Showing posts from 2010

TOMS Innovation

Recently I began the collaboration of a new project with a rep from TOMS Shoes who had started a student organization at his university in North Carolina. He is working towards a degree in management information systems and industrial operations management, and is working to improve the psychology of the shoe industry by understanding the wants, needs, and habits of its customers. For some time he has been working with colleagues to create a program that analyzes the precise foot structure of its customers to create perfectly fitted TOMS shoes using this digital software. The software analyzes the bend and length of the toes, arch of the foot, width, shape, and size relative to shoes currently worn. It's a fascinating program, still in its first beta test run as I have the lucky privilege to become the first guinea pig. Once TOMS creates the shoes, I get to prance around in their perfection, and critique the design accuracy of this inn…

On Edge

Work by: Ka Xiaoxi
NeochaEDGE is a webzine dedicated to the inspirational expression of the Chinese creative youth. Accidentally stumbled upon by googling such words as "postcards," and "graffiti," I've spent over an hour awestruck by the professional talent of these young Chinese artists thriving in the free expression of their culture through the mediums of visual and auditory design. These are the new Chinese trendsetting youth, filled with brave artistically charged voices crafted by new wave opinion leaders of their time. Another clue to a changing China, and a lucky little peep inside.

First Impressions


WAVE CREATION 11 - This is what 400 miles of pavement slapping does to a really good pair of running shoes. This, too. Oh, and this.

For a slight under-pronator with high arches, it has always been a challenge finding comfortable running shoes. And with running shoes being so expensive, it's never really been an enjoyable task. Typically, it would cost me about $100 for the shoes, plus an additional $20-30 for arch support inserts. It always seemed like a worthwhile price for a hobby that has taken me pretty far in fitness and ability, and since the open road is always readily available, it's kept me from wasting my money on workout facilities filled with prudish and uncommitted New Years resolutioners. Then, last year I came across Mizuno's Wave Creation 10 that fit my arches like a dream. They had a neutral base to help with pronation, and lots of cushion for my sometimes heavy stride. They were the first running shoe that…

Remember, remember...

As I sit here, propped up by bed pillow, adjusting annoying ipod earbuds every half minute, half empty Yuengling perched on my favorite piece of furniture--a nightstand shellaced with pictures from home--I am desensitized. V for Vendetta is on pause at minute 2:11 (it's November 5). At least I made it before midnight. But I don't want to watch a movie... not this movie, in this bed, in this space. Tradition is broken. A broken Tradition. Like watching A Christmas Story in December or eating futomaki for Setsuban. Except you'd rather eat futomaki every week... and would if you could, but once a month will do.

You miss Japan, your friends, bike rides in green spaces, and runs in the country.  You even miss bitter cold and trying to balance an umbrella in the gray.  Flurries on New Years and companionship in a foreign cab.  Trains to Kurashiki and fingers in your hand.  Coffee stirred with tiny spoons.  You miss it.  You do.  Like you missed the ocean blue.

Coming soon...

Blog. Promise. Enjoy.

[daily dose of imagery]

Antique Classics


Nobody knows

Casa Caletas Resort Owner Destroys Caletas, Poisons Wildlife, & Harasses Volunteers

Two years ago I lived on a small beach called, Playa Caletas located near the quaint town, San Francisco de Coyote in Costa Rica. I worked/volunteered for the nonprofit group, Pretoma with a group of 6 other dedicated and passionate volunteers who were equally present for one central reason--to save endangered sea turtles. We weren't paid, we didn't have running water, or much electricity casted from our tiny LED light powered for three hours each evening by solar energy collected from the day. We didn't have convenient ways of calling home, or obtaining food, nor did we rarely have transportation other than our feet. But we had each other, our camp dog protectors, and we had a well. One shallow freshwater well that was meant to last groups through the rainy season and part of the dry season. That was until an evil man named Sylvester Fiechtinger ordered his henchmen to destroy it.

Before I even get to this point, let me give you a quick run down of the things that h…

A name is just a "dai hao"

It's time I confessed...

Paper Rival
I stole this title from a Freakonomics article. And it maybe would have fit with the reoccurring theme of my blog/travels a little better if it were in Japanese or Spanish... or English for that matter. Maybe even porpoise would have made more sense at this stage, but who's really monitoring this crap anyway.

The article says that "daoi hao" is like the Chinese term for "code name" and not necessarily something that is anchored to ones core in any personal manner. I digress in saying that "code words" or any form of "code speech" in general, at least on this end of the aisle, is an absolute confession of admiration. And that goes for just about everything you will find here in my blog, and what goes on in the daily rhythm of my unprinted life.

So what is in a name exactly? Many of my far away visitors probably wonder this often when they come across my blog titled, "Distraction is a Gift"…


Lucas was our turtle dog and camp defender when I lived on Playa Caletas, Costa Rica with my 6 other fellow turtle folk. He was a special companion to all of us, but I always felt like he was extra special to me since I had never had a dog of my own. Maybe he had a way of making us all feel that way. He never discriminated against any of us, and as his duties called for the protection of the turtles and of the camp itself, it also called for the protection of each and every one of us as we went out on our nightly patrols. He'd often go out with one set of patrollers--either South or North--often stealthly running between the two divides to check on both groups. His hearing was faultlessly tuned to the sounds of the ocean and could hear poachers whispering to each other in the darkness, away from our view. He'd bark and growl like a wild beast when poachers were near, and we'd tell him to hush as to not frighten approaching loras, but what fuss he was causing probabl…

When opportunity knocks...

Back in Ohio, people would always tell me that perfect moments in time only come a dime a dozen. Or that once in a life time opportunities were so far and few that I had to jump on every possible advancement in my career/life that I could get. It's advice that I have carried with me throughout the years, making me more aware of my needs and more conscious of my life decisions. It has made me grateful for the experiences I have had, and memorable of the times I worked so hard, even when things failed underneath my hopeful spirit. But there has been no short supply of opportunity here in Florida, and this past weekend I had the chance to mark a few things off my list.

Welcome to the Florida Everglades.
Click here for more fotos.
Last Friday I left with a few people from my Marine Biology Club at FIU for some fieldwork down in Ponce de Leon Bay located in the Florida Everglades. I have always wanted to visit the Everglades, and had an opportunity to do a little camping in the wild…

How do you feel about the deep blue sea

The first week of EcoAcademy has come to a successful and exciting close. First, starting out fairly slow (and super stressful, I might add), has found its niche in its own respectfully spirited groove. So far, amongst other things, the week has taught me how grateful I am for my prior camp experience. For what I've learned is that it's always tough to make an impression on young kids right at the start, especially amidst all of the fresh excitement. Today was, by far, the best day we have had as a marine science team. My kids have already taught me just as much as I have taught them, and I am constantly amazed by this. For we have all equally become the educators as much as we have become the educated.

Some of the various activities that we have had the opportunity to partake in this past week were dissections of squid and red snapper; kayaking to Oleta Island and snorkeling in the sea grass in Biscayne Bay; discussions of plankton, diatoms, whales, saltwater density, a…

Honey, now if I'm honest...

I'm back to running again, and running great I am. This also means that I am back to writing mental blogs, and promptly forgetting them as soon as I return back to doorstep. Not that they are always the kind of blogs that need to be or should be shared, but I think in forgetting them, it has given me some much deserved time to turn over any questioning or doubtful thoughts I have had this past weekend.

In the beginning, I was feeling like I had begun to tumble back into a long road of progress, erased, but I see now that I am reacting much like any time new ideas, opportunities, or emotional distresses are thrown my way. I just have to take some time; learn to deal. Tumbling over all possibilities and outcomes until I land on top of what will be best for me. These have always been my struggles, but being alone has given me the experience in making choices that only inevitably effect myself. And I guess that is the way it should be... most of the time.

I had taken some time a…

Happy Day of Independence


The Truth

**updated June 26, 2010
I am completely disappointed. I posted the below video yesterday of a testimony from a Venice, Louisiana local who had inside access to all practices of BP officials at ground zero during the clean up. It was some of the most detailed, graphic, shocking information the world has had the privilege of hearing, and I really am rather appalled that it has been pulled from YouTube. I'll do my best to try and find it again.

** I've found the video from an alternate source. If it disappears again, stay tuned for my upcoming editorial.

This new information about the BP oil "spill" is not only shocking, it is so very sickening.

Monroe County is currently working on a constitutional ban of offshore drilling for the entire state of Florida. I have no doubt that it will pass, as ocean conditions will only begin to worsen overtime. If you agree with this proclamation, I ask you to visit to sign this petition.

I understand that many peopl…

Saludos de Miami

Erica along Biscayne Bay at FIU
Tomorrow will be my first official and complete week living in Miami and it's been pretty dang swell. Technically, I live in Hallandale Beach, just a mere 7 minute walk to the sandy shores, and a 30 minute drive to downtown Miami (not to mention, 50 miles from the Bahamas!). I have spent the past week unpacking and organizing, and even though everything had a neat little place at the start, my room is already a total disaster. I keep thinking that if I obtain more functional furniture that my space won't be such a mess... but this is doubtful.

Erica traveled the 1,100+ miles down with me to stay for a few days. It was great to have familiar companionship and an excellent navigator during my neurotic attempts of driving in Miami traffic. I never could have done it without her. While she was here, we had the opportunity to visit many great places that I might otherwise not have had the opportunity to be introduced to so soon. One of my favo…

I came in this way and here now I'll stay

"Why do you always leave?"
"Because I like it that way. I like to love from afar, I guess. And I like to love fully."

How can you not love someone as much as you do when they are so far away? I have no idea... I really have no idea what love is really like, anyway. You'd think I would know by now...

I have made it down to Miami, and I am absolutely astounded by the amount of joy I am contained with. It's not that I love this place, or the people, or the spilled drinks on my jeans, as Jersey girls trying to do their reckless drunken choreographed dance on the patio of Coyotes Bar. I think what I admire most is the plumby cumulonimbus clouds, the water, and the fast-passed crowd. In due time, it will all get old and I will then be in search of something new, once again. But until then, I am happy to be here... but I wish my people were here with me to bask in my joy. For it is them, that gives me the most...

Today, Erica and I had a fine time by the poo…

Save Our Shores

Since the catastrophic BP oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, millions of gallons of toxic poison have spewed into our precious internationally shared waterway. Controversy seems never-ending between fishermen, locals, BP, and government officials, and justifiably so. Not to mention the rest of us are pretty raging pissed about it, too. You can view its seeping path of destruction on CNN's website, here.

Debating control and blame on the spill has been both exhausting and unavailing. I have done my best at avoiding much of the news coverage on the progression of the "spill". Blame the sprawling catastrophe on inaccurate leakage statistics from BP or their failure to implement appropriate safety precautions in the first place; blame the government for "not doing enough", or whatever righteous argument you feel the first amendment has appointed to you. There is truth in saying that talking gets you somewhere, but sometimes talk alone …



Red lights, blue sky


Damage Report

There is something about running--the freedom, the meditation, the closeness to nature. Running has been a huge factor in my life for the past three years. Functioning as a way to cleanse my soul and regain focus. My therapy session at the beginning or the end of the day. It's guided me to make amends, follow dreams, and listen. Probably been my truest companion during all of these hours, difficult or not.

I have ran something like 900 miles since 2008. Of course, this is little compared to what elite runners run, running half of this mileage in a mere month. My accomplishments suit me just fine, though. Attaining a perfectly harmonious running trifecta over mountains, along rivers, and by the sea. It's been my sorrows, my merriment, and my courage that has pushed me beyond any and all unrealistic ambitions of running endlessly day upon day for some cause that has ceased to stay with me.

But over a month ago I procured an injury. An injury, worse than any before, that…

Happy 40th Earth Day!

... and happy 3rd annual Earth Day that's been celebrated here on my blog.

I almost refuse to buy magazines when passing through airports. Almost, because there was this one time that I did pay the overpriced $6.99 for a Runner's World magazine on my way to Japan. This time, there were no worries about seeking other content, because Delta's Sky Magazine really pulled through. In honor of this year's 40th annual Earth Day, Delta Sky really invested a great deal of time and research into pulling April's edition together. This April's edition featured several interviews from some of the world's leading environmental activists: Jane Goodall, Robert Redford, Shai Agassi, Sylvia Earle. There was also an amazing article on one of the most environmentally diverse, and tightly controlled places in the world, The Galapagos Islands. Which if you click the link above, you can read about all of these remarkable people, places, and more--for yourself.

Below is an en…

I bought a ticket on a plane

This past weekend I hopped an airplane to venture to my new home of Miami, FL for some moments of r&r, apartment find, and to draw circles in the sand. I haven't been to Miami since 2001 and absolutely nothing is as I remembered it. People of Miami, you are an unfriendly bag of s.o.b.s.

Miami is filled with an overwhelmingly large population of New Yorkers, Haitians, Dominicans, Russians, and Jewish folk, and it shows (think "Meet the Fockers"). Citizens are as spicy as the Cuban Mojo, and as feisty as the Russian mafia. Mid-westerners are easily the minority in this metropolitan mix, and by far the friendliest.

Florida International University - Biscayne Bay
Aside from Miami's unpleasant mix of hospitality, I still had an enjoyable visit--fantastic wine bars, cuban burritos, and maple walnut ice cream on Hollywood Blvd; a glimpse of my new University along the waters of Biscayne Bay, and the discovery of a local Whole Foods Market I can hopefully transfer to…


TOMS Shoes is an American footwear company founded in 2006 by Blake Mycoskie. If you haven't already heard their premise, "With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need." It's a pretty remarkable concept. A concept that was inspired while visiting Argentina as a competitor on The Amazing Race. The shoes are designed after traditional Argentine alpargata styles worn by Argentine farmers for over 100 years.

I received my pair of Purple Tangier Vegan TOMS about a week ago.  Hoping to have a new picture for you in 'The Feet Project' photo album, I've had to send them back for an exchange in a smaller size.  If you are thinking about ordering a pair of TOMS and have medium width feet, then ordering in true size should do you just fine. If you happen to have narrow feet like mine, then I recommend ordering a half-size smaller.

Coming up next Thursday, April 8th is One Day Without Shoes, where you are encouraged to go a…

Reinventing life's philosophy

March 30, 2009
Ode to old blogs

Things are brewing again; changing once more inside me. In 2007 I hit a peak of philosophical insight that developed from years of oppression and a handful of extremely astute friends. It was almost like I was crossing paths with a brother, and sister, a soul, myself. One person in particular released a life-changing amount of inspiration during a few profound gatherings during our natural resource law class, in his band's smoke-filled basement, on steep cliffs, slacklines, over sushi, guitars, wine, and barefoot in grass.

As everything feels like it is turning full circle for me (back to my Florida roots, marine biology, friends) I am entering into that fourth realm of interpretation. The last moments I felt so strongly this way, I found myself in the mystical land of Japan for the first time. Specifically, perched atop a large hill in Beppu, Japan listening to piano music, quiet, humid streets, and mystified. I feel like I am headed there a…

Everything starts where it ends

I always become so impeded by the end of the month when it comes time to deliver that final thought. Pretty soon March 2010 will come to a close, forever. It will soon be April 2010, and then April 2010 will be gone forever, too. It may be bizarre to think of time in this way, but I've been thinking of a lot of things in this light, lately. Like, wondering if this will be my last Easter with some of my beloved family members; if I will ever see the marsh the way I did last week; if one instant can change absolutely everything, forever. Forever.

I am leaving, once again, in a couple months and I couldn't be happier. Sometimes, my environment here feels so poisoned. I can't ever remember it feeling any different, and am not sure if it ever will. It's a difficult thought to contemplate, but sometimes I wonder if my constant need to escape this place is the very reason why I ever sought solace in the people and places I have come in contact with in the past 5 years…

By the water


Our endless numbered days

To do list:Get new running shoesPray for warmer weatherWrite March anniversary blog....

Truth is, I've been doing a lot more than merely 'praying for warmer weather'.

About a year ago, I closed a March 1, 2009 blog post with a true statement. Not that I generally don't close my writings with true statements. What I really mean is that the thought was not just one of being "in the moment", but a long-standing contemplation of mine. One that I have held true to for at least a year now--two years; maybe even more. Set aside, never had I thought that such a rumination would take me to a place that I had claimed I would never go back. Have you guessed what kind of place it is that I am speaking of? There are beaches, but alas, it is not Costa Rica.

Before I delve too deeply into the answer to this burning question I have laid before you, I have honored more than just this. Holding true, I have dabbled my hand in ecology education while working the zipline tour…

Richter Scale

borrowed from a beautiful ghost

The greatest show on Earth

Aren't they cute!
I'd give anything to be at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics this year; kicking myself for missing the chance to get a ticket. But with the Winter Olympics returning every four years--2014 in Sochi, Russia--and the Summer Olympics sitting comfortably in between, there is never any short supply of Olympic competition and an opportunity for future attendance.

I am so inspired when I see these young athletes following their dreams and doing what it is they love; what they work so hard for all year round, year after year. All of the hours of training, the miles, the structure, the dedication, the obedience (a cross-country/biathlon athlete trains 6,000 miles a year). The condition of their elite bodies is exceptional, and if that's not enough to make you want to stop eating potato chips and start hitting the slopes/ice/track, then I don't know what will. Rocketing down solid ice alpine mountains at 70mph, torpedoing down the luge track at 90mph, or soa…

Bon Appétit

December 9, 2009
I ate my first yogurt today in a year... a year, I tell you!
How miraculous is that?
Pretty dang miraculous for someone who now lives on sad and sorry tofu dogs, and pureed porridge.

This rare, but splendid pleasure was inspired after watching the film Julie & Julia. Crazy you must say, perhaps I should have been dipping my spoon into a vat of butter. Alas, no. After watching recipe after recipe be spread out with pound and pound of churned cream, it was a closing portion of one of Julie's blogs that inspired me to experiment. After explaining how great Julia Child is for never giving up, and for never letting her world endeavors interfere with her marriage, Julie exclaims she too must master these talents and learn to be a better wife to her 'Saint of a husband'. She simply surrenders the evening whilst lonely beef bourguignon sits cooling on the dinner table. Her husband has left after scolding her on her blogging self-centered ways. And in clos…

Time Machine

After a 33 hour weekend... ah hell, who cares about the numbers anymore. It was worth it.

Guess it almost always was.

I'm going to miss those goons. See you soon.


p.s. Will someone please take care of the recyclables? Thanks...

Courage is for quitters

Call me crazy, counting down the days.

Did I mention that I quit my job?

Most of you are probably pretty relieved that you no longer have to read blogs about criminally long working hours, and environmentally inept cohorts. I'll probably go to hell for all of the honest remarks I have made, but 'an honest day's work for an honest day's pay' is a dishonest man's jingle.

So what will I do with my free time? I'm not exactly sure, yet. But I guarantee that it will probably have something to do with praying for warmer weather, Sean Hayes, and maybe even a new pair of running shoes.

I am an environmentalist...

... and a humanitarian.

These are the two things that I absolutely know about myself. I recycle almost anything that I can lay my grimy hands on (junk mail, envelopes, used post-its and scrap paper, old aluminum foil, running shoes, cell phones, batteries, ink cartridges, books, magazines, etc., etc.), I donate old games, books and toys, clothing, school supplies, money, smiles, and hope. My life revolves around consuming less and conserving more... wait, this blog is beginning to sound oddly familiar.

One thing that has always bothered me about my place of employment is that they have yet to adopt a consistent environmental mentality. The concept is present, and some people fancy the color green, but time-and-time again I find myself pulling plastic bottles from the trash, turning off unused lights, closing the freezer door, and recycling wasted office paper. The amount of waste that goes on in our camp can be unbearable. I like to think I've done a little bit of good--rekin…

For hire

Many people before have probably posted this commencement address by Paul Hawken elsewhere. Quoted in news articles, nonprofit websites, or amateur blogs, it has done its fair share of spreading inspiration and a realistic world perspective. For those of my readers that have not yet had the privilege, and even for those who have. Steep a cup of tea and enjoy.

Healing or Stealing

... you are going to have to figure out what it means to be a human being on earth at a time when every living system is declining, and the rate of decline is accelerating. Kind of a mind-boggling situation... but not one peer-reviewed paper published in the last thirty years can refute that statement. Basically, civilization needs a new operating system, you are the programmers, and we need it within a few decades.

This planet came with a set of instructions, but we seem to have misplaced them. Important rules like don’t poison the water, soil, or air, don’t let the earth get overcrowded, and don’t touch th…