For those who haven’t been around long enough to remember the first time I posted about this, I’d like to remind everyone about Festive Lights. It’s a free Dashboard widget for Mac users that allows you to put, well, festive lights on your dashboard or desktop. I fire it up around this time every year, and it really does help lend holiday spirit to my day. Link
A friend of mine pointed out this very insightful blog post featuring vintage photos of people along with their handwritten, self-deprecating comments. We like to think that body hatred was invented five minutes ago and that people in the good ol’ days knew how to appreciate a woman with curves, but given some of the women in these photos who describe themselves disparagingly as “fat,” I think things are actually getting better these days in terms of body acceptance. Link
The body positivity movement is like a house on fire at the moment, and not a moment too soon. It’s ridiculous how ashamed women are made to feel about their bodies, but luckily there are some great blogs out there fighting back for those of us with perfectly normal bodies for which others would ask us to apologise. The Great Big Body Project is one of my favourite blogs on the subject of body positivity, as it’s created by women from all over the world with all kinds of bodies: round, thin, tall, short, and everything in between. This helps bring awareness to the fact that it’s not just fat women who are made to feel that their bodies aren’t good enough; it’s all women. If you want to help fight back, you can submit your own photo and story to the site and become a part of a worthwhile cause: finally allowing ourselves to admit that we’re beautiful and worthy just the way we are. Link
Quite a lot of you over the years have asked me about Vipassana and my daily meditation practice. I’ve never been good at explaining meditation in general, as for me it is an experience that transcends words, and Vipassana in particular is a tricky nut to crack. But most of the questions come not from people who are trying to understand Vipassana, but rather those who just want to begin a daily practice of some sort and are looking for a place to begin.
The Chopra Centre are currently offering a 21-day online meditation challenge, free of charge. It’s a series of downloadable audio files, all quite short, that lead you through the basics of different types of meditation, focusing on one aspect per day. I’ve listened to a couple of the audio files out of curiosity, and they’re certainly suitable for any beginner, even if you’ve never meditated before, and Davidji (the man who guides the meditations) has a pleasant voice and is even humourous at times.
I’ll admit I don’t know a lot about Deepak Chopra, though I’ve heard plenty of reports both positive and negative, so I can’t really vouch for the overall quality of the material his organisation puts out. I certainly don’t think you should go into this 21-day challenge expecting to come out enlightened, or even an expert meditator, but that’s hardly the point. The point is to create the habit of daily meditation while exposing yourself to the different techniques that are available to you. I suppose the hope is that after you’re finished with the course, you’ll want to pursue meditation further, either on your own, or by seeking more formal instruction. So if you’ve always wanted to meditate but never managed to get the momentum up, now’s your chance. Link
If you find yourself today with a few extra minutes today and want to see something cool on the web. check out The Incredible Shrinking Man. This is a research site built on the premise that one way to relieve the current strain on the earth and its resources would be to genetically engineer smaller people. The eventual aim, according to the site, would be to have a planet full of humans who are 50cm tall and weigh 2kg. To quote the site directly: “It has been a long established trend for people to grow taller. This has many consequences, like the need for more energy, food, and space. What if we decided to turn this trend around and use our growing knowledge of genetics to actually shrink mankind?”
When I first stumbled across this site, I thought it was a satirical mockery of the green movement. Then I started reading and paying attention. These are real researchers who are serious about this idea, and frankly I find it fascinating. Well worth thinking about, even if you don’t buy into it in the end. Link
Tonic.com has published a fantastic story about the merits of crowdfunding sites like RocketHub, and Hidden Anatolia is one of the featured projects. It gives me a lot of confidence to know that major web hubs are picking up on the importance of crowdfunding, and thereby acknowledging the importance of independent art. It’s a great article, and it’ll only take you a minute or two to read it (I’ve heard you’re a pretty fast reader). Link
As you know, I love project-based art. It’s about stuff that isn’t just one piece, but a series of pieces that trickle in and eventually fit together to make a jigsaw puzzle of sorts. Gideon Slife (Gideon’s Life?) has embarked on a project that I really, really dig— a set of minimalist promotional posters, each based on an episode of Lost. As the show heads into the home stretch of the final season, a lot of people (including me) are revisiting old episodes in a (perhaps futile) effort to try to make sense of everything. These posters are particularly amazing because even with just a small amount of information, as soon as you see the image and read the quote you remember exactly which episode that was.
Who am I kidding, it’s impossible to choose favourites. Have a look at all the posters and you’ll see what I mean. Considering the pace of uploads, it looks to me like Gideon is timing it so that the end of his project coincides with the season finale. Fantastic stuff. Link
Yesterday, famed Atlanta photographers Leah and Mark featured the Hidden Anatolia project on their web site! I’m really thankful for the exposure, especially from two such respected artists. I encourage you to take a moment and read the write-up, as they do a great job of explaining the project and explaining how you as a supporter can benefit.
Becoming a part of the project is easy – you don’t have to sign up for anything new if you already have accounts with PayPal and Facebook. Project fueling starts with as little as a single dollar (yes, you can really give just one dollar and still take part!), and the best thing is that you get gifts, rewards, and prizes along the way for your contribution.
Many, many thanks to those who have already fueled the project and are helping to make it a reality!
Quick, go check out Levent Şen’s 360° panoramic shots of Kaleiçi. It’s basically like an upmarket version of Google Street View, except with exquisite photography and a nicer overall feel. It can be a bit processor-intensive, but if you’d like to see the most beautiful parts of the Antalya old town, it’s definitely worth it. Link