Christine

Cubed

I have always been attracted to small spaces. Keep thinking I can live in my kids’ back yard from time to time! and my grandchildren will take it over when I’m not “home.”

It might be a granny thing. And as long as granny has a left foot, this little place would be a perfect fit!

It has a photovoltaic system and can produce all the energy it needs. It also raises 1,000 pounds per year in FiT income. Waste is either composted or drained away to a small reed-bed and soak-away (will have to find out about the soak away).

At first, I wondered about falling out of bed, but on watching the animated version, I see that it has some safety sides, sort of like Nicolas’ old bunk bed (which he did fly off of one time when he was about three in his SuperHero stage). That’s when I had to triple lock the doors out to the balcony — we lived on the seventh floor at the time. To find out more about the project, and to see photos, visit the cube’s site.

Christine

explaining your time warner bill

from the new yorker. gave me a good laugh. needed it!

Made me think of my old ATT bill that was supposed to be cheaper than the MCI service. Only after they added on all the taxes, it was always more. I don’t try to figure it out anymore. MCI, not sure it still exists. That company may not have had as many taxes, but if you did have to dispute a problem, you would have to “hold” for at least an hour. OMG.

Anyway, the $1.35 that “somehow goes to Goldman Sachs” is a good one. as well as the $120.32 that goes to “Residuals owed to composer of ‘Please Hold’ music.”

Christine

sense of adventure

i was looking up what this means and came up with this. NPR’s Krulwich wonders.

or maybe it will come up. I’ll put it here in case.

I also learned that people do their sense of adventure thing on trips, which kind of surprised me — that people pay for it. but then again, I’ll have to think about that.

THen I came across victor milian, who has an adventure blog. he’s calls himself a modern day swordsman, sorcerer and adventure outfitter for the mind. He also battles depression, it seems (Being that my adventures are inner journeys, I can understand that)

Some other thoughts — on my weekly 80 \-minute drive to Vero, I thought about analogies. That kept me going the whole trip. I’m going to try to come up with some (about something). That’s clear, right?

But back to risk taking: there’s an article i came across, a study by Bianca C. Wittmann, Nathaniel D. Daw, Ben Seymour, and Raymond J. Dolan. Striatal Activity Underlies Novelty-Based Choice in Humans. Neuron, Vol 58, 967-973, 26 June 2008 [link]

What they did was give volunteers a chance to pick cards with images that each had a unique reward attached to it. Mixed in were unfamiliar images. These volunteers were hooked up to fMRI scanners, and when they picked the unfamiliar card, an area of the brain, the ventral striatum, lit up.

These scientists have identified an area of the brain that encourages us to be adventurous. ok, now for an anology. Wittmann said that seeking unfamiliar experiences is a fundamental behavioral tendency.

“It makes sense to try new options as they may prove advantageous in the long run. For example, a monkey who chooses to deviate from its diet of bananas, even if this involves moving to an unfamiliar part of the forest and eating a new type of food, may find its diet enriched and more nutritious.”

The ventral striatum is an area that processes rewards, and when we do something beneficial, dopamine is released (Now that explains it).

There is a downside, of course.

“In humans, increased novelty-seeking may play a role in gambling and drug addiction, both of which are mediated by malfunctions in dopamine release,” said Professor Nathaniel Daw.

Looking for a definition, i also came across articles on being a lumber jack, hiking, opera,  fly fishing and skiing. Getting off your butt seems to be another definition. So there you have it.

Christine

mockingbird

thanks to dennis who figured this out… and sent me a link to the song.

We have one right outside our windows, and I do believe this bird is the one who starts up in the middle of the night sometimes.

Here's my quick snapshot

and a closeup thanks to wikipedia

and here’s what he sounds like.

hardy60sh

Nice little tidbits about the mockingbird from wikipedia.

  • This is the state bird of Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas.
  • It features in the title and central metaphor of the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. In that novel, mockingbirds are portrayed as innocent and generous, and two of the major characters, Atticus Finch and Miss Maudie, say it is a sin to kill a mockingbird because “they don’t do one thing for us but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us”.
  • The traditional American lullaby “Hush Little Baby” has been recorded in numerous musical styles. The lyrics refer Northern Mockingbirds once being popular as pets, and begin:
Hush little baby, don’t say a word,
Mama’s gonna buy you a mockingbird.
And if that mockingbird don’t sing,
Mama’s gonna buy you a diamond ring.
  • President Thomas Jefferson had a pet mockingbird named Dick.
  • On the television show, Mister Rogers Neighborhood, the puppet character of King Friday XIII has a pet mockingbird (a wooden bird on a stick) whose name is Mimus Polyglottos.