This past weekend I left with a car full of crazies to head up to Word Camp NYC. I met Tom Woodward for the first time and having spent practically 48 hours with him I feel like I have known him much longer. The two other fools in the car were Serena Epstein and Jim Groom.
Serena and I did a presentation on WordPress as a gateway drug that led to use outside the classroom where we were initially introduced to it. Our presentation was set up as a mock N.A. session where we discussed our use and the “evils” of wordpress. My favorite part of the whole presentation (besides the poster-board slides we used) was the great participation we got from the audience. So thanks to all of you who attended our session and made it so enjoyable!
Here is the audio I recorded from the session. Some of the audience comments are a little hard to hear but, overall I think it came out pretty well:
Somehow I have managed to avoid the blight of poor eyesight that plagues the rest of my family and so I feel doubly blessed to see unimpaired. Considering that I’ve never experienced what it is like to not be able to see clearly, I find it hard to comprehend not being able to see the nuances of the world that surrounds me with my own two eyes (pun sort of intended). And I know I need to value my good sight because who knows how long it will last.
Besides the fact that I have good vision I find the evolutionary development of the eye fascinating. When you look at the emergence of basic forms of life (in the Animal kingdom) they seem to across the board evolve towards being able to see. From the first photo-sensitive cells to more and more complex forms of vision, life on this planet has a strong desire to see. In addition, when we consider how everything in this universe is connected by basic elements that were birthed in the bellies of stars long ago; the evolution of eyes can been seen as a deeply connected universe’s desire to reflect on and appreciate itself.
If you know me at all you know I am a dog lover. I am currently dog-less because my doggy lives in NJ and if anything that makes my love for dogs even stronger (absence makes the heart grow fonder?).
So what is it about dogs? I am going to invoke the usual description of dogs as loyal, always happy to see you, and completely pet-able. Dogs have every trait I would want in a pet. Maybe it makes me narcissistic that I want a pet that adores me but, considering the amount of time I also dedicate to my pets I am glad that it seems like a reciprocal relationship.
I have many strong associations with dogs and comfort. God knows how many times my dog has been a pillow to cry on. And those days when life is overwhelming and stressful, taking a nap on the couch with a dog is a great cure.
And maybe my love for dogs isn’t completely logical but, at the end of the day my dog doesn’t judge me for all the nonsense I ramble on about. 🙂
I have only been to California twice in my life for a total of 2 weeks. But both those weeks are intensely ingrained in my memory as times of physical exuberance and spiritual exploration. The two trips were at a small camp of 20 or so people and each day had a different adventure in store. Whether it was climbing mountains, kayaking or mountain boarding the camp kept us moving. In the midst of all this action there was time for deep conversation, questioning, frustrations and tears.
Before the trip even began I was excited to go to California because it was the place my father and my aunt spent a good part of their young adult years. I know there are many stories my father never had a chance to tell me and I wish more than anything I could have heard. My aunt does her best to relay the stories she remembers and she was a part of but, she’ll never be able to tell me what it was like to hike in the sierra mountain range for weeks at a time. So in a small way journeying to California was a way to reconnect with my father’s past as if somehow it still lingered out there in the mountains or on the streets of San Francisco.
I remember that on the day we hiked a moutain (whose name I can’t recall) on the way back down the mountain I was separated from everybody in my group. Initially I thought nothing of it but as the way back down took longer and longer I became increasingly nervous. It was the most alone I have ever been in my life, no one near me, no sounds of vehicles or “the world”. In the middle of wondering whether I had gone back down the right way a butterfly appeared and landed on my shirt. I remember freezing and just staring at this creature, who just as quickly as it landed took off again. It was the first time in my life that I felt there was something out there that was bigger than me on this planet. I nearly fell to my knees I was so overwhelmed with emotions and to this day I can’t accurately explain what happened in that brief moment.
Having a backyard in America seems to represent something larger than the plot of land itself. It is an ideal that many strive towards (along with the white picket fence). For me backyards represent childhood and time spent with close friends. Many of the adventures that went on in my best friend’s (who lived 3 houses away) backyard are some of my most cherished memories of childhood, a whole different world could exist right in his backyard.
Then there is my backyard. It wasn’t the central location for play but was a place my father kept his garden and where I first learned about gardening, dirt and digging your own worms for fishing. There were times we spent sitting out on the back patio as a family watching the bats in the park fly from tree to tree. Or my dad cooking on the charcoal grill for a fourth of July celebration with family. My backyard was a place to spend time with family.
Because of the special meaning backyards hold within their fenced boundaries I am thankful for them. I look forward to having a backyard one day so I can grow more memories in a plot of land.
Besides the fact spiders eat other little buggies (like mosquitos, yes!) the real reason I enjoy them comes from their ability to create intricate webs out of a light yet very durable material. Every spider has their own special nuances when it comes to design making each web that much more interesting. In addition, the fact that everyday they take take down their web and start over again (recycling their web of course) is a ritual that for whatever reason fascinates me.
Truth be told I don’t know a whole lot about arachnids whenever I see a spider web I always stop to take a moment to enjoy one of the coolest designs in nature. In fact, once you start looking for webs you see them everywhere, funny how we can easily miss things we pass everyday.