too. For the very first time last month, I found myself in the position of being chastised by my high school for engaging in a very public display of affection. I have never felt more complete.

Reader, write me an email. We're both so very real. Let's relish in that. Let's start something. Maybe we can partake in some shared meaningfulness. Maybe we can mesh our personal networks of dots into something completely unlike anything else.

I don't know. I really don't know. But I can tell you that I will do my very best.

Oh, and thank you, everyone at the Internet Picnic, for a most wonderful afternoon.

Anthony Albright
San Diego, California

Monday, May 20, 2013

Purpose of Life

The earlier message from The Listserve was a repeat from yesterday's e-mail from Steve Reid. Today's winner, Hesham Naiem, graciously tweeted us: "@thelistserve Today's mail (my Turn) is not what i sent and repeated from yesterday with different subject with my name I'm Very Lucky." Sorry, Hesham. Here's his message:


What is the purpose of everything?

How did we get here?

"What is the meaning of Life?"

You might be amazed to learn, that Islam is providing clear and concise answers for these questions. Have you heard about “The Stanford Prison Experiment”? Or maybe you’ve seen the movie “The Experiment”? . Zimbardo is a famous psychologist who used to teach at Stanford University, and made this experiment. Twenty-four males were part of it; twelve were assigned the roles of “prisoners” and the other twelve were assigned the roles of “guards”. A mock prison was created.

Each person had to play their role for two weeks. However, the experiment had to stop after six days as a result of what happened. The participants got too involved in their roles, that it had become more to them than just an experiment. The guards who were given ultimate power and wooden batons became extremely violent and tortured the prisoners. The prisoners on the other hand suffered from depression and humiliation as a result of the guards’ acts.

I recently watched the movie and I couldn’t stop thinking; “What were those people thinking? How did this happen? They knew it was an experiment, how could they just drift into it like this?”

Then I realized how this experiment could be a metaphor of this Life we are living in. This Life is temporary! We all know that, but for some reason most of us do not live according to it. We strive to build careers as if it is the end of the world. We fight for money even with the closest of people. We worry about tomorrow when we are not even sure we will make it through today.

These things can do little or nothing to bring happiness because regardless of what he or she would gain in this life they would always live in fear of what will happen to them in the end.

Worship of the [Allah in Arabic] as a primary goal or aim in life provides a believer with everything he needs. The word for total surrender, submission, obedience, purity of heart and peace in the Arabic language is "Islam". Those who try to perform these actions are called "Muslims" .

Because Islam teaches that this life is only a test or trial for the individual to show him his true nature, it is only natural that he would accept death as not so much an ending to everything but more as a beginning of the final and lasting life in the Hereafter.

Every person will be rewarded [or punished] according to their attitude, efforts during this stay on earth. None will be asked about the actions and beliefs of others, nor will anyone be asked regarding that which he was unaware of or incapable of doing. As a result, The Permanent or Afterlife will either be spend in luxurious splendor(Heaven) or miserable punishment (Hell)

This life is very meaningful and purposeful to the Muslim, as he realizes that it will determine his outcome and permanent position in the Next Life. For a disbeliever the purpose of this life is to collect and amass great wealth, money, power and position. But all of this will not avail them anything good in the in the Next Life.

Look how Islam solves the mystery of life. It provides the answers to the questions and concern of the human beings on all levels .It is quite simple. The purpose of life as understood by the Muslim can be simply stated in only two words:

Obey God!

Hesham Naiem
Cairo, Egypt

Purpose of Life

I think this list of people are very like minded. The majority of emails are about people's life stories and advice. I thought I'd do the same and also teach you something crazy at the end anyone can learn to do.

I don't think life needs to complicated. Keep people in your life you enjoy being with who support you to pursue opportunities that allow you to live closer to the life you want to live. In turn you do the same for them.

I'm 24 years old and deep into the "experience and learn as much as possible" time of my life. This is all with boundaries of course (I don't want to experience what it's like to take Heroin). I feel very fortunate to have experienced things like winning a national soccer championship in University, having an amazing connected intimate relationship, and experiencing different cultures through travelling. I've learned a lot so far and I'm excited to experience and learn more in the coming years.

I remember having a conversation with an older man (about 50 years old) who has a very good understanding of the state of the world and how it works. He basically said our generation was screwed and there was no way to fix things like rising global temperatures and the economic systems of countries like the USA. I thought that was a very pessimistic way of looking at it, but I could understand why he thought that way. He doesn't know what our generation knows about the potential of technology.

I've come to the conclusion that the world is going to be a very different place in the next 30 years because of technology. I see it as a good kind of change that brings more abundance and freedom into people's lives. Soon we will be able to print anything that needs replacing in our bodies (we've done a heart). More small businesses will start and be be successful due to the vast amount of public information they are able to analyze and make better decisions from. Jobs will become more enjoyable and fulfilling as the monotonous, repetitive tasks are taken care of by machines and software. Staying connected with the people you want in your life will be even easier. I could be wrong (I'm only 24 years old), but it makes me excited for what's to come and the opportunity to take part and build some of it. There's already a plan to start the colonization of Mars in 2023 with the Mars One reality show, so not many other things seem too crazy.

I'll leave you with something you can take away. About 6 years ago I started learning about something called lucid dreaming. Those who don't know it's the ability to realize your in a dream and then experience the dream world as if you're awake. At first I thought it was just some ridiculous thing hippies said they could do...I'm a logical engineer after all. For the hell of it I did some research, practiced some techniques, and within 2 months I started having them. Being able to recreate scenes and fly around them while shooting fireballs out of your hands is a lot more fun than just going to sleep and waking up. The craziest thing I tried was asking someone in a dream what it was like to be in a dream (you'll have to learn how to lucid dream to see how that worked out). Here's a guide on how to start learning You really just have to take 20 seconds out of your day to build up the habits (it takes 2 weeks to form a habit).

Hesham Naiem
Cairo, Egypt

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Are You Like This?

I think this list of people are very like minded. The majority of emails are about people's life stories and advice. I thought I'd do the same and also teach you something crazy at the end anyone can learn to do.

I don't think life needs to complicated. Keep people in your life you enjoy being with who support you to pursue opportunities that allow you to live closer to the life you want to live. In turn you do the same for them.

I'm 24 years old and deep into the "experience and learn as much as possible" time of my life. This is all with boundaries of course (I don't want to experience what it's like to take Heroin). I feel very fortunate to have experienced things like winning a national soccer championship in University, having an amazing connected intimate relationship, and experiencing different cultures through travelling. I've learned a lot so far and I'm excited to experience and learn more in the coming years.

I remember having a conversation with an older man (about 50 years old) who has a very good understanding of the state of the world and how it works. He basically said our generation was screwed and there was no way to fix things like rising global temperatures and the economic systems of countries like the USA. I thought that was a very pessimistic way of looking at it, but I could understand why he thought that way. He doesn't know what our generation knows about the potential of technology.

I've come to the conclusion that the world is going to be a very different place in the next 30 years because of technology. I see it as a good kind of change that brings more abundance and freedom into people's lives. Soon we will be able to print anything that needs replacing in our bodies (we've done a heart). More small businesses will start and be be successful due to the vast amount of public information they are able to analyze and make better decisions from. Jobs will become more enjoyable and fulfilling as the monotonous, repetitive tasks are taken care of by machines and software. Staying connected with the people you want in your life will be even easier. I could be wrong (I'm only 24 years old), but it makes me excited for what's to come and the opportunity to take part and build some of it. There's already a plan to start the colonization of Mars in 2023 with the Mars One reality show, so not many other things seem too crazy.

I'll leave you with something you can take away. About 6 years ago I started learning about something called lucid dreaming. Those who don't know it's the ability to realize your in a dream and then experience the dream world as if you're awake. At first I thought it was just some ridiculous thing hippies said they could do...I'm a logical engineer after all. For the hell of it I did some research, practiced some techniques, and within 2 months I started having them. Being able to recreate scenes and fly around them while shooting fireballs out of your hands is a lot more fun than just going to sleep and waking up. The craziest thing I tried was asking someone in a dream what it was like to be in a dream (you'll have to learn how to lucid dream to see how that worked out). Here's a guide on how to start learning You really just have to take 20 seconds out of your day to build up the habits (it takes 2 weeks to form a habit).

Steve Reid
Calgary, Alberta

Saturday, May 18, 2013

What it means to me to be Human.

We as a species make the greatest changes to the world; more so then any other species ever has. Many take this idea as a bad or ominous sign about the destruction we cause upon the planet but I conversely consider it the single greatest thing that we can ever do. As humans we have been placed into a niche that no other species has ever been in. We have become the protectors and purveyors of life.

In the event of a large disaster, one that could cause mass extinctions, humans are at an interesting position in their ability to control and prevent such events. We have the ability to stop a meteorite from striking the earth in the same manner we can prevent almost any known cataclysm from striking our planet. This places us in the position of being the protectors of life on earth. Currently the planet tolerates what we are doing to it. With the current rate of destruction upon the nature with a rather conservative plan to end the destruction we will have killed more then 10% of the diversity of life on earth. This pales in comparison to what a single meteorite of a decent size will do. Having us in a position to prevent this truly makes our actions required to gain the technological and scientific standing that allows us to protect life rational.

We as humans will eventually have the ability to do something even more grand and overall important. Life as we know it is trapped on this planet. Earth is a limited place with limited resources, limited space and limited time. Earth certainly will not be around forever and we, as the technologically advanced species of earth, can leave and travel throughout the galaxy. At the time of writing this message over 850 planets outside of our solar system have been discovered with many in the habitable zone around their stars and there are even some that are truly earthlike. We as humans can travel forth and bring life to these planets. Inevitably we will bring the diversity of life from our planet along with us and guarantee the spread of life throughout the galaxy. Acting as the spreaders of life we will truly make up for the negative effects we have caused on our planet. We as a species are destined to protect, continue and spread life in a way no other known species could ever come close to doing.

Wesley Hicks
Los Angeles, California

Friday, May 17, 2013

Gluten free beer

Hey everybody,

I'm a wine and beer buyer in San Francisco. No deep thoughts today, just me whinging on the lack of GF beer available. Or the lack of GF beer that doesn't taste like yak urine. There are some decent "low gluten" beers out there, such as Omission, Brunehaut, Stubbe pilsner, and to a lesser extent Estrella Damm. Due to an FDA ruling about a year ago or so ago, "no beer made with gluten ingredients, even with gluten filtered out can be labeled as GF." That wording is mine, but you get the drift. Those are decent to good, but should not be consumed by those with Celiac. That pretty much leaves the sorghum based , um, "beer". The less said about them the better. I keep hearing about new breweries like Harvester in Oregon who are doing interesting sounding things with ingredients such as chestnuts and sweet potatoes. Hmmm. It feels like we are on the cusp of a new wave of GF beer that perhaps, just perhaps, won't suck. Or a fella can dream... Anyone out there know of anything new and interesting in this regard ? Give me a shout.! Or just say hi.

Chris Dosher
San Francisco

Thursday, May 16, 2013


she woke one morning and realized that she could not move her legs. Panic. Then disbelief how can this be, how could it happen. what do I do now? After half an hour of wallowing in every emotion she decided she needed a plan, how to get to a phone to make a call, after falling off the bed and crawling to her phone who to call friend, doctor, finally choosing mom, complicated but a good decision. Practical mom. The ambulance delivered her to the hospital with no complication how valuable a gurney, not something you think about every day! The doctors prodded poked and tested, no answer no reason just fact. How can it be in this day and age no answer, we think modern medicine has all answers. After two weeks, one morning, just like it started feeling back in her legs. Now what do you do, how do change your life, do you celebrate or rue the loss of two weeks?

New York

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Lost & Not Lost

When I first joined The Listserve (thanks to Yoav Shapira (hi Yoav!)), I really wanted to win the lottery because, well, I wanted to whine.

Although my goth period was about 20 years ago, I was going through a rough time and I wanted to WHINE about it. I wanted to tell all of you how I was depressed. How following my husband to Seattle and leaving a company (HubSpot) and job I absolutely adored had screwed over my life. How my poor husband felt bad for messing with my career, and how I was soooooooooooooo unhappy.

Thankfully, I didn’t win the lottery at that point. In fact, this has come at a funny time – I was indeed lost, but I seem to have found myself. And I found myself just last week.

See, my dream job has always been to be COO of a small to mid-sized company. I have an odd fondness for the blood and guts of a company, and a good personality for #2. This is what I thought I lost.

I thought I lost my path to my dream job because I’d left my original career path (running IT at law firms) to go to consulting/marketing. And here I am, at a Big Company in Seattle, getting, well, bored with marketing.

Last week, though, after soul-searching, thinking, and praying, I realized something pretty darn amazing – I’m not lost. In fact, I never was.

Let’s face it: you can’t go directly from IT to operations. At least, not easily. And my MBA wasn’t filling all the gaps. What has filled the gaps, however, is this crazy sales and marketing thing. Even—no, especially—at the Big Company I work for in Seattle.

This doesn’t mean that I’m going to change jobs immediately, but it means that I’ve found my purpose again. I’m not off track, I’m not lonely, and my husband doesn’t have to feel guilty. I know that I want my next job to transition over to operations and that I want to manage people, but I can wait and find the RIGHT job.

I wish that, when I was depressed, I had realized that I wasn’t off the path. I wish that I had understood that the path was just a heck of a lot more twisty than I anticipated.

I’d love to hear about other twisting paths. Oh, and if you’d like to read less whiny writing of mine, you can find me by searching for "Jenn Steele leading geeks".

Jenn Steele
Seattle, WA

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Music is life

My favorite song at this current moment is Dance Our Tears Away - John De Sohn feat. Kristin Amparo

The reason I'm telling 21,419 people this is because music contributes to a lot of people's lives.

What's your favorite song?

Carlos Espejo
New York City

Monday, May 13, 2013

"What else you got to do?"

I guess, here's my story in a tight nutshell. Last August, I moved from DC to Australia for graduate school. In that time my father got very sick. I returned home and stayed by his side during his miraculous recovery (seriously, the doctors were even shocked). He was discharged and went home on a path to full recovery and I returned to school in Australia. Late one night, I got a phone call from my cousin telling me that my dad's condition had unexpectedly taken a drastic turn for the worse and he didnt have much time left. So ten thousand miles apart and over speaker phone, I had to say my last words to my father. He passed minutes later.

I'm telling this to 20K+ strangers because since he passed I have felt scared and alone and apprehensive about the future. And I know I cant be the only one going through this.

I had never lost anyone before and my father was always the quiet reassurance I needed to keep me going. Losing him was like losing air.

So while re-learning to breathe, I am learning a lot about myself. I want to share some thoughts with anyone out there who is grieving:

You dont have to find beauty in every moment. Some days suck. You are allowed to cry and be upset. Don't let anyone take that from you. Question your deity, question your purpose in life. Scream to the sky and sink to the abyss of sorrow. Do whatever it takes to make it through that second, minute, hour or day. Congratulate yourself for small milestones. Share your story or keep it to yourself- whichever makes you feel more empowered, do it. Take care of yourself.

Most importantly, keep living. Life will get better. And in the words of my dad, "what else you got to do?"

I dont know you. But I know you're either going through something difficult right now or just got over something difficult. For that, you have my respect and well wishes. Your life matters.

Last thing,

These are some of the songs that helped me through my mourning and kept me motivated. Make a playlist, and play them in this order. There will be tears but I promise you'll feel better by the end.

A Broken Toast - John Carrie and Moor Green
Lonely Lonely - Feist
Thistle & Weeds - Mumford & Sons
Ghosts - James Vincent McMorrow
I Was Broken - Marcus Foster
Safe & Sound -Taylor Swift & the Civil Wars
Tomorrow Will Be Kinder - The Secret Sisters
After The Storm - Mumford & Sons
We All Try - Frank Ocean (or Sid Sriram)
Break The Same - Mutemath
Be Here Now- Ray LaMontagne
Amsterdam - Coldplay
This Is Your Life - The Commodores (My dad's recommendation for hard times)

Thank you for reading/listening. If you'd like an ear, write back. I'd love to hear your story...your real story.

Much Love

Currently: Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
From: Germantown, Maryland, USA

P.S. I would like to respectfully disagree with Julia from a few days ago. Maryland is by far the best state in the union : D

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Just walk on by

In 1962, my dad and a buddy from their military base at Twentynine Palms, were enjoying the live music of Leroy Van Dyke at a bar in San Bernardino, California. They ended up leaving with a gal my dad had been dancing with. On the way to her house, she informed him that she was presently going with the Vice President of the local chapter of a renowned motorcycle gang.

My dad's buddy dropped them off at her house and took off. The house door would only open a few inches before it hit something. The gal explained that it was her guy's motorcycle. My dad was not only full of regular courage, because he was one tough marine, but also had a bit of liquid courage on this night. So he pushed extra hard on the door and shot that motorcycle across the floor.

This ruckus brought out the irate motorcycle owner, who I shall further refer to as H.A. Somehow, my dad just ends up conversing with H.A. until he goes back to bed. My dad and his new gal friend stay up a bit later until my dad passes out.

The next morning, my dad was awakened by the sound of a motorcycle circling the house. During a brief conversation with a child who ends up kicking him in a painful area, the sound of the motorcycle fades as H.A. presumably rides off to gather more members of his gang. Thankfully, my dad's buddy shows up at this time and gets my dad out of there.

A week or two later, as my dad was walking down a San Bernardino street, the gal hollers to my dad from a parked car. He could see she had a broken arm and had been badly beaten. She warns him to steer clear for a while.

Sometime after this my dad takes her away for a day in the hills.


I wanted to share one of the many wild events of my dad's life as mine seems so sedate in comparison. I confessed to him though that I am quite happy with my "boring" life, as I'm certainly not as tough or lucky to survive all he has.

Lastly, here are some tidbits about me...

I have great love and fierce loyalty to 8 people. These would be the members of my immediate family.

I increasingly enjoy the rich culture of the South, but am thankful for the Midwest upbringing I received in rural Iowa.

My favorite band is The Avett Brothers.

My favorite nonprofit is Children's Cup.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Hello Everyone,

Its pretty cool that I have won the lottery. Oh what to say and what not to say!

A little introduction:

I am a recent Graduate Mechanical Engineer from University of California,San Diego. Though originally from India I have been in the US for the past two years and hopefully stay here much longer.

Read. Read books, magazines, articles, anything and everything. But also do, do something , anything and everything. Keep investing in yourself and keep learning.

Live as if you will die tomorrow. Learn as if you will live forever - Mahatma Gandhi

San Diego

P.S: Mechanical Engineer for Hire.

Friday, May 10, 2013

When a philosopher paints, he paints painting itself

Writing an e-mail to more than 21,000 people one does not know - except that they are open-minded enough to know The Listserve - is both exciting and terrifying... especially because "you never get a second chance to make a good first impression" (quote from Will Rogers).

I first thought to give you some tips to live happily, but I do not think I have the authority to give advice on this topic... I am not yet thirty years old and do not know much about life. I also considered making a list of amazing facts that would have educated you and/or surprised you. But the web is full of such lists, so I abandoned the idea... Finally, I decided to offer you to make a discovery that will perhaps please you. It is about my mother’s work.

My mother is a painter. Eager to understand what painting is - a discipline that she has practised from her earliest years -, she took a degree in philosophy during which she became fascinated by the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty (a French philosopher), which would leave a deep mark on her pictorial work. Her life is made of constant interferences between painting and philosophy, the latter of which she teaches. They are like the two sides of a same approach.

For more than ten years, she has painted nothing but folds, out of fascination for their beauty. She paints folds, but she does not intend to "represent" them. The total lack of weariness and the passion with which she goes on painting them lead her to believe tha,t for her, the fold has become a language with an endless capacity to signify.

I am touched by the beauty of her works, and I am happy to share this beauty with all of you. I invite you warmly to discover her works on her website, that you will find with a simple Google search with "Chariot-Dayez" terms. Feel free to contact her to tell her what you think!

I wish you a happy and meaningful life. All the best,

Jean-Baptiste Dayez
Brussels, Belgium

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Tell me about your day

My name is Tim, and I'm going to ask you to participate in my project.

I want you to call me at this number: +1 (971) 200-5065

I want you to tell me all about your day. What did you see on your way to the train? Who did you talk to? What was scary? What was fun? What made it special? What made it bleak? Who pissed you off at work? What kind of smoothie did you choose? What did the asshole ahead of you at Starbucks order? How beautiful did she look in that sweater? Think of this as a time to reflect on the things that are happening both around, and inside of you - your own, free, thirty-second therapy session. You can rant, rave, bitch, moan, whistle, sing, cry, whatever. It's about you. Hopefully through your reflection, and my exposure to your stories, you and I can both become a little more enlightened about this whole "life" thing.

For the sake of continuity, it would be really great if everyone started their message with the words "Hi Tim." I'm hoping to use these recordings for a project in the future. I'll tell you more about it the next time I win the Listserve. Right now, I just need your help by calling in, and telling me about your day. You can be anonymous, or you can leave your name and where you're calling from. It's all up to you.

This project was inspired, in part, by the work that Olga Nunes did through the Listserve. Thanks for the inspiration, Olga!

Thanks also to Alon who introduced me to the Listserve. I hope you get a kick out of seeing your name here, and I look forward to hearing about your day. Though we have been separated by the distance of many years, I will always consider you one of my truest friends. Duffy wolf for life, bro.

If you want to know more about me, what happens with this project, or just feel like grabbing a beer, reach out. In the meantime, just know that I love you, and thank you for sharing your day with me.

Tim Kretchmer
Portland, OR, USA

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Sorry about this one, guys. Normally listserve emails are so bright and cheery - but I told myself if I got selected I'd write honestly.

I'm 24 years old and this week is the court date to finalize my divorce. I'd been with the same woman for my entire adult life - we started dating when we were 15. I loved - still love - her madly.

I graduated last year already set up in a good job. We bought a small, pretty house about an hour from our families, close to my work. We got Ikea furniture and a new roof and were saving for a new car and a dog.

Then she fell out of love with me, and left.

Six months ago I was happy, well adjusted, hard working. I knew what I wanted out of life and I had a pretty good idea how to get it. Now I feel like a gutted ship - I look mostly the same and I still float, but I'm empty and drifting. My house reflects this - pictures conspicuously missing, walls abandoned halfway through painting, far too much room for the tiny fragment of life that happens there. There are moving boxes that I'll take to Goodwill before I have the courage to open them. There's a room I can't enter without crying. My soon to be ex sister in law wrote "Can't wait for all the memories we'll make here" in our housewarming party guestbook.

The source of so much of my strength is gone, at the time I need it most. I know I have to rebuild myself, become a complete person alone. Eventually I will.

In the meantime, this fucking sucks. I want my wife, my love, my life back.

Thanks for reading.

Joel Howard
Parma, Ohio

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Hello, world!

I thought maybe I'd write about shifting from a humanities education and editorial career to the world of technologists and a re-education, and career, in engineering.

I thought that, since this group is interested in correspondence, maybe I'd write about my decision, after twenty-five years, that cursive handwriting might be worth my time after all. (It turns out that, despite the frisson of opening the mailbox to receive a real, paper letter, a letter-writing hobby demands time and a special dedication in the era of email.)

But no, I'm going to write about childbirth. Not something I've ever done. Nor will I, since I'm a man.

The first time my wife went into labor, neither of us really knew what to expect. That's true for all first-time parents. We did know that the common Hollywood depiction of labor, with its dramatic screaming mom and bumbling dad was at best a gross stereotype and, at least in many cases, far from accurate.

We knew that we should call our midwife when contractions came with a certain frequency, and we did. They were very frequent, in fact, coming every 2-3 minutes. But they were weak contractions, nothing like the full-scale occupations of mind and body you might read about while preparing for your first child. Still, our midwife suggested we come to her clinic, and we did.

And we waited. The contractions came and went, came and went. We slept, or tried to. It was thirty-six hours at least before my wife felt a ~real~ contraction. The wait was annoying in some respects, but given our caring midwife, deeply respectful of the natural birth process, we were allowed to hang out comfortably, look after one another, and wait for the Real Thing.

The moaning began. I have mixed thoughts on a lot of the "woo" you see in discourse about this kind of stuff. When it comes down to it, one of the more amazing and wonderful things about natural childbirth is that it simply "is what it is." Bodies do what they have evolved and developed to do, and then there is a new sweet baby in the world.

But my wife experienced some intense and wonderful visions at this stage, leading up to Transition (the intense point where a woman shifts from cervical dilation to actually pushing out the baby). We like to interpret these visions as an experience of her body welcoming a new consciousness into the baby's body, and into the world. But, hey.

One of the great things about working with a midwife was the closeness and involvement I was privileged to experience as a father. I could be there, on the bed, offering support and encouragement as needed, and looking out for my wife's interests. All with her consent, of course.

That was autumn of 2010. Our second child was born earlier this year, and while the arrangements and preparation were very similar, the experience was much different.

We knew what to expect, for one thing. And, as many women attest, there is a huge boost in confidence and trust in one's own body going into a second labor. In a sense, it helps just to know It can be done.

It was fast. We arrived at the clinic at around 11:30 that evening. Our daughter was with us under three hours later. None of this fancy visionary stuff. I don't think she even laid on the bed the whole time we were there; she just dropped the baby into the midwife's arms as I massaged her shoulders.

Not for everyone, but to me...amazing.

Jason Conklin
Huntsville, AL

Monday, May 6, 2013

Tales of Ponda: Ponda - Stories to make you think

I would like to tell you a short story I thought up a few years ago for a film, a dark fairytale to be precise.
(It is viewable on YouTube if you're feeling intrigued.)

I don't want to say too much about Ponda as I feel the story says it all, but I would like people to hear this story because I am intrigued as
how people interpret it.

Before you read Ponda:

I must mention Peter Fellows, who found the words to tell Ponda in a way I couldn't.
Also to encourage you to email me your ideas and thoughts once you have finished reading.
And finally, to thank The Listserve for giving me the opportunity to tell the tale of Ponda to so many people. I honestly am so grateful.

Tales of Ponda: Ponda
Story by Rikki Udagawa, Words by Peter Fellows

A curious young girl, Ponda often felt, she was being followed by something else. A darker presence, in the corner of her eye, a crooked hand reaching out, but just out of sight.
One winter noon, she ventured, down a dusty road, where she met a withered old man who sensed her forebode. With crusty eyes and wrinkled mouth, he frowned as she described the dark presence, following her around. She didn’t bear to face what might be there, just too frightened to turn and face its glare.
With a smile he sighed, and said ‘Although you’re afraid, my dear, you must face up to this presence, and recognize your fear. Life must go on’. Considering his wise words, Ponda thanked him and travelled on. Before long, she felt it there, sneaking up behind her, breathing in her hair. With terrified eyes, Ponda turned with all her strength, saw grimy fingers appear from nowhere, snatching at her, taunting her, binding together; a body appeared from the depths, a cloaked figure, the one called ‘Death!’
Ponda couldn’t believe her eyes. She wanted to scream, but tears were all she could find. She begged for more time, promising any life mistakes would be set right.
Gently taking her hand in his, she felt all fear simultaneously dismiss. With tender voice, and wanting tone, he told her ‘I’m just tired of being alone. I’ve fallen in love with you Ponda, and I wanted you to know. Your commitment to me would mean a life in darkness. I’d care and love you. We’d be eternity’s partners. You’d sit upon life’s throne’.
Recognising loneliness, Ponda promised that she would. But not until she’d reached a ripe old age, and lived her life as she should.
Promising to leave her, until that fateful day, Death let go of her hand, and disappeared from whence he came.
Several years passed quickly, for Ponda now felt safe. She no longer felt the presence, the fear of being chased. Until, one morning she entered, a forest ripe with growth, where she once again felt tingling, and knew she’d been followed.
Turning, no fear present, she witnessed death’s gritty hands, reach around her shoulders, and pull her to the ground. Her soul was released to the air, from beneath the woodland soil, Death grasping her body close, no remnants to tell her toil.
Perhaps death was angry, or his love was just so strong, he couldn’t bear for them to be apart, not for so long. Or possibly, her time to die, had finally arrived for Ponda. It’ll never be known, which is the truth, and that is something to ponder…

The End.

Thank you.

Rikki Udagawa
London, UK

Sunday, May 5, 2013

If you're from the midwest and it doesn't matter where...

I received the fateful "congratulations" email on a day when a lot was on the line. Although, that's relative because, really, all that was "on the line" was getting a B on an econometrics class so I can graduate....I'M FREAKING GRADUATING COLLEGE. who let this happen?

This is a crazy time in my life and, frankly, also one of the loneliest. So, the opportunity to say something to 21k fellow listservers is somewhat poignant. I'm struck by a serious loss for words. Many of you have likely just sat down at the office and are looking for an opportunity to delay actually starting work for the day and, if you're like me, many of you won't open half of these anyway.

So, for lack of any pithy words of advice or meaningful segments of literature, I'll tell you some interesting facts about Minnesota, the best state ever. It's where I grew up and really the only thing I can talk about off the top of my head and I think everyone can relate to having hometown pride. Especially in this city full of implants.

1. Prince lives/records there.
2. Though it's called the land of 10k lakes, there's over 12,000, but we're a humble folk.
3. Minneapolis was ranked both most bike-friendly and most hipster. so take a walk portland and seattle.
4. f. scott fitzgerald is from there
5. josh hartnett
6. the incredible music stylings of atmosphere, cloud cult, motion city soundtrack, trampled by turtles, dessa, etc.
7. honeycrisp apples were invented there
8. We actually do things in the winter because we don't fear the cold.
9. Lindsey Vonn trained in Minnesota, right outside the twin cities.

I'll leave you with one of the more touching things I ever heard. On her birthday, my philosophy professor in India was gushing about how loved she felt and tearfully said something to the extent of "the most precious thing you can have is people around you."

I really apologize for this scatterbrained post. I hope you can relate to this snapshot into my version of the human experience.

Keep living.

Washington, D.C.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Kid Wisdom

Hello Listserve friends,

I am currently finishing my first year teaching. I teach English Language Arts to 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th graders at a small school in rural Vermont. So many people have told me I'm crazy for choosing to spend my days with middle school kids, and while I often laugh off those comments, I can't say I always disagree. Occasionally I have days where I want to bang my head against something (I've only indulged in this desire once!), but most of my days are actually filled with laughter and learning; and it's not just my students who are learning. They may be young, but my students know levels of tragedy and joy that I can only imagine. They teach me more than they will ever know.
We see plenty of advice pour into our inboxes via The Listserve, but instead of rattling off what little I know of the world, I decided to ask my students to inspire you with their best pieces of advice, since they are my daily inspiration. Here are some of the highlights...

Words of wisdom from kids (ages 10-14):

*Always wear socks
*Never let anyone take over your dreams
*Don't eat yellow snow (and if you find something brown on the ground, it's probably not chocolate)
*When people are nice to you, be nice back. It's like someone giving you a present and you giving one back.
*Life will be a lot easier if you mind your own business
*Never try to ride a shopping cart down a hill
*Don't be mouthy to your parents
*Pie makes everything better
*Go outside and do something with your life
*Keep calm; life goes on
*Mountains will crumble, oceans will freeze over, and whole cities will be destroyed if you are late for math class
*Never take a good friend for granted
*Never leave the empty milk carton in the fridge
*If you ever love two people, go with the second one because if you really loved the first one, you wouldn't have fallen in love again
*You don't need to use two sheets of toilet paperc just because it's etiquette or fancy; use what get the job done (that also applies to relationships and life choices... but mostly toilet paper)

Vermont, USA

Friday, May 3, 2013


Do you believe in karma ? Well I do believe in balance. Like a physics law that states that everything tend to reach balance. Same thing with "luck". Sometimes you are lucky, sometime you are not... and it sort of balance out. So, at the end, the important thing is what remains and this will be what you have focused on. Remember the luck you have and try to neglect your misfortune.

Ok, that was for the "I'm trying to be wise part".

Now, because I probably used 2 years of "good luck" karma to be chosen among 10K+ people to write to you, I'll better try to make it useful in some way.

Hmm. Well, one very little thing, as a cyclist, that I always wanted to tell the world is : Dear car/truck driver, but please don't treat us as an obstacle on the road and if you're about to overtake, do it properly, like you would overtake -lets say.. hmm- a police car ! Because in the process, you may risk precious time, but we risk life.

Another thing I would like to share is that suspicion is in my point of you one of the worst evil on this planet. So please, do me a favour today : turn one suspicious thought about someone or something into trust and see where it goes. Ok, you may hit a wall, but you'll enjoy the way to it. Otherwise you may not hit the wall, but what's the point if you spent all your time worrying. At the end, we all die (and hit the wall).

That was "I'm trying to be wise part 2". And that was unexpected. You know, It's pretty hard to realize that you have a probably unique chance to address so many people and in the same time not to waste it.

I'll better end it now. Just know that I was happy to talk to you, people from earth, masters of the universe, top of the food chain, completely responsible for what is happening -or not- to our planet. (Yep, part 3)

Have a good day !


Thursday, May 2, 2013

How I became a nude photographer


I'm Alex and I'm a freelance web developer/consultant - a combination of telling people what to do on the internet & actually doing it. But today I'm going to talk to you about how I became a nude photographer.

Over the years I've smeared people with blackberries and stuck pinheads & glowsticks to them. I've made human-sized cat cones and played with fire. There was a brief time when it seemed likely I'd become a professional pornographer. I've watched a friend get her lips sewn shut and then pose in a dank basement with a giant python - that one was her idea. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I've always been interested in photography but it wasn't until my second year of university that my passion ignited. I was trying to impress a lady by teaching her to use a manual SLR. She remained unwooed, but I found a new way to express myself. I wanted to learn as much as possible, so I read voraciously and tried what I could. But one genre seemed out of reach: nudes.

I had no idea where to start. How do you find a model? How do you convince them that you're an artist, not a pervert? How do you find suitable locations? How do you direct them during the shoot? Where do you get your film developed? How do you make an image about tone and form and beauty, not just a random naked person feeling awkward?

One day I was talking about this problem with a friend. She told me she'd done life modelling before; she'd be happy to model. Really? I've never done this before; I'm going to suck. She didn't care. We made plans, did a shoot, and I made some mediocre photos. But it was catalyst enough: friends heard about it and volunteered to model too. My photos and ideas improved. I got better at inviting strangers to model. I'm still baffled and grateful for people's willingness to shed their clothes for art. It's a deeply trusting thing to do, and I never want to abuse that trust.

A lot of people think of nude photography as a sexual thing. Sometimes there's a remnant of eroticism on a shoot, but not often. The best metaphor I have: have you ever made someone a sandwich when you're not hungry? You'll still find your mouth watering a little; it's Pavlovian. Now imagine it's a *really* complicated sandwich, and everyone will judge you on it. You've got to position the ingredients perfectly. The colour of the lettuce must complement the tomatoes. The condiments are trusting you, you're considering better meats to use as you work, and you've got to reassure the bread without seeming creepy... this metaphor's got a bit weird. But the point is there's a lot of factors at play and nobody's there for sex, so you don't have the brain cycles free to get distracted. Or at least I don't.

Photography's all theatre. Photography's a magic trick. It's about making constructed situations seem natural. The viewer shouldn't see the hours of planning and setup and props and lighting that went into it. The viewer should see the end result, fully formed, and have no idea how it was done. There was nothing, then suddenly: an image. That's as true for nudes as for any other genre. That's what I'm aiming for.

You can follow me on twitter at @acreature, or see my photos on my website. I'm not allowed to include a link but I'm easy to Google. And if you'd like to model: email me.

Alex Pounds
London, the United Kingdom

Bamboo Cake

I’m a 17 year old guy from Toronto and last year I started a food blog called IronWhisk. In retrospect, I’m not entirely sure why I chose to name it IronWhisk since, well, iron rusts. Iron would not be a particularly great material to make a whisk out of.

I invite you to follow along as I tackle some pretty challenging pastry and dessert recipes. Some pretty crazy ones too, such as a cake that I made that looked like a bushel of bamboo. Particularly exciting are the Japanese recipes that I cannot read, but decide to do anyway just for kicks.

Also, I’m curious if there are any other food bloggers that subscribe to The Listserve. Be sure to say hello if you’re out there! Please send foodstuffs.

P.S. My website isn’t showing up correctly on Internet Explorer, specifically on smaller screens (the right sidebar is pushed down to the bottom of the page). If anyone would like to help me fix the problem it would be much appreciated.

Toronto, Canada