Thursday, September 24, 2015

Michigan Panoramic

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Panoramic
We are regenerating in the woods of Michigan this week.  This is a panoramic we captured at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Capturing the Faces of War

Afgan Girl by Steve McCurry
Afgan Girl by Steve McCurry
The "most recognized photograph" in the history of National Geographic magazine was a young Afgan girl whose face appeared on the cover of the June, 1985 issue. American Editorial Photographer Steve McCurry captured the image in a refugee camp near Peshawar, Pakistan.

After becoming interested in photography at Penn State University, McCurry started taking pictures for the Penn State News Paper then worked at Today's Post in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania before leaving for India as a freelance photographer. Just before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, he crossed from Pakistan into Afganistan disguised in native garb. He has continued to cover armed conflicts around the world for more than thirty years.

McCurry records the consequences of war as reflected in the human face. “Most of my images are grounded in people. I look for the unguarded moment, the essential soul peeking out, experience etched on a person’s face. I try to convey what it is like to be that person, a person caught in a broader landscape, that you could call the human condition.”

Kodak Kodachrome was McCurry's favorite film for capturing portraits and in 2010 Kodak asked him to expose the last roll manufactured. That roll was processed by Dwayne's Photo in Parsons, Kansas and the 36 slides will be housed at George Eastman House in Rochester, New York.

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Thinking Your Way to Happiness

Cognitive Triangle via Ellen's OCD Blog
Cognitive Triangle via Ellen's OCD Blog
During my weekly drive from Columbia to Springfield for the last few weeks I have been listening to one of the Great Courses by Professor Jason Satterfield on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. While the practices described in the course were originally developed as a treatment for depression and other mental illnesses, they can be useful for anyone interested in improvement and change.

Most people would like to feel happy and avoid unpleasant emotions like fear and doubt. But it is almost impossible to control emotions directly. Instead, our feelings and emotions result from our thoughts and actions. Cognitive Behavior Therapy teaches that the best way to change our feelings is to change the way we think about situations.

In his course, Satterfield outlines a number of tools and techniques that can directly affect our thought processes therefore indirectly influencing how we feel. He teaches that it isn't important whether our thoughts are true or false or good or bad. What matters is whether or not they are helpful in moving us toward the change we want to make and the way we want to feel.

How do you want to feel today?

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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Household Inventory Control

I don't want one of these!
Terri and I have just completed a move from a fairly large home several miles from town to a much smaller place near the city of Columbia, Missouri. We decided that we would prefer to be nearer to the District where the festivals, galleries and restaurants are located.

We are excited about our new home and even though it is smaller, it has plenty of space for everything that we enjoy doing on a regular basis. Over the last few months, we have been aggressive at selling, donating and throwing away furniture and other large things that obviously would not fit into the smaller house.  Our challenge has been parting with the smaller things: books, musical instruments, tools and heirlooms that were stored away. A smaller house means less storage.

In business, excessive inventory is expensive. In addition to the capital tied up in the inventory, it costs money to warehouse the items, insure them, maintain them and keep track of them. That is why most successful businesses have standardized parts across models and implemented just-in-time inventory systems.

Excessive personal inventory is expensive too. To handle the storage overflow we could rent a storage unit, build a storage shed in the back yard, or continue to reduce the items being stored. In the long run, the least expensive option is to reduce and simplify.

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