netpositive: (Default)

I realized then that I who thought I had complete control
of my life, had control of only three things: my thought, my mind –
the images that these thoughts created – and the action that derived
from it. So here I was wallowing in a vortex of emotions and depression
and what have you, with the enormity of the situation, wanting to go to
a place of healing, health and happiness. I wanted to go from where I was
to where I wanted to be, for which I needed something. I needed something
that would pull me out of all this. So I dried my tears, and I declared to
the world at large... I said, "X is only one page in my life, and I will not
allow this page to impact the rest of my life."

I also declared to the world at large that I would ride it out, and
I would not allow X to ride me. But to go from where I was to where I
wanted to be, I needed something. I needed an anchor, an image, a peg
to peg this process on, so that I could go from there. And I found that
in my dance, my dance, my strength, my energy, my passion, my very life breath.


-Ananda Shankar Jayant, TED video
    Feet? Check. Hands? Check. Brain? Check.

    Will the real me please stand up? Oh, there you are...

    I think. But I feel the Big Cat Blues.

Imagine a lion walking around affirming – I’m king of the jungle,
I’m king of the jungle. And yet this is exactly what people are doing
with positive affirmations most of the time. The lion’s very nature is
that it is a lion. Being king of the jungle is mostly an idea.

Fortunately lions are not as confused as human beings. Lions mostly
walk around being lions without suffering from being disconnected from
themselves and having a bunch of ideas about who or what they should be.

The most affirming experience we humans can have is to land in
our true nature. A moment of perceiving the real is more powerful
than a lifetime of words. Well intentioned, but misguided efforts
at positive affirmations would be better spent in learning how to
settle down and allow what is truly real in us arise into consciousness.

The world is abundant. Life is on our side. We are awesome and wonderful.
It’s the true state of affairs. If we can’t see it, then the more productive
course of action is to explore – why not. Trying to convince ourselves that
the sky is blue when, in fact, the sky is blue – is crazy behavior.

As the saying goes – the only way out is through. Explore the deficiencies,
the hidden beliefs. Open them up to the light of awareness. The truth will
set us free. The false dissolves. Only the real remains.


John, in Open Secrets
    Do you ride the lion, or does it ride you?

    I need more words, more music, more dance, my voice.

    I want to go to the end of my world -- my jungle.

    I would like to walk around being a lion, and
    not worrying about being king or not.

    I intend to stretch.
netpositive: (frenchy)
A conversation at dinner last night
reminded me to write things down
when I'm thinking of them.
Or of you.

This will go through revisions,
hopefully many.
But for now it's a starting point.


    I see you.

    In every flower that blooms --
    tree that leaves --
    bee that buzzes --
    wasp that stings.

    I see you in the ice on frozen driveways,
    and the water flowing in Winters Run,
    and the steam rising from cow manure
    dropped in a cold Jarrettsville dawn.

    In pine trees, and weeping willows, and crabapples.

    I hear you in the chatter of chickens and
    the chewing of cows, in political discourse
    and private confessions, and in everyone's
    laughter.

    I hear you in groups, in tete-a-tetes, and
    in silence.

    You are there every time I darn a sock, or
    change my oil, or go to work, or do my taxes,
    or come home, or listen to music, or read a book.
    Right there -- and generally adding your opinion!
    (We don't always agree, but it always has value.)

    I touch you in flannel and in velvet,
    in rusted steel and the fur of animals,
    in fuzzy sweaters and cotton/polyester,
    in the rocks of the field
    and the bones of my hands.

    I taste you in overcooked roast beef
    and fresh asparagus, in white rice
    and red spices -- cinnamon, paprika,
    and catsup.

    I smell you in fresh-cut wood
    and in turpentine, in new-mown grass
    and in bales of straw, in summer's air
    and autumn's fall.

    (Oh, can't forget lemon-scented Pledge.
    Otherwise, I hate lemon -- just about
    as much as you seem to love it.)

    And best of all, in all my senses,
    I can perceive you in others'
    hearts and minds.

    Whatever you eventually reincarnate as, be it
    Buddha or beetle, I know one thing for sure.

    Your spirit, is gonna cause some mischief.


To poets everywhere, even ones I don't like.
And for the one I love above all others.
netpositive: (Default)
You may or may not know that I work in user experience.

This was my off half hour this morning.
This morning, I usability tested myself,
among several other things...


  1. Get on bus [normally 10-15 minute ride].
  2. How about a quick email check on mobile phone?
    [Motorola CLIQ:Android, 2 weeks and still shiny]
  3. Open [in GMail] a promotional email from a
    certain major book/etc. retailer touting their eReader!
  4. Specifically touting "Got a BN eReader? Get a Free Coffee!"
  5. Don't drink coffee, but do like the idea of a BN eReader.
    Am trying out 2 different ebook apps already, sure, add a third...
  6. Text in email that says "Download eReader" is bold and
    differently colored. Try clicking that to download. Success?
  7. Fail. Does not download eReader(or do anything else).
  8. Irritated and pressed for time, so missed seeing smaller
    link farther down page -- after some more promo text -- which says
    "Download it now". It? What's an 'it'? I'm skimming for 'eReader'.
    Fail.
  9. Also ignore link at top saying "Hurry! Offer Ends July 15.
    Coffee's On the House - When You Show the eBook You're Reading*"
    not expecting it to do anything other than blather on more about
    the promotion, how wonderful coffee is, how wonderful ebooks are,
    etc. Because I don't care about the coffee, dammit, and I'm not
    reading an eBook yet because I don't have your eReader yet. Fail.
  10. Use a link in email to go to major book/etc. retailer
    website home page.
  11. Search for 'eReader'.
  12. Search results don't bring up eReader in 4 results,
    but do have link to "Download eReader" in footer. Success?
  13. Fail. Link says "page not found".
  14. To add insult to injury, it suggests I use search.
  15. Impatient [bus has turned onto Columbia Pike] I go to
    Google and search 'barnes noble ereader'. [I used to be a
    librarian, kids, don't try this at home.] Link to [correct]
    page shows up 2nd or 3rd.
  16. Go [back] to BN via Google. Find "Download eReader."
    Success?
  17. Fail. Link wants to send me to iTunes to download. WTF?
    If I wanted iTunes on my smartdevice I woulda bought an iPhone.
  18. [Whole rant re: years of me vs. iTunes deleted for time.]
  19. Bus is now on Hayes St. I have about 3 more minutes of
    Internet connection before going into heavy shielding [aka the
    DC Metro]. Back to Google and search just 'eReader'... looking
    for reviews, maybe, to see if this thing is even worth my time.
  20. See a result for ereader.com. Ooh! Go there. Success?
  21. Maybe! Top banner even says "a Barnes & Noble Company"
    and in left nav there is a top link for "FREE eReader Software
    ▪ Download Now!" Click on that.
  22. Ooh! Nice listing of phones and Android is right there!
    Click on "Android", hoping it doesn't route me back to iTunes...
  23. Adds "eReader for Android" choices at bottom. Extra step,
    but I sure feel I'm on the right path now... click on that as
    bus turns into Pentagon.
  24. Android applications manager tells me I'm default set
    NOT to install apps that are NOT from the official Android store.
    Oops. I know how to fix that, though. Quick detour through Settings
    and I'm downloading and installing eReader.
  25. Launch eReader. Hmm, no obvious BN branding? Sure hope
    I have the right app... can't worry about that for the next 5
    minutes as I transfer modes of transportation and lose Internet.
  26. Temporary reconnection as subway crosses above river.
    List of ebooks available. Choice for Categories or "View ebooks
    by Author". [I used to be a *cataloging* librarian, kids, so I
    know how erratic categorizing fiction can be.] Authors! Ooh!
  27. Nooooo! Search and browse design unthinking! Gives me
    a list for 'A' authors, with choices at top for the other letters
    of the alphabet. However, it also alphabetizes the middle initial
    A. as the start of a last name.
  28. And, it displays results as 'first name last name'.
  29. And, should you scroll down to 'Mariano Azuela ' at
    bottom of 'A' list, no way to get to 'B' list without scrolling
    back up to top of page, which is a royal pain on mobile devices
    where the screen is long and thin.
  30. Back underground and on to work, via a maze of twisty
    corridors that all look alike...


Some people debate the 'validity' of usability testing because
it's generally set up to do specific scenarios in a limited
time session with supposedly artificial testing stress added.

I'm now wondering if my usability tests are too nice...
netpositive: (Default)
A rendered transliteration of the Middle English original.
For those of you not conversant with ME, þ ~= some kind of th.


Sumer is icumen in
Lhude sing cuccu!
Groweþ sed and bloweþ med
and springþ þe wode nu.
Sing cuccu!

Awe bleteþ after lomb,
Lhouþ after calue cu,
Bulluc sterteþ, bucke verteþ.
Murie sing cuccu!
Cuccu, cuccu,
Wel singes þu cuccu.
ne swik þu naver nu!
Sing cuccu nu, Sing cuccu!

    Sing me, sing you, sing cuccu too...

    The world goes swift around
    On an axis that shifts instant;
    Sometimes it seems sound
    that only change is constant.

    Dreams are hard to share
    Being so personal a metaphor;
    For our needs that need care
    Are the why that dreams are for.

    Your time is not anyone else's,
    So allot your hours as you may.
    Call it a virtue to be selfish --
    If that new self meets others halfway.

    Longings deferred be not longings denied,
    Long distances need not estrange --
    A walk on your path can be tried,
    But only my own can I change.

    Groweth sed, and bloweth med,
    and springst the world anew.
    Spring and summer are coming, she said:
    In season, let our own selves come true.

Life is all about timing...
the unreachable becomes reachable,
the unavailable become available,
the unattainable... attainable.
Have the patience, wait it out.
It's all about timing.

-Stacey Charter

Back to work.
netpositive: (firehand)
Friendship doubles our joy and divides our grief.
-Swedish proverb
    Statement 1: I am comfortable in myself and I value my friends.
    Statement 2: I value my friends and I am comfortable in myself.
    Do you feel any difference?
    Do you feel any different?
    Do you believe any differently?

    I believe there's a difference between a
    pain in the heart and a pain in the neck.

    I believe there's a difference between
    education and a lecture.

    I believe there's a difference between
    honey and vinegar.

    If you don't understand me or
    think I should be different,
    you don't understand me and
    you're right, I am different.

    And you know, if you think me childish, then
    hey, I think I'll run along and play now.
In the sweetness of friendship
let there be laughter, and
sharing of pleasures.

-Kahlil Gibran
netpositive: (frenchy)
The tragedy in life doesn't lie in not reaching your goal.
The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.

– Benjamin Mays
    One can do things without having a goal, but
    then there's no good way to measure progress.

    The last couple of years have been both personally and
    professionally difficult, but useful. I learned that
    things happen, and you deal with them, and move on.

    And sadly there *were* a lot of positive things
    that I never wrote about, mostly because it takes me
    such a long time to write anything -- and then often
    by the time I figured things out, the urgency to write
    had passed.

    I am always very happy about good things that happen to
    other people. My friend noire has a new book coming out,
    as does ctan. Whuffle and halleyscomet are about to have
    their first child. Other people are graduating, marrying,
    getting new jobs, studying abroad, moving on, moving out.

    Where am I right now?

    I'll try to talk more about good things as I go along.
    But I know I'm not perfect. And I don't want to crow,
    or make other people envious. I work hard -- but I also
    know I'm very lucky. And I'm grateful for those of you
    who have supported me in good times and in tough ones.

Remember not only to say the right thing
in the right place, but far more difficult still,
to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

-Ben Franklin
netpositive: (firehand)
Every now and then we manage to take a tiny,
unconscious, clumsy step ever closer to the edge,
stumbling toward ecstasy without really knowing
or understanding that we're doing so.

Mark Morford
    And then again, some of us are trying to do it
    deliberately, through willful spiritual practice...

    Daily reminder: It's okay to be assertive. Really.

    Breathe more. Breathe louder. Breathe all the way.

    Try opening the skylights.

    Thank you, Brian May.
Si non dominaris, inquit, filiola,
iniuriam te accipere existimas?

-the Emperor Tiberius, to Agrippina
netpositive: (firehand)
Irrational idea for today:
people are fragile and should never be hurt.
    Some of the escalators are still broken.
    Half the window is blocked.
    No juice.

    Write down the facts.
    Write down your subjective self-talk.
    Describe your emotional response.
    Dispute and change irrational self-talk.
    Substitute alternative, rational self-talk.

    Notice your thoughts and feelings,
    acknowledge them non-judgementally,
    and let them go.

    Okay. I'm going dancing now.
Refuting the irrational idea:

This irrational belief results in failure
to openly communicate important feelings, and
in self-sacrifice that gives up what is
nourishing and pleasurable. Since everything
you need or want seems to hurt or deprive someone
else, you feel frustration, helplessness, and
depression. Relationships become full of dead
space where conflicts developed and nothing
was said.

from _The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook_
netpositive: (iconnerific)
The coincidence of a vague physical resemblance
followed by an accidental but absolute audio replica
brings up a vibrant ghost from the past...
    Sometimes,
    I close my eyes,
    and I just hear your voice.

    Frightening,
    the power of sound,
    after all this time apart.

    I could never explain to others
    how so many of your questions got answers,
    how the simplest of words complicated everything.

    Repeating
    the vowels in your last name,
    I know nothing has changed except the calendar.

    Pain may drain away.
    But anger - and hunger - stay.

    I paid.
    Still, I do regret
    not always doing right by you.

    Sometimes,
    I close my eyes,
    and I just hear your voice.

    Every night,
    I close my eyes.
netpositive: (Default)
...in other words, life ain't fair,
enjoy the bounty provided us,
and try to make things better.

-madbodger
    Dropped by Costco this morning. Normally
    I'm not the one who makes Costco runs, but
    I was already awake, and we were running
    low on cheddar cheese and microwave popcorn...
    The Long Story Short )
Did I change anyone's view of the world today?
I don't know. I just did what I always do: be myself.

And the universe rewards me with ten thousand things.
netpositive: (firehand)
I remembered Bogie telling Judy [Garland],
when she'd sit in the living room saying
she had more goddamn talent than anyone
in town, 'Talent's no good in a living room,
you've got to get out there and do it.'

-Lauren Bacall
    Being a shy and very introverted person who
    has difficulty connecting with people, I've recently
    been using a couple books for suggestions on
    how to cope with requisite social situations:

  • _The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an
    Extrovert World_, by Marti Olsen Laney.


  • _Why Should Extroverts Make All the Money?
    Networking Made Easy for the Introvert_, by
    Frederica J. Balzano and Marsha Boone Kelly.

  • Having a wooden leg doesn't mean one can't walk, y'know.
If you continue to say "I can't,"
"I don't know how," "They won't let me,"
you won't, you don't, they won't,
and it will never get done.

-Iyanla Vanzant
    To notice how loud the world is,
    cover it with snow for a day.

    You are more than the sum of your parts.
    But that doesn't mean you can't increase
    your sum by improving one of your parts.

    Try to consciously rid yourself of at least
    ten things every day. You'll be amazed at
    both how much you get rid of and how much
    you have left.

    You might want to express your thanks when
    people do nice things for you. Or they might
    stop.
You may be disappointed if you fail,
but you are doomed if you don't try.

-Beverly Sills
netpositive: (firehand)
... grant us, in our direst need, the smallest gifts:
the nail of the horseshoe, the pin of the axle,
the feather at the pivot point,
the pebble at the mountain's peak,
the kiss in despair, the one right word.
In darkness, understanding."

-Lois McMaster Bujold, _Paladin of Souls_
    I am grateful for the smallest gifts.

    Grateful for my health, my strength, my balance,
    my talents, my interests, and my core values.

    Grateful for patience and thoughtfulness.

    Grateful for the little black and white cat with
    the kink at the end of her tail, who crouches on
    my leg with her claws lovingly sunken into my knee.

    Grateful for a new year to live more life in.

    Grateful for those many people who have shared, or
    will share, their own sound and vision with me.

    Grateful for salt and gold, for drumbeats and tea,
    for books and music, for nighttime and sunshine.

    Grateful for the gift of laughter. And of touch.
    For the memory of fulfillment, and even of longing.

    Ah, she's moved now. Or is it I who is moving?

Oh soul, you worry too much
-Rumi
netpositive: (iconnerific)
Using the light, being dark,
Being the world,
You perfect harmony
And return to the Way.

-Tao Te Ching, "Becoming"

    I'm feeling more isolated than usual here at work.

    Internal teams and projects have been reorganized.
    And we're about to start a major additional effort
    without what seem to be adequate resources, and
    with what seems to be rather, er, belated planning.

    Even without being paranoid about some "nuances"
    or outcomes of choices being made - or not made -
    I feel uncomfortable with the current direction.

    I don't disagree with the basic concept, but
    I'm worried right now about our ability to execute
    everything well and on time - if we can at all.

    A number of my coworkers are very good people.
    Smart, hard-working, some offbeat senses of humor.
    They have made it bearable to be working in the midst
    of our normal state of blind chaos. But it feels like
    my efforts to help promote visibility or organize chaos
    have not borne any of the fruit I had hoped for yet -
    if they will at all. I know I've gotten a lot of credit
    for trying... but where do I trade in that credit now?

    And as the year fails, I am now looking for some sense of
    finished accomplishments, or of continued progress.

    I keep coming back to this quote that struck a chord,
    from the training sessions I attended last week:

    Automating chaos leads to faster chaos.
    -Dorothy Graham

    Where am I? Where do I go from here? How do I get there?

image behind cut )

I choose to stay grounded, and observe
my situation with compassion and detachment.
netpositive: (iconnerific)
Lion: All right. I'll go in there
for Dorothy - Wicked Witch or no Wicked Witch -
guards or no guards - I'll tear 'em apart.
Ohhh! I may not come out alive but I'm going in there.
There's only one thing I want you fellas to do...
Tin Man and Scarecrow: What's that?
Lion: Talk me out of it.


Last weekend, while the mice were away:
text behind cut )
Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man: Courage!
Lion: You can say that again!

Courage

Sep. 2nd, 2004 11:19 pm
netpositive: (iconnerific)
... I could show my prowess --
Be a lion not a mou-ess --
If I only had the noive.

-The Wizard of Oz
    Went out to K2[1] yesterday evening.
Dorothy: Your Majesty, If you were King, you wouldn't be afraid of anything?
Lion: Not nobody, not nohow!
    Went all by myself. Asked people to dance.
Tin Man: Not even a rhinocerous?
Lion: Imposserous!
    And got asked to dance. More than once.
Dorothy: How about a hippopotamus?
Lion: Why, I'd trash him from top to bottomamus!
    Even after they saw me dance with other people.
Dorothy: Supposin' you met an elephant?
Lion: I'd wrap him up in cellophant!
    Sometimes even after they danced with me.
Scarecrow: What if it were a brontosaurus?
Lion: I'd show him who was King of the Forest!
    Stayed until midnight. Had a good time.
    Know now I can go back there when time permits.
    Not the best follow there -- perhaps still "worst" --
    but yet not all that much worse, either. Go me!
If I were King of the Forest...
Not queen, not duke, not prince.
My regal robes of the forest...
Would be satin, not cotton, not chintz.


[1] For those not familiar with the DC swing dance scene the K2 Dance Studio (Rhode Island Ave., College Park MD) is THE Cool DC Lindy Hop Dance Venue on Wed. nights. The floor is unbelievable, weird little panels of what looks like a horribly bad fruitwood veneer, or faux wood pattern shelf paper smothered in polyurethane - but underfoot it's like wearing satin slippers on glass covered with butter. Slidy!
netpositive: (Default)
Left the book I'm reading on the kitchen counter -
along with the folder with the latest sketches.
Dropped off the blue shoes for reheeling and gluing.
Found out my favorite sandals can't be resoled.

Recreated all the sketches while standing in Metro.
Hit the ground running at work, and never stopped.
Delivered 12 screens covering all the public views
(finished them yesterday, proofread this morning).

Still refining the paper prototype templates further
before starting on designs from the latest sketches.
Reported a bug. Modified draft project plan template
and sent it on to the next person starting a project.

Answered questions about search, navigation, usability,
relevancy evaluation, scheduling, form design, and search.
Talked with my federal manager - have things to consider.

Finally remembered to update my timesheet for yesterday
(and last Friday, last Thursday, and last Wednesday...).
Admin designs from the latest sketches are not yet done
for presentation to client and users tomorrow at 3 PM...

Images behind cut... )

Who am I? Do you know? I do - but then I blink.
netpositive: (Default)
My dad has lived almost all of his lifetime
in a 10 mile area of Harford County, MD.

The house of my childhood and teenage years,
and the house of my paternal grandparents,
are both tenths of a mile of where he's now
building a long-awaited retirement house.

But I don't miss either of those places at all
when I go back to visit with him nowadays.

What I miss is the Bel Air Bowl, which was
the first real refuge I had during the worst
years of late grade school (5th-7th) and the
slow spiraling downward of my mother's illness.

Scene of my first crush (my best girlfriend's
younger brother); my first being asked out on
a "date"*; and some of the early dates with my
first two serious boyfriends, during my senior
year of high school, before I left town for college,
and for good.

And of course the best girlfriend mentioned above,
Debbie Narvell, plus several other good friends
from juniors leagues who gave me Friday evenings
and Saturday mornings I could look forward to,
when sometimes there was little else positive
in my life.

So, if you see a lump in my throat when I find out
they've turned the location into an auction service
and a Gold's Gym, or if you see me watching the PBA
with a mixed air of longing and belonging, you see
what that small-town bowling alley meant to me.

*I was stood up, by someone whom I wasn't that interested in,
but who had absolutely *pestered* me to go out with him. So I saw the
original _Rocky_ by myself, because I had already bought the ticket
and couldn't get in touch with my parents to pick me up at the mall.
netpositive: (window)
Begin to consider what you can do
just this week, just today, just this hour.
How small do you need to make the time frame
in order to feel positive? Don't worry about
details; focus on just one baby step. What can
you accomplish in the next five minutes?

Move your body; narrow your focus; take action.
    Some things that happen in a weekend:

    Carry-out Cincinnati chili with sour cream.
    A glass of amaretto w/peach schnapps.
    Watching part of a favorite videotape.
    Get solid sleep. Emergency laundry time.
    See a brace of films by Orson Welles.
    Greeting some old friends in passing.
    Review new search engine documentation.
    Steam is rising off the Potomac River.
    Out dancing to a rare appearance by a
    traditional big band at Glen Echo -
    go through three shirts, two towels,
    lots of trips to the water fountain, and
    a life-saving bottle of berry Gatorade.
    Meet up late-night with an Oreo milkshake.
    Sun-dry sheets while walking to Courthouse
    for some iced chai. Continue with laundry.
    Plan for an hour of yard work (with water).
    Work on summary documents for presentation
    on the e-gov standards usability testing.
    Color hair. Get ready for this busy week of
    training + work + home + life. Pet cats.

    Let's take July one step at a time.
Fear comes with the territory.
Stop thinking that fear must vanish
before you can start a project. Fear
is part of life. You'll hear it when
you're perched on your growing edge.
Tilt your head to listen -- and then
press on. Demystify the fear by saying,
'There's the same old fear sitting on my shoulder.
I'll just go about my business.'

from _Stress Reduction for Busy People_
netpositive: (Default)
Let the waters settle -
you will see stars and moon
mirrored in your being.

-Rumi

Before going to bed each night,
think of at least three things
you did today of which you are proud.

Folks (1)

Jun. 24th, 2004 01:17 am
netpositive: (Default)
Some random pix from the Washington Folk Festival:

Images behind cut... )

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netpositive: (Default)
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