Autumn Leaves


It is amazing what a ten minute walk can do for the mind, body, and spirit. It is also amazing the different things you can find in a place that you have known all your life. Its funny, because while I was traveling in Europe, I thought to myself how amazing it must be to live in the different places that we visited. So many things to discover, so many things that were new and different. But it didn’t occur to me that the people who live there probably don’t spend hours a day roaming through the city searching those things out. It also didn’t occur to me how we too can get so trapped in the routine that we miss out on new things everyday. During my walk on campus, I discovered three new places that I had never been to before, that I never knew existed. I also took the time to look up and appreciate the beauty of the changing colors of the season. The greens, yellow, oranges, reds, purples… amazing. Sometimes I wonder if I would notice these things if I didn’t have a camera with me loaded with the desire to share with others. But in the end, I guess it really doesn’t matter. The underlying truth is that I discovered something new, that I captured a few colors and a few moments… and those little things, in a ten minute time span, made all the difference.

Northwestern Library (where I work), from a different perspective

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Nothing Interesting


What I stare at for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week… with nary a window to the outside world through which I could escape for a moment!

I haven’t been very good at updating since my return. A few stories here and there – stuff that I thought might be interesting. But the fact of the matter is, I don’t feel like I have been doing very interesting things since I my return. Of course, its hard to beat a trip around Europe as far as content, stories, and pictures go. I’ve been contemplating putting up more pictures from the trip, as well as telling more stories. I think that will come in time. But for now, its amazing how quickly one returns to the everyday routine after a trip such as the one I took. Ok – maybe its just amazing at how quickly I returned to the “norm” after this trip. Trying to get my work done here at the office, which has become more and more monotonous as the weeks unfold. Perhaps its just because I know that something different is coming. But the problem is that I have to search that something different out. Believe it or not, I’ve never had to do that before. Things just came to me. No Liam, I don’t think that means that I have things simple, in fact, I think it makes things even more difficult when the time comes for me to actually take action.

Take action. I sometimes wonder if this is something I’m even capable of!

I guess I shall find out in the near future.

I, thankfully, have accomplished at least something since I returned.. My new-from-the-ground-up resume is finally complete. Thanks to the help and motivation of my wonderful girlfriend Katty! I at least have something to send out – if I actually find something that I want to do. I have been attending the recruiting sessions for various consulting firms, thinking that may be the route I want to take. What happened to my desire to work at a non-profit? It still exists, I just need to be realistic about paying off the loans that I have taken out to complete my education. I’m hoping that volunteering in some capacity will fill that void. But I just now realized a problem with that – volunteering on a regular basis will be difficult in the
extreme if I am required to travel regularly for work. D’OH! I guess I shouldn’t worry about it until there is actually a job offer on the table.

Until then, its just more of the same old… nothing interesting.

Innocent Voices

Innocent Voices

I met Louis Mandoki (the director of When a Man Loves a Woman) last night. I didn’t actually know I was going to meet him, I just knew that my mom had a pass for a screening of a movie downtown. I had no idea what the movie was about or what to expect. I think it was almost better that way.

The movie Innocent Voices is a true story about the life of a 11 year old boy in El Salvador. His struggle for survival in a country racked by civil war (backed but the US, of course), growing as a child with explosions, bullets and death as an integral part of daily life.

In El Salvador in the 1980s, the government’s armed forces are already recruiting twelve year olds, rousting them out of their classes at the local middle school. If he is lucky, Chava has just one year of innocence left, one year before he, too, will be conscripted to fight the government’s battle against the peasant rebels of the FMLN. Chava’s life becomes a game of survival, not only from the bullets of the escalating war, but also from the dispiriting effects of daily violence. As he hustles to find work to help his single mother pay the bills, and experiences the pangs of first love for a beautiful classmate, Chava’s tiny home village becomes both playground and battlefield.

The movie itself left an incredible impression on me and all of those who where there to see it. But what left an indelible mark was meeting afterwards with the director as well as the screenwriter Oscar Orlando Torres – the man who put his own experience as a child on paper and then on film.

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Alcohol makes your brain grow


While searching for some links for my previous post I stumbled upon this BBC article.

Drinking alcohol boosts the growth of new nerve cells in the brain, research suggests.

But while this might sound good in theory, the Swedish team believe these new cells could contribute to the development of alcohol dependence.

Mice fed moderate quantities of alcohol grew extra brain cells, but also showed a preference for alcohol over water.

The Karolinska Institute research appears in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology.

Brain growth

Lead researcher Professor Stefan Brene said: “We believe that the increased production of new nerve cells during moderate alcohol consumption can be important for the development of alcohol addiction and other long-term effects of alcohol on the brain.”

Alternatively, the extra cells might help with learning and memory, he said.

Another theory, according to the researchers, is that the tranquilising effect of alcohol triggers the growth.

All of the new cells developed normally.

A spokeswoman from the Campaign for Real Ale said: “It is well known that alcohol in moderation is good for your body so it’s no surprise it’s also good for your mind.

“Maybe that is why lots of pub quiz teams are so bright.”

A spokeswoman from Alcohol Concern said: “This type of study could prove useful in the long term to shed light on the relationship between alcohol intake and dependency.

“However, very little can be drawn from a single animal-based study at this stage.

“Much more research is needed to explore the relationship between drinking patterns and their effect on the human brain.”


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