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from Nicoleex

 

DISCLAIMER: I ask that you bear with me as I struggle to articulate fresh thoughts.

-The Aftermath and Afterthoughts-

It's been nearly two months. It's weird scrolling through her Instagram, and watching the few videos I can find of her. It's weird looking at the pictures I do have of her. It's just genuinely an odd thing to think about the fact that the person I am looking at, the person who was seemingly the happiest girl I knew, is dead.

It's weird to think about the fact that it was by her own hand. It's all just very weird.

My best friend, basically sister, of nearly 16 years; one of the only people who genuinely had been there from the beginning committed suicide at the age of 20. I remember the night I got the call asking if she was with me, no one could get a hold of her that day. And she wasn't with her boyfriend, which was highly unusual. It was different and I knew it. I had been asked to stay late at work that night, but when I got the call, I left immediately. I tried calling her phone twice and the second time,the call was answered, but not by her. It was her mother, crying hysterically over the phone, her words were muddied but I could make out only a few, “She's gone.”

And the call dropped. I heard the ambulance, and saw the lights as I pulled up to the intersection. I work close to home. When I saw them I knew something was terribly wrong. I ran the red light and sped down the street. By the time I got there the medics were already walking into the gate to our complex. When we were finally up there it only took them about 5 minutes to determine that they could not doing anything more for her and pronounced her dead.

Less than 3 months shy of her 21st birthday. We had discussed how that would go. She would get unbelievably drunk and I would take care of her just as she had taken care of me during my blackout.

We had it planned out. Not completely. But we would be each other's bridesmaids, God mother to each other's kids. We were both going to school to be Pharmacy Techs. And she was the cutest in her scrubs. That's how it was supposed to be. But now every plan we made is gone. Everything I thought I knew is all muddied and I'm sort of lost in this endless trail of denial and confusion.

I know in my mind she is gone, and my heart can feel it. But I still wake up sometimes thinking that I'll once again see that magnificent smile. Enlightened by the life that had once burned bright inside of her. She was a force to be reckoned with. A heart too pure for such a cold world, and she never once failed to see the good in others even when they had failed her.

I guess I feel guilty in some way. Being her best friend, I wasn't the very best I could have been, she was always so selfless and I was always so selfish. Even now. I'm afraid I have made this entire post more about myself than I have about remembering the most amazing person I knew. What if I was there for her like I should have been? Hung out with her more. Called her more. Text her more.

I can't say totally what it was that drove her to do what she did. Whether it had been years of hidden depression, or a more recent set of issues that escalated quickly and manifested into her decision. I can only dwell on the fact that two possibilities exist: A) A friend to lean on could have swayed her decision. B) No one could have saved her.

Whatever the case may have been, she's gone, and it's a matter of coping and picking up the pieces she left behind.

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from K.J. EXPRESS

 

WHAT IS BEAUTY ANYWAY

by Kakajan Haytlyyev

Once upon a time, people had an opinion on a subject matter. It was a time when people had enjoyed discussions. Exchange of opinions was not considered as a confrontation but rather enrichment. Just in a period of one day, people could learn quite a lot from each other. I wonder, when did we lose it? When we missed a warning sign that supposed to alarm us? When did discussions start to transform into arguments and opinions replaced with perceptions? I tried to find answers to these questions and I failed. Perhaps I could not find an answer because the transformation process was very slow and took several decades to achieve its current stage. The slow speed of this backwards journey did not trigger an alarm in our mind until it became apparent that regress has reached an advanced stage. Today we can notice loudly screaming signs of it almost in every aspect of our life on daily basis. At times we think that it would be wiser to ignore it. We assume that there is nothing to worry about. We think that if we ignore it, it would just go away. Initially I thought so too, but lately, I started to suspect that choosing not to pay attention is a mistake. I realised that the true nature of these ugly anti-cultural signs is not as harmless as it might seem. To illustrate the hidden danger, I would like to show a couple of examples. I was going through LinkedIn for my research when I started to realise that there are an enormous number of posts that contain text which sounds nice but means nothing in the best case scenario. One of them says IF YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO LEARN, NO ONE CAN HELP YOU. IF YOU ARE DETERMINED TO LEARN, NO ONE CAN STOP YOU I saw this quote on tinybuddah.com and I assume it was introduced many centuries ago. Since then our world sustained a dramatic change and today it looks like entirely different planet altogether. Many people responded with “like” and commented that they absolutely agree with it. It was clear that people were convinced that a choice to learn is entirely up to us. No one seemed to understand that in the Era of vividly displayed inequality, we do not have equal access to the necessary sources in order to realise such choice. Moreover, with an ever-growing gap between rich and poor, I would assume that the number of people who would not know what to learn is growing proportionally to the wealth gap. I would also think that many of them are not even privileged to think about learning because they are too busy with few jobs just to make it to the next cheque. It seemed that people do not understand that this quote was taken out of context and squeezed into our today’s reality and, therefore, it might not work. Since it is unlikely to fit into the modern environment, this quote could lead to grossly wrong perception. It has real potential for some people to conclude that those who are behind, shall not complain because it is their choice. Whether those who fall behind do not stand a chance to be at par with the rest of us, will not be taken into account. The number of “like” was a clear evidence that my assumption is correct. It was apparent that people who reacted positively to this post did not understand that with social inequality it is not fair to talk about choice. The other post which attracted my attention was about wisdom YOU ARE WISE WHEN YOU KNOW THE LIMITS OF YOUR WISDOM I have to admit, I do not know who said it. Maybe because I am lucky. Initially, I thought I misread it, but when I read it for the second time I decided to express my opinion by saying that it is not possible to be wise. Just as it is not possible to be smart. We can be wiser or smarter, but never wise or smart as every day, every hour, every moment brings something new to learn. And even if we are quick learners, by the time for us to go, we still will realise that we do not know anything. Wisdom is based on knowledge. Since we know that knowledge does not have limits, it would be strange to assume that there are limits for wisdom. By thinking about limits of our wisdom, we declare to ourselves that we have not learnt anything. It was surprising to me that by the time I put my comments, this post already had more than thirty “like”. People liked something which does not make sense. Now, I know that some would argue that this message says that a person is considered wise when admits that he or she does not know everything. In my opinion, it is given. If we have to explain something which is so basic, then we shall not talk about wisdom. It would mean we are not ready to talk about it. But the example I am about to describe solidified my view that process of the backwards movement started to accelerate. I am not even bothered to waste my time and describe comments that are simply racist. I better highlight something which I would never think could be somehow touched by the backwards move. Something that managed to withstand time for many centuries. It was a post with Lord Bryon’s poem that was illustrated with a dramatically beautiful picture of a view to the open sea from the edge of the rock. The sky overcast with heavy clouds and waves produce a take on upcoming storm. There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore, There is society, where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music in its roar, I love not a Man less, but Nature more…. When I went through the comments I realised that many of them are nothing by a simple expression of politeness. In general, all of them were indicating one thing, that it is beautiful, which is actually well understood without saying. I also felt that the last line of the poem does not give me a positive feeling and I decided to say that I actually do not see the beauty of the last line because I do not share that the nature of Man is less beautiful than a beauty of Nature. I received the response of a person who posted it by saying “ many thanks for expressing your kind thoughts, presenting alternative considerations,... though be hastening to add what Lord Bryon did and felt at the time of noting this engaging, entreating prose was his perception of his meant truth, which has remained unchanged ... as to Lord Byron's disposition, reality strong suggests that neither you nor I was there, so conjecture is sure to reign,..... trusting you have a great weekend, all the best” . In response, I wrote “I agree with you. We were not there. Therefore, we can only assume. But the way he put it suggests that I might be close in my assumption in terms of what he felt. This is a beauty of poetry. Pain can be felt even many years after. What it may teach us is this. Do not take it as a reality when you are in pain. It is not a reality, it is not the truth. It is just pain. But you will be better tomorrow.” This is where I realised that the backwards move reached the advanced stage. People who talk about the poetry of Lord Byron, do not even feel his pain. All they could say were words that could mean absolutely anything: beautiful, “thank you for sharing”, “wonderful”, etc. It is especially disturbing when someone who believes that he or she can talk about Lord Bryon’s creation would treat it as something ordinary. I realise that when people are not capable of seeing the depth of Lord Bryon's poetry, they simply are not capable of appreciating other people’s opinion and respect the way they feel. However, complete lack of understanding of such treasure as poetry is not the most horrifying part of our reality. I afraid the danger has grown to something much bigger. It penetrated all levels of our society and is now threatening our very existence. Somehow we could not see that when we allowed perception to sand next to our opinion, we legitimised and unwillingly changed the very definition of the word “opinion”. We made Ignorance stronger. We open a door to let Ignorance to walk into our daily life. We let Ignorance to feel comfortable. Therefore it thinks that now it has the right to talk. Due to our politically correct actions and inappropriate politeness, we convince the Ignorance that it is entitled to be part of our civilised society. We should have known that Ignorance is shameless and soon it's best friends, Racism and Hatred would arrive to celebrate their freedom in our home that we, intelligent people have built. We should have never let these three ugly creatures to be free. We should have never opened the door.

It leads to a question for which I cannot find an answer. Is it too late?

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from KiWords

 

The Importance of Diversity is More Than Seasoned Chicken

What brilliance has been bottled up in kitchens? What ingenuity has been scrubbed away while cleaning the floors of houses the scrubber will never own? What has this country lost by not considering the brilliance and potential of every single person that inhabits this land? Recently, while perusing some little known Black History facts, I came across the story of Eugene Bullard. Mr. Bullard, an American citizen, was one of very few Black pilots who flew in WWI. The interesting thing about Mr. Bullard is, he didn’t fly for the U.S. army. After moving to France in an attempt to escape the racial turmoil of the U.S. south, he joined the Foreign Legion and became a part of the French colonial troops. During his time in the Foreign Legion, he was promoted to the rank of corporal and earned his piloting license. At one point during the war, he attempted to join the U.S. forces as a pilot. However, since they were only accepting white men, he was denied. After the war ended, he received the Croix de guerre, Médaille militaire, and the Croix du combattant volontaire for his service in the French army. (I clearly don’t speak French, but I’m thinking these awards have to be pretty dope.) Between the end of WWI and the beginning of WWII, Eugene Bullard made a pretty great life for himself in France. He opened up a night club which graced the likes of Josephine Baker, Louis Armstrong, and Langston Hughes. Unfortunately, during his service in WWII, Eugene Bullard was wounded and eventually returned to New York. Back in America, back in his country of origin, Mr. Bullard never reached the same level of success that he had seen overseas. At one point, after his return to the states and while attending an event hosted by Paul Robeson, he was beaten by an angry mob, upset with Paul Robeson’s assumed association with the communist party. The mob consisted of both veterans and law enforcement officers. Though there is footage of the mob beating the attendees of the event, no one was ever charged with a crime. Later in life, although he had known great success and fame during his time in France, his life in America ended with him living alone and working as an elevator operator. As much as I love black history, I did not start this post to provide anyone who reads it with a history lesson about Eugene Bullard, but rather an opportunity to question what greatness we miss out on when we don’t allow people to live into their full potential because of the color of their skin, their zip code, their gender, or their sexuality. How many American lives could have been saved if Eugene Ballard was allowed to fly in the U.S. Army and provide the same services for our country as he did for France? What culture did we miss out on because this country decided that his only value was to stay in a box that went up and down, instead of a potential entrepreneur working to preserve black culture in this country? Even today, what unearthed brilliance lies in our babies that policies, lack of resources, and Secretaries of Education who don’t know the difference between proficiency and growth, have stopped us from developing? What power has gone untapped? What inventions are waiting to be created in the hood? What life-saving medical researcher are we shutting out by building a wall? In this Trump era, I have often seen the argument for the importance of diversity wrapped up in a humorous 5 minute video about which rappers should go with us on the boat, which hairstyles dominant society wouldn’t have left to appropriate, and the looming danger of unseasoned chicken. While the videos are all funny, they can also be dangerous in limiting the worth of diversity. Diversity is not just a photograph of smiling people with different skin tones. Diversity includes differences in thought, perspectives, ideas, experiences, and much more.

When this country minimizes the importance of educating everyone, it minimizes the beauty of the diversity of possibilities that could be. How much faster could America have gotten to space if Katherine Johnson would have been allowed in the room the first day she arrived at NASA? Could we have won the space race? That answer will always be hidden to us. But the future doesn’t have to be. As this administration continues to push legislation and executive orders that threaten to minimize the power of diversity that our country is blessed with, we must learn from the mistakes of our past and ensure that every person in this country has the opportunity to live into their fullest potential. When we are able to do that, the power of our diversity will be more than seasoned chicken. When everyone is given all the resources and care that is needed to help them live into their true potential, then we can truly make America great.

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from In the open

 

We're considering hiding non-HTTPS images on blogs by default, with some sort of “show” button nearby, for users to click if they're okay with loading insecure content. This would impact a few things:

  • Readers would always see the lock icon in their browser on all non-custom-domain blogs
  • Anyone who's embedded insecure images would need to host their images securely to prevent them from being replaced with some sort of “insecure image hidden” message (or one less scary-sounding)

Because it could adversely affect some writers, we want to make sure most everyone is on board with / prepared for this change. It is ultimately better for everyone, both writers and readers, and falls in line with our goals to support a more widely-secure internet. While we are launching an image hosting product soon (Snap.as), it's not the primary reason for this idea, and it will be just one of many options for users to securely host images for their blogs.

Let us know what you think of this change, especially if you think it'll negatively affect you.

-Matt

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from specious pretexts

 

I've been very distracted lately. It's hard to sit at a desk all day and watch as large things happen to the country and world around me. I feel like I should be doing something about it. I feel like I should be out joining the scientists, government workers, politicians, activists, and everyone doing something about the situation this country is in.

I've never felt so bound to a duty, especially not to my country, as I do now. I could never kill for my country, but I can stand up for her values. I can write, debate, speak, sing; bring people together and push back against the threats we face from the most powerful government on earth.

I was reading George Washington's farewell address today, and found this sentence out of many that resonated with the moment we're in:

Towards the preservation of your government, and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite, not only that you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts.

These days we are drowning in specious pretexts, not only from our government, but citizens that act like mere subjects. Arguments are made and people split over simple pride. It's Trump's way, after all: win at all costs. But it's now that we need the wisdom to know when to fight our fellow citizens and when to work with them. We need to forget the theatrics and cacophony of digital voices to remember the common things important to every last one of us. As one people we are stronger than many divided.

We all must rise, fight, and restrain the blind extremism encroaching, before it has the chance to consume us.

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from jsx

 

Last night was my 33rd birthday. I wanted to do something that get me away from a device and the news. There has been so much going on the last two weeks that it has been overwhelming. I needed to disconnect for a few hours. What better way than a musical. La La Land just got nominated for a ton of oscars and it has been on my watch list.

From, the opening credits to the end this movie simply just put a smile on my face. I will try to avoid spoilers in this post but just a warning in case I do let something slip. The movies core theme is about following your dreams and go for it.

I am going to try and go on a journey here. But, the news is grim for whatever side of the spectrum you support. But, the message in the film is just promoting doing your dreams and following that. Making sacrifices and helping each other to get that point. Some of the most powerful moments in the movie when the two characters where encouraging and support each other.

It got me thinking about the people in my life and the places that I want to hit and the impact that I want to leave. It also got me thinking that whenever we are honest with what we want and are not afraid to work together and not afraid. There is nothing that can stop us.

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from write.as

As Write.as turns two years old, we're looking forward to the years ahead. Now settled in as a simple, easy blogging platform, we've started planning our next major step.

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from Kerri

 

So last week was a big news week, very political in nature and very controversial in a lot of areas so I abstained from writing as any comment or opinion I had on the matter would have been irrelevant due to my being abstract from the entire thing.

Now on to the conversation. I got into a brief discussion this past week regarding a book series I enjoy possibly a little to much, someone had come to a discussion board asking about the role of sexism in that series sparked a debate. No surprise there, but it got me thinking.

You see, a lot of people these days are stuck looking for new media to absorb, either because they struggle to relate to the typical tropes or because they feel their current options are too saturated with the same thing. The series in question is the Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss. I'll preface this by indicating just how wonderful of a man Pat is, he runs the Worldbuilders Charity, frequently promotes equal rights causes and is probably one of the best authors writing at the moment, and yet he's still painfully human. His book follows the story of a character who on many occasions falls into bad situations and ideas such as sexism, ableism, classism and racism creep into his world as they would any other.

The debate ended up pivoting around the idea that because the books portrayed these values, they supported them. That they might trigger people, or whatever else. I would argue against that. These issues are issues that make a world real, help people to relate to characters who face these issues. We all want to see more independent female characters who exist to further the plot not just as romantic interests but as clearly defined people with their own interactions and freedom to develop away from the main character. Some of us want to witness characters whose physical or mental condition may not match up to that of a healthy person, do the things that a healthy person can do without being made an example of. These characters aren't just tropes, they aren't just there to throw a nod at the cause or righteousness or empathy. They exist as an idea that in a real world these problems exist.

So in my opinion, sexism and other -isms in media shall continue to be a part of these worlds just as much as it's present in our own. We need these anchors to create relationships between the consumer and the creator. It's not just books that could benefit from a few unsavoury interactions, it's film and video-games too.

I'll end by stating how important it is that if you do want to introduce these ideas into your own work, you can't just throw them on top of an existing situation. They need to be integral, woven into the very fabric of the tale you are trying to tell. If the interactions don't feel real it will feel forced and like you're trying too hard to make a point and could come off crude or worse, in a way that might make you appear to support the ideas.

Write in and let me know your thoughts on controversial issues in media to promote realism and consumer to creator relationships.

Thanks for reading

- Kerri

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from shopkins

 

Last night I had my first lucid dream in a while.

In some dark city bar I'd had the memory of being in before (but never saw before in my dream), I walked in to find the keyboard/piano that I'd left there the night before was destroyed.

I'd left it there so people could enjoy it and play on it (I guess I'd thought they wanted it). And now it was destroyed — keys missing, parts missing, a hole where all the high keys had been. I freaked out.

Then I tried to play something while some drunk people on the other end of the bar caroused on, uncaring about my material loss. I realized it was missing all the keys I needed to play anything I knew, and an apparent drinking friend came over to survey the damage and not really say anything.

Then I realized: usually I wake up after something like bad this happens — I realize I was dreaming all this time, and wave of relief hits me knowing nothing has changed. “I must be dreaming,” I tell my silent friend, without giving it much more thought. “I can do anything.”

I walked to the front of the bar and said, mostly to myself, “Watch!”

I thought about floating up into the air, and then I did. The drunkards in the corner swung around to see what was going on, and I started to descend slightly as I thought about what else I wanted to do, and the world faded to gray.

Next I was on top of a hill among infinite grassy, rolling hills. I decided to fly again, and hovered, though with more apparent weight this time. But what about people? Could I spend more time with that girl I only knew for a few days? I thought for a while, and sunk slowly back down to the ground.

A few more landscapes faded in and out until I was close to her, in some dimly-lit building, somewhere — maybe that dive bar in Lancaster — like a blend between my nights out with Alice, and her—Camille's—face. Then time started flying by, cutting from us in one place to another, like jumping between memories. We were with friends; traveling; on a boat; in a bedroom; then I started to lose track.

I quickly lost my lucidity and slowly began to wake up, with the last full “memory” of us lingering on my now-conscious brain. Then it faded away for good.

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from Is Anyone Listening?

 

5 Years.

Over the weekend I realized that the place I've dedicated so much time and passion to is no longer a place for me. I've actually known this for some time, but I had a bit of hope that things would change for the better. I always envisioned doing so much here. I loved it here, but it is now a place I no longer recognized. I did my best and I am proud of everything I've accomplished. Should I stay longer with the hope that this place may become familiar again or do I move on to something better as soon as I can?

-ℒ❤

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from specious pretexts

 

In uncertain times like these it's more and more important to ensure people on social media know your political opinions. Really. Because as our president-cum-reality TV host continues to entertain and dazzle us, he'll also be doing some unanticipated things (good and bad) along the way, and we need to keep talking about it. More on this later.

The next 8 or less years will likely be tiring for us United Statesians because we all care about our country. We want a good life, and to grow up and move to the suburbs and have cute kids to put on the Instasnapgrams, and to overall fulfill our American Destiny (whatever we decide that is). And we need the right environment to do that in: one where we can get a good job, a nice roof, good food, a decent car to crawl our magnificent suburbs, and a healthy meatsack to keep us working and the whole machine turning. We all have ideas on how to make these things happen, but ultimately we all want the same things.

And it can be hard to remember that. These days, apparently everyone's “divided,” and the press is lying to us all (still being authentically depressing, last I checked), and we have all these feelings about how bad the world is getting.

But I don't think we've changed. We still all want the same things we did last year. We still, as a country, have lots of problems that no president, even with the biggest of hands, could easily fix. But that's alright. We just need to be aware for when things really start to get bad. And this brings me to my point.

We need to keep talking politics. And not on Facebook, but in person; when you're enjoying an otherwise pleasant day at the park, for example; or as a bedtime family debate for your little ones. Ask the cute girl you just met at the bar her stance on our foreign policy, or how she feels about domestic surveillance. Because only the powerful benefit from politics being a conversational taboo — not us. And if you can't help but get angry at someone because, for example, they think everyone should be able to eat breakfast for dinner, and then you start fuming like, commie liberal scum!, or they think pickles actually taste good, and you're like, ohmygod! backwards conservative rednecks! First take a second to ask that person about their views, then shut up and listen for a while. Listen like they were dying; like their last wish was for someone to understand why they hold their opinion about raisin oatmeal cookies so fucking deeply. In the end, if you did it right, you'll have two less “divided” people who've learned something about one another that they couldn't from the news, or Facebook, or long form essays that supposedly tell you how people think and feel.

If it's not clear yet, I'm a little uneasy of the future of our country. From this writer's vantage point, it appears the egotistical oompa loompa at the helm of our ship wants to run the US like a corporation, trample her basic laws, put his interests before the public's, discredit the institutions keeping him in check, distract us from real issues, and have a bunch of self-interested billionaires do all the real governing. And it is from this vantage point that I see myself suddenly caring, and wanting to make sure this sad little man doesn't screw it up for the rest of us. In all seriousness, I think it's now up to us, the citizens and loyal subjects, to actively participate and keep our elected officials in check. Because despite what he says, he and his cabal aren't looking out for us at all.

For now, I'll be watching from my well-fed ass for him to really cross the line. And I'll be ready to drive to my nearest strip mall, pick up a pitchfork, and take to the streets when the time comes. If you feel the same way, let me know so I can call on you, should the day come. And no matter how you feel, let's grab some coffee and talk about politics. Any chance to better understand another's viewpoint is one I welcome.

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from jsx

 

If you spent any time online today you saw that today was the Women's March on Washington. The protests were spread across the whole country and across the entire globe. I was home watching some news clips and some video from the rally and it was one of the most incredible demonstrations that I can remember ever seeing.

I regret not being out there today and marching. I was once arrested during a political event and I have been honest I was a little gun shy to do something again. It was under the George W Bush Presidency.

But, I was watching the coverage and I just started to cry.

What Is Accurate

I was always a political person and always liked to stay onto of what is going on. I got wind of a press conference and went looking for a video. Maybe, they are announcing interesting events for the first few weeks. Nope, it was 95% about how the media lied about how many people went to the inauguration.

[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foaDT2JalB8]

This didn’t feel like a clearing up a mistake. This was an assault. It was so combative. It was so angry in tone. This is the first full day and we are complaining about people tweet photos.

The next four year is going to be about what people consider to be truth and what gets doctored up. You would think in an age we would have all of these channels. That truth would be so hard to come by

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from jsx

 

Friday at noon, the world might just change. We have not had an event like this in nearly eight years. No matter who the person is these are moments that don’t happen very often in the world. A new president will be sworn in and the world will be watching.

Politics has been one of those taboo subjects that people hate getting into. Have you ever had a conversation with a person who you adored and then they told you about how they feel and how they vote and you look at them a little differently after.

This past 18 month has been hard on a lot of people. It was an election that felt harder than most to navigate. A lot of tough conversations were had between people and it just felt so intense during these last 18 months.

As we sit on the even of the next President. I think there are some important topics that we face and there are some issues that if we don’t pay attention to could cost us in the long wrong.

Privacy

Privacy is something that we need to talk about and bring back into the mainstream. We need to demand that we have a better level of privacy from the tools that we use on a daily basis and from the companies that we trust with using their stuff. I know the old saying is that nothing is for free and that you are giving something to get something.

In Trumps America, this is a topic we are all going to find ourselves dealing with. High profile hacking seems to happen on a daily basis. It might have even changed the face of our election and our country. There have never been more talk about encryption.

We need Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple and countless others to stand up to abuses of power. They need to put our privacy forward. They can’t build in backdoors for the government. They need to be more transport when governments and law enforcement send requests.

Organizing

One of the most exciting things that I have been reading about over the next few days is all of the organizing that is taking place. We need to make sure that we are doing this and we are fighting for the things that we want and fighting for the things that we deserve. This upcoming weekend is going to be full of events across the country and in Washington. We need to rally together and not fighting. We need to be finding the common ground and those areas where we can push things forward. I don’t know why that become just a negative and a dirty thing. Some things need to change and some things need to get updated. People who want to change and experiment and help each other out are not the enemy.

If you are protesting make sure you do the research before you go. Make sure you tell people where you are going just in case. I can you what happened me some time. If you can’t make it out to a protest support people who are going even if they are not supporting the side you are on. Encourage and even offer to drop them off at the bus station. Dissent is good, a difference of opinion is good. We need to make sure that we are learning from each other and being open and honest and listening to each other.

Journalism

This is something that is going to be hard for some people. But, we need to support journalism and the people doing real news. I don’t how large that list is. But, we need to find and highlight the people that are doing good work and make sure that they are able to fight and be the voices for us.

These next four years is going to be a time when investigating reporting is going to be so critical in making sure that we find out what is going on in Washington.

Talking

If you can’t go out this weekend and get your voices out there and get with other like-minded people. Write a quick blog post or record a quick video. Now, do this but expect to get some vital and some really angry people out there. Brace yourself for that because that can intense make you not what to share your thoughts.

But, if you are honest and are not sharing wild things that some people thought were facts and just start and dialogue that is something that should be celebrated and that is something we can all rally behind.

We need more people in the shuffle and we need more people raising hell and getting involved with small local issues and the national ones. This is a good time for all us who might feel a lot of feels this weekend as we watch the transition of power. That we can run and that we can make a change and we can make an impact. It can just be in a youtube video or a medium post or it could be helping a local person run for Congress or running yourself for a local office.

The time is too important and things are moving too fast for us to waste time. We need you out there. If really don't want to do any of that. You can watch old episodes of the West Wing on Amazon Prime.

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from jsx

 

#A Day In VR

Do you have some of those friends that it is easier to talk to via text inside of see them in person? I took a look at a typical day for me and the interactions between people other than my wife are quite low. But, there is a number of people that I talk to each day and that I have relationships with and collaborate with on a high level.

I have a VR headset on my end table and I am currently home alone with my cats. As VR and AR start to get cheaper and more mainstream how does this technology effect are communications channels and relationship building that is already starting to dwindle.

Work

Let’s look at a average work day for an office worker. There are probably a number of phone calls, emails and meetings in the conference room.

Now, lets take a look at a meeting for example. You need a space to fit all of the people, you need a projector of some sort to look and reference data of some sort. Imagine a meeting where everyone is comfortable in there working environments. There is a space where you can pull up any type of file that you need. You can invite any number of people to the space. The space itself is flexible and bendable. Say you add a whiteboard to a wall and you have a powerpoint on another way.

Imagine how much more power and manfully a meeting can be. How much deeper you can go with the collaboration. Even something like just two people working on a design process or a sales pitch.

Being able to create offices and meeting space whenever they are need can help create a better remote environment and let people work in spaces wherever they feel comfortable.

Home

We are done with our work for the day and we want to go to the movies lets say. Imagine if you can assemble a group of people to enjoy a group moving watching together. You can have two options for streaming service. Something that mimics a movie theather everything is dark and you can still see your friends and still have a conversation while the film is playing or another mode where you can watch in silence put if someone pauses it pauses for everyone. You can even have integration with apps to order take and pizza before hand.

Say there is another scenario where the people you are with want to watch a movie and you want to watch a sports game. you can still be together watching these things with headsets on. That might be a cool concept for a mix reality headset. I could still watch TV with my wife but I see the NFL game and she can stream netflix.

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from Depression Stinks

 

My intuition has been knocking at my door, trying to alert me to something in my life for quite a while now.

I believe in the significance of #dreams, those nighttime glimpses into what our psyche is too distracted to tell us during waking hours.

Off and on, for about the past 30 years, I have made a practice out of recalling and recording my dreams. Sometimes I don't know what to make of them, and they are about as helpful as trying to read hieroglyphics about my life. At other times, they seem to be like road signs pointing the way, indicating at least a partial nudge in one direction or another. A few of them are like movie reels, stories spinning themselves like a tapestry as it unravels, and even I am amazed at where they take me ... sometimes to far-off lands, in a Technicolor maze of invention, with totally unrecognizable characters. And I just have to record them because it is so unbelievable that they could have sprung from my own imagination.

Lately my dreams have an ongoing theme that barely changes, and I have no idea what my subconscious is trying to tell me; but I do know that it's working overtime, and there must be some reason.

Mainly I dream of everything associated with air travel, and on a frequent basis. Last night I dreamed that distant family from Alabama was driving me to the airport to fly out with my daughter, and I hadn't even purchased our tickets yet! I was scrambling, afraid I would not have enough money. I dug $600 out of my purse, and yet I knew I needed about $600 more to buy my daughter's ticket. I was frustrated and didn't know what I was going to do, as I knew I needed to return by the next day for work. I considered in my mind who would have enough money that I could borrow, or where we would stay until I got paid or came up with the funds.

For the past few years, my airport dreams have had me running and rushing through a long, often unending terminal. Sometimes it is crowded, and sometimes eerily unpopulated. Sometimes I board the flight, but there are problems, and it doesn't get off the ground. Another time I was either lost or late trying to make my flight before it left, or a ticket agent wouldn't let me through. But there are always barriers to my actually flying somewhere from my destination.

Are my dreams trying to tell me that I need to escape my presently unhappy relationship or living situation? Or are they just my brain's way of dealing with my everyday life stressors? I wish I knew, because they plague me so much. I can see having these types of dreams if I were a frequent flyer, but I've barely flown in these past few years since I gave birth to my daughter.

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from jsx

 

Podcasting has achieved a new level this past year. The number of shows that started to become required listening keeps growing . My podcast app keeps

Podcasts become an important part of exploring new ideas and learning from a wide variety of resources. I don’t know if its just the form factor but I feel like I get so much out of the episodes.

I wanted to call out a few podcasts that I thought were really special. These were shows that helped me grow or expand in some way.

Homecoming

The Orbiting Human Circus (of the Air)

Within the Wires

This Week In Startups

Reply All

Waking Up With Sam Harris

Being Boss

Shop Talk Show

The Tim Ferris Show

You Made It Weird

The James Altucher Show

MegaMaker

Science VS.

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from Matt

 

With only a couple hours of sunshine

the things you do with your day become more important. Morning comes slowly, without a specific beginning or end; sometimes playing canvas for cosmic radiation from some far away exploded star; and you know you have to do all you can in less time than you're used to at home, 30° south of here.

cosmic radiation

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from Kerri

 

RimWorld, that's what I'm going to talk about today. Lost, on the edge of space, on the outer planets, building a new life for folk not unlike each other lost or born to a world lacking in the essentials of food, shelter and security. A harsh life to live when only several light years away are the central planets and all it would take to get home is a starship.

Now RimWorld is still in development, it's an early alpha game but it offers so much in replayability, character development and even story. It's a roguelike so there's a lot of procedural generation but that's mixed with detailed character back stories, character relationships existing or created through gameplay and world generation creating a large variety of landscapes that could be a paradise or death sentence.

Imagine this scenario, you start a new colony fresh out of the central system and crash landed on a rim world far on the edge of the solar system. The natives are primitive, choosing to fight with bows and spears, you were lucky enough to crash land with a rifle and a pistol. The area around you is reasonably defensible, there are plenty of trees and rocky outcrops. You set about creating some shelter, a basic hut with three beds and somewhere to cook.

By the end of the third day you've managed to settle in despite the anxiety and fear of this new world. Some of your colonists find strength in their low expectations and are looking forward to what they can now create. Their bedrooms are now separate and there's a designated area for cooking. Hunting has gone well shooting small birds and rodents and moods are generally okay. That's when you get the distress call. A native has been chased out of her tribe and is being hunted, she seeks refuge but granting it would bring the raiders to your base. There's only three of you, you know you could use the extra pair of hands but you know nothing about this newcomer but their name, you grant refuge. As soon as you do arrows are flying towards your base, the two colonists with guns find cover and return fire. The refugee is bleeding and hasn't got a bed to rest in, one of your colonists has taken an arrow to the lung and has collapsed but finally a rifle shot lands true and kills the attacker. Moods have dropped significantly. Even in defense witnessing a corpse is no good sign, another colonist has given up their bed for the refugee and is haphazardly attending to their wounds, the colonist with the pistol and punctured lung is carried back to the safety of their bed and is waiting on treatment.

Then the only colonist with any medical skill falls into a daze. Overwhelmed with all the blood and violence, with the dead body not ten paces south of where they sleep, unsure of their own survival and so aware of their own mortality they wander aimlessly in shock. Meanwhile the lung wound becomes infected, the remaining colonist does everything in their power to comfort their dying friend but it is all for naught. You've been here a week, and you've already lost a friend.

This isn't speculation, this isn't some abstract story concept derived from content in the game. This was a scenario that occurred for me. One of many that keeps me coming back to the game. Every new colony is a new story waiting to be written, and even with the lack of content at an early point in it's development it's provided an incredible platform for emotive story telling. I eagerly anticipate major updates such as the recent addition of caravans, of which I have yet to try, as well as any future story I can be a part of writing as I continue to play the game over and over.

I would be happy to give my #GotY vote for the best independently developed game of 2016 to Ludeon studios for their creation of RimWorld and am excited to be a continued part of their development through pre-ordering their game with early access and taking to their forums for bug reports, feedback and suggestions. Even now there's a growing modding community following the game and introducing new mechanics and objects. So the game is as much an open canvas as the stories it can tell.

You can find more information about RimWorld here or get the game on steam early-access and try it out for yourself.

Thanks for reading.

- Kerri

Home

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from Depression Stinks

 

Today I'm swimming in a sea of frustration. You name it, it seems to have happened.

Read through this post about my day, and let me show you how one anxious moment can spiral into the day from hell.

I woke late because I smacked my alarm one too many times.

Then, I had to call our daycare provider and let her know I was going to be late.

I realized that my keys were not on the hook where I remembered leaving them; then, I spent 15 minutes searching in vain ... after having to wake my husband TWICE to ask him if he'd moved them, he suddenly was alert enough to realize he had them in his pants pocket ...

So much wasted time ...

GREAT ...

Meanwhile, he transferred me 40 bucks for gas and driving in to the city for my 11 a.m. appointment—which I was already sure I was going to miss, thanks to the disastrous morning events—THEN, I couldn't find my one and only debit card anywhere.

All of that searching ... I had to AGAIN call the daycare lady, because I was a half hour later than the half hour later for which I had ALREADY called her before.

The ONE saving grace today was that it was the rarest day in a long time with my preschool daughter ... By some stroke of luck, she woke with a smile and even insisted on getting herself dressed without so much as a hiccup. On any other day, it's a constant struggle of wills that leaves me bloodless and ready to cry.

After I dropped her at care, I pulled over and did a quick check, and by then it was clear my debit card was really nowhere to be found. I texted my husband, rushed home to borrow his card, transferred the $40 back to his card, and fueled up my car, which was already indicating “low fuel.” By then, it was time for me to already be at my appointment ... and where was I?! About 30-40 minutes behind as traffic goes, and ready to bash my head into the steering wheel to rid myself of the horrifying feeling of failure and my hopeless self-esteem.

So what does any woman do in this situation to make herself feel better? That's right! Go get a Starbucks latte! I went for the Smoked Butterscotch, denying any knowledge of the calories contained within, on a quest to make myself feel even 10 percent better.

While waiting, I called the person whom I was to meet, and there was no option to leave a voicemail. I sent an email and felt so disgusted with myself. You see, I'm a Veteran, and I needed so badly to get to this appointment, where I was to begin my disability filing. I was further disgusted that I took time off for this and STILL could not seem to get my shit together enough to show up.

In the end, as it always does ... things worked out ... well, at least in their own way. I never heard back about rescheduling the appointment, nor got a reply back from the guy whom I was to see. I can't blame him.

I headed to work since the appointment opportunity was ruined, telling myself I could deal with this chaos better once I was there and had had time to de-stress and assess my situation. Well, that was AFTER I locked my car and house keys in the trunk of my car in the Metro garage ... Then, that night, upon returning to my car, I luckily met up with a Good Samaritan who took pity on me, climbed into the backseat of my car, and tried to help me access my keys from there. When that was clearly a fruitless task, he offered me a ride. It was at that point that I graciously accepted, and then stowed away my rolling bag complete with laptop, important paperwork and day planners in his trunk.

An hour later, after my kind daycare lady had driven myself and my daughter to the local McDonald's to wait for my husband to give us a ride home and deal with this car fiasco ... I got a Facebook message from the kind stranger, letting me know he had my laptop, and where I could pick it up.

Murphy's Law was at work, for sure. If something could go wrong, it would, and it did, and it had, at least for this day which interestingly enough was the day before Friday the 13th. Only mine came early.

Eventually, my husband found the spare key for the car, which unbeknownst to me, he'd hidden away for a rainy day emergency. We picked up my laptop ... no harm, no foul, and I was incredibly grateful to the Universe for not costing me my job. Days later, we finally found my debit card, in the same black hole where we'd first found my car keys, in one of my husband's pockets.

The next day I worked from home and sighed with the ease that comes from knowing how much worse things really can get, and hoped that that day wouldn't come again ... at least not for a very, very long time.

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from KiWords

 

My country tis of thee...

Sweet land of liberty...

Of thee I sing.

8 years ago, standing among almost two million people, shivering in freezing temperatures, I listened as Titi Retha (Aretha Franklin to those who aren't in the family) sang that song as part of the inauguration of Barack Obama.

Like many people around me, as I listened, I cried. It was a moment that I will never forget, and a moment that I fear I will never feel again. See, the tears that I shed that day were not of sadness, but of pride. I was proud to be watching the first black president be sworn into office. I was proud to be on the mall watching something that my great-grandma, a woman born around the time the Klan came to power, said she thought she would never see in her lifetime. For the first time in my life, I was proud to be an American.

For the first time that I could remember, I looked up at the flag and thought America had finally delivered on its promise. That my stolen and nameless ancestors' wildest dreams had finally come true and I was lucky enough to see it happen in my lifetime. The more the flag waved, the more pride I felt.

For a moment...

I even closed my eyes. I ignored the freezing temperatures and I let my emotions and Aretha's voice take me to a place that didn't feel constrained by the pain of the past, but encouraged by the promise of tomorrow. I had the Savannah, Bernadine, Gloria, Robin moment. A feeling that I and countless of “other” people had been waiting on...I exhaled.

In that moment I breathed freely and deeply, thinking that all 50 of those stars and all 13 of those stripes were meant for me. A 20-something, wide-eyed black girl from the South. The flag was finally for me.

But it was on loan.

And the owners have come to collect.

Somewhere in these past 8 years, even before He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was elected, that same flag that I looked upon 8 years ago which such pride and admiration, became a symbol of fear and hatred. Maybe it's been the election, maybe it's been the police shootings, maybe it's been inhaling the dense racial smog that is ever present in the South, but when I see it, it scares me.

The same feeling that was evoked in me as a little black girl growing up in South Carolina every time I saw the confederate flag, is the same feeling I get now when I see the American flag. A feeling of fear, confusion, and anger arises in my spirit every time I see it.

because they lied to me.

I feel like I've been kicked out of a club. A club whose general admission requirements are white skin, and more often that not, a penis. It's like Barack Obama's election was just Negro Day and now it's back to your regularly scheduled programming.

My only question is, where do I go from here? I am a person without a flag. Sure I could claim the Christian flag, I mean I do love the Lord...but the only time I see that getting waved is at Vacation Bible School. Should I claim the South Carolina flag that until the massacre of 9 church goers was consistently accompanied by the confederate flag? I think not.

I think I could claim an African flag every now and then. But which country? Unlike other immigrants to this country who can look at a book that says, Peter Macelli-Italy and Mike O'Malley-Ireland, all of the history books with my lineage will say Big John-50 dollars.

So which flag do I wave? The flag that evokes fear every time I see it? Or the flag of a place I've never been to and may not be from?

There is no flag for me.

Your country tis of thee...

Enjoy your liberty...

Of thee I dream...

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