I haven’t actively worn contact lenses in almost two years. According to the eye doctor, both my vision and my astigmatism have improved over time. While this is a good thing, I hope going back to primarily wearing contact lenses won’t ruin that.
I am using the Acuvue Oasys contact lenses for the next week. I will go back to the doctor on the 31st so he can determine how my eyes are doing with these. I will admit that it took some getting used to, but I can see a lot clearer with the contacts than I could with my old glasses.
Also? Going back to wearing contacts means I have to make doubly sure to stay on top of my eyebrow game.
With the help of some people who love me very much, I was able to put together a very nice backpack journalism kit that includes a Chromebook, a Samsung Galaxy S4 and an iPad Mini. The idea was that I’d be on the go a lot, and having a bag full of tools would allow me to create my stories anywhere.
Then school started, and I got buried under a pile of studying, and the mobile journalism took a backseat to my grades.
Then freelance writing assignments started to come more frequently, and I found myself having to craft stories sometimes on a moment’s notice, but I was spending most of my time in my apartment, and all of the distractions therein made it hard to stay focused on multiple assignments.
I found out about coworking on accident, but it was the happiest of accidents, and I’m grateful for the opportunity it provides me to get some continue to work for myself, but not by myself as the motto of Blankspaces goes.
The downtown office is located near 5th and Broadway. The downside? You have to enter through the alley, which means holding your breath for about a block as you walk from the Pershing Square train station to the office location.
The inside of the space is very big and wide open, and the staff is friendly.
I don’t notice as much of a networking vibe as I’ve gotten in other spaces, but I love the gigantic tables, the fast Internet and the unlimited coffee and tea.
They have a Meet Up every other Thursday to try it out for free. I recommend giving it a shot.
America has turned into the bully on the playground who can’t read. It’s the kid with daddy issues who shakes down the little kids for their lunch money and has all the muscle it needs to get the job done with gusto. What’s lacks, unsurprisingly, is cerebral power.
There was a time when I could not get enough of reading and writing. I found time for these two activities no matter what. Lately, most of my reading and writing has been for academic purposes and not much else. At the beginning of the year, I said I wanted to change that, but that ambition has fallen by the wayside, and I have to admit that I have not put much effort into making it happen for myself. I would like to change that.
The Wolf of Wall Street is languishing on my iPad. I started it, and occasionally read small portions while riding the train, but more than a month after purchasing the iBook version of it, I still have not made a dent in that back, and I find myself wondering why. Has my brain become lazy and untrained?
I am not a huge fan of the public proclamation of intent, but in this instance, I feel a public proclamation is the best way to keep me accountable, so here goes.
I am making a firm commitment and putting a plan in place to follow the 8 suggestions in this article in an effort to boost my own personal intellectualism. Below are the 8 suggestions along with my plan for enacting them.
Watch less television. Celebrities do not matter. Your friends, family and ideas do matter.
I actually don’t have cable or an antenna for broadcast television, but that does not stop me from catching up with mindless tv on the Internet. Just this morning, I queued up an episode of the Real Housewives of Atlanta to play in the background as I did things on my computer, but I found it to be more distracting than anything. I often queue up shows to watch while I’m doing homework etc, but for the next 30 days, I am going to put myself on a television fast. From now until March 6, 2014, I will not watch any television shows either in real time or on the Internet. Instead, I will opt for books, newspapers or plain old conversation to stimulate my mind. I don’t think this one will be so hard to stick to.
Read more books, preferably quality fiction and nonfiction rather than pop paperbacks or books with overt political biases. In addition to novels, I enjoy sites like Arts and Letters Daily and Bookforum, which link to dozens of thought-provoking articles every day. If you don’t make a conscious effort to improve your intellectual capacity, it’s easy to fall into a rut and ignore it entirely.
I will finish The Wolf of Wall Street, and I will read a book a week for the rest of this year. I will also go through the articles I have saved in Pocket a lot more frequently. This morning I realized I had tons of articles saved in there that I hadn’t looked at since I bookmarked them; I would like that to change. There were some valuable links that could have been shared, but the timeliness of them has run out. There were also good response writing ideas there that I let slip away as well. I won’t do that anymore.
Exercise more and avoid processed food. Mind and body are inextricably linked. Exercise improves your ability to focus and subsequently think critically. Eating a simple, high-protein and vegetable-rich natural diet will empower your brain.
It’s funny because last week I had a conversation with the nurse in my doctor’s office who reminded me that I need to keep my diet balanced and exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, four times per week. I will willingly admit that I’ve been doing none of that, but today I got back on my game and started back up with my daily green smoothies.
I will take a more active approach to life and get those four thirty minute sessions in each week even if it kills me, but more likely so that it (or poor health) doesn’t.
Keep a journal or a blog. Write often. Reflect on your world and what it means to you. Respond to whatever you’re reading leisurely.
My original plan for this site was for it to be updated daily with my general musings, but I haven’t managed to do that. Here is my renewed commitment to getting that done. Writing is something that comes naturally to me, and it is a waste of my talents if I don’t do it more. Enough said.
Initiate intelligent conversation. Stop talking about the goddamned weather. Avoid frightening your friends with intense political debate, but philosophize and be open to their point of view. Listen intently.
It is my intent to follow through with this commitment both in my daily writing on this site as well as in my daily personal interactions with people both known and unknown. The easiest place to enact this is on Twitter. Less ratchet, more intelligence is the order of the (coming) day(s).
Meditate. Devote mindfulness to the present moment. Understand the intricacies of time and your relationship to it. Take full advantage of every second.
I told my mom that I wanted to renew my yoga practice, and part of that practice is meditation. I won’t bore you with the benefits of a regular meditation practice because a) you probably already know them and b) this is really about me getting my act together and not dispensing advice to anyone else.
So there you have it. My public accountability initiative to being more intellectual. I hope that you will follow me on this journey and keep me accountable for it.
My professor created this quiz based on her research of what she calls “The Romanticization of Love in the Mass Media.” It is on one of the first pages of the textbook. Based on my answers, I don’t know whether it’s so much that I have a high awareness of romantic stereotypes or if I am just cynical.
I make myself leave the house when it’s time to get work done, because I get next to nothing accomplished when I sit in my house all day. I need to be away from my household distractions and in the company of other people trying to get shit done.
My normal work space is the local Starbucks, and although the one on Crenshaw and Coliseum is within walking distance of my house, I prefer to go to the new one near USC, because it’s a lot more clean, quiet and structured.
The Crenshaw Starbucks is like a daytime club; the Expo/Fig Starbucks is like a library that allows us to have our food and drinks and occasionally plays good music.
Anyway, with all my Starbucks visits and Starbucks gift cards, I managed to move myself up to the Green level in Starbucks rewards which means that all of my refills while I am in the shop are free.
I had an amazingly productive day today. January is mapped out on my calendar ans is full of networking and coworking all around Los Angeles There is still room in the calendar for socializing and living, but I’ve dedicated the biggest chunks to furthering my vision for 2014.
The types of resolutions I made going into this new year weren’t the typical ones I’ve made in years past. Sure, I want to get healthier and improve my overall sense of well-being, but the central theme of my 2014 resolutions is creation.
I have a vision of where I want life to be when this year ends, and I have a list of tasks that are going to get me to that place.
The first of these is to do more showing and a lot less telling, and that is where this new book of my life comes in.
A great many things happened to me in 2013. Some good. Some not so good. Some awful. I wouldn’t change any part of this journey, because it has led me to this very moment. I dealt with the bad; I want to celebrate the good.
Pumpkin and his mommy on Christmas Day, 2013
The arrival of my newest nephew, Pumpkin, is one of the great highlights of my year. I love this little old man so very much. From the top of his soft little head, all the way across that smoochable face with the chubby jowls and multiple chins; his baby fingers and his fat little feet. He is perfection personified, and I couldn’t be happier to have him call me Titi (when he finally talks).
2013 brought a few new people into my life, like the beautiful Kristina, pictured above. I am so thankful for her.
My first freelance assignment was front page, above the fold.
I spent quality time with people I love to have fun with.
We laughed and smiled a lot.
Sometimes we were downright silly.
My mom and dad did a lot to remind me that I am loved and valued and have a purpose. I am so grateful for that.
My brother is still my little brother in all the important ways, and that is cool with me.
There are many things, feelings, people, habits and thoughts that I will leave behind in 2013, but what I carry forward into 2014 starts on a foundation of love and understanding
I’m now feeling like I should not have read all of those reviews of The Wolf of Wall Street prior to seeing it. I now have all these weird expectations about it that weren’t there before. I’m worried about watching this with my parents and nephew being awkward.
My Instagram video cover is the picture Lamont and I took on New Year’s. The number one picture in the video (by likes) is the picture I took of my parents on Mother’s Day at the Penthouse at the Huntley.
In my idea book, this project is called “The 5 W’s of Monique.”
I see it as a sort of who, what, when, where, why and how of my life.
For those who don’t already know me, my Internet days go all the way back to the 90s when I had a page on GeoCities. I maintained it using templates I created in Microsoft Word. Each page was like an entry in a diary, but it was more Carrie Bradshaw than Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret; even back then I had a vision of maintaining some sort of web journal detailing my (mis)adventures through life. I got my first diary when I was six years old, and I have always been fascinated with telling my story to whomever will listen.
My friend ann is always preaching the importance of telling and owning our stories, and I understand what she means. We should always be creating, and sharing our stories in creative ways is a large part of that.