Wednesday, July 31, 2013

being a nerd is awesome

This still brings tears to my eyes.

Wil Wheaton - Why it's awesome to be a nerd

From Adam Mordecai...
At a convention full of nerds, a new mom got up and asked supreme galactic ruler of geeks and former "Star Trek: The Next Generation" cast member Wil Wheaton to offer her infant daughter some advice. He obliged. With SHOWMANSHIP. At 1:40, he just nails it.

I had posted this on Facebook, but I think I need to keep it here as a reminder to: Be honest, honorable, kind, work hard, and be awesome. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

But you'll know better.

I just read Zig Zag: The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity by Keith Sawyer.

This book is a wonderful resource of creativity exercises, information, and inspiration. I think it's perfect for teachers... for themselves and their students.

Keith Sawyer has identified eight steps that anyone can follow to become more creative: 

  1. Ask
  2. Learn
  3. Look
  4. Play
  5. Think
  6. Fuse
  7. Choose
  8. Make

Here's an example of a remote association exercise...
Pick up a book right now and turn to page 56. Find the fifth sentence. Pick up a second book, ideally on a very different topic, and, again, turn to page 56. Find the fifth sentence. Now, tell a story that reveals a connection between these two sentences.

There are over 100 cool exercises in this book to inspire your creativity and get you thinking in new ways. 

Sawyer explains how great ideas arrive, not in a flash, but more by drips and drops over time.

One of my favorite quotes from the book (obviously):
Exceptional creators, in all walks of life, are surrounded by books.

And, of course... the end of the day, the only ideas that change the world are the ideas that make it out into the world. You owe it to your ideas, you owe it to yourself, you owe it to the world, to translate your creativity into reality.

And, finally...
If you learn only one thing from this book, I hope it's this:  Creativity is not a moment in time; it's a way of life. Live the creative life. Don't worry about having ideas; when you follow the eight steps, the ideas will come to you. And the more ideas you have, the more likely you are to come upon one that's brilliant. So brilliant, it will look, to everybody else, like it came in a flash. With a leap of insight. By magic. But you'll know better. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

the best people

"The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed."
— Ernest Hemingway

Friday, July 19, 2013

better angels

This afternoon my husband called me to say that President Obama gave a speech today on the Trayvon Martin verdict... and I should watch it. 

Admittedly, I've been angry at the President. I've written many letters to him in my head this week... none of them as thoughtful as I would have liked.  I wanted him to say something, something about the injustice of 'stand your ground' in Florida, something about our right to protest unjust laws, something about treating a fellow citizen as 'less than'... something.

And now he has... check it out Here.

"Now, the question for me at least, and I think, for a lot of folks is, where do we take this? How do we learn some lessons from this and move in a positive direction?"

"And then finally, I think it’s going to be important for all of us to do some soul-searching. You know, there have been talk about should we convene a conversation on race. I haven’t seen that be particularly productive when politicians try to organize conversations. They end up being stilted and politicized, and folks are locked into the positions they already have.
On the other hand, in families and churches and workplaces, there’s a possibility that people are a little bit more honest, and at least you ask yourself your own questions about, am I wringing as much bias out of myself as I can; am I judging people, as much as I can, based on not the color of their skin but the content of their character? That would, I think, be an appropriate exercise in the wake of this tragedy."

What can we learn? In our families, can we wring as much bias out as possible? And if I must judge people, can it be only by the content of their character?  

Let us draw on the 'better angels' of our nature.

If you're interested in what we can learn, and where we can take this... here are some cool resources to help you and your family start a more honest conversation:

The Learning Network, New York Times Education article.

A post on the African American History Blog entitled: Teaching about the Trayvon Martin case.

A post on the Teaching Tolerance Blog: Will we learn from Trayvon Martin's death?

An article by Tim Wise which was relevant to my family since we had just been talking about the Dred Scott Decision as well as reading about Emmitt Till in The Lions of Little Rock.

From TIME Magazine, a slide show as well as a photo essay.

And on NPR: After Trayvon Martin's Death, We're All Having 'The Talk'.

Finally, from The Hairpin, Teaching Trayvon.

Trayvon Martin’s death was a tragedy. 

Let us avoid further tragedy by engaging our kids in a discussion about the world in which they are growing up. As the President said, "...they’re better than we are. They’re better than we were on these issues." 

Perhaps these discussions can motivate some of us to contribute to building a better vision of our society, one in which a young life is not so sadly wasted.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

a project to create a new thing every Wednesday

I am a big Amy Krouse Rosenthal fan. Ever since I fell in love with Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, I have been enamored with all things AKR.

Amy's newest project is A Website A Week ...

From a two minute marshmallow meditation to making your dreams come true, A Website A Week is something you should be sure to bookmark.

Amy is definitely a Maker!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

In any case...

This weekend in Portland 
I added to the Public Space Library...

This is the bookplate glued into each cover.

John Green's The Fault in our Stars was left in the Modera Hotel lobby in Portland.

Wonder by RJ Palacio was left along the line forming to get into the World Domination Summit.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate was left outside the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

Happy Reading!

be unconventional; be remarkable



Monday, July 8, 2013

power to the unconventional

This weekend I was in Portland at  The World Domination Summit  hosted by Chris Guillebeau.

At World Domination, I believe I found my people... people who want to live remarkable lives. Surrounded by fellow entrepreneurs, dreamers, innovators, and learners... I found myself making a wish that this was my always, my every day. 

And, really, why couldn't it be? 

My takeaway from WDS2013 is: Surround yourself with ideas and people who resonate with you. The feeling is electric when the unconventional is encouraged and dreams are in the spotlight.

Friday, July 5, 2013

loving kindness

This is my simple religion:
There is no need for temples,
there is no need for complicated philosophy.
Our own brain, our own heart is the temple;
the philosophy is loving kindness and compassion.

~ Dalai Lama

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

only good things

Surprise them with your generosity. 
Whoever they are. 
Surprise them with generosity. 
Only good things can come of it, I promise.

I urge you to please notice...

“I urge you to please notice when you are happy, 
and exclaim or murmur or think at some point 
“If this isn’t nice I don’t know what is.”
- Kurt Vonnegut

Monday, July 1, 2013

clap along

Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof

Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth

Clap along if you know what happiness is to you

Clap along if you feel like that's what you want to do

What is your intention?


three things

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”
― Henry James