Sunday, May 31, 2009

Virtual Happiness

This is something I'm working on now:

I'm exploring the idea of the real world value and implications of virtual world "assets" such as virtual clothing or property people have in online games and social networks like Second Life. One idea is that people in the real world and virtual world still define themselves by stuff. Identities are portrayed by stuff and people treat you how they perceive you... which can mean that some people get happiness from stuff... even if it is virtual stuff. Heck, we're in a recession... happiness might come cheaper than we thought.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Man vs. Bee

Did you know there's a bee problem going on?

So, I don't want to put effort into finding the sources to back this up, but apparently, bees are responsible for over 60% of all of the food in the world. That's a lot. For conversation's sake, just trust me on it.

On top of that, the bees are dying off!! I guess all the pesticides get to them and people unknowingly kill them thinking they're wasps. Wasps are not bees. Honeybees are good and vegetarians. Wasps are omnivores (so are pigs- meat, veggies, poo... whatevs, they'll eat it all!). Last week, my nephew informed me that we should never kill honeybees because they're good, but we should kill wasps because they're mean. Good enough reason for me.

If the bee problem doesn't turn around, "the experts" say the world will have a major food shortage to deal with.

Fast forward to this week.

Well, all of these juicy morsels of random, unconfirmed, bee data finally came to use when a person at work said they had a bunch of bees in her yard. She took a picture and I knew right away she had a honeybee swarm. It was pretty nasty looking. I don't care if they're saving the world from going hungry by pollinating everything... bees en masse are gross. I felt itchy all over just looking at the photo.

Anyway, she was considering the exterminator when I exclaimed, "NO!! There's a bee problem!!!" I continued by sharing all of these little factoids with her and ended up convincing her to get a beekeeper to come and take them away.

The bees live. The beekeeper gets honey and can rent the bees to farmers for pollination. She removes the bees from her yard. All is happy in the world...

Humans: 1 point
Animal Kingdom: 1 point

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Turkey Trot

in my continued pursuit of all things "special" that I'm paying forward via this blog...

I have a good laugh to share.

I went to Paso Robles, CA this past weekend for the annual wine festival with a dear friend of mine... we always have unbelievable adventures together and this one proved to be the same. I knew the adventure was already starting when I missed my turn off of the freeway exit and took a side country road to make my way back toward the hotel. As I took my Civic through the rough, partially-paved road that was under construction, I noticed some on-coming traffic.

It was a wild turkey jogging on the side of the road.

I grew up in a small desert town full of wildlife. I'm used to wildlife. In fact, I love it (well, most of it). However, the wildlife I'm used to seeing is typically in survival mode--you know, running away from humans, killing other wild things in the food chain, etc. But, I've NEVER seen wildlife going for a jog along the side of a road for what seemed to be recreational purposes. It brought a whole new meaning to those little 5k races people do during Thanksgiving for charity-- the turkey trots. This turkey WAS trotting! He was in no rush, just out for a light afternoon jog to burn some calories, no big deal. The only thing he was missing was a sweatband and an ipod.

Oh, and that dear friend of mine? Hilarious as ever. She pointed out the turkey was probably just stuffed and needed to work out. ;o)

I promise this all happened BEFORE we even touched a glass of wine.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Double Take.

It's official. I'm writing my first blog. Although I've had this blog spot set up for quite some time now, I really haven't done anything with it... until now. I guess I just haven't had anything I considered really thoughtful or shocking to share. Don't get me wrong, plenty of cool and exciting things have happened since I opened this account. That's not it at all.

I've been distracted by Facebook, Twitter, and (gasp!) reality TV. I love it. I love it all. At the time, keeping up with a blog just seemed like too much maintenance and beyond the popular social network sites (I just remembered another distraction: LinkedIn) I post to regularly, I didn't think I had anything else particularly special to say.

Today I realized I was approaching this all wrong.

Special happens to me, to you, to everyone... everyday. I just wasn't taking time to acknowledge and appreciate just how fortunate I am as a participant in this world.

I had an especially tough morning at work dealing with some silly, yet extremely annoying issue and when lunch time hit, I decided I needed some retail therapy. Well, I'm on a tight budget, so I was in need of some look, but not buy, retail therapy. I went to Marshall's at the plaza up the street.

As I walked up to the door, I noticed there were a few people in front of me and there was a guy on his way out of the store that was holding the door open for everyone. As I walked closer to the entrance, I noticed the gentleman was disabled physically but was holding the door with both hands in order to let the others into the store. And from what I could tell, they weren't even bothering to thank him. It was as if he was invisible and they were entitled.

I was now about 10 feet away from the door, which is usually outside of the standard range of people hanging around just to hold the door for you. I completely expected the man to walk away and carry on to wherever his next errand was taking him.

When I noticed he wasn't going anywhere, it occurred to me: This was not an ordinary man.

He had decided to continue holding the door for me, no matter how long it took me to get to him. There was nothing particularly special about me. In fact, this wasn't about me at all. It was about one man, doing one very kind thing for about 5 people.

As I walked by him and through the door, I thanked him and he looked at me with a shy, embarrassed expression and tried to say you're welcome. I understood what he had said, but his face was distorted and scarred from what I assume was a horrible accident. He had been hurt so badly his lips were lopsided and stretched, the skin around his eyes so tight it barely seemed like he could see, and as he let the door go behind me, I noticed his shuffled limp as he walked away.

It's amazing how much detail I remember from a mere 10-second exchange. It was as if the moment stood still for me. Honestly, it did. I felt like I was a sponge and his energy had just spilled out all around me and my only purpose at that moment was to soak it up. Absorb it and grab as much of it as I could in those few short seconds.

Here he was, a man who I assume had experienced something so terrible the average person couldn't come close to understanding, and yet he was the one standing there, holding the door open, and looking at me as if he should be embarrassed of his appearance. He was, in fact, one of the most beautiful men I have ever seen in my life.

So much so, I took a double take as he walked away. I uninhibitedly got a little greedy and stood and stared as he walked away for another 30 seconds or so. That seems fast, but when you're standing in the lobby of a store, gazing out the window after a total stranger who is walking away... it's a long time and I'm sure others thought I was a whole lotta crazy. But if they just saw what I saw, they were wasting time staring at me.

In those extra 30 seconds, I kept thinking, "Wow." What an incredible man. It hurt me to think someone who looked like he had- a survivor of something- was embarrassed of what he looked like. Yet, he still went out of his way to take care of others and use those good manners his mother taught him... regardless of what he got in return.

He reminded me of Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice- the tortured gentleman. I can't compare him to Beauty and the Beast because all I think about when I think about that movie is that weird talking candlestick.

My point is... I was pretty special today. I was lucky enough to be touched by the kindness of this mystery man who in such a small amount of time reminded me of why we need to appreciate all the little joys each day. He made me feel special and because of him, I was able to put my morning into perspective and realize that I was just wasting energy thinking negatively.

He also showed me that amazing can come in a twisted face and a heavy limp and even in a slurred "you're welcome." He showed me amazing comes in the effort.

No matter what we do... we should at least try... even if it is just a blog. Here I am. I'm putting effort in... and that effort will come everyday that I remember to take time out and notice something special.