swimming in data, drowning in wisdom

i was just watching a video from the Digital-Life-Design(DLD) conference that was in Munich, Germany in january. the video was a talk between Arianna Huffington and Paulo Coelho, called On Mindfulness.

it was about a half hour in which they discussed Arianna Huffington’s new book and the effects of living in this world of constant movement. to me, it sounded like they were talking a lot about regret, or rather warning against it: regret of missing out on the beauty of life, regret of getting lost in routine,  and most importantly, the regret of losing sight of one’s values.

Paulo Coelho seemed particularly insistent on this last one, but i think losing sight of one’s values is the result of the former two. what i see happening to myself and to many others around me is the idea of getting lost in a routine, being caught in the never ending cycle of to-do lists without really paying attention to what is being done around me. it’s too easy to lose myself in whatever i have to do that day and ignore what i need to do for myself. it’s too easy to keep going, and harder to stop to take a look around.

this is when values are jeopardized, when one doesn’t stop to check in and realign their actions with their intentions.

i write this in fear of sounding like a broken record, but i say it mostly as a reminder to myself. i’m full of regret if we’re looking at the way Paulo described. i’m absolutely guilty of getting lost in my daily work, getting absorbed by what is due, what i need to get done. but as a student, by definition, there’s almost no getting out of that. so how do i work inside of it? how do we as a wider community incorporate Paulo’s warning into daily life and bring value back into our daily interactions?

each person has to ask themselves these questions to get to their own sense of the truth. for me, it means just taking everything task by task. i love to let myself dive into projects, i wouldn’t be myself if i didn’t. but once i finish something, i take a step back and see what i’ve done. where do i want to go? what can i do? how am i a part of something larger that effects not only myself? it’s a play between thinking about what i am doing, what makes me happy, and what i want to be doing. when i get these answers right, that’s when my values sync with my actions and i’m off and running.

Paulo Coelho and Arianna Huffington referenced meditation quite a bit in their talk. since october, meditation has quickly moved to the center of my life. i meditate at least once a day, and every other day if things get crazy. it brings me back and allows me to create a space to step away and reorient myself. for me, meditation a chance to reset. if you’re looking for something to help you reset, try it. no harm, no fowl.

the grass isn’t always greener.

there has never been a stop to the push toward ‘success.’ i keep hearing that word like it’s now a part of some kind of jargon.

everyone hears it but nobody knows what it really means.

nobody has ever fully described it to me, in detail, with pictures to go along.

truth is, i know only a few people who can confidently and definitively describe what success would look like for them. as of right now, i’m not so sure i’m one of those people. i envy those that know what success looks like, and those who have a nice view of it, but when it comes to how to make it, that’s when the questions begin.

how do you know when you’re finally successful? how do you know when to stop and look around? people around me keep going and going. all i’m trying to do is get a sense of when people decide to take stock of where they are and what they’ve come to.

that’s what i need to understand because from the looks of it, success is, ironically, an after thought. it is a before and after kind of thing. too many times have i hear either the problem of seeking or losing success, whatever it means for whomever wants it or lost it. there is all too often the story told that ends with, ‘…those were the best years of my life, and at the time, i didn’t even know it.’

from the stories i hear, success is one of those “either you have it or you don’t” moments that i’m just looking to avoid. not about that life. all in all, i don’t think it a single word can ever describe something i’m striving for. i need to put it into a full thought, make it an adventure.

when you’re working so hard for something that is so abstract as ‘success,’ it’s too easy to forget what the present is and keep that eye on the future prize.

danger!

in my mind, ‘success’ is a stressful idea. sarah kay, one of my favorite slam poets and a brown alum, writes in a Huffington Post article, that we have to be ‘Redefining Success.’ it is not something that is merely an impressive goal. she writes about how she checks with herself every now and again to see if she’s really happy in what she is doing. that is where i will begin: check-ins.

this is one of those check-ins. at this point, in all honesty, i have to keep reminding myself that what i’m looking for can never be prescribed. i’m at school, i’m building my tool-box. i’m pulling together my bag of tricks. i don’t want to have a set trajectory yet. there is no formula. right now, i have to simply do what needs to be done. i need to find what will bring that feeling of accomplishment and joy and understand what will bring more love and caring to the world. there is always a feeling of urgency, like there’s always something more to be done and with each something is another moment of accomplishment, of joy. and that’s where the excitement comes in because if i put ‘success’ into a full thought, it will grow to explore the chaos of our world and try to understand it. that’s what i want to do. i don’t want to define success or put it into a box. that only holds me in, and tries to contain my options.

i’m going exploring. i’ve got my exploring shoes on. we’re going on an adventure.

haircuts and good thoughts.

i went to get my hair cut today. my sister had recommended someone in san rafael who she found on yelp.

her name is nancy.

nancy is an old tiny vietnamese woman who has been cutting hair for a super long time. she spent a few years cutting hair in the tenderloin so she knows how to deal with black hair. my sister has been raving about her for quite some time now.

nancy’s barbershop is on third street which is pretty close to my house. so i roll into nancy’s thinking i’m going to just get a quick shape-up and move on with my day. not at all the case.

from the moment i step inside, it’s clear this barbershop has serious style. first of all, nancy is making tea when i come in. second, the woodpanelled walls feel like we’ve shot back to some 70s parlor shop. and third, she takes one look at me and says, you’re kristina’s sister right? not only did she remember my sister, but she knew she had a sister (me).

as i slide into the worndown chair, nancy casually chats about how kristina (also known as rin) would sometimes come in just to say hi even though she didn’t need a haircut. just to check in and see how things are going. she asks if we’re twins. i say no, but we get that a lot.

i told her a little bit about myself. i told her that i’m from san rafael but am heading back to the east coast in a couple of days and that i’m a sophomore in college.

right away, i got the idea that nancy is chatty. from what i can tell, she’s happy to fill you in on the recent goingingson in her life and share a bit of what she found. today she told me about a recent trip to manchester.

she said a friend of hers invited her to stay with him for a few days just so she could see manchester. she said it was the first and last time she’d be going there. it was too gray, there were too many cargo ships and it was always rainy and cold.

she told me that if she lived there, she would shrivel up. her bones would ache and it would be terrible. plus, why leave, she asked? well, i looked outside and the bay area weather was in top form: not a cloud in the sky with just a nice breeze to loosen the sun’s heat. i couldn’t help but agree.

as she was telling me about her trip, she had finished up my hair. then she said, ok it’s pretty slow today so i’m going to give you a massage, lie back. i didn’t quite understand what she said until she slowly let the chair recline and kicked up the footrest for me. she then proceeded to wipe my face with a warm towel, taking all the stray hairs away, and gave me a 10 minute massage.

i was totally in shock. i came in just for a haircut and now i’m getting a massage.

but it got better.

when she brought the warm towel back for a second cleanse, she brought up the date. can you believe, 4 more days until the end of the month?

yeah, it’s crazy. the year has gone by so fast.

well you may think this is fast, but it gets faster.

i bet you’re right.

when you get older, time goes so fast you don’t even know it. you have to spend every moment you can doing what you love. remember to enjoy your life. when you go back to college, make sure you are enjoying your time. it goes by quick. before you know it, you’ll be old like me. hahaha

i laughed along. i’ve heard this so many times: remember to enjoy your life. but for some reason, there, in that woodpanelled barbershop, it stuck with me.

nancy has travelled and seen the world. in january, my sister told me she was just leaving for a 2 month long trip to south america. and now in august she is just getting back from manchester. in terms of living life, this woman knows her shit.

so as for right now, with summer coming to a close, i could not be more excited with what’s to come. i’m happy i met nancy today. she was the perfect reminder to really go for it. live your life. time passes faster than you think.

guess who got hacked.

Mark Zuckerberg. Khalil Shreateh uncovered an intense bug in the Facebook security system, hacking mark’s Facebook page to prove it. thank you, Mashable. this is too good.

i’m sorry, but it’s a little funny. zuckerberg just got hacked. it’s slightly ironic. you can’t not chuckle a little bit.

so what did facebook do? well, they called him out. they said it’s a violation of the terms and conditions of the whitehat program.

but on the other hand, he tried to warn them. it’s Facebook. they’ve got to keep security up to snuff. apparently he had a tough time getting Facebook’s attention and had to go for the next best thing.

in all fairness, the next step for Facebook should’ve been to offer a reward for Shreateh’s efforts. that’s not exactly how it played out.. Facebook hasn’t offered him anything.

lucky for Shreateh, crowdfunding has got your back! a campaign was started on GoFundMe.com to give this guy what he deserves.

so far, they’ve raised $12,443.00. go team!

i’ve got to say, when i heard about this, i was kind of surprised, but not really. crowdfunding is everywhere now. it was only a matter of time before these guys joined the herd.

it’s a good thing Shreateh is being rewarded, but i just wanted to take a second and check out the new position of crowdfunding platforms.

these sites like GoFundMe and Kickstarter and IndieGoGo are the new ways to communally decide whats the next move.

when the major companies aren’t helping things along, what’s the right play? lets throw it out to the audience to see what the majority has to say. speak with your money.

that’s what’s happening. people are voting with their money. it’s democracy.

now in this situation, i’m a fan. this is a nice way to send some love back to Shreateh who was just looking out for us. but in the last few months, the general crowdfunding . it started with, if you believe in something, support it’s next move. well, that was the initial goal, to help out the people who couldn’t get the funding from elsewhere.

now, with major corporations coming onto the scene, most recently the campaign for the new Ubuntu Edge, it looks like crowdfunding is going mainstream.

not a surprise. that’s how the cycle goes. the people start an idea, it gets big, then the corporations take over. somehow a monopoly starts. then the people expand it with a new idea, that gets big, and the whole thing begins again.

but it’s interesting how fast the internet is letting this process run its course.

crowdfunding started with the best of intentions. you might be getting tired of being asked, but remember you’re being asked to give your opinion. if you’re into it, help em out. if not, offer your thoughts and let the feedback speak for itself.

i’m calling this, the survival of the creative.

for Shreateh, he kept facebook on their toes. he took a new angle. it looks like everyone is rallying behind the cause. it looks like the campaign is going to be open for a while.

one third down, two more to go.

Mark Zuckerberg and a bunch of partners just let out a press release for their newest endeavor: internet.org. founding members and CEOs of Facebook, Opera, and Nokia, just to name a few, are building this new site in hopes of bringing the internet to the rest of the world that isn’t connected by this highspeed thing we all can’t seem to live without.

the goal is to let the internet spread it’s wings and soar to the two thirds of the world that isn’t online.

right now, VentureBeat and The New York Times, are my main sources of information. but i’m sure by the middle of the day, after they officially announce the site, there will be plenty more with things to add to the conversation.

the main idea is to cut the cost of internet access so it is available to the two thirds of the world that doesn’t have it.

lets put it this way, as the press release reads, just one company, MediaTek, is aiming for 300 million smart devices within 2 years.

that’s just one company!

they’re saying that the best avenue is to simplify phone applications ‘so they run more efficiently and …improv[e] the components of phones and networks so that they transmit more data while using less battery power.’ my question is, couldn’t they have figured out how to use less battery power sooner? regardless, of course, they are hoping to provide simple services like email and social networking sites (hint hint…Facebook).

in a sentence, Facebook is looking for a new audience. of course the others are along for the ride and making bank along the way, but it seems to me that this whole initiative is pretty pointed.

in all honesty, i don’t really remember a time when computers and the internet weren’t the talk of the town. i was really young when apple’s first computers came onto the scene, so technology is kind of my native language at this point. and truth be told, the internet has brought on quite a few great achievements. as it grows, it has enhanced communication and continues to surprise us all with the new possibilities.

United Nations Human Rights Council report is right when it says…

‘The internet boosts economic, social, and political development, and contributes to the progress of humankind as a whole.’

it’s a bold statement, but in the grand scheme of these, it’s very true. imagine Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns without Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. impossible. social media and the internet, for those who have access, has changed how we communicate and interact with one another.

it’s a fact.

so now that internet.org is about to launch, we’re all just looking over to developing countries and waiting to see what happens next. The New York Times says Asia, Latin America, and Africa offer the most promising market opportunities for tech companies. everyone is just trying to figure out how to get those people online in order to make this business venture worthwhile.

so, here’s to the kids of those nations that still believe in face to face interactions. best of luck to you.

a generational thing?

i’ve been in kauai the last few days and it has been absolutely fantastic. this island is rightfully known as the garden isle. i have never seen so much green. it’s beautiful and mesmerizing. i’m lucky enough to be here because my dad has a client out here that likes to do biannual family retreats. everyone gets together and spends a bit of time getting to know each other outside of the office.

it’s a great idea.

we’ve been having dinner each night after they have meetings during the day. yesterday, they played a game of golf. it was a scramble so it was all just fun and games. at the end of the day, they had a dinner to celebrate their time together and thank everyone for making it out here.

dinner was a buffet, and the food was so tasty that if the island hadn’t already drained me of any worries, this buffet would’ve done the trick.

as we were all devouring our food, the chitchat began. of course, i was ready to field the usual questions: so how are you so lucky to get out here? are you in school? oh that’s nice, what year are you? do you know what you’re studying yet? any plans for after school? what did you do with your summer? and so on. they tend to come in waves, and they’re normally asked by the group, so it’s not nearly as obnoxious as being bombarded with the same questions by different people all throughout the night.

once we got the small talk out of the way, it was really nice to get to hang out with everyone. just to paint you a little picture, there was an open bar, the buffet didn’t close for a while, and there was a full moon overhead.

at our table, it was me, my parents, and about 3 other couples. most were from hawaii, but there was another man there from texas at the table. by this time, we had all had a few drinks so we were all feeling pretty good.

lets put it this way, everyone was a bit more vocal than when the meal began and the wine was poured.

we started talking about the round of golf today and my dad told his beloved story of his perfect drive on the 18th hole. long story short, he hit 3 really nice shots that helped his team stay alive on the final hole. he was really proud. by this telling of the story, i had heard it 3 times. i was in for another 2 or 3 times before the night was over. but as the story unraveled, my mom turned to texas-man and asked if his children ever played golf?

to fill you in, i dropped the game when i was about 10 and i still haven’t heard the last of it. my mom wasn’t too excited about it.

but as texas was telling of his son and daughter, the table slowly turned toward a discussion of the changing generations.

one minute we were talking about golf and the next we were talking about retirement funds and social penchants. both of which i know little of. but the conversation went on.

things got a bit more interesting.

from their perspective, the generations were split pretty neatly.

there was their generation, the baby boomers, who were just coming into retirement age and are starting to deal with the economy’s inability to support many of them. i don’t know the details, but that was the general feeling i got.

then there’s the generation below them. paraphrasing their words, this generation is the one that is obsessed with the now, constantly changing and creating without enjoying the present. i don’t know how much i agree or disagree with that. there is obviously a culture of innovation, but it seems to me that it’s about enhancing the present rather than watching it go by.

that’s my take on it.

they then continued on to talk about my generation.

they decided that we are the socially and environmentally conscious ones. in all honestly, i was very angry that they decided to peg a generation with such markers. it might be true, it might not be true, but to condense it to a specific group of people is simply not productive. the idea that my generation is more environmentally and socially aware simply means that others aren’t. it means that others have more that they should and could be doing to benefit our environment.

i realize that in writing this, i am affirming what they’re saying but i’m also saying that this point of view is making us work backwards. this is placing the responsibility on everyone else while ignoring your own.

as new technology comes out, the environmental side of things becomes more accessible and physically present.

this is a good thing.

but this also removes the need for small everyday changes.

as we focus on the big picture, it’s important not to lose sight of the little details.  

in terms of the social awareness, be careful. i’m going to use racism as a case study here. racism and other social problems are not going away. being socially aware does not mean that these problems don’t exist. being socially aware means recognizing these problems and dealing with them. my main worry right now is that people are convincing themselves that racism does not exist.

racism is here to stay.

every now and again, it just putting on a different mask. it comes out in new ways. micro-aggressions are everywhere and they’re more subtle and easier to ignore.

so i say to this, our generation is dealing with racism in a different way, just as it’s dealing with other social issues in a different way.

again, big picture is looking better and better, but the small details are still nagging at us.

stepping away from the idea of racism and environmentalism, consider the idea of social issues as timeless. no matter the generation, there is always going to be a problem that needs fixing.

this is another check yourself moment.

labeling generations is fine, but is it productive? does it get us anywhere? what do you think? how have you seen issues, socially, technologically, environmentally, play out in your daily life? would you assign a label to your generation?

tumbling around on tinder.

my friend just got back from a study abroad in france. she’s been gone for most of the summer, living in the french alps and also travelling around spain. she got home a couple of weeks ago, bringing all of her crazy travel stories with her.

i’ll give you the jist: she’s a 19 yr-old running around europe for a while with a couple of friends. need i say more?

but, surprisingly enough, that’s not where the real story is…

well, when she got home she was telling me some funny stories and then she got a text. you might not think it’s too exciting, but she burst out laughing. she was really into this text and she spent a solid 3 minutes staring at her phone. maybe an exaggeration, but it didn’t make much sense for her to stop midstory to focus so intently on this new text. i asked her…

what this was all about?

after another couple of minutes of her eyes glued to the screen, she looked up and again burst into laughter. then the real story began. apparently, while she was across the pond, she had started a new game on tinder.

for those of you who don’t know tinder, it’s an online dating app. essentially what happens is you make a profile, put up a couple pictures of yourself and a brief description. think classic online dating profile. then, once you’ve made yourself as attractive as can be, you browse around looking at pictures of other people’s profiles. if you like what you see, you press some button, it’s either like a thumbs up or ‘like’ or ‘yes’ or something.

i’m still unclear on that part.

but after you browse, you wait. you see if any of the people you ‘yes’ed like you back. when they do, you get to message them, and your online fantasy can begin. a couple of my other friends are on tinder too, and quite of a few of them are getting it in. i promise you, i’m not.

but back to my friend’s new game.

so, as a promising women’s studies major, she decided to make a fake profile and see what happened. in her words,

“to add a little fun into my normal life, i created a tinder account to mess with some of the world’s creepiest and most desperate guys out there.”

she put up a couple of pictures of herself, making sure that they were as cute as crazy can be, then she decided to put up a little blurb about herself. i don’t remember it word for word, but it had something to do with lots of cats and long walks on the beaches. classic crazy. so as these guys started responding, she started messing with them. she would say hilarious things like, when some guy said ‘want to hook up?’ and her response was ‘do you have a hook for a hand too?! oh my god, i’ve been waiting for you my whole life.’ in another one, she only responds in cliches like ‘wow, you really take the bull by the horns’ or ‘you can’t have your cake and eat it too’. it’s absolutely ridiculous and so blatantly obvious that she’s straight messing with these guys, making herself look as crazy as possible.

but these guys don’t stop.

they keep going and going just hoping that in the end they’ll get to hook up with her. it’s absurd.

so she started a tumblr with all of these chats so you can see the crazy come to life.

it’s called, How far will guys go to get laid.

check it out.

it’s too good to be true.