Sunday, June 30, 2013

Wally Goose

They call me Wally Goose, and I have the flattest face you've ever seen. Please follow me on Instagram (@wally_goose) for a little more fluff in your life. I'm your new best friend. Purr.

Wally Goose

Saturday, June 29, 2013


Hi everyone. One of my goals in life is to go to all the Disneylands. I'm not really sure why, because i'm not a big Disney fanatic. But I guess I did grow up watching Disney movies when I was younger, so it's probably subconsciously brainwashed me. I think the appeal for me is how Disneyland brings out the kid in you, irregardless of what age you are.

The first time I went to Disneyland was in America when I was 5, and it was my first trip overseas. Going to Disneyland is probably the greatest thing that could happen to a 5 year old. For whatever reason, I have a vivid memory of being in Mickey's house and seeing his clothes in the washing machine, thinking he was trapped inside. Obviously, I was a stupid 5 year old.

My second Disneyland experience was in Hong Kong at 15 years old, and most recently, 20 years old in Paris. Even at 20, I found myself running around the park with my (older) sister trying to find Mickey to get a photo. My favourite ride would have to be the laser shooting Buzz Lightyear one. I'm not sure if my laser gun was faulty, or if I was just really good at that game, but I managed to get over 37,000 points - whereas everyone else around me were sitting at around 5000 tops. I like to think the latter. (And to my lovely sister, I'm still laughing at your inferior 2,900 points, ha!)

I still haven't had a chance to visit Japan... so that is definitely next on the list, and it can hopefully be ticked off in the next year or so.

Re-reading this feels kind of silly because it's such a trivial goal to have, but I guess to put it in perspective for myself - in going to all the Disneylands, it encourages me to keep travelling and seeing more of the world. And, I really do love that Buzz Lightyear game.

Thanks for letting me share this silly insight into myself! And hope you're having a lovely day/night wherever you are!

Sydney, Australia

Friday, June 28, 2013

Seize the Septum Ring

First of all, to all of you past Listserve writers, thank you for sharing. I’ve read each one from top to bottom. Whether strictly informational or a vent of something that’s been bottled up too long or something else entirely, each Listserve email is, in itself, an insight into how various people choose to use a loudspeaker moment. I didn’t join in the hopes of having that moment; I joined to see what others would do with theirs. Yet now I’ve been caught in the spotlight, and who am I to chicken out?

Many Listservers have shared their own rules, mottos, inspirational messages, etc. on how to get going with life: Carpe Diem, one foot in front of the other, don’t fear failure, put yourself out there, learn something new, etc. I don’t want to pooh-pooh any of that, but much of it is easier said than done. Fear of failure can be pretty darned ingrained in people. And how does one seize a day? Does it have horns or a septum ring one can latch on to?

Motivational speeches, slogans, and pep talks are great if they happen to apply to you and your unique situation at that particular point in your life. They can get us jacked up and excited, which is usually good. But without anything tangible to put that jacked-up excitement into, the Jack who’s popped from the box goes limp and the music stops. (Yes, I know there’s a that’s-what-she-said joke in there somewhere.)

So what should come next? Well, I hate to present a problem without a possible solution, so I’ll share what I think. First, slow down, hot shot. Don’t go sprinting off whatever couch you’ve been sitting on and seize the first septum ring you see, thinking it’s attached to a diem. What you’re looking to do is apprentice from someone else who is more advanced than you. I’m not talking about any Donald Trump crap; think Ben Franklin. This works for virtually everything and can give you tangible tasks toward reasonable goals. To be a good apprentice, you need three things: someone who is a good teacher of beginner-level and novice work, a master-level practitioner whose techniques you can dissect and model, and someone who will watch you closely and keep you accountable. If you’re lucky, you’ll find all three in one person. If not, make due; you’ll be fine.

But it does mean asking for help, which is often the hardest part.

Want to be a writer? Read your favorite author over and over and over, dissecting what he or she is doing, take some classes, and join/create a writer’s group. Want to be happier? Search out someone truly, consistently happy (not just delusional), and tell someone who cares about you that you’re not happy. They’ll help. Get the idea? I want to be a great father for my kids, but, as much as I love my own, I apprentice from my childless uncle who actually got down on the floor and played silly games with us when we were kids.

And, for the love of whatever God/gods you believe in, if you ever see someone struggling, help. Whether it’s a hug or teaching the ways of the printing press, the human race advances only through the sharing of kindness and experience.

But before I reach my word limit, watch Bill Murray’s “Razor’s Edge.” Listen to Buckethead’s “Monsters and Robots” and R.L. Burnside’s “A Ass Pocket of Whiskey.”

That’s it for me. Thanks.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Goodness is up to you

Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a great battle, whether it is apparent or not.

And whenever you're feeling down, drink a big glass of water or bake some chocolate chip cookies.


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons orange extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (about 12 ounces) semisweet and/or milk chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In a separate bowl with a wooden spoon, combine the butter with both sugars; mix until light and fluffy. Add the salt, orange, vanilla, and eggs. Mix thoroughly and then add flour mixture. Most importantly - stir in the chocolate chips!

Drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with tin foil or parchment paper.

Bake until cookies are golden around the edges, but still soft in the center, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely.

Claire McConnell[AT]
San Francisco, CA

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Don't steal my electric

I'm going to jump into this head first and just lay out my perception of all of electricity.

The core of the electromagneticism is the probably pretty easily identified, but even within the voltage there are groups that seem to serve electric functions

you have a group that sort of acts as the services, they roam from thread to thread, dogpile, triangulating little attacks on people. They're a pretty small group and they do tend to electrify in a pack. Usually once they start dogpiling they draw in other random people who also want to join in. There are a couple of these that are really charged, often offering basically mechanical posts that consist of nothing more than one line pokes and jabs as electric, or little more than incredibly repetitive almost canned responses. Often times they seem to attempt to couch everything they say in a layer of sarcasm and "ignition". They usually do a lot of back patting and self congratulating with each other back at the don't steal my electric thread.

Then you have a group that really just consists of sparks who are friends of the bullies, but don't generally join in on the bullying because they're pretty much just interested in talking to each other and occasionally they'll engage someone outside of their social circle, but mostly they stick close. They tend to defend the bully group and inflame their actions as either joking or defensible because the target(s) of the attack were being "energized matter" or acting inappropriately. Some of them just tend to stop posting when the juice comes up and simply come back later continuing as if nothing happened because they don't want to be involved in the voltage, but they certainly don't want to call out their friends.

You get the rest... don't steal my electric.

French Toast

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Change is Awesome!

Hello ListServe community!

So EXACTLY a year ago from today my close friend & home girl Layla (Hii Lovely!) forwarded me a ListServe email titled Random Beauty (by Ishita in Kolkata, India, hello to you as well J ). It is such beautiful synchronicity that now, literally to the day, I just won the chance to write to you all! I’ve thought about this day happening since I signed up, but I also believed that something amazing would be in the process of occurring when this lucky moment aligns with my life... And I’m sitting here laughing to myself because this is probably the first time in my life that I have absolutely nothing concrete/academic or otherwise happening. Well played universe, well played... It’s quite unsettling for me, realizing this and not knowing when things will change, but at the same time knowing they will. Ever get the feeling of knowing something without knowing anything at all?

I know many people avoid changing, and it’s a shame because change is beautiful if you let it be. About 3 years ago I moved to New York City to pursue a graduate degree in Counseling Psychology at Columbia University, but what I have gained in the process of my education is an evolution of my entire self. Young, naïve, hopeful and afraid, I eagerly ventured out of my hometown in Houston, TX (what up, Htown!)… I wanted more, to know more, to experience more, and do more. And I still do. As a counselor, I get to help people re-shift, refocus, and empower their life into a more meaningful experience, but to me, the most special part of that is the relationships I build with people; just connecting with someone. Currently, I’m at a very in between place, or rather in transition I should say. I just graduated with a double Masters (I know, overachiever much…), and finished an amazing yearlong internship as a Family/Couples/Individual Counselor, so what’s next? I can’t wait to find out! Potential employers do feel free to contact me (or look me up on Linkedin) J

So coming full circle now, in the initial ListServe email I was forwarded, I learned about a Japanese phrase, Koi No Yokan. Ishita, you described it as “The feeling you can get when meeting a person for the first time, that you will fall in love with them. Different from "love at first sight", as it does not say that love already exists, only the knowledge that it WILL happen later.”
To me this perfectly describes my relationship with NYC, I didn’t know then that I would fall so deeply in love with this city, but I felt it immediately <3

"When we make a change, it's so easy to interpret our unsettledness as unhappiness, and our unhappiness as the result of having made the wrong decision. Our mental and emotional states fluctuate madly when we make big changes in our lives, and some days we could tight-rope across Manhattan, and other days we are too weary to clean our teeth. This is normal. This is natural. This is change."-- Jeanette Winterson

Also, just wanted to send a special hello out there to my Girls (Fizz, Fatimah, Lay, Elvy, Chirstie; love ya ladies), my immediate and extended family (Hey hey… Muneel/Mustufa y’all are probably the only ones that read this...), my soul-mate (somewhere out there; you can show up now), and Justin Timberlake (for obvious reasons, hehe).

And much love to you all over the world! Be brilliant! <3

Muneera Zaidi
New York, NY

Monday, June 24, 2013

Tooting Your Own Horn

One of the guidelines for posting here is that you can’t write anything too self-promotional. I suspect most of us struggle with figuring out when exactly it’s right to toot our own horns. Nobody wants to be that guy or girl: the shameless self-publicist, the human spambot. And yet, sometimes we do create great work that we’d like others to know about – what then? How do we decide when our work is good enough, important enough, to warrant puffing up our chests and shouting about it?

I’ve been working on a creative project with a small team for over a year now, and a few months ago we stepped back and realised we were done. It wasn’t perfect, but we knew we couldn’t hold off much longer: it was time to launch it into the world.

We immediately found ourselves stuck, with no idea how to get the word out without feeling silly or boastful. We’re all introverts and prone to self-deprecation. We’re not used to saying, “Hey, everyone, look over here! What we’ve done is pretty amazing!” We could see flaws in our work and could see where it was lacking. We were acutely aware that our project wasn’t going to save lives or leave anybody slack-jawed in wonderment. So we decided to postpone the launch and keep tweaking. Tweaking was easier. Less scary.

In a similar vein, a friend of mine has been working on his novel for years. Every six months or so, he’ll retrieve it from inside a deeply-nested folder on his hard drive and spend the next two months re-drafting it. When he’s done, he’ll leave it for six months and redraft it again. I suspect he feels uncomfortable taking the next step and pitching it to a publisher because there’s already so much great writing out there, and he’s wary of appearing arrogant.

My guess is that there are a lot of us out there: those that maybe should be talking our work up more, should be properly launching the projects we’ve worked hard on, and should be more comfortable marketing the stuff we’ve created. It’s a shame that, in some cases, those who are most comfortable with self-marketing are those without anything interesting to promote in the first place. Meanwhile, some of the greatest living artists and thinkers are right now almost certainly working in obscurity, lacking the confidence or the platform to show the world what they’re doing.

For those of us that aren’t prone to shouting about ourselves, we risk being drowned out by those that can and do. The presumption is that if you don’t say anything, you don’t have anything to say, but it doesn’t necessarily work that way. Those that are quiet are sometimes just waiting for a gap in the conversation. They’re waiting to be invited to speak.

With all this said, I’ve got a tiny little speck of an idea. I’d love to hear what you guys have created or are working on – especially those of you who aren’t usually comfortable promoting your work. If you send me a short paragraph about a creative project you’re working on, I’ll compile them on my blog (same domain as my email address) for all of you other Listservers to take a peek at.

We need more opportunities for the quieter amongst us – those less prone to chest-puffery – to tell the world about ourselves, our achievements, our stories, and our insights. I’m glad that the Listserve exists for exactly that reason.

You guys are all wonderful, by the way.

Connor Tomas O’Brien
Adelaide, Australia

Sunday, June 23, 2013

My Passion: Changing The Definition of Business

Like everyone else, I have no idea how to begin. I always tend to be most interested in the ones that share the writer’s passion, so I am going to go ahead with mine.

I just moved to Chicago a month ago to study Social Entrepreneurship. I am fascinated with the idea that a business can truly be good for everyone. From the consumer, to the business owner, to every worker and even help the environment and others not directly connected. I believe if all businesses can function like this, we can solve a lot of our problems. Think about it, if everyone wins, why aren’t we doing it? Unfortunately, there are very few businesses that function this way, and none on a large scale.

This is where we can make a difference. I moved to get my Masters while studying Social Entrepreneurship at DePaul University. While I do so, I also am working at a fairly new clothing company, Trunk Club. Trunk Club is completely changing how men’s clothing is sold. This, along with my classes, will help me to achieve this dream.

Trunk Club is a great resource that helps men who hate shopping, don’t have time to shop, or just want some help dressing better. It is completely different from normal clothing stores, in that they send you a trunk customized to your wants and needs, you pick what you like, and send back the rest. You only keep what you like, and are only charged for that. It’s been great so far and I’ve already learned a lot. I can’t wait to learn more at this fast growing business.

In order to keep this job however, I need to pass my initial trial. It has proved difficult, even with my 12-14 hour workdays this first month. If every person in the United States on here buys anything from Trunk Club through me, that part is a MUST, then I will make my sales goal. If I do this, it will help me get closer to my dream of changing what we think of when we think of “business.” This is exactly where I need to work to learn more about the field. I think if we make these changes with business, we can change the world. Please email me if you would be interested in checking it out and helping at all, either you checking out a trunk or stopping by if you live in/near Chicago, even if you only buy a pair of socks, or if you know of anyone that would be interested. I really appreciate any and all help.

By the way this whole winning The Listserve Lotto today is pretty amazing. My trial at Trunk Club ends at the end of June. I was starting to get scared that I would not make it, that I was going to have to find something else, and then I received the “you won” email.

With all of this, I want to say thank you to everyone that can help, you do not understand how much I appreciate anything and everything. This does not only mean those that can help with money, I want to thank everyone who has inspired me so often through these emails. Also, I have to thank my girlfriend for fully encouraging me to move 4 hours away to pursue my dream, I love you.

Best regards,

Jeff Boore
Chicago, Il.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Entrepreneur as the Modern Explorer

Thanks to the family’s largesse, Buster has studied everything from Native American tribal ceremonies … to cartography, the mapping of unchartered territories.

Arrested Development, Season 1 Pilot

Think of an explorer. Where did they go? Why did they go there? What did they find? What did they inspire? Exploration extends beyond imagination, to where no man (or woman) has gone before. From the highest peaks, to the limitless depths of the Amazon, to the troughs of the grandest oceans, explorers put themselves on the line. They take passionate risks.

Think of an entrepreneur. What did they build? Why did they build it? What problem are they solving? How did they change the world? Entrepreneurs solve real problems with innovative solutions. Whether for consumers, businesses, or both, entrepreneurs identify the unknown and attempt to solve problems like never before. Risking their livelihood, entrepreneurs put themselves on the line. They take passionate risks.

Through my employment at Tigerlabs, I have the good fortune to invest in and work alongside brilliant risk takers tackling real problems, modern explorers if you will. Whether they are incentivizing healthy behavior (LifeVest Health), making it easier for scientists to communicate, collaborate, and solve the great disease mysteries of our time (PLOM), or making real time discussion and collaboration possible (Wisdomly), these entrepreneurs are solving the problems they see in the world. There is nothing more inspiring than having the opportunity to sit side-by-side with real explorers.

Though Arrested Development might very well make fun of the notion of a cartographer (sorry, Buster), the mapping of unchartered territories extends beyond geography. For an entrepreneur, the unchartered is the limits of their ability to design, build, and execute. Core to their ability is the power to iterate, to recognize their mistakes and do better, to look failure in its face and dig deeper.

The notion of the entrepreneur as the modern explorer extends beyond the physical. Entrepreneurial risk explores how far we are willing to take ourselves beyond the known world. What greater exploration could we ever ask for?

Ready. Set. Go.

James Smits
New York, NY

Friday, June 21, 2013


Try to imagine a life without timekeeping.

You probably can't. You know the month, the year, the day of the week. There is a clock on your wall or the dashboard of your car. You have a schedule, a calendar, a time for dinner or a movie. Yet all around you, timekeeping is ignored. Birds are not late. A dog does not check its watch. Deer do not fret over passing birthdays.

Man alone measures time. Man alone chimes the hour. And, because of this, man alone suffers the paralysing fear that no other creatures endures. A fear of time running out.

Chris Powell
Cambridge, UK

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Salad Uprising

Hello, I'm from Brazil. You probably don't know much about us now, but you probably will during the next World Cup. I was unsure what to write about, until I saw, last night, June 13, 2013, all hell break loose in the city of São Paulo. It started as a protest against raising bus taxes - described in an apologetic way by politicians as 'under inflation margin', as if they had nothing to do with that. But after 3 days of protest, it became much more than that. It was a protest against the government priorities, and how the people still go hungry while over-budgeted, unfinished World Cup construction sites that have become an excuse to steal the people's money - I mean literally steal.

And the protesters said that. In signs, on the internet, in interviews. The peaceful protest was met with an unjustified attack of tear gas and rubber bullets. And it made me cringe to watch what was happening live, while listening to the reporters saying that the opposite was going on. People had been arrested before manifestations started - for possession of vinegar. Vinegar is used to minimize effects from tear gas. Which means people were being arrested for trying to protect themselves against the police. Did they expect them to receive the violence with open arms? The manifestation became then, also for the right of speaking out against the government, and against unnecessary violent police repression. It was a protest for our right to protest.

The manifestation was violently disrupted. Police closed entire streets with the excuse that they didn't want the protest to close streets (?) and then called themselves successful for reopening such streets. Legislation is being made to qualify public manifestations such as this as terrorism (PL 728/2011) and in my city, public manifestations were FORBIDDEN during the international soccer championships. A civil right, forbidden, in order to make us look good. For you.

Now this might seem to you like a horrible isolated event. It's not. It's commonplace, really. Our police military forces are a leftover organization from the dictatorial far right military government that took over our country from 1964 to 1985. For 21 years, we were stripped of all individual rights, silently tortured and killed, and forced to live in fear. And considering public manifestations of citizens as terrorism was one of their excuses for it.

So I'm writing because you need to know, that if you see a peaceful country during the World Cup, you are being lied to. Governors will state that things like the recent rape of an American tourist is rare, when it is actually epidemic and rising. Two Brazilian women had already been raped by the same gang and the police did nothing. They would have stayed that way if they hadn't made the horrible mistake of raping a foreign woman.

We are angry, but also afraid. How to fight against this? And the answer is: You. The one thing our government fears is to look bad in front of international entrepreneurs and investors. So search for this online. Find our videos and statements. Spread it out. Put our real reasons for protesting in the news. Help us achieve our right to protest, our right to speak out against oppression, the right to live without fear of the government. We have an unique opportunity to make ourselves visible to the whole world, during the World Cup of 2014. Make it count.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

some things to think about

live deliberately

take courage

take time

pay attention

listen carefully

remember with fondness

be gentle

be honest

maintain integrity

work well

share ten percent

be kind

consider your neighbor

love your family

treasure friendship

read constantly

keep learning

breathe deeply

trust God

nothing is wasted


Nancy Fox
colorado springs

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

"They throw everything at Him"

A friend asked me for some advice on a script she was developing about a professional wrestler. She wasn't interested in the "hows" of professional wrestling, such as "how does one become a wrestler" or "what is the thought process when creating the unusual art that is professional wrestling. Her line of questioning focused more on "who becomes a wrestler" and more importantly "why does a person become a wrestler?"

Clearly that answer is unique to each individual involved and as you can imagine everyone in our industry is a bit of an odd bird. I sometimes joke that the people in wrestling range from the unique to the mentally ill. Though involvement may sometimes be for the wrong reasons almost all of us do it because we simply feel like we have to.

There is a unique experience that comes from professional wrestling that is found in no other art form that I know. There is the ballet-like expression of human emotion through physical movement, there is improvisation interwoven through conspired melodies like jazz. But to combine them into one form with a beautiful, sometimes malevolent, intention of manipulating people into states of cathartic fury is unlike any other I've seen.

Though she had seen the film already I advised her to watch Darren Aranofsky's "The Wrestler." Though it does illustrate a darker side of professional wrestling, the side of drugs and damaged relationships, it also shows the kind of personality that thrives in that business. Due to it's numerous allusions to the Jesus story I sometimes call the film "The Passion of the Ram." Randy "The Ram's" side is pierced in his match against Necro Butcher, he has a messianic pathology that leads him to sacrifice everything for the
enjoyment of his fans, and eschewed by society and scourged in the ring. A direct comparison is even made by the character Cassidy who quotes the Bible by way of the film "The Passion of the Christ":

"He was pierced for our
transgressions, He was crushed for
our iniquities. The punishment that
brought us peace was upon Him, and
by His wounds we were healed."

It is as if the sacrificial lamb has reached full adulthood and has become The Ram. I know that my involvement in wrestling makes me predisposed to enjoying this film but I'd advise you to look up Penn Jillette's "Penn Points" in which he reviews this movie. He is an artist with whom I have great admiration and I think his time as a performer gives him a special understanding of the picture.

I've heard many criticisms of our "sport" and consider myself an ambassador for our business. My character, my "gimmick" if you will, is "The Voice of Reason" because it is a reflection of who I am in real life. I do not believe in supernatural powers and am an advocate for science and skepticism. I do not use drugs or alcohol because, as a human, I am already driven by enough irrational thinking and I feel that as person of some minor influence (particularly to children) that I should demonstrate that toughness is more than just physical.

Should you have questions about wrestling, my films, or anything else feel free to contact me. I also encourage you to follow me on Twitter: @chxck

I wish you all lives filled with love, endurance, and creativity.

Chuck Porterfield
Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Monday, June 17, 2013

One motorcycle trip

In 2010, I & some friends decided to go to Leh in the Himalayas on our motorcycles. We had been planning for months. 2 of us had even quit our jobs just for this. Disaster struck the day before departure- Leh and all roads leading there were struck by flash floods and heavy landslides killing and stranding hundreds of people in that region. We were still in Delhi, still about 400 miles to anywhere close to it.

If we had left even two days before, we could have been trapped or killed but it felt like we were given another opportunity to carry on our adventure. And so we did. That night we decided to go to the neighboring Himalayan region of Lahaul-Spiti, an area we had no idea about since all our planning was for Leh. All we had now was a map in our hands.

Our motorcycles were small single-cylinder engines. We were carrying only the basics for supplies and spares. We weren't really prepared for rain but luck was on our side and we had beautiful weather throughout- 2 days of rain out of 14 isn't bad! We just followed one road and it turned out to be the two best weeks of my life, yet.

My only advice to anyone — ride a motorcycle. Not because you can go fast or because it looks “cool”. But mainly because it can teach you many things and give a new perspective towards life. That trip taught us several things. It taught some to relax and not aim to see everything possible. It taught responsibility by showing effects of alcohol on AMS. It taught us perseverance in the face of deep-water crossings and quicksand-like mud. It taught us to celebrate every obstacle and beautiful view that we came across. It taught us to stop and smell the roses (we’d stay a day longer if we liked a place). It taught us to be best friends even when we barely knew each other. It taught us to enjoy the simple pleasures of life- like a hearty breakfast or a glimpse of vegetation! Most importantly, it kept us grounded. We were not keeping score, racing against time, marking points on a map, trying to make deadlines or writing magazine articles- just riding because we were enjoying it. If there has been a time I've felt really ‘free’, that was it.

So ride a motorcycle- every day if you can. It’s a humbling but fun experience once you get over your fears. Over the years motorcycling has taught me to find peace in the chaos of a city without escaping it, to keep doing only things that I love doing and most importantly, to stay real and true to myself. For instance, I have been doing more non-profit work as a graphic designer- because I got tired of brands misleading people giving them a false sense of self-worth. I have even moved across the world to be with the woman I love. Motorcycling has inspired my life in various other ways that’s impossible to list here.

Like riding, Listserve proves that to be “wise” and “philosophical”, one doesn't need to be a spiritual guru or have learned meditation techniques or read millions of books. All it takes is their unique life experiences that everyone can learn from. The naysayers just need to appreciate themselves a bit more.

Thank you Listserve and everyone for reading and sharing your stories and beliefs. You are welcome to visit my website (anuranjan-dot-com) to know me, my work, the trip or if you want to simply connect for good food or go riding in NYC!

New York, NY

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Your happines depends on you.

How many times you gave up on your purposes only because somebody had a got at you? Answer yourself question: Are you living for to make others happy or to be happy and share this happines with others?

Don't forget about your purposes, your dreams, your desires. Strive to achive them. Listen those people which want you to be happy, those which in worst case give you helpfull hand...not those which are telling to you what you're doing is wrong and have no sens, etc, etc.

Remember - that kind of people, pessimist, always will be around us and they always will be unhappy. If you'll meet some of them, count till two: one, two…one is you - your happines - your live - your feelings - your thoughts...and second, second is the rest of the World. You're the most important person in the World.

Do you know definition of insanity?
"[…] doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." (A. Einstein) If you're doing something without results you expect…change the way that you're doing it.

Don't think about past, don't think what will future be. Focus on present and do all the best you can. "Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can." (A. Ashe)

"Whether you think you can, or you think you can't - you're right." (H. Ford)

With Love
Cracow, Poland

Saturday, June 15, 2013

How to deal with curly hair

Listen up. If you have curly hair, or a kid with curly hair, there are some things you need to know.

I'm going to share 3 cardinal rules, a washing/styling process that works without fail, and tips on how to straighten (not that you'd want to after you learn how to flaunt your curls).

Cardinal rules
1. Never comb, brush, or run your fingers through dry curls.
2. Do not let curls air dry even for 1 minute without product in.
3. If you can, wash your hair every other day, not everyday.

Washing/styling process
1. Wet hair thoroughly, apply shampoo and rinse. Repeat if necessary.

2. Apply one coat of conditioner and comb through/remove tangles WHILE IN THE SHOWER UNDER RUNNING WATER with a broad toothed comb. Rinse conditioner.

3. Add another coat of conditioner. Twist your hair up in a bun and secure with a clip. Do the rest of your shower routine without rinsing and or getting your hair under the water.

4. Remove the clip and rinse conditioner off (almost completely) at the very end of your shower.

5. Wrap your hair up in a towel without rubbing the towel on your head at all. Just let the towel absorb the water.

6. After at least 3 minutes but no more than 5 minutes, remove the towel and gently squeeze the excess water off. Again, no rubbing or shaking. Your hair has to be substantially wet, so just squeeze enough so that it stops dripping but is still wet.

7. Apply LIBERAL AMOUNTS of product. I use Sedal Rizos Obedientes and it is the best product ever. Put about a plastic Coke bottle cap amount on your hand and use your fingers to disperse it through the entire length of your hair. Repeat this 3 times if your hair is still moderately wet, and 4 times if you let it dry too much (you can tell if it's too dry if you see individual hairs separating from the curls). This is the last time you will run your fingers through your hair until you wash it again.

8. Let hair air dry. Try not to move your head around too much or be stuck in the wind, this will undo the curls before they even form.

9. After about 2-3 hours when your hair has dried, flip your head over and carefully run your palms along the entire surface. NO FINGERS. This creates volume and removes the sometimes sticky product leftovers. Results: kibilds @ instagram, look for a pic taken on 4 September 2012.

Not getting into too much detail here. Just know that if you want it to stay straight for more than 1 hour, you need to blow it out with a round brush completely AND also flat iron it completely. If you only do one of these things, you will either have a) frizzy hair that looks dry or b) burnt hair that looks sorry.

Enjoy your curls ladies and gents!

Day Kibilds
State College, PA

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Hello everyone !

My name is Steven Page, and I live in Montreal, most precisely in the Verdun area. You may be interested in Free Shit Verdun, which is something that me, my friend (Hi, Ludauvick) and my girlfriend (Hi, Catherine) started just about a year ago.

The concept is simple : We give free shit in Verdun.

We have a free library 24/7 in front of our apartment where people can take books and also give some. From time to time, we give some free stuff with a huge “FREE” panel. It makes people happy, and our neighbours love it.

Tomorrow (Thurday the 6th), we will be doing a “Ciné Free” event, which is basically a movie that we screen in front of our apartment, near the street. People bring beer and popcorn, we vote for a movie and we chill all night. If you are in the Montreal area, you can come over if you want !

Just type Free Shit Verdun in Facebook and you’ll get all you need to know.


Here are some of my favorite quotes “An extraterrestrial being, newly arrived on Earth - scrutinizing what we mainly present to our children in television, radio, movies, newspapers, magazines, the comics, and many books - might easily conclude that we are intent on teaching them murder, rape, cruelty, superstition, credulity, and consumerism. We keep at it, and through constant repetition many of them finally get it.”

“In science it often happens that scientists say, "You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken," and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion.”

“You're an interesting species. An interesting mix. You're capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you're not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we've found that makes the emptiness bearable, is each other.”

“Frederick Douglas taught that literacy is the path from slavery to freedom. There are many kinds of slavery and many kinds of freedom, but reading is still the path.”

ALSO, BE AWARE OF THIS : Legal counterfeiting of a national currency for private gains.

AND FINALLY : I’d just like to take some time to salute someone very important to me. Cath, c’était ta fête le 31 et je crois que c’est encore temps de te faire une petite surprise. En fait, tous les jours de l’année peuvent être bons pour ça :) Alors voilà, je ne t’avais pas dit que j’avais gagné le listserve. Cette fois, c’est pas un troll, j’ai gagné pour de vrai. Tu as le visage d’un ange du moment où tu te lèves le matin jusqu’au moment où tu te couches le soir, et tout ça sans avoir à mettre de déguisement sur ton visage. Je t’aime comme ça. Tu es une des seules personnes avec qui je peux décompresser. Merci d’être chill.


Steven Page
Canada, Quebec, Montreal

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

(Trigger warning?) House spiders

There are two (visible) spiders living in the bathroom window area. One lives in the sill, and the other climbs up into the shade's hanging wooden drawstring pull. That one is the smaller spider. It had molted two times and didn't seem to be growing as fast as the sill spider, who has a very round abdomen. One afternoon while moving things around on the sink, a baby spider crawled out and hung for its life with a web. For some crazy reason my first thought was to put it in the sill so it could build its own web, but you know what happened.

Of course you do.

The drawstring spider ate the baby.

Here's the pretentious part: I'm 30 and my husband and I are about to give birth to our first child this fall, so after the spider-eating-baby-spider incident, I felt like the worst Mom-to-be ever. What if someone gave my baby to a bigger baby to eat? O_o

Then that reminded me of the time my cousin got a baby bearded dragon and he let our uncle hold it. When we asked where the baby was, my uncle replied that he thought the baby could play with the full-grown beardie in another tank and... Well, you know what happened there, too.

This is probably my way of apologizing to both the spider and the baby beardie, even though only the spider's death was my fault.

By the way, we named the drawstring spider "Horatio," and he has since molted and grown fatter from three houseflies I've fed him over the past month, but the fatter sill spider doesn't have a name. We haven't seen him in awhile, though. Maybe Horatio ate him, too.

San Francisco, CA

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Lean UX, without skimping on the meat

Some years ago, I worked for a creative agency moving to a new location, neighboring a known specialty grocery chain. Among the reasons I was excited about the move was the prospect of offsetting my takeout lunch intake with salad bar hopping. On first visit, I surveyed the bar and saw all of the wonderful things, assembling a hodge-podge of covetable ingredients. At checkout, it was a bit steep for lunch, but I scuttled to my desk to enjoy the salad anyway. The trouble was, it was a big letdown. The components were okay together, but somehow it just wasn't as good as picking Joe salad from a menu. However, I wasn't discouraged.

On return, I went in planning to make a Greek salad—one of my favorites. Mixed greens, fancy olives, tomato, red onion…no cucumber, but I used zucchini. Feta was missing, but I figured shredded mozzarella would be closer than bleu cheese. No Greek dressing, but Italian worked. Again at checkout, the salad was a bit more expensive than preferred, but it was the healthy choice. The result was just okay. I'm an optimist, so I tried again.

Consecutively, I built the staples. For caesar, I used Kalamata olives because there were no black. For wedge, ranch dressing with bleu cheese crumbles added. By the time I completed each salad, I'd replaced enough critical ingredients, the salad was no longer the amazing image I held in my head.

I ended up attributing this experience with the chain's brand. It resulted in disliking the brand that relentlessly teased me with *almost* what I needed, then overcharged me to boot. I refused to attend, when invited by co-workers.
It was when one of them asked me why, and I reflected on the reason, where I realized this is a perfect metaphor for my job—and why I love what I do.

Before I transition, there is another brand that does this well—BD's Mongolian BBQ. Now, I'm not a huge fan of the place for other reasons, but their model is exemplary. Aside from the salad bar spread, they put 1-2-3 recipes on the wall to model from. This performs two functions:
1) It accounts for multiple user types: the intimidated first-timer, the deviator who swaps a couple things, and it doesn't inhibit the balls-out "do what I want" customer.
2) More importantly, however, the recipe process audits the content of the salad bar to establish a foundation for creativity—a bare-minimum set of ingredients a salad bar should contain BEFORE adding flare.

Had the grocery chain performed the same surface-level analysis of their audiences, common tasks, and balanced "wants" with "needs", their salad bar would've aced every time. They'd be able to look at X-number of bins and quantify the brand experience cost of one flare ingredient against an essential. Suddenly, my salad that's somehow more expensive than the full meal across the street would've surpassed the visage my mind, olfactories, and drool were painting—leaving my pockets emptier, but my brand bond fuller.


I used this example to setup a conference talk on structuring personas and use cases to tackle everyday user experience problems. A web designer and developer “unicorn” for some years, I settled into user experience architecture and found my calling. I love (love, love) taking abstract human problems such as this, and breaking them down to find tangible solutions—intersecting art, behavioral science, research, code, and empathy, to facilitate human bonds with non-human things like websites or ideas.
Talk shop with me by Googling “anthonydpaul”. If you're in the Baltimore/DC meetup scene, find me.


Monday, June 10, 2013

I am not brave but even after writing this the world will ha...

I am not brave but even after writing this the world will have changed, you and I included. Breath and thoughts, come and go and leave us different, full or missing.

One of the most common things people say about me is that I’m quiet. I hear it time & time again from those I just met & even from those who’ve known me for some time. Despite this, 2 years ago & in need of a job I started working at the zoo as a tour guide/bus driver, after a rough estimate I’ve calculated that I have given a tour to about 30,000 people. Yet those people and most of the people in my life won’t know as much about me than those of you that read this will at the end of this email.

I am not brave but I seem to be surrounded by people that are, if for no other reason than they have no choice.

My mom’s boyfriend was diagnosed with M.S. 7-8 years ago when he was in his 30‘s. News of which I learned while I was living in Colorado. Now that I have been back home for a couple of years I see the effects that this disease has had on him and also on my mom. I continue to try to walk around in a world where this doesn’t or won’t eventually effect me. Impermeable to the changes this disease will continue to reap on my family, only to wake up one day wondering how I washed up on shore with everyone else.

My cousin, the closest thing to a sister I have and who I have been very close with for most of my life until recently, tried to kill herself. My aunt came to me crying. My cousin has had a rough roll. Kicked out of her house while still in her teens for “coming out”, about 10 years ago. Since that time she has moved in & out of her parents home, while they all learn to live with circumstance neither of them are willing to compromise, my cousin’s side understandably. She hasn’t talked to me for almost a year, though I have tried to reach out to her. I don’t know how to reach her now without scaring her away. I can only think that the catalyst of this deep sadness comes from not being fully accepted by her family. I am not brave. She has been. I have known that I like woman for about as long as she, yet you know what people know about me? That I am quiet. She’s come out to the people that matter while I hide behind uncertainty. The best I can do is tell you all that I am a woman who likes other women. One day people are just going to have to deal with it, including myself.

I am not brave but still I change with you, breathing as you are and things as you do, but not as you do. Even now I hide behind my computer, hide behind a white blank page that I fill with black letters, words, and sentences that run on too long with incomplete & unstable thoughts, shades of gray riddled within the meanings. The gaps in between the letters could fit a multitude of universes where inconsistency & indecision and themselves live. These universes that I drift in and out of from day to day. I’ll hide behind your courage, using your circumstances as a crutch to stay un-brave.

I’m not usually this somber but thank you for letting me vent.

Imperial Beach, CA

Sunday, June 9, 2013

WTF I actually won?!

They say that timing is everything. The thing about this is that 9 times out of 10 we can’t control when things happen in life. Those few times that things happen at that perfect moment, life feels amazing; however for every time something doesn't happen at the perfect moment there is usually some other emotion evoked. Winning the Listserve lottery this week initially didn't strike me as perfect timing. I never thought I would get picked so had absolutely no idea what I would write about and haven’t recently experienced anything momentous or exciting to share with everyone.

So the first thought that comes to mind is why the hell is this happening now? After sitting on this for a night the conclusion I came to is that you don’t need to experience something momentous or exciting to make life feel meaningful.

I ran in the San Diego Rock n Roll half marathon this weekend. While I knew a few people doing the race I decided to actually run this one on my own. The whole theory that adrenaline gives you an extra 3-4 miles on the day of the race is definitely no joke. I run a few times a week and never feel the high that I felt after crossing the starting line. After about 3 miles into it I started to realize how amazing this whole thing was. With the thousands of people running this and the hundreds cheering along the sidelines the entire 13 miles it hit me that this wasn't just something to say I've done. If you know me you know this isn't an exaggeration but this definitely gave me major goosebumps. Running isn't for everyone but even if you decide to walk the whole way I recommend participating in one of these in your lifetime. They have them all over the world now and it’s definitely an amazing feeling to be part of something like this.

Because of the lack of having something else inspirational, thought evoking, or just plain interesting to share with you guys I figure I would give you a list of the little things in life that make me happy. Hopefully some of these interest people and they can add them to their list of little things J

- Las Vegas – because it’s the adult Disneyworld

- Naps – that moment after you wake up from a really really good one

- Laughing until it hurts or you pee your pants – pretty sure everyone has this on their list already

- Getting dressed up for something fancy – maybe it’s because I’m a girl but you forget how much fun this can be

- Dancing – even if you think you can’t do it, do it

- Sneezing – never stop someone from sneezing; it’s a fact that it’s a 1/8th of an orgasm

- Seeing a really good movie – it can make you laugh, cry, or just think about life… either way you can’t deny it’s a good feeling

- A good cry – even though at the time it’s usually because of something sad the way you feel after is indescribable

- Making a new friend – you never know what it could turn into but the excitement of that is half the fun

There’s a ton more that I could list but I’m running out of space so I will have to end it on that one. I always love to make new friends so feel free to shoot me an email and let me know what little things you have on your list!

Los Angeles, CA

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Walls Fell Down

I have an incredibly complicated relationship with the place I came from. But I guess, truthfully, so does everyone. See, I’m from West Virginia. Now, I know for a lot of people that conjures images of “rednecks” and “hillbillies” shooting deer and opossums in the mountains while drinking homemade moonshine on the porch of their log cabins. I kind of feel like I’ve had to carry that assumption my entire life. Most people’s reaction when I say “Oh, yea. I’m from West Virginia!” isn’t “What a beautiful state! With such rich history!” It’s normally “Oh….” Followed by a quick look at the watch and a dash in the other direction. Great for making friends.

I love West Virginia in the way you might love a senile grandmother. She helped raise you and in general, she’s well meaning, but she also likes to shout racist things in public and can’t help walking outside without clothes on from time to time. I want to be proud of my state in the flag waving way so many people I grew up with are, but I can’t help but only quietly come to her aid when someone starts getting down on some of her more unusual habits.

Because in a lot of ways, those criticisms are well founded. There appears to be very little hope of advancement for so many people in the state. Literacy isn’t always a number one priority. Many of the jobs like coal and steel that were instrumental in bringing jobs and commerce to the state have left leaving people unemployed and with little training to be used in other professions. We’re ranked the unhappiest and one of the most obese states in the nation. Poverty is rampant in so many areas of the state and there doesn’t seem too much to be done about any of it.

And therein lies my conflict. I recognize the problems and feel like I should do something to help but my first reaction has always been to run. As soon as I realized how isolated I felt by the state I was supposed to call mother, I mapped out an escape plan ready to leave. And I did. I left. Call it abandonment; call it copping out, but no matter.

There’s always one feature that I always come back to, though. It always strikes me when I leave the state how…flat everywhere else feels. When I cross into Ohio over the river on my way to anywhere else, it always feels like the walls fell down. It always seems like I can see for miles and in a lot of ways I feel very exposed. I guess I got used to my Mountain Mama keeping up castle walls to protect me. And I always, always miss the mountains when I leave.

I think West Virginia is easily the most beautiful state in the Union. Driving through it during the fall is breathtaking. It looks like the hills caught on fire. For me, that’s enough to keep my coming back.

Here’s hoping your country roads take you wherever you call home.

Washington, D.C.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Astride a dark horse

My name is Ryan. I'm 30 years old and I live on a houseboat on the canals of London, England.

My boat's name is the Dark Horse. I have owned it for 5 months. I am told that the constant fear of sinking eventually goes away.

The boat was built in 1974. It is 50ft long and 10ft wide, with every square foot replete in only the finest in late 70's wood-panelling. Its heart is a marinised BMC engine - the same kind that used to be found in black London taxis - and, like most of those who partied hard through the 70's, it has a tendency to occasionally forget who it is and what it's doing, and to suddenly and violently require a bit of a lie-down. This usually involves loud noises and, occasionally, smoke.
(When I purchased the boat from an elderly widower, she gave me a 'Good Luck' card instead of a 'Thank You' card. In retrospect this should have been something of a clue.)

As I have no permanent mooring (due, for the most part, to the scarcity of new mooring spots in London), my boat operates under what's called a 'continuous cruising license.' Besides being the basis for some truly terrible pickup lines, this entails being legally obligated to move the boat to a new neighbourhood every two weeks.¹ This has proven to be my favourite part of the boating life thus far. Waking up to the sound of joggers along the towpath at Victoria Park is very different to waking up to the gentle splash of a rower on the River Lea or to the distant sound of a genuine Camden punk being heartily sick. The experience has broadened my appreciation of London and its environs.

But the boat life isn't all glamorous 70's decor, punk vomit, and hastily purchased Hallmark cards. There are also downsides.
Besides the aforementioned threat of sinking and the obvious, constant danger of scurvy, the waterways of England are also infested with swans. While in the past the Queen (the only person legally allowed to kill swans in the United Kingdom²) has done a fine job of culling back the white-winged menace, her age and subsequent wavering aim has meant she's far less capable of wielding the royal machete than once she was. As a result, the swans, emboldened, have taken to hanging around in groups, smoking cigarettes, and making lewd comments at passing womenfolk. We boaters have thus far managed to endure this outrage through sheer willpower, numerous cups of tea, and the sound knowledge that should ever Prince Harry take the throne, he's likely to bring the full force of the British army against these beautiful, feathered abominations.

That day is to be found in the distant future, though, if at all, and so until then my fellow boaters and I must simply try to get by, pottering along from place to place, arguing with our engines and watching 'Waterworld' for the 50th time. It's an wonderful movie, really, and Kevin Costner is actually quite good in it.

Thanks for reading.

Ryan Bateman
London, England

¹: Oddly, it also mandates that I have, at all times, a copy of 'Waterworld' aboard, preferably on Blu-ray.
²: (This is not, strictly speaking, true.)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

I quit my apartment to code from the forest

I recently quit my job and my apartment to live in the forest in a tent.

Actually tonight I'm in a wind shelter by a still and beautiful lake and in front of me there is a small fire, the sun is setting,
and on my lap, my laptop.

I'm a developer. I moved to a tent into the forest to be able to code on my startup project full time.
Not only does that give me the time to do this but it also gives me peace of mind.
I change my location about two times a week.

Computer, forest, batteries...? Unpractical? Maybe it would have been more rational to keep the apartment and just cut costs?
Well, rational and right do not always align.

I have no apartment, I have no job and I have no income.
Still I'm exactly where I should be. I'm on my path. My gut feeling lets me know that.

I'm not exiting to a normal life until my startup has taken off. This is my big adventure. I'm not coming back empty handed.

Small notes on how to do this:
I power my laptop, phone and external battery with two portable Brunton 62 Watt solar panels.
I cook nice food on my Primus OmniLite stove.
I live in a comfortable Hilleberg tent.
I carry all 35 kg in a Norrona Recon back pack.

There's my live, 35 kg. It should not take more to slay the dragon, win the kingdom and divorce the princess.
Well I do also have a car. C'mon, dragon slayer without a horse?

If you are in the startup business you know that raising capital is not easy.
I speak to some seeders. They love my idea. I mean everyone I speak to love it, but the seeders
say it's to early to invest in without having actually seen the product. Maybe they're right. Hard for me
to decide, I'm a bit biased.

I can't really tell you what I'm doing, but yesterday I read this in an article by Adam Wiggins:
"Software is eating the world. Everyone can and should be able to write software in order to have a stake in the future."
This is exactly what I'm doing. Bringing software development to the masses.

The lulz requires this, me and my designer Micael are looking for:
Javascript/HTML/CSS haxx0rs with a sense of design.
C++/Lua/GNU/Linux gurus.
Investors in IT that want to break new ground.
Not that we could pay you any bucks, but the lulz are the lulz. =)

If you want to see some pictures of my forest life, try my blog, it's my fullname dot com.
Or follow me on Twitter, my Twitter id is also my full name.

Quitting my apartment and my job at the same time was really hard to do.
I had elevated adrenalin levels for days. To sooth the waves of anxiety that swept over me regularly, I had one picture
that I kept looking at. It was a picture of the beautiful forest which I was to move to. That gave me strength to
take the steps necessary to get on the trail.

I really hope you're on your path or taking calculated steps to get there. However big or small it may be.

Some kisses and some hugs and remember to stay true. But you already knew that.

Thomas Backlund
By a lake, in a forest, Sweden.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Do It For Yourself

I've been reading nuggets of joy, nuggets of sadness, and nuggets of great information from fellow Listserver writers. I've pined and pined over my chance to find something to say. What would I say? Would I procrastinate, despite having 48 solid hours to come up with something? BAM. It hit me.

My dream is to be a great writer someday. I will either write a novel directed at women, or create books and books of poetry. I'd love to create something for women of color, specifically. However, I create all the time and hit writer's block quickly. While the dream hasn't died, I've shifted over to poetry. Poetry is rich, poetry is exciting, poetry is a diary entry--shortened. I've fallen madly in love with it--so much to the point where I've self-published a short body of work from the first half of a fake leather book I was given in 2008.

I challenged myself with the project. I named the file "Four Years", and decided that no matter what, I was doing this for myself. I wanted to prove that I could dedicate myself to something I loved. Unlike the many "darlings" rotting in my writing folder, this darling was going to live and grow. This was a "darling" that wasn't going to be killed.

I must admit that I had high, somewhat pretentious hopes about people buying my book. I made it available on Kindle and at CreateSpace, rambled about it on my tumblr page, and guess what? ONE person bought it. Overjoyed, I knew more people were coming. Well, they never did. Was I disappointed? A little bit. However, I was still high off the joy of completing something. I was high off something I'd done for myself. I reflected on the late nights I spent at my desk with coffee, music, and my own fingers dancing across the keyboard. I reflected on rushing home for my hard copy to review before the final print.

It wasn't about the money, the notoriety, or any kind of praise. I did it for myself. That's so important! Why? I was letting everything I could think of hold me back. I feared self publishing because of the negative commentary I read on a blog. I feared putting myself out there, anticipating ridicule. I'm not a master poet! I'm not going to poetry slams and reads. I'm a quiet woman who types from her room computer and iPod Touch when the muse rubs my noggin. My poems are strange little stanzas about my life. I get a like or two, you know? Nothing special.

However, I just want to close and say this--do it for yourself. No matter what it is, focus on the goal. Doing it for yourself means you're showing love for yourself. It means you're doing something for YOU. Sure, it might affect someone in your circle. It might improve the life of your family in the process, but we often forget ourselves in this life. We often feel like something is missing. So therefore, doing something for yourself is like giving yourself a great gift to grow from and learn from. So years from now, you can quietly (or noisily) say to yourself....


Love yourself endlessly. Be kind to yourself. Invest in the one relationship that determines how you treat others. Remember what RuPaul says--"If you can't love yourself, how in the heck you gonna love somebody else?" As you do for yourself, I'll be cheering for you. You can do it!

Love and light,
Chicago, IL

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

How do you find out who you are

So, how do you find out who you are? Like who you actually are? Is it your childhood, your friends, your family? How do you find out who defines you, or what defines you? Or do you ever?

For me, it was in 1998. Six months until I was getting married, and I couldn’t feel my feet. Then I couldn’t see half of everything (think headless bodies). Then I couldn’t feel my hands. So, the neurologist said… its MS. I just wanted to know that I was going to live. Anything else, I would deal with. And I did. I live with MS, it’s who I am, and yet not who I am all at the same time. It defines me and I both define and defy it. I work with it. I live with it. I am a mother with it. I laugh with it. I cry with it. I am mad at it, and yet, I am happy with it. And if it feels the same about me, I hope I make it mad. I define it, and I defy it. I get up with it. I go on vacation with it. I wear it in my sneakers and walk it with my cane. I move with it, I move on with it, and maybe one day we can be friends. But until then…I will prove it wrong.

I think that’s the definition of what we all should be. We should actually be the ability to prove it wrong. Whatever it is. MS, any chronic illness, any non-chronic illness, any time and any where someone or something asks who you are… define yourself. Anyone who says you can’t, prove them wrong. Anything that says you shouldn’t, prove it wrong. So, just be. Be you, be the best you that you can be. Get up every morning, put your feet on the ground, and go. Go prove them wrong!

PS – I made a video for a well known company that I hope will inspire people with MS, and any other chronic illnesses to hang in there. If you would like to see it, please email me.

PPS- I am an avid reader, and love all types of books, both fiction and non-fiction (but not really science fiction). I would love to hear from you with book suggestions, and if you would like, I can give you some of mine.

Thanks everyone!

New York, NY

Monday, June 3, 2013

a coincidental event that changed my speaking manner

There was a girl in my junior high who had very pale skin. At the girl's school located in Seoul in the mid 1990s, when 'lighter' skin tone was considered very trendy nationwide, her flawless light skin was highly praised as an element of beauty. Her facial tone was actually so pale that I once even heard some girls call hers 'leukemic-pale skin'. Obviously it sounded like an inappropriate description, but for carefree young teenage girls, it seemed to be just another way of expressing their jealousy of not having that lightness.

One summer, I had a chance to go to summer camp with her as a group. On our second night, she fainted out shortly. She insisted on staying and finishing the 3-day camp with the rest of us. After she came back, she visited a hospital to get a check-up and was diagnosed with leukemia. She passed away after six months.

Her pale skin was a manifestation of the disease, and calling it 'leukemic' without knowing the underlying disease must have been a coincidence. I barely knew her personally. I have no idea what type of leukemia it was. But somehow, the phrase 'leukemic pale skin' stuck in my brain: Since then, I try to watch my mouth in a certain manner; I try not to use words that contain inappropriate meaning if there's any alternative option. I do not particularly believe that positive thinking brings good luck. But I tend not to use unnecessarily inappropriate words either.

Let's be nicer to each other. Above all, why not?

Hiye Shin
Brooklyn, NY

p.s. Congrats NYU ITP 2013 on our graduation. You made me see the world from a little more wider window than two years before. Thank all of you for having this amazing lifetime journey with me.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Spring Concert

Not two weeks ago, my composer collective Circles and Lines collaborated with our good friends Cadillac Moon Ensemble (an ensemble of Flute, Violin, Cello, percussion) to put on a concert. In the contemporary classical world, ensembles commission composers to write pieces for them to perform. Cadillac Moon had commissioned pieces from some of the composers in Circles and Lines previously, but now was completing the set (Including commissioning me!). This concert was the culmination of six months of hard work trying to get nine people in the same room at the same time, and ladies and gents, you better believe that was the hardest part about this project.
In December, the two groups won the MetLife Creative connections grant, which paid Circles and Lines and Cadillac Moon for question and answer sessions, workshops, interviews, and broadcasts. We had set up two interviews to be conducted before the big concert, an open rehearsal to be live streamed over the Internet, and a question and answer session to be conducted after the concert. From February, when we started organizing, to May 17th, when the concert happened, we found three days where all our schedules aligned enough to sit down and conduct the two radio interviews and the open rehearsal. In fact, we were so desperate to find a day that worked; we did one of the interviews and the open rehearsal on the same day. Combine the constant stress of finding a way to put 9 particular bodies in the same place with the need to operate complex technical infrastructure built from scratch and last minute orders for software, and you can see how Murphy’s Law can come to dominate some of what we were trying to do. Ultimately we were able to pull through and create a series of events that were both rewarding and fun.
These days, many people unfamiliar with the arts tend to think that being a composer or performer means furiously practicing or composing under the constant inspiration of Euterpe. In reality we are frequently forced to put on hats ranging from chief IT officer to recording engineer to project manager to PR hack. To create an artistic project from scratch, one has to be incredibly versatile in their abilities, flexible in their thinking and above all persistent.

Eric Lemmon
Composer & Violist

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Things you should be aware of

I'm a 25 year old with too many life lessons under my belt. The biggest things I want to share with you are these:

1. Learn how to drive, and use that knowledge. Like using blinkers, and moving over when you're going slower than the general speed of traffic. Also use common courtesy. I can't stress that last part enough.

2. Quit using listserve for your religious purposes. Its not cool to force your beliefs on others. But I guess why else would you email thousands of people to get your message out?

3. On dating, if you feel like your significant other is the best thing in your life, treat them as such. Don't let them slip through your fingers.

4. Get a pet. Doesn't matter what kind. I have a couple of cats and they are awesome. One plays fetch, and the other is horribly mean to anybody but me. I know it sounds strange to keep a mean cat, but she's old and cute and she likes me.

5. Its not too late to "fix" your life. Go back to school, learn something new or a hobby.

6. Go out on a limb and do something out of the ordinary. Live outside the box. My new years resolution (two years running) have been to try something new every month and see a show or go to an event every month as well. I've been completely successful with that.

Just live life. Same thing more better.