April 2009 Archives

right on time

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Each year since I started this blog I've posted my favorite Robert Frost poem. I do this on the day that Rochester's trees begin to illustrate the poem's imagery, and now that I have six years of data, it seems that Mother Nature is remarkably consistent.

In 2003, I posted on April 22nd, but also noted that I was a day late. In 2004, the post was on April 21st. In 2005, I was in Seattle, where the gold comes early...but my mother let me know on April 20th that it was time to post. In 2006, since I was living in Seattle, I decided to posted on March 31st to celebrate the local flora. In 2007, back in Rochester, I wasn't paying attention, and posted belatedly on April 27th. Last year, determined not to miss it again, I posted on April 19th.

This weekend, I scanned the treetops daily, waiting for the telltale gold to color the tips of the branches. And this morning, on the way to work, it was clear that today's April showers had brought the color I was seeking.

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature’s first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

—Robert Frost

a dream coming true

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Before you do anything else, watch this video. Trust me. It's worth the seven minutes. (YouTube has disabled embedding, so you'll have to click through.)

I literally can't remember the last time a singer has brought me to tears. But I've watched that video three times now, and have cried each and every time.

Then read these two articles:

The Beauty That Matters Is On The Inside, by Collette Douglas Home:

Susan is a reminder that it's time we all looked a little deeper. She has lived an obscure but important life. She has been a companionable and caring daughter. It's people like her who are the unseen glue in society; the ones who day in and day out put themselves last. They make this country civilised and they deserve acknowledgement and respect.

'Britain's Got Talent' breakout Susan Boyle: Why we watch...and weep

I'll get back to pondering how Vin Diesel's future might change with the success of Fast & Furious soon enough, but right now I'm pondering why the experience of watching and listening to Ms. Boyle makes so many viewers cry, me among them. And I think I've got a simple answer, at least for me: In our pop-minded culture so slavishly obsessed with packaging -- the right face, the right clothes, the right attitudes, the right Facebook posts -- the unpackaged artistic power of the unstyled, un-hip, un-kissed Ms. Boyle let me feel, for the duration of one blazing showstopping ballad, the meaning of human grace. She pierced my defenses. She reordered the measure of beauty. And I had no idea until tears sprang how desperately I need that corrective from time to time.

the amazing transformative power of the iphone

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This year for Christmas, Gerald and I bought each other iPhones. I've had various smartphones for a long time--first a series of Windows mobile devices, and then a Nokia n95, but Gerald's only had phones with basic telephone and texting capability.

Over the past few months, we've both really enjoyed the new devices, but over the past few weeks his iPhone has transitioned from nifty traveling gaming device to genuinely lifechanging catalyst.

It started last month when I suggested that we really ought to try tracking our daily expenditures better so that we could budget more effectively. At first I was thinking we should carry notebooks for that purpose, but then it occurred to me that there was probably an iPhone app that would make the process easier. I did some poking around online and discovered iExpenseit, a nifty little tool that does indeed make the process of quickly recording expenses as they occur a lot easier. So on April 1, we both started using it to track expenses.

After just a few days, it was obvious how much of a difference in our spending patterns resulted from having to track every penny...and Gerald decided that perhaps the same thing would be true for tracking the food that he ate. I had downloaded a free iPhone app called LoseIt some time ago, and suggested it to him, and last weekend we both started tracking caloric intake as well as financial outlay.

While he was looking for the weight loss application, though, he also stumbled across a hypnosis program called Lose Weight with Andrew Johnson, from a hypnotherapist in the UK. It only cost a few dollars, so he decided to download it and try it...and it has been spectacularly helpful for him thus far. He's sleeping more deeply than I can ever remember (not even my icy cold feet making contact with his nice warm sleeping self have roused him from his sleep), and he's found that his cravings for unhealthy foods have completely disappeared.

All this on top of the many other useful and/or entertaining software that he's downloaded have resulted in the iPhone being the single most transformative gift I think I've ever given him.

I was talking to my cousin at dinner tonight, and I said that while I've had phones with many of the same potential capabilities before, the design aesthetic of the iPhone and its software have resulted in the applications feeling more usable and inviting than anything I've used on a phone before, and when it comes to be willing to use a tool on a daily basis, design really does matter.

At any rate, I wanted to get a blog post up about these tools because they've had such a positive impact on our lives this month. :)

what's the opposite of tyranny? oh, yeah...DEMOCRACY!

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2009 is the previous archive.

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