Loved By All: The Story of Apa Sherpa

The true beauty of Nepal isn’t the mountains, but the people who live in their shadows.

Every spring, Mount Everest draws in people from around the world to conquer its peak. Despite the riches surrounding the highest point on Earth, the Sherpa people who live in its shadow remain poor with few educational opportunities. One man hoping to change this reality is Apa Sherpa, a child of the Khumbu and world-record holder for summiting Everest. Like many before him, Apa Sherpa was pulled from home at the age of 12 to work on the mountain as a high-altitude porter. Now, the Apa Sherpa Foundation is working to create a different future for the children of Nepal. As Apa says, "without education we have no choice” (via).

There’s something truly great about this story. A man who has accomplished (21 times!) what others spend years training for, dreaming of, and then risking their live’s to conquer, looks at his life and believes there’s something bigger and better. That his days on top the world are not enough.

He then chooses to spend his life serving and caring for others, and is satisfied. Because The true beauty of Nepal isn’t the mountains, but the people who live in their shadows.

You can watch more “short documentary films from around the world selected by the National Geographic video team” (via).

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-N- Stuff  :  Inspiring films about Humans  :  Inspiring Art  :  Documentaries 

Three Videos

I love annotating music videos. Especially when they’re sent to me by previous students, “Thought you’d like these” they say, after months of living different lives on different continents, and I just love that.

These three came in the last few weeks. If you have any thoughts, don’t be afraid to share.


“All art,” according to Gene Roddenberry, “Is an attempt to answer the question, ‘What is it all about?’”

What, according to these videos, is the answer?

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-N- Stuff  :  Music  

Favorite Podcasts : January


Here are a few of my more recent favorites. As always, if you have any you'd like to recommend, let me know (thank you Sarah Downs for recommending War of the Worlds!!!).


40 Years Later, What We Learned From Jonestown, by Fresh Air
On Nov. 18, 1978, an itinerant preacher, faith healer and civil rights activist named the Rev. Jim Jones led more than 900 of his followers to kill themselves by drinking cyanide-laced Flavor Aid at their Jonestown settlement in the jungle of Guyana. 40 years later, questions still linger regarding the Jonestown massacre and the man who inspired it. Journalist Jeff Guinn details how Jones captivated his followers in the book 'The Road to Jonestown.' 

War of the Worlds, by Radiolab
It's been 80 years to the day since Orson Welles' infamous radio drama "The War of the Worlds" echoed far and wide over the airwaves. So we want to bring you back to our very first live hour, where we take a deep dive into what was one of the most controversial moments in broadcasting history. "The War of the Worlds," a radio play about Martians invading New Jersey, caused panic when it originally aired, and it's continued to fool people since--from Santiago, Chile to Buffalo, New York to a particularly disastrous evening in Quito, Ecuador.

The Room of Requirement, by This American Life
My whole family thoroughly enjoyed this one. The summary doesn't do it justice so I deleted everything but the opening sentence.

Libraries aren't just for books.

So, so good. 

Feminism in Black and White, by Scene on Radio
Most of December was dedicated to this podcast series entitled, "MEN." It's a newer podcast, with only it's third season available, and as one might imagine, the first season isn't great. The third one, however, is very good. I appreciated just about every episode, but this one was exceptional. 

The struggles against sexism and racism come together in the bodies, and the lives, of black women. Co-hosts Celeste Headlee and John Biewen look at the intersections between male dominance and white supremacy in the United States, and the movements to overcome them, from the 1800s through the 2016 presidential election.

Enjoy the day, and happy listening.

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-N- Stuff  :  Podcasts 

"Better than a dog" : Charles Darwin's pros and cons to marriage.


In July of 1838, Charles Darwin was twenty-nine and recently returned from his “legendary voyage around the globe . . . and a few months away from sketching the first outline of natural selection in his notebooks” (pg 8).

He was also contemplating if h should I get married or stay single.

So, to help clarify his quandary, he made a pros and cons list, “dividing two facing pages in his notebook into two columns.” At the top of one column he wrote “Not Marry.” On the other, “Marry.”

He concluded the following:

Not Marry

- Freedom to go where one liked
-Choice of Society and little of it
-Conversation of clever men at clubs
-Not forced to visit relatives and bend in every trifle
-Expense and anxiety of children
-Perhaps quarreling
-Loss of Time
-Cannot read in the evenings
-Fatness and idleness
-Anxiety and responsibility
-Less money for books etc.
-If many children forced to gain one’s bread (But then it is very bad for one’s health to work too much)
-Perhaps my wife won’t like London; then the sentence is banishment and degradation into indolent, idle fool


-Children (if it Please God)
-Constant companion (and friend in old age) who will feel interested in one
-Object to be beloved and played with. Better than a dog anyhow
-Home, & someone to take care of house
-Charms of music and female chit-chat. These things good for one’s health- but terrible loss of time.
-My God, it is intolerable to thing of spending one’s whole life, like a neuter bee, working, working, an nothing after all - No, no won’t do
-Imagine living all one’s day solitary in smoky dirty London House
-Only picture to yourself a nice soft wife on a sofa with good fire and books and music perhaps
-Compare this vision with the dingy reality of Great Marlboro Street, London

How long he deliberated over this list is uncertain. His decision, however, is clear, and not only because he wrote, “Marry, Marry, Marry QED” at the bottom of the page, “but also because he did, in fact, wed Emma Wedgwood six months after writing the words”, a marriage that would “bring much happiness to Darwin” (pg 9). I assume his marriage was a success, in part, because she never saw this list, or at least I suspect she didn’t. Because if she had, I would like to think their discussion would be similar to Ross and Rachel’s.

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.


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).

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-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.

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-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