Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

Mary Oliver died yesterday. My meditation teacher ended class yesterday with her poem, The Summer Day.

Beautiful and haunting.

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
—Mary Oliver

Privacy

I have a very inconsistent behavior when it comes to online privacy. That is likely grave an understatement.

I mean, I consider myself someone who cares about my privacy. And yet we use Nest cameras at home and I use gmail. I also use a Verizon phone and it’s pretty well understood that mobile operators are selling our location data. Even television manufacturers are also selling us out.

I have come to realize I haven’t been thoughtful about the choices I’m making. Either it’s been a lack of thought or I have been too trusting. I suspect (and sort of hope it’s the latter). The looming question: is this trust justified?

I’m starting to take some steps and want to be more mindful about this issue. I deleted my account on Facebook once and for all. It takes 30 days to go through which is sort of crazy but I’m ready to move on.

I changed my settings on Safari to use DuckDuckGo as my default search engine. And now Apple Maps is integrated with DDG which is quite nice. I’ve also stopped using Waze and Google Maps on my phone. I’m trying out Firefox. I am switching from Amazon Echo to HomePods. I disconnected our TVs from our network. I have a growing list and I’m working through it.

I can already feel the change and it’s a bit mixed. There is a real convenience to giving it up and letting Google, Facebook and others personalize your online experience. Google Maps and search are just better. But they need to earn back my trust and so for now, I’m taking back some of choices. I’m already getting seeing less retargeted ads follow me and that feels refreshing.

I’ll end this quote from this fascinating book I’m currently reading called Feel Free by Zadie Smith.

But here I fear I am becoming nostalgic. I am dreaming of a Web that caters to a kind of person who no longer exists. A private person, a person who is a mystery, to the world and—which is more important—to herself. Person as mystery: this idea of personhood is certainly changing, perhaps has already changed

 

Maldives

Our trip to Maldives was a first for us. It is a long journey to get there.  It’s another four hours of flying beyond Dubai and then a sea plane and boat to Medhufaru.  But none of us were tired when we arrived. It was just so incredible to see the Indian ocean in person.

For the most part we relaxed on this trip. Lots of family bonding time, daily meditation, swimming, snorkeling and reading.

One day we made a short trip and visited the island of Kudafari. It’s a small fishing island with just 600 people living there. We met a few of the locals that told us about life on that island. We visited the school, hospital, mosque and the gathering spot where the elders spend each afternoon sharing life’s moments. A highlight of the trip for sure. 

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(All photographs taken with a Mamiya 7ii and Kodak Portra 400 film. Developed and processed by Richard Photo Lab in California)

Screens

I use an iMac when I’m sitting/standing in front of a desk.

My portable computer is an 11″ iPad Pro. I don’t carry a MacOS laptop anymore.

But occasionally something will come up when I’m on the go and I need do something that isn’t possible with iOS and I need MacOS.

Thankfully Screens meets this need quite nicely. I simply tap on Screens on my iPad and it connects to the Mac back home. Then I get the full Mac experience over the network on my iPad.

You do need a reasonable internet connection to make this work nicely. But I’ve used Screens successfully over LTE and also public Wifi hotspots without issue.

Highly recommend it if you want to make the move to the iPad.

Dubai

Less than 72 hours. That’s all the time we had in Dubai. Not nearly enough time for our first visit to the Middle East. We were headed to Maldives for the December holiday but we wanted to break up the long flight so we took an extra day and night in the beginning and end of our vacation to rest and do a little bit of exploring in Dubai.

Dubai is a fascinating place with massive construction and build out during the last 20 years, with much if it taking place over the last 10 years or so. The enormous airport, the largest mall, the tallest building, all the hotels and offices. All new. The scale is hard to grok for a first time visitor.

Since our time was limited we could explore a few things. So we chose the spice market in the city and a trip to the desert about an hour or so outside the city. Both are bit on the touristy side of things but it still felt a million miles away from home.

The spice market was a packed with vendors with various foods and spices from the region. We brought back some saffron,pistachio nuts and local candies.

We really enjoyed the desert exploration. We rented buggies and went off roading. We road camels to dinner. The desert was so beautiful especially as golden hour approached. The colors so soft and warm.

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Richard Avedon documentary

For our long flight back home this weekend, I went looking for movies to download to my iPad.

I didn’t seen anything under new movies that caught my interest in iTunes.

I went to YouTube and found lots. If you are a premium subscriber on YouTube you can download videos to watch offline, in addition to delightful ad free experience.

I ended up downloading a several old documentaries including this old interview with Charlie Rose and Henri Cartier Bresson. HCB was a genius and easily my favorite photographer ever but it was hard to watch Charlie Rose honestly.

This Richard Avedon documentary was wonderful. Highly recommend it.