bookmark_borderWeekend Reading

More random stuff I’ve found on my web wanderings.

  • Designers : Apple Watch “fails to excite,” is “underwhelming”
    In April, Apple courted the design world by presenting the Apple Watch at a pavilion in Milan and holding a glamorous dinner for leading designers. So what do designers think of the product now – and why are so few of them wearing it? Dezeen investigates.
  • Austin Kleon — Mary Oliver, “Wild Geese,” from New and Selected…
    Mary Oliver, “Wild Geese,” from New and Selected Poems, Volume One Here’s a recording of her reading the poem:
  • On Spinsters
    It’s the queers who made me. Who didn’t get married … I EXPECTED to like Kate Bolick’s recent book Spinster. I would certainly seem to be its ideal reader.
  • Give me file hierarchies, or give me chaos.
    Even in an age when the biggest operating systems in the world actively eschew file hierarchies, Dropbox is thriving—its service matters deeply to countless users.
  • How a bunch of government space geeks at NASA won the internet
    In an era when the media whips itself into a frenzy over how to make things go viral, and marketers take their cues from big brands, a government entity has quickly and quietly become the darling of the internet. Those searching for proof need look no further than this week’s Pluto flyby.
  • The end of capitalism has begun
    The red flags and marching songs of Syriza during the Greek crisis, plus the expectation that the banks would be nationalised, revived briefly a 20th-century dream: the forced destruction of the market from above.
  • The Pixar Theory of Labor
    A lot of Pixar films come packaged with a quasi-humanist narrative hook that enables the public digestion of their work.
  • Reddit needs a real leader
    Will a real CEO please stand up? Someone? Anyone? In 2005, Reddit was founded by Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian: two college roommates who wanted to create a place to exchange links. It wasn’t a “bastion of free speech,” or anything even resembling a community.
  • How Kindness Became Our Forbidden Pleasure
    “Practice kindness all day to everybody and you will realize you’re already in heaven now,” Jack Kerouac wrote in a beautiful 1957 letter. “Kindness, kindness, kindness,” Susan Sontag resolved in her diary on New Year’s Day in 1972.
  • “Can’t you just CHOOSE?”: Being bi with a preference
    I’m bisexual. Genuinely, dyed-in-the-wool bisexual. I shit pink, purple and blue, I pray nightly to the spirit of Saint Brenda Howard Mother of Pride and I know all the words to everything Ani DiFranco ever even thought about writing.
  • The Really Big One
    When the 2011 earthquake and tsunami struck Tohoku, Japan, Chris Goldfinger was two hundred miles away, in the city of Kashiwa, at an international meeting on seismology. As the shaking started, everyone in the room began to laugh.
  • The impending Pacific Northwest earthquake  JUL 19 2015
    Flick your right fingers outward, forcefully, so that your hand flattens back down again.
  • Obama on the Hoofbeats of History
    I’m a fan of Glenn Thrush. For me, he is in Politico but not of it. But I think he gets this take on Obama, coming off his fractious and steely Iran deal press conference, simply wrong.
  • Katie Hopkins : ‘I definitely identify with that murderer thing, where you click off’
    Most people will do anything to avoid being hated, but Katie Hopkins seems to run frantically towards hatred. Take the 18 days of her life beginning on 29 March. She started with a series of tweets mocking depression: “UK has seen a 500% growth in anti-depressants since 1991.
  • Go to Sleep : The Washington Post
    See that lady on the bus, back there. The lady with the long black-brown braids, with red wine lipstick and feet so swollen they seem to melt into puddles, spilling over her black shoes. See her backpack, her home on her lap. She is wearing a jacket, despite a heat index of 106.
  • The Media Is Lying to You About Men’s Emotions, And It’s Really F*cked Up – Here’s a Healthier View — Everyday Feminism
    Robot Hugs (RH): Hey, you know what’s weirdly gendered? Person #1: Everything?
  • 16 Emoji You’ve Been Using All Wrong
    If you have an iPhone, chances you’ve used an emoji or two in a text. But are you actually using them correctly? There are a few popular ones that are often misinterpreted, but we’ve found their official meanings via Unicode.
  • Who Was the Greatest Wizard: Gandalf, Merlin, or Dumbledore?
    This question originally appeared on Quora, the best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and access insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus. Answer by Ernest W.
  • My Tattoos Aren’t an Invitation for Harassment – So Please Stop ‘Tatcalling’ Me — Everyday Feminism
    I’m standing in line at an airport Starbucks, shifting my weight back and forth as I try to leverage the bulk of my backpack-stuffed-with-too-many-outfit-choices-for-a-weekend-trip, peering over the counter to see if they have any packets of earl gray tea left. I feel a tap on my shoulder.
  • The science of “hangry”—why some people get grumpy when they’re hungry
    Have you ever snapped angrily at someone when you were hungry? Or has someone snapped angrily at you when they were hungry? If so, you’ve experienced “hangry” (an amalgam of hungry and angry)—the phenomenon whereby some people get grumpy and short-tempered when they’re overdue for a feed.
  • How Mindfulness Meditation Builds Compassion
    Mindfulness meditation is best known for its positive effects on practitioners’ brains and bodies. My research suggests it may also encourage compassion toward others.
  • Does Mindfulness Mean Anything?
    We are in the middle of a mindfulness revolution. According to Time, The Huffington Post and a host of other media outlets, mindfulness and meditation are having their moment in the spotlight.
  • Inside the warped mind of Anders Breivik
    Four years after Anders Behring Breivik slaughtered 77 people in Norway’s worst peacetime atrocity, the author Karl Ove Knausgaard looks for answers Norway is a small country. It is also relatively homogeneous and egalitarian.
  • Apple Music is a nightmare and I’m done with it
    I love Apple. I love them because they take difficult problems and come up with innovative, simple solutions. The things they make just work and we trust them. Unfortunately, my experience with Apple Music has been exactly the opposite.
  • Easy DNA Editing Will Remake the World. Buckle Up.
    Spiny grass and scraggly pines creep amid the arts-and-crafts buildings of the Asilomar Conference Grounds, 100 acres of dune where California’s Monterey Peninsula hammerheads into the Pacific. It’s a rugged landscape, designed to inspire people to contemplate their evolving place on Earth.
  • The Lingerie Football Trap
    For top female football players, there’s no game in town besides the no-pay Legends Football League and its revealing dress code Heather Furr just twitched: a quick nod toward the women behind her, who wear football pads and eyeliner and garments that

bookmark_borderThis time last year

I was all prepared, the uniform was laid out ready for the 6am start, I had read through the guidelines in the pack we were given and was mostly pottering about my flat until the opening ceremony started.

The Commonwealth Games came to Glasgow last year, and I look back on my involvement with pride, happiness and a nice sense of nostalgic glee. It was a whirlwind week the memories of which will remain with me for a long long time.

I still wear the jacket we were given and occasionally get a knowing smile as I pass someone in the street.

This past week the World Swimming championships returned to Glasgow to the venue I attended, alas I wasn’t selected as a volunteer this time but here and there I see requests for help for various events and find myself pondering them (most recently this one).

It was a great time to be in Glasgow, the city was buzzing with so many tourists and supporting events, and it will live long in my memory.

bookmark_borderThe AMAZING Apple Watch

There is no doubt the Apple Watch™ is a lifestyle changing piece of technology.

It is a quintessentially Apple product that soon makes you forget it’s pulsing with electrons, a tiny technological marvel strapped to your wrist, and almost immediately it becomes an integral part of your life, intrinsic and woven into your everyday. Without it you are less, with it everything is more.

Why didn’t they say all this in the adverts!

When I ordered my Apple Watch™ I hadn’t fully appreciated the impact it might make but, as I’d held back from ordering one as soon as it was launched, I’ve had the time to read a lot of reviews driven by actual day to day usage. Reading those I knew that it would enrich my life in oh so many more ways than even Apple seem to have realised.

At first it was subtle.

I was more active (how quickly you get used to just standing up regardless of where you are or what you are doing, I was talking to more people, and widening my social circle, even including some people I didn’t even know – it’s a revelation, an enlightenment, to talk to perfect strangers and feel a connection with them, something all too lacking in our modern lives, glued to our phone screens as we are, as I was, but no longer.

Now I stride confidently with my head held high, part of this beautiful world that we inhabit. I feel calmer, more connected to the world. As I walk people look, some stare, some ask some questions.

It’s nice to feel popular, I’m wary it’s a temporary thing but no, it can’t be, not whilst I have my Apple Watch™ strapped to my wrist! It will never wane or fade, this is my new life, it’s all so exciting! Each day I wonder who will notice it, who I’ll talk to, who I’ll connect with on that deeper emotional level that eschews the technology itself.

Sometimes, of course, those connections are fleeting, a whispered nudge to a friend as they point at my wrist, or even just “Apple Watch™ wanker” murmured in passing. I can’t believe it, I am being noticed!! THIS is the attention I crave and deep down I’ll admit it’s one of the real reasons I wanted to get an Apple Watch™.

And for me this is the crux, this is the reason Apple will continue to rise and rise. It’s not just a company that makes products, it creates life-affirming objects that enhance everything around you, raising those who partake, and fully buy-in to living life the way Apple know it should be lived, to new heights of being, new realms of spirituality.

I still have riches to come as well, as yet I haven’t actually managed to find someone else with an Apple Watch™ but when I do, I’ll be drawing crude squiggles (haha! a penis, that will be funny!), or simply sharing my heartbeat which isn’t creepy because we’d both agree that it had no intent it was purely because the technology would allow us.

It may notify me of when I receive one of my 4 emails a day, or the occasional text from those lovely PPI people (I’ve text them back a few times, but they never respond. I’ll keep trying), and I think it also tells the time, but the biggest achievement Apple Watch™ has had is in transforming my life.

I might save up and get a new strap next as, whilst I love the sleek black that I bought, I don’t seem to be making as many connections with new friends as I have been recently, a bright green strap should help.

I wonder if I can get one with LEDs in it, maybe flashing ones in the shape of arrows pointing to this wonderful new part of me.

Yes, that’s right, it’s part of me. It’s not just a watch (sorry, not just an Apple Watch™).

I have to admit I’m glad it’s the summer, I hate to think what’ll happen when I have to start wearing jackets and jumpers again come Autumn. Maybe I’ll wear the Apple Watch™ over my clothes! Yes, I could start a new trend because everyone would notice it then!!

I love my Apple Watch™.

I should’ve written this post before now, I know, but life with my Apple Watch™ is a far more fulfilled and meaningful existence than I’d imagined.

Gosh, I wonder how this post will look on my Apple Watch™?!

bookmark_borderWeekend Reading

Bumper edition this weekend, mostly because I’ve had a bit of free time and have been reading a lot more. Another mixed bag of things I found interesting, enjoy!

  • Reading War and Peace on my iPhone
    This is the story about how I read War and Peace on my iPhone. According to some scholars and pundits, I probably shouldn’t have done this. These days, critics of digital reading worry that serious literature sort of can’t be adequately read on high-tech devices.
  • Working Out Motivation : Here’s How To Make Your Exercise Habit Stick
    It’s not always easy to convince yourself to exercise after a long day of work. (Ok, it’s never easy.) But people who consistently manage to do it may be using a simple trick—whether they realize it or not—according to a new study published in the journal Health Psychology.
  • The Cognitive Benefits of Doodling
    Some new books tout the benefits of informal drawing and freehand scribbling—even for the unartistic. When computers entered the mainstream, some art schools abandoned drawing classes to make time for the new software they had to teach.
  • An Open Letter to The Guy Who Puked Next to Me at the Heavy Metal Festival.
    I’m not sure how much you remember about the first time you vomited last Sunday afternoon.
  • Is This New Swim Stroke the Fastest Yet?
    I tug my black swim cap over my hair, strap on my pink goggles, and keep a focused calm, like Michael Phelps before a race. It’s lap swim on a Monday afternoon at my local YMCA, and I’m going to attempt the fish kick. Most fish move through the water with a horizontal wiggle.
  • Men: a list of shit I am tired of because of you
    I am tired of men thinking they are entitled to my attention because they find me attractive. I am tired of men thinking I owe them something as a thanks for them finding me attractive. I am tired of men reducing me to my attractiveness. I am tired of being on display.
  • When Woman Is Boss: Nikola Tesla on Gender Equality and How Technology Will Unleash Women’s True Potential
    The legendary inventor predicts “the acquisition of new fields of endeavor by women” and “their gradual usurpation of leadership.
  • The Condensed Guide to Running Meetings
    We love to hate meetings. And with good reason — they clog up our days, making it hard to get work done in the gaps, and so many feel like a waste of time.
  • Time management is only making our busy lives worse
    Imagine your life without time, without a constant sense that you’re running behind, frustrated that yet again you are losing the battle against the irresistible force of the ticking clock. Imagine not wishing there were more hours in the day. We haven’t always been obsessed with time.
  • Serena Williams Wins Wimbledon for Her 21st Grand Slam Title
    After winning her fourth consecutive Grand Slam title on Saturday at Wimbledon, the tennis star has become one of the most accomplished American athletes of all time. No major sport—with the possible exception of gymnastics or swimming—worships youth like tennis.
  • When the Revolution Was Televised: Live Aid 30 Years Later
    Thirty years ago today, at lunchtime in the U.K. and just before breakfast on the East Coast, 1.5 billion people sat rapt in front of their television sets, waiting for the revolution to be televised.
  • Hello, Pluto
    We are all on the cusp of something big. For the first time in history, a spacecraft will be able to see the crags and cliffs of Pluto up close, revealing a new world to humans who have been waiting patiently for more than nine years on Earth.
  • The history of British slave ownership has been buried: now its scale can be revealed
    The past has a disconcerting habit of bursting, uninvited and unwelcome, into the present.
  • 3 Simple Steps To Boost Your Memory
    If we ever meet and then we meet a second time, and I greet you by saying, “Hey man,” it’s not because I’m an ultra casual kind of guy, it’s because I’ve forgotten your name. But please, don’t feel bad. It’s not because you’re boring or unimportant or uninteresting.
  • Chemical Apple Pie: Apple Pie Without The Apples
    The first in a series about recipes that may seem odd or outmoded and yet we’re curious to try!
  • Berkeley Breathed Publishes First New ‘Bloom County’ Strip Since 1989
    Generally, when a beloved comic strip disappears from the funnies page, it is gone for good, and its characters live on only in reprint collections and greeting cards, as parade balloons and insurance spokes-characters.
  • Inside The Colorful, Hypnotic World of Textile Mills
    In one textile mill, the floor shudders as clanging, oily machines churn out dainty, colorful fabrics. In another, sheets of lace are quietly created on century-old looms. Welcome to the wide-ranging world of American textile mills, circa 2015.
  • The Deck of Cards That Made Tarot A Global Phenomenon
    Picture a deck of tarot cards. What do you see? Maybe the Magician in his rich red robes, right arm raised high above him. Or the skeleton on horseback for Death. Or maybe you think of The Hermit in grey, holding his lantern, walking with a staff, featured in the artwork for Led Zeppelin IV. 
  • The battle for the BBC
    On 18 March 2015, two past and future culture secretaries ran into one another at the Tower of London, William the Conqueror’s great fortress on the Thames – historical locus of unbending power, political reversals and untimely executions.
  • This Is How Uber Takes Over a City
    Charlie Hales, the mayor of Portland, Ore., was running a zoning hearing last December when he missed a call on his cell from David Plouffe, the campaign mastermind behind Barack Obama’s ascent.
  • How Sleep Deprivation Decays the Mind and Body
    Getting too little sleep can have serious health consequences, including depression, weight gain, and heart disease. It is torture. I know. I remembered the hallway I had been wheeled down, and the doctor’s office where I told the psychiatrist he was the devil, but not this room.
  • Dave Grohl is a back-aching, coffee-guzzling, minivan-driving classic rocker
    NEW YORK — Even before he fell off a stage in Sweden and broke his leg, Dave Grohl was feeling creaky. He is 46, drinks too much coffee, and wakes up at 6 wherever he is, even on days he doesn’t need to pack lunches and get the kids into the Honda Odyssey.
  • The Web We Have to Save
    Seven months ago, I sat down at the small table in the kitchen of my 1960s apartment, nestled on the top floor of a building in a vibrant central neighbourhood of Tehran, and I did something I had done thousands of times previously. I opened my laptop and posted to my new blog.
  • Deep Intellect
    ON AN UNSEASONABLY WARM day in the middle of March, I traveled from New Hampshire to the moist, dim sanctuary of the New England Aquarium, hoping to touch an alternate reality. I came to meet Athena, the aquarium’s forty-pound, five-foot-long, two-and-a-half-year-old giant Pacific octopus.

bookmark_borderPaddling downstream

This is infuriating.

I’m trying to write a post about how, recently, I’ve been reflecting on my approach to my life and how it’s been slowly changing over the past few years.

But I can’t seem to find a way to start it so I’ll just batter on…

Life is a journey.

(that was gonna be the opening line, what a middle-aged cliche!)

Thing is, that’s what I’m starting to realise more and more, that I have been on a journey without really realising it, I’ve been floating along, carried by the current but whilst I’ve gathered a little speed here and there, it’s only been the last couple of years I’ve started paddling.

Jesus. Listen to me.

I’ll cut to the chase, somewhere in my brain I have started to realise that I am less and less interested in STUFF AND THINGS and more and more focused on EXPERIENCES and PEOPLE.

I don’t buy as much STUFF as I used to.

I am loving being part of Yelp and going out to events, being around PEOPLE and having fun new EXPERIENCES.

I look around my flat and wonder what else I can remove, how did I end up with so much STUFF?

I still need to read this book.

I think I’m approaching the point where I’m ready to play this game.

It means getting things like my debt under control (so I can afford to EXPERIENCE more) and stripping back the THINGS in my life to only those that I need.

It feels a little bit like a cult or religion, and at that point my brain kicks in with the excuses born of years of commercialisation and ‘buying stuff is good’ advertising.

Perhaps my poly lifestyle is helping? Being poly challenges societal and cultural norms, it still catches me out sometimes (still feel a little bit of guilt when I ponder, maybe, if a casual partner is possible) but it has definitely opened my eyes to challenge other things about myself.

I’ve mentioned all of this before, removing negativity and noise, decluttering and simplifying where I can.

It’s just that now I’m starting to fully appreciate the fact that I’m on a journey and I think I know where it might be heading.

Hang on, there is a fork in the river coming up… hmmmm, left or right?

bookmark_borderWeekend Reading

I’m really enjoying compiling these posts, I hope you are enjoying some of the selections.

  • Apple Music’s a Crushing Disappointment, But Not Because It’s Bad
    What happened? By all accounts, Apple Music is a totally serviceable streaming music service. But it’s 2015. Give me more than the same old service everybody’s been offering for years.
  • Sky High
    On a warm July night in 2012, I watched the launching of a fireworks display I’d helped to build, and which our team of nine had spent a week installing as a competitive entry in L’International des Feux in Montreal, the most prestigious fireworks competition in the world.
  • A Long Walk’s End
    When fugitive James T. Hammes went on the run, he went for a hike On a Saturday morning in May, 2015, a group of law enforcement agents, the FBI among them, knocked on the front door of the Montgomery Homestead Inn in Damascus, Virginia.
  • The Women Who Secretly Keep ISIS Running
    The U.S. military campaign against self-proclaimed Islamic State may be focused on the male fighters conducting attacks across Iraq and Syria. But the richest human intelligence source to fall into U.S. hands to date is the widow of a senior ISIS member.
  • What’s the Point of Handwriting?
    Sylvia’s handwriting was looping and crisp and clean. Though she was my girlfriend, I was, as with most girls I knew in high school, intensely jealous of her penmanship—of what seemed, at the time, like its unreachable, feminine perfection.
  • Why Do TV Characters All Own the Same Weird Old Blanket? A Slate Investigation.
    You’ve seen it before: the multicolored, crocheted emblem of TV Americana. It features discordant colors and a chunky weave. It’s usually draped across the back of a sitcom sofa or at the foot of a bed. One day, I was watching The Big Bang Theory when I felt the tug of déjà vu.
  • Well-Aimed and Powerful
    The astronauts walked with the easy saunter of athletes. . . . Once they sat down, however, the mood shifted. Now they were there to answer questions about a phenomenon which even ten years ago would have been considered material unfit for serious discussion.
  • Social Issues: A Woman in Uniform
    Editor’s Note: In keeping with what’s clearly become a habit for the Social Issues section, we give the floor over to an under-heard—and in this case, quite controversial—voice in society: the police officer. This being Grey, hers is no ordinary point of view, and she’s no ordinary cop.
  • Your next selfie could be your last, Russia warns
    The Russian government this week warned its citizens of the life-threatening dangers involved with selfies, as part of a new public awareness campaign.
  • Facebook’s new friends icon takes the chip off the woman’s shoulder
    Following up on its subtle logo redesign last week, Facebook is introducing some new friends icons — or rather, Facebook design manager Caitlin Winner is introducing them. In a post on Medium, Winner explains how she changed the social network’s icons to bring women to the fore.
  • How Grounded Is Your Love Life?
    Balancing on one leg may test the stability not just of your body but also of your marriage or other intimate relationships, according to a remarkable new study of how bodily posture may affect emotional thinking.
  • The rejectionists
    We can choose to define ourselves (our smarts, our brand, our character) on who rejects us. Or we can choose to focus on those that care enough to think we matter.
  • Gravity
    This essay, recommended by Longreads contributor Maud Newton, is by the writer Elizabeth Bachner and appears in the current issue of Hip Mama magazine. The first issue of Hip Mama was published in December, 1993, by the founding editor, Ariel Gore, as a multicultural forum for radical mothers.
  • The Walking Dead
    This is the third piece in a three-part series on sleep. Read part one, on falling asleep, and part two, on sleeping and dreaming.
  • The 37 Best Websites To Learn Something New
    Forget overpriced schools, long days in a crowded classroom, and pitifully poor results. These websites and apps cover myriads of science, art, and technology topics. They will teach you practically anything, from making hummus to building apps in node.js, most of them for free.
  • The Mixed-Up Brothers of Bogotá
    They were two pretty young women in search of pork ribs for a barbecue later that day, a Saturday in the summer of 2013. Janeth Páez suggested that they stop by a grocery store not far from where her friend Laura Vega Garzón lived in northern Bogotá.