Aesthetics of Everywhere

The urban scene, its people and processes. Based in southern California.

Everyday Lessons Learned: December 2011, Week 1

with 3 comments

Already a week into December, and I’m not looking forward to the holiday shopping season – I work near a mall, meaning traffic is nearly at a standstill for the last few weeks of the month. Fortunately, in December there are also a lot of distractions in the form of festive parties and visiting friends.

Things I’ve learned in the past week:

1. Dr. Cornel West is an inspiration. He could convince anybody to devote their life to activism.

2. Ever thought about regionally-specific hand gestures? I hadn’t until a friend from Michigan taught me what a Michigan hug is: two friends press their palms together and wrap their thumbs around each other’s hand. There’s another where you just greet each other by repeatedly slapping each others’ hands as if they were trouts flopping on land. And even more strangely, there’s such a thing as hand-based cartography.

Please Keep Hands Off Doors - NYC Subway

3: Bikram yoga, or “hot yoga” as it’s commonly called, is a highly-regulated form of yoga in which the room is heated to precisely 105 degrees Fahrenheit and its practitioners aren’t allowed to take even a sip of water during the 90 minute session. This is because Bikram yoga is copyrighted by its founder, Bikram Choudhury, who has sued a number of yoga schools and instructors for deviating from his method of practice when teaching Bikram.

4: Stop signs are fairly similar throughout the world, with the United States and many European countries abiding by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD). There are a number of interesting differences between stop signs worldwide, collected on the Wikipedia entry for Stop sign.

5: Here’s a great primer about map design: “Web cartography… That’s like Google Maps, right?” (Via Axis Maps blog.)

6: Work at a job that has you looking at a computer screen all day? You can do things like dim your screen or turn up the brightness of the room’s lights to help keep your eyes healthy. As long as the ambient light in the room is brighter than the computer’s screens, your eyes should be fine. Try to minimize the glare on your computer screen as well. I’ve also heard you should occasionally focus on something far away from you, because if you spend a prolonged period of time focusing on close things, you may cause yourself eye strain.

7: In Silicon Valley, California (and maybe elsewhere), it’s common for people who want to start start-ups to go on co-founder dates. Before diving into a new venture, it’s important to try to minimize your risk by judging whether your potential co-founder’s personality and skill set complement yours.

Written by Crystal Bae

December 8th, 2011 at 8:49 pm

3 Responses to 'Everyday Lessons Learned: December 2011, Week 1'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'Everyday Lessons Learned: December 2011, Week 1'.

  1. yessss, i love hand based cartography! (and all cartography in general, in fact.)

    i’m also a lover of bikram yoga, and one minor correction: you can drink water, it’s just not allowed/encouraged the first fifteen minutes or so during the warm up. the rest of the class the instructor will tell you to take sips of water at certain times. they just don’t want you chugging lots of it because it fills you up and sometimes makes you vomit. hooray, bikram! i miss it so much.

    also, i’ve taken a few knock off bikram classes and they’re basically the same, they’ll just change the dialogue and the timing of a few poses and then you have almost exactly the same experience for way cheaper. but if you’re trying for the first time, you should go to an actual bikram studio. (and you, crystal, should go to the one on h street and give them a hug for me.)


    8 Dec 11 at 10:41 pm

  2. Cool – thanks for all the info about Bikram! I’ve never done it before – I’ve only taken one yoga class and I’m not even sure what the style was called. It was pretty intense, though. It’s interesting to hear the reasoning behind why you aren’t supposed to drink a lot of water during Bikram. I’d worry about dehydration… do you do anything to prepare for class by hydrating beforehand?

    Hand-based cartography is a new concept to me. Do you know any examples other the Michigan one? (Maine, perhaps?)

    Hope China’s treating you well. DC is getting ready to enter its winter chill.

    Crystal Bae

    9 Dec 11 at 8:53 am

  3. for bikram, yeah, you drink a ton of water beforehand and after class. when i was practicing daily i drank probably a gallon of water every day, and a full nalgene right after class. you just have to be smart about replacing everything you sweat out. bikram definitely becomes a lifestyle, which you’ll find out every time you talk to someone who has taken more than ten classes, so you adjust to accommodate your practice.

    wisconsin (my homeland) also sort of works for hand-based cartography, if you spread the fingers of your left hand.

    stay warm this winter! china is great, but so cold.


    11 Dec 11 at 8:15 am

Leave a Reply