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06 Jul 21:59

Here’s something interesting that popped up in my inbox...

Here’s something interesting that popped up in my inbox today. Ever notice that the number of angles less than 180˚ in each of our Arabic number symbols corresponds to the number the symbol represents? It’s an interesting take on the origin of the Arabic numeral system … except that it’s not true.

My first hint was that for zero, “angle” was magically turned into “angel”. And why, exactly, do seven and nine need all that extra embellishment? Before you sound the sad trombone, why don’t we use this time to explore the real question: Where DO our numeral symbols come from?

For starters, Arabic numerals do not originate with the Arabs. Our numerical symbols actually trace their roots back to India at least as long ago as the 3rd century BC. These Brahmi numerals show obvious similarities with our modern “Arabic” symbols, as seen below (via Wikipedia):

The lack of a zero should not go unnoticed. Multiples of ten were given their own symbols in Brahmi, and large numbers were written as combinations of symbols instead of neat little decimals like we’re used to.

The idea of zero as a number (and not just numerical punctuation) makes its earliest appearance in the fifth century AD, again in India. Over time, the Indian numerical system migrated west into Persia, where decimal notation and the round 0 were formalized. In 976 AD, the Persian version of Wikipedia known as Muhammad al-Khwarizmi is credited with the invention of the word “sifr” to represent the empty decimal place, which later evolved into the very word we use for it today: zero.

From Persia, the “Arabic” symbols quickly made their way into Europe, along with their misattributed name. Like letter forms of the time, they were not standardized, and people wrote the symbols in their own style (which, to this day, is why some 2’s curl, and some 7’s are crossed).

With the development of moveable type, symbols were quickly standardized into the forms we know (and love?) today. Thanks, Gutenberg!

If you’re interested in more numerical history, check this out, or this. Numbers have a history with many interesting angles, but the geometric ones have nothing to do with why numbers look the way they do.

14 Jun 01:31

Candids #engraver (at The Pour House Music Hall)

Candids #engraver (at The Pour House Music Hall)

31 May 20:35

Big day.

by cranberryzero
09 May 13:03

Morning music videos: Meg Myers “Heart Heart Head”

by doctorrosenrosen
Abby Nardo

Watch this whole thing to see maybe the worst video ever made... and worst song. Jesus.

Morning music videos: Meg Myers “Heart Heart Head”

23 Apr 13:48

Click a few dots, and this program will try to guess your age.

Abby Nardo

It thought I was 29. I'm not.

Click a few dots, and this program will try to guess your age.:


It’s part of an experiment to analyze how motor control changes with age. It guessed my age within a year (told me I had the clicking skills of a 31-year-old!).

What about you?

it got my age right!

23 Apr 13:43

40 Gargoyles and Grotesques Around the World

by twistedsifter
Abby Nardo

At Yale, they have cops and robbers on the law building.


In architecture, a gargoyle is a carved stone grotesque, usually made of granite, with a spout designed to convey water from a roof and away from the side of a building thereby preventing rainwater from running down masonry walls and eroding the mortar between. Architects often used multiple gargoyles on buildings to divide the flow of rainwater off the roof to minimize the potential damage from a rainstorm. Gargoyles are usually an elongated fantastic animal because the length of the gargoyle determines how far water is thrown from the wall. [Source]

A grotesque is a sculpture that does not work as a waterspout and serves only an ornamental or artistic function. Both gargoyles and grotesques are said to frighten off and protect those it guards from any evil or harmful spirits.

As an architectural sculpture I find gargoyles and grotesques fascinating. Whether ornamental or functional, their symbolism and ability to stir the emotions of those that gaze upon them is intriguing. Below you will find a collection of gargoyles and grotesques around the world. You can find many more examples on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons.


1. Oakland Cemetery – Atlanta, Georgia

gargoyle oakland cemetery atlanta georgia 40 Gargoyles and Grotesques Around the World

Photograph by Kevin Trotman (The Rocketeet on Flickr)



2. San Juan de los Reyes Monastery – Toledo, Spain


Photograph by yoglassberg on Flickr



3. Natural History Museum – London, England

gargoyle statue

Photograph by Jon Sullivan



4. Notre Dame Cathedral – Paris, France


Photograph by J. M. Molinelli on Flickr



5. Cologne Cathedral – Cologne, Germany


Photograph by Shannon Ross-Albers on Flickr



6. Cathedral of Quito – Quito, Ecuador


Photograph by Delphine Ménard



7. Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya – Barcelona, Spain

Palau_de_la_Generalitat_gargoyle_barcelona spain

Photograph by Bernard Gagnon



8. Forbidden City – Beijing, China

Gargoyles in the Forbidden City

Photograph by Robert Kendall on Flickr



9. Mont Saint-Michel – Normandy, France


Photograph by Regina on Flickr



10. Washington National Cathedral – Washington D.C., USA

gargoyle washignton natoinal cathedral washington dc 40 Gargoyles and Grotesques Around the World

Photograph by Victoria Pickering on Flickr



11. St. Nicholas Church – Lüneburg, Germany


Photograph by DerHexer on Wikimedia Commons



12. Peace Tower on Parliament Hill – Ottawa, Canada


Photograph by D. Gordon E. Robertson



13. Marble Church, Bodelwyddan – Clwyd, Wales


Photograph by Kev Bailey on Flickr



14. Cologne Cathedral – Cologne, Germany

gargoyles cologne cathedral germany

Photograph by Frank Vincentz



15. Notre Dame Cathedral – Paris, France


Photograph by Krzysztof Mizera



16. Reims Cathedral – Reims, France


Photograph by Ad Meskens



17. University of Washington – Seattle, Washington

Academic Gargoyle

Photograph by Allan Armstrong on Flickr



18. University of Sydney – Sydney, Australia

Gargoyle baby

Photograph by David Morgan-Mar (dmmaus on Flickr)



19. Château d’Amboise – Amboise, France


Photograph by Ben Aveling



20. Alcobaça Monastery – Alcobaça, Portugal


Photograph by Júlio Reis



21. Washington National Cathedral – Washington D.C., USA

washington national cathedral gargoyle 40 Gargoyles and Grotesques Around the World

Photograph by Victoria Pickering on Flickr



22. Princeton University – New Jersey, USA


Photograph by David Goehring



23. Winchester Cathedral – Winchester, England


Photograph by Tony Hisgett



24. Biltmore Estate – North Carolina, USA

Gargoyle Gutter

Photograph by Angela Wagner on Flickr



25. Nidaros Cathedral – Trondheim, Norway


Photograph by Endre Opsal on Flickr



26. Cathedral of Santa Eulalia – Barcelona, Spain

Gargoyle on Cathedral of Santa Eulalia Barcelona Spain

Photograph by Bernard Gagnon



27. Palma Cathedral – Palam, Mallorca, Spain


Photograph by Singdrossel



28. Magdalen College – Oxford, England

Gargoyles Magdalen College Oxford England

Photograph by Chris Creagh



29. Zagreb Cathedral – Zagreb, Croatia

zagreb catheral gargoyle croatia

Photograph by Bizutage



30. Washington National Cathedral – Washington D.C., USA

Gargoyle - Frog

Photograph by Michael ‘Bodhi’ Rogers on Flickr



31. Hospital de Sant Pau – Barcelona, Spain

Gargoyle of Hospital de Sant Pau Barcelona

Photograph by Selbymay



32. Westminster Abbey – London, England


Photograph by Keith Clark (Train Fan on Flickr)



33. Château d’Amboise – Amboise, France


Photograph by Ben Aveling



34. Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya – Barcelona, Spain

gargoyle Palau_de_la_Generalitat_barcelona spain

Photograph by Bernard Gagnon



35. St Mary’s Cathedral – Edinburgh, Scotland


Photograph by David Ross (davydubbit on Flickr)



36. Notre Dame Cathedral – Paris, France


Photograph by Anthony Gelot (A.G. Photographe)



37. Notre Dame de l’Épine – Marne, France


Photograph by Mattana



38. Plummer Building – Rochester, Minnesota

gargoyle Photograph by Chad Johnson on Flickr



39. Cheshire, England

gargoyle close up 40 Gargoyles and Grotesques Around the World

Photograph by Gillie (lovestruck on Flickr)



40. Notre Dame Cathedral – Paris, France


Photograph by Roger Wollstadt





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23 Apr 13:41

Half mast. Moment of silence in 10 minutes. (at Alexander...

Abby Nardo

Thanks, Y.

Half mast. Moment of silence in 10 minutes. (at Alexander Family YMCA)

21 Apr 23:37

Crucifixion corn dogs for your Good Friday party.

Abby Nardo


01 Apr 18:19

Bird Dog

Bird Dog

30 Mar 20:50

8 Ways to Be a Better Human by Living Like a Vampire

by Kate Luther
Abby Nardo

Drink blood. Be immortal. Don't go out in the sun. Wear cool black coats.

pale woman

If you were to make a quick list of "what's hot" in today's society, vampires would definitely rank in the top five. Today's vamps are sexier and more glamorous than their predecessors and they always seem to have plenty of money and eternal good looks at their disposal — looks that aren't vulnerable to aging or gravity, giving them obvious appeal to ordinary people with ordinary lives.

Who wouldn't want that?

But look closer, and you'll see that this fascination is based on more than just sex appeal. No, what really has us so smitten is that extra "something" that they all seem to possess, something that us mere mortals just haven't quite figured out.

So, that got me to thinking…what is it that gives them that edge? And more importantly, how can you claim it as your own? Here are eight ways to be a better human by living like a vampire. (See also: 25 Fun and Cheap Entertainment Ideas From "The Vampire Diaries")

1. Be Authentic

Open a self-help book and I'll bet money you find the word "authentic" in there at least once — and for good reason. But what exactly does it mean? How do you know if you're being authentic?

In "Vampire Diaries," Ian Somerhalder plays the vamp bad boy, Damon Salvatore, the difficult and somewhat impulsive brother of the more stable and level-headed Stefan (Paul Wesley). As difficult as he might be, Damon never apologizes for who he is nor does he pretend to be something he's not. "This is me," his actions seem to say. "Love it, leave it…I don't care which."

He's fierce, he's outspoken, and quite often, he steps over the line, but no matter what the circumstances, you can count on Damon staying true to who he is.

And that is what authenticity is all about.

We spend a lot of time trying to be something we're not. Trying to keep up with the Joneses or fit in with a certain crowd when what we really need to do is embrace who we are. Yes, that means accepting the bad with the good and perhaps eating a little crow along the way, but if we can't embrace our truest selves, how can we ever expect to grow?

2. Be Fearless

Okay, I know what you're thinking: It's easy for vampires to be fearless…they're vampires. And your point is well taken — courage isn't nearly as hard to muster when you're stronger than all your opponents.

But being fearless isn't just about standing your ground in the face of danger. It's also about having the courage to try something new. Being brave enough to walk the path less traveled. Having the audacity to be discontent with following the crowd and fitting in. Fearless, in its truest sense, is doing what your gut tells you to do and charging ahead, even when you're not sure how things will turn out.

Now, the cool thing about courage is that the more you test it, the more you discover you possess it. The saying that we "have nothing to fear but fear itself" is very often true. We think we can't do something. We're afraid of what might happen if we try. But when we push past that fear and act as if we're fearless, we also very often discover that we are.

3. Be Indulgent

Vampires are, by their very nature, indulgent. They drink lots of blood, they have tons of sex, and they charm whomever they choose to charm to get whatever it is they want.

But being indulgent doesn't always mean being willful and reckless.

Being indulgent means seizing the moment, living in the now, and telling that judgmental inner voice to take a hike once in a while. We're great at doing what we're supposed to do, but we just don't know how to indulge what we want to do. But it's those wants that represent our deepest desires, and it's those desires that hold the answers to all those big questions about life. Who are we? And why are we here?

Indulge yourself and find out.

4. Be Adaptable

Watch any vampire saga or series and you'll find vamps who are hundreds, even thousands, of years old fitting in with today's society just as well as they did centuries before.

Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard) of "True Blood" went from fighting in the ancient Viking wars to owning a gothy nightclub outside of Shreveport. The group of Originals in "Vampire Diaries" — Klaus (Joseph Morgan), Rebecca (Claire Holt), et al — are written as being older than dirt, yet they blend in with the folks of Mystic Falls as if they were born within the last few decades.

Even the vampire legend itself has survived the test of time, morphing from the creepy demonic spin-off as it was first written to the deliciously wicked variety we enjoy today.

The reason for this survival is that they know how to go with the flow. Today's vamp is trendy, tech-savvy, and much more discreet in their vampy activities. They've not only monitored the evolution of humans, they've strategically matched it. By doing so, their species continues to thrive.

And it's this adaptability that we need to model because, as a species, we're terrible when it comes to change.

Oh, we say we want it, but when it comes right down to it, we'll stick our heads in the sand rather than face it.

We have the tools and resources to create a virtual nirvana — a place where we can all be free to explore and enjoy all the mysteries that life has to offer. But to get there, we have to let go of the past. We have to give up on the "this is the way we've always done it" mindset. We have to be willing to change and learn to go with that Universal flow.

5. Be Determined

In SyFy's "Being Human," Samuel Witwer plays Aidan Waite, a 200+ year-old vampire who's determined to live a life that's as "normal" as possible. He has to drink blood of course, and being another good example of authenticity, he embraces this part of himself fully. But he doesn't allow this single aspect to define who he is.

By definition, vampires are expected to be brutal, cold-blooded killers and throughout the series, Aiden is given many reasons to give into this stereotype and give up on his humanity. But Aiden's commitment is unwavering. He knows what he wants and despite ridiculous odds, he's bound and determined to live as normal — and as human — as he possibly can.

How many of us can say we have that same commitment?

How often do we give up on a dream because the going gets tough — because we don't have the time, or the money, or the know-how? How many times have we given into frustration and that "I can't" mindset instead of forging ahead, come hell or high water?

Knowing what you want is only half the battle, and nobody said that the road to get there would always be easy. But it's the challenges in our lives — and the way we respond to them — that build character and ultimately help us define who we really are.

6. Be Passionate

OK, I said that being indulgent wasn't always about being willful and reckless, but sometimes it is. Sometimes, giving in to our passions and desires is exactly what's needed to create those life-changing experiences that will define our future.

One of the things that makes today's vampires so attractive is their absolute passion about whatever it is they happen to be doing, whether it's fighting their supernatural foes or dancing with abandonment at a house party.

We, on the other hand, tend to live a much more conventional and conservative lifestyle. We'll happily trade passion and desire for security and predictability, because it offers us the safety net we believe we need to have to survive.

But what would life be like if we threw in a little more passion? What would your days look like if you couldn't wait to get out of bed and truly immerse yourself in whatever activities you had going on? The old phrase "carpe diem" is still around because it's still one of the best pieces of advice we can heed — seize the day and live a passionate life.

7. Be Bold

One of the things that enables vampires to be so indulgent is that they also tend to be quite bold. They're daring, brazen and certainly outspoken, a combination that makes them the epitome of the squeaky wheel. And you know what they say about the wheels that squeak loudest.

This boldness in turn also makes them honest, sometimes painfully so. But painful or not, it's one of the traits that makes today's vamps so intoxicating, and it's a trait we'd do well to emulate. I'm not suggesting that we throw civility out the window, forget our manners, or forego basic courtesies, but wouldn't it be great if we all just said what we wanted to say?

Being bold means speaking your mind, standing up for what you believe in, and having the moxie to say what you want. No more beating around the bush and no more head games. Now, just imagine what we could accomplish if we all just spoke the truth?

8. Be Optimistically Adventurous

This last trait encompasses some of the others I've already mentioned, but I think it's important enough to warrant its own space.

Vampires are adventurous — and optimistically so — giving them the ability to move through life without second-guessing their decisions. This is partly due to their fearlessness and partly because of their indulgent nature, but it also has to do with their overall perception of the world around them.

Failure is not an option, and even when it occurs to them that a particular plan or strategy might have a few flaws, they're still content to give it a whirl and see what happens. And no matter how gloomy the outlook might be, our toothy counterparts still fully believe they'll come out on top.

This kind of adventurous optimism allows them to trust their gut and take those calculated risks, even when those risks don't look so good on paper.

And that's an important trait to learn. Be sensible. Be rational. But be adventurous, too, and believe in the possibilities. Because sometimes, the best course of action won't be the one that makes sense or follows a traditional set of rules. Sometimes, the best path to walk is the one that sounds crazy in theory, but makes all the sense in the world in your heart.

How are you living like a vampire?

Written by Kate Luther and published on Wise Bread. Read more articles from Wise Bread.
28 Mar 03:25

New York City Travel Tips as Animated Gifs

by twistedsifter


Nathan Pyle is an artist and illustrator that has been living in New York City for the past 4.5 years. During that period he has learned much about how things work in one of the world’s greatest cities.

In a new series entitled, NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette, Pyle has created a guide for newcomers in the form of illustrated animated gifs.

Posted yesterday to Reddit, the post quickly reached the front page. Nathan hopes to turn the series into book form or possibly even as a calendar or web series. Whatever happens, the Sifter looks forward to seeing more from this series. Keep up to date with Nathan’s artwork at the links below.


NATHAN PYLE: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog




animated gifs tips and etiquette visiting new york city nathan pyle (10)

Artwork by Nathan Pyle




animated gifs tips and etiquette visiting new york city nathan pyle (11)

Artwork by Nathan Pyle




animated gifs tips and etiquette visiting new york city nathan pyle (6)

Artwork by Nathan Pyle




animated gifs tips and etiquette visiting new york city nathan pyle (8)

Artwork by Nathan Pyle




animated gifs tips and etiquette visiting new york city nathan pyle (5)

Artwork by Nathan Pyle




animated gifs tips and etiquette visiting new york city nathan pyle (3)

Artwork by Nathan Pyle




animated gifs tips and etiquette visiting new york city nathan pyle (2)

Artwork by Nathan Pyle




animated gifs tips and etiquette visiting new york city nathan pyle (12)

Artwork by Nathan Pyle




animated gifs tips and etiquette visiting new york city nathan pyle (9)

Artwork by Nathan Pyle




animated gifs tips and etiquette visiting new york city nathan pyle (7)

Artwork by Nathan Pyle




animated gifs tips and etiquette visiting new york city nathan pyle (4)

Artwork by Nathan Pyle




animated gifs tips and etiquette visiting new york city nathan pyle (1)

Artwork by Nathan Pyle




NATHAN PYLE: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog





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28 Mar 01:04

Brahms Requiem prep. Y’all come! Mid-April with the NC...

Brahms Requiem prep. Y’all come! Mid-April with the NC Symphony. (at NC Master Chorale Rehearsal)

28 Mar 01:03

Keep Those Records Playing

by F.S.

keep-those-records-playing-1 keep-those-records-playing-2 keep-those-records-playing-3

28 Mar 00:58


22 Mar 00:03

Thoughts about Feed Sharing

Abby Nardo

I subbed to my own Tumblr blog here on Old Reader just so I could write this and start a conversation.

I don’t really like The Old Reader that much. I mark things as read, then they are back again, as if I’ve never read them. This is a waste of my time. I like Feedly, but it lacks the social component I really enjoy with Google Reader. In my head, I’m concocting a plan where I use Feedly (which I like a lot), and then I +1 the things I want to share, then I create a small circle on Google Plus where I share what I like most. I try and encourage others to do the same. I wonder if this would work? I’m writing this on my Tumblr blog because I’m subbed to it on Old Reader and would like to get some feedback from my old GReader friends. So if you can see this, comment. I’m wondering if anyone else things this is a good idea. The other side benefit of using Google Plus is that I can share any links, even ones that I’m not subbed to… I don’t know. Maybe there’s another way. Tell me what you think.

21 Mar 15:46

I Make My Own Rules

21 Mar 15:46

Adventures in Androgyny: Sophia Loren

Adventures in Androgyny: Sophia Loren

21 Mar 13:53

I don’t know what I created here, but I kind of love it....

Abby Nardo

Hahaha! I keep looking at this, and it keeps cracking me up.

I don’t know what I created here, but I kind of love it. #autosampler

14 Mar 12:57

Picture of the Day: Forces of Nature

by twistedsifter
Abby Nardo

The one that's killing me is the woman swimming with a fish head.




forces of nature Picture of the Day: Forces of Nature

Photograph by Martin Rietze @ Alien Landscapes on Planet Earth


This incredible photograph by Martin Rietze was NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day for March 11, 2013. In it we see the Sakurajima Volcano erupting with lightning (check out this vid for another example). According to NASA, it is not fully understood what causes volcanic lightning. Although lightning in general occurs somewhere on Earth roughly 40 times per second!

This photograph was taken between February 21-26, you can see a complete gallery of the event here. Sakurajima is an active composite volcano (stratovolcano) and a former island in Kagoshima Prefecture in Kyūshū, Japan. The lava flows of the 1914 eruption (Japan’s most powerful eruption in the 20th century) caused the former island to be connected with the Osumi Peninsula. Its summit is split into three peaks, Kita-dake (northern peak), Naka-dake (central peak) and Minami-dake (southern peak) which is active now.

The volcano has been erupting almost constantly since 1955. Thousands of small explosions occur each year, throwing ash to heights of up to a few kilometers above the mountain. The city of Kagoshima (680,000 residents) is just a few kilometers from the volcano. [Source]

Photographer Martin Rietze has an incredible collection of pictures on his website Not only has he published several books, but he has documented an incredible amount of natural phenomena, all viewable on his website.


Martin Rietze @ ALPE via NASA: Astronomy Picture of the Day


picture of the day button Picture of the Day: Forces of Nature



14 Mar 03:23

Barbie boob necklaces: Well done, Pinterest. Well done.

14 Mar 03:22

Zen Mind in the Middle of Chaos & Stress

by Leo
By Leo Babauta

What do you do when your job, or your personal life, is a constant source of busy-ness, rushing, nose-to-the-grindstone work, and stress?

Or what do you do if your life is simple and relatively stress-free, but something blows up and you are in the middle of chaos and high stress all of a sudden?

This is when we could use a dose of Zen Mind, or the Art of Letting Go.

What is this Zen Mind? To be honest, I’m still learning what that is, but what I’ve been practising is a constant letting go. Let’s take an example:

I have a major deadline approaching. It is stressing me out, man! But what is the source of the stress? It’s not the work, which is just a series of actions. It’s not the deadline, which is just a time constraint. It’s my reaction to those external events — my fear that I’m not going to make it, that I’ll mess up, that I’ll look stupid or incompetent. This fear that is causing my stress reaction is rooted in my wanting things to turn out a certain way … wanting to meet the deadline and get things perfect and look good.

What if I could let go of wanting things to turn out that way? This is a fantasy, an ideal, that I’m holding onto. It might turn out that way, sure, but it could turn out a dozen other ways, and the truth is I don’t have complete control over how it’ll turn out. All I can do is do the work, and the fantasy, the fear and the stress are only getting in the way. So if I can let go of this ideal, this fantasy, I can let go of the fear, and the stress.

This is the Zen Mind that I’m learning about. It’s simply letting go, and in doing so, you attain a peace of mind no matter what chaos and seemingly stressful event are going on around you. Again, I’m not good at this yet, but I’m learning. I’ll share what I know with you.

The Art of Letting Go

So these are the steps to letting go:

  1. Notice why you’re stressed. What external event is stressing you? Why is it stressing you out? What fear do you have?
  2. Notice what you’re holding onto. If your response is fear, it’s because you’re holding onto something. It’s probably a fantasy/ideal, or wanting to control something, wanting something to turn out a certain way, wishing things would meet the expectations you have. If you’re saying, “He should do this” or “It should be like this” then you’re holding onto an ideal/expectation/outcome.
  3. Realize that it’s not real. This fantasy, this expectation, this wishing you could control things … it’s just made up in your head. To be fair, we all do it. But it’s not a real thing — and it can be let go of.
  4. See that it’s hurting you. This thing you’ve made up is causing you stress, which is shortening your life, and making what short life you have less enjoyable. It’s causing pain in your life. Realize this.
  5. Let go. If something you’ve made up is causing pain, why hold onto it? It’s not worth it. By letting go, you release the pain, and are just left with you and the work you need to do.

Zen Mind in the Middle of Chaos

So you work long hours and are stressed out. It’s work you love, perhaps, but still hard work, and still lots of stressors. Maybe you get to take some good breaks during the day, maybe you take weekends off, maybe you get some great vacations.

But the fact remains: no matter what kind of breaks and vacations you take, much of your life is spent doing the hard work, and stressed out. You need to be able to simultaneously work and be on vacation. This is the practice of Zen Mind that we’re talking about — letting go and being able to breathe and smile in the middle of a stressful workday.

It’s only stressful, of course, because of stuff we’re making up in our heads. So if we can create a constant practice of awareness and letting go, we constantly let go of the stress.

Your boss dumps a new project on you with a close deadline. Yikes! You’re instantly stressed. Notice, and let go. Breathe. Feel the stress floating away as you let go of an ideal and an expectation. You are now free, and you can just do the first task — after all, that’s all you can ever do.

Your coworker or client is mad at you, and yelling at you. This is highly stressful. Until you realize that they are probably yelling for some problem that’s not really about you — they are stressed out, they are having a bad day, they have problems dealing with stress. And you are holding onto the expectation that everyone around you should behave perfectly, which of course is an absurd fantasy. You let go of that, and reach out in your heart to this fellow human being who isn’t happy. How can you make things better for this person, with an open heart?

Your son is stressing you out because he’s not doing what he should be doing. You’re mad! Why can’t he just do what you ask? Of course, this is a fantasy. Your kids (or friends, or spouse) are not going to live up to these expectations you have of how they should behave — these expectations aren’t anything real, just fantasies. You can’t control their behavior — wanting to do so just stresses you out. So let go of that expectation and the desire to control, and the stress goes away. Instead, open your heart, and be open to who they are.

OK, so that’s all easier said than done. In the real world, it takes a lot of practice. We often forget about this process when things hit the fan. That’s OK. Life is a constant practice. Keep practicing, and let go of wanting to be perfect at it. Just in the attempt, you’re already perfect.

14 Mar 03:21

Danger Kitten

Danger Kitten

14 Mar 03:16

When things go terribly right

by David
Abby Nardo

I have to read the second half of this later, but for now, let me share, because I basically like every post on this blog.

Post image for When things go terribly right

I just answered a huge batch of emails, and there’s a question that keeps getting asked:

“How did you learn all this [stuff you write about on the blog?] Did it come to you in one big epiphany, or a bunch of little ones? Was there a *big* one?”

I’ve been totally fascinated by the topic of human quality of life for twelve years now, and I’ve been writing about it for four. Throughout that stretch of time, I’ve had lots of little breakthroughs and each one left something to build on.

The biggest one of all happened last fall. The feeling of being me changed drastically, over only a couple of days. Life lost its normal mildly-threatening background hum. Today, in almost any given moment I actually feel prepared for the rest of my life. That used to be a rare feeling.

It happened to me when I was experimenting with the much-maligned Law of Attraction, which I am still agnostic towards, but I hit on something that was very out-of-character for me at the time.

I decided to expect everything to go well, for no reason at all.

And generally things did. Everything generally went very well for no discernible reason. Almost everything I did ended up being easier than I thought and more rewarding than I thought, once I decided not to bother thinking about things going badly.

That sums up the best advice I could give anyone: think a lot about what you want, and think only sparingly about what you don’t want.

My whole life I felt like I had some sort of duty to think about what I don’t want, as if it must be helpful in some way, or that somehow it’s healthiest to keep a “balanced” outlook by tempering positive expectations with negative ones.

For about four months I’ve refused to entertain thoughts about what I don’t want, as a rule. I wanted to see what would happen if I just ditched them all as soon as I noticed them.

Instead of everything falling apart, everything started coming together. I found myself doing things I’d been afraid to do for years. It started to feel good to wake up — throughout my whole adult life my first waking thought was almost always a worrisome one.

Normal moments became easy and beautiful. Tough moments tend to make me lucid and patient now. Almost all my remaining social anxiety disappeared. My aversions shrank, my attractions grew. The outside world at large became damn attractive to me, when it used to feel vaguely menacing most of the time.

After thirty years of taking negative thoughts seriously, I felt a little like the doomsayers must have after the recent Mayan non-apocalypse — my model of reality was wrong, and I’d be embarrassed to have wasted so much energy on it if I wasn’t so thrilled to finally get it right.

I can’t believe how prominent imaginary bad outcomes were in my life. Most of my life was spent picturing every kind of disaster, from embarassment to maiming, virtually of it habitual, draining and useless. 

When I’m in a bad mood (which still happens and will always happen) then my negative impulses can get a hold of me again. But the odd funk is okay. Generally I’m only interested in thinking about what I want, if I’m thinking at all. There’s not much value in thinking about what you don’t want.

You will always be visited by some of both kinds of thoughts. I’m not saying negative thoughts shouldn’t be appearing in your mind. Having a thought is something that happens to us. It’s involuntary. But thinking about something is something we actively do. We just do it so habitually that we usually don’t consciously decide to go on thinking about something. But we can think about certain things on purpose, and by doing that we can interrupt our thinking about something we ought not to bother exploring.

Doing it takes some practice. It will be different for everyone, but I adapted quickly, because it was such a relief to realize I have no duty to think about what I don’t want, and nothing to gain from it anyway.

The Simplest Trick

Think of it as a simple habit: When you notice you’re thinking about what you don’t want again, take that moment as a chance to think about what you do want.

Thinking about what you do want is a matter of asking yourself what it would be like if things went the way you wanted. This isn’t hard, but you aren’t going to do it by accident. You’re probably pretty good at imagining what it would be like if your presentation went terribly, if your return to the gym turned into a public embarrassment, if you got laughed at when you asked for a raise. We get a lot less practice thinking about what we want. The Simplest Trick is a way to get that practice at the exact moment you need it most.

Angst is the red flad that tells you your attention is necessary here. Whenever you notice yourself feeling angst, it’s because you’re thinking about what you don’t want — you’re experiencing an imaginary moment where something painful or difficult is happening.

Thinking about what you want is fun. It’s always a relief to remember that you can, and that you can safely interrupt the angsty train of thought and never get back to it. In fact, it’s worth sitting for a few minutes every day, just to think about things you want. It feels good, and makes the world look good again. This is outstanding use of your time. The go-to book for that kind of visualization is called Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain. It’s a bit dated by now and has new-agey tones, but you can do it your way.

Give up on the idea that thinking about what you don’t want serves a purpose. Negative thoughts are essentially useless except to suggest what rational, helpful actions you can take.

Few thoughts result in actions. Most are compulsive, empty busywork for the mind. Your head will be full of something most of your life, and there’s an unlimited variety of awful imaginary moments you can experience. Same goes for good imaginary moments. Do you think it makes more sense for most of your thoughts to be ones that give you knots in your solar plexus and an increased heart rate, or ones that make you feel calm and grateful?

There may be times when you feel like you really ought to be thinking about a particular thing you don’t want. Maybe some terrible injustice happened to you or someone close to you, and you feel like it’s wrong not to think about it. In those cases, when you notice you’re justifying your miserable thoughts, ask yourself what you’re actually going to do about this injustice. Chances are you’re not prepared to do anything. If you are, then do it, and in the mean time, explore in your mind some outcome you actually want.

The for no reason at all aspect is important, otherwise you’ll talk yourself out of it. This is a habit that turned out to be immensely rewarding in my life, but I had to just try it because I was curious. Reason never would have convinced me to do it.

That’s because to a pessimist, thinking about what you don’t want feels reasonable. You don’t even realize you’re doing it.

From watching the people around me, I’m convinced most people are pessimists. Just listen to what they talk about most.

There are no realists. Everyone thinks they’re being realistic. Nobody has an objective view of their thinking. Pessimistic thoughts feel realistic to a pessimist. Optimistic thoughts feel realistic to an optimist. If you think you’re a realist you’re probably a pessimist, because obviously you’ve found a reason to tone down expectations.

Expect things to go well. You don’t need a reason first.

If you’re worrying that this will make you one of those obnoxious Law of Attraction people, I’d advise you to stay out of that debate entirely. Don’t take a side. Doing what I’m suggesting here is not the same as waving a particular flag or adopting a particular set of beliefs.

Some of us grew up with science-teacher dads and can sometimes be persistently skeptical. We don’t want to believe that it makes sense to expect things to go well for no reason at all. Once you make a habit of it you’ll realize it’s beyond worthwhile, and forget you ever had reservations about it — but that’s what all the snake-oil salesmen say. (Not that anyone’s asking you to part with any money here.)

Do your expectations have the ability to transmute what happens to you, beyond your normal, physical sphere of control? I don’t know. They certainly seem to though. If you’re the skeptical type, don’t be tempted to presume it doesn’t.

You don’t know, and to admit that you don’t know is exhilarating. The most skeptical position is an agnostic one. Be skeptical of what your doubts tell you, too.

Set your reason aside for a bit. It may not always be helping you. Make a habit of consciously thinking about what you do want, as your normal response to noticing you’re thinking about what you don’t want.

Find the positive counterpart. It’s always there. Picture its details, the more physical the better. What you’re looking for is the unmistakable sense of how it would feel if it all went utterly, terribly right.


Photo by Sterlic
09 Mar 05:14

George has been eyeing that beam all week, but thanks to...

George has been eyeing that beam all week, but thanks to Jody’s helpful chasing, Gracie got there first.

09 Mar 05:11

drive-by truckers @ haw river ballroom

by brandnewkindof
Abby Nardo

For Don

drive-by truckers @ haw river ballroom

drive-by truckers @ haw river ballroom

drive-by truckers @ haw river ballroom

I hadn’t seen the Truckers in almost 18 months — Hopscotch 2011 — and when Patterson launched into “The Living Bubba” last night, even as I was deeply exhausted and irritated at the crowd, it felt like a physical relief to see the band. They have meant so much to me for many years, and while it was strange to not see Shonna up there, I think they’re sounding the best they ever have. Patterson and Cooley are such a well-oiled machine, Jay Gonzalez is too talented at everything, EZB is a machine, and the new little bassist from the Dexateens is having the time of his life playing with them. Everyone on stage looked happy and relaxed, and it shone through in their playing.  Mike Cooley is still desperately sexy. It felt familiar, and it made me happy.

I had a few bad interactions in the crowd, and, just, you know: you are not entitled to anything just because you think you love a band the best. There’s no way to measure that. And shoving people out of the way makes you a bad person.

Regardless: last night, I really loved the Truckers, and that makes me happy today.

the whigs @ haw river ballroom

I really loved the Whigs’ last record, and I enjoyed large chunks of their opening set. There was some rambly guitar wanking in the middle of their set that I found deeply irritating, because my feelings about jam bands are well-documented, but it didn’t turn me off, just bored me a bit. The rest of their set was great.

Full photo set is here.

09 Mar 05:10

June 28, 1926: “The Painter and the Inspiration: Dora Duby,” an...

June 28, 1926: “The Painter and the Inspiration: Dora Duby,” an American dancer, posing for Jean Gabriel Domergue in his studio in Paris — not the only instance of artists with with their muses in The Times’s Lively Morgue. Photo: The New York Times

07 Mar 03:23

Floor Plans of Popular TV Show Apartments

by twistedsifter
Abby Nardo

Via Shannon. Clever!


Iñaki Aliste Lizarralde is a professional interior designer from Spain. In his free time he makes detailed floor plans of homes from popular television shows and movies. All floor plans are hand drawn with coloured pens and even include furniture and other decorations.

What’s most impressive is the attention given to accurately portraying dimensions and proportions. It’s also important to note that these shows are filmed in studios and many of the sets have changed throughout the different seasons. What you are seeing here is Iñaki’s best attempt to incorporate all of the different looks into one master floor plan.

To see more of Iñaki’s fantastic work, be sure to check him out at the links below. Large prints are available at his Etsy store.

[via BoredPanda]


Iñaki Aliste Lizarralde: deviantART | Facebook | Etsy Store




1. Jerry Seinfeld’s Apartment (Seinfeld)

jerry_seinfeld_apartment_floor plan_by_Inaki Aliste Lizarralde-nikneuk
Artwork by Iñaki Aliste Lizarralde | Prints available


Television Show: Seinfeld
Tenant: Jerry Seinfeld
Address: 129 West 81st Street, Apartment 5A, Manhattan, New York, 10024



2. Rachel and Monica’s Apartment (Friends)

apartment_floor plan-of_monica_and_rachel_from_friends_by_Inaki Aliste Lizarralde-nikneuk
Artwork by Iñaki Aliste Lizarralde | Prints available


Television show: Friends
Tenants: Rachel Green and Monica Geller
Address: 90 Bedford Street Apt – 20, New York City, NY, 10014



3. Chandler and Joey’s Apartment (Friends)

apartment_floor plan of_chandler_and_joey_from_friends_by_Inaki Aliste Lizarralde-nikneuk
Artwork by Iñaki Aliste Lizarralde | Prints available


Television show: Friends
Tenants: Chandler Bing and Joey Tribbiani
Address: 90 Bedford Street Apt – 19, New York City, NY, 10014



4. Sheldon and Leonard’s Apartment (The Big Bang Theory)

sheldon_and_leonard_s_apartment_floor plan-from_tbbt_by_Inaki Aliste Lizarralde-nikneuk
Artwork by Iñaki Aliste Lizarralde | Prints available


Television show: The Big Bang Theory
Tenants: Sheldon Lee Cooper and Leonard Leakey Hofstadter
Address: 2311 N. Los Robles Ave. Apt 4A, Pasadena, CA



5. Ted Mosby’s Apartment (How I Met Your Mother)

ted_mosby_apartment_floor plan-from_himym_by_Inaki Aliste Lizarralde-nikneuk
Artwork by Iñaki Aliste Lizarralde | Prints available


Television show: How I Met Your Mother
Tenants: Ted Mosby + various
Address: Upper West Side across from 86th Street Subway entrance


6. Carrie Bradshaw’s Apartment (Sex and the City)

carrie_bradshaw_apartment_floor plan-from_sex_and_the_city_by_Inaki Aliste Lizarralde-nikneuk
Artwork by Iñaki Aliste Lizarralde | Prints available


Television show: Sex and the City
Tenants: Carrie Bradshaw
Address: 245 East 73rd Street, Manhattan, NY, 10021



7. Dexter Morgan’s Apartment (Dexter)

floor plan_of_dexter_morgan_s_apartment_by_Inaki Aliste Lizarralde-nikneuk
Artwork by Iñaki Aliste Lizarralde | Prints available


Television show: Dexter
Tenants: Dexter Morgan
Address: 8420 Palm Terrace #100, Miami, FL, 33142



8. Will and Grace’s Apartment (Will & Grace)

apartment_floor plan-of_will_truman_and_grace_adler_by_Inaki Aliste Lizarralde-nikneuk
Artwork by Iñaki Aliste Lizarralde | Prints available


Television show: Will & Grace
Tenants: Will Truman and Grace Adler
Address: 155 Riverside Drive Apt – 9C, Manhattan, New York, 10024



9. Lucy and Ricky’s Apartment (I Love Lucy)

lucy_and_ricky_ricardo_floor plan_i_love_lucy_by_Inaki Aliste Lizarralde-nikneuk
Artwork by Iñaki Aliste Lizarralde | Prints available


Television show: I Love Lucy
Tenants: Lucille Esmeralda McGillicuddy Ricardo and Enrique Alberto Fernando y de Acha Ricardo
Address: 623 East 68th Street, New York City, NY, 10004



10. Frasier’s Apartment (Frasier)

frasier_s_apartment_floor plan_by_Inaki Aliste Lizarralde-nikneuk
Artwork by Iñaki Aliste Lizarralde | Prints available


Television show: Frasier
Tenants: Frasier Crance
Address: Elliott Bay Towers, Seattle, WA





Iñaki Aliste Lizarralde: deviantART | Facebook | Etsy Store





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highly recommends:


Storyboards from Ten Popular Films


inception storyboard by gabriel hardman Floor Plans of Popular TV Show Apartments



The Character Evolutions of Famous Actors


tom hanks character evolution illustrated by jeff victor Floor Plans of Popular TV Show Apartments



Finding the Locations of Popular Movie Scenes


breakfast at tiffanys finding real location from movie scene Floor Plans of Popular TV Show Apartments



28 Feb 19:26

At St Clement’s Hospital

by the gentle author

Members of City of London & Cripplegate Photographic Society were invited to record the interior of the disused St Clement’s Hospital in Mile End last year. Originally opened as the City of London Union Workhouse in 1849, it was converted to an Infirmary in 1874 and renamed St Clement’s Hospital in 1936, being used as a psychiatric unit in recent years, before closing finally in 2005.

An initiative is being launched by East London Community Land Trust to convert the building to affordable housing, but in the meantime it lies in magnificent dereliction and an exhibition of these other-wordly photographs opens tomorrow, Thursday 28th February, at the Genesis Cinema.

© Hilary Barton

© Hilary Barton

© Pat Mooring

© Jean Jameson

© Bill Gilliam

© Jean Jameson

© Pat Mooring

© Pat Mooring

© Pat Mooring

© Pat Mooring

© Pat Mooring

© Pat Mooring

© Jean Jameson

© Pat Mooring

© Pat Mooring

© Jean Jameson

© Pat Mooring

© Pat Mooring

© Pat Mooring

© Pat Mooring

© Bill Gilliam

© Pat Mooring

© Jean Jameson

28 Feb 19:25

True dat.

28 Feb 19:24

May 11, 1929: An international Rhönrad contest in Würzberg,...

May 11, 1929: An international Rhönrad contest in Würzberg, Germany. The Rhönrad, or German wheel, was invented in 1925 and apparently shown at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, but was not entered as an official sport. Photo: The New York Times