Thursday, December 4, 2008

the 4 B's of Good Web Experience

There are what I call the 4 B’s of good web experience
1. Utility
2. Simplicity
3. Intuition
4. Beauty

While beauty is said to be in the eye of the beholder I find that there are some general if not obvious standards. These “standards” are probably culturally driven but I would start with white space. White space is good, it makes people feel calm and in control, there’s not too much to read or do. White space makes people feel like this is possible.

Monday, September 22, 2008

7 Ways to Prevent Illness

As I am home sick and feeling yucky I thought this was apt.

1. Laugh HARD
Falling on the floor laughing is one of the best things you can do to prevent sickness from entering your life. Laughing boosts immunity, strengthens the heart, and improves lung function among a myriad of other benefits! Making a habit of renting funny movies, going to comedy clubs and watching Saturday morning cartoons like you did when you were a kid (SpongeBob Squarepants is actually hysterical...I have to admit) can add several years to your life!

2. Scatter your Workouts
"Shaking up" your workout routine is a great way to stay healthy over the long-term. Too often we get stuck in exercise patterns that do not promote a diverse experience for the body and mind. Although you may feel like you are doing a really good thing by concentrating on one routine, you may be limiting yourself. People who only do Yoga need to lift weights; people who focus solely on weights need should do more Yoga! Doing the unexpected creates a wonderful "pop of opposites" in the body (a major component of Yin Yang theory). I'm not saying to ditch your favorite workout, but changing it up can strengthen a wider variety of muscles and tendons, increase your heart rate and intensify mental clarity!

3. Sleep at least 7 hours a night
Making a habit of sleeping well is the number one thing you can do to boost your health and longevity, and if you follow no other suggestions on this list try and implement this one. It has become widely accepted that the risk for developing disease increases significantly for people who get less than 6 or 7 hours of sleep each night. Furthermore, lack of sleep has been associated with the worsening of blood pressure and cholesterol, and increases risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Sleeping adequately reduces stress, lowers inflammation in the cells, and makes you more alert.


4. Meditate
Meditation is the practice of silencing the mind, and can increase your health and vitality beyond measure. When your mind is silenced and focused on a particular part of the body, the blood flow to that part increases and cells receive significantly more oxygen and other nutrients. Continuous meditation practice has been shown to strengthen the mind, and enables it to execute projects more efficiently. Meditation also leads to the following: deeper levels of relaxation; increased blood flow; a lower heart rate; an enhanced immune system...and it can build self confidence! A truly wonderful way to add healthy years to your life!


5. Get Some Cardiovascular Exercise at least 4 times a week

Integrating at least 20 minutes of cardio workout a minimum of 4 times a week is a wonderful preventative measure to take. "Cardio" increases the capacity of the lungs to provide oxygen to the blood and improves the hearts ability to transport oxygenated blood to the cells. What is considered an acceptable heart-rate during a cardio routine depends on many factors (age, weight, general health) but no matter what kind of shape you think you are in you can lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and decrease body fat by consistently getting the heart rate up!


6. Eat Organic Food

In my article The 5 Greatest Foods For Your Health, I covered some fantastic foods for longevity. I did NOT mention the importance of food quality and think it's important to add "eating organic food" as a critical factor leading to long-term health. Bottom line, you want the least chemicals in your body as possible and eating as much organic fare as you can limits the amount of pesticide and chemicals you ingest. There is much ambiguity in the scientific community concerning the role of pesticides in human disease...but your best bet is to stay as far away from them as possible!


7. Be Wary of Medications

This is the only recommendation on this list that has a negative spin to it (where I suggest "not" do something) but I think it's important to note the potential dangers of our pharmaceutical friendly society. There are tens of millions of people in the U.S. alone dependent on drugs, and I think its necessary to ponder whether or not this is a good thing. Although proponents of pharmaceuticals will point to the increasing longevity of human beings as a sign that they are good for us, I think what is really needed are some new statistics. Perhaps something like: "longevity while living with independence, strength and happiness" will do the trick. For more information about the drawbacks of pharmaceuticals, read my article on 8 Realizations About the Pharmaceutical Industry.

In conclusion, cultivating a "preventative lifestyle" means habituating a way of living that inhibits illness from ever taking a hold of you. Amid all the clutter out there it is absolutely imperative for each of us to begin taking responsibility for our own health. The recommendations in this article are holistic and timeless, and can get you on the right track for living 100+ years with full awareness and fulfillment...so try them out!" by alchemystic

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Anti Palin Rally in Alaska

Read below to see what Alaskans really think of Sarah Palin. I will try and get the photos posted later.

" [The] Alaska Women Reject Palin rally was to be held outside on the lawn in front of the Loussac Library in midtown Anchorage. Home made signs were encouraged, and the idea was to make a statement that Sarah Palin does not speak for all Alaska women, or men. I had no idea what to expect.

The rally was organized by a small group of women, talking over coffee. It made me wonder what other things have started with small groups of women talking over coffee. It's probably an impressive list. These women hatched the plan, printed up flyers, posted them around town, and sent notices to local media outlets. One of those media outlets was KBYR radio, home of Eddie Burke, a long-time uber-conservative Anchorage talk show host. Turns out that Eddie Burke not only announced the rally, but called the people who planned to attend the rally "a bunch of socialist baby-killing maggots," and read the home phone numbers of the organizers aloud over the air, urging listeners to call and tell them what they thought. The women, of course, received some nasty, harassing and threatening messages.

I felt a bit apprehensive. I'd been disappointed before by the turnout at other rallies. Basically, in Anchorage, if you can get 25 people to show up at an event, it's a success. So, I thought to myself, if we can actually get 100 people there that aren't sent by Eddie Burke, we'll be doing good. A real statement will have been made. I confess, I still had a mental image of 15 demonstrators surrounded by hundreds of menacing "socialist baby-killing maggot" haters.

It's a good thing I wasn't tailgating when I saw the crowd in front of the library or I would have ended up in somebody's trunk. When I got there, about 20 minutes early, the line of sign wavers stretched the full length of the library grounds, along the edge of the road, 6 or 7 people deep! I could hardly find a place to park. I nabbed one of the last spots in the library lot, and as I got out of the car and started walking, people seemed to join in from every direction, carrying signs.

Never, have I seen anything like it in my 17 and a half years living in Anchorage. The organizers had someone walk the rally with a counter, and they clicked off well over 1400 people (not including the 90 counter-demonstrators). This was the biggest political rally ever, in the history of the state. I was absolutely stunned. The second most amazing thing is how many people honked and gave the thumbs up as they drove by. And even those that didn't honk looked wide-eyed and awe-struck at the huge crowd that was growing by the minute. This just doesn't happen here.

Then, the infamous Eddie Burke showed up. He tried to talk to the media, and was instantly surrounded by a group of 20 people who started shouting O-BA-MA so loud he couldn't be heard. Then passing cars started honking in a rhythmic pattern of 3, like the Obama chant, while the crowd cheered, hooted and waved their signs high.

So, if you've been doing the math… Yes. The Alaska Women Reject Palin rally was significantly bigger than Palin's rally that got all the national media coverage! So take heart, sit back, and enjoy the photo gallery. Feel free to spread the pictures around to anyone who needs to know that Sarah Palin most definitely does not speak for all Alaskans. The citizens of Alaska, who know her best, have things to say."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Barack Obama wins presidential election!

Barack Obama wins the election.

I believe you have to believe to make this statement come true. I believe you can't half-step, hold back or even prepare yourself for the worst. We must truly unabashedly, 100% committed-ly believe Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States of America. This election will not be won by Obama, in half measures. This election can only be won if we all commit. This election can be won if we all talk, and post and read and support. This election can be won if we try.

Holding back doesn't mean you won't get hurt, it simply means you have chosen not to fully express your love, commitment, power and strength. And we need it. We need every single Obama supporter to believe.

I love this country. In the face of all that has transpired over the last eight years and more, I am reminded that is the people who won a woman's right to vote. It was the everyday citizen who marched in Selma and boycotted buses in Montgomery Alabama. And we have a chance here now to go for it again. It's not a silver bullet, but it is by and large going to make a hugely positive impact on the lives of so many ordinary Americans. We must absolutely take Barack to the White House in November.

Imagine all the people who this win could positively effect, city school kids who suddenly have this larger than life role model, lawyers for a cause who may have almost given up, the middle man and woman whose voice has finally been heard, the racist who must now face the truth about his false construct, the people on the other side of the world who will begin to look to America with pride and respect again.

One brave and crazy thing you can do is to really believe Barack Obama will become the next President of the United States of America.

with love,
-elena

Obama beats McCain on Taxes

This chart is from CNN.

The median income in the US is $40,000. 80% of all households make below $100,000. That means that for 80% of the country Obama will lower their taxes. Shouldn't that mean that Obama will win by 80%?

Also look at th 2.9million number. McCain lowers their taxes and Obama taxes them more. Those that have should help those that don't.


BREAKING DOWN THE NUMBERS
Here's how the average tax bill could change in 2009 if either John McCain's or Barack Obama's tax proposals were fully in place.

MCCAIN OBAMA
Income Avg. tax bill Avg. tax bill
Over $2.9M -$269,364 +$701,885
$603K and up -$45,361 +$115,974
$227K-$603K -$7,871 +$12
$161K-$227K -$4,380 -$2,789
$112K-$161K -$2,614 -$2,204
$66K-$112K -$1,009 -$1,290
$38K-$66K -$319 -$1,042
$19K-$38K -$113 -$892
Under $19K -$19 -$567

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Gloria Steinem on Sarah Palin

My favorite line:

"To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, "Somebody
stole my shoes, so I'll amputate my legs."

Maddy




Palin: wrong woman, wrong message
Sarah Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Hillary
Clinton. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.
By Gloria Steinem
September 4, 2008

Here's the good news: Women have become so politically
powerful that even the anti-feminist right wing -- the folks with a
headlock on the Republican Party -- are trying to appease the gender
gap with a first-ever female vice president. We owe this to women --
and to many men too -- who have picketed, gone on hunger strikes or
confronted violence at the polls so women can vote. We owe it to
Shirley Chisholm, who first took the "white-male-only" sign off the
White House, and to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who hung in there through
ridicule and misogyny to win 18 million votes.

But here is even better news: It won't work. This isn't the
first time a boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she
agrees with him and opposes everything most other women want and need.
Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It's about
making life more fair for women everywhere. It's not about a piece of
the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It's about baking
a new pie.

Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush
Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton
supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her
down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a
Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates
as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the
right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything
Clinton's candidacy stood for -- and that Barack Obama's still does.
To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, "Somebody
stole my shoes, so I'll amputate my legs."

This is not to beat up on Palin. I defend her right to be
wrong, even on issues that matter most to me. I regret that people say
she can't do the job because she has children in need of care,
especially if they wouldn't say the same about a father. I get no
pleasure from imagining her in the spotlight on national and foreign
policy issues about which she has zero background, with one month to
learn to compete with Sen. Joe Biden's 37 years' experience.

Palin has been honest about what she doesn't know. When
asked last month about the vice presidency, she said, "I still can't
answer that question until someone answers for me: What is it exactly
that the VP does every day?" When asked about Iraq, she said, "I
haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq."

She was elected governor largely because the incumbent was
unpopular, and she's won over Alaskans mostly by using unprecedented
oil wealth to give a $1,200 rebate to every resident. Now she is being
praised by McCain's campaign as a tax cutter, despite the fact that
Alaska has no state income or sales tax. Perhaps McCain has opposed
affirmative action for so long that he doesn't know it's about
inviting more people to meet standards, not lowering them. Or perhaps
McCain is following the Bush administration habit, as in the Justice
Department, of putting a job candidate's views on "God, guns and gays"
ahead of competence. The difference is that McCain is filling a job
one 72-year-old heartbeat away from the presidency.

So let's be clear: The culprit is John McCain. He may have
chosen Palin out of change-envy, or a belief that women can't tell the
difference between form and content, but the main motive was to please
right-wing ideologues; the same ones who nixed anyone who is now or
ever has been a supporter of reproductive freedom. If that were not
the case, McCain could have chosen a woman who knows what a vice
president does and who has thought about Iraq; someone like Texas Sen.
Kay Bailey Hutchison or Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine. McCain could have
taken a baby step away from right-wing patriarchs who determine his
actions, right down to opposing the Violence Against Women Act.

Palin's value to those patriarchs is clear: She opposes just
about every issue that women support by a majority or plurality. She
believes that creationism should be taught in public schools but
disbelieves global warming; she opposes gun control but supports
government control of women's wombs; she opposes stem cell research
but approves "abstinence-only" programs, which increase unwanted
births, sexually transmitted diseases and abortions; she tried to use
taxpayers' millions for a state program to shoot wolves from the air
but didn't spend enough money to fix a state school system with the
lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation; she runs with a
candidate who opposes the Fair Pay Act but supports $500 million in
subsidies for a natural gas pipeline across Alaska; she supports
drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, though even McCain
has opted for the lesser evil of offshore drilling. She is Phyllis
Schlafly, only younger.

I don't doubt her sincerity. As a lifetime member of the
National Rifle Assn., she doesn't just support killing animals from
helicopters, she does it herself. She doesn't just talk about
increasing the use of fossil fuels but puts a coal-burning power plant
in her own small town. She doesn't just echo McCain's pledge to
criminalize abortion by overturning Roe vs. Wade, she says that if one
of her daughters were impregnated by rape or incest, she should bear
the child. She not only opposes reproductive freedom as a human right
but implies that it dictates abortion, without saying that it also
protects the right to have a child.

So far, the major new McCain supporter that Palin has
attracted is James Dobson of Focus on the Family. Of course, for
Dobson, "women are merely waiting for their husbands to assume
leadership," so he may be voting for Palin's husband.

Being a hope-a-holic, however, I can see two long-term
bipartisan gains from this contest.

Republicans may learn they can't appeal to right-wing
patriarchs and most women at the same time. A loss in November could
cause the centrist majority of Republicans to take back their party,
which was the first to support the Equal Rights Amendment and should
be the last to want to invite government into the wombs of women.

And American women, who suffer more because of having two
full-time jobs than from any other single injustice, finally have
support on a national stage from male leaders who know that women
can't be equal outside the home until men are equal in it. Barack
Obama and Joe Biden are campaigning on their belief that men should
be, can be and want to be at home for their children.

This could be huge.

Gloria Steinem is an author, feminist organizer and
co-founder of the Women's Media Center. She supported Hillary Clinton
and is now supporting Barack Obama.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Summer Day

"Who made the world?
Who made the swan and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?"

"The Summer Day" by Mary Oliver, from The Truro Bear and Other Adventures: Poems and Essays.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

What is Barrack Doing?

Yesterday Barrack Obama voted in the senate to let what are essentially white collar government and corporate war criminals off the hook by voting for full immunity for lawbreaking telecoms and by terminating all lawsuits against them in the illegal wiretap and NSA spying scandal.

"Obama's vote in favor of cloture, in particular, cemented the complete betrayal of the commitment he made back in October when seeking the Democratic nomination. Back then, Obama's spokesman -- in response to demands for a clear statement of Obama's views on the spying controversy after he had previously given a vague and noncommittal statement -- issued this emphatic vow:
To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.
But the bill today does include retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies." Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com


This is not change for America.

To learn more read below:
http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/07/09/fisa_vote/index.html

Let's hit up his campaign for answer. Here's his site - hit the "Other thought and questions"

http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/contact/


Here's the phone number and address:

To reach the Campaign Headquarters by phone, please call: (866) 675-2008

You can contact us by mail at:
Obama for America
P.O. Box 8102
Chicago, IL 60680

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Free Radical Syndicate

I just came from a meeting of a great group of smart, engaged, fully immersed, present and friendly ad people, called the Free Radical Syndicate, hosted by my amazing friend Laura Luckman-Kelber...unique I know, and fun! We were discussing the relative merits and de-merits of blogging. We were asking why in the face of so many interesting choices should I choose to spend my time in this way?

"Isn't it just pissing in the wind?", "Does it really build community?" And if so "Isn't it a fake community without any of the tactile-ness of being in the same room with other people verbally sharing ideas?"

My answer is I don't know. Ultimately I don't think one is better than the other they are just different tools used at different times for different purposes. You can opt out or into either. In the example of this here personal blog of mine, well frankly it is a bit of a shot in the dark as I am still a bit shy about my writing and therefore I don't actually push or share these communications with very many people but I would like to.

I would like to get to the point where I think my writing is so incisive and funny that I want to foist it onto an unwitting public or that my articulations are so salient as to beg to be sent across the country to my loving friends and devoted family but as I mentioned before I am shy. And critical. So this concept of personal digital branding,that Gary Vee, the Wine Guy, is so passionate and articulate about, while resonant and relevant still struggles within me for light and life. I would like to build community. I would like to hear from you, share comments with you but it seems you are shy too and I don't want to hassle with you. Although I would like to digitally argue/ laugh/talk with you if you should care to join in.

Yes I am a powerhouse amongst my peers but interestingly enough as much as I love this medium and will continue to put my voice out here I, like many things in life, am simply better in real time.

So please let's start again now, write back, tell me I'm wrong or right.

much love,
-elena

Monday, June 16, 2008

5 things we can do to have a better day

1. Practice Gratitude. Just say thank you. It's easy and it feels good. Wake up and say thank you for all the blessings in my life and then list a few. Simple things like waking up, having a comfortable bed, good coffee, someone you love, a job that helps you pay the bills, friends and family, your favorite socks. Gratitude is a good thing you can do.

2. Praise Others. Instead of tearing people down, lift them up. Practice recognizing and acknowledging even the small good things that the people around you achieve and watch them achieve even more.

3. Focus on Success. At the end of everyday write down the one moment that was your best. The one time where you had a conversation or communication or achievement where it all came together for you and you got to be your best self. The more success you remember the more likely you are to achieve even more success,

4. Let Go. Focus on the things you can change. Let go of the rest.

5. Find a quiet moment. Take just a few minutes each day to unplug, let go and unwind. Focus on your breath. Listen to the sound of the room around you. Feel your own heart. In this go go go life style it is important to take a moment each day for yourself to feel the world around you in stillness and peace.


Let there be love. All else fails.

-elena

Monday, June 9, 2008

This Weekend I was A Luddite

All Praise to Luddites! This weekend my family and I drove 3 hours into Michigan, past PawPaw and into Alleghan and stopped at Fat Blossom farm. There our friends Jake and Liz own a small organic farm. Jacob and Liz actually have 47 acres of land of which only 2 acres is farmed. We are the first family of the share holders for Fat Blossom, as well as being good friend's of Jacob's mother so we were there to work. I use the term loosely because we also brought with us our 3 kids, all of whom are under the age of 6 and because due to scheduling conflicts we arrived at 5pm on Saturday night.

But we woke up with the sun on Sunday after an insanely torrential downpour which resulted in a near midnight dash from our tent in lightening to the house where we slept on the floor.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Web 2.0 and other Ad Stuff

"If you want to engage the consumer, really get them spending time with your brand offer them a service not just an ad." - AdAge

I think this maxim is absolutely true in terms of what makes a brand stick. I also think this is absolutely true of what the real Web 2.0 , some now dub 3.0 will be, and perhaps even the secret to fully monetinizing the web, UTILITY.

The movement in this the next wave of the web is toward cleaning up all the junk we spewed in Web 1.0, because it simply is no longer true that if you build it they will come. There's too much built. If you're lucky they will try to come, but along they way they will stop off at Hulu or Youtube and poke around in Facebook and your brand is lost. People are busy. We know this. The consumer is harrassed, our goal, the goal of advertisers should be to acknowledge that and look for ways to make things easier, more useful and relevent.

Crispin just got the Microsoft account they're biting this one right in the face. How do you make the most utilitarian of software companies, relevant again in terms of image. No one ever really stopped using Office, we just all love to hate the company that force feeds it to us we want at least the illusion of choice, if not actual choice itself.

Easier, useful, relevant. Web 2.0 and of course personal.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday..the day before Monday

Sometimes Sunday really does feel like the day before Monday..especially late in the afternoon right before dinner, when your hanging in that middle zone as the days activities wind down and the dinner/bath/bed crush has yet to kick in. Then it's Sunday the day before Monday and work and lists and all the things you didn't quite finish last week. Sometimes, I will admit the thought creeps in and I think yeah, can't wait to get back at it...'cause this week I'm gonna....but other times it's like, quick, deflect...through up the wall..duck!


Ok but this blog is supposed to be about the Things You Can Do..to make this life more livable for all...sustainable for the planet ..and generally just better, nicer,cleaner and safer for us all.

So today's thought is from the Sunday NYT - Americans throw away and therefore waste some 93 billion tons of food a year. We but too much, cook too much, serve ourselves too much etc and all that food in the trash creates more greenhouse gases in the dump.

Something we can do is take smaller portions, re-heat/eat what you cooked and didn't eat and compost the waste. Then plant a garden and use your compost as fertilizer..or pot a plant with it.




Happy Sunday y'all.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Balance....

So much has happened since we last spoke. It's a little crazy. Big, real things like a hurricane in Burma/Malaysia and the "military government" not allowing in foreign aid. Or an earthquake in China that has devastated an entire region. And everyday things like my youngest daughter learning to walk. And historic things like the Democratic primary showdown of a lifetime between two of the most historically significant candidates, in US history, practically ever... Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

The one thing that jumps out at me at right now is the struggle for balance. Every day..everywhere my friends, family and co-workers are all looking for that elusive balance between work and play, self and community, art and commerce, motion and stillness. Most days if I am honest I can accept that there isn't any such thing but then again...the only ray of light that I see is in the search.

Oh and there are beautiful and worthwhile subtractions, pieces if you will...Design so lovely and omnipresent and integral. Process...a word I was trained against but have come to understand as key, Collaboration...separate they mean nothing. Out of balance they become an empty vernacular. It's only with sincere commitment that it really happens. And if it happens frequently enough I believe there would be balance.