When Breath Becomes Air

I just finished listening to the audiobook of When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. This book tells the story of a neurosurgeon who becomes a patient.

Paul is very inspirational. I related well to his stories of medical education, experiences as a resident, and working in academic hospitals. I appreciated the details and how open he was.

Paul walks us through his experience, struggles with death and meaning, and with life.

This book brings both laughs and tears and is a meaningful experience for the reader.

The New Jim Crow

I recently read The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander.

I thought about writing a review in the same way as I have for many of the books I read in the past. This time, I want to do something a little different. Her overarching point, which I will be unable to articulate as persuasively here, is that the War on Drugs has led to a modern World where African Americans (both as individuals and as a group) suffer and are unable to improve their standing economically, politically, and socially.

In every way, this is an outstanding book. Few books change perspectives, adjust your reality, open your eyes. Books that make you stop, make you think, challenge your thoughts and views are rare.

Continue reading “The New Jim Crow”

Libraries

Only recently did I realize once more, how amazing libraries are!

I joined my local library not that long ago and fell in love with the easy access to books, ebooks, audiobooks, music, and more! Today’s libraries have so much to offer, and given that our taxes help fund them, there is no reason to not take advantage of them.

Some things you get with library access that does not even include going to the library:

  • Ebook borrowing – on your phone, tablet, ereader, computer, etc
  • Online database access
  • Book borrowing (including even delivery to your home in some cases)
  • Audiobooks – on your phone, tablet, computer, etc
  • Music and Movies – streaming and download services as well as CDs, DVDs, and more

The library itself offers (among others):

  • A quiet place to study or read
  • A meeting location for small groups
  • Computer and printer access
  • A place to learn, be tutored, taught things like coding, programs, 3D printing, and more

I highly recommend being an active user and supporter of your local library!

Thought Challenge

Here is a thought challenge:

  1. Take someone or something you disagree with.
  2. Write down everything you think is good about that person or that point of view.

I suspect, if done honestly, there is more in common than you think on the surface.

I find most of the time, people are logical in an irrational manner. Listening to others, from their point of view, and learning why they have the perspective they do will pay back immensely.

Christian Life

This explains how a Christian should live. I think regardless of your religious views, these are virtues to live up to.

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.  Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the dissadvantaged and seek to show hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12: 9-17

Eat…

“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”

– Michael Pollan’s

Eating right can be simple:

  • Avoid processed foods
  • Opt for the whole grain option, eat fruits and vegetables
  • Try to eat more vegetable-based protein and less animal protein

Learn Photo Composition

I have a friend who received a new camera for Christmas. In my opinion, to produce outstanding photos, the best thing to master is photo composition. There are some good rules to follow … and then there are times to break them (but only with a purpose in mind).

Learning how to compose a photo is art. That is the draw to photography. Anyone can learn to edit photos on a computer, and that is an important skill to develop, but only the greatest photographers develop that photographic eye.

The following links are what I found to be a decent crash course on learning fundamentals of photo composition. Watch the videos, read the articles, but most importantly, take a lot of pictures and study which ones are really good and why they are good. Also, study the ones that you thought would be good, but just are not.

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A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention

Economist Herbert Simon (1971)