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* 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

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Don't Sweat The Small Stuff

Quote of the day: 

There is overwhelming evidence that the higher the level of self-esteem, the more likely one will be to treat others with respect, kindness, and generosity. -Nathaniel Branden 

More often than not we tend to go through life measuring everything and everyone that we come in contact with. However it must be said that even a happy life cannot be without a measure of unhappiness at some point. A man or woman lives by certain ideals, conjuring various dreams, with a personal manual, a set of principles on how things should operate. And in the vastness of it all, behind the very depth of field lies important life lessons-out of focus but called upon whenever needed, but if we actually learn from these lessons is another matter entirely.

It is generally known that anything that annoys us mirrors something deep inside. As we grow older we are more able to suppress our displeasure over things, of course this is not to suggest a concealment of emotion but rather an informed life lesson not to 'sweat the small stuff'. No need worrying over things that aren't too important on your scale of priorities or not life changing in any shape or form. The big picture is the prize, letting go is the power. It's all about perception and attitude, concept and feeling, impression and grasp of how everything fits together like a jigsaw puzzle.

How you perceive yourself is truly different from how the world sees you. You see the world through eyes with a sense of sound, scent and touch all aiding your consciousness. But when you look at another individual all you see is their outward persona and ethos. People become art -movable and interactive. And what is art if not an expression of human imagination and vision. And predictably we take our time time to gaze, to dissect, to label, to judge and to try to understand how and why the art form works. Alas we are all art to the world. And do we then not view ourselves favourably, do we then not treat ourselves with respect and humility so that others will mirror the same. If you are seen to be well put together, taking care of yourself in a noble manner you in effect teach others to treat you in a similar fashion.

I often find that to change the way I am treated, I've had to change the way I treat others. We may have differences of opinion but aren't we all equal, all yearn for the same thing -to be understood? But how easy it is for our thoughts to be clouded by our own view of ourselves and the world, neither venturing out of our cocoon nor accepting the fact that other cocoons exist. I'd like to believe that leading a more relaxed lifestyle starts with acknowledging the most obvious of things.

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Maynard Ferguson - Chameleon

Saturday, September 16, 2017

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3 Things to Inspire Your Weekend: #67

Quote of the day: 

If help and salvation are to come, they can only come from the children, for the children are the makers of men. 
-Maria Montessori 

Credit: ABC

With water rising in their apartment complex during Hurricane Harvey, 13 year-old Virgil Smith and his mother were able to stay safe in the apartment of an upstairs neighour. But Virgil got a call from a friend who lived in a neighbouring complex who was trapped and couldn't swim. Virgil, and two other neighbours ended up swimming out and rescuing his friends -placing them on an air mattress which Virgil had retrieved from his flooded apartment. He didn't stop with just rescuing his friends, he continued to rescue other stranded flood victims who were calling for help, including an elderly woman in a wheelchair. In the end, he helped rescue 17 people from the Harvey floodwaters.

Credit: MSN

Born in Sudan, Manyang Reath Kher soon became a refugee at 4 years-old. Displaced as a result of the country's civil war, losing his father and separated from his mother and sister, he spent 13 years living in different camps before leaving for the US in 2005 at age 17. Since then Kher, a recent graduate of the University of Richmond, has founded a non-profit called Humanity Helping Sudan Project, including a coffee company -734 Coffee that sources its beans from his country and Ethiopia. A portion of the profits are sent directly to Sudanese refugees dealing with conditions Kher faced in his own life many years ago.

Exterior, Karelian House,Russia

Interior, Karelian House,Russia

As seen on Arch DailyKarelian House
Architects: Drozdov & Partners
Location: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Photographs: Aleksey Bogolepov

Brief: A living and working space, combining two houses and a workshop within one single volume

Theme:  The northern facade overlooks a forest glade, with the entire layout split into three blocks of two houses and a workshop with a garage, following the traditions of Karelian residential architecture. With panoramic views of the forest, extended side windows, and a terrace make this house a decent one.

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Coldplay -Paradise

Thursday, September 14, 2017

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Musings of mine: Rambling Mind on This and That #11

Quote of the day: 

Advice is sometimes transmitted more successfully through a joke than grave teaching. -Baltasar Gracian

Life In The Fast Lane

We live in an age of fast food, fast internet, fast relationships and fast whatever else you can think to add to the ever growing list. We would rather take the lift than use the stairs, order food rather than waste precious minutes cooking, and drive or commute within walking distance of our destination. Social media, online shopping, on-demand TV services, speed dating,  instant messaging, a bustling generation of people with their faces glued to their phones. And now teenagers are to be given classes on how to cope in the digital age. There is less time for reflecting, and our attention span is almost non-existent. If the mass of information we consume daily does not kill us, surely fast food will (speaking of fast food, I wonder if there are any deals online).

The Spider Invasion

I get along well with spiders. I will rephrase that. I get along well with tiny spiders that stay perched up on walls weaving their web in silent satisfaction. Come to think of it, I also get along with the 'Daddy Long Legs' spider -you know those with long thin legs that are harmless. I do not disturb the spiders and vice-versa, save for the routine task of getting rid of visible cobwebs. Now that we've cleared that up, this brings me to one particular spider that I do not get along with and which has been making several appearances out of the blue. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the 'Giant House Spider'. I read somewhere online that they do not pose a threat to humans, but they bite. I'd like to think anything that bites IS a threat. They are attracted to light, and enjoy racing on the floor seeking females to mate with apparently because it's that time of the year. You laugh but watch out the giant spiders may just set off your alarm system in the middle of the night.

Conversation Spoilers

There you are having a conversation with someone, fully engaged and all and before you can mutter another word of response an intruder decides to butt in. You know them, the perpetual conversation intruders who look for every opportunity to join in without understanding what is being discussed. They have the ability to overhear things from afar, and come running to join in on things that do not concern them, injecting and hijacking themselves into a conversation anyway while holding everyone hostage with their thoughts and unwanted presence. Whatever happened to basic good manners? Guess we'll never know.

How To Spend A Thousand

What can a thousand bucks buy you these days? Surely a weekend getaway in some quiet location and with change to spare, or maybe grow a nest egg, spruce up the home or wardrobe, buy a bicycle, home appliances, pay down debt, give to charity, buy a new sofa and bed plus pillows, buy a shelf load of books, and a thousand and one other things (insert yours here). Well all that flew right out the window with the new iPhone X which Apple is proudly selling for £1,000. With the announcement came a plethora of reasons why you should buy their latest offering (iPhone X? I believe I lost count after iPhone 5). With a technology called Face ID that scans your face to unlock the phone. It supposedly works only if your eyes are open and also can't be fooled by photographs. Nice try Apple, nice try.

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen:  José Gonzales - Heartbeats

Monday, September 11, 2017

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Habitual Changes Can Make Life More Meaningful

Quote of the day: 

Our daily decisions and habits have a huge impact upon both our levels of happiness and success. 
-Shawn Achor

We are creatures of habit. Our daily life consists of patterns, routines and bias. Coupled with the different personalities out there things get even more interesting. At times we do certain things not because we need to but because we can. The habits that we project are what we grew up with, picked up along the way or stumbled upon innocently.

Studies have shown that around 40% of our daily routine is performed in almost the same situations from day to day. Behavior becomes a habit. Surely it can then be said that our persona -the way we behave, live, talk and interact with others, or more directly the way that we carry ourselves and the things that we do correlates with the habits that we have formed. Either consciously or unconsciously. How many times have you been told, by a family member or friend about a particular habit that you have but because it's become a routine you never give it a second thought?

We need habits. They help us through the day. Sleeping in a particular way, snoring, waking at a particular time, drinking from a favourite mug, how you like your eggs fried, taking long or short showers, singing in the shower, laughing loudly or not at all when a joke is made, fidgeting when nervous, not making eye contact when telling a lie, buying the same groceries each time, reading product labels out loud, eating in front of the TV, doing laundry at a certain time, taking a nap, checking your phone first thing after waking up, and it never seems to end. All it takes is for our daily routine to be slightly impacted

There are of course faulty habits, those that are difficult to let go of. How liberating it is to be free, to let go of an ingrained habit, deep-rooted like a stain on a rug that wouldn't come off. In this context it's not the stain that is the problem, but the flawed solution of cleaning it the same way and expecting different results. How great would it be to finally find a final and clean solution. Our faulty habits should never be allowed to make a mess of things, overtaking our time, and our lives. It's never too late to break a bad habit. Clean, rinse, repeat. So here's to new and positive habits.

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Bon Iver -Wash

Saturday, September 09, 2017

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3 Things to Inspire Your Weekend: #66

Quote of the day: 

We do not remember days, we remember moments. -Cesare Pavese

Jemima Layzell had a brain aneurysm
Credit: Guardian

The organs of a 13-year-old girl who passed away unexpectedly has helped to save the lives of at least 8 people. Jemima Layzell had a brain aneurysm -a bulging and weak area in the wall of an artery supplying blood to the brain, she had collapsed during birthday preparations for her mother Sophy Layzell. She died four days later in hospital in 2012. Just a couple of weeks prior the family had discussed organ donation as a family member had died in a car crash. Although her parents found it hard to do but in the end they are glad they decided to donate her organs which were transplanted to eight people-as such becoming the largest number in the history of the organ donation service. Her parents have set up the Jemima Layzell Trust in her memory to help survivors.

Braden Baker grew up wearing hearing aids
Credit: MSN

After being diagnosed with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss as an infant, ten year-old Braden Baker grew up wearing hearing aids. The family dog destroyed the devices twice -and with each costing a lot he was given a talk about being more responsible with them by his mother Ashley Baker. The prep talk would later motivate Braden to think of ways to help kids with hearing impairments who couldn't afford to buy the costly devices. It led to his creation of a funding page which raised $15,000 and his family partnered with Oticon Hearing Foundation to which the money was donated. The foundation will use the money to provide hearing aids to children from families who cannot afford them.

As seen on Arch Daily, Back Country House
Architects: LTD Architectural Design Studio
Location: Puhoi, New Zealand
Photographs: Jo Smith

Brief: Aiming at simplicity with open and shared spaces as opposed to enclosed and separate

Theme:  Located in a secluded bush-clad site playing on the unique topology of the area, with a feeling of enhanced connection to the surrounding environment. Open living areas, spacious and with extensive use of locally sourced band sawn macrocarpa, high performance insulation and use of natural materials to build.

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Coldplay -Paradise

Friday, September 08, 2017

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Poem: I Would Rather Be A Wingless Bird

Quote of the day: 

Simply minding one's own business is more offensive than being intrusive. Without ever saying a word one can make a person feel less-than. -Criss Jami

Do not tell me not to go there
Dwelling in a den of wolves

Do not tell me not to sit here
In silence no one approves

Do not tell me to change my ways
An outlaw without reason

Do not tell me not to be fearful
My uneasiness is my weapon

Do not tell me not to be selfish
My heart is cut in crude ways
My veins
Form a fountain
In autumn rains

Do not tell me to be helpful
Do not tell me what to see
Do not tell me to be careful
Do not tell me to be free

Wings flapping
I oppose thee.

This is a free verse and a catchy one at that. You are driven slightly insane by the actions of others telling you what to do. In fairness to them they mean well but maybe, just maybe it's not exactly what your ears want listen to at the time. It's society telling you to do one thing and behave in a manner that is the norm. But who made things the way they are? This poem is as usual open to different interpretations.

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Charles Mingus -Fables of Faubus

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

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A Day at the Royal Observatory Greenwich

Quote of the day: 

Blow the dust off the clock. Your watches are behind the times. Throw open the heavy curtains which are so dear to you - you do not even suspect that the day has already dawned outside. 
-Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 

The Old Royal Naval College  in Greenwich designed by Christopher Wren
The Old Royal Naval College designed by Christopher Wren with his other work the Flamsteed House of the Royal Observatory visible atop the hill to the right. Photograph: Blogoratti

The Royal Observatory at Greenwich holds the title for being Britain's first state funded scientific institution. Its establishment was proposed in 1674 by Sir Jonas Moore who persuaded King Charles II to create the observatory. It was around this period that Europeans took to the sea in many numbers to trade and explore the world. Having sufficient astronomical information to aid navigation, timekeeping and also measure longitude was needed.

The Royal Observatory with the red time ball visible
The Royal Observatory with the red time ball visible. Photograph: Blogoratti

Sir Christopher Wren who was by then a famous architect was on the Royal Commission set up by the King to look into investing in astronomy. It is worthy to note that Wren was a former professor of astronomy at Oxford.-and it was Wren who suggested using the ruined Greenwich Castle as the site of the new observatory which was located on high ground, and thus he oversaw the design of Flamsteed House which was the first part of the observatory built an the first time signal in the country was broadcast from its roof in 1833.

The Octagon Room at Flamsteed House at the Royal Observatory designed by Christopher Wren. Photograph: Blogoratti

There is a sense of space and freedom in Greenwich town. Out of all its accolades perhaps the most important is that it is the home of time. A place where eastern and western hemispheres meet. The Greenwich Meridian Time (GMT) is both a time zone and a reference point for the prime meridian. According to the Cambridge dictionary, the prime meridian is 'an imaginary line passing through Greenwich in England and marks 0° longitude, from which all other longitudes are measured.'The prime meridian was established by Sir George Airy in 1851 and it passes through the Airy transit circle (51°28′40.1″N 0°0′5.3″W) of the Greenwich Royal Observatory.

The Onion Dome housing a telescope can be seen atop the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. Photograph: Blogoratti

Royal Observatory, Greenwich
Time Museum at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich
Time Museum at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich

As far back as the 19th century it became apparent that a move away from London was necessary due in part to air and light pollution and with new train lines that caused vibrations and interference with magnetic observations. It was later resettled at Herstmonceaux Castle near East Sussex.

The Altazimuth Pavillion seen on the right, and the Peter Harrison Planetarium in the background at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. Photograph: Blogoratti

The Astronomy Centre at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich
The Astronomy Centre at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. Photograph: Blogoratti

Today the Royal Observatory buildings have become a museum. The Royal Observatory is part of Royal Museums Greenwich which includes sites like Cutty Sark, National Maritime Museum and Queens's House. There are several galleries to choose from, and although the main entrance to the Royal Observatory requires a ticket, entry to the Astronomy Centre, the Altazimuth Pavilion and shops are free. You can catch stunning views over the River Thames and the London skyline from the grounds, so if you are ever in London don't miss out on visiting these historic sites in Greenwich.

Royal Observatory, Greenwich
View of Greenwich Park, the Thames and beyond from the Royal Observatory, Greenwich
View of Greenwich Park, the Thames and beyond from the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. Photograph: Blogoratti

A walk through Greenwich Park

Fun Facts

1. We owe the system of longitude and latitude as well as time zones that we use today to the establishment of the prime meridian in Greenwich in 1884.

2. The Royal Observatory sustained bomb damage during the Second World War.

3. In 2007 new state of the art galleries, an education centre as well as a planetarium -the only one in London, were opened on the grounds.

4. The GMT was formally renamed as 'Universal Time' in 1935 but is still commonly known as GMT.

5. To help those in line of sight of the Royal Observatory including mariners at ports to synchronize their clocks to GMT, a visible time ball was installed that dropped daily at 1PM atop the observatory in 1833. It is still dropped till this day.

6. You can stand astride the Prime Meridian at the Royal Observatory -and in essence have one foot in the eastern hemisphere and the other in the western hemisphere.

7. The Meridian laser beam which marks the route of the Greenwich Meridian by night in a northerly direction from the Royal Observatory can be seen and is visible at a distance of over 36 miles with the naked eye.

8. The 28-inch refracting telescope -built to research double star systems, is the largest of its kind in the UK and 7th largest in the world.

More fun facts

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Eric Dolphy -Far Cry

Monday, September 04, 2017

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Leaving Things Till The Last Minute

Quote of the day: 

Tomorrow is promised to no one. Prioritize today accordingly.  -Gina Greenlee

Why do we put things off till the very last minute?  The idea that we can prolong doing something only buys us time up until when it's convenient for us. But in the end the very benefit leaves a sour taste when we are swamped and hard pressed for time. We rush, make last minute attempts at survival, clawing at straws in a whirlpool which we could have avoided. But is procrastination such a terrible thing? It can be if it becomes a way of life. Late to get up, late for meetings, late to pick up things, late to pay bills, and so on can make you look untrustworthy, and people will be forced to look at you dubiously.

Something always seems more interesting than doing the right thing at the right time. You perception of time is distorted and we imagine that we put something off till the last minute -and use that last minute to complete. According to Nishan Panwar: 'Running away from a problem only increases the distance from the solution. But time comes soon enough, the chicks come home to roost so to speak and your underlying misconception becomes exposed. There are times when procrastination is good as it helps you prioritize things, and apparently can make you more creative. American Professor Adam Grant who is a psychologist and author argues that creative people tend to procrastinate more and he believes we should make more time to procrastinate as a way to fuel creativity.

On the other hand what if you prefer getting things done quicker than necessary? Research from Pennsylvania University documents a phenomenon referred to as 'precrastination' which is as a tendency to hastily get tasks done in order to get them over with. This makes sense as who wouldn't want a reduction in their workloads? You can say precrastination is like breathing in air, while procrastination is like gasping for air. But precrastination does have its downside just like procrastination. It's the constant gratification and release it offers, the satisfaction, the feeling of achievement and being able to tick off things from your to-do list -and not have to worry later on. Doing trivial tasks as soon as they appear may leave little room to think things through.

With procrastination you put off or delay doing something either due to habit or circumstance, and the opposite is precrastination where you find completing tasks much earlier to greatly beneficial. Each has its points but to be content I believe finding a middle ground between the two will suffice.

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Kenny Dorham - Alone Together

Saturday, September 02, 2017

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3 Things to Inspire Your Weekend: #65

Quote of the day: 

Love only grows by sharing. You can only have more for yourself by giving it away to others. -Brian Tracy

Three of the four bakers trapped in bakery after hurricane Harvey
Credit: DailyIndependent/Three of the four bakers trapped in bakery after hurricane Harvey

A lot has been written about the flood incident in Texas, US, with stories of relief efforts and people doing heroic deeds for the affected. When four bakers working the night shift became trapped in their bakery for two days after hurricane Harvey hit, they could have spent their time worrying about their safety and also their families but they decided to continue baking instead. The workers from the El Bolillo Bakery, a Mexican bakery in Houston made it their duty to bake bread and pan dulce -a Mexican sweet bread through the day and night, before eventually getting rescued. By the time the owner got to them they had made so much bread that the loaves were taken to emergency centers across the city for victims affected by the flood.

Credit: Today

It's not very often that siblings from the same family gain admission into the same school, especially if the siblings are quadruplets. In Ohio four members of a family begin a new chapter as they start their freshman year in Yale University. Wade family members and quadruplets, Zach, Nick, Aaron, and Nigel who were accepted to majority of the top schools including Harvard, all decided to go to Yale due in part to the sense of community they felt at the prestigious school -and by so doing becoming the second set of quadruplets to attend Yale since the year 2000.

Exterior of home in São Paulo, Brazil
A home in São Paulo, Brazil

As seen on Arch Daily, Pacaembu House
Architects: DMDV arquitetos
Location: São Paulo, Brazil
Photograph: Maira Acayaba

Brief: New build from old house using some the preexisting pieces

Theme:  Bricks and floor stones from previous construction reused, use of interconnected spaces to connect with nature. System that captures rainwater reused for automatic irrigation system for the garden. Use of glass closures, frames and muxarabis of cumaru wood.

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Coldplay -In My Place

Friday, September 01, 2017

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Growing Food for The Present and Future

Quote of the day: 

There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace. -Aldo Leopold

National Geographic/Greenhouses surrounding a Dutch farmer's home
Credit: National Geographic/Greenhouses surrounding a Dutch farmer's home

As the world population grows and grows the need for food production and self sustainability increases. A task not without problems especially with natural factors to think about such as adverse weather conditions and factors beyond our control such as war and conflict.

The food industry is diverse, a global collective of businesses supplying food consumed by the world population. There is a National Geographic article that makes for good reading. It talks about sustainable farming and how one country is at the forefront of agricultural technology. You see around 20 years ago the Netherlands made a national commitment to farming in sustainable ways with the theme "Twice as much food using half as many resources".

Fast forward to today and Dutch poultry and livestock producers have cut their use of antibiotics, reduced dependence on water for key crops, and almost eliminated the use of chemical pesticides on plants in greenhouses. The Netherlands is the world's second largest exporter of food as measured by value, only behind the US. All these from a small densely populated country but with more than half the nation's land area used for horiculture and agriculture utilizing large greenhouse complexes with climate controlled farms -thereby becoming a global leader in exports of tomato -a fair weather fruit.

And it doesn't stop there, the Dutch are also leading in exporting potatoes and onions, and the second largest exporter of vegetables overall in terms of value. Dutch farms are also developing various technologies, including one to maximize poultry production. This small country of over 17 million people fully understand the need for sustainable agriculture as a driving force for future growth.

We live in a world where both food waste and hunger co-exist. No country should have people who go to bed hungry each night. But that is the case all around the world and even more so in poorer countries faced with war and famine. According to Oxfam 'Hunger isn’t about too many people and too little food. It’s about power, and its roots lie in inequalities in access to resources and opportunities.' I believe we all can try our hands at growing our own vegetables albeit on a rather small scale depending on the resource at hand. Either using containers, a garden, or a small farm. Where space is limited containers or pots make sense. In some areas community gardens encourage people to use allotments for planting thereby contributing to the biodiversity of the area. It is becoming the norm for some companies to have green spaces, or rooftop gardens, others offer little allotments to their employees to grow vegetables and such, bringing the outdoors inside so to speak.

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Louis Prima.- Buona Sera

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

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Musings of mine: Rambling Mind on This and That #10

Quote of the day: 

Opera is when a guy gets stabbed in the back and, instead of bleeding, he sings. -Robert Benchley

Image of a lying dog

What Do You Think of Before Falling Asleep

Getting into bed is not the hard part but actually falling asleep is. You see there are two kinds of people in the world; those who can literally fall asleep on their feet (think Mr. Bean), and those who have a hard time sleeping. But that's another tale for a different day. It's the random thoughts that materialize from nowhere right when you get comfortable in bed that gets me. Where do they come from? The other day I closed my eyes and instead of dreamy clouds to quieten my otherwise overworked brain, I lay there thinking about how everything in that room was made by someone else. The bed frame, the mattress, the sheets, pillow cases and the duck feathers within, the carpet, wardrobe, door and door handle, walls and paint, window, blah blah blah. And although I couldn't see in the dark it didn't matter, because my brain had a 3D picture stored away and kept analyzing every piece of item in the room. I don't quite remember the last item my brain thought of before I dozed off.

Forget Me Not

Sooner or later it will happen to you. You will run into someone who you've met before and in that moment of randomness you will forget their name, even though they remember yours and even address you by it. You will blank out and a thousand names will scuttle audaciously through your mind. Thing is which one is the right one? You don't want to get their name wrong but yet you don't want to admit that you don't remember. The solution? Exchange numbers and in the process have them save their own name in your phone. And as you shake hands, hug, or whatever, look them in the eye and say nice seeing you again (insert phone saved name here).

Child Genius

There I sat stunned into silence a few minutes after stumbling on a TV show that paired a couple of so called 'highly gifted' 9-13 year-old kids against each other in the race to become Britain's 'Child Genius'. What were you doing at 9? I certainly wasn't no genius. What bothered me wasn't the fact that these kids can be said to be smarter than you and I, often answering math questions without blinking an eye or using a calculator (A sample question that was asked- Calculate the following - multiply 22 by 4, subtract 23, multiply by 6, and finally divide by 3), no, no, what bothered me was the fact that we are never satisfied and must find new ways to entertain ourselves. Soaps, documentaries, reality shows, sports, drama, kids/children shows, cookery, shopping, sitcom, animal/wildlife, music, travel/holiday, and a thousand other things to watch. Yet we still complain about being bored and not having anything to watch.

Door Man

Do you hold the door open for others? If you answered yes you may proceed with the rest of this story. On the other hand if you answered no, I'll let visitors leave comments about what your punishment should be. So if you answered yes, this goes to you. Have you ever held the door open for someone who either takes too long to get to you or wastes no time at all but does not acknowledge your effort with a simple thank you? There is a special place someone where for such folk. But let's reverse that scenario. Have you ever had to quicken your pace because some good soul plenty of feet away is holding the door for you? It is at that moment you throw pride away and run like your life depends on it.

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Quincy Jones -Summer In the City

Monday, August 28, 2017

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Never Judge a Book By Its Cover

Quote of the day: 

While you judge me by my outward appearance I am silently doing the same to you, even though there's a ninety-percent chance that in both cases our assumptions are wrong. -Richelle E. Goodrich

Reality is special in that it's the here and now. The state of things in the real world a place where we co-exist with other minds. People are quick to point out about the need to face one's reality, to live and not just exist. It's all well and good to be the judge and not the accused. But how difficult it is today not to be critical of the actions of others -especially those that affect our general well being.

When rummaging through libraries and collection of books, taking in the bibliosmia although the covers may be desirable and charming it's the actual knowledge held inside that make all the difference. The written words within which captivate the thoughts and ignites our emotions. We do not judge a book by its appearance -as appearances can be deceptive. For example a book with a great looking cover may contain nothing of value written inside but would still be the first pick in a pile of books. It's easy to miss the books with the valuable books with blank covers underneath.

Same goes for people because when you throw assumption and inference out the window, reality and genuineness springs forth. But in a world where our experiences with some bad eggs make us more cautious, doubtful and suspicious, our assumption is all we hold on to. Trust is very important in life. We trust that things and people will always deliver. You expect a flight not only to be on time but also to be flown safely to your destination. You put your trust in a pilot you have never met, and perhaps an airline you don't fly frequently. Let's assume that you do fly frequently, still your trust is in the airline -a book with a fancy cover. You trust that family and close friends will always be there when you need them. But will you be there when you are needed? Will you show the world the real you, your real thoughts, and not just the camouflage everyone is used to seeing?

You are a book. People treat you good and sometimes they don't. People hold you dearly, care for you even and other times they throw you into a pile. But that is just life. Nobody has it perfectly figured out -not yet anyway. You don't have to alter your appearance to suit anyone, to trap them into liking you because in the end the real you hidden beneath that cover will be exposed. You wouldn't want your worth or value to be pre-judged based on your outlook. Be yourself at all times and those who like you for you will stay to hear your story and help create new and meaningful chapters.

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Bill Evans -Peace Piece

Sunday, August 27, 2017

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3 Things to Inspire Your Weekend: #64

Quote of the day: 

Great things are done by a series of small things brought together. -Vincent Van Gogh 

Credit: NYDaily News

It is one thing to buy a lottery and another to become the winner of the biggest jackpot in North American history.  A 53-year-old mother of two children, Mavis Wanczyk, won $758.7m (£590m) in the lottery. That is almost a billion dollars. She has come forward to collect her prize. She told reporters that she already quit her 32-year job at a medical center, and that she had picked her lucky numbers based on relatives' birthdays. She bought the ticket at a Chicopee, Massachusetts, petrol station. The jackpot payout which can be set to 29 yearly payments or a lump sum, is estimated to be worth almost $443m after taxes.Talk about being lucky. Those relatives must surely be lurking around the corner awaiting a cut from this incredible win.

Ron Finley, a gardener in LA
Credit: Los Angeles Times

Ron Finley, a former clothing designer is attempting to redefine how people in his community interact with organic food. He has built an enormous urban garden in his backyard in what used to be his swimming pool. He decided to grow his own organic food after having to do long drives just to buy some. He also plants vegetables in abandoned lots, curbs and traffic medians, all to offer some alternative to fast food which he believes kills more people than drive-bys and to create an outlet for kids in South Central who have little access to healthy food and outdoor activities. He gained popularity with his 2013 TED talk 'A guerilla gardener in South Central LA'.

Exterior of house with Dormer Window, Japan
Interior of house with Dormer Window, Japan

As seen on Arch Daily, House with Dormer Window
Architects: Hiroki Tominaga-Atelier
Location: Gifu, Japan

Brief: Rebuilt small house for elderly couple blending with the landscape

Theme:  Dormer windows on the roof for natural light and ventilation, FRP honey-comb panel on loft floor -transparent but heat insulting to get sun light to rooms.

Peace. Love. Light* 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

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Poem: The Eclipse of the Heart

Quote of the day: 

How then does light return to the world after the eclipse of the sun? Miraculously. Frailly. In thin stripes. It hangs like a glass cage. It is a hoop to be fractured by a tiny jar. There is a spark there. Next moment a flush of dun. Then a vapour as if earth were breathing in and out, once, twice, for the first time. 
-Virginia Woolf

Vintage photo of a lunar eclipse from The Book of Knowledge Vol. 6

When years get chiseled away
Underneath a roof where you call home
Surrounded by far-flung memories
Oh what a glorious day to be alive

At a certain time and date
Within an obscure landscape
Being plunged deep into darkness
You neglect your inclusion in the universe

Word had gotten out
That the moon will pass in front of the sun
There was outcry from the sun too distant to hear
You are a stone's throw from the sea

This twilight
Eyes wide and face to the sky
Animals scampering in confusion
Humans standing in admiration
To breathe in the warm air and sigh
Filling the lungs with life
Sensing the precious hands of time
The eclipse stole your soul
Silent as a rabbit through a meadow
Watching as the day turned  to night

The sun became a bosom moon snail
Touching in an intimate kiss
Probing intimately like lovers
Reveling in the dark
Before getting tossed beneath the sea
Enough to water a garden or more

The sun grasped the deception from afar
Which no one cared to see
It tried but was powerless against the moon
Now trapped in a parallel universe
Your soul and that of the sun
Abducted and replaced with a replica.


The total solar eclipse of the sun has come and gone and so has much of the fanfare associated with the event. This poem is written in the 'epic' form, which is a lengthy narrative poem containing events pertaining to a culture or nation. It contains details of a heroic deed and ends with a descent of the hero into a dark deep underworld. In this case it is you/sun. The idea is that the eclipse that occurred stole something from our world and us, but we were too busy to even notice. It is about our hearts becoming eclipsed with negativity with no end in sight.

But then again, the entire poem is open to your personal interpretations.

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Gerald Wilson -Viva Tirado

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The National Maritime Museum: In Photos

Quote of the day: 

Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in. -Isaac Asimov

Front view of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

Greenwich in London is an important town notable for its maritime history. It also lends its name to the Royal Borough of Greenwich. The National Maritime Museum is the leading maritime museum in the UK and arguably the largest of its kind in the world. Like most publicly funded museums in the UK there is no admission charge.

Entrance signage of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

Set in the beautiful Greenwich park its historic buildings form a great part of the Maritime World Heritage Site. In 2012, Royal Museums Greenwich was formally approved by the Queen as the new overall title for the National Maritime Museum, Royal Observatory, Queen's House and the Cutty Sark which was explored in a previous post.

The Sea Is History by Derek Walcott at the National Maritime Museum

If you are ever in London do no miss out on visiting this historic site in Greenwich. The museum is very popular with kids, and it is certainly a great learning trip for anyone as the marvel of all the items and art pieces on display will inspire you such as the Type 23 frigate propeller shown below. This is a class of frigate built for the UK's Royal Navy.

Type 23 frigate propeller display at National Maritime Museum

Panorama of London engraved by S.C.Smyth,1845 at National Maritime Museum
Kids playing on world map display, National Maritime Museuem in Greenwich
Ship lanterns display at National Maritime Museuem in Greenwich
Shipping display at National Maritime Museuem in Greenwich

The Art Fund and the museum launched an appeal to acquire an artwork titled 'Nelson's Ship in a Bottle' by artist Yinka Shonibare which is a replica of Nelson's HMS victory -a ship best known for her role in the battle of Trafalgar. It is displayed outside the new Sammy Ofer Wing of the museum (pictured below), where it is visible across Greenwich Park.

Yinka Shonibare's Nelson in a bottle at National Maritime Museum

Greenwich has always had great association with the sea as it was a landing place for the Romans. The museum was opened in 1937 by King George V and based on the generous donations of Sir James Caird.

Panorama of London engraved by S.C.Smyth,1845 at National Maritime Museum

Fun Facts

1. The National Maritime Museum houses the Caird library and archive which is the world's largest maritime historical reference library.

2. The Museum is the largest of its kind in the world and with a vast collection of items.

3. The uniform Lord Admiral Nelson wore when fatally wounded at the battle of Trafalgar is on display at a gallery in the museum.

4. The museum's name was suggested by writer Rudyard Kipling, although he passed away a year before it opened.

You can find more fun facts here.

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Gregory Porter -Liquid Spirit