Sunday, August 20, 2017

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3 Things to Inspire Your Weekend: #63

Quote of the day: 

The fragrance of flowers spreads only in the direction of the wind. But the goodness of a person spreads in all directions. -Chanakya

Malala Yousafzai
Credit: Newsweek

At age 20 Malala Yousafzai has achieved a lot ever since she survived a gun attack in Pakistan for campaigning for girls' rights to education in 2012. The youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner, education activist and author living in Birmingham has now been accepted to study philosophy, politics and economics at Lady Margaret Hall at Oxford University. Malala will study the same course at the same college with one of her role models Benazir Bhutto, the former Pakistani Prime Minister. And just earlier this year she was made the youngest ever United Nations (UN) Messenger of Peace.

Bill Gates
Credit: Los Angeles Times

The world's richest person Bill Gates has made a donation of $4.6 billion (around 64 million Microsoft shares) to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation -which helps to transform lives. This is his largest donation since 2000 with the gift amounting to 5 percent of his fortune -the world's biggest. Bill and Melinda Gates have given away $35 billion worth of stocks and cash since 1994. If he had kept his wealth he would be $50 billion richer today. Gates founded the Giving Pledge in 2010 with fellow billionaire and investor Warren Buffett, and since then have both been joined by 168 other individuals who promised to give away the vast majority of their wealth to charity.

Bravos house on Arch Daily

As seen on Arch Daily, Bravos House
Architects: Jobim Carlevaro Arquitetos
Location: Itajaí, Brazil

Brief: Intimate space along with the growing landscape.

Theme:  Concrete pillars, wooden vertical brise soleil displays, made of Cumaru, a Brazilian tree species. The same wood is repeated in the moving panels of the upper floor. Pool offering an extension of the living room.

Photograph: Leonardo Finotti

Peace. Love. Light* 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

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Musings of mine: Rambling Mind on This and That #9

Quote of the day: 

I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people. -Isaac Newton 

A 12% Chance of Rain

A cursory glance at the weather app and it reveals a 12% chance of rain with cloudy skies. I'd assume to a cloud this wouldn't sound promising. The probability of supplying rain is cut to a minimum. No fanfare, no water fights, no frolicking with the wind, no thunder heard or lightening seen, and certainly no reason to laugh at humans dashing about in the rain, some with crooked umbrellas, others without a care in the world walking majestically in the rain-getting soaked is not for the fainthearted. But even the weatherman gets the weather wrong sometimes.

Can't Remember Not to Forget

Have you ever had a thought, a memory or flashback come at you right out of nowhere? I am talking about something from years and years back. No triggers or anything. Or better yet, have you ever had someone retell a story that involves you from like a decade ago, but for the life of you -you've got little recollection of. They relay back everything you did and said, even down to the clothes you wore, the wristwatch on your left hand, the month and time of day, putting in as much detail to try to paint this picture, to help put the jigsaw pieces back together in your mind, and when they finally ask 'do you remember now?', there's nothing greater in the world at that moment than saying a big NOPE.

Don't Be Late

Being late for something is bad enough. What could be worse than that you ask. Well here lets break it down. You see the same way the universe conspires to help you when you want something (think Paulo Coelho), is also the case for when you are late -it conspires to slow you down even further. All of a sudden traffic pops up on the otherwise free route, humans on footpaths turn to slow walking zombies, travelers pop up in front of you from the sky with heavy suitcases blocking your entire progression, and for added measure sprinkle a couple of tourists taking photos into the mix. The only thing that doesn't get slowed down when you are late is time -instead it accelerates. Although sometimes being late can't be helped, striving for punctuality is certainly better than fighting off zombies.

Rage Against Discounts

Who doesn't like a good discount? 50% off, screamed the signs at a shop, 75% off at another. But wait a minute shouldn't that have been the original price in the first place? They buy low and sell at a higher price (to put that in perspective, an iphone cost $200 to make and is sold for $600-$800). So technically it's not a discount really, and giving it away for free -now that's the real discount. But businesses exist to make profit bla bla bla. Don't get too excited about discounts now that you know their secret.

To The Friends Who Make Us Laugh

We all have some particular friends-or even best friends who are literally comedians, and if they would come to this life again -it would be as clowns working at a circus. They make you laugh a little louder than most, they find the humour in everything, and on some days when the world seems gloomy they shine a light through the fog. With silly one liners and jokes life would be boring without them Here's to the friends who tickle our senses. And if you have no such friends, here's a hint: It may just be you.

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Sonny Rollins St. Thomas 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

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What Kind of Animal Are You Most Likely To Be?

Quote of the day: 

Look up, laugh loud, talk big, keep the color in your cheek and the fire in your eye, adorn your person, maintain your health, your beauty and your animal spirits. -William Hazlitt 

Two Magpies on a roof

If you had the choice to come back to this life as an animal which one would you be? A magpie (seen above), a dog, a dolphin, or a cat? This particular question appears to be a favourite with hiring managers, a sort of curve ball to reveal more about your character and thought process. It's humorous to think about and obviously your choice of animal would have to have positive qualities that could be easily translated into the job function. Luckily this post is not about bizarre interview questions or managers. However, there exists an interesting online 'animal in you' personality quiz that reveals what animal you are. Turns out I'm a penguin with characteristics such as being witty, meticulous, intelligent, dual-natured, inscrutable and self-conscious. Who doesn't like a good old penguin. It's certainly an interesting test.

Speaking of animals here are a few from my Instagram page to help you in your decision making.

1. Squirrel. There are certain types of animals that you just can't avoid seeing or running into. And it is no other than squirrels -mostly grey and some red in colour. If they are not screaming at night, they can be found running through trees, gardens and parks looking for their next meal. With an estimated population of 2.5 million in the UK, grey squirrels can't be missed. Squirrels are great planners and store food ahead of winter months. They are also trusting animals and will trust you enough to eat out of your hands.

2.  Wood Pigeon. By far the UK's largest and commonest pigeon is the Wood Pigeon. It is grey with a white neck patch, often tame and approachable. They eat crops like peas and grains, seeds and nuts. Although people always try to feed them with bread and whatnot. Pigeons are very intelligent and are renowned for their hearing and navigational skills.

3.  Black Bird. These are found literally everywhere from gardens to the countryside. Blackbird is a songbird belonging to the family of thrushes, and an omnivore eating both plant and meat. With their bright yellow beaks and mellow songs they are quite distinguishable, as the male tends to be black and the female brown in colour. Male blackbirds establish territories during their first year which they will hold throughout their lives.

So what animal would you rather be?

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Louis Armstrong - La vie en rose

Monday, August 14, 2017

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How You Spend Your Life Matters And Here is Why

Quote of the day: 

We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths; in feelings, not in figures on a dial. We should count time by heart throbs. He most lives who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best. 

First it was sleep, what we as humans worried about and maybe did not get enough of. "I wish I could get more sleep" people would often say when you ask about their well-being. Of course sleep is vital for you to function properly. The average person spends a third of their life sleeping. This is assuming that the average person sleeps for 8 hours -which is about one third of a day. Hold that thought. If the average lifespan is 75 years, then that would amount to around 25 years spent sleeping. This figure will change depending on the actual hours you do spend sleeping each day, sleep more and the years increase, and sleep less and the years spent sleeping decreases.

Secondly technology has become an addiction -but that's a story for another day. If we spend one third of our lives sleeping, that's exactly 300 months. So with just 600 months (again assuming our lifespan is 75 years) left, you go into education, you spend a number of years pursuing a living and career, eating, using the internet, talking on the phone, taking a shower, using the toilet, doing laundry, getting dressed, and so on and forth.  Each stage, any enterprise, every bit of what we do adds up daily, and additionally over time. We are a living statistic.

The continuity and progression of life must continue whether we chose to be a part of it or not. From early childhood to late adulthood, all your experiences within that hour glass of time must amount to something, each grain of sand as important as each drop of water in an ocean. As you reflect on all these weighty thoughts, here are a few more to add to your list:

1. How much time do you spend trying to change someone's mind or behaviour?
2. How much time do you spend being bitter about something someone did, somethings someone didn't do or something you don't have the will to change?
3. How much time do you spend holding on to the past?
4. How much time of your time do you waste doing things you don't like?
5. And when was the last time you had a good laugh or treated yourself to something amazing?

There are 1,440 minutes in each day. You will spend one third of that time sleeping. The rest is up to you to use as you wish. Wouldn't it be great to make a habit of letting go of things? In other words you become a child all over again -they tend to forgive and forget things quickly. Those seconds, minutes and days sure drift by so fast, but alas it would eventually add up one day.


Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Ryo Fukui - Mellow Dream

Saturday, August 12, 2017

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3 Things to Inspire Your Weekend: #62

Quote of the day: 

What a liberating thing to realize that our problems are probably our richest sources for rising to the ultimate virtue of compassion. -Krista Tippett 

Credit: TheStar.Com

A Toronto police officer Niran Jeyanesan who was called to a report of shoplifting at a Wall mart ended up buying a shirt and tie for an 18 year-old alleged shoplifter after learning that the young man needed the items for an upcoming job interview. The officer said that he wanted to 'show kindness to someone who had fallen on hard times', after hearing the background story of how the teen ended up shoplifting. After taking the teen to the station he went back to the store and paid for the items. Constable Jeyanesan said he wasn't rewarding the behavior of a criminal, but only used his discretion to determine that the case did not merit criminal charges.

Credit: Associated Press

A 91-year-old Thai woman Kimlun Jinakul, who spent more than 10 years studying for a college degree finally earned it and received her diploma from her country's King. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in human and family development at Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University which is government-run just outside Bangkok. She traveled over 450 miles to attend the ceremony. The University has courses catering for the elderly and this year alone had 199 students who are over 60 years old.

As seen on Arch Daily, Aperture in the Woods
Architects: Takero Shimazaki Architecture + Charlie Luxton
Location: Buckinghamshire, UK

Brief: A conversion of a derelict 1960s modernist house working as much as possible to maximize the existing structure

Theme:  Glass entrance and apertures. Retention of original brickwork and painted black to make the house recede into the shadows of the surrounding woodlands.

Photograph: Edmund Sumner

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Eric Dolphy - Hat and Beard 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

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Book of the Day: Bitter Fruit by Achmat Dangor

Quote of the day: 
Let us read and let us dance - two amusements that will never do any harm to the world. -Voltaire

I remember reading a lot of Enid Blyton books, the 'Enchanted Wood', and 'Famous Five' just to name a few. She was an English Children's writer and a famous one at that. It got me thinking about childhood and how our minds and thoughts change overtime as we grow older. Children's books loses the appeal once you've gone past a certain age, except when you have to read to children. I may just go back to reading one of her titles to see if it brings back memories of reading late into the night, signed library cards, and the good old feeling of being part of an adventure.

While pondering that, the book of the day is 'Bitter Fruit' by South African author and poet Achmat Dangor which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize after it came out. The book revolves around three main characters -Silas Ali, his wife Lydia and their son Mickey. All three become faced with a traumatic event that had occurred twenty years prior coming back to haunt their normal way of life. The last time Silas encountered this character called the 'Lieutenant', he was locked in the back of a police van watching helplessly as Lydia was assaulted. It takes just a chance encounter for secrets and memories that had been festering for years to come out in the open. The narration is mostly about the lives of these characters, the people around them and how their relationship evolves. Set in nineties South Africa, a country seemingly at peace with itself after rising from the dark past of apartheid, it delves into the political environment before and during that time, it explores love and abuse, betrayal and its deep psychological effects.

While Silas and Lydia appear to lead a normal life, everything is not always as it seems, and with their emotionally detached son, sadness, wounds, heartache and regrets run deep in the family, hanging surreptitiously throughout the entire story.

If you are looking at reading something different from the usual, Dangor's Bitter Fruit is surely one to look at. He excels at descriptive narration. It is a decent read, and a note that it explores different forms of sexuality as well and therefore this should come as no surprise if you do decide to read this book.

What book are you reading?

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Charles Mingus - Goodbye Pork Pie Hat

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

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Cutty Sark Museum: A Showcase of the Greatest Ship of Her Time

Quote of the day: 

Visiting a museum is a matter of going from void to void. -Robert Smithson

 Credit: Getty Images

Back in time shipping goods on high seas was the most important way of trading. Merchant ships would traverse the oceans carrying cargo for delivery in different ports. Speed was a clear advantage for any such ship. Even today with the prevalence of faster ways of moving goods such as by air, ships remain a vital part of trade worldwide.

BLOGORATTI -Cutty Sark Museum 2017

Cutty Sark, a British Clipper ship was one of such ships. Built in 1869 on the River Clyde, she was one of the fastest and also the last clipper ship to be built during that time. With the opening of the Suez Canal in the same year, it meant that steamships enjoyed shorter routes to China, so Cutty Sark spent just a couple of years in the tea trade before turning to trade in Wool from Australia. 

BLOGORATTI -Cutty Sark Museum 2017

And after a series of events the ship was sold to a Portuguese company and later exchanged several hands including British owners before it was eventually acquired by the Cutty Sark Preservation Society in 1953. The ship was named after Cutty-Sark, the nickname of the witch Nannie Dee in one of Robert Burn's poems and the figurehead (seen below) is Nannie Dee holding a horse's tail in her left hand. 

BLOGORATTI -Cutty Sark Museum 2017

Now home in Greenwich, Cutty Sark is remembered as an amazing and historic sailing ship, and the fastest and greatest of her time. It was built in Scotland in 1869 and originally built to carry tea from China to England as fast as possible. The record-breaking ship traveled to every major port in the world during her peak. 

BLOGORATTI -Cutty Sark Museum 2017

The 19th Century clipper ship has faced wars, storms, neglect and a few fire incidents. While undergoing a restoration in 2007, there was a major fire outbreak but luckily the main parts of the ship had been put in storage and so the damage was not extensive. Conservation work was carried out to raise the Cutty Sark 3 metres above ground, allowing visitors the opportunity to walk directly underneath. 

BLOGORATTI -Cutty Sark Museum 2017

BLOGORATTI -Cutty Sark Museum 2017

With the restoration Cutty Sark is not just a museum but with additional services such as a café on board, a studio theatre and a programme of workshops and family events. However admission is not free, and it requires a ticket to enter.

BLOGORATTI -Cutty Sark Museum 2017

Fun facts

1. Cutty Sark is the world's only surviving extreme clipper ship, and most of the hull fabrics on display today dates back to her original construction.

2. On her first voyage from China, Cutty Sark came back loaded with 1.3 million pounds of tea, as well as other items like wine and spirits.

3. It cost £16,150 to build the Cutty Sark and its overall length is 280 feet, and includes 32 sails and 11 miles of rigging, with a top speed of 17 knots (around 19 miles per hour).

BLOGORATTI -Cutty Sark Museum 2017

4. After being retired from the wool trade in 1895, it was sold to the Portuguese merchants who renamed her as 'Ferreira'.

5. Cutty Sark was caught in a bad storm during World War One which damaged her masts and in the process of rebuilding the masts were shortened.

BLOGORATTI -Cutty Sark Museum 2017

6. Cutty Sark is home to the world's biggest collection of figureheads -which are the carved wooden figures that adorn ships’ prows.

BLOGORATTI -Cutty Sark Museum 2017

More fun facts

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen:The Dave Brubeck Quartet - Pick Up Sticks

Monday, August 07, 2017

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Why Adversity is Important for Success

Quote of the day: 

Adversity is the state in which man most easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then. -John Wooden

It is often said that fire is the strength of gold, and adversity the test of a man or woman. Adversity can describe a struggle, a difficult or unpleasant situation, a condition marked by a test of our core strengths.  Nothing in life is guaranteed. Our health, ideas, thoughts, love, mobility, choices we make, today and tomorrow, the present and the future included. We are gifted with these things alright but there are no guarantees, and no absolute truths or inflexible realities. Nothing is fixed and there are invariable facts about life. Except the absolute truth that people come and people go and that there are no square circles. A fact that cannot be changed, like the warmth of the sun, or the sparkle of the night stars. Everything about life can be contradictory. The truth can have separate meanings depending on whoever is searching for it. We all have our own truth. But we exist nevertheless, our current path in life dictated by thousands of 'what if' scenarios, we are like characters in a video game and with each move leading to different outcomes.

We fail. We encounter adversity. Just as we all have our own truth, we all have our own dark periods also. And that is as normal as it gets. We fail and we get up. But failing at something can hurt us and leave a deep void not easily refilled. Sometimes success is good but adversity can be a great triumph. And the bigger it is the harder it is to rise up again. There is nothing better than making a comeback form your own decline and defeat. History is filled with men and women who overcame their initial setback. Einstein did not speak a word until he was 4 years old and his teachers thought he wouldn't make anything of himself. And we've all heard of Thomas Edison who failed 10,000 times to create an electric light bulb. And many other such stories thrive around us. We live and learn.

Our troubles don't define us. With different types of adversities -mental, physical, financial or emotional, the aim is not to be overcome by any of it. So keep busy with the knowledge that everything will be fine in the end.

Adversity is important because:

1. When we experience challenging adversity and overcome it we become more stronger and courageous.

2. Gaining strength with each obstacle and problem is a re-occurring theme in life. Being able to rise each time and redirect our energy to positive ideals may help to soar over adversity.

3. Adversity can turn us into a much better and wiser person.

4. Adversity will enhance our weak spots, while sustaining areas of strength and understanding.

5. It teaches us important life lessons.

So no matter what you may be going through, find courage in the little things and areas of life and stand firm and brave in the face of adversity -like a plant growing out of concrete.

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Thelonious Monk -I Should Care