Thursday, February 28, 2013

300 miles

The drive from Seattle to my home on the border of Idaho takes four and half hours. I've made that trip nearly 60 times in my life. It is numbing driving through monotonous swaths of field and desert yet there is ample time to think. One's mind opens like the sky, but somehow I end up thinking about mundane things: the grading I needed to do, the crap screenplay I'll never write, how I forgot to clean the litter box before I left for vacation. Never anything profound or life-affirming.

A few years ago, traveling home with my family, we were the second to arrive at an accident. Law, I believe, mandates we must stop. I asked my family to stay put as I bolted from the car. I was going to show my mettle. I was going to be a hero. Surveying the scene, I noticed the most damaged vehicle belonged to a family with two daughters not unlike my own and my world changed.

As I neared the car, time slowed. The first child - young, maybe 4 or 5 - thrown from the car and in shock, sat on the sandy shoulder of the road running her hands across the ground. A young woman, from the car behind mine, wrapped her in a blanket and gentle words. I stopped a few feet from the crushed cars, unable to move further. At the sight of blood and the sound of the parents crying and moaning, I realized that I could do nothing. Another woman rushed to the car and sternly demanded I leave. As I turned I caught a glimpse of the second child in the backseat staring at me blankly. I did not look back.

The rest of drive home I fought back tears for that family mixed with the pain of being terribly ashamed of myself. I felt humbled and strangely vulnerable.

I have traveled the same road many times since that day. Whenever I round that particular corner, I slow down and look to see my girls in the backseat. And for a few miles, I think about that day.


Greg
greg.turnerrahman[AT]gmail.com
Washington State, USA

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Some recommendations

An appeal to your senses – if you have some time to follow a stranger's recommendations, here's what I'd suggest:

HEAR:

- If you have less than 5 minutes, listen to James Blake's new single "Retrograde" because it's phenomenal.

- If you have less than 20 minutes, search out the Love Club EP by Lorde. She's a 16-year-old from New Zealand and it's awesome pop stuff. Free on Soundcloud.

- If you have less than an hour, listen to Paul Simon's 'Graceland,' it's the best album ever made.

- If you have less than two hours, listen to Nicolas Jaar's Essential Mix. It's beautiful, classical stuff. Also free on Soundcloud; go for the Tong-less version.

- If you have a few hours, go through Sam Cooke's discography. Make sure to stop by the Harlem Club. All Sam goes best with a Sunday morning and a mug of coffee.

SEE:

- If you're not watching Bob's Burgers, you totally should. Same with Archer. Plus Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones of course.

- Cool Runnings is pretty much the best.

- Read 'American Gods' by Neil Gaiman. 'Old Mr. Flood' by Joseph Mitchell. The Princess of Mars series by Edgar Rice Borroughs. Don't let anyone convince you young adult fiction is for young adults.

TASTE:

- Cook Alton Brown's recipe for homemade soft pretzels, they're easy and incredibly tasty.

- Google 'coffee-rubbed steak nom and glug' and make that. A little self promotion, but the recipe is simple, it's less expensive than you think, and it will impress your friends.

- Kalimotxos are the ultimate summertime drink. Half cheap red wine, half Coca-Cola, served on the rocks. Sounds horrible and trashy, but it's actually the best thing for a sweaty summer evening.

- Dark beer is always the right choice.

SMELL:

- Fresh roasted coffee. Chocolate chip cookies in the oven. Wet pavement after it rains. Pine trees. Sauteeing onions.

FEEL:

…free to get in touch! Always on the lookout for new recommendations. What should I cook? What should I put on the stereo while I cook it? I'm on Twitter at @BarthDoesThings or at the email below.

Happy almost baseball season! Go Phillies!


Chris Barth
cbarthrun[AT]gmail.com
Brooklyn, NY

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Women in Tech

Until recently, I was floundering. For years, my life focused on becoming a professor and finding someone to spend my life with, and neither of those was working out. I applied for jobs, considered an MBA, almost moved to China, and read. Then I met Michael playing soccer. Somehow he saw past the shell I’d become. He dated me for five months until I made the conscientious decision to love him and really started dating him back. I finally found a job at a startup in San Francisco. The pay was so lousy that I had to stay in a relative’s basement while the job killed me slowly. A book made me realize that I’m an introvert, so I decided to talk to my boss the next day about making some changes. On the way to work, with a spring in my step, I broke my foot.

Working from home, I started opening tabs about learning technical skills. On the deadline for a school that trains women to become web developers/software engineers in ten weeks, I sent in a rather cursory application, though I didn’t have a clue what things like “Python,” “Backend,” and “Git” referred to.

But then I was in a wheelchair for a while and I had to defer, and to make things worse, I needed a new apartment. (Wheelchair-friendly places in San Francisco? Ha!) Michael and I debated getting married, but life was too hectic.

Finally, finally, things started clicking. We were offered lowered rent for managing a building, and the owner preferred couples. Being Mormon, we decided to get married. We became engaged and decided that with the apartment and school starting soon and in hopes of getting gift money to pay for Hackbright Academy, we’d get married in one month.

Our wedding was wonderfully simple and the stability of marriage countered the intensity of the program. Hackbright Academy was one of the most difficult and best things I have ever done. I slaved through pair programming, learning a new vocabulary, and building my first application, BookFairy. Within a week of graduating, I was offered a job. I nervously made a brave counter offer, and it was accepted!

How come I didn’t find my niche earlier?! I was in technology clubs in school and fascinated by techie stuff. So why didn't anyone ever say, "Michelle, you actually aren't that great at essays, but you like computers. Did you know that you could have a career making them do cool things?"

I blame it on my gender. Girls aren’t introduced to technology as early and they are subliminally encouraged to get impractical educations when they could excel in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Did you know that the amount of female developers has decreased since the 80s? It is now down to about 9-11%. It can be difficult to work in a male-dominated field, but that’s all the more reason for more women to forge the tech pathway.

I can’t recommend this path enough. My husband and San Francisco’s techies have been amazingly supportive, I love what I’m doing, and my salary is about 18 times more than my total income last year. I want to tell everyone, “Women can rock at web development, too! Girls, here are some cool things I've built that you could build too, being a dev is awesome! You can have love and a great career!”

If you want to read more about my experience and/or to help me support women in tech, you can find my blog and Twitter by googling my name, Michelle Glauser. (Please keep it positive.)


Michelle Glauser
San Francisco, CA

Monday, February 25, 2013

Great things are done by a series of small things brought together

I can't believe it's finally my turn to be on The Listserve. It's almost frightening thinking that your email will go out to the significantly large number of people who are already on this list. Some have already written while others are waiting their turn, reading each email for inspiration in preparation for when their turn will also arrive.



So that begs the question...what do I write about? What's going to make an impact on somebody's life? It's a question I often ask myself when I'm blogging (reallifehappens (dot) tumblr (dot) com) and most often times either words of advice or quotes come to mind. With that being said, here are some quotes and advice that will hopefully impact someone reading this:



1. "Believe you'll achieve, doubt you'll go without." A simple, yet extremely powerful statement. Believe in yourself, even if nobody else does.



2. "All around the world we are gazing skyward waiting for God, never realizing that God is waiting for us." One of my favourite Dan Brown quotes from The Lost Symbol. Go after what you want, because it's waiting out there for you.The time will pass regardless of how you spend it, so use it wisely.



3. Do the things in life that YOU want to do, not what everyone else says you should be doing. At this point in my life, lots of people are trying to convince me to travel...but I have other hopes and dreams that I want to accomplish before I travel. Like buying a house, having a steady job that I love, have a degree in Social Work, have a permanent travel partner (aka husband). Just because everyone else my age is travelling doesn't mean that I have to as well. Do things on your own time, and you'll enjoy them far more.



4. Do nice things for people. It doesn't have to be anything big, just something to encourage people to pay it forward. When you do something nice for someone, you feel better and you always get rewarded for it somehow.



5. Be less judgemental. "Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future." You never know what goes on behind the scenes in someone's life.



6. Be thankful and appreciative for all things in life. Be thankful for the warm sunshine, a hot cup of coffee/tea, the means you have to read this note, your friends and family, the cashier at the grocery store...like smiling and doing nice things for people, it's not only contagious but makes you feel happy too.



7. Learn to listen just as well as you speak. Sometimes people just want someone to listen to them. Learn to ask questions and then when you ask, actually listen to the words they say and provide advice/help only if they ask or it is required. There is nothing wrong with not having an answer to the problem.



8. Take time to read and educate yourself. It doesn't have to be a book. It can be an article you're interested in, a magazine you like, the newspaper, a book you just bought or one you have read multiple times before. Whatever you read will teach you something, which is ultimately better than learning nothing at all. Educating yourself is one of the greatest things you can do in your life so make the effort to do it, regardless of how you go about doing it.



I hope this inspires you in some way or another!


Taylor Ann
tayann.013[AT]gmail.com
Canada

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Winter wonderland

Hi! I guess I am supposed to write you a long e-mail filled with deep thoughts on life. I cannot do that. I am not old and I am not wise. Yesterday I (accidentally) set fire to a candy floss machine.

My sister, however, is very wise (and very old). She recently launched a website where "life coaches help you reach your goals and fulfill your true potential". Go google InvivoPlay.

Still here? Okay. I just realized glasses are made of glass and that is why they are called glasses. Now I realized both glasses and glasses are made of glass. What if glasses are really made of glasses? Ice cream is called ice cream because it is made out of ice cream.


Here's my favourite Knock-knock joke: - Knock knock - Who's there? - You know! - You know who? - Yes! Avada kedavra!

I want more friends. Let's be friends? Good. Good. Good. Good bye.


Erika dogonwheels[AT]hotmail.co.uk

Saturday, February 23, 2013

"You've got no compression in your third valve..."

Twelve years ago my best friend and I (18 and 19 years old) planned a road trip from Fort Lauderdale to Portland, Maine in her deceased grandfather’s old car. We bought plane tickets to Florida and gave ourselves a week to enjoy the drive back. It was exciting.

Before even leaving Fort Lauderdale we had to stop and replace the aged windshield wipers. Our speedy problem solving perhaps gave us a false sense of confidence and ability upon embarking on our first road trip. In theory, flying to Florida to drive a car to Maine does not seem like a unique or major challenge. At least, it shouldn’t.

Windshield wipers fixed, we merged onto the clear-cut path up I-95 that would take us directly home. Open windows, feet on the dash – we were free! As I attempted to rig a Discman and speakers in the glove compartment, the car, so old that it simply provided an AM/FM radio for listening entertainment, began to shudder. And shake. And rattle. We looked at each other – something wasn’t right.

“All we have to do is make it to Maine, then we’ll never take you on the highway again,” I thought, pleading with the car to keep moving. We figured out that if we stayed under 60 mph on the highway, the shuddering was undetectable. Good thing we gave ourselves a week to get back.

After a night in Savannah, we took up our slow (yet legally) paced journey north. About three hours down the road, my best friend at the wheel, something gave out. We took the first exit we saw into Florence, South Carolina to look for help. “It’s like we just lost half our momentum,” my friend told the clerk at AutoZone, who directed us northern out-of-towners down the road a few blocks to a mechanic – “Tell him Anita sent you.”

Our quick windshield wiper fix the previous day gave us hope that we’d be back on the road soon. After leaving the car at the shop we walked to the Piggly Wiggly for supplies, planning road snacks for the next few days. An hour later, we returned to the shop.

“You’ve got no compression in your third valve,” the lady at the front desk drawled. Blank stares.

She clarified: “That’s bad.”

The mechanic gave us our options: fix the car for $2500 (more than it was even worth), or drive it until it dies. “It could die in 20 miles or in 5,000,” he said. Another thousand miles to Portland, we opted for the less pricey option, hoping the inevitable failure of the shaky old car would happen closer to the 5,000 mark.

The engine gave out about 300 miles down the road in North Carolina. We coasted to a stop in the breakdown lane and sat there in silence. That thick southern drawl echoed through my head: no compression in the third valve – that's bad…no compression…5,000 miles…

We had it towed to a Safeway parking lot. After removing the plates and emptying out the trunk, we abandoned the car. Trading our freedom of mobility for bus tickets, we continued to the journey north with subdued spirits, finally reaching Maine two days later.

I don’t think we really learned any deep life lessons from this experience. We both drive reliable cars now, maybe that’s it. Or, maybe, if you’re car is inevitably going to die, but still running, drive it as far as possible. That way, the time you have to spend on the Greyhound will be as short as possible.


Emily Johnson
emjo33[AT]yahoo.com
Somerville, MA

Friday, February 22, 2013

Don't forget to check out the clouds today

I didn't go to church until I was in college. Spirituality was not really a part of my life, nor did I feel like it was missing. But I am a generally curious person, so in college I tried a Catholic mass or two, and then a friend took me to the Unitarian Church. I have found my sporadic visits to UU Churches fulfilling and thought-provoking. In fact, a few services-- in particular ones about the first principle of Unitarianism-- have moved me to tears (which was hella embarrassing, crying in public). The first principle simply states that 'We, the member congregations of the UUA, covenant to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person.' This is, really, a very strong covenant. People do many beautiful things, but damned if we don't also do a ton of terrible things. Promoting the inherent worth and dignity of people who we like is easy, but what about those who have done, and continue to do, things we find morally repugnant?

One thing very difficult about living by the first principle is that you can no longer submit to black-and-white characterizations of things (which one may notice, are constantly being foisted on us). We often surround ourselves with like-minded people who affirm our values and conclusions about the world. This makes sense for a lot of reasons-- it is more comfortable to be around people you generally agree with (reduces conflict), and it is optimal for making progress towards common goals. On the other hand, it makes it easy to get entrenched in your own ideology-- and we all have ideologies. It also makes it easy to think of those with different views as caricatures instead of as humans. Simplifying others’ perspectives instead of trying to understand, seeing them as cartoons, instead of human and worthy of our consideration.

What's the good in living in such black and white? It makes things easier (shit’s mad complex, yo!)—but also makes it easier to write off. Ideas that I haven’t heard about on tv or at school? Write ‘em off cause they’re crazy, that’s what everybody else is doing, and it is easy. But it takes us away from the truth.

I have also found that, when I turn harsh critical thoughts towards others, it is often the case that I am really having critical thoughts about myself. Learning to be less critical of others, and start appreciating their humanity instead, also gives us the room to be less critical of ourselves and start accepting ourselves in a more honest way-- flaws and all.

Last, just some words about practical things I've found to promote happiness and well-being in my life:

1. Bicycling in lieu of driving-- and also learning bike repair skills (many cities have some sort of free workshop program where you can learn for free or cheap).

2. Spending time outside and moving every day (get some sun, especially in the winter, just bundle up real good!)

3. Yoga cured my life-long asthma, and I am dead serious about it. My whole life, I had needed medication multiple times a day and exercise was painfully associated with completely losing my breath. Yoga (not aerobic-lose-weight yoga, but moving-focusing-breathing yoga) damn-near eliminated my need for medicine and I felt physically reborn. I was skeptical at first, but there is wisdom in those ancient practices.

4. Buying less stuff (the less often you go to stores, the less stuff you want to buy! It’s like they designed the stores to make you want stuff you don’t need or something…)


Thanks for reading and best wishes to everyone, I've really enjoyed reading what everyone has to say.


Laura
lauralovesmango[AT]gmail.com
Pioneer Valley, MA, USA

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Advice

I live in a country where entire sections of bookstores are dedicated to advice or self-improvement. Hell, in the late 90s we had a Billboard hit that was just an inspirational high-school graduation speech over a drum beat.

So there is nothing I can say here that hasn't already been said. But, the winter wind howling outside my windows reminds me of one of my favorite poems, so I'll leave you with that.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
by Robert Frost
First published in New Hampshire in 1923

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it's queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there's some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Thanks for the opportunity,


Dave
wilkeson[AT]gmail.com
Upstate, NY

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

It's A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow

Hello all. Since I'm relatively new to The Listserve, I certainly didn't expect to win the lottery so soon! It's a wonderful surprise. I must say I love the concept behind The Listserve- using technology to keep us connected across the world, despite locations, economic status, gender, race. I love getting Listserve messages because I feel like I'm getting to hear bits of wisdom from all kinds of different people who have had many years of experience on me. It's amazing.

My message is relatively short since I'm still somewhat new to this world myself. I'm graduating from the University of Arizona in May, and I'll be stepping out into the huge, unknown adult world. I'm planning on entering the field of museums, a pretty unpopular career choice among my peers. My parents tell me I'm gonna have to marry rich just to have a comfortable life, and my friends say I'm gonna end up being a teacher. But none of that matters to me. Museums might seem boring (I know my sister hated getting dragged to them) but they are vital to society and communal growth. Without a place to engage with history, we are doomed to repeat it. And most of human history shouldn't be repeated (in my humble opinion). So I urge you to go out to the local museum in your town or city and spend just an hour there- reading, listening, learning. It could surprise you how much fun you have.

I know that I'm going to leave this small city and join the broader community. I want to go out and make an impact on the world, and let me say that I am raring to go. I hope that this small message for posterity leaves you with a piqued interest in museums or even just history in a broader sense, whether it be human history or just your own personal history. There's always something to be learned from past experiences which will enrich our future paths.

My generation is known for the somewhat asinine phrase "YOLO" but if my generation is known for living life to the fullest, then so be it. I'm down with that. Good luck everybody, and I hope to see you all poking around your local museums one day.

You only live once.


Mariah Shevchuk

(I've included my email address in case anyone wants to share tips for graduate school or any interesting museums they know of. Thanks in advance, guys!)

Mariah Shevchuk
hairam812[AT]aol.com
Tucson, Arizona

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Immigration

Let's talk about immigration. To be honest I think about it almost every day. Ok, not every day but this theme appears in my head from time to time. And I really do not know why exactly I want to immigrate to another country. Maybe I'm bored of my current location? I don't know. Maybe I don't like my country? I can't tell you this too. For me it looks like a challenge. You're in foreign country, you know nobody, you're pretty scared. You have to speak on foreign language. You're nervous all days long for the first time. So does it worth it? Please share you stiry with me if you have such experience.

Cheers!


Vasiliy Ermolovich
younash[AT]gmail.com
Minsk, Belarus

Monday, February 18, 2013

Their turn

I'm dragging myself through my first post-show morning with a baby so you'll have to bear with me. Man, how my life has changed. Let me explain. I've been involved with a local community theatre group, Shakespeare in the Park, for several years now. We put on one show a year, in summertime, at our beautiful Queen's Park here in Invercargill, a little wind-and-rain swept town at the bottom of the world. In past seasons I've been an actor, and a party person. Mainly a party person. After rehearsals and every show I would have been back at the pub with the cast and crew, laughing over things that went wrong, being triumphant over things that went right, dragging my sorry ass in to work at the local newspaper the next day.

This year it's all so different. I've got a wee boy, a rambunctious little guy who doesn't like sleeping or sitting still. I'm a stay-at-home mum, spending my time reading "The Mole who Knew It Wasn't Any Of His Business" and "Chocolate Mousse for Greedy Goose", changing nappies and walking around and around the garden with my boy and his best friend, a yellow plastic trolley. And instead of acting in Shakespeare, I was assistant producer, abridging the play (The Merry Wives of Windsor - I took out all the boring bits and just left in the dirty jokes) looking after the cast, front of house, and helping keep things running smoothly. And you know, for the first wee while I was a bit unhappy with my lot. I missed the socialising, resented the young cast members who'd swan in, demolish the food I'd organised, swan out again and never say thank you. I would come home exhausted but still have to get up in the night to feed my ratbag boy.

But then I realised. It's their turn now, those young kids. And I get to sit back, exhausted and happy, watch the show, hear the little bits of gossip about who likes who, and have the kind of satisfaction you only get when you've worked really hard without needing or expecting any kind of reward. And so the season went by, we battled wind and rain and an escaped parrot who sat in a tree and screeched "What you doing?" for most of Julius Caesar on our last night. It was great.

To be honest, a lot of the Listserve emails I've gotten I've skipped because everyone seemed so bloody nice and full of positive life advice and I would sit and scowl while my kid dismantled anything he could get his hands on. Whatever, hipsters, I'd think, exhausted. But on this golden morning, with aching feet still and work still to do, I'm a bit full of hippie sentiment myself. Working hard as part of a group for the benefit of the community, hell it's good. And coming home after a quiet wine with the other oldies last night to my beautiful boy, asleep for once, and my wonderful husband who is so supportive of my decision to stay home, yet eager for me to do more things like this, well. There aren't any words, really. I'll leave it to the master:

"With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come."

Behave yourselves,


Sarah

Sarah McCarthy
sjmcmac[AT]gmail.com
New Zealand

PS OH MY GOD I WON THE LISTSERVE LOTTERY!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

What's the BIG IDEA?

I adore illustrations. I am addicted to self help. I love that every day, I get the chance to create the life I want – a life of unlimited possibilities.

One day (way too long ago), I had a BIG IDEA.

What if I combined the things I love into an online destination that I could experience daily to lift my spirits (ahhhhhh)… Inspire me (Yes, please! I would like that)… Remind me of my blessings (my children, my husband, my friends and my well worn home)… Instill gratitude in my life.

I envisioned delicious illustrations …self improvement … daily interaction! Maybe this could help others too! A place with a purpose… What a BIG IDEA.

I adored my BIG IDEA.

Yet, as much as I loved it, I didn’t act on it.

My BIG IDEA waited for me.

I had a family to raise. A marriage, friends, a home and my own existing (and lovely!) growing business.

On vacations I would take out my BIG IDEA and play with it. Think about it. Plan. Daydream.

Years went by.

I signed up for The ListServe. “Ooooh! If I ever get picked, I will tell them all about my BIG IDEA!”

I had so many intentions. And my BIG IDEA just sat and continued to wait. I told my BIG IDEA, “I will get to you soon. I haven’t forgotten you. I am just too busy now.”

The Universe replied. Via email. Tag you are it. Sitting in my inbox: [The ListServe] You’ve been selected.

Such an opportunity! 21,583+ subscribers!

My three daughters asked, “Why not tell them about your business, not the BIG IDEA… what about the business you have now?”

Because my BIG IDEA has been so patient. It has waited long enough.

My BIG IDEA should have a launch party -- a Debutant Ball. My BIG IDEA deserves some love.

So without further ado… Today, for the first time, 21,583+ ListServe subscribers will be introduced to my BIG IDEA. (Drumroll, please!)

I am proud and excited to unveil my BIG IDEA: The Good Life is Now

The Good Life is Now (TGLIN) is a delightful online destination –the purpose is to connect you to YOURSELF and YOUR LIFE.

It is taking many of the mindset activities of positive psychology, spirituality and the science of happiness & well-being and delivering them in a visually delicious game type format in your own personal world.

TGLIN speaks to BOTH what is good in your life now, while also helping you envision an inspired future.

My journey to create TGLIN is just beginning.

I invite you to sign up online at The Good Life is Now if you would like to join me for the ride. I promise there will be lots of goodies along the way!

Graphic designers, game developers, creative thinkers and investors (!) if this project interests you, email me at the address below and let me know how we might work together.

Thanks for reading and I wish you all the best in your good life!


Jane Boatman Geller
jane[AT]thegoodlifeisnow.com
Indianapolis, Indiana USA

Ps. Shout out and thank you to game guru Jane McGonigal @avantgame for tweeting about The ListServe!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

That jerk Simon

“U Make Me Want To Drink Bleach” by Easyworld reminds me of that jerk Simon I dated in London in 2002. My friends all told me he was an asshat, but boy did I fall for his posh accent and effort hair. When he introduced me to his favorite band-of-the-moment, Easyworld, I immediately adopted it as my favorite band-of-the moment.

A week later, we’re stood outside a venue where they’re playing, and I’m begging passersby for tickets to the sold-out show. Romantic, right? After listening to my sob story, their manager comped us a pair of tickets. Inside the venue, rather than “thanks, Eric!” Simon just looked up and told me, “I’ll take a Jack and Coke”. I dumped him before the encore.

--

I was an exchange student to Brandenburg, Germany in 1993. Arriving at the train station, I was picked up by a somewhat radical punk-rock-looking loving-our-newfound-Western-freedoms host family with whom I couldn’t yet communicate with due to language barriers. 15yo me (fresh from Indiana) was absolutely terrified.

We drove home in silence, until “Master & Servant”—and if you know me, you know how much I love Depeche Mode—came on the East German radio station. Everyone started singing along: father, mother, sister, brother—I couldn’t believe it. Ice broken.

--

Depeche Mode’s “Photographic” was playing two months later when I stepped into my first discotheque with Lars, my “supercool” host brother who I was secretly in love with.

Inside the disco, throbbing synthpop washed over my body. There were smoke machines and strobe lights and everyone was wearing black denim jean jackets and smoking and drinking beer. I wanted to stay there forever. I spent most of my 20s “there”.

--

I lived a lonely existence during the dot-com days in San Francisco. I’ll never forget sitting at home one night after a long day of working too hard on some bullshit website, lights off, windows open, fog rolling into and out of my apartment, with Pet Shop Boys’ “Nightlife” album booming, thinking “why am I wasting my time doing something I hate?” Years later, seeing their musical “Closer to Heaven” brought me to tears—each number resonating with me in such silly ways.

When I left the software world for a few years to try my hand at journalism, I was lucky enough to interview Neil and Chris. After the interview backstage at the BBC, they tried to set me up the spot with another journalist. While there wasn't a spark, we're great friends to this day, and have shared a hundred musical adventures since.

--

Last year, I dressed up as a sequined, quaffed Vanilla Ice for Halloween, and danced around the streets of post-Sandy Manhattan. 22 years earlier, "Ice Ice Baby" was the first CD single I owned. My costume was recognized just once, by a handsome lad dressed as a “Book of Mormon” Mormon. You should see the bizarre (yet adorable!) photo of the two of us. My costume is safely retired, at least until our wedding reception.

--

Please share some of your musical moments with me! Pretend that we've just met at a party and we're standing in the kitchen shooting the shit. Drop me an email or Tweet me @ericbogs.


Eric Bogs
eric[AT]bo.gs
Brookyn, NY

P.S. I’ve spent the last 6 months working on a new social music iPhone app called Stereotypes, centered around sharing these musical moments with friends. I’d love for you to try it out when it launches next week—just follow @stereotypesfm.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Try it, you might like it.

When I tell people what I do, they very often say ‘Oh I always wanted to learn that!’ So, I tell them what I am going to tell you. Do it.

I am a Sign Language Interpreter. I live in the UK so I use BSL (British Sign Language) where you are, you will have your own Sign Language too.

My hobby, became my job and I am so lucky that my job is something I love and enjoy almost everyday. I am incredibly privileged in that I get to be involved in the most intimate of situations in people’s lives, along with the more everyday stuff. If you can imagine your own life, and all that you do, if you are Deaf or will be meeting a Deaf person, you may have someone like me there too. I meet new people all the time, and no day is the same. I couldn’t cope with a normal 9-5!

I have made great friends, and learned so much over the years thanks to the varied situations I find myself in. I have completed numerous courses (without having to do the course work/exams, and of course without gaining the actual qualification!) Loads of training days, seminars, coaching, the list goes on. Each day throwing up linguistic challenges that can be incredibly interesting and sometimes a bit scary! There are also emotional challenges through working with those who are in need physically, emotionally, financially and psychologically, sometimes it can be hard to keep hold of my own emotions.

I don’t expect you to go this far of course! If you ever get chance then go learn the basics. It’s what I did! It’s amazing fun, and it will open your eyes to what a beautiful and rich language it is. It will increase your confidence if you do meet a Deaf person, and after all, the Listserve is all about communication, so why not expand your means of doing so!


Lisa
UK

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Never Have I Ever

Never Have I Ever


Have you ever held the hand of a homeless person?

I have.

It was dirty, bruised, and scarred.

But it gripped like any other hand,

Reaching out to be acknowledged

And holding on dearly to a momentary connection.

And it felt good

To not be invisible

To not be alone!


Have you ever witnessed a hate crime?

I have.

It strikes you down, paralyzes you, and swallows you whole.

But it forces you to shed your naivety,

Arming you with a new sense of purpose:

A desire to look never again into bruised eyes

And utter the lie "it's okay."

Because it's not.


Never have I ever forgotten

That the depth and breadth of humanity are infinite,

Extending in all directions.

And never will I ever forget

That we must live through it all;

We must live for it all.


Cory Johnson
cajohnson414[AT]gmail.com
Miami, FL

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The best day.....

I received the notice that I won The Listserve lottery yesterday morning. I wondered what I would write about all day, but today I got my answer.

First, I'd like to say that I am 39 years old. Really. I am not the most successful person, but I feel very lucky. My life did not turn out like I thought it would. I had bigger dreams and plans. But life got in the way.......

I am what most in the U.S. consider a 'red neck'. My husband works in the oilfield. He comes home dirty. I hope that his job is limited as we move towards other energy sources. I work as an office manager of a small newspaper that is devoted to ads. It is a limited job due to the Internet. Most people assume we are small minded bigots, in a backward rural community. Those people would be wrong. I have found that deep down all people want the same things, no matter what color, nationality, religion, or upbringing. Some people are more aggressive about getting what they want. Some are happy with less. Some stumble around not knowing what they want, or how to get it. It is usually the people who don't know what they want that cause problems for the rest of us. They think if they get 'a little bit more' they will be happy, and since they can never get what they think they want; they try to take others happiness. I avoid those folks now. I look for the people who are already happy, because they want to share their joy with others.

One thing I have always wanted was a Ford Mustang. I didn't need it to be happy. I am very happy with my life now. I have a great family and all our needs and many wants are met. We face set backs and an occasional attack from hateful people, but we are doing well. I still never lost my desire for a Mustang, though. Today I found out that my husband has bought me my dream car. It will be here tomorrow. I'm glad I did not get it sooner, because I would have mistaken it for part of my happiness. It is not, it just adds a little bit to it.

BTW, feel free to write me! I love "talking" to people no matter who they are.


Jennifer Adkisson
jenn_adkisson[AT]yahoo.com
Cushing, Oklahoma, U.S.A.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

As you wish

Well this was unexpected. I am fairly new to The Listserve, and thought this honor would be bestowed upon me at a latter point. To be quite honest my first reaction was something like 'NOOO!!!!' Feeling unprepared, feeling unsure as to what I could add to a community of people who at times can be both inspirational and puzzling.

But I guess this is an overarching theme in life for me at this point in time, uncertainty. I have been waiting for signs as to what is the right path in life for me. I have been sitting in wait for quite some time now; I would say at least 6 months and have been stuck while watching life happen all around me. So Listserve community, I think I will take my prize and look for some inspiration from the group. What have you done when the right answers have not been quite so clear, but the weight of the decision was clearly dragging you to the lowest you can be? What do you do when everything that inspired you has lost its luster? What do you do when you just want to be happy and don’t know how to get there? What can I do to get my life moving again?

I wish this came about at a time when I was feeling more inspirational, I had been kicking around ideas for this for some time and was excited to bring something amazing to the group. But I guess in the true sense of a community, right now I need to lean on you in hopes of finding my way.

I’ve been told I can seem taller than I am when the mood strikes me. And I promise to anyone who reaches out to me, they will get to know that tall guy once he finds his way, and will be more than willing to provide that wisdom, insight and Friendship.


Dan
why.not.d19[AT]gmail.com
USA

Monday, February 11, 2013

I hate the Sunshine State

It's interesting that this lottery email found me today, this minute, at this time in my life. Isn't that always the case?

Do you ever have the overwhelming feeling that picking just one “favorite” is ridiculous? I always had a weird jealousy of people who could pick a favorite color, and it would be their favorite for their entire lives. Buddy, give me the rainbow. There are so many beautiful colors in this world, how could anyone pick just ONE?! My favorite colors have always shifted during different stages of my life.

During a particularly rebellious phase, it was always shades of blue, because I didn’t want to be a girly-girl and was in a heavy tomboy phase (boys are blue, and girls are pink!). Going through several depressed years, it was all kinds of grey, then black. Anxiety has always drawn me to oranges; emerging from the depression, I found hope and fell in love with yellow. When harder times hit, I found my favorites to be pastel yellows and lavendars, offset with steely greys, as I found it well represented my internal battles. Recently, I went through a hyper-extroverted phase, and refused to commit to a “favorite” color at all, instead saying that I loved all neons.

If you were to guess that I’m an artist, you would be right. My favorite colors, nowadays, are purple, then yellow. I feel happy and passionate most days, and love how those two work together.

I’ve spent a few years studying color theory, and how it relates to emotions; isn’t it fascinating that painting a primary shade of red will spark anger and aggression in people? That the awful seafoam green of hospital walls is meant to promote healing and soothing? Moderate, pastel-leaning hues of blue are believed to promote ideas, and aide with thinking. The biggest change one can make to a room is painting it a new color, no joke!

Now, before you start calling me a crackpot, go hit up the Googles, and do a quick bit of reading. Color has an effect on our brains, whether you believe it or not. Think back to the movie Sixth Sense (anyone here old enough to remember that?), and the glorious use of red. It was fantastic, and subtle, and overwhelming, once you noticed it. What a great depth of meaning given by the use of color.

The next time you’re in a gallery, museum, or bookstore, stop and look at the colors. Artists and designers spent hours agonizing over them, just to help you feel a certain way. Pretty wild.

So now I’m curious. What’s your favorite color? Does it change? If it does, do you feel like it’s gone along with certain overarching moods that you’ve been in?

Finally, I have to take a moment for a personal plug, here. I’m a painter in my free time, using color theory to make abstract, emotionally driven pieces, and am trying to get my work out. If you’re at all interested, I’d love to put a piece in your hands, wherever you happen to be. If not, I leave you with my personal motto, and hope you realize that it’s true. “You Are Precious.”


Irina
listserve.me[AT]gmail.com
Jacksonville, FL

Sunday, February 10, 2013

It's in the Mail

A hundred years ago the mail carriers working out of New York's main Post Office made nine deliveries a day, six days a week. Nearly three thousand opportunities each year for something unexpected to make its way into your mailbox.

Twenty years ago I was active in some Mail Art circles. I have hundreds of things sent to me from around the world, and others probably still have some of what I sent (I recently learned that the MOMA library actually does). But I gradually moved on to other things.

Six months from now the United States Postal Service will stop delivering mail on Saturdays, dropping to five deliveries each week, and it's difficult to find anyone who cares. Even I don't really care. There's rarely anything in the mail that's worth opening.

So I'll give my old friend postal mail one last hurrah, with an offer to you: reply to this message with your postal address -- PO Box, office, home, I couldn't care less -- and I'll send you something in the mail. If you're lucky, and quick, you might even get it on a Saturday.

For those who choose to take me up on this: I don't know what I'll send you, nor can I predict how long it will take for me to make my way through the list of people who respond to this offer, but sooner or later something will come.

Keep an eye out for it.


whitneymcn
thelistserve[AT]absono.us
Brooklyn

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Something Unexpected

I've been thinking this through for the past day or so. I have a lot of questions I'd love to ask, or answers I'd love to hear. Or, maybe I could tell a story. Something inspiring.

I think what I want to know...is something that I don't already know. So, Listserve, tell me something I don't know. Tell me something unexpected.

What is something unexpected, that you know, that I don't know? Maybe it's a fact, maybe it's a story, maybe it's your biggest fear.


xo

Kate
kaitlin.hackenberg[AT]gmail.com
New York, NY

Friday, February 8, 2013

Be healthy, be well

The first time I left home I was 21, the second 23, the third 26, and this last time 28. This last time was the hardest. Home keeps drawing me back, and I am so lucky that it does. Part of me wants to say that the next time I come home, I'll be back to stay, but what I've learned in this life is that "the only certainty is uncertainty."

So the best I can do in this uncertain life is to make sure I'm healthy and fit to live it - in my heart, body, mind, and spirit. Perhaps you'll find my checklist helpful -- it's quite simple but often that's all we need:

1. I love generously -- without my friends and family I would be miserable. I try to make sure they know how much I care.
2. I exercise regularly -- my immune system is stronger for it.
3. I eat well -- that mostly means less sugar. I enjoy my food. Tangent -- check out a dear friend's new blog about food and home by visiting sweetpotatoandbacon *dot* com.
4. I sleep, and I savor it -- in bed by 11p most nights.
5. I ask questions -- of others to get closer to satisfying my curiosity about the world, and of myself to regularly check in with my values and assumptions.
6. I meditate -- to remind myself "don't sweat petty things, and don't pet sweaty things." All the emotions I feel, good and bad, boil down to little tiny chemicals in my brain. To me, this was a powerful realization.

And I'm planning to go scuba diving in the Philippines in April for a week. If anyone here has tips or itineraries (where to dive and stay, dive guides, etc.) to recommend, I'd love it. Thanks!


Be well,
Nicole
sillysirin[AT]gmail.com
Siem Reap, Cambodia

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Pen Spinning

Let's talk about entertainment. Specifically self-entertainment.

No, not that.

I mean hobbies. Mine is pen spinning. You may have seen people doing it or even know a few tricks yourself. The range of tricks you can do with a simple pen is amazing. If you want to see videos, there's plenty on YouTube and you should look up 'vicgotgame', one of the best pen spinners in the world. If you think it's awesome and want to find out more you can google "upsb" which stands for Universal Pen Spinning Board.

Here's a few reasons why you should do it:
- You can do it pretty much anywhere. All you need is a pen.
- It is fun. Learning new tricks and mastering them is very satisfying.
- When you start 'Modding' you'll have the coolest pens among your friends.
- Pen spinning will improve your finger dexterity and hand eye coordination. Bonus especially after all the fun you'll be having.
- Your coolness will increase by a factor of 10,000. (According to 3 out of every 5 dentists)

If you decide to start learning tricks, I suggest you start with the Thumbaround, Charge or Sonic and go from there. And if it seems really difficult or you can't get it right away, remember that with patience and persistence anything is possible. This of course, also applies to everything in life.

If somebody else can do it, so can you. You just haven't really tried. I hope you keep this in mind whenever you want to try something new but you don't because you're afraid you'll suck at it. It is ok to fail, because after failing, success will eventually come. Maybe after 100 times or after 1 but you will succeed nonetheless if you're patient and willing to put in the work. Patience and persistence people.

As my mom would say: "Nobody was born knowing it." We all had to learn at some point.

I hope that helped. Now, here are a few of favorite books and authors:
The Hitchhiker's Series and Dirk Gently by Douglas Adams. Or listen to the radio series.
Discworld Series by Terry Pratchett, yes all of it
A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. When is the new book coming out GRRM???!!!
Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman, very good collection of his short stories
P.G. Wodehouse
Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle
Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges. The Lottery in Babylon and Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius are my favorite two

Finally if you love EDM music or even if you don't, you should listen to Moonbeam. They make amazing music that is like nothing else. A few of my favorite tracks by them are: Spider's Secret, Silence Interlude, Otaria Ursina, I Love Mornings, The Bats Eyes, Flickering Ray, Liveliness, What Dreams May Come, When Flowers Talk and Symphony. Actually there's a lot more because they're so good but that's already more than a few so I'll let you discover more by yourself.

Thank you to all the listservers for imparting wisdom and giving us a glimpse of your thoughts.


Nyan
naxisn[AT]gmail.com
San Francisco, CA

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Who doesn't like stories

What can one say to an audience of 21,000+ people without coming off as cliché and dull? Should I talk about the experiences of moving to a new country as a child; or about some meaningful experience that just cannot be put to words; or about my postcard collecting hobby; or about how I’m stuck at a crossroads, unsure of my future directions?

I want to talk about story telling. I’m not a story teller by any means; I am horrible at timing my stories, choosing the right words, or building up the suspension (so bare with me). Nevertheless I love stories. I love movies, television series, short stories, you name it. Transporting myself from the problems of the real world and into a world of possibilities, where I can be the princess from the Valley of the Wind whose courageous actions saves the earth from the destruction of man or the witty companion to a mad man with a blue box. In the world of stories, I can be whoever and wherever I want; where the only restriction is my mind.

Stories are powerful. They produce emotion and thought; and bring magic to the world. Let me share with you some of the stories that I love.

First of all, I grew up with Miyazaki and Disney films, bedtime stories, and cartoons. Even now, I love Miyazaki films with all my heart. They’re not black and white in the sense that the world is portrayed in strict dualities. There are no beautiful heroines and twisted corrupted stepmothers; no heroic princes and evil witches. Like our world, in the world of Miyazaki, the characters are as dynamic and as hard to categorize as real people like you and me. They provoke deep senses of emotion that are hard to describe. They feature strong female characters that are flawed but are also representative of the innate human strength. They are worlds of possibilities that incorporate the impossible with the real. But above all, intricately tied with these stories are the memories of my childhood which makes them so very important to me. I strongly urge you to watch them; perhaps start with the classic “Totoro” to get your toes dipped in the pool of Miyazaki magic.

With so many great stories out there in so many different forms and about so many things, I can’t imagine what you will enjoy but here is what I recommend if you want to walk a few steps in the shoes of a stranger.

Amélie: This is a film that is fun to watch and the characters are so rich, there is not one dull moment.

Paperman: This is a Disney short that just came out on YouTube. It’s fantastically done. The artwork is just gorgeous and the little expressions really take your breath away.

Life is Beautiful: An Italian film about a father’s courageous love for his son and wife in the WWII era. This film was superb in portraying the lengths that love can carry an individual.

And with that, I end my tale. I leave you with no final moral to take away from or some cliché line about the beauty of the universe. Thanks for sticking with me up until here. I would love it if you would send an email to share with me some of your favorite stories or want to exchange postcards.


Michelle Huang
mtmhuang[AT]gmail.com
Berkeley, CA

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The product of my research and reflections

Upon selection I began to research what I wanted to say. I stumbled across the initial article that alerted me to the existence of The Listserve. This reminder of the lucky circumstance in which I discovered Listserve reminded me of the joy of sharing something of interest with those around me.

I reread my favourite entries; including the first one I received by Tim Krins. His article was a letter thanking his teachers who shared their passions for life. As a teacher I felt it rather fortuitous to receive this as my first post, especially as it arrived at the end of a busy day. It was something that encouraged me to continue to read.

I watched the websites video and completed the sentences. It helped me think of some ideas
- Sometimes I wonder… how far we make our own luck. Can life be understood as a serious of lucky circumstances, or do the lucky circumstances come to those who look for them
- I noticed recently that… starting the day with a positive thought gives a different outlook for the day. I always found the idea of gratitude journaling a little bit cheesy, but recently I downloaded an app onto my phone and it has been an interesting experiment so far.
- I just wish I could… find it easy to focus on one thing. I’m easily distracted by lots of different topics. A sense of curiosity about the world is undoubtedly a good thing but at times I do need to remember to rein it in

I asked people the question “If you had the chance to speak to a 25000 people, what would you say?” Their responses fascinated me. It started some unexpected and captivating conversations. Unusual questions or “thunks” can lead to unexpectedly insightful conversations.

Suggestions I received included
1. 'Warts and all' account of your life in the style of Studs Turkel
2. Altruism
3. The many flaws of the coalition governments’ policies on the UK economy and society
4. The reduction in basketball spending from the Sports and Culture department (I didn't have a lot to say about that!)
5. Your summer as a Gamesmaker

Altruism spoke to me most as a topic

“Giving is more joyous than receiving, not because it is a deprivation, but because in the act of giving lies the expression of my aliveness.” — ERICH FROMM”

Volunteering culture was all over the news this summer with Olympic Gamesmakers yet I would argue that altruism is a lot more than simply one action. Instead it is a frame of mind, an attitude to cultivate. With that in mind I finish mentioning one of my favourite charities. Postpals is a charity which asks volunteers to send cards to sick children in the UK. It is a commitment of time and a small outlay of cost (stamps etc). I shared this charity with my class recently their sensitivity and compassion warmed my heart. In both sending cards myself and encouraging others to send one themselves I felt some of the joy that Fromm talks about in the above quote

Would you consider yourself altruistic? What do you give to your world around you?

Have a good day


Katy
listserve84[AT]gmail.com
England

Monday, February 4, 2013

Nixon and/or soup

Dear all you people:

Do any of you happen to own, or know somebody who owns, a print of Philippe Halsman's 1955 photograph of Richard Nixon jumping?

If so, I would like to buy that print from you, or from that person you know.

Frankly, if you have any cool Nixon swag, email me. (Nixon is fascinating to me because he proved that being enormously powerful and being a cripplingly emotionally-flawed person are not mutually exclusive.)

I realize that using this platform to hunt for political collectibles is an arguably selfish act. And I don't have any meaningful life advice to offer total strangers. I don't know any of you people. Maybe you shouldn't be reaching for the stars. Who knows? It's not really any of my business anyway.

But perhaps you'll be less mad at me for wasting your time and dismissing well-intentioned affirmations after you've had some soup. (Based, I admit with some shame, on an Emeril Lagasse recipe.)

1. Heat some olive oil in a big pot. Chop the following: 1 large white onion, 4 ribs celery, 4 carrots, 1 poblano pepper, 1 yellow bell pepper. Put it all in the pot and stir it around until it looks different.

2. Mince a ton of garlic and a jalapeno pepper. Leave the damn seeds in. Don’t be difficult. In fact, just for getting all wimpy, make it two jalapenos. Add all that to the pot.

3. Add some dried oregano, some cumin, some chili powder. Also mince a couple of canned chipotles and add those, along with a spoonful of the adobo they came canned in. And then a 14 oz can of diced tomatoes. Stir it around your kitchen smells good. Maybe you have a bay leaf lying around? Throw that in.

4. Add a shrink-wrapped package's worth of big, quivering, factory-farmed, lazy American boneless skinless chicken breasts and 64 oz chicken stock. Yes, by all means, use your homemade artisanal stock. Good for you. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, let it cook until the chicken’s cooked through.

5. Get the chicken out, let it cool, shred it, and put it back in the pot with an unreasonable amount of lime juice. Like a third of a cup. By which I mean a half cup. Oh, and a bunch of chopped scallions.

6. Serve with a handful of Tostitos Hint of Lime (yes, the brand matters – these have some kind of weird fake sour cream powder on them, and as the chips soften and dissolve, the soup gets a little creamy) and some cilantro.

7. Eat the soup. Do not photograph it. Do not Tweet about it. Do not use it as a metaphor for the lessons you’ve learned in your 23 years on this crazy planet including a whole eight months in Peru where you totally found yourself. Just eat the soup. And let me know if you have a line on any Nixon stuff.

-- Andy
andybarr[AT]gmail.com
Washington, DC

P.S.: For more recipes, occasional analysis of current events, and absolutely no inane yearbook-quote life advice, follow me on Twitter: @bustipsover

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A few things

My 30th birthday is on the horizon and I have resolved that I will never figure this life/ being adult shit out. Life is random and I won't pretend to know a lot because I don't. As soon as I've got it figure out, I get thrown another gosh darn curve ball. Life is often challenging and my mess is my ministry, so I am mostly grateful that I am here to share what I've learned to be valuable with all of you.

Here are some things I try to keep in mind every day:

Don't offer support or advice if you think it gives you stock in someone's decision making.

Your opinion is not an absolute truth, it's just your truth.

Don't have too many opinions about other people's relationships - Especially ones of a romantic nature. If you do, keep it to yourself.

Often people really want someone to listen instead of receiving advice. We often know the solution to our own problems.

Make sure the people love know they are invaluable to you. Show them through an act of service and tell them. Even if it is via some cheesy e-card!

There is nothing wrong with one sided love - Just get over that shit sooner rather than later.

Refusing to forgive will make you fester and rot, and you'll forget why you where pissed off in the first place or create a grander version of the offense.

Don't have expectations.

Everyone else sucks, just remember that you do to.

Do a favor because you want to, without expecting recognition or even gratitude.

Your friends are unique beings - So you won't agree on everything. It's ok to get mad, just make sure you talk about it later.

Spend as much as time as possible around small children and animals.

Don't worry about it! Worrying is not going to resolve anything besides eventually requiring the need for a prescription for Xanax. Though, some of you may be into that.

Last but not least, Chicken soup doesn't soothe the soul. Tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich on marble rye does!

Have an Awesome Day!


LexC
auspish32[AT]gmail.com
Washington, DC

Saturday, February 2, 2013

A new year, joey's poop and finding dates / Surprise V!

You know how a mom kangaroo keeps its young from pooping in its pouch? It takes the joey out and licks its butt so it poops outside the pouch. Actually true.

Anyways, now that I’ve got your attention, I’m Brian and I’m full of useless knowledge. Sadly, this trove of odd conversation starters (or enders) has never scored me a free pitcher or pint at a local trivia night.

I’ve had a manic start this year, so instead of getting all downer with you guys, I’d like to share a story that makes me giggle. Looking back, this tale technically could be considered my first foray into marketing!

"The Time Dazzle Got a Lot of Solicitous Phone Calls:"

It was about 3am on a school night, and I was living at 2209 Van Ness. A grand old dame of San Francisco’s “Gold Coast,” it was bought by the Academy of Art for student housing, which included myself. This was probably a low point in the poor domicile’s existence. There was total irreverence to the architectural value (truly beautiful) and much . . . what some could call “extra curricular revelry.” But I digress. It was my first semester, and between a general lack of motivation for any core curriculum and a healthy appetite for SF nightlife, I was still up applying gouache to an unfinished, un-matted portrait of my buddy Dazzle. Why Dazzle? I don’t know, he’s a cool dude and the picture I was basing it off of was over exposed so I didn’t have to work the contrast much.

Anyways, here I am, punch drunk (probably drunk), with a stack of posterized reference pictures, a black marker, and a penchant to delay the inevitable all-nighter. Now Dazzle had a thing for -ahem- ladies of a larger stature than his own shall we say? So I took it upon myself to find Dazzle a new date. And I was intentionally broadcasting for love, in all the wrong places. The marker took my hand to paper like a hawk to prey, furiously creating quips upon my reference materials. Here are some examples:

1.)“I’ve got an average size (crude drawing of genitalia) “-Pic- “For a decent time, call Dazzle at (415) ***-****”

2.)“Dazzle loves meatballs” –Pic- “Let him taste yours! (415) ***-****”

3.)“Need something to hold onto?” -Pic- “Dazzle’s here for you (415) ***-****”

4.) “Dazzle Loves Surprises” –Pic- “Call me (415) ***-****”

The rest escape me. The true joy was in the execution. Cue partner in crime Bo, who hit the streets with me post-portrait, allowing it time to fully dry. We must’ve had about 25 of these “flyers,” so to establish a mass distribution channel we decided the SF Muni would disseminate the message with greater efficacy. To the bus stops it was, to wait for the 43, slap Dazzle’s face on there, and run laughing like a little girl. It didn’t stop there. Public bathrooms, bus stops for the impatient to gawk, Subway®, etc.

Now jump a few hours to when I got a call from Dazzle. He was walking to class and wasn’t amused as he past, and futilely tried to rip down, every poster he saw. Poor Dazzle, he had no idea about our distribution channel, or that we entered any place that was open around 6am and plastered him in every bathroom stall.

Dazzle got phone calls for months from these antics, but no dates unfortunately. The voicemails were absurd though. Truly works of art.

He didn’t get a date, but I’m pleased to say that he’s now happily married.

So stop calling.


Best,

Brian
brian[AT]bvoynick.com
New Jersey

Friday, February 1, 2013

This is a puzzle.

Beyond this message a challenge awaits;
In the listserve, no links are allowed, what a cruel fate!
The first clue must be deciphered by ROT 8.
.
Let me know and just email if your brain needs a spark
Your first clue is just after this punctuation mark
/

dsoqwj vwxwfvafy lge jgtafkgf af lg cadd s egucafytajv


Listserve Puzzle
listservepuzzle[AT]gmail.com