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Photos Random

The John Lennon Wall in Prague

Per the Wikipedia article,

The Lennon Wall is a wall in PragueCzech Republic. Once a normal wall, since the 1980s it has been filled with John Lennon-inspired graffiti and pieces of lyrics from Beatles songs.

During my meanderings around Prague yesterday afternoon, I finally found it, though by accident. Most of the original Lennon art is gone and covered up by other things with a fair amount of Beatles related graffiti.

Categories
Musings Random

Planning to Unplug

In a bit of irony, a couple weeks ago I recently got into a discussion with a client (who’s also a friend) about unplugging from everything while we were discussing a Twitter application developed by the company I work for. She was talking about the anxiety that’s already building up as she plans an unplugged weekend. While I won’t exactly be completely “off the grid” during my sabbatical, I will definitely not be as accessible overseas (phone, text, no work email) as I am now.

I’ve unplugged before for a couple days here and there during camping trips and the like. What I’ve found so interesting about those times when I actually don’t stay so connected is that I’m OK disconnected. The world doesn’t stop if I don’t read an email or text and reply 30 seconds after it’s delivered. I don’t worry about keeping up with what the latest trends are on Twitter or what my friends are sharing (or complaining) about on Facebook. We all worry life will fall apart without being online and available. Somehow we all found ways to live without it growing up, at least those of us in their upper 20’s and above. As children, nobody told us we needed to be connected to be well adjusted and “better” human beings. (Well, perhaps I won’t speak for newer parents and kids who won’t know a life without ubiquitous high speed Internet most everywhere they go.)

Being in cultures that have been formed in rich histories and still exist in them will bring new perspectives and chances to reflect and see the world. I hope to connect to people around me in real life (“IRL”) and spend more time away from this Internet thing. I’ll be forced to because I’m not going to be near anyone I know, so if I want to be social at all, it will have to be with people I don’t know right now.

After talking to a friend this week, I’m also giving some considerable thought to taking a break from Facebook for the month, save for posting blog updates. So consider it a warning to any Facebook readers here: if you want me to know what’s going on in your life, I expect an email from you or some time where we hang out together – in person even! – when I return to the US. And if you want to keep up with me, email me to ask or follow me here.

Don’t worry, you’ll still get updates from me via trip details, (probably new) perspectives on life, and see a few photos once in a while, just don’t expect it too frequently for the next month.

Categories
Musings Random

My (Missing) Childhood Stories

What is it that makes my life stand out among those of my friends and everyone else I know? What about my life and history makes me different? Plenty of things, of course! My story is certainly not exactly like anyone else’s, as I’m sure your story is unique to you as well. Yet the word “story” is a large driver of why I’m writing.

There is no doubt that I was raised well, was cared for, and all my core needs were met. As a kid, you don’t know what you’re missing out on because you simply are unaware of their existence. You are (mostly) content with what you have. For the most part, I believe this was the case with me. I had friends, played with toys, Matchbox cars, Legos, He-Man action figures, Lincoln Logs… you get the idea. I even watched some cartoons and other TV shows in my youth. I wasn’t totally sheltered from the world.

However, as I got older and made friends in college and beyond, during times of reminiscing about our youth and sharing stories of what captured our imagination as children, I found that our shared experiences and knowledge, particularly with items of some cultural reference, did not overlap with great frequency. Many of my friends grew up as young children in the 80’s and recall a number of classic TV shows that I was apparently completely out of the loop on. A lot of kids movies, namely many classic Disney and those they released during my youth years and into the 90’s, were and many still are completely unknown to me. Perhaps the one pressing on my mind most is that I’m so void of childhood story book memories. As I see friends talk of sharing books with their kids from their own childhood, I look on with a lack of understanding of what that means. I have no memory of having my parents read to me and my brother. These stories never told weren’t there to capture my imagination and take me to places that didn’t really exist anywhere but in my head. This could explain my love of making up worlds with Legos and later on in video games like Sim City, though these worlds always had some grounding or basis from real life.

I’ve thought to myself on numerous occasions, “Well, why not just rent all those movies you missed and read all those children’s books you never read and be caught up?” Sure, I could do that, but that’s not exactly the point for me. The experience of taking in those stories the first time as a child is something you cannot recreate as an adult. That is what is lost forever. That is what I lament now.

Now I realize there is little I can do about this, save for renting all those movies and reading all those books and catch up. It won’t replace what I missed out on while I grew up, but I suppose that head knowledge should count for something for now. If I ever have my own kids someday, reading some of these stories to them for the first time will fulfill that void from my own childhood. For now, that space in my heart will need to remain as it is and I’ll need to work out what to do with all that extra room.

Categories
Random Web

Kittens!

http://www.placekitten.com

A friend shared this site with me a few weeks back and it’s one of the most ridiculous, cute, and useful sites ever. You need placeholder artwork of a specific size and wanted to fill it with kittens instead of whitespace? This is the site for you. Make the URL with the dimensions you need and it provide an image of an adorable kitten for your website. Amazing. Below is an example.