Tuesday, July 5, 2011

It's Another TED Day

Any day that's a TED day is a good day. These are two of my new all-time favorites.

Enjoy. And, Smile. It's the right thing to do.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Birthday, USA

This video brings up what I am most proud of the USA for doing - standing up for itself back in the days. Luckily it was able to follow its independent streak.

Anyway, happy 4th, everyone!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Well here's a bit of random

Yes, that's a picture of potpourri. Because that's what this post is all about.

Need a laugh? Need some new vocabulary to work with? Well, this website, in all its old-school, pixelated glory is the one for you.

I have fallen in love. I wish I had the skill set to work for these people. They are good. Yes, pun intended. And, I agree about the school food vs. prison food, in case you're wondering.

For the ultimate cure to boredom, go here.

To cure boredom and feel smarter, go here.

Still in the works of my other blogs. But they are coming. Be ready.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Playing for Change

So, Palestinians are starting a non-violent resistance. I think this is great because it will allow them to say they tried when it doesn't work. But hey, who knows. At least Israel will be unable to turn this into a sign of Palestinian evil-doing. And with all the movements going around the Middle East, I am glad one of them is peaceful (though they have been walking the other road in tit-for-tat for some time now). May the movement be well coordinated, and I hope and pray for change.

In honor, a post from Playing For Change. It's one of my favorite groups to follow. I would love to be part of a group like this, or start something like this, because, as my last posts suggests, I love music and I like how it makes people happy. Way to unite the world and preserve traditional instruments, guys. :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Music and Life

To throw a bit of random into this blog, a post dedicated to something that's been on my mind a lot: music. Everyone likes some kind of music and with today's technology, you can easily get to whatever kind of music that is for you. This blog is titled "Do what you like; like what you do." Well, folks. I encourage you to listen or play some music for yourself today.

I happened upon a new product being developed right now. It is a game to provide an incentive to practice (without paying for weekly lessons). I am lucky enough to be in the country they are founded in, and I will be visiting them to test their demo game. If you like the idea of helping people stick to practicing to actually learn an instrument, you should like them on Facebook to give them support since they are just starting out. I have high hopes of finally learning the guitar with this program. Check out their website here.

Since being here in Finland, I find myself in a situation I seem to constantly be in. I travel a lot, and I always want to take my sheet music with me when I foresee the presence of a piano (I haven't ever thought I would be with the big low brass instruments I also play). However, I have a lot of sheet music and not a lot of weight or space left over in my bags whenever I travel. Problem. Big problem for me. So, I came up with a solution that I will share on this blog because I don't care so much about copyright issues or the red tape of getting this done myself.

But, I want someone (Mac, perhaps?) to develop an iPad-like device that is as flat as possible, with as much storage capacity as possible, with a screen that is large enough for two 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper with an easy-to-turn-page system for sheet music. You could put this device on a music stand or on a piano. It would of course have a tablet feature so you could "write" on your music and mark it. Wifi to be able to download new sheet music and watch videos online, listen to songs, etc. A MIDI reader file to read sheet music (so, speakers), and a metronome and tuner built in. Of course, the screen must be able to be dimmed/brightened.

This would be a music-loving traveler's dream product. I am awful with memorization, so that option is out. I can't say I like the idea of not having tangible pages for something I hold so dear (turning things digital still doesn't make me feel like it's as real). However, I would rather have digitalized sheet music than no music at all.

Hm. Music. Yes. That's what I have to say about that today. Here is one choice of music you may not know about to get you started on your musical day today. Or, you can look down a couple posts and see the Raiden guitar song that is so amazing.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What Poverty and Terrorism Have in Common

I hope I don't ruin any surprises for you, but if you are a part of the human race and reading this blog, I would hope you know this already.

Osama Bin Laden was killed.

(No that picture is not Bin Laden; try to connect the dots after you read this post)

So, my take as an amateur counter-terrorism enthusiast:

I have always equated poverty and terrorism as being equally elusive of our eradication efforts. The pronoun "our" in that sentence applies to every person on this globe who has ever thought the world could be a better place if children didn't starve to death because they drew the short straw for the continent on which they were born or if extremists would voice their opinions peacefully. The thing with poverty and terrorism alike is the virtually impossible task of eliminating either one because of the complicated nature of the problem itself. Both terrorism and poverty, arguably, come down to who we are and how we live.

I will let you digest the implications of this for poverty because this blog is supposed to be about the effect of Bin Laden's death. Let it simmer, however, alongside the thought that terrorism is the same. While you do that, I will provide a bullet-list of my thoughts.

  • Killing Bin Laden had to be done. Sorry, folks, but it did. I don't like the death penalty any more than the next housewife, but can you imagine trying to keep Bin Laden secure somewhere? What a nightmare. Not only logistically, but also in terms of media. His popularity among Muslims was getting lower and turning him into a public display would only make issues worse by potentially elevating his status as a martyr and rallying his followers to come to his aid. I don't even want to think about the things he would say in custody that would be blared out to the world and the unraveling aftermath...
  • His body had to be thrown into the ocean. Conspirators rejoice at what I heard someone call the "next Elvis." But, from a PR standpoint, this really was best. Islamic tradition requires quick burial. Saudi Arabia turned down having the body buried there. So, giving the geographic location, where do you put the body? Afghanistan? Ha. Excuse me while I laugh. For those of you who think "just burn the body" or "who cares about customs" need I remind you of several key phrases in Obama's speech that told the nation (as well as emphasizing existing implications) that this action was significant symbolically as well as politically. Bin Laden, scapegoat of terrorism and anti-American/anti-freedom/anti-democracy sentiment, was called a "murderer of Muslims" among other things in that speech, and Obama certainly would not be able to defend the USA's actions as such and alienate that population at the same time. Imagine Achilles tying the body of Hector to a carriage after Hector cried to preserve his body for his family, honor, soul, and gods (also, I remind you that even after the body was returned, Achilles only offered a 12-day truce for funeral services before the war would continue). Same concept. Inducing vengeance was not the goal of Bin Laden's death, so, excuse my French, but skrew you, conspirators.
  • It's good to shake up Pakistan, but the US needs to be careful. Relations in the area are still quite strained. Thank goodness Bin Laden can no longer have the option to use the revolutions sweeping across the Middle East as a rallying point. I don't know if he actually would have since he seemed to be faring well in his pseudo-mansion in the suburbs, but he can't now, and Pakistan needed a bit of an awakening since they had mixed roles in this whole business.
  • Obama, you sly politician. Kicking off Trump's show? Justice. Using this as a way to boost opinion polls? Foolish. In many ways, I think he should have kept it quiet.
  • The TSA lines will still be unbearable (sorry). Even though TSA got rid of the color system, those long lines will continue and you will still have to separate your liquids into a ziploc bag and put your laptop in its own individual bin. Why? Because Bin Laden died. Not every single extremist. And it would take considerable effort to scale back at this point because it would be that much easier for things to slip through and then who would get blamed when some random guy gets stabbed with a knitting needle on a red eye? TSA, of course.
  • Thank goodness this isn't The Battle of Algiers. Cutting off the head of this leadership will actually do some considerable damage on the image of Al Qaeda. It's not like Bin Laden was actually involved in operations at this point, really. He was a figure-head. To replace him in that capacity? Yeah, I suspect the lines for that job are about as long as the French Cardinal Musketeer recruitment lines for Louis XIV.
  • It's economics, dear Watson. The results of this victory are not long-lasting politically or economically. The only lasting result is that of resolution. The issue is closed. No doubt, the economy will soon preoccupy our thoughts once again.

So, yes. Osama has died. However, terrorism has not. Nor will it. Like poverty, terrorism will always remain because, frankly, it is virtually impossible to get the entire world to act together on anything (which is what it would require to eliminate either of these atrocities). The US can, however, help the situation and impact as many lives as possible. Like sending rice to North Korea, rather than spending US efforts and troops to spread democracy to try and calm the swell, I hope counterterrorism is emphasized and troops are withdrawn quickly. One crazy man is eliminated, now let's keep working on making the rest of the world better. And, for Pete's sake, if you think killing Osama Bin Laden was inhumane, I don't understand your logic. This was a huge blow for the future of terrorism. Not just an act of revenge. So, let's keep going. I, for one, will never stop fighting terrorism or poverty because that truly would be inhumane.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What Shall Come

I have been thinking for some time that I will be creating several new blogs that are a bit more, shall we say, focused. This blog has been entirely random in content, and I have decided to change that. So, you who follow my blog or who are reading this, I ask for your feedback on my brainstorming sessions.

Here are the ideas I think I could do:

bloGrapher (A blog dedicated to showing graphs in all new ways and creating silly ones)

PhotoCraze (A blog in which I would take a picture a week of something random and challenge viewers to find their own crazy version of that object/noun thing. So, if I took a picture of the number 4 one week, I would hope people would search for "4"s in their lives and take crazy or artistic photos and post it on the blog)

Real Boaters Are their Own Motors (A blog for whitewater river rafting)

Yocko's Modern Life (A blog critiquing the Information Age)

Let's (A blog about social mass movements)

Do what you like; like what you do (I would keep this blog as a means to post the random-ness that I find that I usually email out to random people. Think of it as a potpourri of awesomeness)

Please let me know if you like the sounds of any of these in particular, if you have any ideas for improvement, or if you keep thinking you wish there was a blog about ____ and want me to write about it!