Nature’s Color Palette

There must be something about the weather today, but I am seeing way more active birds. Most of them are a mix of grays, browns, black and white. They blend in with the trees and dead leaves this time of year. Some of them have small yellow or blue bands that stand out when you see them up close. The red head of a woodpecker stands out through the trees. But the bright blue feathers of a blue jay just call out to be noticed.

Too Much to Consume

We often think about the holidays as a time when we are surrounded by food and all we want to do it consume it. But I function in a world where consume means to read, watch, download, or otherwise pay attention to something. This time of year is filled with best of lists so we can all catch up on the best movies, books, tv shows that came out throughout the year. It is also the time when the award contender movies are released, so even if I haven’t been to the movies in a while, I have plenty of things to see now. Books have gotten easier with my new Kindle, which I bought to help with all my travel. And Netflix has dropped a few new shows that are getting good reviews too. This is one more element of our consumer society.

Distracted Stopping

Everyone talks about the dangers of distracted driving, but there’s something even more pervasive. Distracted stopping. Look at the drivers stopped at a light the next time you have a chance. In a line of cars, every single driver is looking at the phone. Every single one. I have done this too, but lately I’ve trying to disconnect more. Most people are probably looking at email, texts or Facebook. Unless it’s related to where you are going, we should give it a rest. We are already too connected, and it is unlikely that something on your phone is so important right now. Wait until you reach you destination to check your phone. It can really all wait.

Outside of the Mainstream

Last night I went to the movies to see Arrival. It opened a few weeks ago and I wanted to make sure I saw it before it left. Last night also happened to be the premiere of the new Star Wars movie. I was greeted at the theater by stormtroopers. It actually felt pretty good to be part of the handful rather than the mainstream. I’ll see the new Star Wars, but it’s okay that I missed it on opening night.

Drinkable Tea

As the weather has gotten colder, I started drinking tea again. Since I am unlikely to drink this in the summer, the box in my pantry is from last winter or earlier. I decided to check the “best by date” and it was August 2016. Since these dates are mostly arbitrary and may or may not relate to “product freshness,” I will keep drinking it. Even dates on milk do not reflect reality.

The Power of Flowing Lava

There are two kinds of lava flows. One is sharp and pointy and the other is smooth and flowing. They are differentiated by their temperature and chemical composition. When you look at a hill with a lava flow you will see both styles next to each other in big swaths that has destroyed everything in its path.. The flowing kinds creates spectacular patterns that undulate and swirl, sometimes cracking, and even splitting in pieces. It represents both the power and the beauty of the natural world.

Looking Down on Your Brand

I have always wondered about urinal accessory branding. There is a brand of urinal splash guards, which include a basket for a single urinal cake, called Tough Guy. While the most common position while using a urinal is to look down, never straying your eyes to the side, there is no way to miss this logo. I do wonder what they are trying to convey about toughness and their product.

State Collected Data

Before landing in Hawaii all passengers are required to fill out a plant and animal form. This is a government form that is similar to customs forms in other countries. The other side is a standard visitors bureau type survey that collects data like which islands visiting, how many nights per island, reason for visit (first two are getting married and honeymoon), zip code. But the form also asks for email and phone number with a statement that its for a follow-up survey. I guess I’ll now get spammed by the state of Hawaii.