Thursday, November 16, 2017

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Musings of mine: Rambling Mind on This and That #15


Quote of the day: 


If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much. 
-Jim Rohn 





It's Not Over Till It's Over

I'd like to think of this year as a catalyst to further self discovery. And as the year limps to its finale and end there remains much to accomplish. Forget about yearly goals, this is some last minute rush for self preservation. This is the fight of all fights. Cramming a year's worth of unspent goals and resolutions into the very last days and weeks. You wanted to read 50 books? The window is still open. You set out to lose a certain amount of weight? Hey, the window is still wide open. New language? Check. New skill? Check too. New job? Time off? Worry less? Check, check, check. It is not over until the end -so milk time till the last second of the year.


Cold Calls

Ever sign up for several services and then thereafter get harassed by cold callers? And by thereafter I mean weeks later which leaves little room to find the real culprit. Who was it who sold you out? And why is a lady calling to ask if 'have you ever been involved in a car accident.' And the timing is always suspect -like you are being spied on. Just when you are in the middle of something, your phone rings, but it's far away and as you swim through seven seas and climb mountains to get to it, pressing the connection button only to hear the words 'have you ever...'


I can't Function Without Coffee

Can you function without drinking coffee in the morning? I can. But I know a few people who claim otherwise. It is a ritual you see. They need their 'early morning fix' -their words not mine making it all sound like a terrible addiction (is it not?). But it's all in their heads really. Yes you can function without coffee as according to research coffee drinkers aren't more alert than their caffeine free counterparts. But then again, drinking just one cup a day can cut the risk of early death by 12%. So drink on and live long.


Just Go With The Flow And Keep It Moving

There will be good days and bad. There will be comedians who are not funny. Singers who cannot really sing. Pets who love and appreciate us more than we do them. People who talk throughout a live show. Weathermen who don't know the weather. Plumbers who make things worse. Doctors who hate patients. Customers not receiving customer service. Cyclists who can't cycle. Leaders who can't lead. Lovely people who can't love. Kids who aren't kids. And then there is you and even though you may not always be at your best -just keep things moving nevertheless.



Peace. Love. Light* 



Current Listen: Everything's Not Lost - Coldplay


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

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When In Doubt Think About Your Accomplishments


Quote of the day: 

Never let hard lessons harden your heart; the hard lessons of life are meant to make you better, not bitter. -Roy T. Bennett





Do you ever stop to ponder on this journey called life and the triumphs and setbacks that go with it? I have. Many times I have pondered on my odyssey to find purpose, truth and knowledge. And along the way when lost the trip leads to other pathways -purpose gets replaced by weakness, truth by falsity, knowledge by ignorance. Finding the way and getting back on track takes time and energy which would have been used in the original pursuit. Familiarity enhances openness but a lack of it breeds restriction.

And when I ponder on life a reoccurring theme forms like medieval stained glass in a cathedral, a rainbow of colours representing different events in life. And each thought leads back to one:

"At each point in life when nothing seems perfect, there's always someone around the corner to remind us that perfection isn't everything." 

Think back to the times when you were almost down and out and with no ounce of hope left in you, who was it that helped you out of your situation? Who was it who gave you some talking to, and who was there for you when you most needed someone? Surely you have come across such people, some you will remember and some you probably won't. And what did you do when you were back to your normal self and standing on your own two feet, didn't you think of ways to pay it forward, to be the person that everyone close to you could count on for help or advise?

You may not know it but you may have helped someone who will forever remain grateful, who may not remember who you are or even know you personally, and you may have offered words of comfort or advise to many others and the impact of your actions may never be fully revealed to you. The same can be said about how we have been affected by the kindness of others through the years. It is this thought that we should always hold on to and never forget.

Life is all about helping and being helped as no one is an island. Thinking you don't require any help or knowledge tears you from your purpose and path. The next time you find yourself almost feeling inadequate or overwhelmed with life, just sit, take a deep breath, and mull over life, reflect and examine where you are and the journey that has brought you thus far.




Peace. Love. Light* 



Current Listen: Memphis Slim - Nobody Loves Me


Monday, November 06, 2017

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The Importance of Willpower


Quote of the day: 

You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.
-Aristotle 







The lack of willpower is often cited as one of the roadblocks to achieving what we really want in life. How many people believe they could improve their lives for the better? A lot probably. And how many have the will power to do so? Probably a little. On one hand we go through life by trying to avoid our impulses, and on the other we wished we had more will power and self discipline. Some have it more than others.

Willpower is often cited as a mental muscle that can be trained. It is no more than the ability to control your thoughts and overcome feelings of laziness and episodes of procrastination, and the capacity to overcome unwanted thoughts and actions. This inner strength and power is necessary to overcome a lot of the things that you face on a daily basis. It is the difference between over-indulging and under-indulging. With it you can practice restraint, and in so doing choose to do things that you need to do -compared to doing things that you want to do or desire. The former is good for you in the long run, while the latter is more of an 'in the moment' satisfaction.

It can be seen in our interaction with people too. How many times have you faced provocation only to lose your cool? And what about the time that you faced provocation, only to take a deep breath and take control of the situation. There is nothing wrong with allowing your emotions get the best of you, but you shouldn't be controlled by it. Instead of a knee-jerk response to a situation, why not take a few seconds to reflect and analyse things. Do you really want to have your good mood tainted over something not worthwhile? There are many ways to vent your anger and frustration but never give the remote control to someone else. But as it is with life and stress, at some point you will reach the boiling point and lose your temper over something or someone. Nothing can be bottled up forever. When such does happen you need to own the situation and move on.

Do the things that otherwise make you feel lazy. Sometimes ordering a take-away is convenient when you are too lazy or can't be bothered to cook. But with willpower, you can get up and start cooking and before you know it the food is done and you will appreciate it more than if it had been ordered. But then again cooking is not for everyone, but you get the gist of things. It's all about developing your will power, get into the act of driving your life decisions and not just be in the passenger seat. Doing things at a steady pace and not trying to do everything at once is a good way to maintain energy levels.

There will days when your will power will be at its lowest, and other times when it will be at its highest -after all it remains a resource that can be depleted or augmented.




Peace. Love. Light* 


Current Listen: Bessie Smith-The Yellow Dog Blues




Sunday, November 05, 2017

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3 Things to Inspire Your Weekend: #74


Quote of the day: 

Smiling is definitely one of the best beauty remedies. If you have a good sense of humor and a good approach to life, that's beautiful.
-Rashida Jones



Tim Dominick/The State/TNS

Akil Ross, principal for Chapin High School in the US has been crowned National high school principal of the year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Many parents credit him for making Chapin High one of the best schools in South Carolina since 2010. Ross who repeated the third grade as he was not "up to par" as a student, is now known for what he calls the six Rs: “Ready to learn, Respectful to others, Responsible to ourselves, Rigor in teaching, Relevance in learning and meaningful Relationships among students, faculty and staff.” The national award caps a series of milestones for both Ross and Chapin High.



Image credit: FOXNew

About a year ago Brennon Jones started giving haircuts and shaves to homeless people living on the streets of Philadelphia. And with over a thousand free haircuts to his credit, after hearing his story a complete stranger -Sean Johnson, decided to award Jones with a fully renovated barbershop so he could continue to offer his services to those in need. The new shop will set aside days to specifically cater to the homeless who now will not have to worry about grooming during winter months.







As seen on Arch DailyHadar's House

Architects: Asante Architecture & Design
Location: Åfjord, Norway
Photographs: Nils Petter Dale

Brief: 

A small house right on the coast of Norway overlooking the sea. Part of a rural development project on the island of Stokkøya focusing on developing a Norwegian houses into a dynamic village.

Theme:  Built beside the sea, the house fulfills its purpose with strong architecture and sustainability. The house co-exists with the nature perfectly as seen with the surrounding landscape. Constructed with wood, the façade was built to endure harsh weather. Wooden panels is in use through the house, with the roof made out of metal sheets and sedum grass, adding some greenery to the beautiful landscape.



Peace. Love. Light* 

Friday, November 03, 2017

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5 Life Lessons To Learn From Animals


Quote of the day: 


Two lost things that had survived the seas and arrived on a coastline. What did they do? They implanted themselves in the sand and grew into trees and lined the beaches. Sometimes a lot can come of being all washed up. You can really grow. -Cecelia Ahern






When it comes to hibernation (not the type you have on your computer), lots of animals do it. But the first animal that often come to mind is the bear -the most famous hibernator out of others like some snakes, bats, ground squirrels and many others. But while a bear can go for months without drinking, eating or passing waste, a squirrels on the other hand may have to be awaken one day out of a week in order to eat their stored food, drink, pass waste and then return to hibernation -rinse, and repeat all winter.

Aren't documentaries great? I find documentaries about nature and wildlife fascinating. Asides the sheer scope of the undertaking involved; filming animals and waiting for them to pretty much act for the camera, a few research into the methods used by film makers such as editing footage to make animals appear more dangerous, staging dramatic scenes, using Computer Generated Imagery (CGI), renting animals, baiting animals with false prey, and whole lot of other practices. I'll admit that it's reduced my wonderment about how scenes are captured just a bit. Now I know.Nevertheless it all makes for great and viewing.

It was Charles Darwin who said that "the love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man" It is the survival of the fittest and there is never a level playing field in the animal kingdom. You can't help but be amazed and feel even more connected with nature.Sound familiar? Animals are highly understandable and interesting to watch and there is a lot to learn from their way of life.


1. Recognize Your Uniqueness

Just as no two human are alike, and just as we are scattered all over the planet, the same goes for animals with their numerous species. You see they understand their own uniqueness better than anyone else. They also exhibit certain characteristics and are not afraid to show their true self.


2. Be Curious

Animals are curious creatures. An example that comes to mind is the Chimpanzee who is always curious even when there is no reward for its troubles. Forget the saying about curiosity killing the cat, it can be said that most animals are inquisitive just like humans. Whether searching for new territory, food, or problem solving, the desire to learn something. Imagine life without a curious, motivated and active mind.

3. Do Things At The Right Time

There is the natural tendency that an animal or person has to act in a particular fashion. Upon the arrival of winter some animals migrate-such as birds flying to warmer places to find food, others animals simply stock up on food and go into hibernation. Like clockwork they know what needs to be done year in and year out. They just get on with life and are always prepared.

4. Patience

Most animals require a lot of patience to catch their food, laying in wait for long periods if it comes to that. For others, it's just their way of life. We can learn a lot about patience, perseverance and the ability to live within our means from animals. We spend life hurrying and rushing to a finish line still in the distance. We give up on things, dreams and people so easily.


5. Have Courage

It is a jungle out there but that doesn't mean you have to follow the same path as others. You have to be a fighter at some point, like the Lion whose courage and power is unmatched. Not one to lay low, or stand back from being seen, we can learn to not be fearless and to stand up for what we deem is right. It is about following your heart and persevering in the face of adversity.



Peace. Love. Light* 



Current Listen: Ella Fitzgerald - But Not For Me


Monday, October 30, 2017

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Why Everything In Life Is A Test


Quote of the day: 

How many things have to happen to you before something occurs to you?
-Robert Frost





It might sound strange to think of fate as a gift, but isn't it? Unwrapped and tucked away in a safe place it is always at the back of the mind, like that nagging feeling you get that things will go wrong even when everything is going just fine. In life we spin our own yarn. We paint on our own blank canvas. We compose and sing our own song. We plant our own seeds. And deep down we yearn for acceptance, for integration, for growth and where we end up is where we always intended to be. Or maybe not?

The things that you believe you understand and the things you seek to grasp are two separate paths. To become lost, you must first acknowledge that you no longer know the correct way. With fate there's so much about it that is beyond our control. The people we come across, the experiences we gather, the opportunities we've lost, fate can both be generous and intolerable, with contrasting forms. You don't have a say on the past, but you can influence the present, discovering and shaping your world as you go along. This is all you. Dictating things with your actions, your will, and your resolve. Knowing your inner universe, cosmos and all.

What's the number one reason people go on holiday? Mainly to relieve stress, have a change of scenery and take in all the sights either alone, with a partner or loved ones-all valid reasons no doubt. So in essence you travel mostly for the experience and for the richness it brings into your heart and mind. Because if the purpose of life is to live then surely exploring the unfamiliar counts. Experience in turn leads to realism. Sometimes fate can be summed up in a few words, other times it's all a guess. Because you never know how something is until it happens to you, an invincible line waiting to be crossed.

In the same breath travelling is not embarked upon by all, as circumstances may vary. You either like it and can afford it, or you wish to but can't afford it. But to think that first you must journey through life to discover your true self, your vision will offer clarity when you search into your heart, through the dark corners, hidden chambers and pathways. Only then can you discover your better self. It's not the way you look, dress, or carry yourself. It's your inner being that whispers to you when your eyes are closed, knowing yourself is a never ending test of life.

From childhood to adulthood it would appear that most things in life, if not all is a test. Each day is a test of our abilities, emotions, courage, and experience. Some we fail, others we pass. There is no life book for dummies to help us navigate through the various storms at sea as we survive one shipwreck after the other, we live and learn.




Peace. Love. Light* 



Current Listen: Lana Del Rey -Video Games


Saturday, October 28, 2017

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3 Things to Inspire Your Weekend: #73


Quote of the day: 

Treat everyone with politeness and kindness, not because they are nice, but because you are.
-Roy T. Bennett



Image credit: LATimes

One person who tries to uplift commuters bustling across Union Station in Los Angeles is Mathew Shaver, 30, who although has no home has a positive outlook on life. Quietly taking a seat at the public piano within the station, on most mornings Shaver who has played piano since he was aged 4, believes it "is the most positive influence in my life". His playing can often attract a crowd and even though he is homeless-or as he likes to describe it it, "home free", there is a certain fulfillment he derives from playing the piano, that and also the need for money and survival.



Image credit: Radio.UCHILE

Chile is to ban plastic bags in more than 100 coastal areas -a bid to halting accumulation of ocean plastic which is a serious problem. Chile's president Michelle Bachelet signed a bill aiming to put the ban into effect and also allow non-coastal areas to join in on the project to eliminate or restrict the use of plastic bags. And with a plan to create a 1.6 millon square kilometers of marine conservation. A study by the American Science magazine in 2015, estimated 8 million tons of plastic are dumped at sea annually, posing a serious threat to the environment and marine life.







As seen on Arch Daily, Dune House

Architects: Jarmund / Vigsnæs AS Arkitekter MNAL / Einar Jarmund, Håkon Vigsnæs, Alessandra Kosberg, Anders Granli
Location: Thorpeness, UK
Photographs: Nils Petter Dale

Brief: 

Replacing an existing building, and located on the coast with surrounding views, a holiday house for living and rental.

Theme:  Built to purpose and to take in the breathtaking seaside with a nostalgic design feel of bed-and breakfast locations while travelling through the UK. The all glass feel and appearance emphasize the floating appearance of the top floor. The house mixes solid wood, and dark stained cladding which blends in with the environment.




Peace. Love. Light* 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

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Musings of mine: Rambling Mind on This and That #14


Quote of the day: 

I was gratified to be able to answer promptly, and I did. I said I didn’t know. -Mark Twain





The Repeaters

Repeaters are those naughty, not too kind types of people who prefer to make you suffer at every turn. You speak loud and clearly enough but they never seem to hear or understand you at first-or so they'll have you believe. They feign ignorance, pretending not to have heard you the first time -but deep down you know that they understood what you said. You know this because you do it to others too responding with remarks such as "sorry what was that?", when you heard what they said in the first place. But oh no you are not a repeater, not like the other naughty people out there.


Lazy Zebra Crossers

How many kinds of people are there in the world? There are just two kinds of people in the world: Those who virtually race across a zebra crossing, and those who literally crawl. Put side by side, a snail would beat them to the other side. But why do they do it, why would they walk majestically on a zebra (pedestrian) crossing, taking up all the time in the world you ask? Well because you know they no longer have any sense of time and space. You see over here, and I would imagine as with many other places -by law motorists must give way to pedestrians at zebra crossings. Once you step on those lines you are king, you own the road and you shall take your sweet time in walking to the other side. And if it's a dual road, even better. Heck you could even have a picnic on a zebra crossing -with the rest of the road users waiting with bated breath. And the worst part about lazy zebra crossers? They never even acknowledge the poor drivers.


Right Before Midnight

Right before the clock struck at midnight and as the winds howl outside, wrestling with trees and peeled off leaves, it sure is a good time for silent contemplation. Sitting there in a chair, soul inside a body, body under a roof, roof beneath the trees, skies above and the magical wonders beyond. At that point life's importance become magnified and all trivial things compressed and blown away with the wind.Why is the world the way it is? So many questions with little answers. But still one can't help but be thankful for shelter and warmth, for sustenance and well being, for opportunity and the responsibility elevated by the burden of living. And as the world slept, nature kept watch.


Don't Let The Reviews Fool You

Are you one of those people who read product reviews before buying an item? Me too. I do it all the time regardless of which online shop it is. One thing I've noticed though is that no matter how good of a review a product has, there will always be a trail of angry customers because you know, things can and will always go bad for them. As in burning, blistering, flaming bad.


If you are a sock lover, you've been warned.


Update: I have been made to understand that 'Zebra crossing' is a new term to most. If you haven't heard of it you are not alone, and no it's not a bunch of Zebras crossing the road. I believe the equivalent term and one which you are familiar with is 'Cross-walk'. 



Peace. Love. Light* 



Current Listen: Let The Good Times Roll- Ray Charles



Tuesday, October 24, 2017

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What Type of Mood Are You In?


Quote of the day: 

We all know the experience of sitting in bed feeling exhilarated one day and lackluster the very next. The issue is not whether we need to find a more fulfilling bed. 
Alexandra Katehakis





Seasons change. Days become shorter than usual and nights become longer. Light ceases to exist at times and gloom is the order of the day. And with the transition there is such a thing as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and according to the NHS it's also sometimes referred to as "winter depression" just because its symptoms become more apparent with the tendency to be severe during the winter months. For those with the disorder it all starts during autumn as the days begin to get shorter.

The weather is not the only thing to affect our moods though. As it turns out a new study suggests that one-third of notifications that pop up on our smartphones cause a downturn in our moods leading to unhappiness. The research by Nottingham Trent University and published in the IEEE journal found things such as general phone updates and wifi availability had the worst impact on mood. The researchers saying their findings show that it's possible to predict phone users' moods based on information they receive, and in the future it could be used to personalise notifications to adjust to the user's mood.

When you wake up in the morning your mood will determine how the rest of your day goes. However, you can't always tell how someone out there will affected your state of mind. It is a known fact that being around happy and confident people can be contagious -you go away feeling positive emotions. With a moody person the reverse is the case -you go away feeling frustrated. But understand that they may just be going through hard times -except if they are just generally moody, in which case it's pointless to take their toxic behaviour seriously. You see moods function differently. They come and go, a ladder of emotions governed by external factors mostly beyond our control. We can positively or negatively affect other people with our mood much in the same way that they can affect ours.

A mood is a temporary state of being-good or bad. There's a middle ground to be found in between. But in the end people will react differently to different things, including the weather.



Peace. Love. Light* 




Current Listen: Carmen McRae - Bye Bye Blackbird



Saturday, October 21, 2017

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3 Things to Inspire Your Weekend: #72


Quote of the day: 

Don't allow your mind to tell your heart what to do. The mind gives up easily -Paulo Coelho



Image credit: Andy King

An eleven year old from Colorado, US, Gitanjali Rao has won the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. Selected from 10 finalists she took home $25,0000, for her idea of a sensor that can detect lead levels in water better and more accurately than traditional methods. Rao, working with 3M scientists developed her idea 5 months after learning of the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan -where lead -contaminated water is a problem. Rao wants to either become a geneticist or epidemiologist when she grows up.



Image credit: USAToday

Chris Long, the NFL's Eagles defensive end is donating his entire salary for the season to educational charities in the three cities where he has played -Philadelphia, St.Louis and Boston. He is set to make a base salary of $1 million during the season all of which will go to these charities. He said he is doing it because he "believes that education is the best gateway to a better tomorrow for everyone in America". Long has been involved in charity and activism and two years ago started a foundation that supports causes such as access to clean water and fighting homelessness.  






As seen on Arch Daily, Binh House

Architects: VTN Architects
Location: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Photographs: Hiroyuki Oki, Quang Dam

Brief: 

Part of a house for trees series of prototypical house designs offering green spaces within high density neigbourhoods. The inhabitants are a family consisting of 3 generations -the challenge was to create a space to interact and communicate despite their differences.

Theme:  Vertically stacked spaces with gardens visible from the exterior of the house. Bounded by sliding glass doors which act as a natural source of light and ventilation for each room as well as increasing visibility between family members. The roof garden also adds a natural feel to the house, a sort of vertical farming solution that suits and contributes to the Vietnamese way of life.




Peace. Love. Light* 



Current Listen: John Legend -Surefire

Thursday, October 19, 2017

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Why A Little Nap Time Helps


Quote of the day: 

Rest is essential, but during our periods of rest, we must think to ourselves that in resting we are renewing our energy to fulfill our commitment. -Wu Wei




Napping is universal and it is everything depending on where you are and who you ask. In some countries it is not uncommon to have naps during the day. One thing to admire about them is the culture they've created for themselves with the understanding that naps are an important factor in increasing energy, mood and reducing the stress of everyday life.

In Spain it's known as a siesta and has become a great part of the culture there. While in Japan the concept of inemuri which translates into 'being present while sleeping' is common. They pride themselves in being hard working people and as such it is not uncommon to find people sleeping off say during a meeting. And it is socially acceptable.

Although I understand the positive effects of taking one, it always seems to disrupt my sleep pattern later on at night. The longer the nap, the longer the disruption caused. But if it is just a 20 or minute nap it works out well -a nap isn't meant to be much longer anyway. These days we lead disruptive lives and become more and more sleep deprived. We are advised to get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep daily but it doesn't always work out that way does it? In the end I dare say that it's not really the lack of sleep that is the matter, it's the fact that there are a ton of distractions around begging for our attention. In this modern day there are too many things to do, so much information and new flying around, and not to forget -advanced social media and technology. Most of these things were not in existence 20 to 30 years ago. So we get drawn in, and in doing so lose our sense and purpose and our health suffers. A nap can form a refreshing appearance, like a water well in a desert that quenches a traveler's thirst -if only for the time being.

And speaking of naps, some companies (Google, Apple, Nike) agree about it's benefits and even introduced napping infrastructure for their employees. What better way to increase alertness than taking a short nap. And during bedtime maybe it's time to do away with mobile phones and other gadgets that keep us awake and deprive us of rest. Lack of rest can be really exhaustion. When last did you nap or get a good night's sleep?



Peace. Love. Light*





Current Listen:
Clifford Brown -Easy Living



Tuesday, October 17, 2017

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Musings of mine: Rambling Mind on This and That #12


Quote of the day: 

Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone. -Anthony Burgess






Train Runners

What's one of the funniest things to see when walking along a busy street? Surely one of mine has to be the sight of people racing to the station to catch a train. Early morning, rush hour, picture a 100 yard dash minus the Olympics. I assume nobody wakes up in the morning thinking "I am going to leave the house later than usual, and try to make a run for the train station!". If you are new to a big city or town it could be an alarming sight to see. For one, you are not sure if they are being chased or even worse if they are running up to catch up with you. They are definitely certain to give Usain Bolt a run for his money.


Don't Just Watch the Leaves Fall

It's that time of the year again. When dreams collide, when plans get evaluated and when trees shed leaves. Before long people tell anyone who cares to listen 'I can't wait for summer to come' and everyone nods approvingly. Say goodbye to the heat, sunshine, cold showers and ice cream.Say goodbye to the skimpy outfits, sun glasses, and very cold drinks. Alas, say hello to cold rain, gloomy weather and hot drinks. Say hello to heavy clothing, scarves and shorter days, longer nights. Don't just watch the leaves fall, go on with your normal life. Hibernate and all.


Time Snatchers

Why do we always do the opposite of what we mean? If you enjoy meeting up/planning events with people this one is for you. Beware of anyone who tells you "I'll be there in five minutes," only to show up half an hour later with a ton of excuses. If you say you are five minutes away then you must be close by, no? As in you are just around the corner and walking to the specified location. Worse still some will tell you "I am on my way," but what they basically mean is "I lost track of time. I am just about to shower, and who knows how long it will take me to decide what to wear, figure out the route, and check the weather app". These people are perpetual time snatchers- who will do anything to keep you away from your sanity.


Selective Memory

Ever get a blitz of forgotten memory right out of the blue? Sneaky, and unannounced. How is it that you recollect such a moment from years ago, but fail to remember what you had for lunch on the first day of the month, or where you left your keys, or why you are standing in the middle of the room trying hard to figure out why you had walked in there in the first place.


The Countdown

Just in case you are wondering how many days are left till Christmas, it's 69. That's roughly 10 weeks from now. Shocking yes? Well what's more shocking is the fact that since August -think nice summery days and barbecues, a few shops have set up their Christmas section, completely confusing those of us who can only tolerate seeing festive decorations in late November or even early December.


Peace. Love. Light* 


Current Listen: Donny Hathaway - Someday We'll All Be Free 


Saturday, October 14, 2017

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3 Things to Inspire Your Weekend: #71


Quote of the day: 

Just for today, smile a little more. Just for today, ask someone how he or she is really doing. Just for today, remember, while some may have it better than you do, there are others whom definitely have it worse than you! Just for today, just let go, just for today. 
-James A. Murphy



Image credit: AlexandriaPoliceDept

Heroes are everyday people doing extraordinary things as seen in the case of Earl Melchert who left work for home to pick up a forgotten item. As he prepared to head back to work he noticed someone about half a mile away who turned out to be missing 15-year-old Jasmine Block who disappeared from her home about a month earlier. She had escaped from her abductors-one of whom was a family acquaintance, and had been knocking on doors to get help. Melchert recognised her face from the news. Later, the Alexandria Police Department offered him the reward money of $7,000 and he refused to accept it believing that the family needed it more than he did. He therefore gave the money back to Jasmine and her family.



Image credit: JordanBrand/GettyImages

Michael Jordan, 54, stepped up his philanthropy by donating $7 million to fund two health facilities for poor communities in Charlotte, North Carolina. With the hope to provide an avenue to affordable and quality health care to individuals in the community with little or no health care as well as providing a healthier future for the children and families they serve. Jordan has supported several charities in the past including the Nevada Cancer Institute, Cats Care, St.Jude Children's Research Hospital and Kids Wish Network.






As seen on Arch DailyWest Yard Farm

Architects: van Ellen + Sheryn
Location: Devon, UK
Photographs: Richard Downer Photography

Brief: 

A refurbishment and extension of an 18th century farmstead providing a large and contemporary family home which makes use of the wooded valley setting.

Theme:  Situated within a conservation area and National Park, and sitting on a 60 acre wooded valley, a single storey steel framed glass structure was built in between the farmhouse and barn thus creating a new heart to the building. A blend of old and new, the surrounding woodland supplies a generous amount of fuel for wood burning stoves and solar thermal panels provide much of the hot water requirements of the hosuehold.



Peace. Love. Light* 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

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Poem: The Way of Overlords



Quote of the day: 

In the light, we read the inventions of others; in the darkness we invent our own stories. 
-Alberto Manguel





How sweet the morning air is
Like the lovely scent of cut grass
Furnishing pleasure to the soul
Amid the chaos and rush of bodies

I soon became lost
In white clouds of smoke
And just for a cursory moment
It was all deathly quiet

Time stood still
I envisaged utopia
Fond memories became unfastened
Like a thread holding a fabric together
Songs that I hummed
Races that I ran
A rush of blood to the head
Blue shadowy ghosts cradle
Sun kissed and love-drunk

The clouds disapeared
Taking with them paradise and reality
Alas the white smoke was man made
I watched it all disband
As an overlord glided down the street
Long brown coat flapping in the wind
E-cigarette in hand
Vaping to his heart's desire
I could see his next victim
Ensnared in a trail of billowing smoke


*
This is written in narrative form and explores vaping and its after effects -usually a ball of smoke left by brash individuals self-righteously gliding away from their creation. The poem is also a recollection of moments, time and place, purpose, pleasure and emotions. Again, it is open to different interpretations. 



Current Listen: 


Peace. Love. Light* 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

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What does it mean to be human


Quote of the day: 

Employ your time in improving yourself by other men's writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for. -Socrates



According to Plato man is a being in search of meaning. The meaning of life is found in every moment and every event we experience. Asides our biological evolution and the science behind our existence, and characteristics, what does it really mean to be human? We have survived and evolved through the years through self-preservation. We can adapt to various life changes quickly. We have knowledge and the capacity to use our brains to solve complex problems. And the list goes on.

But what does it mean to be human, to be a person who has feelings even? No one can exist in a void or vacuum. To be human is to be alive and filled with energy, an internal fire that never burns out, it is freedom and the ability to determine your own path in life. It is the ability to embrace the light while acknowledging that darkness exist. It is separating fact from fiction, contentment from regret, strength from weakness, and logic from ignorance.

The way we function is not just mechanical -unthinking and unemotional, no we are emotional beings vying for attention and striving for wisdom, and no doubt most of the decisions we make in life get influenced by our emotions. To be human is to be unique, and different. And not being afraid to admit to the latter. As no two minds are the same. Everyone has a unique smell and fingerprint. Each person dreams and has the ability to make choices, to acquire knowledge and be accountable for their own actions while embracing a fundamental maxim-and frowning upon the maxim of others.

And then there's love which we never seem to give out as much as we'd like to. We take more than we give. To be human is to form relationships, to share connections and bond with others, to show compassion when none is expected, and to embrace the philosophy that how we treat others is in effect how we treat ourselves. Being human is being aware. Being noble. Being able to fall and stand up as many times as possible. Being human is doing ordinary things in an extraordinary way.


Peace. Love. Light* 



Current Listen: Johnny Mathis - Chances Are


Saturday, October 07, 2017

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3 Things to Inspire Your Weekend: #70


Quote of the day: 

Life's a circle. There are no lines we can cross. - F.K. Preston




Image credit: BravoTV

Right after the devastating hurricane that swept Haiti in 2010, one chef took it upon himself to create
a means by which those affected could survive through meals. José Andrés founded World Central Kitchen with the belief that food can be an agent of change. Today it has grown into a network of chefs around the world who are creating smart solutions to hunger and poverty.
In the aftermath of hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico which left the country with no power, and with citizens finding it harder to access food, José Andrés has joined a long list of people and organizations who have stepped in to help. With local chefs and volunteers from his non-profit, José Andrés has managed to visit and prepare 80,000 meals for those affected with plans to reach the 100,000 mark.



Image credit: Tim Newton

It is one thing to wake up to the sounds of birds or at worst the occasional visit from a wild animal. Living in Alaska for instance bear sightings are regular. So when photographer Tim Newton woke up to scratching noises on his front door he feared the worst. Peeking out the window he was amazed to see lynx kittens with their mother playing on his front porch. Instinctively he fetched his camera to capture the moment. The lynx is usually a solitary animal, with a short tail, and characteristic tufts of black hair on the tips of its ears, as well as large padded paws for walking on snow. It's rare to stumble on one, not to talk of a large family of eight. 






As seen on Arch DailyThe Wedge House

Architects: Schema Architecture & Engineering
Location: Athens, Greece
Photographs: Nikos Alexopoulos, Marianna Athanasiadou

Brief: A custom built single family home on a steep terrain, a house blending in well with the environment.

Theme:  Situated in a challenging location and surrounded by mountains and pine tress, the house is distinctive, with split levels accommodating the steepness in topology. Two distinct blocks with tall glass windows visible from the exterior gives the house a sense of space, and the swimming pool is a nice addition to the fantastic views all round.



Peace. Love. Light* 



Current Listen: Debussy - Rêverie

Thursday, October 05, 2017

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Book of the Day: The King By Kader Abdolah


Quote of the day: 


You may write me down in history with your bitter, twisted lines. You may trod me in the very dirt, but still, like dust, I'll rise. -Maya Angelou







There is something to be said about a book that touches on history. After all what is history if not the study of the past. Here we see a Persian story encompassing its past, its people and culture all weaved into a wonderful tale as seen with this book by Persian-Dutch writer Kader Abdolah. 'The King' is a tale chronicling the life of Naser, a young Persian Prince who inherits the throne following the death of his father, the Shah. With his new status comes a lot more responsibility than the new Shah could ever imagine. He has to deal with his mother, Mahdolia, his grand vizier, Mizra Kabir, who is a special adviser, and external forces from several countries including Britain, Russian and France, each scrambling for the inexperienced king's attention, as well as the country's potential resources on their march to modernization.

He has to deal with several forces within his own kingdom all competing for power, including his own mother whose view on the affairs of Persia differ greatly with that of the progressive vizier -whose dream it is to build roads, create employment by building factories, and modernizing the army. Caught between the counsel of his mother and that of the vizier whom everyone around him despises -but not the common people on the streets, the king of Persia must decide which path to follow for the advancement of the country and people.

The narration flows effortlessly and each chapter is as exciting as the last. The characters are memorable and Kader has managed to write the book in a simple manner. If you are seeking an alternate reading material away from your usual, it definitely is one to add to your reading list.




Peace. Love. Light* 


Current Listen: Eddie Harris Quintet - Exodus



Tuesday, October 03, 2017

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What If Everything Was A Dream


Quote of the day: 

It’s fun to think of the what-if. Scary, but fun. It’s like, I thought this door was closed before, but here it is open just the tiniest crack. What if?” -Jenny Han





Which came first, the egg or the chicken?

It doesn't matter. Our existence is by no means a mistake and was always meant to happen.When you think of a thousand things that could have gone wrong, it becomes a game of 'what ifs' with less structure and more challenges and rules. And the age old question, 'What if you were never born?' A valid question to ask but one without a definite answer. The world would be different but only because of your absence. Every single person you have made contact with, friends, family, colleagues, each one of them would have a void that could have been filled by your existence -either good or bad.

But in all truth, the sun would never lose sleep. Neither would the moon dim itself, or clouds shed additional tears simply because you are not part of the world. But what if they did? Would anyone even notice? But for you not to be born your parents' must not have crossed paths. Another 'what if' in a box of many. Having said that whilst we are alive and well, an important question to ask yourself daily is 'what can I do to make things better'? 'How can I leave a mark such that my absence would be missed'?

There are always questions. You cannot walk through life and not seek certain answers. Do we just live and fade away like leaves during autumn. Do we uproot ourselves but remain grounded with our unresolved sentiment watching the whole world spiral out of control around us. We all have our 'what if' moments, and there is that one about going back to the past to change something. Rather than have the ability to go back to the past, or even the future, the present works fine for me. There is urgency, there is intent, there is acceptance, and decisions are made here and now. And at some point in life our journey reveals a lot to us, much more than we ever hoped for. When we eventually strip away at the tall wall of noise and distraction the fear of the future and melancholy of an unalterable past fritter away.


Peace. Love. Light* 



Current Listen: Benny Carter -Things Ain't What They Used To Be



Saturday, September 30, 2017

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3 Things to Inspire Your Weekend: #69


Quote of the day: 

I don't care whether people like me or dislike me. I'm not on earth to win a popularity contest. I'm here to be the best human being I possibly can be. -Tab Hunter



Image credit: MSN

Purvi Shah, a 33 year-old graphic artist who lost her 3-year-old son Amaey to acute myelogenous leukemia -a cancer that affects blood cell production, over a decade ago is now helping patients express themselves through art. During the time Purvi spent in hospital with her son she distracted him by drawing and painting, with her projects attracting a crowd. Since then her informal art therapy sessions have grown into a nonprofit called Kids & Art Foundation which has raised more than $68,000. The Foundation 'provides Arts workshops to children with cancer and their care circles to improve their well-being during treatment, as survivors, and in bereavement. children who participate explore and deal with their emotions'. Every day, 43 children are diagnosed with cancer.



Image credit: RollingOut

Walking into a store wearing a Kaepernick American football jersey, and asking about the cost of X-Box One Video Console, 11 year-old Jaden Watts was overhead saying he was saving to get one as his parents couldn't afford to buy one. He was approached by Washington running backs Keith Marshall and Rob Kelley who complimented him on his jersey, before approaching the boy's grandmother to ask if it was okay to buy him the console and a game. The pair got together and bought it for him. Kelley had overheard Watts talking about having to save up to pay for an Xbox, and thinking “I wish someone would’ve done something like that for me when I was growing up”.






As seen on Arch Daily, Patio House

Architects: Bloot Architecture
Location: Velp, The Netherlands
Photographs: Ossip van Duivenbode

Brief: Refurbishment offering sustainability as well as extension of an old 1950s villa.

Theme:  Situated by the edge of a National park and nature reserve. Interior offers spacious and well thought out living spaces all connected to each other and offering natural light and a concrete extension with a patio. Concrete beams and the use of glass in use all through helping the house blend in well with the surrounding environment.


Peace. Love. Light* 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

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Favicon / How to Add or Change the Favorites Icon


Quote of the day: 

Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new. -Brian Tracy


Have you ever visited a blog or website and noticed that the browser tab displays a tiny little image or photo icon (for example on my blog there's a photo followed by my blog name as seen below)? Also known as 'Favicon' or favorites icon and sometimes tab icon - they are tiny icons displayed next to the name of your website or blog usually measuring 16 x 16 pixels in size and almost every website has one form of icon or the other. The average blog on blogger for instance has the default Blogger favicon which you have the opportunity to change to whatever you want.



Favicon: A simple way to enhance a website or blog

Why bother with a favicon? Well it adds a personal touch and customization to your website or blog and enhances the overall look and feel of your brand. It is a visual reminder of your website identity. When people see your tab icon they immediately know it's you. And it is quite easy to add. If you are on Blogger or Wordpress you can see for yourself in the steps below.

Blogger



Go to your dashboard and under click on 'Layout', the Favicon edit link should be visible. Click on edit in order to configure it. Choose the file that you want to upload as your favicon. Remember that the image needs to be around 100 KB or lower in size. When done save and that's it.


Wordpress

For Wordpress users login to Wordpress admin, and click Appearance/customize/site identity.

Website

For a website simply save the favicon file to your domain or root folder of your site.

Overall if you are having issues getting your image to be the right size whether you are using Blogger or other, you can use this great favicon tool to help make it easier. All in all it is not an essential part of your website but it sure does make it a lot more visible especially if there are a lot of tabs open.


Peace. Love. Light* 




Current Listen: Miles Davis - Freddie Freeloader


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

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Your mind Is A Beautiful and Magical Thing


Quote of the day: 

If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way. -Napoleon Hill





The problem with waiting for the right moment to do something is that you'd have to decide what your threshold is before either giving up or making room for an extension of sorts. And then the question of how long you plan to wait for comes into play. How do you even begin to determine this stretch of time?

Quite often we are told to go after what we want and stop waiting for the perfect time as there isn't one. In the same vein we are told that there is a time for everything. But the question that we all have to ponder at some point is 'what do I want out of life'? A difficult question with surprisingly easy answers in the end. Whatever you are passionate about is most likely tied to how you will eventually turn out in life -but not always. Passion does not always translate into action. How many times have you heard someone moaning about how they dislike their job and dread going to work everyday. Their mind is somewhere else. They hold an affection for a different existence which they examine and long for from a distance. It's incomparable like night and day.

But what if the perfect time does exist? At times it matters less about the timing and more about the actual will to move forward, setting goals and creating the right path to achieving them. But one thing life has taught me is that to gain something you will likely lose another. For example. to lose weight you'd have to exercise and put in the hard work before you start seeing results. You gain a better outlook and healthy lifestyle, and lose excess fat and all the accompanying health issues.

No matter the point in life you are at, don't neglect to take care of yourself, your thoughts and ideas, even your failures matter. Your mind is a beautiful and magical thing. And if you are at a point where you feel you don't know what to do next in life or if you haven't yet figured it all out -it's okay. Keep writing your story. Imagine yourself to be an artist with a blank canvas and keep painting away at your masterpiece from sunrise till sunset.



Peace. Love. Light* 





Current Listen: Sam Smith -Like I Can

Saturday, September 23, 2017

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3 Things to Inspire Your Weekend: #68


Quote of the day: 

No one has ever become poor by giving. -Anne Frank



Image credit: MEE/Zeyneb Varol

In a small eastern Anatolian town in Turkey several restaurants offer free meals to those in need and is an ongoing tradition dating back several decades. Those in need are offered free meals and the locals see it as a way of giving back to the less fortunate. Hasan Gulbasan started working as a dishwasher at age 14. Now at 65 he owns one of the restaurants in the town offering this good deed. And he says he receives calls from all over the country from strangers thanking him after learning of the tradition. Gulbasan believes that inviting the poor and needy does not have any slight effect on his earnings but insteads brings blessings.



Image credit: PEOPLE

The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation has unveiled its largest ever portfolio of environmental grants for climate change and wildlife conservation. DiCaprio announced a $20 million grant bringing the total till date since its formation in 1998 to $80 million. The grant will be offered to around a 100 organizations supporting causes such as climate programs and wildlife conservation. Other areas the grant covers include marine life and ocean conservation and innovative solutions. The Foundation is dedicated to the long-term health and wellbeing of all earth's inhabitants and supports projects all over the world.





As seen on Arch DailyMosha House

Architects: New Wave Architecture
Location: Mosha, Iran
Photographs: Parham Taghioff

Brief: A living space inspired by an intensive topography and location between mountains offering distinct views and sightseeing.

Theme:  Surrounded by natural landscape in domains of Alborz mountains, merging nature with human life inspired the shape of the house -a transverse volume with three cantilevered boxes which gives a sense of space and endless views. The building is covered with a single white shield, wooden floors and a non-conventional spiral staircase.


Peace. Love. Light*