16 September 2014

Why I always loved her

Jane Goodall has been one of my heroes for as long as I can remember. As a child, and for years, my greatest dream was to one day live in the rainforest and study the plants and animals that lived there. I was determined to end the effects of deforestation and protect that beautiful, mysterious ecosystem. Today, I have been to rain forests in Central and South America for short visits, and they still fill me with awe and a desire to explore and learn and adventure. While I decided to take a different route and am not directly out to save the trees, that is still closely related to my chosen field. I am now a graduate student in journalism with a focus on international/international development journalism. And rain forests are essential to development and the continued health of economies and growth.

Anyway, I loved this video. Once again, Jane Goodall has earned my respect and admiration, and eloquently verbalizes exactly the way I feel about science. What good is it if we don't feel something?

11 November 2013

On Not Going With the Flow

The rough, uneven, illogical course of my life has taken me through ups and downs. I have gone in directions that seemed counter-intuitive. Strange or indirect. My path has not been clearly linear. Plans have held little weight in the end. I have gone one direction then another. I have changed my mind and gone in circles. But I have always directed the path. Choices have taken me this way and that. I have faced the unknown, the logic-less, the uncertain. Yet, I have chosen those unsure corners of the future. Each and every one.

Until lately. I find myself seemingly motionless. Or perhaps adrift.The course of my life going onward as it must necessarily do. But with no determination. With so little decisiveness. Rather it seems my days have been filled with little trifles--social engagements, work obligations, appointments and entertainments. Schedules and chores and busy-ness. The consciousness, the purposefulness has faded. Introspection lost amid the "stuff to do". I find myself like a pebble in a river bottom. The days rushing over me like great currents. Waters bury me under the incessant strength of their flow. Carrying me indifferently in whatever direction they may go. And rather than push my way through; rather than swim; rather than flounder, even, in some direction of my own, I find myself being swept away passively, submissively--unresistant--into those uncaring waves of passing time. Going where, if, when the days will send me. Moving of necessity. Living for the sake of living.

Thoughts cross my mind. Where do I want to be? Where do I want to go?What do I need to do? But they reach me as if in a fog. Blurred by the rushing waves that are each day and it's busy obligations. They reach me as if through the film of sleep that clouds the mind. Sleepy, hazy. Nothing urgent. Nothing impending. Only flowing in the ease of the path of least resistance.

The path of least resistance: The job you have. The place you live. The locales you frequent. The schedule you keep. They are here. They require no new decisions. No choices. No disturbances to the great sleep of indifference. But in the unconscious flow of time the lose meaning. They offer so little growth.

I feel myself restless in my sleep. Ready to press through the haze into wakefulness. Prepared to rise out to the flow that pushes me carelessly forward. The strength to break out of this mindless passivity is awakening, resurfacing. It is time to reclaim my course. Set my path.

I am afraid. Making choices means making mistakes. It means taking risks. Getting hurt and even sometimes hurting others. It means doing what is difficult and exhausting and sometimes not entirely enjoyable. Of your own free will.

But I somehow feel.... it ends beautifully.

And at least it is mine.

02 May 2013

Film going: To the Wonder

Last night I saw the film To the Wonder.

I am still in awe.

This film follows the love and lives of an American man, Niel, and a French woman, Marina, who meet in France and move together to a small town in Oklahoma. We catch glimpses of their lives as their love waxes and wanes through time. The film weaves through the changes they face as a couple and as individuals. Beautiful moments and troubled times. Discontent and sublime happiness. Confidence and doubt. Tied into the tale are a love story between Niel and his childhood sweetheart, Jane, and the quiet struggles of a Spanish ex-patriot priest, Father Quintanna serving his parish in this small Oklahoma town. In much the way our characters seek to find, keep and understand their love, Quintana is reaching out for faith and for Christ, whom he has seemingly lost among the all too real lives of his congregants and the seeming lack of divinity around him. Though the characters overlap and their lives intersect, the stories remain separate and individual. Each unique.

The film is raw. Emotional. Narrated, vaguely, in turn by the various characters as they move through the phases in their lives and loves. As they struggle and question and seek and yearn for that which they cannot find or cannot hold on to.

It is also beautiful. Not just emotionally, but visually as well. The scenes are simple, yet at times take on an almost fairy-tale-like quality. Whimsical and flowing. The lighting and angles are gorgeous. Stark. Brilliant. Elegant. Dreamy. It is we, the audience, are half in a dream. In fact, the entirety of the film might be described as dreamlike. Hazy. The fragments one remembers after waking up. Unfinished and even, in parts, incoherent. Yet the moments are still surprisingly potent; the emotions inexplicably strong.

I recommend it highly...but know that this will be dreamy, emotional, abstract.. and the narrative sparse and elusive. I like that I guess. It was powerful enough to make me weep. So who knows, maybe you will love it too.

01 April 2013

What might have been

Yesterday I found an old note from a boy I once loved. Still love, really. Differently.

It wasn't a love letter. It wasn't spectacular or awesome or particularly poetic. It was a simple note from a friend. About a friendship; a shared experience.

And it made me bawl.

Just for 30 seconds. But it was so sudden I was taken completely by surprise at my own emotions. Why did this strike me so powerfully? Why was I so overwhelmed in that moment? Was I sad? Nostalgic? Happy? I think it was all of those things really. But not quite any of them. Reading that note in simple black ink on plain sheets of lined yellow paper, I was completely engulfed, for those few seconds, in the possibilities that existed then that have since passed me by. I was suddenly back in a place that I have left. A time that is completely gone. And with it have disappeared moments and opportunities and potential that were very real for me then. Things that once could have been, but now will never be.

It's not sad, really. It's not a bad thing that life moves forward and some possibilities fade from view. There are always others that move in to take their place. The old cliche, one door closes and another door opens. True enough. Usually. A forgone opportunity is not the end. Some other hopeful potential will find its way into your life.

But still.

Not all doors are the same. Not every possibility is comparable. It would be ridiculous to weigh the un-happened of the past to the not-yet-occurred of the present. The hypothetical can only be imagined and predictions are dangerously unreliable. Yet, while knowing the reality of those possibilities is beyond our reach, it is easy enough to see that the outcomes would have been different. For good or bad. Better or worse. Every "might have been" is an unknown road into a life you will never lead. And while it is important to embrace the present and the opportunities we do have, here and now, perhaps there is nothing wrong with mourning, for a moment, from time to time, the little things that have slipped away. That have moved from the realm of potential into that of unreality.

And sometimes, it's just good to really cry.

17 March 2013

magic man

Saturday night was the very definition of gorgeousness. Beautiful music. Lovely people. The unity of so many different people in moments of pure delight. Just pure joy.

I've loved Josh Ritter for a long time (thanks to my friend Doug!). But at his concert, I suddenly felt a new connection to the man behind the music. The man whose music could fill a room with awe and wonder. Whose joyous love of his craft was apparent in every aspect of his performance. Whose gratitude for his listeners and whose enjoyment of being in that moment, on that stage was palpable. Who brought every voice in the room together in a chorus that filled the Rialto Theater with a little piece of love. Because no one there could have helped but love this incredible music man. It felt a little bit like magic. Or heaven.

So enjoy....

a new one,

and another new one,

and an oldy, but a goody :)

The opening band was also breathtaking. The lead singer's voice is out of this world powerful!
Have a listen to Lake Street Dive:

14 March 2013


Today my students celebrated Pi Day by writing "Pi-ku" (found here). They tried writing both about Pi in a normal 17 syllable haiku and writing one with lines of 3, 1 and 4. Clever, right?! (Well.. the idea wasn't mine. But the kids still enjoyed it!)

This is the example I came up with:

Goes on forever
but the only part I know
is three point one four

And the Pi-ku version:

Solve for pi?
rather eat pie!

What would your Pi Day haiku be??

12 March 2013

small steps

I'm not much of a video game lover. In fact, rather the contrary. But I still find a great deal of joy in this:
"When Mike Mika saw the disappointment on his daughter's face when she realized Pauline wasn't a playable character in Donkey Kong, he felt a call to action. Thankfully Mika happens to be a competent developer, and after a few late-night hours spent hacking the NES version of Nintendo's classic, he accomplished the role reversal his daughter had wished for. Mario was now under Donkey Kong's control, and Pauline was tasked with rescuing the plumber in distress.
You can read the rest here.

Honestly, that is one awesome Dad! If all men cared that much about the effects of inequality (no matter how seemingly small or insignificant) on the lives of the women they love, the world would be a pretty amazing place! Seriously.