Saturday, December 12, 2015

How to Calm a Crying Baby

I've never heard of this before, but I guess it's a thing. Mothers are encouraged to comment.

Skip to 1:01

[Dr. Hamilton Demonstrates "The Hold" - How To Calm A Crying Baby] (Viewer #11,402,539)

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Practical Anger Management Tips

From Gizmodo:

I particularly liked this section:

We all have our own distinct "anger cues." Brown describes them as the thoughts we think, the ways we act, and the way we feel when we're angry. By recognizing these cues, we can catch our anger quickly and re-adjust.

"Taking a moment to acknowledge the anger before acting can help a lot," says Brown. "Slowing your body down or walking away for a while before acting can help, as long as you don't take that time simply to 'stew' over the things you're angry about."

Brown says it's also a good idea to redirect our thoughts. We can always ask a neutral person to help us think through the situation to evaluate if our anger is justified, and if it is, get advice on how to navigate the problem in the most effective and appropriate manner.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Note to Self

"Failure has a function: it asks you if you REALLY want to go on making things." -Clive James

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Reminder on the Voices to Ignore

NOTE: Contains a couple casual swears.

That aside, I found her commentary on acknowledging yet dismissing critics to be quite insightful

[Brené Brown: Why Your Critics Aren't The Ones Who Count] (Viewer #687,003)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Birthday Thought

I wish the leaves turned this color in the fall.

I would walk with you through them.

You'll Never Run Out of What You Need

The supply of light is infinite. The supply of adversity is not.

Just an optimistic thought that occurred to me recently

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

What Discontinued Food or Drink Do You Miss the Most?

A question posed at Mental Floss.

For me, the answer is easy: Chocolate Hershey's Tastations.

It was the only chocolate flavored hard candy that tasted creamy & chocolatey. Most chocolate hard candy has the same horrid, watery, sugar+cocoa flavor that chocolate Tootsie Roll Pops have.

Got discontinued somewhere in the early 2000's

The good news, however, it that I finally found something similar a few years back:

See's Little Pops

I don't like their barrel shape as much as Tastations' disk shape, but beggars can't be choosers, and the flavor's rich and creamy, which is the most important part.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Making A Fuss Over The Small, Good Things That Happen Every Day

It's supposed to be advice for a happy marriage, but most of these tips (except #6 of course) will strengthen just about any relationship.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Asking Questions to Clarify

A bit of linguistic trivia that only I and Words Girl will likely find of interest:

This Conversational Strategy May Be a Language Universal

Saturday, October 3, 2015

If I'm at Home, I Probably Can't Hear You

[10 Cell Phone Life Hacks, For Better Reception] (Viewer #1,796,574)

I checked the signal strength, and it turns out the only decent spot in my house is in my office, directly in front of my window. Which is also my least-favorite place to talk.

On the bright side, the "airplane mode on/off" thing does seem to help. Briefly.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Zipper Mystery: Solved

via Mental Floss:

Why Do All Zippers Have the Letters YKK on Them?

I've noticed this for years, but I've never been near a search engine while thinking about it.

I never would've guessed the answer.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

If I Were a Peanuts Character

This is as close as I get, since beards aren't an option:

Via PeanutizeMe

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Legos: They're Kinda Awesome

Via Mental Floss:

15 Interlocking Facts About LEGO

Because of the children in my life, I have learned a LOT about #4 over the last 9 months.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Find a Friend, Be a Friend

From a report discussing the benefits of being around happy people:
Fortunately, the emotional cause-and-effect seemed to be a one-way street: depressed individuals exerted no negative influence on their healthy friends.

However, there is an evident paradox here, in which the individuals most likely to benefit from the cheering impact of time spent with healthy companions are also the most likely to self-segregate, thereby denying themselves an opportunity for exposure to those with more positive outlooks.

The message, then, is not only that the depressed should seek happiness in the glow of others, but also that healthy friends should do their part to uplift their struggling loved ones, even if doing so simply entails spending more time with them.

In any case, it's encouraging to learn that contagion can be a force for good, as long as it's joy that's being spread.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

This Doesn't Just Apply to Thwarting Terrorists

Good advice all the way around, from the heroes who stopped the French train jihadi:
Asked if there were lessons, Sadler had one for all who find themselves in the face of a choice.

"Do something," he said. "Hiding, or sitting back, is not going to accomplish anything. And the gunman would've been successful if my friend Spencer had not gotten up. So I just want that lesson to be learned going forward, in times of, like, terror like that, please do something. Don't just stand by and watch."

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Cure for a Bad Day

Deer & bunny playing (NOTE: nothing interesting happens in the last 20 seconds)

[Real Life Bambi and Thumper - a fawn playing with a bunny] (Viewer #46,436)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Why I Like Rick Astley

I don't care much for his music, but I gotta respect this:

after millions upon millions of views, how much money has the rickrolling prank raked in for its star?

Well, as of 2010, he has received the princely sum of... $12.

This is because Astley didn't write the song, so he only receives a performer's share of the sound recording copyright.

Astley doesn't seem to have any hard feelings about rickrolling.

"Listen, I just think it's bizarre and funny. My main consideration is that my daughter doesn't get embarrassed about it."

And despite the prevalence of the meme, he has no plans to remix or re-release the song to cash in on the phenomenon.

"I don't really know whether I want to be doing that," he said. "I'm not being an ageist, but it's almost a young person's thing, that. I think the artist themselves trying to remix it is almost a bit sad. No, I'm too old for that."

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Useful, No. Interesting, Yes

Via Springer's Blog

[Introducing the Lily Camera] (Viewer #7,680,059)

I have no idea what I'd do with one of these. My lifestyle isn't that interesting. I'd have videos of me mowing my lawn or enduring the underpaid help at the Chick-fil-A drivethru.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Venting Only Makes It Worse

Scientific proof.

Personally, when I feel like yelling, the best approach for me is to try to relax my chest. That's where the tension builds up. If I can make the tension go away, I don't feel like yelling.

Even though the external situation doesn't change at all.

Agency - it's a beautiful thing.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Inner Peace

My goal in life: to always be this unflappable:

[Owl Has No Cares to Give] (Viewer #583,627)

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Are You Ready to Be Organized?

These don't come off Kickstarter until October (funding ends August 8th, if you want in early), but they seem like a good and useful idea:

[EZSTAX for your closet, dresser, laundry room, and office]

Saturday, July 11, 2015

There's Probably a Downside I'm Not Seeing

This looks like a brilliant design:

[ShelfPack in use] (Viewer #1,129)

More details at Technabob.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Politely Disagree

Via Liberal Logic 101

Forgiveness is about helping the forgiver let go of the pain and begin healing. You don't need the offender's permission to move on with your life.

Trust me on this one.

See also: Matthew 6:14-15

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

What Matters in Life

The context is a dull, make-news story about a poll, but I found this list of things that make up "well-being" to be interesting:
Purpose: liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals

Social: having supportive relationships and love in your life

Financial: managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security

Community: liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community

Physical: having good health and enough energy to get things done daily

and the ratings were classified as:
"thriving" (well-being that is strong and consistent)

"struggling" (well-being that is moderate or inconsistent)

"suffering" (well-being that is low and inconsistent)

Personally, I'm thrive by five, so life is pretty good around here.

Hope you're doing similarly.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Happiness Is...

via CBS New York
After decades of research and a dozen clinical trials, researchers at the world-renowned Mayo Clinic, say they've actually cracked the code to being happy, and published it in a handbook.

Dr. Amit Sood led the research and says the first and foremost way to be happy is to focus our attention.

"You can choose to live focusing on what is not right in your life," Dr. Sood said.

Experts say the human mind is instinctively restless, wandering from good thoughts to sad thoughts, scary thoughts and everything in between.

But if we learn to command our thoughts, shifting perspective away from the negative, and embrace the positive, we will be happier, experts say.

"Resiliency has everything to do with happiness," Dr. Sood said.

The Mayo Clinic's research also shows the degree of happiness people enjoy has to do with how resilient they are to life's many curve balls. Happy people are very good at compartmentalizing and creating boundaries.

"So for example, if you've had a difficult day, when you get back home, for the first three minutes, forget about it, park it, and meet your family as if they're long lost friends," Dr. Sood added.

And perhaps one of the biggest hindrances to being happy is too much thinking about one's self, research shows.

"Complainers are never going to be happy," Ketchian said. "Happiness is a decision."

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Not Sure How I Feel About This

Bohemian Rhapsody on a Marenghi Organ.

It's a spectacular arrangement, and very well executed, it's just that hearing it on this instrument fires off some weird cognitive dissonance in my head.

[Bohemian Rhapsody Played by 100+ year old fairground organ] (Viewer #329,227)

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Solution Oriented

When I'm feeling frustrated and running behind, instead of telling myself "oh no!", I'm now telling myself "watch this".

It makes me feel like whatever I'm doing in response to the setback is a deliberate and practical solution.

I feel a lot more powerful that way.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

More Stress, Please

From the Financial Times review of "The Upside of Stress":

McGonigal says that stress is an important signifier, not something to be ignored. "You don't stress out about things you don't care about, and you can't create a meaningful life without experiencing some stress," she writes.

She suggests a three-step approach to change our "mindset": acknowledge stress when you experience it, welcome the stress by recognizing that it's a response to something you care about, then make use of the energy it gives you.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


There are two kinds of pain in life. The pain of regret and the pain of discipline. One is easier to have. The other will make you happy.

Saturday, May 16, 2015


Via Super Conservative

Long story, but this reminds me a lot of a conversation I had a couple years ago:

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Handy If You're Watching Movies From the 70's, When You Could Still Tell Cars Apart

I was watching "The North Avenue Irregulars," and I got asked what that sporty-looking white car was, and I guessed it was an AMC, but I wasn't sure.

Figured I'd never know.

However, light Googling turned up the Internet Movie Car Database, which solved my problem (it was a '73 Hornet)

I don't know how deep they go, but you can try typing a movie name in the Search Box on their home page. Let me know what you find.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Get Out of My Head, Me!

From Wikihow:

How to Stop Thinking Too Much

They left out my favorite: filling up on milk and cookies and taking a nap.

Monday, April 13, 2015

How to Buy a Used Car Without Getting Burned

Through a combination of research and personal mistakes, I have - over the years - compiled a checklist of things to ask about and/or look for when shopping for a used car.

The first section, "Background", is a list of things you can ask about over the phone when you see an ad that catches your eye. This will let you know if there are problems so major that you shouldn't even bother looking at the thing. The other things are specific items to look for during the pre-test-drive physical/visual inspection. In recent years, I've found that checking the oil-level dipstick and air filter is especially important, since quite often I can't even locate them without help.

Anyway, after you get the background info, you'll be able to go to and find out what a fair price for the vehicle is. You'll need that later.











How to use this checklist to your advantage as a buyer:

First, the fact that you just spent 30-60 minutes checking every detail of the car before you even start it up intimidates the seller into thinking you REALLY know cars.

Second, if you actually do each and every one of these items, you will not be surprised by "little problems" after you buy it. You will know the car as well as the owner, and possibly better.

Third, if you find little problems that really don't matter to you, you can still use them as a negotiating tool, as long as you keep your mouth shut about them really not mattering to you.

Here's the quick & dirty guide to negotiating for the price you want.

1) Ask the seller how much he wants for the car. Even if the price tag is still sitting right in the window - ask. He will then mention a price.

2) Ask him how he arrived at that price. Let him answer.

3) Pause. Say nothing for 15-30 seconds. He may or may not shoot himself in the foot during this period by mentioning an even lower price.

4) Mention the little problems you found and tell the seller that he either needs to get them repaired before you'll consider buying the car, or he needs to knock the repair costs off the asking price. Ask him what's the lowest price he would take for the car.

5) He will mention a price, which may or may not be lower than the last price he mentioned.

6) Pause. Say nothing for 15-30 seconds. Shuffle your feet. Look anguished. Tell him that you can give him (an amount less than price mentioned) [I like to add the words "in cash, right now" to that price - which is why I buy cheap cars and bring cash to the transaction, including enough small bills that I can make change for whatever price we settle at].

7) If he says yes, buy the car. If he says no, thank him for his time, give him your phone number and ask him to call you if he changes his mind.

8) If he said no, call him in 24 hours and ask him if he's re-considered your offer. He'll probably either agree to your price, split the difference, or at least come down SOME amount. If the number he mentions sounds reasonable, buy the car. If it doesn't, say goodbye & look elsewhere.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

I'm Confident You'll Like These

9 Things You Can Do to Feel More Confident

My version of #1:

Take a deep breath - feel your spine straighten.

Exhale, but don't let your spine collapse.

You'll feel ready to take on the world.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Gritless Cinderella

Disney's Cinderella And Avoiding The Trap Of Cinematic "Grittiness"

In Cinderella, screenwriter Chris Weitz gives princess-to-be Cinderella (aka Ella) a defining ethos, one that was imparted to her by her dying mother (spoilers?), played by Hayley Atwell: One must always be courageous and kind. And that's shown as being difficult for Cinderella, at times. She has to struggle to keep her resentment towards her evil stepmother (Cate Blanchett) and stepsisters (Holliday Grainger, Sophie McShera) at bay. At one point, she runs away from her ill treatment at home. But always, eventually, Cinderella chooses that that is not who she is. She forgives her stepmother. She returns to her home, not because she's a weakling who has no thought in her head other than to be ordered around, but because the house is all that's left of her parents, and it's incredibly important to her. She's courageous enough to weather the storm and not be driven away.

She's not broody. She's not angsty. Her entire character motivation is "I want to be a good person," and if you think that's inherently less interesting or less difficult to achieve than "My parents were killed when I was a child, and I have to dress up like a bat to avenge them, graaarrrrrrgh," then there's the door.

Thursday, April 2, 2015


via Cheezburger

So, if you want to avoid temptation, either increase the distance, or dispose of the means.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Peep Report

Last year, around Easter, I put some Peeps in a ziploc bag in the freezer.

I thawed one out and ate it today. It was as soft and chewy and tasty as a fresh one.


Frozen Peeps are good for at least one year as long as you use use airtight packaging, so stock up big at the after-Easter sale.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

10 Uplifting Questions

Via MindBodyGreen:

1. Will I allow myself to play the victim or will I choose to be responsible for this situation?

2. Will I continue to react to circumstances or will I choose to create the life I want to live?

3. Can I take the time to respond from a place of clarity and strength, rather than immediately react to this experience?

4. Will I blame others for the situation or will I take responsibility for it and create an action plan to move forward from a place of personal power and strength?

5. Am I allowing someone else to take away my personal power? (Hint: if you're playing the victim, the answer to this will always be yes.)

6. How can I be of service to this person, situation or circumstance and myself so that we feel buoyed, rather than weighed down?

7. How can I create something meaningful for me and/or others out of this experience?

8. Am I placing expectations on myself or others? Are those expectations serving me in any way?

9. What if, through this challenge I choose to learn, create, grow and expand rather than blame, resent or accuse?

10. What is my gut telling me? (And am I listening?)

Friday, March 13, 2015

Never Again Will Television Contain a Character This Super-Nova Self-Confident

Via Cheezburger

In his defense, you can't call him cocky, because he could always back up his smack-talk.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Growing Up

Part of a longer pondering by Sarah Hoyt:

And you grow a bit more and realize your dad gave up his dream of becoming an artist for a career that he didn’t like because he had a family to support. And you realize how well your mom does what she does considering what she battles every day.

And you start seeing all the times they didn’t tell you they were too tight on money, but gave you the price of a movie, because they wanted you to be happy. And all the times they went without something near-essential so you could have something nice.

And then, somewhere along the line, you realize that all the grace and favors received come with an obligation. That it’s up to you to do something nice for THEM, to bring unexpected joy to their lives, because they work so hard and they love you. And the same with your friends. Instead of worrying that you are having such a hard time, you notice your friend broke with her boyfriend and is trying to be brave, but depressed, and you blow all the money you made that month on tutoring to take her out to a movie about dance and dinner and to be silly and walk in the rain like you did when you were little.

Congratulations. You’ve found the key to adulthood and arguably to happiness — when you stop obsessing over your own wrongs and difficulties and start trying to make others’ lives easier.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Something Fun

Action starts at 2:55 if you can't stand the anticipation.

[YouTube direct link] (Viewer #17,446)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

It's a Good World

Nobody would've believed this 100 years ago.
More than 56 percent of Latin American adults are overweight or obese, compared to a global average of 34 percent, according to a report by the Overseas Development Institute last year.

The growing problem often affects the poorest in society

That's right - poor people have too much to eat.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Kinda Heartwarming

What Happens to the Losing Team's Championship Shirts?

"In 2011, after Pittsburgh lost to the Green Bay Packers, the Steelers Super Bowl apparel went to Zambia, Armenia, Nicaragua and Romania."

Monday, February 2, 2015

Like a Fish in Cold Water

About 6 weeks ago, my Betta fish, Clarence, stopped eating.

Also, he stopped doing his one trick, which was - when I pressed my finger against the outside of his bowl, he would flare his gills and swim over to where my finger was. Then I would hold my finger just above the water, and he would jump up and nudge it. After which I would feed him.

After some Googling, I came across the notion that maybe he stopped eating because he was cold - I keep my house 8 degrees cooler in winter than in the summer, when I got him.

So I put a standard electric heating pad under his little 1 gallon bowl.

Soon he was building bubble nests - which is always a good sign of a happy fish - but not eating.

But after about a week, he *did* start eating again.

And he's doing his one trick again, too.

So, yeah, what the internet says about Betta fish being able to go without food for a month is true. So if this happens to you, keep him warm, keep offering food, and just wait it out.

A little prayer couldn't hurt, either...

Friday, January 23, 2015

Thursday, January 1, 2015