Sunday, January 01, 2006

A few plugs…

In the post-consumer lull, I recommend:

Cosmo Doogood’s Urban Almanac: Celebrating Nature & Her Rhythms in the City
A great book that seems to read my mind: everything I always wanted to know, in one great place. It’s a calendar (including motions of the sun and moon, information about seasonal changes in urban flora and fauna, secular and religious festivals, famous birthdays, etc.) and a magazine (Eric Utne produces it) with articles about politics, rituals, and nature. I think everyone should have one of these. It’s thoughtful and fun—every day of the year. The theme and form encourage you to “Look up; Look out; Look back; Look in.” If you need to give yourself a new year’s present or a calendar, I recommend this one.

Craig’s List
On the night before Christmas Eve, the construction workers were cleaning up and straightening up. I asked them if there were any items I could put on the web to try to recycle. I posted some fiberglass insulation batting, a storm door, and a garage door opener on Denver’s craigslist. We also put out a fan from the old (ancient) furnace. About 15 minutes later a man drove up in a van. “You have some insulation?” He took it all. That’s a big chunk that won’t be going to the landfill! The workers were stunned. This was about 4pm. By 7am the next morning (Saturday, Christmas Eve) when I was leaving for yoga, everything was gone (that is, everything we wanted to be gone was gone—even the ancient fan—everything we wanted to stay was there) and I took the posting off Craig’s list. We were all impressed by how quick and easy that was and how well it worked, even on a holiday weekend. Craigslist also has job postings, local events, stuff for sale, discussion forums, apartments for rent, and just about everything about your community. Find the one for your city and check it out!

Journey to the Wild Divine
A computer game that Greg gave the family for Christmas. Unlike most games that rev you up, this one uses biofeedback to teach you how to calm down and control your emotions. It’s similar to Myst and Riven (fun adventure games that our whole family has enjoyed), but with an added biofeedback twist. You explore a garden and temples using your mind to levitate a sphere, juggle balls, aim a bow and arrow, open doors, direct elevators, etc. Yes, you control the game with your mind (via “magic rings” on your fingers). It works and it’s really cool. Rees was thrilled with it and very serious about making it work. The tricky thing is, the harder you try, the less likely you are to succeed! It encourages and teaches you to be patient and accepting (two emotions that are often in short supply around here). After a bit of practice, though, Rees could do it! Very imaginative and well presented; calming and good for the soul.

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