Friday, August 29, 2008

7 Little Habits

Leo Babauta of Zen Habits has written a list of 7 Little Habits that can change your life. I love his list of habits, which include developing positive thinking, and practicing kindness. Go to his site to read the others.

Let me give you my take on two of the habits on his list: "focus on one goal", and how it relates to "eliminate the non-essential." I've lately been refocused on guitar playing. Big time. And I don't have a lot of time. In fact, I don't play/practice until well into the evening. However, I've been so focused on it that when I went to see a movie last week, I was surprised to find out that it was the first movie I saw in a theater this year.

My take on "focus on one goal" is that a good goal eliminates the non-essential things. So don't ask me if I've watched a lot of Red Sox baseball. Don't ask me what books I've been reading. Don't ask me about what I'll be blogging about next. I've been playing the guitar. That's what I've been doing.

Of course, you can always reconnect with your other goals. The list recommends breaking up big goals into mini-goals. Since I've done that, and have achieved some "success" with these mini-goals, I can step back from this big goal and focus on other "big" goals.

This advice probably sounds trite, but it is surely the key to big goal "success". I think back to the days when I was consumed by learning to play ice hockey. When I think about the progression of events that led me to playing in a recreational league, I can now see all the mini-goals: buy some ice hockey skates, join an ice skating class, practice ice skating incessantly, learn about local rec leagues, buy equipment, hang out at ice rinks and make connections. I couldn't have focused on guitar playing then (and I didn't). Staying focused on one thing and eliminating the non-essentials worked. It really did. Conversely, I no longer play ice hockey anymore. It's become non-essential.

The "7 Little Habits" list is terrific for all goal-setters. Check it out.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Going to the End of the Line

The New York Times published a multimedia look at the NYC train stations that are marked "last stop." These are stations at the end of the line, and there are some fascinating places to see there. Among the many places, there's a restaurant by the water, a monastery, and a cemetery. There's an incredible variety in the various stops. The photography and the live interview pieces are all worth checking out; I was dazzled.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Funnies

Somehow, I've gotten out of the habit of reading the comics in the newspaper. In the Globe, the comics are part of the Sidekick section, but that section is not part of their main broadsheet, so I end up not looking at it. What's replaced print comics for me are a handful of webcomics.
  • Wondermark - This is my favorite one. David Malki ! has just the right amount of off-beat humor for me. Totally LOL territory. Check out how he creates his strip.
  • Sheldon - A delightful family comic featuring a boy billionaire, his various pets, and his cranky grandfather. Recently, the artist, Dave Kellet, made a video of how he draws his strip, and it's great to see some old school artistry.
  • xkcd - The newest on my list. Cutting and edgy.
If people have other comics to suggest, please add a comment. I'd love to hear about more (and I know there's plenty out there).

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Bonus Track: Wonderful Tonight

This is me singing Wonderful Tonight, the classic song by Eric Clapton from his Slowhand album. Yes, it's a little fast. One of the things I learned in trying to put this together is just how difficult it is to sing, play, and keep time. It's almost as if you have to pick two out of those three things to keep track of.

I learned the song from Desi Serna's on-line guitar lessons, but I was inspired to try the song thanks to covers by strawbfan and chewwinggum.