Wednesday, December 26, 2007

English Ivy (Hedera Helix)

An indoor houseplant that requires very little sun.  It is normally a ground cover plant, so it will require trimming from time to time.  It only needs to be watered when the soil is dry.  Be sure to have drainage for the plant, less you drown it when you water it.  It can be divided after it reaches certain size.
It is also among 17 indoor houseplants noted by NASA to help improve indoor air quality. It is also good at removing the following specific chemicals formaldehyde, benzene and carbon monoxide.  Two plants per 100 square feet is recommended to keep the air pure and healthy.

Monday, December 24, 2007


I'm not so good at it.  I realized this a while ago when I was typing on my computer while having a DVD running in the background.  I found I wasn't able to focus on what I was typing, and at the same time, I wasn't enjoying the movie as much as I could.
As of recent, I've found much more enjoyment in doing one task at a time. Putting my attention towards a single task allows me to consider it, focus, and take more enjoyment out of it.

Goal Setting

While cleaning up my room, I've found a valuable tool in setting goals.  Originally I started out by going through my room discarding random effects that had little value to me anymore.  I also put aside objects that I wasn't sure what to do with at that point in time.  I thought to myself, I'll know what to do with it in the future.  The problem is, I've done that countless times before, set things aside for my future self to take care of. Thanks a lot Past-Nathan.  No longer though.
I then opened Pages (Mac's Word Processor) and typed myself out a few goals. I then went back through my stacks of junk and successfully sorted it. I know I was successful because I had sorted it according to my goals. They allowed me to know when I was done. Closure is a fantastic feeling.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

How To Leave A Voicemail

1. Move the Conversation Forward
2. Be Brief (try for under 1 minute)
3. Leave Your Number
4. Speak Clearly

The rest of this post is backstory to those rules. I've started listening to another Podcast on iTunes, Manager Tools. The hosts (Mark and Rich) talk a little too much, drowning key points in between banter. They acknowledged the fact that they talk a lot, and it is just their presentation style for the podcast. To their credit, there is a level of authenticity in the conversational aspect of the podcast. They do have very good points in the podcasts, worth listening to. There are few other places where one can find the information they share.

That being said, the basic concept of "moving the conversation forward" is lost on a lot of people (myself before they noted it in the podcast).  Voicemail is a way of continuing a dialogue with a person, even when they are not available.  To say "Hey, it's [name], call me back" doesn't move the dialogue forward. Respect who you're calling, leave a message that actually says something. I've found it helps to know what I'm going to say on a voicemail before I call someone. It is good planning in case you have to leave a voicemail, and helps the other times when you get through, leading to smooth conversation.

Other episodes of this podcast I recommend:

image courtesy gene

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


First week back in the LA area, and not having a car isn't so bad.  Having a phone and friends to call helps.  It can be a bit limiting at times, though while on break from work and school I have all the time in the world.  The need for a driver means that I have had company at almost all times while back in LA.

Visiting my parents in Orange County is a different story all together.  I attempted to look up bookstores in the area.  The google results follow:

Orange County is highly un-walkable and has poor access to diverse literature.  (Sure, there's Amazon or Barnes & Noble online, I want to buy local though) With a bike still in transit from Oregon, its a long walk to any of these destinations.  It is hard to imagine someone living in this area without a car.  With the suburban sprawl, even someone who does try walking my not get very far. It's a good thing that I'm going back Los Angeles, what can be done for the OC though?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Deconstructing Dinner a new (to me) Podcast that I've come to enjoy over the past few days.  The host has interviewed a variety of people relative to the subject of the show.  He's done a fine job of editing his conversations with them to keep each show well paced and informative. 

All of the episodes are archived on iTunes.  I'd recommend starting out with the first episode from the series which explains what to expect in the rest of the show.  And since they do such of fine job of explaining, I won't, just go download the first episode and see if its something you're interested in.  

Here is a link to the website.

Monday, December 3, 2007


There is so much information available in the form of free Podcasts.  This is both a blessing and curse.  It's fantastic that the information is free, it can be tough to sort through all of them for the gems of entertainment combined with education.

I can currently recommend the following Podcasts:

Apple Quick Tip of the Week - it's short, to the point, and highlights features I didn't know existed.

NPR: Environment - is a collection of stories on the environment from various NPR shows throughout the week.  Essentially, they've done the sifting for you on the specific subject matter.

NPR: Science Friday - is a wonderful show with various topics with a basis in science.  Though, they don't speak over my head.  Its actually quite day to day on average.  I highlight a recent podcast about stress and the holiday season that might help many people out there.

Science Elements - is less everyday science compared to NPR: Science Friday.  Interesting concepts and ideas that I might never come across in my day to day experiences though.

This American Life - podcasts of the radio show hosted by Ira Glass, stories of fact and fiction. Often engaging and insightful into various aspects of being human.

Those are currently my top five podcasts.  I've been downloading and trying out other podcasts.  Will definitely comeback with opinions on other podcasts as time goes by. Will also get back to experimenting with food soon as well.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


A week and a half left here in Portland. There have been a numerous amount of firsts here, both good and bad. First internship, first mugging, first snow fall, and on and on. I've experienced and learned more than I anticipated, and am still left with a long to-list for the city and its surrounding area. Of course I'll miss it, and I definitely plan to return.

There are a lot of things I have planned for when I return to the Los Angeles area. Chopping down a dead tree and starting a mushroom garden in it. Restarting my compost pile and fixing up a better garden setup. Not buying a car and bicycling everywhere.

That's the end of this post. Turned into a laundry list, which isn't to fun for readers. First mobile post though! Interested to see how it turns out. I'll end up editing it later.