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March 2012 (121 posts)
We can all say "I don't have time for that" all we want, but in the end, do we have time not to learn something new? Hey, I want to make origami bird thingies! I want to pick up ordering in Spanish! Most of all, I want to regain that "I can't wait to get back to my new project" feeling that's so energizing and exciting. You know what I want to learn about first? Don't laugh—it's crock pot cooking.
Make your life sparkle! Master something new.
Why it's important to be a lifelong learner.
The sweetest marriage proposal ever (online, anyway).
Fascinating: How the human brain thinks about the human brain.
An old man's bird, a handful of change. A reflection of the power of giving.
An adorable video that tugs at your heartstrings. Literally.
The Life-Lifter: "I was thinking I was going to die:" Chicago man risks his life to save children from drowning.
Veronika Decides To Die By Paulo Coelho. I love Coelho because he asks important questions, like "What would I do today if I knew I'd be hit by a bus tomorrow?" This novel, the Brazilian author's 15th book, is about a woman who tries to kill herself, only to end up in a mental hospital where a doctor tells her she has just a few days to live. But then she falls in love with a fellow patient, and together they choose life. "Veronika gave me chills because it shows the power of the mind," Akerman says.
See the full list of Books That Made A Difference To Malin Ackerman.
Books that made a difference to James Franco
15 New Yorkers' favorite books
Books that made a difference to Julia Roberts
So imagine my delight when we discovered a free app for caffeine addicts that's less of a monitor, and more of an enabler—in a fun, functional way. With Caffeine Zone 2 Lite, you input the size of your beverage, the time you drank it, and how fast you sipped it. The simple-looking app, which was designed by two Penn State University professors (a cognitive scientist and a computer scientist), uses predictive modeling to figure out how much caffeine your body has absorbed and how much more you need to remain in your optimal alertness zone. You can also fill in details like your weight and bedtime to find out when the effects will wear off, when another cup will push you into the jitter zone, and whether that afternoon espresso will be likely to keep you up all night. You can even set alarms that will suggest when you need another dose. One of the app's designers told BusinessWeek that they hadn't received any funding from coffee- or soda-makers (although they wouldn't turn it down), so for now, he's just helping the caffeine-lovers of the world find their perfect happy place, one cup at a time.
How your lattes affect your health
Watch this video. Go on. The whole thing. It's six minutes long. Turn the sound up. Close the door. Just watch it.
This video makes me want to cry, and it took me a while to figure out why. This is because there's really no good word for the feeling it creates, that happy-sad feeling I get from watching something that's beautiful in a bleak way, uplifting in a quiet, melancholy way. The doleful music, the bare trees, the man alone with his unlikely, unwieldy, ineluctably temporary creations. It's so ridiculous what he's doing, and so perfect. Why shouldn't we all send our time creating whimsical will-o'-the-wisps, beautiful shimmering bubbles made just to pop? (Also: how on earth does he do it? I can't even blow a decent marble-sized bubble with the crummy drugstore soap solution I have!) And does it help knowing he's in France? Probably.
I usually call this feeling, in my mind, Funny-Cry-Happy. It was the name of a dollar store in Chicago I used to pass on my daily bus ride. I never went to store and have no idea what they were actually trying to say with its name, but I loved the phrase. And that's just how I feel about this video: Funny-Cry-Happy. It's not exactly a word, but it works. It's a feeling to hold onto and appreciate, despite—and maybe because of—the fact that's so hard to pinpoint.
Men! What are they thinking? We can't always answer that, but we'll be posting our favorite glimpses into their world in this space every Thursday.
* The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore won an Oscar® on Sunday, and you can watch the whole charming video above. (YouTube)
* "From the age of 3 to the age of 23, Brian Spitulnik was sure of one thing: he wanted to be a Broadway dancer. When he was 24, he was cast in the long-running revival of Chicago." Find out what it's like to be a guy who wears black mesh in front of thousands of people in the Chorus Boy Chronicles. (McSweeney's)
* How great is this photo of Joe Namath in a fur coat at a 1973 Jets game? (The Lively Morgue)
* "Davy Jones was unfailingly gracious to his fans, delighted by the longevity of his career and grateful for the life it gave him."—Kerry Nolan in her lovely remembrance of the Monkees member and former teen idol who passed away this week at the age of 66. What's your favorite Monkee's song? (WNYC)
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You know your gym is germy, and that's why you always bring your own water bottle, towel, yoga mat and shower shoes. You haven’t let your bare skin touch the stretching mats since you first joined, and no one needs to tell you to wipe down the treadmill control panel before you press "GO." But you may not realize where else viruses and bacteria may be hiding, says Michelle Kennedy, MS, a Best Life fitness expert. Take these extra precautions, especially with the CDC's recent announcement that flu season, significantly delayed this year, is just getting started.
Disinfect the disinfectant containers: Think about it: you see people spraying and wiping everything in the gym—except for the spray bottles and wet wipe receptacles. Wipe them off before you put them down for the next germaphobe to use.
Store your gear high: Even fastidious gyms don't get around to cleaning every single locker every single night. The bottoms of the lockers tend to be the dirtiest because that's where people tuck away their outside shoes, says Kennedy. She always hangs her clothes and gear from hooks so that they come in contact with as few grimy surfaces as possible.
Don't co-mingle your clothing: Kennedy points out that most people don't think twice about taking off the shorts that just spent an hour on the stationery bike (one microbiologist found the fungus Candida albicans, which causes yeast infections, on exercise bike seats all over New York City) and tossing them into a bag with clean clothes, books and other items. She suggests a sports duffel with separate pockets for shoes and sweaty gear, like this one.
A primer for good gym hygiene
Foods that can boost your immunity to colds
How healthy is your gym?
The cutest, weirdest video you'll see today: the test flight of the robo-bees.
Get that plastic take-out container out of the trash! A new app makes recycling easy and, gasp, fun.
16 quick, bright ways to make spring come early—to your wardrobe, at least.
The Life-Lifter: That one really nice guy at work. Blankets. Seeing old people dance. Learn to appreciate an awesome thing every day, courtesy of the awesome blog 1000 Awesome Things. AWESOME!
Well, not so Benjamin Franklin. Not only did he have much cooler hair and glasses than I do, not only did he invent bifocals, the lightning rod, the odometer, and, like, the United States of America when to date I have invented exactly, hm, nothing, but old Ben had a daily plan. I guess that's how big thinkers work. His daily schedule is enlightening—structured, but not too—and I dare say we could all learn a thing or two from it.
I very much enjoy the break in the middle of the day to read over lunch, and the exhortation to spend part of each evening putting "things in their places." I imagine a harried Ben scurrying around putting away kids' toys and unpacking the diaper bag, you know, so to speak. And I especially love the morning question— "What good shall I do this day?"—and the evening question— "What good have I done today?" This is the kind of checking-in most of us don't do enough in our daily lives. Not just, How will I check all the to-do's off my to-do list? But, What good shall I do? And not just, Let me go over all the things I didn't get to today, but I must have done something good today. Let me take a moment to reflect on it.
The Creative Commandments of Henry Miller
Schedule Tweaks for Simplified Mornings