Weekly Download 15.9

download-150965_640Here’s a recap of news and notes from around the Web that caught my attention over the past week or so.

12 Essential Life Tips That Are Counterintuitive But True is quite thought provoking. Also watch the embedded video on mirror neurons and the soft wiring of mammalian brains (or access directly on YouTube at RSA Animate – The Empathic Civilisation).

I heard author/trainer Cy Wakeman speak a few years ago in Milwaukee. She is a good presenter and a solid realist, but has a unique view on work/life challenges. See Guilty of Self-Sabotage? Find Your ‘Happy’ Again By Ditching the Drama and Spreading the Love.

The Brain’s Fast Mode hit home. What a concept: separating the type of work you’re doing to fit your state of mind! I try to reserve early morning for Slow Mode items that require my mind to be free from distraction or creative tasks, like writing. The rest of the day quickly kicks into Fast Mode.

Unplugged: A Different Pace


Photo by Mark Baker

One doesn’t need to venture far from Madison to escape the self-created, always plugged in, move to the next scheduled activity, and “What else do I need to get done today?” world. In less than 40 miles, you slip from LTE to 4G to Edge service (and frequently NO service).  Perhaps not everyone sees Edge service as a bad thing.

The weekend before last, we escaped to the Little Sugar River Farm in Albany for our second visit this year. This time, I traveled there by bike. What a great transition from the hustle bustle of daily life to a serene getaway – 2.5 hours of solitude. The ride was glorious (see picture). The weather, scenery, and nature along the way—birds, smells of spring, scurrying rabbits, squirrels, and turkeys—reconnected my senses to the natural world.

A stop in Monticello brought back connections to times past. A grandmother and her granddaughter were selling VFW “Buddy” Poppies. The granddaughter was delighted to be the “Poppy Princess,” which she enthusiastically explained as, “You sell poppies, ride in the parade, and get your picture in the paper.” It was a pleasure to donate my two dollars.

Owner Frank Goodman met my arrival at the farm with a wave from the seat of his International Harvester tractor/mower. He was tending to what referred to as his “prairie restoration in progress” just inside the gate. The weekend was off to a good start.

While the weather wasn’t great, the skies did clear for a bit of biking. Unfortunately, the Sugar River State Trail was soft due to the recent rain and not conducive to skinny bike tires like it is when dry and more heavily traveled. Instead, we went off to New Glarus for a short local ride.

An expected highlight was the lunch we had at Cow & Quince in New Glarus. The food was exceptional, a true farm-to-table experience that included local asparagus, morel mushrooms, pork, gouda, and more. They are raising funds from local backers with a Kickstarter-style “Community Supported Restaurant” campaign. Good stuff—this Isthmus review captures it well.

Along the way to and from, we saw boys fishing in a creek, children biking to downtown Monticello, and a local bike rodeo event in New Glarus, as well as much local farming activity. The weekend connected me back to some of the simpler things in life I so enjoy.

When Monday dawned, it was back to my busy, plugged-in, LTE network world.

Weekly Download 15.8

download-150965_640To avoid looking like the old guy with Ray Ban aviators trying to look cool, check out how teens currently view the various social media tools. Written by an actual teen.

Iphone Killer: the Secret History of the Apple Watch is an interesting chronicle of the watch’s development.

In The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload, author/neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin explains how our brains are overloaded by the data in our lives today, and how we try to cope and compensate. Learn more by reading the Wall Street Journal’s review. I found it interesting, given the topic, that Levitin himself had a hard time being succinct—the book runs 496 pages. Perhaps his brain was overloaded.