scribbles: Vol. 2 – October 23rd, 2020

Good morning and happy Friday, everyone. I hope each of you have had a great week and if you haven’t, that is okay too. This week I have been finding so much peace in the smell of fall and the rain it is bringing. I came home the other day and my wife had surprised me with a homemade apple crisp and the smell of it about knocked me on the floor when I opened the front door. Fall brings me some of my most cherished memories and I look forward to the rest of this season. On to my shares:

Watch 🎞

  • I want to say it was about a year ago that I stumbled across this YouTube channel by, Kraig Adams. He is undoubtedly my favorite YouTuber, as they say. His videos show him hiking all over the world (mostly alone) and his footage is played alongside some very peaceful and relaxing music. Tara can attest that I have his videos on repeat throughout the week. The last half of his videos are when he explains the routes he took and his thoughts on the trail, which is quite insightful. If you are looking for some peaceful videos to watch I cannot recommend these enough.

Read 📚

  • There are a few things that are almost always on my mind and language is one of them. I am fascinated by how it evolves and humankind’s ability to create sounds with our mouths that eventually evoke different feelings or thoughts in our bodies. Rant on language aside, I wanted to share this incredible new tool I discovered that will appeal to people who enjoy time machines and language (sign me up!). It was created by Merriam-Webster and after you select a year with the dropdown menu it will show you all the words that were used for the first time in that year, dating back to the 12th century. It is an incredibly fun tool and here are some words from 100 years ago: B Vitamin, guacamole, cola, IQ, T-shirt, supersonics, and undercover.

Again, for my American friends, please don’t forget to vote. If you need someone to help keep you accountable, I will kindly do so.

Happiness is not a goal, it is a by-product. Paradoxically, the one sure way not to be happy is deliberately to map out a way of life in which one would please oneself completely and exclusively. For what keeps our interest in life and makes us look forward to tomorrow is giving pleasure to other people.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

scribbles: Vol. 1 – October 9th, 2020

Hello, world! It has been a long time since I have written on here, but I am hoping to change that. I’ve been thinking for a few weeks about the idea of sharing a bi-monthly post (the second and fourth Friday of every month) where I include some links to the things I’ve been enjoying. The social networks I am on, mainly Twitter and Instagram, have many limitations when it comes to word count and link share-ability. They have also done a great job of showing the world how efficient they are at destroying democracies and spreading misinformation. My hope with this idea is to practice accountability, share some things I like, be creative, and spend more time writing which means less time on social media. I plan to treat this idea like a webzine of sorts, so they will be issued as “volumes” and be called, “scribbles”.

Watch 🎞

  • I recently watched a documentary called, Public Lands, which is made by Patagonia. You can watch the entire doc for free on YouTube and is a great look into the hands that are trying to mess with public lands in America. The story is told well and the most powerful voices come from those that are experiencing some of these changes first hand.
  • Last Friday, we finished the last episode of Ted Lasso. It is advertised as a comedy but it is much more than that. The show has heart and one of the best parts is seeing a leader with empathy and struggles of their own. Highly recommend this show and if you are worried about “not knowing enough about soccer”, well neither does Coach Lasso. (Warning: there is some strong language for those that are sensitive to that sort of thing).

Listen 🎧

  • For those of you looking for a good laugh, there is an Apple focused podcast I listen to called, Connected. The show features hosts from Tennessee, England, and Italy. The Italian, Federico Viticci, speaks English as a second language and every year when the new set of Emoji are released (this year is ‘Emoji Version 13.0’) they do a fun episode where the other hosts try and quiz Federico on what he thinks each emoji is called in, English. The episode can be found here. It is quite funny.

Read 📚

  • I recently went through a book called, “Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World” by Cal Newport. It is a short read and I highly recommend it to anyone trying to use their devices as powerful tools rather than mindlessly scrolling through screens we think we have control over. (I know a few people who have recently been opened to the idea of this “alternate” reality since the popularity of The Social Dilemma came out on Netflix.)

These are my shares this week as part of my new experiment. Some volumes may be as extensive as this, some volumes may be much shorter. I will at least try to always leave something worth your time and attention.

Oh, and for my USA readers especially, please don’t forget to vote: https://vote.gov.

Reading

For months now I have wanted to write about a new passion of mine… Reading. Sometime around July or August, I can’t remember which, I stumbled upon a video that helped change my perspective on how much easier it would be for me to read more books. For as long as I can remember I’ve loved books.. The smell, the texture, the color the pages turn after x amount of time, the feeling of accomplishment that comes from finishing one, the knowledge gained, and so much more. Every once in a while my brain will rush back to one of my oldest memories of reading… It only happens when I smell a certain scent of a novel and although I can’t describe the smell, the memory is very special. When I’m lucky enough to be randomly transported to this moment in my life I am brought back to the summer before 4th grade. I’m in the front lawn, stomach first on a towel laying in the sun, and I just got back from spending the little money I had received from birthdays and however else 8 year-old me obtained money. I’m starting The Prisoner of Azkaban (my favorite Harry Potter book) and the feeling of reading in this moment ignites my mind and imagination. The sun is on my back, the smell of whatever paper Scholastic used is filling my nose, Aunt Marge is floating through the London sky, and life is good.

I am sure I am not alone in having an appreciation for books. The “aesthetic” of books is enough for most people to be attracted to them, enough to spend money on them even if we don’t end up reading them. For years I’ve always had the best of intentions to read these “Best Sellers” and other books recommended to me by friends, etc. Sometimes even just obtaining them made me think I was smarter or better for just having these “good books” on my shelf or in my bag. Of the many books I would buy in a year I would only get through a couple of them (if that) and in the back of my mind I would constantly be shameful for not fulfilling my intentions of reading them. I would get distracted by other content or by the next great book. I was trapped in a cyclical cycle of buying a book, starting it, spending my precious time with other things, forgetting about that book, rinse and repeat.

Last year I spent a lot of energy focusing on organizing my time and my intentions, learning the importance of habits and how they can change your life. Stationary has helped me a lot with this (putting aside that the hobby allows me obsess over the tiniest of details)… I watched the video I mentioned above at a moment in time where I was ready to take the many lessons I was learning and start applying them deeper into my life. For better or for worse, YouTube’s algorithm placed this video, “BOOKSTORES: How to Read More Books in the Golden Age of Content” in my ‘Recommended’ feed. The clickbait-y capitalization caught my eye and on this random summer lunch break I went for it. I have no idea who Max Joseph is or what any of his other videos are about but this video completely changed my perspective on how easy it is to read, to actually commit to starting and finishing a book, and enjoying it. The transformative moment for me while watching this video happened when one of the bookstore owners mentions (9:40-10:30) that they read for 1-2 hours a day and because of that they are able to read 50-60 books a year! Before I could even finished the video I was already starting to think about the moments in my day I could fill with pockets of reading instead of just looking at my phone “because”.

For a long time most of my excuses have been, “I’m a student, I don’t have any time to read anything but my school books”…“There isn’t enough time for me in the day to read any books”… You get the idea. I was lying to myself and if I really wanted to fill my mind with good books, all I needed to do was prioritize my time. The story in the video did a really good job illustrating how reading just 30 minutes a day can make a huge difference in the amount of books I could finish. There is always time to read.

Since the summer of 2019 I have put my best foot forward in trying to read every single day. I have read some truly wonderful books, my mind has been enlightened, I have found a healthy and positive escape, and I’ve spent less time wandering aimlessly on my pocket computer. If you are someone who is itching to read more I invite you on this journey with me. One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give is, do not compare yourself to others. If your goal is to read 5 minutes or just 1 page a day, do that. Don’t look at others, or myself, and think about the number of books you are reading, comparatively. If you do that, you will get stuck in the same cycle I did. You will buy a bunch of books thinking about all the wonderful novels or literature you are going to finish to then get overwhelmed and not have developed the skills to practice reading every, single, day. Start small. Train your brain to read whatever amount you feel is a good start, each day, and then do just that. Over time you will realize that it becomes a part of who you are. If you are worried about spending less time watching movies, or the latest shows, or missing out on feeds, I can assure you that you will still find time to do that. My experience has been that those moments of consumption are more meaningful because of the intention I give them. I love the arts and have a tremendous appreciation for film and television. But I have also found a renewed joy and admiration for the medium of books.

I used to be an “aficionado” on books I had never read, and now I can honestly call myself a reader, and it feels so damn good.

If any of you are interested in what I’m reading, feel free to follow me on Goodreads.

some of the books I consumed since summer