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Random – Rob Brogan

July 7, 2014Comments are off for this post.

Beckoning Cat Temple

This might be something unique to see (out of endless uniqueness) in Japan. Pulled from an article, but follow the link at the end if you want to see all the pictures.

"The Maneki Neko, or “Beckoning Cat”, is one of Japan’s most iconic images. Thought to bring luck and prosperity to its owner, these cats are frequently found outside businesses and within homes. And in the neighborhood of Setagaya, we found the Gotoku-ji temple, where the Maneki Neko plays a starring role."

June 30, 2014Comments are off for this post.

Your “personal stock”

I don't necessarily agree with everything said in the following, but I stumbled upon this question in Quora, which was by pure chance that I didn't instantly delete the newsletter from my email, and found it refreshingly plain, yet (mostly) accurate. My reservations are on the part of social performance and skills of entertaining - i.e. playing the guitar - but I get the main idea. I suppose some of these aren't interesting to me, but they would apply to someone far more successful than I. Either way... just sharing:

Q: What can I start doing now that will help me a lot in about five years?
I will appreciate any suggestion. You might want to know that I'm 23 years old and currently a physics student with large desire for progress, not only in my profession but also in all aspects of life.
A: Want to see your personal stock double or more in five years? Here's the prescription.
We are all evaluated and judged in social and work settings all the time and usually in a brief instant. We are not judged on education. We are not judged on grades. We are not judged on IQ.

We are judged on skills, pretty much solely. People prefer the company of those who are physically handy and socially adept. Competence counts. In fact, people with high IQ or lots of schooling but low skill levels can be judged quite negatively.

  • Can you change a flat tire or swap out a dead car battery?
  • Can you pick up a guitar and entertain a room?
  • Are you handy at crafts?

Even more important are the social skills, particularly...

  • Are you an excellent listener?
  • Can you instantly make people at ease in your presence?
  • Can you control the atmosphere in a room, making it light or serious as appropriate?
  • Do you have moral courage? Are you willing to say and do the necessary in any circumstance rather than shrink back?

Other social skills are important...

  • Can you speak from the heart?
  • Are you free from glib, gratuitous, offensive and non-productive remarks?
  • Can you compete when necessary, collaborate when necessary?

The social graces are also important...

  • Can you dance? play the piano? sing? tell rousing stories? etc.

There are bonus points for gender cross-over skills. When a woman can...

  • Use common tools competently.
  • Not shrink in the company of males.
  • Roll up her sleeves and do hard physical work when necessary.

Or a man can...

  • Comfort an upset child.
  • Cook, sew, do laundry.
  • Feel at home in the company of women.

Such cross-over skills indicate androgyny, or high skills across the masculine and feminine range. The highest slots in society are usually home to the androgynous.

Figure out the skills you'd like to possess. Take classes. Read books. Practice every day. Push yourself. Build on your strengths and eliminate your weaknesses. It's fun, a great way to make friends, and your stock will rise quickly.

April 16, 2014Comments are off for this post.

El Born

An expensive taste of Barcelona! Worth it. I loved how everything was in Catalan!

January 12, 2014Comments are off for this post.

A Linguistics Note


Litotes is the use of a negated antonym to make an understatement or to emphatically affirm the positive.

Well, he's not unattractive. (He is attractive.)
You won't not receive the package. (You'll receive the package.)

The word litotes is derived from the Greek word litos meaning “plain, small or meager.”

Posted because we all love finding a word for something we already know.

December 7, 2013Comments are off for this post.

Plant Parts

Fern Rhizome

Pollen Grains

Pollen Grains

Male Pinecone Sperm

Male Pinecone Sperm

December 3, 2013Comments are off for this post.

GIF 365

Upping the ante on the popular 365 photos project idea, comes this amazing stream of a animated GIFs by designer Yimbo Escarrega. He's almost done, too!

I'm starting the year with a project that I liked by Golpeavisa, which is to create something daily, a sketch, an illustration, a photo, or in my case, an animated GIF.
Here I'll be posting daily the GIFs as they come out and at the end of each month a video with the animations of this month... hopefully I make it to 365.

"Estoy empezando el año con un proyecto que me gustó de los Golpeavisa, que es crear diariamente cualquier cosa, un scketch, una ilustración, una foto o en mi caso un GIF animado.
Aquí voy a ir poniendo diariamente los GIF que vaya sacando y a final de cada mes un video con las animaciones de ese mes… ojalá llegue a los 365." —Yimbo

September 16, 2013Comments are off for this post.


July 6, 2013Comments are off for this post.

Personal Challenges

Do you ever set up personal challenges? A short-term goal?
I find that some things are easier to accomplish when you view them as impermanent. If you ask yourself to "improve," you typically imagine that you start a positive habit or behavior and continue for the rest of your life, getting better and better. Life is never linear however, and things don't happen as we expect. So with that in mind, I prefer to dabble in self-improvement. Here are a few examples that I have done:

One-Week Vegetarianism

After watching one too many food documentaries on Netflix, I felt increasing doubt about the health and safety of our meat industry – out of them all, I recommend Food Inc. Netflix | Amazon Prime if you want a starting point. Steak quickly ceased to look delicious and I started to compare our food with the rest of our industries, cutting corners and cheapening quality as much as possible. Despite these thoughts, I wasn't prepared to suddenly become a vegetarian. So, I challenged myself to go one week without red meat.

After some anguish of choice, and rude awakening to how many meal options tend to include meat, I was kind of frustrated, but felt very accomplished at the end of the week. It was difficult, and I managed. So, I posed to myself, what's the harm in trying to go for two weeks without meat? That slipped into a month, and into three, and now I've been vegetarian for two years without ever really setting out to become one.

One-Week Veganism

The beauty of these reasonable, short-term challenges is that I'm not setting myself up for a life-long goal or expectation. Recently, I tried to take my vegetarianism to the next level, and I made it three days of complete veganism, but a small portion of seafood on the weekend, and lunch with co-workers quickly derailed me. I'm okay with that. Maybe I'll try again some other time. Challenge failed.

One-Week No Beer

The important caveat here is: alcohol is okay, beer isn't. I felt like I had gotten into the habit of drinking beer every day at lunch, and then in plenty throughout the weekend. I feared for my gut, and felt increasingly guilty about sucking down all this liquid bread. So, I decided to challenge myself to stop drinking beer for one week. I can happily say I've just finished that week without a single drop of beer! I've had some wine, delicious rum punch, margaritas, and gin and tonics along the way... but my goal was no beer, and I stuck to that. I understand that fancy cocktails have quite a few sugars in them too, and maybe I'll start to cut down on those. We'll see.

The lesson for all of these is this: moderation.

There's no need or reason to go cold-turkey – unless you're suddenly pregnant and a smoker or something like that. So, if you have something you'd like to try or be, then why not set up a small window of time and simple BE (or do) it? If you fail, then you fail. Try again later. If you succeed with your week (or whatever you choose), then ask yourself if you'd like to try and go double-or-nothing. It just might be worth it. I for one, am personally very glad that I ended up becoming a long-term vegetarian, and probably never would have if I was asked to or thought I needed to do that for the rest of my life. The exercise of actually doing something, seeing that it isn't as hard as expected, or even seeing that it's hard, but you're more perserverant than expected is really gratifying.

July 3, 2013Comments are off for this post.


Geometry Daily brings you mathematical beauty at its purest!

June 17, 2013Comments are off for this post.

New York

Read more

July 28, 2012Comments are off for this post.

What Are You Doing Whale? Whales don’t wear glasses.

Just a simple sketch/doodle in my Paper app for the iPad.