Archive for the ‘Random thoughts’ Category

fashion, pretty girls, and other things with price tags

The Playground

I spend a lot of time criticising the boys who work on Wall Street, but if you’re not after anything too cerebral they can be quite good fun to hang out with. Fraser and Kathleen started spending a lot of time together in a weird sexless mini-clique. There had been rumours flying round that her job wasn’t as secure as it might be, and I think she was keen to get close to anyone who could help her career.

As a girl, you get used to bawdy comments from guy-friends. One of the things that really shocked me about the city guys was the number of them who had been with call-girls. Usually on foreign trips where nobody knew them, but sometimes at home in New York. “Their work builds up a lot of testosterone,” Lina would say, “they have to let off steam somehow.”

“Does your brother go with…

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unusual weather inspires unusual activities!

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I had to look at the count for stars and quasars…

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Words of wisdom from 90 year old Ilana Royce Smithkin, interviewed by Ari Seth Cohen…


And there are more bits and bites on Ari’s blog Advanced Style –
Ilona Smithkin: Wisdom From a 90 year old Lady.


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hey…I wouldn’t mind trying Hibiscus Tang, Green Tea Oreos, and Blueberry Cheesecake Kit Kats….LOL! Why don’t we have Grilled Shrimp Pringles in America?!


Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine’s restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart’s desire, we listen up.

Who do you think set a world record for most new Facebook fans in 24 hours? No, not Charlie Sheen back when he was winning. And not The Avengers movie either, though that’s a good guess.  

In fact it was a potato chip. Last April, Frito-Lay’s Facebook page got over 1.5 million new “likes” in one day. That’s a lot of instantaneous fans.

And maybe it’s not such a mind-blowing number if you look at the mind-blowing new flavors capturing the attention of chip fans worldwide. Recently, the New York Daily News highlighted Russia’s affection for Red Caviar potato chips (it’s especially popular in Moscow, where they love their caviar).

Here are some other snack food flavors that you probably never would…

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I came across this article, and thought it really has some interesting points. (Original link is at the bottom.) I’m re-posting here, so I can reread the article in the future. The points seem simple, but require a little thought. 

To summarize:

1. LOVE vs. FEAR. FEAR less and LOVE a lot more.

2. ACCEPTANCE vs. RESISTANCE.   you can’t really change a situation by resisting it,

3. FORGIVENESS vs. UNFORGIVENESS.  it’s not healthy to hold on to anger.

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” —Buddha

4. TRUST vs. DOUBT. They trust themselves and they trust the people around them.

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”  —Mark Twain

5. MEANING vs. AMBITION.  “Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life”

6. PRAISING vs. CRITICIZING. “What you resist not only persists, but will grow in size”.

7. CHALLENGES vs. PROBLEMS. understanding that underneath challenges lie many opportunities that will allow them to expand and to grow.

8. SELFLESSNESS vs. SELFISHNESS.  they do not for themselves, but for the good of others.

”Before giving, the mind of the giver is happy; while giving, the mind of the giver is made peaceful; and having given, the mind of the giver is uplifted.” –Buddha

9. ABUNDANCE vs. LACK/POVERTY. They have an abundant mindset living a balanced life.

10. DREAMING BIG vs. BEING REALISTIC. These people don’t really care about being realistic. They love and dare to dream big.

11. KINDNESS vs. CRUELTY. They are kind to themselves and others and they understand the power of self love, self forgiveness and self acceptance.

12. GRATITUDE vs. INGRATITUDE. they have this capacity of seeing beauty where most of us would only see ugliness, opportunities, where most of us would only see struggles, abundance where most of us would only see lack and they express their gratitude for them all.

13. PRESENCE/ ENGAGEMENT vs. DISENGAGEMENT. They know how to live in the present moment

“When you are present, you can allow the mind to be as it is without getting entangled in it. The mind in itself is a wonderful tool. Dysfunction sets in when you seek your self in it and mistake it for who you are.”  —Eckhart Tolle

14. POSITIVITY vs. NEGATIVITY. No matter what happens to them, they always seem to keep a positive perspective on everything and by doing so, they tend irritate a lot of negative and “realistic” people.

15. TAKING RESPONSIBILITY vs. BLAMING. They take full ownership over their lives and they rarely use excuses. taking responsibility for everything that happens to them.

I thought these were words of wisdom worth a further look. Found here:


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A travelling musician, a saxaphonist, on a temporary trip to the States from his home country Australia, had this to say in his blog about an aspect of the local music scene (“the secret jam”) in Portland, Oregon:

It’s not a secret as such, people know it exists, but players who attend the secret jam only invite others they know can cut it. It’s not held in a music venue, any sort of venue, rather an old shed hidden behind a giant hardware store. There is no audience, just players, the invited few.

You’d think I’d be honoured to be invited. I am. One of the few white boys I’m sure. I won’t go. I can’t see the point in playing music without an audience, no matter how good the music. It is spilling the seed upon the ground. Vibrating air only becomes music when it is received by a human ear. The relationship between player and listener, the shared love, is the reason to play, playing to hear ourselves is masturbation, I can do that alone.

There is nothing created, no new life without the audience.


It’s philosophical, but after a couple experiences in the local music industry in Oregon I have an inkling what he’s talking about. Such a jam can turn into a musical ‘showdown’ with the players trying to dominate the song, drowning out each other, rather than genuinely trying to “make music”. It’s surprising what such a waste of talent these events turn out to be. A cacophany of egos.

But the musical rivalry and oneupsmanship goes much deeper into the industry. Those who control what an audience hears, in effect control who rises to the top. In other words, popularity is not determined by the preference of the ears which listen, so much as the music which is presented to the ears. We are conditioned to like what we hear, because it’s the only music placed before us. A lot of good musician’s talent is bypassed by the mainstream, because those who present the media only funnel their favorite performers to the top, regardless of the true talent others possess.

The musician must make his choice whether he plays at the top of his skill level for the music, the audience, himself and his soul, or whether he will let the industry place him in an artificial setting of predominance in fake ratings. It’s a sad state of affairs — blues without soul. But you see it all the time. The music industry is controlled by those who control access to airtime – and our ears.

This is why some of the finest music you may hear this summer is being played in the streets, not on the radio.

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Gene Matras pen and ink illustration work

Aphelion Art scratchboard works by Cathy Sheeter

3Kicks Fine Art Studios by Matt Marchant

“morning drawings” by Gabriela Vainsencher

“One hundred awesome paintings in one year” by Anna Judd

Julia Sverchuk’s line drawings

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Vincent van Gogh probably would have appreciated today’s “grunge” look. Teens carefully contrive to look cool and casual, by actively choosing garments such as stonewashed jeans and cutoffs, with exposed seams and ragged edges… The style even has a name, “shabby chic”. Ironically, mimicking the authenticity of bumhood, can cost just as much as a pristine wardrobe.

Van Gogh’s journals and letters reveal that his family was concerned about his appearance and how “shabby” were his clothes at the time. But he cared more about the art than the outward signs of success. In fact he thought it ironic himself, and explained,

This is the way I expressed myself to Father. I noticed that people talked about the strange and unaccountable fact that I was so hard up, although I belonged to such and such a family. I replied that I thought it was only temporary, and would come right after a time….What you say is true, financial questions have either advanced or handicapped many people in the world. It is so, and Bernard Palissy’s saying remains true, “Poverty prevents the good spirits from arriving.”

Poor Van Gogh, content to wear, “two workmen’s suits of rough black velvet, of that material known as veloutine. It looks well, and one can wear it everywhere…”

Apparently Van gogh’s parents were somewhat concerned, enough to ask his brother Theo in a note,

We have improved his appearance a little bit with the help of the best tailor from Breda. Would you be so kind as to do another work of mercy and have his chevelure metamorphosed by a clever hairdresser – here in Etten we don’t have such people. I suppose a barber of The Hague might be able to do something about it, therefore try to coax him into coming with you to one.


As they say, clothes make the man. Everyone could benefit from having their “chevelure metamorphosed by a clever hairdresser”, lol… What could Vincent van Gogh achieved if he had been dressed in Ives St. Laurent…? Vincent’s journals are worth a look.

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Sticks and Stones..

“There is a sleeping tiger within each of us; gently awakened, it is eager to seize the day.”
~Laurie “Tiger” Desjardins

Zen sticks are short rods of wood, about one foot long. (Attached to each other with chains, they might resemble num-chucks.) They are carved out of beautiful tropical woods, each of them designated for a certain portion of the chakras. And what do you do with them? When stressed, you pick your favorite, and flip it in your hand (like num-chucks) in a continuous motion, observing, watching, focusing, until the object of your stress has relief.

Perhaps more pertinent from a psychological point of view, are the charts listed here, which identify 300 emotions and a color wheel of feelings. Here, with words, you can pinpoint what is bothering you. And then, according to the author, choose a positive emotion on the opposite side of the wheel to counter the negative one.

Once you’ve found the pleasant emotion to counter the difficult one, you can begin thinking of things to do that will create that pleasant emotion within yourself. For example, the opposite of Inferior is Amused. You might ask yourself, “What would amuse me right now? What would make me laugh?” All there is left to do is to make a list of those things that would make you laugh. Chances are by making a list, you’ll start to feel better, but it’s important to go and do something on that list.

All the while, you are flipping the wood samples meditatively. I think they’d also be interesting, rolled up and down the back, for a massage. At least you aren’t using the rods, like num-chucks to beat on your opponent…lol.

Although the grain in the tropical woods, such as rosewood, purpleheart, and zebrawood, is beautiful, you have to wonder if good old oak or pine might serve the same purpose. But we shouldn’t let guilt over the depletion of the rainforest disturb one’s meditative practices which use pieces of it, should we?

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