Thursday, June 27, 2013

More & Less (of what we need)

I'm supposed to be doing something else right now - something unpleasant and tiresome. Before I get to that, I will blow off some steam with a little (big) rant about people. There are just certain things more people need to be doing more of and other things many of us need to be doing less of. . Of course, all this is just from my opinionated point of view, but here's today's rant:

More people need to spend more time...

  • Getting up and moving around. I'm not talking about just getting up and going to work every day (although that's always good). I'm talking about physically moving your body just to be moving. Take a walk, dance around the house, visit a museum or bookstore. Just do something to keep life interesting. I know people who don't work and still don't use all that free time to live some kind of a life. That's a lot like mental suicide. If nothing else, you are spitting in the face of an ability that some people would give anything for.
  • Learning something. I love the Gandhi quote: "Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." You can read tons of studies talking about how lifelong learning is important for staying mentally spry. I'm not elderly (yet), but I'm not very mentally spry. I'm going to do everything I can to work the brain muscles I have left. With the technology we have today, there's no excuse not to take advantage of the opportunities to learn. If you don't have a computer, libraries do, friends do - somebody can hook you up. If you don't have access to a library or friends with a computer, then ask around for help with that or other resources. I bet if you didn't have food, you'd know how to apply for assistance. I'm just saying.
  • Helping each other. Someone you know needs something from you. Maybe some words of encouragement. Maybe they need to borrow your computer! (heh heh) You might be really good at something (cooking or cleaning or math or balancing a budget) that someone else could benefit from learning. 
  • Accepting help and advice. If someone has criticized you, think about the criticism before you get mad and shut down. Sometimes people are just hating, but, sometimes, there's a little truth in a comment - insensitive or not. Don't complain about being sick and tired or depressed if you don't even want to make an effort to get better. Everyone has problems. Not everyone wants to do what it takes to solve their problems.
  • Improving their situation. Unless you are perfect, there is room for improvement. That could go along with any of the previous points. 
  • Being kinder to each other. It is not going to hurt society for all of us to start being a bit more pleasant. When your parents taught you as a child not to talk to strangers, I don't think they meant to turn you into a rude adult. It won't kill any of us to nod, say "hello" or make friendly eye contact with one another. Sometimes I walk through a public place wondering what the hell has everyone so mad or sad. 
If more of us need to be doing more of certain things, lots of us sure do need to stop doing some things. 
  • Stop trying to be "gangsta" or a "hottie" or whatever ignorant, unoriginal thing that happens to be going around. Ever notice that when gangster rap went mainstream, a lot of folks started dressing, talking, walking and having the gansta attitude? You can go into a grocery store and feel crowded out by all the suburban kids trying to be Ice Cube. You want to roll your eyes and shrug it off, but you can never be sure just how far the wanna-bes are willing to go with their role-playing. And don't get me started on the kids running around trying to be the local version of some fake-a-lebrity or reality show idiot. I look at these people talking and acting like whoever is the latest trendy embarrassment with a TV show and think to myself, "What a horrible world." I think to myself, "What. A. Hor-ruh-bull world. Ohhhhhh, yeahhhh!"
  • Stop supporting things that are bad for us, the world, arts and entertainment. If I could wave a wand and do one thing, it would be to stop another semi-talented singer from taking over the world of music, fashion and (in some cases) politics. Just because we live in a time when almost any one of us can do and be anything, that doesn't mean we should want to do or be just anything. Why not be someone promoting positive and worthwhile issues? If I see another influential singer, rapper, actor or whoever promoting a brand of liquor or rip-off debit card, I'm going to puke. The one thing I hate about some entertainment biggies is that once they get above their former life circumstances, they send nothing positive back down the ladder for others. People, stop validating celebrities who have such disdain for the rest of us. 
  • Stop being victims of the latest thing. I remember way back when somebody scalded themselves with coffee from a fast-food place. Everybody fell on the bandwagon. Now, we can't buy gum without warning labels on the wrapper not to get a paper cut. The latest thing is bullying. I wonder sometimes if we don't live under a herd mentality. The first time I heard  of a person feeling damaged from being bullied, I remembered how I was picked on because of my scrawny size in my early school years. Later on, I got teased for being so dark-complected. Eventually, I learned to fight the kids that physically picked on me, then I grew a thicker skin and a stronger self-esteem against the problems. It was maybe a couple years ago that I first read about someone being driven to suicide by bullying. What? Maybe I am not fully aware of the type of problems going on in schools these days, but... There are kids who have to go to school (or just live day to day) in the middle or war zones and famines. When I hear about first-world problems like bullying, I kind of expect people to be just a little bit tougher.  (Please understand that I am not blowing off the fact that people have been hurt by bullying to the point of suicide. If kids in our schools are being subjected to bullying of such an extreme extent, something extreme should be done by authorities or parents before it gets that out of hand. Maybe what's happening today isn't the type of bullying I grew up with.)
There are a lot more things I could rant about, but now that I have this off my chest, I feel better.


"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle." (Plato)

"For Attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run their fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.
People, more than things, have to be restored, renewed, reclaimed, and redeemed. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others." (Sam Levenson)

(both quotes from Good Reads.)

Speaking of Learning

Since I mentioned my hopes of getting into the field of coding, I thought I would pass along links to the different sites I've been seeing. Whether you are looking to learn something, or find (like me) a new career path, or are just interested in learning for its own sake, here are some resources:

For coding -
  • Codeacademy (nicely set up for the beginner to track learning progress)
  • W3Schools (self-described as "the world's largest development site)
  • Udacity has an Intro to Computer Sciences that looks organized & practical.
  • Hackety Hack is a downloadable program to teach you to... program. 
For app development & other -
  • Coursera offers free courses of all kinds, including those in computer science. Check to see which courses are open for which dates. 
  • General Assembly offers courses both online and in classroom. The Mobile Development and  Web Development courses look interesting.
  • Sitepoint offers to show how to design apps without having programming skills. (Should I be worried?)
  • Mozilla offers a tool to help you get creative while Google has a learning spot for developers interested in their products. (Now that Google has surpassed Apple as the most valuable company, it might be nice to jump in on the learning.)
There are tons of courses and classes and intructors to be found on the web for just about anything you want to learn. For this post, I listed sites that I have seen mentioned more than once in articles and reviews. I also tried to list only free courses, but some sites offer a choice of free and paid, so read the small print. Most of all, have fun learning something new. At 50-and-change, I am just trying to keep up with the kids.