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Archive for March, 2008

expanding my library

Posted by Ms. Herr on 03.31.2008

I’m a Borders Rewards member, so I periodically get really good coupons from them, like 40% of any one book purchased March 31st-April 1st.  Yup, two days, that’s all I get.  One of my 43 things (if I was (or ever do get) on 43 things) is to build a personal library.  So even though I have plenty of books I haven’t read, I am going to use the coupon to buy a new book, only I thought it would be interesting to let my Twitter friends weigh in on the purchase decision.

This is what they said (accompanied by short descriptions/reviews, interesting and/or relevant links, and recommender comments…all included for your benefit should you happen to be looking for a new book with which to whittle away your non-existent free time).


@natahlee recommends: Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal* by Eric Schlosser

“Fast food is so ubiquitous that it now seems as American, and harmless, as apple pie. It is industry of consolidation, homogenization, and speed has radically transformed America’s health, landscape, culture, economy, and workforce, often in insidiously destructive ways. Eric Schlosser’s exposé addresses the vertical chain from in-store experience to meatpacking.


Believe it or not, I think that you can actually read this whole book online via Google. 

* @chuckreynolds seconded this recommendation. @natahlee says “I thought it was excellent.”


@brullig recommends: Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman (Adventures of a Curious Character) by R.P. Feynman

An autobiography composed entirely of anecdotes recounting adventures in trading ideas on both physics and gambling, painting nudes, and accompanying a ballet on bong drums. One reviewer calls Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard P. Feynman selection of commentary fiercely independent, intolerant of stupidity, and unafraid to offend while also revealing of the sources and expressions of authentic knowledge.


Kinda makes me think of Twitter.


@shalerjump recommends: The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell

Gladwell’s theory of social dynamics likens mass behavioral change to epidemics triggered by minor alterations in the environment or a small number of people who act as connectors, mavens, and salesmen.


Believe it or not, I think that you can actually read this whole book online via Google.  

The Tipping Point reminds me of Just 1%: The Power of Microtrends, a manifesto by Mark Penn and E. Kinney Zalesne published on


@shalerjump also recommends: Better Makes Us Best by John Psarouthakis

Psarouthakis focuses on a incremental approach to success. “It is human desire to get better” and possible for both companies and individuals to grow in very positive ways by defining what it means to be “best” and focusing on continual improvement.

source(s): very few and very vague sources, thus potentially a bunch of BS.)


@shalerjump also recommends: The 4 Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich* by Timothy Ferriss

A book about ‘lifestyle design’, or more simply, balancing work and play. There are plenty of books on this subject, and perhaps many address the same principles, but The 4 Hour Workweek centers on leveraging modern technologies for a full-spectrum of business activity, financial management, and communications. It has been called a manifesto for the mobile lifestyle.

source(s):, The 4 Hour Workweek book site, and The Get Rich Slowly Blog

* @shalerjump hasn’t actually read The 4 Hour Workweek, but finds the discussion points interesting. @chuckreynolds seconded the recommendation, that is if you consider purchase and intent to read equivalent to a recommendation.


@shalerjump also recommends: Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time* by Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz

The focus here seems to be less on the “crude, desperate glad-handing usually associated with the word ‘networking’” and more about the building of mutually-beneficial relationships. Among the key principles: never keep score, ‘ping’ constantly, remember names and birthdays, don’t fear vulnerability, look for mentors and become one yourself, and of course, never eat alone.

source(s): and Keith Ferrazzi site

This concept is actually one of the root ideas behind, a tool developed by Brian Dorsey for connecting with new people outside of our normal social, work, and hobby circles over lunch.

* @shalerjump hasn’t actually read this one either, but it is one of his mottos.


@sheilabocchine recommends: The Ringing Cedars Series* by Vladimir Megre

Anastasia, the first book in the series, begins the recounting of Megre’s trip to the Siberian taiga in 1995. The tales revolve around the spiritual phenomena connected with sacred ‘ringing cedar’ trees, believe to connect humanity to the Divine, and learnings bestowed by a woman named Anastasia on subjects as diverse as gardening, child-rearing, healing, Nature, sexuality, religion and more.

source(s): Ringing Cedars Press site

* @sheilabocchine says “Seriously the most incredible books I’ve ever read.”


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Tweety Bird

Posted by Ms. Herr on 03.31.2008

Mondays, you’ll find me at ASU ICA (Intercollegiate Athletics) all day, workin’ with several student athletes on developing the student side of that equation.  Mondays, you’ll also find me riding the bus.  When I first chose to make public transit a regular affair, a tweep or two less inclined to engage such activity tweeted cautions.   Indeed, there are all sorts of colorful people who use public transit.

Like Tweety Bird.

86 years old.  Veteran.  Father of 2 daughters.  The eldest is 56 years old with various mental disabilities, but employed by the U.S. Postal Service.  She’s soon to retire to go to school to be a lawyer.  The youngest is 54 years. Tweety doesn’t claim to be 86, but claims 30 with 56 years of experience.   Which makes me 29 with 1 and 1/2 years of experience.

Member of all the clubs.   I counted 5 that he listed, but can only remember a few: American LegionVFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars), Pulaski Club.   That makes him Polish too.   Pulaski Club of Arizona is located at 44th Street and McDowell so Tweety walks 2-3 miles a day so that he can dance Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.

Hit by shrapnel from a rocket during war (don’t know which one).   Took 20 years to find a steady job. 50 jobs in those 20 years.   Several of them in D.C. including at the Congressional building, Smithsonian Institution, and National Gallery of Art.  Never fired, just let go.  But each job change meant an increase in pay. He’s drawing 3 retirements and a pension.  Somehow, I always thought these were the same thing.

Tweety wants to write 3 books.   The first to be titled “How to Survive 5 Marriages”.   5 divorces without paying lawyer fees or alimonies.   The second about his career.   Served in all 4 military branches, but was wearing an Air Force ball cap.   Claims he only associates with those who rank above him.  Not sure what to think about that.  His rank: sergeant.   The third about his life philosophies.   Respect women and treat them well; the worse you treat them, the more they’ll cost you.   It’s not what you know, it’s how you apply what you know.   If you have a way with words, you’ll find you’ll get what you want.   Perhaps I’m wrong, but I’m thinking he could probably cover these and many others in the first 2 books.

There’s creativity there.  Taught woodworking one semester.  Has written poetry, maybe still does.   Plays the piano at a senior center.  Can’t read sheet music, but can translate what he hears through his fingers.

And faith too.   Living the good life, simply thru belief, faith, and love.  The Lord doesn’t give you what you want, but almost everything you need and in his own time.   Tweety doesn’t preach the Bible, but everything he needs is in there.  Another 80 years to live cause the Lord has 80 more years of work to do through him.

Tweety Bird.

Yes, there are all sorts of colorful people who use public transit.   If you choose to interact with any one of them, you may just come across someone not otherwise encountered in your regular routines.

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on spontaneity

Posted by Ms. Herr on 03.29.2008

25 days ago, reminiscing on a moment, I wrote about spontaneity.  I claimed it to be something I crave.  Even developed a little theory about it.  But I gave no thought to the things that seed it, nurture it, fuel it.

But what does indeed?

Questions.  Questions are an answer.  Not just any questions.  Specific ones.  Ones that force us to face the real or supposed obstacles that inhibit us: why not? Ones that allow us to create, access, or extract meaning in our lives and the lives of others: will this make a good story?

Questions.  Are questions such as these the difference between having an everyday experience and seeding joy, adventure, fun, and a whole lotta awesome memories?

Last night, @brianshaler undertook an exercise of spontaneity.  The result: awesome … and interesting.

There are two kinds of secrets: those we keep from others and [those] we hide from ourselves. – Frank Warren, PostSecrets: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives

Are there also are two kinds of stories: those we share with others and those we share only with ourselves?

Brian … thanks for sharing. 🙂 

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Posted by Ms. Herr on 03.27.2008

Just over two weeks ago, I discovered PostSecret.  In minutes.  I was curious … intrigued … fascinated … riveted.  I still am…

As I read PostSecret’s secrets … as I read these Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives … I am astounded by the “scared and angry and hurt and selfish” in the world.

And I hope … I hope to never forget that it is no small privilege to contribute to another’s joy.

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thoughts in draft

Posted by Ms. Herr on 03.23.2008

when great laughter and great joy are missing from my soul, so is the ability to feel the depth of all emotion. these weeks without riot. these weeks without immeasurability. listless. diminished.

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posted on Truemors

Posted by Ms. Herr on 03.21.2008

Friend and fellow New Mexican, Spectagirl, sent me an email Wednesday with the subject line: I heart NM.  Inside was a link to a news story that on a scale of benign to earth-shattering, would score somewhere around whoop-de-do (assuming of course that you’re not from Estancia).  But it was funny and bizarre and Truemor-worthy.  So what else is a gal to do but submit it to Guy Kawasaki’s site?


Click here to link to story.

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tags of the qwerty kind: nearest book, page 123

Posted by Ms. Herr on 03.3.2008

I’m home. I’ve changed into my favorite pair of baggy a**, well-worn UNM track sweats and a sports tank, plugged in the power supply, and settled into the dip in the couch for an intimate paper lamp-lit evening with my aging laptop. I’ve checked my email to find, among other things, a Google Alert for “Ms. Herr”.

Turns out I’ve been tagged, linked to, and commented on (not necessarily in that order) by Spectagirl. Yes, when we adults play tag, we touch each other vicariously via subtle strokes of the qwerty-kind.

Bacon chains aside, this is not the first time I’ve been tagged, and it may not be the only tag game I perpetuate, but it is the first one I’m following through on (I have one from over a year ago still on my 2do list where it will likely remain indefinitely). Why this one? Cause I like the randomness of the first four rules.

  1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
  2. Open the book to page 123.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the next three sentences (sentences 6-9).
  5. Tag five people.


The book closest to me happens to be both the last book I read and the one that I want to read the next time I find myself with a free weekend, a sunlit window, and my papasan chair.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

From that day on, the desert would represent only one thing to her: the hope for his return.

* * * * *

“Don’t think about what you’ve left behind,” the alchemist said to the boy as they began to ride across the sands of the desert. “Everything is written in the Soul of the World, and there it will stay forever.”


So who’s next? Who are the peeps and tweeps I want to hear from [and why]?

1. @CTri17 [ain’t no time like roomie time]

2. @soul4real / Alisa Cooper [my first tweet from The Alchemist is the one, I believe, that became the catalyst for our conversations]

3. @dykc / Clarence Smith, Jr. [a stretch goal as we don’t know each other IRL and hardly conversed via Twitter, but who oft asks “marinate”]

4. Santiago Martinez [a pleasure knowing: St. Santiago]

5. @brianshaler / Brian Shaler [for old time’s sake, despite my suspicion that he’s/you’re the least likely to respond]

6. Yadira Pagan [out of sight and out of correspondence doesn’t mean out of mind]

7. @sunnythaper / Sunny Thaper [triangulated somewhere between wild hair up my a**, comic relief, and introduction of an unknown variable]

OK, so I listed (in no particular order) seven peeps and tweeps, but it’s cause I’m doubtful the first five I thought of will come out and play. For those who do, please feel free add your excerpt as a comment here. Or blog it and provide the link.

I’m lookin’ forward to watching this one unfold. Happy excerpting. 🙂

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untitled 01

Posted by Ms. Herr on 03.3.2008

a mind departed amidst memories’ abyss
joy’s luck expired
the bittersweet sours
unjust amusements spurred by changed favor
flee, flee from the very guard incited

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on spontaneity

Posted by Ms. Herr on 03.3.2008

I’m the kinda girl who likes to have my head firmly wrapped the things that are goin’ on in my life. I like plans. I keep a schedule. I make 2do lists.

I’m the kinda girl who likes to be reliable. I make commitments. I keep my word. I don’t cancel one thing just because a more exciting opportunity has presented itself.

I also crave spontaneity, something that all too frequently gets penciled out of my calendar.

Then 17 days ago, a refreshing anomaly … a moment of spontaneity briefly overtook my life as Friday night conversation led to an early Saturday morning flight and a two-day road trip. As I packed a single small bag and left for the airport full of kid-in-a-candy-store anticipation, I developed a theory: spontaneous acts seed joy, adventure, fun, and a whole lotta awesome memories. To test this theory, I tracks the use of three words among Twitter-ers: spontaneity, spontaneous, and spontaneously.

I tracked these words for one week. I collected over 60 tweets by almost as many Twitter-ers.

I have yet to do anything with the raw data.

As the days following my spontaneous road trip unraveled, I began to realize that the conclusions I drew from this data, whatever they may be, mattered little. It’s not that I’m not still curious about the validity of my theory, but it has little bearing on my sentiments regarding the trip that may well have been my most dramatic act of spontaneity yet.

I have photographic evidence. This is spontaneity. It is also the culmination of immeasurable enjoyment…

the culmination of immeasurable enjoyment
Image color correction courtesy Adam Nollmeyer of AcmePhotography.

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