Photo Reflection of the Day #123: Menacing Hippos

Menacing Hippos - 2015-05-29_12-33-31

What Is It

A stone lawn hippo in the grass.

Why It's Today's Pick

Another interesting find on a morning run.  I had finished my run and was cooling down with a walk when I found the hippo.  I thought he was cute but then I wondered how he might look through the grass.  From this vantage point, I feel like it slightly recreated the tall grasses of the savanna, glimpsing a look at a hippo who just happened to notice me and is not happy about it.  The lack of any color beyond the gray stone makes this fellow look rather menacing like I just interrupted him.  Lawn ornaments are always curious things.  We acquire them and throw them on out lawns and in our yards but what do we suggest or imply by displaying them?  Does this person have an affinity for hippos?  Was it just something to store a plant in (it looks like it's more of a plant holder) that they decided was cute enough for the front yard?  


This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Reflection of the Day #122: #TurtlePower

#TurtlePower - 20150527_060432

What Is It

A turtle I ran into on my run this morning. 


Why It's today's Pick

I could blame the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles but I think my obsession with turtles existed well before them.  Like frogs, I sought out turtles in the swamps at camp.  In fact, frogs were easy--turtles were precious and cool.  I brought home my fair share of turtles, much to my father's chagrin as he is left caring for the one for well over a quarter century now that I'm destined to inherit.  So when I was on my run this morning, I was utterly delighted to meet this fellow who seemed to be trying to get his (or her) morning fix of SoBe.  Given how far she was from water, I figured she was looking for a place to lay eggs, but got distracted by this colorful bottom (I removed it from her immediate area).  There's just something cool about turtles.  They carry their homes with them, they have strange but intriguing faces and swim in a way that be both graceful and bumbling--often how I feel when running.  

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.





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Photo Reflection of the Day #121: Cloud Deep

Cloud Deep - 2015-05-26_10-31-05

What Is It

The sun hiding behind a cloud this morning.

Why It's Today's Pick

I had a couple good shots to share today so it was hard to just choose this one.  My run this morning apparently was picturesque, which I certainly won't complain about.  I snagged this shot while walking over the Salem-Beverly bridge.  Beyond capturing the sun behind the cloud in such a cool way, I liked the photo for other reasons.  The various levels of colors and clouds was diverse from the blue at the center to the grays and other colors in the bottom right corner.  I also liked that while the sun was hidden behind the cloud, you could see it reflecting in the water in the background.  Finally, the sun looks kind of like an eye to a strange cloud-create that is approaching a wall of clouds.

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Tales of Running: The Bull and the Cheetah

I am, in no uncertain terms, a bull.  I am broad, have legs like tree-trunks--whether fit from running or not--and will never fit into anything less than large (and even that is stretching it--literally).  It is clear that my genetic predisposition set me up for brute--not skillful--labor.  I've come to utterly appreciate that about myself and my body.  Like I've said before, I'm more like a mule when it comes to physical prowess. 

But getting to this certainly wasn't easy.  Our society appreciates the cheetah more than the bull.  In part, this probably results from both our Puritanical need for being productive and our Industrial Revolution desire for mass (that is, fast) production.  Though some facets of sports focus on the bull (tackling, hitting or kicking the ball), many more rely on cheetah (out-maneuvering your opponent, running the bases, getting to the other side of the court or field first).  Lacking any real cheetah-like abilities and being a meatball as kid significantly disinclined me to sports when growing up.  Even in the more bull-related sports like football, I floundered.  They still focused too much on cheetah skills and those were not in my wheelhouse.  

Because so much is based on the cheetah, I always thought speed was of the essence.  If I was going to do a sport, I needed to be fast or push myself to be faster.  Trying to reconcile being a bull in a cheetah world took a very long time.  In fact, you could say that it took until I was about thirty-two years old, when I finally took up (and stuck with) running.  

Embracing my bull-hood has helped me come to running with a new disposition.  The goal became sustained movement (running) for a prolonged amount of time.  Moving quickly wasn't nearly as important as to keep moving.  I often asked how it is that I went from loathing running to absolutely loving it and one part of my answer is that I needed to really slow down before I could even consider running fast (whatever that relative term means).  Of course, what helped me slow down significantly were using the Vibrams since I loudly and clearly felt the impact of each step. 

While I know I will never be a cheetah, running races where I'm anywhere in the top one-third of best times, I do know that I can be a better bull when I run.  That is, there are definitely lessons I can take from cheetahs that can help me--bullish that I am--run better and more effectively.  

Take a close look at these two creatures in mid-stride.  


IMG_2269


And he's off!

While the cheetah looks to be nearly hovering in mid-stride, the bull still has at least one hoof on the ground.  You can see it more closely in these two videos that illustrate running bulls and a running cheetah.  





The cheetah running is the art of nature.  It nearly flies when at peak performance.  Absolutely beautiful.  By contrast, when the bulls (or cows in this case) run, they clop along with little rhyme or grace.  They're still beautiful creatures but have little grace or form in this regard.  

That's me, the bull.  Yet, I've recently been reflecting on my different runs what changes when I'm running at a natural gait and when I'm trying to push for a new personal record.  I soon realized that during my regular runs, I run like the bull that I am.  However, when it's time to push hard, I become a cheetah-bull (not to be confused with a cheating-bull, right?).  In watching the cheetah video, there is an economy and repetition of motion that aids in increasing the cheetah's speed.  No move is wasted and while the hind legs drive the run, the front legs provide the temporary balance until the rear can push off once again.  The cheetah uses most likely what would be called its core to keep the body from flopping about once it has boosted forward with the hind legs.  

I came to realize that when I'm running just to run--not paying attention to speed, I like the bull have a less fluid movement--it's more staccato.  But when I'm trying to reach speeds, my body changes.  My core contracts to keep my body unified, my arms swing in a more measured cadence and close by my sides, my steps become more precise.  I begin pulling in air through my nose and releasing it in controlled bursts through my mouth.  I can feel the muscles in my abs, back, and shoulders syncing together to propel me further.  

I have no clue how this looks to the outsider.  I may still look like the bull, storming down the runway, likely to trample small children and the elderly.  But I feel like the cheetah.  I feel fast--whatever the hell that means to me and it feels great.  

So to my fellow bulls out there, trekking along, embrace your bull but don't hesitate to try out your inner or fledgling cheetah.  You may find that your cheetah-bull run is rewarding, if only because it makes your bull trot all the more enjoyable.  

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Reflection of the Day #120: Ribbit!

Ribbit! 2015-05-25_05-22-38

What Is It

A frog hanging out in a frog pond at Long Hill in Beverly, MA.

Why It's Today's Pick

My wife and I went on a visit to Long Hill, a Trustees of the Reservation estate in Beverly, MA.  It's definitely a nice place to check out (but be sure to bring the bug spray!).  They have lots of beautiful gardens and spaces along with this little frog pond.  We only found one frog--this fellow.  I was known as the pre-eminent frog catcher at camp as a kid.  I spent way more hours than I care to remember and lost my fair share of clothing, shoes, etc into the swamp.  I'm not sure what my fascination with frogs were--besides the fact that they were in abundance at the came, they were small, and they were strange creatures.  I often heard them croaking but whenever I was near one, it never croaked.  It's hops were always amusing to watch and I think what I related mostly to the frog was the way that I swam.  I wasn't graceful freestyle swimmer but stuck with the breast stroke--or the frogger!

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Reflection of the Day #159: I Think This Is a Caterpillar

I think this is a Caterpillar?

What Is It

A caterpillar-like insect hanging upside down on a branch.

Why It's Today's Pick

Yet again, I was on my way back from my run in the early morning and caught this guy out of the corner of my eye.  I'd never seen anything like it--up close and personal.  It was a strange fellow and of course, brought to mind a dozen science-fiction narratives about bug invaders.  This fellow was about as long as my thumb and half as thick.  It sat there like this, ignoring me as I played paparazzi to try to achieve the best picture possible.  I recommend clicking through to the Flickr photo as you can see the rich (and funky) detail of its skin.  Anyone know what kind of insect this is?  I think I'll name him Frank.  

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Reflection of the Day #119: The Bookshelf of Despair

The Bookshelf of Despair - 20150522_123009

What Is It

A bookshelf of free books that the library has cycled out of its collection.

Why It's Today's Pick

I pass by this bookcase regularly.  Sometimes, there are a lot of books, sometimes there are few.  The librarians are regularly taking books out of circulation that haven't been used in quite a long.  Looking at the shelf in some ways reminds me of why I blog.  Some people think blogging is a bit ephemeral and useless.  You write a lot of posts that are "published" that go into the ether and you rarely know if anyone has ever read or been moved by what you wrote (they occasionally comment, but much more often, you see your stastics and wonders what it means).  Yet, I still enjoy it and find meaning in it.  I think the thing is that people are sometimes asking about blogging contains a bit of a comparison to supposedly more legitimate forms of writing like books.  But this bookshelf reminds me that even those books may exist on shelves for years with no one to pick them up and will eventually end up on this shelf.  Either to be taken home by someone or put into the recycling bin.  No matter what the form, you may never have a readership.  By blogging, I have the opportunity to write as much as I want without the sometime tedious process of publishing physical texts.  


This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Reflection of the Day #118: From One House to the Next

From One House to the Next - 20150521_064318

What Is It

A house with it's back half made of brick and it's front half made of wood.


Why It's Today's Pick

I pass this house regularly when out for a run.  It's a strange house wherein it seems to have two distinct parts that by my guess would be made at different times.  There is the brick half and the wooden half.  To look at it from afar, it seems almost as if the wooden part has been partially birthed from the brick and is either trying to break free or possibly will give birth to it's own new domicile protruding from it's front.  It's a strange thought for sure, but there seems no other way of reconciling the two buildings.  I also wonder about how the inside is structure as I see near the top of the building there is an air conditioner that's embedded in the wall, but if you look closely enough, there is also an AC in the window less than four feet away.  Are these separate rooms or does the one in the wall no longer work and it was easier to replace than to fix?

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Reflection of the Day #117: Water

Water - 20150519_140404

What Is It

A quote on a window in a building at North Shore Community College.



Why It's Today's Pick

I was in this building today--I'm not in it too often and I saw this quote on the window.  I have no clue if it has been there since the building's inception (several years back now) or whether it is relatively new.  But I liked it and found it rather appropriate for the gray and rainy day that we are having.  The quote is "Water is life's matter and matrix, mother and medium.  There is no life without water." and is from Nobel Prize Winner (in Physiology), Albert Szent-Gyorgyi.  I think we sometimes forget how essential water is because it is so disposable in a modern society and we forget how much effort it takes to keep our life-source clean and useful.  It is a luxury still not accessible to many in the world.  

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Reflection of the Day #116: #SelfieSunday #20

#SelfieSunday #20 - 2015-05-17_12-05-20

What Is It

Selfie #20.


Why It's Today's Pick

Wow--#20--only 32 more to go, right?  I went with a straight on shot and skipped the running pic for the day.  I maybe should have cropped this photo a bit more.  I appear off-center.  I probably should have accounted for shadow more.  Oh well.  My left-eye (right eye to the viewer) is definitely more haggard than my right.  I blame this on allergies and the fact that they give my left eye more irritation than my right, but I'm clueless as to why.  I'm also noticing that I'm having trouble reconciling my face since it lacks (much) facial hair and I've been pretty scruffy for a few months now.  The things you notice (or don't) when trying to look yourself in the face, right?

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Reflection of the Day #115: Let Sleeping Kitties Lie

Let Sleeping Kitties Lie - 2015-05-16_12-22-23

What Is It

My car, Bear, taking a nap in her bed next to me.

Why It's Today's Pick

I've included Pumpkin in several of my pics this year, but have not given Bear her own photo ops.  Today, while pondering what to take a photo of, I looked next to me and there was Bear, napping peacefully.  I knew I had my photo of the day.  She generally likes to nap where her humans are.  If we're not around, she will opt for different places--a bed, the window, and elsewhere.  But if we're here, she's near us.  At some point soon, she'll awake and do her stretching and then come over and give me a headbut.  She's definitely the more alpha cat, but that doesn't stop her from wanting regular affection and staying near her humans.  

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Reflection of the Day #114: Say Hello to My Lil Friend...

Say Hello to My Lil Friend...2015-05-12_09-48-51

What Is It

A spider walking along the floor at the college.

Why It's Today's Pick

I found this little fellow on the flow when I was walking up the stairs at work.  I like the picture more for the aesthetics.  The flash gave it a grayer look than it might have had otherwise.  Also, you can't actually tell whether it is a floor or the wall  The spider's presence of course changes how we look at the wall.  No longer just a surface but a surface with something potentially sinister.  I was glad that all the legs were visible and the spider itself came in so clearly.  All in all, I like how this one turned out--especially because the 8 others that I took were all blurry!


This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Interview With Josh Kornbluth

Photo of Josh Kornbluth
So after recently listening to Ben Franklin...Unplugged by Josh Kornbluth, I decided I would try to hunt him down through Twitter and interview him for Abbreviated Audio.  I've been a huge fan of Kornbluth since I watched Haiku Tunnel (a film that made it into my top films of all time list).  He has a self-depricating humor that he is able to use to spin out some many great tales and observations about how we (or rather he) does things.  The film and the audiobook are both worth checking out when you have the chance.  

The interview was a lot of fun and can be found here at Abbreviated Audio.  What was so great about Kornbluth is that he came across as the same man one sees in the film and on the audiobooks.  I'm sure there is some filter, but he was both genuine and funny, which made me totally geek out about the interview.  Definitely check it out if you have the chance!


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Reflection of the Day #113: Here Comes The Sun

Here Comes The Sun - 20150511_054110

What Is It

The sun peeking through some clouds in the early morning.  

Why It's Today's Pick

While taking my morning run, I snapped this photo when coming over the bridge.  There were several versions of it depending on which angle or how much sky and water I had in the photo.  However, I went with thsi because the sun's rays eminating from behind the cloud were most visible while you can also see the mixtures of reds and oranges in the smaller gap in the cloud. 

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

CFP: Teaching Popular Culture

The Northeast Popular/American Culture Association is seeking papers on popular and American culture, broadly construed, for its annual fall conference to be held on Friday October 30 and Saturday October 31, 2015, on the campus of Colby-Sawyer College in New London, NH.  NEPCA prides itself on holding conferences that emphasize sharing ideas in a non-competitive and supportive environment.  We welcome proposals from graduate students, junior faculty, and senior scholars.  NEPCA conferences offer intimate and nurturing sessions in which new ideas and works-in-progress can be aired, as well as completed projects.
Black and white photo of an old classroom.  Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7e/Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-13055-0008,_Hohendorf,_JP_mit_Dorflehrer.jpg

In particular, I am the chair of the Teaching and Popular Culture area and I'm really interested in hearing about and seeing the different ways instructors use popular culture in their courses--be it their core curriculum or even courses on popular culture.  If you have some ideas about a panel as a whole or individual papers that you would like to present on regarding this area, please be sure to submit.  A larger goal of this area is to create a place to foster ideas and approaches to teaching popular culture, regardless of the discipline.

NEPCA Fall Conference information, including the paper proposal form, can be found here.  Please submit the form, including a brief CV and abstract, located on the site.  Both proposals for individual papers and complete panels will be considered.  Please direct any questions to either 2015 Program Chair Kraig Larkin (kraig.larkin@colby-sawyer.edu) and/or to the appropriate Area Chair.  For a complete list of Area Chairs, please visit the NEPCA website.   The deadline for proposals is June 15, 2015.

If you submitted prior to April 29th and did not receive an email confirmation of your submission, please contact nepca2015@gmail.com ASAP.  We've had some reports of people submitting their abstract and not receiving a receipt and we want to make sure we have everyone who has submitted.


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Reflection of the Day #112: #SelfieSunday #19; Or Here's the Face of an Idiot!

#SelfieSunday #19; Or Here's the Face of an Idiot! 2015-05-10_12-36-22

What Is It

Post race selfie.



Why It's Today's Pick

So I got up at the crack of dawn (4:30am) to get ready and drive 1.5 hours to run a half-marathon in Maine.  Unfortunately, that half-marathon was yesterday.  Now, there is some explanation for my idiocy--I didn't just do this of no accord, but much of the problem came from not paying attention to details.  I had originally signed up for a marathon for today back in March.  I realized I wouldn't be ready for a marathon today and switched to the half-marathon they were offering a few weeks back.  They said I was good to go and I never remembered to double-check the dates because the half-marathon was to be run on Saturday.  I can only imagine what the folks at registration were thinking.  I got back in my car, posted about it on Facebook--my idiocy--because I'm forever amused about such mistakes in my life.  On the way home, I found out that a friend of mine was running a race near where I live that was just 3-mile loops for up to six hours.  I was familiar with the place and figured I would go and sign up.  I did and also met my friend there.  I though that the race would be mostly pact gravel or even cement roads.  Unfortunately, half the loop was rocky and rooted terrain which is really hard on the Vibrams.  I made it 2 loops and called it a day.  So yes, today, this selfie is of an idiot!    

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Reflection of the Day #111: Armed on the Beach

Armed on the Beach - 2015-05-09_09-30-21

What Is It

A crab arm on the beach.  

Why It's Today's Pick

I was wandering on the beach this morning and stumbled upon this crab arm.  It sat there lifeless and has probably been there for a while.  In its curved state, I can still picture some crab attached to it, holding up its claw as it if was posing for a picture and flexing its biceps.  I also found the range of color in in the arm impressive.  I played with crabs as a kid but never really looked closely at one.  The rich color of reds and beiges make it perfect for camouflage in the sandy environment in which it lives.  But unfortunately, the owner of this arm is not likely among the living any more.

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Reflection of the Day #110: And Then You Go Big

And Then You Go Big - 2015-05-08-12-33-41

What Is It

A screenshot of my final score on a recent marathon-length run on the game 2048.

Why It's Today's Pick

I get interested in different games.  Earlier this year, I got into Tiny Towers.  I have an on and off affair wtih 2048.  The goal of the game is to keep doubling your score through combining 2's and 4's so that you keep adding up until you read 2048 (2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048).  It's a fun but idle game you can play.  For all of last year, I could get up to about 4096 but usually not much farther--I think once I got up to 8192.  However, recently a former student and friend of mine shared his latest high score on Facebook and it was higher than I thought possible.  So I returned to the game after a long break from it and started playing again.  I soon found that I made it to his score and with this game surpassed it.  I was amazed by it--not that I beat it but that by the fact that I knew it was possible motivated me to go back and attempt it again.  I think that's one of the most fascinating things about our lives--sometimes, when we realize others can do it, it gives us some sense that it might be possible for ourselves.  I know that's why I talk so much about running and other ventures--I regularly hear from people who say that my talking about it, made them consider trying it out.  I love that contagious experience.  Well, I should probably get back to the game; I've got a new score to break!

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Reflection of the Day #109: Saying No

Saying No - 2015-05-07_08-23-39

What Is It

A cupcake offered to me by a coworker.  


Why It's Today's Pick

So today's pic comes to us from the realm of food porn...ok, not really--but it's a catchy line, right?  This cupcake was kindly offered to me by a coworker who upon not being able to eat it because of dietary issues, gave it to me.  I accepted it and let it sit there for a while before deciding what to do.  About two weeks back, I had decided that give up traditional desserts and replace it with fruit.  Every time I have had a crazing for the last few weeks for something sweet, I reached for fruit.  Also, I largely removed fruit from my general diet and focused on it as a treat.  Instead of having 4-6 clementines (or 2 oranges), a few apples, and berries throughout the day, I worked on making fruit a reward.  I realized that when my body craves sugar, I can respond to it with the right kind of sugar.  I've made the transition quite well and am making sure that I regularly treat myself daily with fruit.  So the cupcake sat at my desk--none of my coworkers know of my transition and I have always been a sweets guy.  The coworker was in a rush so I didn't feel the desire to explain why I couldn't accept it and just did.  But it sat there and eventually, I did throw it away.  I'm not happy that I threw it away but I am happy that I managed to say no to it.  That's a pretty big step for me as I've always been a "Yes Man" when it comes to most food.  And that's probably where some of the realization came with the switch to fruit as treats.  When I became a vegetarian, it helped me navigate a complicated path (what to eat) and instilled an element of censorship (no meat) that triggered a second set of questions (what can I eat, what should I eat, how much should I eat).  Moving to fruit does a similar thing in triggering decisions around desserts.  And while being vegetarian has led me to loss and maintain a 50 pound loss over the last 7 years, I don't know that switching to fruits will wield the same result, but I'm sure I'm the better for it.  

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Reflection of the Day #108: The Side That Cannot Be Walked



What Is It

A giant tree growing up next to the sidewalk.

Why It's Today's Pick

After finishing my evening run, I was walking the neighborhood when I stumbled upon this fine fellow.  This tree seems so wide that I doubted me and another person could wrap our hands around it.  So beastly was it that the sidewalk curved around it, realizing it was a fight it could not win.  It was curious to see the molds on the tree as I assume this is where branches had been removed, but the several strong arms of the tree were still impressive.  I imagined that if I grew up in this neighborhood, I would definitely make climbing this tree a habit.  Were I not tired from the run, I might have been tempted.   We had a similar enormous tree on our street growing up but the shortest limbs were some twenty feet up.  

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

Creative Commons License
By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

My Most Recent Reads - April, 2015

Reading went pretty strong this month with about seventeen books completed.  Not many of them were great, but definitely a few left me with great things to consider.  So here are the highlights:

The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century by Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker - A Sense of Style Book Cover
I heard much about Pinker's book when it came out last year and put it on my To-Read list.  I've been a big fan of Pinker in general and his book, The Better Nature of Our Angels is still one of my all-time favorite books.  I rather enjoyed this book too, in part, because Pinker is eloquent and clear.  This style guide is something I'm likely to purchase and revisit as it really does layout some fundamental guidelines while simplifying writing and not being preachy.  It's a must for anyone who wants to find better ways to improve his or her writing.



In Defense of a Liberal Education by Fareed Zakaria

As the debate continues in our culture about what a college education means, Zakaria provides a strong and cohesive defense about the importance of a liberal education--not just for the elite, but for everyone who wishes to pursue it.  Further, he captures and destroys many of the myths and concepts about what a liberal education is.  Further, he emphasizes that the fixation on STEM is problematic--not because STEM is problematic, but the idea that STEM-focused education seems to be the only focus could undermine many of the great dynamics of American higher education.

Here 2015's reading reflections thus far:

Books
  • What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver
Audiobooks
  • The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century by Steven Pinker
  • Yes, and: How Improvisation Reverses "No, But" Thinking and Improves Creativity and Collaboration--Lessons from the Second City by Kelly Leonard
  • Find the Good by Heather Lende
  • In Defense of a Liberal Education by Fareed Zakaria
  • Just Between Ourselves: A Play by Alan Ayckbourn
  • The Lucky Spot by Beth Henley
  • Is Shame Necessary?: New Uses for an Old Tool by Jennifer Jacquet
  • The Price by Arthur Miller
Graphic Novels
  • Ares & Aphrodite: Love Wars by Jamie Rich
  • X-Men, Vol. 4: Exogenous by Marc Guggenheim
  • Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde [A Graphic Novel] by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • When the Wind Blows by Raymond Briggs
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: I Wish (Season 10) by Christos Gage
  • March of the Crabs Vol. 1 by Arthur de Pins
  • Curse by Michael Moreci
  • Neurocomic by Hana Ros

So what have you been reading lately?  What's your favorite book of 2015 so far?


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Reflection of the Day #107: Defiance



What Is It

A blue flower growing on a stone pathway.

Why It's Today's Pick

I've watched this fella in the entrance to the house for the last few days--surprised that no one has stepped up it.  Like other flowers, one day it wasn't there and then one day it was.  I have to wonder if there is purposeful caution by those who have came onto the porch and left to avoid the flower as it sits alone--far from the others of its kind that are within a quartered off area.  That this flower has broken free and stands tall among in a flattened area that encourages foot traffic is a curious event.  Yet, it still stands after days, waiting to bloom or to be crushed.

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

Creative Commons License
By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Reflection of the Day #106: #SelfieSunday #18



What Is It

A selfie from me from the Beverly-Salem Bridge after finishing a 15 mile run.

Why It's Today's Pick

So today's selfie.  It's curious in that while contemplating what selfie I was going to snap today that I happen to be listening to Steven Johnson's How We Got To Now.  It's an intriguing book that explores how several hummingbird effect inventions changed and influenced much in history.  I'm a big fan of Johnson's work and find he often has ways to get us to think differently about the world around.  In this case, he was discussing the impact of glass and that includes the impact of mirrors.  He notes that there were virtually no self-portraits in existence before the Renaissance--the same time around which we see the emergence of the mirror and people actually capable of looking themselves in the face.  He explores how the exploration of one's self is a reflective process that gave rise to the cultural acceptance of the individual (and the inalienable rights).  So I feel a bit less silly in taking selfies, knowing that it is tied to a long tradition of self-reflection.  

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

Creative Commons License
By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Reflection of the Day #105: Man vs. Nature



What Is It

A shopping cart in an inlet in Beverly.  

Why It's Today's Pick

Today's photo was a fascinating one for me to look at and observe.  First off, it is so vivid with its greens that I found that to be intriguing in itself.  The second is that the lighting of the day afforded me great visibility with the water.  Finally, there's the content of the image which came rather timely.  This week, I was finishing up reading, The Knowledge by Lewis Dartnell.  The book is a fascinating exploration of all the big and small things one would need to know if society collapsed.  It could be considered a survivalist book, but really, it provides a fascinating look at how our day-to-day lives are impacted by so many different branches of science.  Anyway, part of the book discusses the rate of decay of humankind's impact on the environment and I think this image speaks volumes about that.  This human-made cart is slowly being consumed by the natural world just like everything else on the planet.  We like to think that we are control, but a shopping cart in an inlet can remind us how much more powerful natural is.  

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

Creative Commons License
By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Reflection of the Day #104: Falling Over With Spring



What Is It

A small tree that is starting to bloom with flowers.

Why It's Today's Pick

I pass this tree almost every day going into work.  It's small--maybe 5 feet tall with hunched over branches that reach out toward the ground instead of the sky.  It reminds me in part of a willow tree but also as someone who walks about with slumped shoulders as if gravity had a stronger effect on them than everyone else--a friend of mine says that's what depression can often feel like.  I've watched the tree slowly accumulate green the last few days but was amazed by the abundance of flowers blooming and visible pedals when I walked by it today.  With those slowly opening, the tree now looks like a waterfall of flowers, rather than a sad slumping tree.

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

Creative Commons License
By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.