Inspiration over Tofu Tacos

So I’m sitting in my living room working through some home-made tacos I made just a minute ago. I put on a You Tube video: High Resolution interviewing Judy Wert. They do a fantastic intro, and finally, she comes on screen. Her smile and mannerisms captivate me. Listening to the talk, I barely get 4 minutes in when she makes a point about her coffee cup, how UX design starts with the person who made this coffee cup, how many kids they have and what is his father like.

At this point I had gotten through one and a quarter taco, and as I take one more bite, I stop looking at the screen of my phone, and start observing the phone itself. I have this sort of out-of-body experience where I just observed myself as the user who has made a work around on how to prop up their phone while watching this video. Instantly, I drop my half taco (it’s still sitting there),

pause the video and start writing. This is what I’m writing about: 

My need – to watch a video while not holding my phone. There are many solutions out there to this already:

In fact, I have one of those piggies. Yet, I still don’t use it. Why? because it’s inconvenient. It’s upstairs somewhere, and my food is getting cold and yes I’m just lazy to get it, plus it doesn’t stick onto my case. So I end up using my PDX carpet coasters to prop up my phone.

But what if…. the Lifeproof case – which by the way last weekend saved my phone when I dropped it in some hot sand – had an edge that better promoted sideways standing. If the leaning tower of Pisa from thousands of years ago can do it, why can’t the phone case?

Lifeproof already has a bomber case, but there’s always room to improve, right? Competition is right around the corner.

Anyways, I’m not an architect, or industrial designer, but I’ve done the observation, and documented what the workaround is, at least in my case.

What do you do to prop up your phone(s)/tablet(s)?? Comment below.

 

My Polymorphic Light Eruption

I don’t have rabies or anything crazy, it’s only a skin condition that feels horrible and looks completely unattractive. It developed it after I spent a couple years living under the eternal rain cloud that covers Portland, OR from October to May. Here’s the timeline:

2011 July: I move to Portland from sunny Toulouse after studying there for a year.

2012 December 30: I go to Miami and to spend time with my Cousin for NYE in a warm place while it is storming in Portland:


This is when it first happened… dun dun dun: my stomach erupts with these dime-sized red dots everywhere. At first it’s just red, and then it gets itchy. The worst is that the space between these dots stay completely white. It’s like my body forgot how to tan.

And so I go home, and they disappear within a day. I forget about it.

Summer of 2013: The dots come back, especially furiously early on, and they get less and less vehement by the end of the summer. I basically ignore it, mostly because I don’t spend very much time outside because of work.

Summer of 2014-2015: I put a lot of sunscreen on, but the red dots still make a comeback, including some side trips I take to Australia in the spring.

Summer of 2016: I’m fed up. I start researching the key words “sun allergy”, “sun rash”, “red dots from sun” all these come up with a lot of symptoms that are similar, but there is one key thing missing: why does the sun rash I have get less intense after more months of exposure. That is when I finally searched for something to the effect of: “sun allergy that gets better with time in the sun”. And bingo: I find a blog about how a woman had conducted an experiment on herself for ten years, using only one lotion every summer to see how well it works against her condition. That is where I find many lotions that kinda-sorta help, but the 10th one was the 100% awesome solution. It is this shirudo lotion made in Montreal.

January 2017: I got a big tube of the creme at the end of last summer, and this year is the first year I’ve tried the creme, and it works like a charm. Now my skin tans like it did before, it’s not itchy, and I can say it’s the best thing ever, and a mystery solved!

 

Patagonia Március 4

A tegnap kozelferkeztunk a gleccserhez. Ehhez át kellett menni két függőhídon és megérte. Úgy értem, h Ildikó atveszekedte magát az ingó deszkák során volt a fizetség, nó meg extra három órát tettünk a jarnivalohoz. De ki is voltunk mire visszaértünk a la grande painehoz. Útközben kisütött a nap és bar ugyanazon az ösvényen jöttünk mint azelőtt nap, mégis egy más kirándulás volt. Visszafele nézve a gleccser fele a felhő lélegzeten átsütött északról jövő napsugár. Ez agyferdülést okozott bennem, most mar beleszoktam hogy a nap közepén észak felé áll magasan a nap.
Egy nézéssél hófedte csúcsók, gleccser kékje, balra tó, mely fehéres szürke ahol suti a nap és kekes ahol a felhő árnyékfoltja. Vajon azért e a neve hogy lago “grey”? És szivárog lassan valami kérgen keresztül ez a szépség, majd betör a lélekig és lesz belőle egy imádság. Egymást botlasztva Ildikóval hol nekiindultunk hol felujjongtunk. A fáradtság  vett hatalomba úgy estünk be a recepcióhoz hogy a türelem határán kapartuk elő az útlevélkét.
Ildikó állatmegfigyelő. Hol rókat, hol nyulat vett eszre, több alkalom kellett, amíg én is megpillantottam. O egy  vadászjelenetet is látott meg le is filmezte.

Másnap balzsamos napsutos áradt a vidékre. Hallom h kattannak a kamerák itt ott. Négykézláb kitolom a fejem a repedésen és látom én is. A tegnapi esti szürkületben felszálltak a felhők és a legmagasabb szikla katedrális csúcsa körvonalazódott. És ma reggel a felkelő nap megvilágította roszazsinű

Ma este kellemes menet után eljutottunk campo italianohoz. Ildikó segített felhúzni a sátrat. Utána a domo francesnel elvaltunk. Ildikó ott éjszakázik én pedig visszasiettem a táborhelyre. Varom Ildikót reggel hogy a gleccserfolyó menten felnyomuljunk egy meredek völgyön újabb szögből megbámulni e geológiai kompozíciót. Közben hallgatom a soknyelvű csevegést amely az asztaloknál ülő fiataloktól árad.

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Patagonia – Március 2

Végre jött szó anyukám felöl:

A tegnap este összepakkoltuk a hátizsákot. A többit az Erratic Rocknal hagytuk. Kibéreltem egy sátrat, amit a park füvén probáltam kitesztelni. Hozzánk csatalkozott egy kóbor kutya. Elötte becéztük és egyböl baratságba kerültünk. Sok kóbor kutya van a városi utcákon. Mint a hajléktalanok ott fekszenek a járdán es alszanak. Ildikó aztan szólt neki hogy ne kövessen. És értett magyarul.
Hostel Lucy-nel aludtunk.  Csínos ápolt b&b. Ildikó nem aludt nagyot de én nem bántam a az utcai zajokat. A zsákom lehet vagy 15kg. A buszok nagyok és kényelmesek amivel PN-bol kihoztak a parkba. Reggel 7 után csak jelentek meg a hatizsákosok es különbözo utcákbol egyre tobben parádéztak a buszállomás felé.

Katmaranon meglegyintett a hegyi szél ahogy fodrozott a kék vizü tó. Olyan tenszeru es kék volt a parthoz közel. A térképem beleesett a vizbe. Onnan piszkálta ki a hajos egyik legényzete. A pallón leállt a forgalom es drukkoltak a papirhalászatnak. Most itt örzöm a kabátom zsebében.

Szoval hogy is van a gleccserrel? Ohh erzem hogy luktet a lábam és forró és sulyos. A Paine Grande-tol jottünk a Refugio Grey-ig és most a bérelt satorban a vadonatuj halozsakomban fekszem. Ildikó a menedékházban alszik.

Nem konnyu atadni azt a pillanatot amikor megláttuk a gleccsert. Olyan szép az ösvény, változatos,  barátságos. És a tó és a kék jégdarabok. És jobbra mint a katedrális égbeszökõ szikla tornyai. És tekereg az ösvény néha alábukik néha hosszan hullámosan fel-le. Izzadunk, kalimpálunk a botokkal a sziklák között. És felkaptatunk és nézzuk a gleccsert. a végtelenböl elénk agaskodva. Óriási jégkockák a víz hátrán.  A szinek kontrasztok.

Pötyörögnek cseppek a sátorra és én aludni fogok. Deréktöl lefele meleg olom vagyok

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A Déli Csücsök

Eddig terv szerint mentek a dolgok. Reggel még Santiagóban ébredtünk. Négy órás repülőút Punta Arénásba vártunk egy kicsit aztán kényelmes, magas ülésű buszban jöttünk Puerto Natalesba. Kissé megpillantottuk a Magellan szoros haragzöld vizet jobb felől. Utána kietlen rétek mentén haladtunk és láttunk juhokat vagy hasonlókat szétszórva. Később hegytömbök emelkedtek a láthatáron. Havas tetejük van. Holnap korán kelünk. Busszal megyünk a parkig. Ma este istenit vacsoráztunk és igyekszem aludni. Kíváncsi vagyok hogyan bírom a hátizsákot.
– Tóth Erzsébet

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How to make your weakness the reason why people like you

This post was inspired by one of those many articles that try to outline ways to become more likable. There are obvious things like, “Smile more”, or “be more positive”, or “be genuine”. But there is one that really struck home, and I think it’s a hard one to do, especially for those who are perfectionists and hugely insecure in maybe the one thing they cannot perfect.

My advice: Embrace this weakness.

Research actually shows that although people may respect you if you appear perfect in every way (no one really is!), it actually makes you less approachable. Only deities are truly perfect (well maybe the Greek ones had some issues)  so people will look up to you but have a hard time getting closer. So – this weakness I told you to embrace: make it your human trait, and then work on perfecting everything else.

This is one silly example, but I think helps explain the point. Maybe your weakness is being really gassy. Let’s say you’re really good at yoga, and one day you let one little toot out during a yoga class. Up until then, people around you might have been thinking, woah, (s)he’s so good. I wish I were that flexible, strong, whatever. But until that toot, they would probably have a hard time approaching you. (Kids are better at this by the way…). And especially so if they are self-conscious about the lack of their strength or flexibility.

So you farted. What to do next? Perhaps turn red and avoid all eye-contact? That might be the instinctive thing to do. However, the best way is to fight the urge, and react lightly: make fun of yourself, or just a whisper of “oops!” and smile. This reaction will bring you down to earth from the clouds in the minds of others, and in fact make you more likable, and perhaps even relatable for some people 🙂

Of course you should strive to be all of those simple like-able traits like smiling and positivity, but this adds another tool in your toolbox. Good luck, and have fun with it!

Birth of Changi, the cute elephant

I was supposed to go to dinner with my friends after climbing at Planet Granite. It was around 9pm on the 23rd of August, my 28th birthday. All afternoon I had been checking my phone at every moment I got, for S called me earlier that day saying “It looks like A’s going to give birth either today or tomorrow!” And I was supposed to take pictures of the event. No one was expecting it this early; she was actually due in mid-September.

In the brief minutes that I was distracted from checking my phone, Szilard had texted me again: “Come now! She’s giving birth!” The unread text sat on the screen of my iphone 6, as I was climbing a very tricky yellow-handhold 11B in the corner of the gym. The distraction continued in the form of friends crowding me in a circle, singing happy birthday in the gym during probably the most crowded time of day, as I pretended that I was also singing for someone while turning bright red. Of course they yelled my name really loud, just as A was probably screaming in effort to push a new life into this world.

My friends presented the “cake” aka a bunch of cut fruit in a cake tin, as the nurses placed an equally if not more sweet baby girl into A’s arms. My present had all sorts of fun things in it: figs cut in half, spears of pineapple, bright red strawberries, soft melon, and strips of dried coconut topped with unlit candles. In the same moment, S was gaping with awe at the soft-cheeked baby Changi with a bright red face, struggling to open her brand new eyes to this new world she rushed into. Was it really a good idea she must be thinking to herself? Unsure, she wails as she is placed on her mother’s bosom.

Mostly through my “slice” of the fruit-cake, I casually check my phone, and nearly choke on a piece of coconut. “Guys, I have to go, dinner is cancelled, my niece was just born!” After that, everything happened so fast: I throw my climbing stuff into my bag, jump into D’s car and we race to the curtly instructed location: West Pavilion, Purple Elevator. D drops me off, and I rush in the entrance, past the security guard. Having no idea where I’m going, I just feel my way through the hospital, looking for signs: purple elevator… purple elevator. As if I was being led, the elevator revealed itself in a corner; anyone watching me would probably have thought I knew exactly where I was going. Come on come on… open faster – I thought willing the sliding doors to open already.

Reaching the floor, everything looked calm, but I was anything but that. The lady at the front desk was my last obstacle. “I’m here to photograph the new child, last name is Suto,” I tell her. “Sorry, I can’t hear you, can you come closer?” Ahhhhhhh! But I put on a placid face. “The mother’s name is Arty.. I mean Tatawan Suto.” I say more clearly. The lady bobs her head, pulling out a sharpie as I’m tapping my foot impatiently and slowly writes on a sticker already marked with the date Aug 23: Suite 324. She points to a double doors, hands me the sticker-badge, and I’m on my way through the labyrinth of hallways and adjoining rooms, the 3 by 5 foot white poster board I brought floating like a sail in my right hand. I wanted to be prepped with a light reflector in case the lighting was awful.

I finally reach the door and knock. For a split second I thought I had the wrong door, as a low-pitched lady voice mumbles, “what?..” Then I hear my cousin S’s masculine voice as the nurse opens the door. He pushes past her and grabs the door wide open, with an even wider grin. I have never seen him happier, and I have known this guy for 25 years.

Let these pictures tell the rest of the story…

A set of meaningful quotes from the first two hours after Changi’s traumatic entrance into our world:

S: “I’m in love” [while holding a sleeping Changi in his arms]
A: “Nothing on my calendar matters anymore…”

Turning the gym membership model upside down

This idea came out of wishing my favorite yoga class was closer to my house. My thought process:

  1. There are yoga studios closer to my house…
  2. But I really like the teacher, she teaches at two gyms/studios, but I only have membership to one. The other one is closer to my house…
  3. I wish my membership extended to cover both places.
  4. So can I have a yoga-teacher membership?

That’s what this post is all about. What if… Students were able to choose a membership centered around a specific teacher, and she/he could teach at any studio/gym, the students can attend based on that membership. Then, the teacher simply gives either a flat fee or percentage of her/his class’s income to the gym/studio as rent for that hour of class.
Potential problem: how does the place that offers the room for the class prevent the users from taking advantage of other utilities in the space?
Potential solution: layout the gym in a way there is one entrance area for the yoga room, and a separate one for the rest of the space. The Yoga teacher could maybe pay more per class if the place includes bathroom/shower or other amenities for her/his students, or the students can pay separate for that (if they want). It’s almost like “itemizing” – pay for what you use.

Benefits:
The most desireable yoga teachers stay in business
More flexibility to teach wherever, and know that students will come to you!

Of course, this idea could be expanded to other fields too – teachers, tutors, chefs, coaches…

Crimp this subliminal Ad

This is the first post of my new category …while in the shower. Why, well who doesn’t have those occasional profound thoughts in the shower?
Metaphorical of course, it just means these posts are all about those random creative ideas I have during the day while doing something maybe unrelated. Some people might take their temperature to measure their level of health, but mine is measure of how many if any creative thoughts that pop up without me actively trying.

For instance, the other day I was climbing with a friend, and though I am at the gym a lot, I never closely observe, but do glaze over the climbing holds, subconsciously noticing the sparsely placed logos such as “So ILL”.

(These logos are all of the climbing hold companies). However, if I saw those imprinted logos anywhere else, I would instantly recognize them and rack my brain, where did I see that!! Eventually I would figure it out. What if, instead of just advertising themselves, they imprinted such subliminal logos or other simple ads of other targeted outdoor/active/sports companies onto their climbing holds. When I climb, I focus on one thing, getting to the next hold, and if at some point I sit there, breathing hard, pondering my next move, I might be staring straight at a hold maybe containing “Mountain Hardware” or “REI”. I may not actually think about my next trip to “REI”, but I still see the logo amidst this uniquely heightened sense of concentration.

I think this sort of subliminal ad placement would be even more beneficial for startups who want to get their name out there. And the imprinted logos are not distracting, same color as the hold. Look at this example: can you see the name “rock candy” in the top left of the hold? Barely, right, but it’s there. And if you climb a lot, the reinforcement works.

Not a bad idea… now how much should a hold-making company charge for it?? I’ll leave that up to the MBAs