Archive for the 'how-to' Category

Things I read today (happiness and the people we spend time with)

Monday, September 20th, 2010

This year the keynote speaker at the American Psychological Association convention was Dr. Dan Gilbert of Harvard. His book Stumbling on Happiness is an international bestseller and his talk was about affective forecasting: Do we know what will make us happy?

He pointed out that we are hardwired from birth to be happy when we get salt, fat, sweet things and sex. Beyond that our culture provides us cues about what will make us happy…

It is the goodness of social relationships that truly makes us happy. Good relationships are the foundations for almost every measure of well being. Our immune system, our incidental sense of peace and joy, and our optimism for the future is better when we feel good about our daily social relationships. The better we feel in the social network of others in our life, the happier we are. With poor or nonexistent relationships we cannot flourish…

Choosing who we talk to, spend time with and respond to — and who we don’t — is the stuff of what Moreno called sociometry. He found that people who were able to choose their compatriots did better and survived longer.

Choosing who we want to be with, and talk to, and spend time with sounds like a no-brainer. But the truth is most people simply don’t do it. We feel obligations and play politics, and in doing so lessen the time we spend with people who make us happy…

Some people make us feel good when we are around them. I encourage you to foster, nourish and cultivate these relationships. Spend more time with those who make you feel good, and less with those who don’t. If you are responsible for assigning people, and it is possible to let them choose who to be with or where to go, do it.

So: Can other people make us happy? Yes, they can. But only if they are the right ones.
Proof Positive: Can Other People Make Us Happy? By Daniel Tomasulo

I read this after spending a lovely few days with Coralie and know for sure that this is true.


Monday, May 24th, 2010

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to leave the world a better place; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson (via tiny buddha)

words worth considering – this is a success I can value (and I’ve got the laughing down, at least).

excellent writing advice

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

5. Keep a copy of Islands in the Stream by Ernest Hemingway on the left hand side of your desk. Keep Fitzgerald’s The Crack Up on the right. When you get stuck, pick them up and pretend that they are having a fight, like you used to do with your GI Joes. Just sort of bash them together for a while.

from 10 rules for writing (dogless, well-nourished) fiction by Lynn Coady


Things I read today (“In a clumsy effort to seduce her”)

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

“In a clumsy effort to seduce her, I attempted to explain the evolutionary advantages of sexual reproduction to a female friend the other day.”

– Laurence Hurst, Professor of Evolutionary Genetics, University of Bath “Three’s a crowd

I confess this approach would probably have really appealed to me (both the clumsy and uber-geeky, intellectual aspects) – though my own failing is, of course, that my first reaction would have been to explore the line of reasoning rather than tilting my head and batting my eyelashes or whatever it is that women who know how to get seduced actually do.

Things I saw lately (the chicken dance/all roads lead to pirates, matey)

Saturday, July 28th, 2007

In a work conversation with Coralie a week or so ago (yes, well, it started out about work anyway), she suggested requiring someone to do the “Danse des Canards” in front of the whole team as a completely reasonable consequence for causing some work inconvenience (pirate!). I wasn’t entirely sure what the “Danse des Canards” was, though it sounded like it had great potential as retribution so she showed me this:

“The chicken dance!” I replied. Now was my turn to educate her to ways of polka which all Pennsylvanians are subjected (at least those who grew up in the sticks like me) and the surreal world of Lawrence Welk, which still haunts my subconscious long after the times when, as a child, careless adults exposed my little eyes to miles of chiffon, beehives and accordions.

For those of you brought up without the exposure to the heady world of high culture in which I was raised as a child, here’s a how-to (a one and a two):

“Beaks… wings… tail feathers and four claps!” I told Coralie that it’s common to do the dance at weddings. I’ll skip over the part where Coralie asked me if I’ve ever done the chicken dance (or at least the part where I answer). She then showed me this video mash up of Jack Sparrow and the chicken dance – is it any wonder I like her so much? (we both love how he runs waving his arms in the cave):

Now just try to get that song out of your head :) Enjoy!

Things I downloaded today (typewriter keyboard)

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

Found by Coralie and filed under “absolutely awesomely fun things to play with and/or ‘how to drive your office mate mental”; Typewriter Keyboard for mac makes old typewriter noises when you type

Think of the kittens

Saturday, December 16th, 2006


*a new take on the classic