A letter to all people, about a friend, and a heroine.

Hello friends and beyond,
 
The article that I linked below caught me by more than just surprise. It ended up becoming too big and too personal for me not to feel compelled to share it with my community, and also for once on these social platforms, to say a few words and get personal and political. Who knows, perhaps some of you will find value in this.
 
I have had the chance to personally meet Anar though my work community a few years ago, a happy young woman that came from an educated family and was successfully searching her happiness and success in Canada, and I had only known her story as such. She was simply, happily amongst us. Then she completely randomly disappeared for two years. And today, with the reading of this article, she became one of my heroines for having the courage to come out publicly with what happened to her.

Damages of Subtle Workspace Misalignment

I am currently treating an injury which, it turns out, was caused by a prolonged, repetitive posture misalignment at my workspace.  I had already done substantial efforts to try and properly align my computer set up, but this incident demonstrates how even a very small misalignment can sneak up on us even when we are trying to be very diligent and careful.

Through accumulation of exercise and work, I had developed pain in my right chest muscle (the pectoralis major). After a thorough examination,  a very skilled physiotherapist worked on releasing the knots caused by too much tension from the muscles: he then described precisely how the pain was coming from a very specific right-twisting movement (torsion) I had supposedly been doing consistently during the preceding days/months/years. I needed to find out what this movement was!

Computer MisalignmentHe told me to watch for any gesture that would resemble that twist and mainly to notice when the sore muscle (which was even more sore now that he worked on it) would get engaged. That would be an indicator that I am doing it again. Some of my guesses included guitar playing or often wearing a bag on the same shoulder, but things didn’t get fully clear until I got back to my computer’s work desk. Continue reading

Can the Moon ever appear as a frownie in the night sky?

Frownie MoonThe Moon scenes in the picture are from two popular Hollywood movies. The lower one is from the movie “Joe Versus the Volcano” with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan and the second one is from the classic “Lawrence of Arabia”.

My OCD with geometry and astronomy made me unable to ignore the fact that the Moon was “frowning” in both scenes. When shooting movies, it is usually easier to add a Moon into a starry night scene rather than to wait for it to come out and align itself perfectly for the screenshot. It made me think about how careful the CGI team were (or not) with their implementation of the positioning of the Moon when the producers asked them to provide them with a night scene and the crescent Moon in it. Is it possible the CGI team would have just placed the Moon in the shot without thinking about which way it would be facing? I think they very likely they did.

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Is Don Jon really into “her”?

Don John and HerWhat does Jon’s girlfriend Barbara in the movie Don Jon have in common with Theodore’s girlfriend Samantha in the movie “her”? Nothing really. Except that Scarlet Johanson plays the girlfriend role in both movies. These two female characters are in fact, total polar opposites of one another.

Jon is an outgoing, confident “good old fashioned guy” who, after “pulling” a different woman every weekend attempts to create a relationship with Barbara who had been waiting to ride off into the sunset with her “Prince Charming”. On the other hand, complex, heartbroken and likely depressed Theodore, after separating from his wife Catherine (a divorce that he still resists), starts falling in love with an unusual, smart and personalized futuristic operating system called Samantha.

Both movies show how personal and unique every connection is. No relationship can ever be shaped from the outside-in, and whenever people do that, things just seem to go badly. Jon was in love with Barbara because she was “the most beautiful thing he had ever seen in his life”. Meanwhile, Theodore was in love with Samantha who had no physical body at all. Where does one start when it comes to attraction?

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Exploring the complexities of Human bonding

This article examines our understanding of how humans bond emotionally, romantically and sexually. Most of the data in this article are estimates and guesses. I leave the actual data gathering part to the experts, and the development of the overall conversation to all of us.

Humans seem to be wired to (autonomously and simultaneously) bond with each other in three different ways: purely sexually, romantically and by forming long term emotional partnerships. For more information on these brain circuits, check out Helen Fisher’s TED talk:

With that in mind, let us look at the way humans are attracted to each other, and in what numbers. Continue reading

NVC 201 – Getting Non-Violent Communication Right

Non-Violent Communication - Getting it Right - 201Dr. Marshall Rosenberg created one of the best communication tools that I have come across to date called Non-Violent Communication. Since I started using it about a decade ago it has completely changed my world. In this journey I have also had difficulty with NVC. I have met people who really struggled with it and got discouraged from using it and some for whom it worked very well for. On my journey, I identified a collection of pitfalls and terminology misunderstandings in NVC usage people often find themselves in. Below is a collection of “rules of thumb” that have helped me use NVC in more connecting and effective way.

First, here’s a quick “101″ overview of the four essential NVC steps:

1 – Make clear observations of behaviors (instead of evaluations) that do or don’t contribute to my wellbeing
2 – Express feelings (rather than thoughts)
3 – Identify needs (instead of strategies, preferences or actions)
4 – Make clear requests – #1 What do I want the other person to do in positive action language? #2 What do I want the other person’s reasons to be for doing what I want them to do? Continue reading

Can we perfectly understand our imperfect senses?

Spectrum1 SoundHave you ever met someone who has a perfect pitch? It is pretty cool. I once asked a friend who had perfect pitch if he could tell me what note a street building ventilation system was producing. He listened for a minute and said: “Just below Bb.” I loaded my tuner app to check and sure enough he was spot on.

In reality, most people can’t do this. Instead, they have relative pitch, which means that when they hear a certain note they can then determine other notes relative to that one. One can develop this relative pitch more through practice and listening, yet even then, if you play someone a note and ask what note it is, they will still at most make a rough guess whether it is in the bass, mid or treble range.

Throughout the years I myself have learned to hear how certain note intervals, chords and chord progressions sound and how notes relate to each other, but if you played me a note I still wouldn’t know what note it actually is. In fact, I perceive music more visually than through hearing which makes it even harder for me to “hear it”. I visualize scales and calculate and count relationships between notes.

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Why can’t villains in kids’ movies ever find love?

Villains never find LoveOnce we label someone evil, we are very easily prone to conclude that all that’s left for them is to be punished. When we decide they have wronged us, they don’t deserve love, nor any kind of understanding. Because, when someone is “evil”, no amount of kindness and empathy will work on them, so they must be either penalized, locked away or killed. But if we like someone or they are close to us in some way, they seem to often get leave-way on this, even if they end up doing similarly “bad” acts. Classic Disney movies tend to especially perpetuate this way of thinking and behaving. Here are some movies I’d like to explore, especially since I just recently finally saw some of these cartoon classics:

The Little Mermaid

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A Closer Look