Time out for mindfulness

With work and tutoring, writing and gift-making, all of my time between now and the holidays is already budgeted. Somewhere in there, I have to take some time to keep my mind clear so I can stay focused on my own goals and supportive of Adam's. Therefore, my four small goals are centered around mindfulness:

1. Work out three times a week or more. I may not be participating in my gym's holiday motivator because I don't need more t-shirts, but I do need to make sure my body and brain are in shape to get through.

2. Read The Three Pillars of Zen. Touted as the American guide to zen Buddhism, this book will be a useful resource in learning to consciously practice mindfulness and happiness.

3. Cook more. Sourcing my food and drinks locally when possible allows me to be a better steward of my resources. Supporting local farmers and business owners helps build the Birmingham scene and help the economy.

4. Pare down my belongings. The less you own, the less you have to clean. I would like to get rid of one more box of stuff by the end of the year. The big, exciting Christmas gift I've asked for this year is a vacuum cleaner. It'll cut the time required for cleaning sprees and the amount of dust left in my house. Thrilling, I know.

Whiling away the wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey

I don't read enough. Well, that's only half true. If you combine the time I spend reading blogs and my tutoring kids’ homework and text at work and you’ll probably end up with a figure much higher than the average American’s.

The full truth is that I don’t read enough books. Though I’ll occasionally read on a screen, a physical book is just so much...sexier. With a paper book, you have the weight of it in your hands, the smell of new or old binding glue and reminder of what you read to keep on your shelf. Virtual notes in ebooks just don’t evoke the same response that fading notes in the margins do.

That said, I frequent quite a few websites to keep my workdays lively. These are divided up into five main categories: nerdery, current events, music and pop culture and local love. The last one will get its own post.

If I’m having a rough day, I’ll usually visit the Nerdist. Home to a dedicated Neil deGrasse Tyson channel, a recurring celebrity bowling segment and sci fi TV news, it’s one of the easiest sources for fun. It’s also run by comedian Chris Hardwick, one of the geniuses behind this Ben Folds (+ Fraggles!) video and this parody of the meme above. Though I am a relative newcomer to the podcast, I’ve already gotten in trouble at work multiple times for laughing too hard at the Bane impersonations (video not from the Nerdist) and the episode with Bill Nye (language NSFW, proceed with headphones).

Many of my nerdy reads come from Adam via boingboing. The few times I’ve been on there, I’ve spent hours going back through the archives. It’s nerdy, tech-savvy and delicious.

My news sources tend to vary widely, from Al Jazeera to the Huffington Post to Fox News to the BBC to Jon Stewart. I try to source my news from several places to counteract the spin, but have recently tended towards focusing on the BBC and Al Jazeera for domestic political news. Turns out, if you’re not beholden to a fan base that has a personal, emotional interest on certain issues, your coverage tends towards a fact-based approach. More on that tomorrow.

For music and pop culture, I follow @PasteMagazine on Twitter and haunt its music section to discover bands’ touring schedules before they hit the venue websites. When used in tandem with a streaming service, it can also be a great way to discover new music or find artists who are talking about or coming to your town.

For pop culture, I usually go back to the Nerdist or boingboing, but I also regularly check the Muppets Studio YouTube channel. I dare you to try to watch their interpretation of “Stand By Me” and not say “HAI, I’M A BUNNEH” several times during the next day.

Title inspired by the Eleventh Doctor