Calvin and Hobbes head out on an adventure

The first of anything is difficult. Even, sometimes, if you’ve been doing it for a while. For me, the first post of the new year is completely nerve wracking. There’s something about the first post that seems to set the tone, and it always makes me incredibly nervous. Sometimes I just dive in, like I’m jumping into a cold pool and I just need to get it over with. Other times I take my time, waiting for the perfect idea to come along.

This year, it took just over two weeks. But the wait was worth it.

On December 31, 1995, Bill Watterson published the final 'Calvin & Hobbes' comic strip. Little did he probably know how his little cartoon would inspire, encourage, and entertain the world.

Or inspire the beginning of a new year.

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It’s a magical world, and I’m ready for another year of exploring all that it has to offer, are you?

Sojourner Truth's, "Ain't I a Woman" read by Alice Walker

“Poet Alice Walker reads the 1851 speech of abolitionist Sojourner Truth. Part of a reading from Voices of a People's History of the United States (Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove,) Novemeber 11, 2006 in Berkeley, California” (via).

Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that 'twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this here talking about?

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call it? [member of audience whispers, "intellect"] That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing more to say (via).

For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Humanity  : History

The Why: A film by Billy Yang

“Here I was, surrounded by almost 700 like-minded people from my tribe intentionally about to march forward into the mountains since dark morning, seeking something through the discomfort, the unknown.”

I stumbled across this documentary after listening to David Goggins, and now, I’m in full “get off the couch and GET SHIT DONE!” mode. In life, at work, and everything and anything else. I’ve even started running.

For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Documentaries : Inspiration 

Jimmy Chin Photography

photo by Jimmy Chin

photo by Jimmy Chin

After listening to David Goggins curse and cus and create a reality much different from what I’m used to, I’ve been thinking a lot about adventure and pain and pushing myself to the limit. I’ve been inspired.

These images by Jimmy Chin are cut from the same cloth. Because so is Jimmy.

Photo by Jimmy Chin

Photo by Jimmy Chin


”Jimmy Chin is a photographer, filmmaker, and mountain sports athlete known for his ability to capture extraordinary imagery while climbing and skiing in extremely high-risk environments” (via).

Photo by Jimmy Chin

Photo by Jimmy Chin

“As a filmmaker, his years of experience in the adventure and extreme sports world enables him to bring an authentic and unique perspective to his storytelling. His 2015 film Meru won the coveted Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival and was on the 2016 Oscar shortlist for Best Documentary” (via).

Photo by Jimmy Chin

Photo by Jimmy Chin

You can see more of Jimmy Chin’s work on his website (where he allows you to download his images for free . . . because he’s a badass), or on instagram.

For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Photography  : Jimmy Chin

A Panorama of Mars

This is pretty friggen cool. (Make sure you click on the full screen option).

With its rover named Curiosity, Mars Science Laboratory mission is part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the red planet. Curiosity was designed to assess whether Mars ever had an environment able to support small life forms called microbes. In other words, its mission is to determine the planet’s ‘habitability’ (via).

Enjoy the coming weekend! I know I’m ready.

For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :   Space

Children of Planet Earth : The Voyager Remix

I’ve mentioned the voyager before. I’m happy to do so again. Not only is the project pretty cool - a spaceship carrying a 12-inch gold-plated copper phonograph, containing the recorded sounds and images that portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth - but so too is this remixed video.

It’s a sort of updated version of who what we have become.

For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  History : Space

What Mr. Rogers' Quiet Neighborhood Can Teach Us About Our Loud and Busy Lives

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Fred Rogers began the episode of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood just like he’d done a hundred times before, “by putting on his cardigan and buttoning it up.” Only this time, according to Hedda Sharapan, a producer and actor who was often involved with the show, something wasn’t right. “He had started at the wrong buttonhole; he was one button off.” The crew expected Fred to start over. Instead, He gave Sharapan a look and kept on, ad libbing an explanation to his children audience just “how easy it is to make mistakes” and then spent the extra time showing them how to correct it (pg, 193).

Any other show would have snubbed the first take and instantly recorded a second. Not so with Mr. Rogers. He understood that mistakes were a huge part of life, that they were essential to life, and that his young audience needed understand that. So embraced the silly mistake and used it as a teachable moment, because he cared deeply about children, and because he knew exactly what they needed most.

After years of training, researching and observing young children in the classroom and in life, and after studying and listening to them and their stories and thoughts, Rogers become a master teacher who cared deeply for the holistic development of children. They became his chief concern. More than money, more than fame, more than job security, Fred Rogers cared about his children audience.

Which is why, in contrast to his competition, Mr. Rogers’ show was slow, even crawling at times, because he knew that was what his young audience needed.

“Rogers’s embrace of reality also included breaking one of the established rules of television, a prohibition against footage that is essentially empty. While Sesame Street used fast pacing and quick-cut technique to excite and engage their viewers and keep them glued to the screen, Fred Rogers deliberately headed in the opposite direction, creating his own quiet, slow-paced, thoughtful world, which led to real learning in his view” (pg, 194).

Fred Rogers believed children were entertained enough. That instead of another fast-paced tv show that kept children distracted, what they needed was time.

“He really was interested in the child as a developing person” Maxwell King wrote in The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers, which is why Rogers feared constant entertainment; it would engage his audience but weaken their minds. And if they had a weak mind, they would not fully grasp who they were, what they were, and how they thought.

“Our job in life,” Rogers believed, “is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is - that each of us has something that no one else has - or ever will have - something inside which is unique to all time. It’s our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness, and to provide ways of developing its expression (pg 237).

For Mr. Roger, in order for children to discover their uniqueness, they needed silence, time, and space. Silence so that they could hear themselves think, time to consider those thoughts, then space to work them out, to fail, and then to try again. They need opportunities to be human, and they needed adults to model humanity for them, to teach them, and to encourage them that life can be hard but that we can always work to correct it. Even when it’s something as simply as a missing a buttonhole.

“One of the major goals of education,” Mr. Rogers believed, “must be to help students discover a greater awareness of their own unique selves, in order to increase their feelings of personal worth, responsibility, and freedom” (pg 328).

In contrast, classrooms, living rooms, and car rides that fill the silence with gimmicks, screens, and distractions leave little room for such self-reflection and no time for imagination.

“Fred Rogers lived out the conundrum of modern life: embracing technology and using it in imaginative ways to benefit children, while rejecting the dehumanizing aspects of complex technological advancement” (pg 80).

For our children’s sake, for our future’s sake, embrace the silence, fight for the quiet, and allow time and space for children to think, make mistakes, and try again. It’s what Mr. Rogers would do. And he was the master of a pretty amazing neighborhood.

But so can we.

For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Education  :  Parenting : Living

Jord Hammond Photography

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“Jord Hammond is a 25-year-old freelance contemporary travel photographer and storyteller from the UK. After living and working as a teacher in South-West China for a year, he developed a passion for photography which has led him to all corners of the earth; from the mountains of Peru to the rivers of Varanasi in India and everything in between” (via).

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You can catch more of Jord’s work at @jordhammon and on his website, jordhammond.com.

Happy Sunday!

For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Photography  : Jord Hammond

"Welcome to Marwen" Official Trailer

I’m in.

This could easily be one of the bigger busts of the year, but with Steve Carell and “Academy Award® winner Robert Zemeckis—the groundbreaking filmmaker behind Forrest Gump, Flight and Cast Away" (via), I’m betting not.

How we heal follows no outline or script. It’s unique, just like the pain that caused it, and any film that tries to focus on the healing and forgiveness of that pain rather than the destruction and revenge is worth spending time and money on. If nothing else than to serve as a simple reminder.

So like I said, I’m in.

For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Movies

Mumford & Sons has teamed up with Nat Geo

I’ve sort of lost track of Mumford and Sons since their album Babel. Their latest, Delta has me falling back in love. It feels, lyrically and musically, like they’ve finally returned to their roots.

By the way, incase you were wondering, Delta doesn’t have any real deep meaning. It simply means “the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet (Δδ),” or “the fourth in a series of items, categories, etc.” Like the fourth album produced by band. In case you were wondering.

You can listen to the full album on Youtube or Spotify.

For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Music