Archive | April 2011

The Internet Blows My Mind

Here’s what I have been able to do on the internet in the past 12 hours.

  • Get recent updates on the feelings/activities at least 300 of my closest friends.
  • Communicate with friends and business colleagues on important matters, instantly, privately (well, sort of) and free
  • Check my finances and pay bills without visiting a bank or picking up a pen
  • Shop for books, movies, and clothes without leaving my chair
  • Discuss my favorite shows online with both friends and complete strangers (who are also fans)
  • Check rumors on the future iPhone release
  • Watch self-produced videos on YouTube
  • Organize plans with my friends
  • Public my own articles instantly to the public

But what’s even crazier to me is all the sheer information that’s out there.  All the people who produce original content (YouTube, webcomics), compile funny content of others (lamebook, regretsy), and comment on the content of others (blogs, twitter).  And that doesn’t even include all of the news, advice websites, databases, company websites, and professional research.

The internet is OVERWHELMINGLY VAST.  Literally anything that anyone has ever thought is probably posted to the internet somewhere.  Someone has probably written a post just like this.  Scratch that, it’s SO not an original idea that it can probably be found dozens of times.  However, the downside to the fact that everything is available is that it’s almost TOO available.  With so much “noise” online, you practically have to scream to be noticed.  I don’t know how celebrities handle the loss of their elite stardom when people like Justin Bieber and Rebeca Black ascent from nowhere to overnight sensation.

All I’m trying to say is that as much as I love the internet, I wonder if we’re beginning to approach some sort of critical mass where nobody can be famous and it will become so difficult to sort through the rubbish that we will rely on search engines completely.  And then they will really own our lives.

Random sidenote:  What’s worse… Producing 100 books that can eventually be passed down, reused, or recycled OR producing 1 iPad that will definitely be thrown away.  I wonder … with all this eBook technology, will we eventually run out of the resources necessary to make the electronics.  And how much does it replace over the lifetime of the product and over a person’s lifetime.  If I buy 1 Kindle every 5 years, does that make up for the number of books I would have bought?  I’m leaning towards yes, but it’s still an interesting question.

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Roller Coaster

So after that really positive and motivated entry yesterday, I had a little breakdown. I tried to get my cable bills resolved by calling the company, but because the accounts were in my mom’s name, they wouldn’t talk to me. So I tried to go to the retail location, but due to traffic, I didn’t make it before 5pm. I was literally 6 minutes late, but they were completely closed; I may or may not have had a minor panic attack, which is completely ridiculous and unreasonable. But I think it was a long time coming, considering how well I’ve been holding it together. So I called a girlfriend, and called my aunt, and felt a lot better.

After going to the park and choir practice, I took it easy and went to sleep earlier than usual. Then I got up and went to the cable company first thing in the morning. It was a very successful trip. I got my account switched from my mom’s name to mine, which resulted in two very positive things. I reduced my overall service cost by $90 per month, and added BBC America to my lineup! This is particularly important to me because I am a HUGE Doctor Who fan, and this change is happening just in time for the Series 6 premier on Saturday night!

After that successful trip, I went to the bank, the post office, a breakfast meeting, Staples, and the gas station. Amazing how productive I can be sometimes. And after just a few steps, my internet and new channels were all set up as they should be. It’s also amazing how much the folks at the cable company can do remotely, if you, the user, can simply manage to get everything plugged in properly.

So, after a quiet afternoon, I went to the gym, got more Gatorade at the store (they only have G2 at the one I don’t usually frequent, so I have to make a special trip), came back, and got ready for the rest of the day. I had an early dinner (because I had a late breakfast, and skipped lunch), watched Carlie and Henry eat dinner, went to the dog park, and then spent the rest of the evening at their house playing Wii (mostly).

Now it’s Friday morning. I got up early to go running. Original plan was to run outdoors, but I really didn’t feel up to it, so I went to the gym instead. Lydia and I have discussed this, and I agree: running on the treadmill is low-impact relative to running outdoors. So I ran 2 miles at the gym, which makes my 5th consecutive day of running this week. I’m reevaluating my plan to run 3 weeks straight. I think I might fatigue myself so much that I’m not able to run my 5k on May 7. So I’m going to take the weekend off to recover, and start again on Monday. Here’s how it will go.

18 Monday – run outside
19 Tuesday – run at gym
20 Wednesday – run outside
21 Thursday – run at gym
22 Friday – run at gym
23 Saturday – off
24 Sunday – off
25 Monday – run at gym
26 Tuesday – run outside (5k)
27 Wednesday – run
28 Thursday – run at gym
29 Friday – run outside (5k)
30 Saturday – run at gym
01 Sunday – off
02 Monday – run outside (6k)
03 Tuesday – run at gym
04 Wednesday – run outside (6k)
05 Thursday – run at gym
06 Friday – off
06 Saturday – RUN THE 5K WITH LYDIA

Now I’m off to spend the day at Busch Gardens, where I will ride a literal roller coaster. But this week … has been a metaphorical one.

Goals and Opportunities

Four months ago, I had a plan to start running three days a week in preparation for a 5k in May. Here’s how it’s going so far.

I started running at the gym with a great friend. I ran regularly until I left to spend two weeks in Spain. I resumed running upon my return and ran regularly until about a week in March when I got terribly sick. Even still, I started back with my running sooner than I probably should have given that I wasn’t fully recovered. And since then, I have been running regularly and starting to really notice that I’m getting better. If not faster, at least I have much more endurance than I had when I started.

It’s about two weeks from my 5k and I don’t want to stop. This very fact alone amazes me. I am not someone who EVER ran, or even worked out very often. AmeriCorps NCCC got me started – I’ve said that before. But I’m still amazed that I’ve been able to stick with this commitment.

I have a new personal challenge in store. I’ve run for the past 3 days in a row, and I’ve decided to challenge myself to run every day from now til my 5k race. I’m doing this for a couple of reasons. First, even though I’ve been committing to run regularly for 30 minute workouts, I’m not confident that I can run the 5k distance with as much success. My distance for the 30 minute workouts is usually between 3-4k. So I’m going to be running every day, but at least 3 days this week I’m going to run 5k (as long as it takes) and NEXT week, I’m going to run three 6ks. I think I can. I think I can. I KNOW I can.

But the other reason I’ve decided to do this is that I’ve been researching the P90X program. To complete this program, you must work out for about an hour a day for 90 days straight. It looks like a pretty intense program, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep up, but I think I can commit to doing it. These three weeks of daily running are my way of convincing myself that I’m up for it. I’m pretty excited about the prospect of accomplishing this 5k goal and then moving on to P90X.

Ideally, that would run from mid-May through mid-August. I would run another 5k, perhaps in October. Then I would do another P90X in the winter. And follow that up with a 10k next spring. That’s my 12-month fitness plan.

Maybe it’s a little too ambitious, but it’s become increasingly important to me to be in shape. This first running program was a slow, but necessary start. But I’m ready to kick it into high gear. I’ve never committed to something for this long before, so I think this is a good sign of a change in my attitude, and most importantly, my habits. I have the opportunity to take a real personal stride here. Even if I aim too high, then I’ll still be achieving greatness.

Pro-duck-tivity!

It’s such a funny word, especially when you break it down so inaccurately. I’ve been in a real “go get ’em” mood for the past several days, inspired by the springtime weather and helpful friends!

Wednesday after choir practice, I enjoyed the company of a wonderful, out-of-town visitor – my college roomie! We hung out for several hours before I had to head home. Next morning, I had a really delicious and productive breakfast meeting. For lunch, I hung out with a great friend on campus down at the ampitheater. That was followed by another business meeting and a great run at the gym. I even made time to take Bonnie to the park before coming back home to get ready for dinner.

My favorite neighbors took me out to dinner to thank me for the loan of my car last weekend. It was such a fun evening – tasty food and a lengthy conversation. Our waiter was hilarious as well – quite the chatty one.

Friday morning, I got an immense amount of stuff out of my storage unit. Amazingly I managed to clear enough space in the downstairs closet so that it’s not taking over my house. However, that is only a temporary solution. I will eventually be selling, donating, recycling or trashing at least 30% of my belongings. Maybe even more.

I spent Friday afternoon at work, left to take my dog home, and then went back to that side of town for dinner with the girls. Lydia and I arrived first and ate as we waited for Melissa. Then when she arrived we ordered dessert together and she got dinner to go. Our waiter was quite confused. And because we had so much catching-up to do, we ended up staying for almost four hours!

Saturday morning started bright and early with Easter Egg hunting! It’s one of the delightful perks of having friends with a toddler. Because they are such great friends, they spent the rest of the morning helping me take another two carloads of stuff from the storage unit. And as a bonus, we went out to lunch at Olive Garden and took a train ride around the building next door. I spent the rest of the day cleaning and organizing until Abnormal Formal!

Yes, I may have graduated, but that doesn’t stop me from occasionally going to campus events, like the spring dance. Roomie met me for a margarita beforehand and then we walked over together. It was so much fun! Saw tons of people I love, and everyone was so spiffy. The only downside was the drizzly walk back to my car.

Sunday morning arrived bright and beautiful! I went to church and had a wonderful time with the choir. Afterward, Little and I went to a Mexican buffet for lunch. I spent another productive afternoon cleaning, then went to the dog park. The weather was so nice that I decided to brave an outdoor run.

I was so nervous about the run, because I haven’t run outside since California, except for one disastrous time right when I got home. Suffice it to say that it was cold and I could barely breathe. But today it was pretty successful. It was a new experience, and I still can’t decide whether I like it or not. I was much slower outdoors than indoors, but that might improve with practice.

Then for the rest of the evening, I continued the cleaning extravaganza. I now have clean sheets on my bed, lots of clean clothes, and more more floor space than I had initially.

I am working toward a completely organized house, which will improve my life rhythm. It’s an arduous process, but the results are so positive that it’s worth the tedium. I’ve been spending so much time on this that I wonder what I’ll do when it’s all done. Perhaps I’ll have more time to sit down and read. Until then, I’ll always make time to write.

PS: Ducks at Easter are so cute!

Life's Like an Hourglass

These are the moments that make up a life. It’s not the big goals, or the big events, and it’s not about the future. Well, it’s not about the future unless what you’re doing now is going to harm future you. Each moment, you have the choice to be happy or to be unhappy. But the good thing is that if you choose to be unhappy in this moment, the next opportunity to be happy is right around the corner.

Yesterday, I was quite happy. I got up late because I went to sleep late. First thing to do was pack myself a lunch and meet Katrina on campus. I love seeing her, because it’s always such a positive series of moments in my life. Then I headed over to the amphitheater for an outdoor lab by the lake. The weather was unseasonably warm and incredibly breezy, which made the outdoor time even better. I ran a few errands, spent a few minutes at home, and headed back outside with the dog to the park. Saw many friends there, and had a great time.

In the evening, I came home and made tacos (I forgot how easy that dinner is). Then I headed back out again to see a FREE concert on campus. My sorority actually brought the band, so it was sort of like a private concert just for us. The band was really talented and had a great sense of humor as well. Following the concert, I went by to visit friends and ended up borrowing the movie that I am watching right now: (500) Days of Summer. Then I went by the department to visit other friends. there were shenanigans involving rolling chairs and YouTube videos. All of these things make me quite happy. It’s one of the perks of being an alum who lives close by… getting the social benefits of campus life without the pressures of academic life.

Then today, I had a morning coffee date with my new friend Rachel. The funniest part about the meeting was that I suggested the coffee shop….where she works….without knowing she works there! But we both agreed it was worth it because the food is so good. Plus she gets a discount! And then I ran a few errands, went to the gym, and went back home to find that my house was beeping. Following tedious inspection, I discovered that a fire alarm was in need of a new battery. And in order to retain my sanity, I had to actually go out the the store that instant and buy the right batteries. But I’m happy to report that the beeping has stopped.

I made a late lunch, started watching the aforementioned movie and blogging. Then Kevin called! So I still haven’t finished the movie, but I decided to just finish the blog because I can tell the movie is almost over and I think I might single-task the end of it (for once). Tonight I have a big “dog park dinner” followed by some quality Carlie time. And then I am gonna get myself back to campus for RANCING! That’s right, it’s clue week time!! Due to my early return last fall, I haven’t missed this event once in 5 years. Impressive, no? But it’s now in the hands of the undergrads, which makes me quite happy.

I think that’s quite enough for now. I just wanted to write this as an ode to the “little things” that have been making me happy recently. And I am aware of how overused “happy” is in this blog. Well, given that I wasn’t an English major, and that my feeling at the moment really is that simple and pure, “happy” will just have to suffice.

27 Thoughts and Responses

This advice is not from me. I saw it on StumbleUpon. But I liked it enough to include it here, and add my thoughts. Enjoy!

1. The first pancake always turns out badly.

It takes time and practice in any situation to get things just right. It’s good practice to plan for the “first pancake” in any new project.

2. You don’t have to get along with everyone, or make everyone like you.

It impossible to make everyone like you, because we are different people and we’re not all going to get along. I’ve driven myself crazy in the past trying to get along with everyone, and it’s not worth it.

3. Love makes you stupid.

When I’m tied up in emotion, I tend to make reckless decisions. I do things that aren’t always the best for me. But it’s a great feeling, when it’s right, and it’s worth the risk.

4. You always have at least 2 choices, even if you don’t like your choices.

Sometimes I feel like there is no other option but one. It’s times like those when I know I just need to stop closing myself off from the many other possibilities.

5. Sometimes even women need to learn to MTFU.

Often I find it difficult to say what I mean, because I can’t find the right words or it’s a tough topic. It takes courage to be honest.

6. Most people operate out of selfish motivations.

It’s almost impossible NOT to be selfish, because it’s part of our survival instinct. When you are finally able to accept this fact about others, it explains their behaviors and can help put you at peace with their decisions.

7. It’s rarely about you.

Think about it. How many times do you get lost in your own head, and accidentally (or intentionally) take it out on others? Now switch it around, and don’t take it as personally when others treat you poorly on occasion.

8. Soda is evil.

That’s true. There’s nothing good about it… it’s bad for your health and especially your teeth. I’ve been slowly cutting it out of my life. Just tonight, I brought water to a movie rather than wasting $ on soda.

9. It’s okay to break the rules, as long as you are good enough not to get caught, and you aren’t hurting anyone.

I have a tough time with this in general, but I do see how it applies to speed limits, pool hours, and watching TV shows online.

10. “Be kinder than necessary ’cause everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.”

I understand this much better after all I’ve gone through the past few months. Plus, being kinder than necessary is just nice to do, because it does you no harm and is good for others.

11. There’s three sides to every story- his, hers, and the truth.

Life and perspective are both quite complicated. If the other person is never right, then you are equally as wrong.

12. Time doesn’t heal anything- it’s what you do with that time.

I’ve felt this most strongly in some friendships I’ve let fade over the years. However, I will say that time is only a dagger if you acknowledge it. I’ve been able to resurrect friendships even if much time has passed.

13. Complaining and blaming other people doesn’t help anything, and makes you miserable company.

This just goes along with 14.

14. Everything in your life is your responsibility.

Blaming other people is the last thing that will help you, because it’s not their fault and makes them feel bad. And even if it’s not your friend that you’re blaming, it makes you look silly and weak to blame anyone but yourself.

15. You train people how to treat you.

I haven’t totally come to terms with this one… Or maybe it’s that I don’t understand how to do it. But really, I’m leaning towards disagreeing entirely and saying that “You have to realize you have no control of how others treat you, you only have control over your reaction.”

16. There’s always hope.

I agree wholeheartedly. But it’s important to remember during dark times.

17. You can always be grateful for something.

I am grateful for so many things, each and every day. Friends, family, a roof over my head, and a really cute puppy, to name a few.

18. If you aren’t making mistakes, you aren’t trying hard enough.

It may be convenient to play it safe, but you can never get anywhere by avoiding all risks.

19. You never really become an adult. You just get more responsibility, and become wiser.

I like this one. I’ve gotten so much more responsibilities lately, but I still don’t feel “grown up.” I don’t know how much wiser I feel, but my mom did always say that I was wise beyond my years.

20. Showing emotion is not a sign of weakness. Knowing when it is appropriate is a skill.

This one is so deep. It guess, to me, it means that it’s okay to be who you are, you just need to be conscious of others and how your actions make them feel. Sometimes, it’s tough to strike a balance.

21. Google can answer anything.

Google is everything these days. I use it multiple times every day. I don’t know what I’d do without it.

22. Being silly is one of my favorite qualities in a person.

Yes, I definitely agree. It means you’re easygoing and not afraid of embarrassing yourself a bit. Silly people make me smile and laugh, and it’s so much fun to be around them.

23. Honesty is always the easiest route. Even if it’s not in the short term.

Hiding how you feel about something can eat you up inside. Even if it’s something small. Hiding what you’ve done is almost impossible, given the transparency of our lives these days. Better to be up front and answer for the truth, because it will come out eventually.

24. You should never stop learning, or trying to be a better person.

There’s so much out there to learn, and there are so many ways to live a better life! This quest for goodness is the driving force of life, in my opinion.

25. Worrying is useless, unless it motivates you to take action.

No, worrying is just useless. You can contemplate, weigh your options, and plan; those lead to action. Worrying paralyzes you and keeps you from following your dreams.

26. When people show you who they are, believe them.

But who really knows who they are? I know I don’t. I have passed the point in my life when I could describe myself in a few words and phrases. I guess this just advises to be open and receptive to others. I know, deep down, all I want in life is to be loved and understood. I imagine many other people feel the same.

27. There is only fear, and love. And one of them is way more fun.

I guess when you boil it all down, that is really what you have left. Fear is the opposite of love. I believe when you truly love, you have no fear. Because if you are truly loved and able to love, that’s all you need. But is it ever possible to live a life where there is nothing but love?