Wednesday, September 30, 2015

All Storytelling is About Metaphor



A boxer takes a haymaker to the jaw. He falls. He struggles to one knee as the ref stands over him, counting, ” … two, three, four … ” Watch the faces in the arena. They have become that fighter. He is living their life, their struggle.

You are that fighter

That’s metaphor. That’s art.

You, the artist, are that fighter. You enact via your struggle (and the struggle of the characters you create), the life drama of those who look on as you fight. When we speak of “finding our own voice,” we’re not talking about finding our petty, selfish voice, mewling and sniveling about our own selfish shit. The voice we’re seeking is much bigger. It’s noble. It’s generous. It’s universal. It does not inflict itself upon the reader for its own self-interested reasons. Instead it seduces, intoxicates and incorporates the reader into a tale told of the reader and for the reader.

Your protagonist is not you. Your protagonist is the reader. You are not telling your story for yourself. You’re telling it for her. You’re telling her life story. You’re expressing her pain, her longing, her struggle.

Can you be that artist? Can you become that boxer? Can you train yourself and discipline yourself and motivate yourself to be good enough to merit a fight in an arena, a contest that people will buy tickets to see? Have you got the speed, the strength, the mental toughness?

Are you that fighter?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Is There Life on Mars? Here’s What the Water NASA Just Found Means

Ria Misra
Filed to: MARS9/28/15 10:20am

NASA just confirmed something incredible: There’s water flowing on Mars today. But what does that mean for life on the red planet today—both the life that may already be present, as well as the life we could bring by building a colony there?

The water found on Mars isn’t exactly like the water we find on Earth; it’s a perchlorate brine, which lets the water flow in Mars’ freezing temperatures. Still, even as part of a brine, it is water, and the presence of water means something perhaps even more incredible than the original announcement: “Everywhere we go where there is liquid water, we find life,” NASA’s planetary director Jim Green said of the news.

So, does this mean Mars could host life?
Is there life on Mars?

To be clear, no life has yet been found on Mars. But the confirmation of water gives us quite a few clues we didn’t have before, and the most valuable one may be a better place to start looking for it.

Scientists have long believed that Mars at one point—perhaps even now—held at least living microbes. But with a whole planet to look over, finding those was unlikely. Now, however, says Green, “We have a great site to look and to make that positive ID.” This news not only gives them a place to look; learning about the water could also offer suggestions into just how that survival was possible in an environment totally alien to life as we know it—much like how scientists were able to find out how it managed to unfreeze in freezing temperatures.

And that answer could be very close. With this announcement, NASA has already scheduled the next Mars rover in 2020 to bring back samples to look for life in, whether those be “chemical fossils” or perhaps something a little newer. That process is further complicated, though, by the fact that NASA has promised to keep its rovers clear of the flowing water site, to avoid contaminating it with the microbes still hanging on it from Earth.

But the question of life on Mars isn’t just one of whether we can find life already on the planet, it’s also whether life we send there could survive. In other words, does this news mean we’re closer to colonizing Mars?

“This Isn’t Star Trek”

The water on Mars may not be precisely drinkable, at least in its current form, but just the fact that it’s there and currently flowing drastically ups what we could potentially do on that planet.

Mars is looking “more and more like a potential habitat,” NASA administrator and former astronaut John Grunfeld said before going on to tick off just a few of the resources a colony could now expect on Mars: flowing water, nitrogen from the atmosphere, the potential to grow crops in a Martian greenhouse.

The presence of water also does one other thing—it gives us a potential way station to refuel in, either for a journey home or perhaps further outwards. “What’s water? Well, it’s hydrogen and oxygen. That’s what we make rocket fuel out of,” said Grunfeld.

So how far are we from this Martian colony? Grunfeld didn’t pin a date, but said that it was “near future” level. Green was a little more cautious about the timeline, which he put at “many, many years away,” adding, “this isn’t Star Trek. We learn everything about the place before we send people there.”

Monday, September 28, 2015

Here Are the Best Images of Last Night's Supermoon Eclipse

Last night the world was lucky enough to see a supermoon lunar eclipse. Hopefully you got to see it in person—but if not, here are some of the best pictures so far of the stellar spectacle.

As Ria at io9 explained yesterday, a supermoon eclipse is a simple yet rare event:

A “Supermoon” is simply what happens when a full moon coincides with the Moon being at its closest point to Earth. Reports you’ve heard of an OMG GIANT MOON are exaggerated—yes, the Supermoon will look bigger, but it tops out at 14% larger.... During a lunar eclipse, the Moon moves into the Earth’s shadow and hiding in the Earth’s Shadow shades the Moon a distinct red color. On September 27, we’ll be seeing both of these two phenomenon paired together for the first time since 1982 to create a Supermoon Eclipse—and it’s the only shot you’ll get at seeing it until 2033.

So how did it look? Pretty great, actually! The image at the top of the page was taken over the Mediterranean sea in Netanya, Israel and shows the red glow seen in many parts of the world.

Here are some of the other great images of the eclipse that we’ve found so far.

The eclipsed supermoon rises behind the Las Vegas Strip (Gettty Images).

The supermoon rises behind Glastonbury Tor, UK (Gettty Images).


The supermoon rises over Boston Harbor (Getty Images).


During the eclipse, next to the Empire State Building (NASA/Joel Kowsky).


Before the eclipse, next to the Empire State Building (NASA/Joel Kowsky).

Behind the Washington Monument (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani).

Behind the Colorado State Capitol Building (NASA/Bill Ingalls).

Up-close (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani).

Before the eclipse, over the Menai Suspension Bridge in Wales (Kris Williams).

Over the Tyholmen old town area with the Trinity Church, Arendal, Norway (Birgit Fostervold).

Top image by AP Photo/Ariel Schalit

How to Wear a Sports Jacket With Jeans

September 24, 2015Dress & Grooming, Style

The sports jacket is one of the best, most versatile items a man can have in his wardrobe. The benefits of this piece of clothing are myriad. First, it enhances your silhouette, broadening and heightening your shoulders, slimming your midsection, and giving you a more masculine appearance overall. Second, it offers a good number of pockets, so you can lighten the load on your trousers and have what you need ready at hand. And third, it affords you an opportunity to be a gentleman; should a lady friend become cold, you can remove your jacket and lend her its warmth.

Thus, any way to extend the times and places in which a sports coat may be worn is a win by me. And one such way is to pair one’s jacket with jeans.

Wearing jeans and a sports coat is a somewhat controversial move; it has been called “the business mullet” (formal up top, casual on the bottom) by its critics. And it’s true that done wrong, the look can come off quite poorly.

But executed well, pairing a sports coat and jeans results in a sharp, casual look that will easily become your go-to getup for a variety of situations. The key to pulling it off is simply to choose the right jeans, the right jacket, and the right accessories. How to do that is what we’ll be covering today.
The Overarching Principle for Successfully Pairing a Sports Jacket With Jeans

Too formal top 
+ too casual bottom 
= business mullet.

The main reason the sports coat and jeans look fails is that the two pieces are too jarringly matched. Generally, the jeans are too casual, and the jacket is too formal. And often both pieces are too baggy. The solution of course is to make sure that top and bottom complement each other well — that your jeans are a little more formal, your jacket is a little more casual, and everything fits well. Remember, fit is the foundation of style!
Choose Your Jeans

Baggy, over-casual jeans (left), look incongruous paired with a sports jacket, while jeans with a more tailored look (right), complement the jacket nicely.

This is the easiest part of the equation: choose clean, dark, well-fitted, trouser-esque denim. Avoid ripped, baggy, faded, and distressed jeans. Lighter denim can sometimes work, especially if you’re Robert Redford circa 1975. But to keep it simple, go with a nice, deep indigo.
Choose Your Sports Jacket

This is the area where you’ll have to exercise more discretion.

The first question that often arises is whether one’s coat has to be of the sports variety, or whether one can pair jeans with a suit jacket or blazer.

When it comes to wearing a suit jacket and jeans, the answer is, with very few exceptions, decidedly no. A suit jacket is more structured, spare in details, smooth in fabric, and formal in appearance; thus, paired with the casualness of jeans, the resulting look is simply too discordant and jarring.

The blazer jacket sits in-between the formality levels of the suit jacket and the sports jacket. It can work with jeans, especially if it is made of a thicker, more textured fabric like flannel or serge, rather than the fine worsted wool common to suit jackets. But it can still come off as too formal to pair well with denim.

When it comes to style, most men are better off adhering to fairly simple rules, rather than delving into nuances and exceptions, so when it comes to donning a jacket with your jeans, I recommend sticking solely with the sports coat. It’s hard to go wrong with it. The sports jacket was created in the 19th century for gentlemen who needed a more rugged, utilitarian garment for active pursuits like shooting, hunting, riding, and golf. The jacket was thus constructed of thicker fabrics and adorned with patch pockets for cartridges, elbow patches for durability, and slits in the back for mobility. These rustic, casual style details are what make the sports jacket a quite fitting companion for the rustic, casualness of denim. In fact, the more casual the jacket, the better it will complement your jeans.

For more on the differences between suit jackets, blazers, and sports coats, check out this article.

Here are a few things to generally look for in a sports jacket that will pair particularly well with jeans:

A jacket in a color that contrasts with your jeans (right), generally looks better than a jacket in a similar color (left).
Unstructured and soft-shouldered.
Casual, textured fabric. Linen or cotton in warmer months; tweed, corduroy, etc. for colder weather.
Casual style details like patch pockets and elbow patches.
Two buttons over three.
Thin notch lapels over peak lapels.
Well-fitted. Sports coats are cut roomier than suit jackets and blazers in order to allow for layering underneath. But you don’t want the fit to be too baggy.
High color contrast with jeans. Sports coats, unlike suit jackets, aren’t supposed to match your pants, and in fact look best when they form a sharp contrast with them. Thus a light-colored sports coat generally looks best with dark denim.
The Accessories

This is a good example of just about the peak of formality that can be reached with a sports jacket and jeans. Go any further and you risk trending into business mullet territory. Note how versatile this look is, though — it would be quite appropriate for a variety of business casual functions and more.

The other pieces you pair with your sports coat and jeans will go a long way towards ensuring your getup works. You can choose to go with a slightly dressier look, or a more casual one, but your general goal is to dress the jacket down, rather than to dress your jeans up. There’s only so much dressing up of the look you can do before the elements of one’s outfit become discordant.

A crisp, open-collar button-down looks right at home under a sports jacket. Image fromArticles of Style.

Shirt. Go with a casual, open-collar button-down. A crisp oxford looks good with a slightly more formal sports jacket, while a denim or chambray button-down goes well with a very casual one. Checked and striped shirts often look sharp. Wearing a t-shirt underneath a sports coat is almost never advisable, as its casual nature clashes too much with the jacket.

Examples of layering possibilities.

Sweater/vest. A layered look goes great with jeans, so don’t hesitate to pull a v-neck sweater or casual vest over your dress shirt, and under your jacket.

Shoes. When dressing up the look, choose a brown pair of brogues or oxfords. For a step down from there, go with leather loafers or double monk strap shoes. More casual still, would be to don dress/work boots (like my personal favorite, the Wolverine 1,000 mile) or chukkas. And of course cowboy boots with jeans and a sports coat is a classic look that transcends categories and works well in certain regions of the country.

A knit tie works well in matching the rustic quality of both jacket and jeans.

Tie. A tie is an unnecessary addition to what is a relatively casual look, but it can be pulled off, as long as the tie is heftier and more casual, and thus complements the rest of your getup. Think textured and thicker — beefier wool over shiny silk.

Pocket Square. Another sharp addition if you’re going for a snazzier ensemble. Just like with ties, choose a thicker, more rustic fabric rather than silk, and it’s usually best to go witha simple, low-profile fold rather than a puffy, flowing one.

In incorporating all of these elements, stick with a consistent theme; that is, if you’re going for a slightly dressier look, rock brogues, a crisp oxford, and a pocket square. If you’re going for a more casual look, pair leather dress/work boots with a chambray shirt and no tie.
When to Wear a Sports Coat and Jeans

One good time to wear a sports jacket and jeans is when you’re running from the FBI, who mistakenly believes you’ve killed your wife. These are the only circumstances under which you’re allowed to wear black sneakers with your getup as well.

A sports coat paired with jeans is not a formal or semi-formal look. It’s inherently casual in nature. That being said, it’s an extremely versatile outfit that’s particularly perfect when the dress code is a little squiggy — events where you know things aren’t going to be very dressy, but you don’t think it’s going to be super casual either. Sports coat + jeans bridges the gap between causal and dressy, town and country, and is thus a highly adaptable outfit that will allow you to seem neither too dressed up nor too dressed down in a variety of situations, including:

First date. A handsome look a lady friend is sure to appreciate. The sports jacket provides plenty of pockets to hold the essential items in a man’s first date arsenal, and you can offer your coat to your gal should she get cold. Plus, as ladies often wear dressed-up denim out on the town, this getup will allow you to look sharp without outdressing your date (something a gentleman strives to avoid).

Casual/creative job interview. When you’re applying for a job in a very casual workplace, where employees wear t-shirts and hoodies to work, the sports coat/jeans combo can be just the right sharp, but not-too uptight look for an interview.

A job that straddles field and office. If you work a job where you’re sometimes in an office, and sometimes out in the field (at a construction site, for example) the combination of durability, functionality, and put-togetherness of a sports jacket + jeans will allow you to move comfortably between different sites and roles.

Traveling. The sports jacket’s pockets come in handy when you’re traveling, while the jeans will keep you comfortable. Together the look ensures you’ll arrive to your destination in style.

Other situations where a sports coat and jeans would fit right in include casual business functions, casual church services, dinner at a steakhouse with friends, parent/teacher conferences, etc. Tinker with the formality of the accessories listed above to arrive at a look that’ll best fit the particular situation. Antonio Centeno at Real Men, Real Style recommends making the sports jacket/jeans combo your default getup for day-to-day life!

Friday, September 25, 2015

How To Resist Social Pressure To Stay Out Of Shape

September 24, 2015

How to resist social pressure to stay out of shape
We’ve all been there.
We make a commitment to ourselves to get in shape, work out consistently, and eat better overall.
But then we go to a party, out to dinner with friends, or over to a family member’s house, and somehow, our healthy choices seem to be an affront to the people we’re with.
“Just have one slice of cake, it’s not going to kill you.”
“Here, have some greasy mozzarella sticks with that salad, you don’t need to lose any more weight anyway.”
“It’s Friday! You have to let loose sometimes.”
Soon enough, we’re drowning ourselves in too much unhealthy food, even though it’s not even what we really wanted in the first place.
And although I’d never recommend trying to eat perfectly 100% of the time, even when trying to lose weight (I live by the 80/20 rule, after all), it can be incredibly frustrating when you feel like others are trying to sabotage your efforts to stay in shape.
So today I’m super happy to have my friend and fitness hack expert John Fawkes talking about this very subject and how to deal with the inevitable social pressure to stay out of shape.
Here’s how John suggests dealing with food pushers:

How To Deal With Food Pushers

Here’s a story you’ve probably heard before: you’re on a new diet. You’re cutting back on sugar, and things are going well; you’re losing weight and gaining strength. Maybe you’re not following your diet one hundred percent, but you’re coming close, and it shows in your results.
But then, you go out to eat with a friend. Initially, you order an item that’s on your diet- but your friend talks you into splitting an appetizer too. You don’t want the appetizer, but you go ahead and share it just to avoid being rude. Then, it’s time for dessert. Again, your friend insists you just have to try the pie, and won’t take no for an answer. And again, you agree to have a slice, because you don’t want to argue with your friend.
Now multiply this by several times a week, and you’re overeating almost every day. Your progress stalls. You feel guilt about not following your diet, but your friends make you feel equally guilty about sticking to it when you’re with them, and you don’t know what to do.
In fitness circles, friends like these are known as food pushers—people who try to push you into eating food that isn’t on your diet. In this article, you’re going to learn a few strategies that you can use to effectively resist food pushers. And then, you’re going to learn specific phrases you can use, so that you’ll know exactly what to say the next time somebody tries to badger you into breaking your diet.

Rules to follow

Keep your diet perfect when not around food pushers

Ideally, you would follow your diet all the time. But for now at least, you know you’re likely to cheat on your diet whenever you eat with friends. But you can at least make sure you follow your diet when you’re not around food pushers. In fact, since cheat foods tend to be heavy on sugar, you might even want to compensate by going low-carb for every meal you eat alone, or with company who support your diet.
In practice, this usually means eating low-carb for breakfast and lunch, giving you a little more leeway with dinner, should you go out with friends. On weekends it can get a bit messier, but breakfast is usually still eaten at home. Another thing that helps is drinking more water, which will curb your appetite.

Downplay your effort

When you’re really making an effort to follow a diet, your natural impulse is probably to tell your friends how hard you’re working at it, so they’ll understand how important it is to you. This is the right move with any friends who will be supportive of your efforts…but it backfires with food pushers.
The problem is, food pushers only become more determined to stop you the more you make a big deal about your diet. They don’t want you to change, usually because they worry that your diet will cause the two of you to drift apart. And they use the “but you’ll enjoy eating this” argument to reel you back in. So counterintuitively, you can more easily mollify them by making your fitness plan seem effortless.
Instead of saying you’re trying really hard to avoid sugar, just say you don’t even like sugary foods anymore. Make it sound like you’re just eating whatever you want, and your tastes happen to have changed. You can do the same with exercise—downplay how hard you’re working. Mention how short your 12 minute workouts are, but not how intense they are.

Make it about health, not attractiveness

Despite all the talk in the fitness world about health, the reality is that most people get into fitness because they want to look sexy. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that, but it rubs some people the wrong way. Bring up the idea of sex appeal with people who aren’t into fitness, and they’ll often turn it into an argument about how the media promotes unhealthy beauty standards. Phrases like “real women have curves” might get used. And then, suddenly your diet isn’t about you anymore- now you’re helping the media spread its evil propaganda!
So avoid the subject of attractiveness altogether. Instead, emphasize that you’re worried about diabetes, or your cholesterol levels, or joint pain. Tell your friends that your doctor said you would suffer serious health problems in the fairly near future if you don’t get your act together—whether it’s true or not.

Emphasize your obligation to other people

Food pushers will try to talk you out of following your diet by saying things like “You deserve to enjoy this meal,” or “Come on, you’re eating with friends- have a little fun.” In other words, they’ll make it either about your enjoyment, or fitting in with them—issues on which you could be persuaded.
But suppose, instead, your efforts to get into shape were motivated by an obligation to stay healthy—perhaps to your spouse, or your children. That leaves food pushers very little to argue about; it’s not easy or socially acceptable to tell someone else to abandon their obligations.

What to say when people try to make you eat junk food

I can’t. Sugar gives me a headache.
This simple excuse works on the principle of downplaying your effort. By saying that sugar gives you a headache, you’re implying that you aren’t putting in serious effort to avoid sugary foods, but simply don’t enjoy them. This makes it harder for the food pusher to insist that you should eat junk food because you’ll enjoy it.
My doctor said I had a lot of nutritional deficiencies because I wasn’t eating enough vegetables. At first I was just eating them for my health, but now I’ve come to like vegetables. Broccoli tastes kind of sweet to me—in fact brownies are actually too sweet for me now.
This line starts out by emphasizing that you have to eat well for your health, then downplays the effort you’re making by adding that eating vegetables got easier after a while. If the food pusher persists, you can just say “I’d rather eat my vegetables—I like them, they’re good for me, and it’s the easiest way for me to eat healthy.”
My doctor told me I need to lose weight, or I’ll have diabetes within two or three years. I owe it to my children to stay healthy so I can still be around when they grow up.
Here we have a double whammy: you’re emphasizing a serious fairly immediate health risk, as well as your obligation to your family. This is a very powerful technique, because anyone who tries to argue with you after you use this line effectively telling you to disregard both your health and your family.
Honestly, I haven’t been doing much. I just notice myself eating more meats and vegetables, and not wanting dessert as often as I used to.
This line is useful as a response when people ask you why you’re dieting. It works by downplaying your effort, making your new diet sound like something you just fell into by eating whatever you want.
I didn’t think I would like salad, but I actually love it now that I’ve found a kind I like. Here, try some of this.
This again downplays your effort by stating that you truly enjoy eating salad, but it goes a step further by inviting the friend to try some. This can accomplish two things: first off, it turns the food pushing around on your friend- if they don’t like it, they might realize how annoying their own behavior is. And second, your friend might actually like whatever food you’re inviting them to try. If so, that brings you closer together, and assuages their fear that your diet will come between the two of you.
These give you an idea of what kinds of phrases tend to be effective at deflecting food pushers. With a little forethought, you can come up with a few scripts of your own, customized for the food pushers in your life. Do you have any lines that you’ve used to successfully deflect food pushers? If so, please share them in the comments!

John FawkesJohn Fawkes is a fitness coach who helps people to get into amazing shape in as little time as possible, and enjoy the process.
John teaches the systems, psychology, and discipline needed to make any fitness plan failure-proof. He offers a free five-day fitness turnaround course, and can be found on Twitter @johnfawkes.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Giving Ourselves Some Props

By: Steven Pressfield | Sep 23, 2015 01:03 amRead in browser »

I missed out on the self-esteem movement. My day was about twenty years too early.

Serena at Wimbledon. "Good job, kid. You did it."

My generation was more like the Un-self-esteem movement. The Self-Disesteem Movement. We were constantly being told what bums and losers we were. Be a man! Suck it up! What’s wrong with you? Those were the child-rearing mantras that our parents, teachers, and coaches—the Greatest Generation—dished out to us. If you brought home a report card with straight A’s, the only question was, “Where are the A+s?”

Personal validation became a big issue with my peers and me. I’m not sure where this topic sits with Gen X or Y or the Millennials or the generations after. Maybe those waves are cool with themselves. I don’t know.

But for my era, this area is a problem. The tough love cited above is pretty much the soundtrack playing inside my generation’s heads.

Now add Resistance. We all know what those tapes sound like. Pretty soon we’ve got a whole symphony, or dys-symphony, of self-denigrating abuse running non-stop on a loop inside our skulls.

Stir in the next element of this toxic brew—the fact that you and I are artists and entrepreneurs, i.e., we’re on our own, with no supporting social structure to pat us on the back, tell us when we’ve done a good job, give us a raise or a promotion, etc.

Now add the final component: the reality that, no matter how great a job we do at whatever we’re pursuing, there’s every chance that when we expose it to the real-world marketplace, it’ll fall on its face. Our screenplay will not be optioned, our novel will not be picked up (or worse, it’ll get published and sell 200 copies—199 to our immediate family), our app will fizzle and die.

Oh, I almost forgot the kicker. Our family and loved ones. It’s not that they don’t care or don’t understand. They’re just busy. They’ve got their own issues. And they’re a little pissed off at us, if you wanna know the truth, for spending so much time on that stupid script/novel/app instead of bringing home some real rent money. And by the way we haven’t been spending nearly enough time nurturing and caring for them and supportingtheir dreams.

These are First World problems, I know. They’re not like getting your entire city blown off the map in Syria. But they’re real, just the same.

This is the world we live in.

So what’s the antidote to this relentless tide of rejection, isolation, negativity and disdain?



It sounds crazy, I know. What are we supposed to do—lock the door to the bathroom, stand in front of the mirror and tell ourselves we’re doing great?

Well, in fact … yeah.

Did you watch the women’s final at Wimbledon a few weeks ago? One thing I always wonder: what does Serena do when she gets back to the house she’s renting for the fortnight? When it’s late and the reporters are gone and her family and friends have slipped off to bed. Is there a moment when she sits alone with that golden Rosewater dish (the trophy for the ladies’ singles champion) and says to herself, “Good job, kid. You did it.”

Of course your world and mine is not as palmy as Serena Williams’. She’s got external validation coming in from everywhere. Trophies, checks, bonuses, sponsorship deals, her picture on TV and the covers of magazines.

You and I may get lucky. Once in a while, we may hit the jackpot. But over the course of a long career, the bottom line is this:

What the world does for Serena, we have to do for ourselves.

We have to self-acknowledge.

We have to self-validate.

(And actually Serena has to self-validate too.)

Who else is gonna do it?

Dumb as it sounds, we have to say to ourselves (and really make it sink in): “Okay, maybe we didn’t hit the best-seller list this time. Maybe we didn’t crack the top 10,000 on Amazon. But we did what we set out to do. We finished. We shipped. Yeah, our stuff could’ve been better. But we learned. We’re still standing. We got better. Good job, kid. You did it.”

Another critical aspect of validation:

Give it to others.

Show it to your homies. Kick it to your rivals. Give ’em some props when they hung tough, when they showed class, when they bit the bullet.

Full many a flower may be born to blush unseen, but that doesn’t mean you and I can’t see and appreciate them—and can’t single them out for praise. And it doesn’t mean we can’t see ourselves when we’re that flower.

There’s a term for this type of behavior.

It’s called mental toughness.

It describes those silent internal actions and habits, the ones that nobody sees but us, that no one knows about but us.

You won’t see these moments portrayed in movies. They’re not cinematic. They’re not heroic.

Even the people who perform them won’t talk about them. It’s unseemly. To admit to such actions seems silly, even a little shameful.

But these private actions and habits are make-or-break. They’re the difference between success and failure, between being a pro and being an amateur, between hanging in and dropping out.

I think back to my Mom and Dad, whose worldview was shaped by Depression and war. Maybe they were smarter than I thought, when they withheld easy praise and set standards for me that were higher than I believed I could achieve.

Whose opinion counts most in the end?

Who’s the one person we can’t fool?

Who really knows how deep we dug or how true we played it?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Riding the rails: Mike Brodie’s romantic Polaroids of freight-train life

A girl covered in grazes, battered baby boots, and a handmade wooden cross with the word ‘SON’ written on it … the Polaroid Kid’s haunting images of freighthoppers walk the line between pure tenderness and true grit
Born to run: portraits of American wanderers – in pictures
Suzanne, an image from the new book Tones of Dirt and Bone. All photographs: Mike Brodie/Twin Palms. Click to view full image

Sean O'Hagan

Thursday 26 March 2015 10.51 EDTLast modified on Thursday 26 March 201510.54 EDT

Mike Brodie came to public attention in 2004 after he started posting pictures online under the alias the Polaroid Kid. Back then, his story seemed too good to be true: a drifter with a Polaroid camera who captured the itinerant lives of the photogenic young people he met as he rode freight trains across the US.

Those early shots of kids who looked like hipster hobos were unashamedly romantic, and made all the more so by their soft Polaroid colours. Initially, Brodie shot on a Polaroid SX-70, given to him by a friend (the first picture he took was of his BMX bike). When the company stopped producing film, he switched to a Nikon F3, all the while creating homemade photobooks. “Brodie leapt into the life of picture-making as if he was the first to do it,” wrote the photographerDanny Lyon. “He was doing what he loved, and he did it compulsively.” Brodie’s Nikon pictures were published in his book A Period of Juvenile Prosperity, by the art-publishing house Twin Palms.
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It all began in 2003 when, on a whim, Brodie dropped out of high school in Florida and rode a freight train to see how far it would take him. Only three days later, he was back home, but the lure of the hobo lifestyle kept calling. He rode the rails illegally, off and on, for the next five years. “A lot of the kids I knew have since gone back to their old lives,” he told me in 2013. “It was something they did, for whatever reason, before they settled down. Some were running away, some were out for adventure. It’s like being homeless by choice.”

Brodie acknowledges the issue of whether this kind of subject matter should be repackaged in expensive artbook form or hung on gallery walls. “You have two worlds colliding right there,” he said. Most of his subjects, he had said, were happy the photos were finding an audience.
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Mike Brodie's freight-train photographs: 'It's a romantic life, at least in the spring and summer'

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Two worlds also collide in his new book, Tones of Dirt and Bone, featuring photographs – many of which are Polaroids – taken between 2004 and 2006. They seem more considered, more artfully poetic even, than those in his previous collection. Brodie has an unerring eye for haunting landscapes and even more haunting – sometimes haunted – faces. A girl in a fur hat stares sideways at his camera, her grazed face and chapped lips suggesting a hard life lived at considerable cost. On the opposite page, though, a boy with long hair in a peaked cap and hippy threads could easily come from the cover of an album by Devendra Banhart. Brodie’s Polaroid romanticism is his great strength, but you wonder if it sometimes conceals more than it illuminates about the hard lives of his subjects. His photos walk the line between pure tenderness and true grit, and one cannot help sensing that there is a degree of mythologising at work.

But there is much to admire. Self-taught and naturally talented, Brodie often homes in on telling details: an adolescent neck dappled with love bites; a child’s small battered boot tucked between the even more battered boots of a parent; alone wooden cross, strewn with flowers and soft toys, with the word “SON” handwritten on it. These are the fragments he has gathered in his itinerant existence, each one a signifier of a community beyond the realms of traditional society.
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There is a melancholy undertow to his best pictures – a sense of loss, and a sense of lives surrendered to drift, survival and danger. The objects and landscapes he photographed all carry a similar sense of mystery: a bunch of leafy flowers, or a dead bird held in an outstretched hand; a railway track or a wintery road disappearing into the horizon. Everything is bathed in the soft, nostalgic tones that made Polaroid film such an evocative medium.

These days, Mike Brodie has settled down. He lives with his wife, Celeste, in California, where he works as a mechanic. In Tones of Dirt and Bone, he wrote: “The photos? I want people to see them just as I want to tell someone a good story … And when I’m dead, maybe my lungs will still be around, with some words beneath: ‘Everything comes as a surprise – thank God.’”

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Weasel riding a woodpecker : the five best:#weaselpecker memes

Re-post by McKenzie Mix
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A baby weasel was photographed riding a woodpecker in Essex, UK, and the internet lost its mind.
Amateur photographer Martin Le-May captured the incredible scene after hearing the bird in distress. Unfortunately, it turned out that the baby weasel was trying to kill the woodpecker and hadn’t graciously accepted a free ride. 
Luckily the bird escaped unharmed, and the two internet heroes live to fight another day. Speaking to the Standard Le-Ray said: “Quickly the bird gathered its self-respect and flew up into the trees and away from our sight.
“The woodpecker left with its life, the weasel just disappeared into the long grass, hungry.”

Monday, September 21, 2015

Good Nutrition Starts Here

The Community Daycare is featured the Cardinal Cut as our first video!

Submitted as partial fulfillment for the WellMark Foundation Kickstarter Grant .

BE SURE TO VOTE starting September 23rd!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

20 cognitive biases that screw up your decisions

Samantha Lee and Shana Lebowitz

You make thousands of rational decisions every day — or so you think.

From what you'll eat throughout the day to whether you should make a big career move, research suggests that there are a number of cognitive stumbling blocks that affect your behavior, and they can prevent you from acting in your own best interests.

Here, we've rounded up the most common biases that screw up our decision-making.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Change your View by Mercedes Johnson

As I was casually sitting in a coffee shop down town Brookings, I stumbled upon and article and it brought some joy to my day. I wasn't very long, nor hard to read but it was just a little something.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

How to Retire by 20 | Kristen Hadeed | TEDxUF

Published on Apr 17, 2012
When most of us were children we kept ourselves occupied with games, television, and barbies. Kristen Hadeed was not like most kids. In this talk, Kristen will show how listening to your inner child can take you places beyond your wildest dreams. After all, this young entrepreneur had it all figured out before her 10th birthday.