Category Archives: Happiness

A few links about remote-ness and marketing

Okay, Everybody Out of the Pool

HP’s Meg Whitman follows Marissa Mayer’s lead: All Hands On Deck

Then this article from the NY Times Bits blog says that there has not been a work policy change at HP. Apparently the company has just made more room for those working at home to come work in the offices if they want.

Two recent books (by guys) advocate for getting out of the office:

Remote: Office Not Required, by Jason Fried and David Hansson

The Year Without Pants, by Scott Berkun

Here’s a blog post at HBR penned by Mr. Berkun, an overview of his book.

And slightly more locally, my version of asks, “Who works from home?” (Though I’m not quite sure how to make sense of this map. Except to say that more than 200 people in my neighborhood work at home. What are they all doing each day?)

(Bad) Marketing

Book: QR Codes Kill Kittens

Kind of a funny video of author rant about idiotic use of QR codes. At bottom of page. (Should have been at the top of the page, I think.)

(Good) Marketing

Angry Young Woman Uses Her ‘Telekinetic Powers’ in a NYC Cafe

This is quite amusing. Promotion for the remake of Carrie.

Thanks @PeterWiggins

Links about books, publishing, self-publishing, marketing, video, & photography

High Brow

Excavated Site in Denmark May Be The Royal Hall From ‘Beowulf’
Reminds that it may be time to re-read Beowulf. Last time I did that I was a freshman in college. Also happen to have a copy of the verse translation by Seamus Heaney (R.I.P.) sitting here on my bookshelf. (Though one of the commenters at Amazon thinks that the translation by Frederick Rebsamen is superior to Heaney’s.)


Self-Publishing An E-Book? Here Are 4 Ways To Leave Amazon’s 30% Tax Behind

Self-Publishing A Legal Casebook: An Ebook Success Story

(As evidenced by the two different versions of e-book/ebook above, Forbes copy editors may want to look into standardizing the spelling of that pesky word.)

Still banning books?

North Carolina school board bans “Invisible Man”
(from @DavePell’s NextDraft newsletter 9/20/13)

Still reminding us that books are banned

Did you know it is banned books week?

How banned books week is being observed in my neck of the woods:

Read-Out for Banned Books Week


Video provides payday for publishers
(thanks to @jwikert for the link)

Proof of what Joe describes is happening at the New York Times, where one of the video features is called Op-Docs. One of the recent videos there is:

56 Ways of Saying I Don’t Remember

Louie C.K. on Conan about cell phones
There’s actually a great line in here about letting yourself getting completely sad, embracing it, crying, in order to produce the “happiness antibodies” that will make you completely happy. But screwing around with the phone rather than just sitting there “being human” gets in the way of complete sadness, therefore getting in the way of complete happiness. Brilliant in a way.
(thanks to @DavePell’s NextDraft)


This Guy Turns OCD Hoarding into Amazing Photos
(thanks @Dooce)


New Album “Sparks” Announced
Another musician doing some interesting stuff on the marketing front.


Spam comment at this blog:
Now I am going to do my breakfast, later than having my breakfast coming yet again to read more news.

Swimming in Walden Pond

A new tradition: swim in Walden Pond on June 21st each year. Well, so I’ve done it twice now. Not exactly what I would call a tradition. But could be the start. Why not? And so, another go at it a couple days ago. I love Walden Pond. The association with Henry David Thoreau, an author I read in college. In a class I loved because of what we read but also because of the professor, a man who loved to read, who loved words, who loved literature. There was something about Thoreau and his adventure that really clicked for me. It wasn’t about living in nature, but it was about being aware of it. But I see this annual pilgrimage as a way to pay homage to Thoreau, as an annual baptism by/in nature. (Not that I only go there once a year; Walden Pond is half an hour—by car, though I go by bike as well—away from where I live.)

And speaking of awareness, I was out and about on the summer solstice, June 21st, first day of summer. The Walden Pond swim is part of a larger celebration. I want to be outside as much as possible on the longest day of the year and I particularly want to be out early and then late. The early-morning light and the evening into sunset light—the gloaming—are the best times to be outside. Was out early. With my dog, Frankie.  And I said to people, “happy longest day of the year” or “happy solstice” and you know, most people didn’t know what I was talking about. I’m surprised at how disconnected most people are from the natural rhythms of our world.

Maybe I need to start a club: Ways to Enjoy the Longest Day of the Year. Hmmm.

(Photo taken by Annette Lemieux, using her BlackBerry smartphone. Look closely and you’ll see me there in the center of the photo.)

Forget happiness

Okay, so I was writing about ‘happiness’ in this blog at one time. But I couldn’t sustain that. It’s not that I don’t believe in happiness; I do. But I believe in other things more. Though I was intrigued by that study done by Nicholas Christakis in which they put forth the idea that you can by made happy by people in your social network. (Here’s page about Dr. Christakis and links to various of his studies.) Then we find out that the hacker who got into the Twitter accounts of various celebrities found ‘happiness’ was the password used by the Twitter staffer. As they say, “the fairly weak password, ‘happiness.'” I guess no one will be using that as a password for a while.

The thing that really put the brakes on me thinking about happiness was an article in the NY Times from October, 2007 about Charles Schulz, the ‘Peanuts’ cartoonist. Turns out that whenever anyone asked him why Charlie Brown never got to kick the football, he replied, “Happiness is not funny.”

He’s right. It’s not funny. For me, funny is more important than happy. Maybe it’s a Scandinavian thing.

“What’s the matter with the people!?”

Just like I’ve always told you: if you want to be happy you have to eat well and also break out into song on a regular basis. And Jack Lalanne agrees with me. (Oh, okay, so he said it first…)

But what’s with sitting in the chair backwards? Doesn’t that have some kind of meaning in Freudian speak?

Thanks to Shelley for the heads up.

And thanks to BoingBoing for letting Shelley know about the video.

Shopping can make you happy

Yes, you know you have that long, long day of work and at the end of it you decide you deserve a treat and so you go shopping. It may not be a big thing, might just be a new razor, or a t-shirt, but you just have to buy something. Well, that’s the normal kind of shopping therapy. That’s shopping from relief or perhaps happiness or perhaps for having just survived some long day.

But I now have a new kind of “shopping therapy.” I had a day last week, one of those days. Maybe everything went wrong, from the newspaper being wet on the front steps to uncooperative co-workers to a bad turkey sandwich for lunch to vague and disconcerting phone calls with colleagues and other people.

So there I was at the end of a day like that and I still had to get food for dinner, so I headed over to the local Whole Foods, where I got a hand basket and picked up some potatoes, a steak, asparagus, a pineapple, cottage cheese, instant oatmeal, a ham and brie sandwich for the next day’s lunch, a baguette. But people weren’t getting out of my way, and someone cut me off in the line at the meat counter. The day just seemed to be getting worse.

Then I made my way to the checkout lanes, scanning the row of cashiers to see who had the shortest line. The first aisle is ‘8 items or less’ and I know I can’t go there but I’m thinking maybe I qualify for the ’12 items or less’ and I’m standing there in no-man’s land counting the items in my basket when I happen to look up and see that the check-out woman in ‘8 items or less’ is looking at me, looking at her empty line and extending her arm, palm up, letting me know it doesn’t matter how many things there are in my basket. She smiles, I smile, and for the first time all day I feel happy, and she says, “you know, it’s better to be busy” and I agree, glad to know that there’s a grocery store where people are happy (she had a big smile) to break the rules to make things run more quickly and efficiently.

I thanked her profusely, asked for paper rather than plastic and was out of there in no time, happy. Happy to have saved a day at the last minute from the ‘one long shitless day’ to the ‘wow, what a great ending’ kind of day. And I still had the rest of the evening spread out before me.

Men get happier at women’s expense

Article in September 26 New York Times titled “A Reversal of the Happy Index.” Men, it turns out, are happier now than they were 40 years ago. Women are less happy. Seems that men are working less (that thing that makes them unhappy) and women, of course, are now working outside the home and are still working as much inside the home. Or, a little less at home. Apparently, dusting is down. (and obviously, not soon to be picked up by men.)

But I don’t get the ‘men working less’ thing. I thought we were all working more.

Also seems that women don’t enjoy spending time with their parents while men do. Because when women are with their parents, they’re taking care of them; it’s work. While men who spend time with their parents are probably sitting around watching football or baseball, doing nothing. Certainly not dusting together. This tendency is only going to accelerate as the boomers age and their parents age more and need more and more care.

I see it in my own family. Parents in their 80s. (Father recently deceased.) Four children: three boys, 1 girl. Daughter lives near parents and so burden of dealing with their health issues falls to her. And she’s got her own family and her own career to deal with. That’s a lot of stress. A lot of un-happiness.

Most troubling factoid for me is that high school girls are less happy than high school boys. One theory is that these young women are leading the charge in academics, in student government, in sports, and on top of all that they feel pressure to be ‘hotties.’ And the boys, well, I guess the boys are just being boys. But why are they happier than they were in 1976? Are they working less? Perhaps they’re copying all the answers off the girls’ papers.