In 2006 the Cassini spacecraft took a series of images from the dark side of Saturn. This compilation image from NASA is just stunning. The best part? The little blue dot in the upper left portion of Saturn's rings is Earth!
Wednesday morning my coworker peaked her head into my office and said:
"Do you know you're on the front page of CNN today?"
Blushing, I sheepishly nodded yes.
"Why didn't you tell us?"
The fact of the matter is, I was still reeling from it.
I'm an ordinary woman. In fact, I'm so ordinary you'd pass me in the grocery store and never give me a second glance. I'm quite simply an out-spoken mother with a sense of humor and a penchant for word smithing.
I don't work for a tech company. I'm not a celebrity. I'm not a social media professional. I don't code. I'm not a CEO. I'm not an analyst.
But there it was, my opinion being an opening quote for a national news story on CNN. Quoted alongside business moguls like Donald Trump and Richard Branson.
This truly demonstrates the power of the +Google+ platform. Having my public post (and resulting amazing debate) being indexed by +Google made my very ordinary opinion available for a journalist to find. So a big, fat thank you to +Vic Gundotra and his team who've made it possible for the voice of the ordinary to be heard.
I've never head this one before but find it quite fitting:
The opposite of jump the shark, i.e. when a TV show goes from unspectacular/boring/outlandish to completely awesome. It references Star Trek: The Next Generation, which was unspectacular until season 2, when Commander Riker grew a beard. The show kicked ass from then on.
"Man, Dollhouse really pulled a Riker's Beard last week with that awesome episode."
As many of you may know, last summer I took a nasty fall, broke my foot and sprained both ankles, resulting in first a wheelchair, then a walker and months of recovery. Starting in January I was able to start training again.
Yesterday I finished an 8K in 50:49. I'm pretty damned pleased.
While I don't have any wheelchair pics, here's a shot of me with the walker and then one crossing the finish line!
One thing I love about running in Florida is the incredible diversity of people who run. It's absolutely amazing running with so many retirees, especially when they trounce me on times. And yes, the lady behind me is actually swearing at me because I sprinted past her last minute.
Now that my ankles are stable again, I'm looking to train for a half marathon this November.
Being able to work remotely while my son recovered from surgery helped both myself and my employers. They didn't lose my productivity - they gained an intensely loyal, hard-working employee that was so pleased with not having to take off - she actually worked more hours.
My son won - his mother was there to take care of him.
And, what does it say about Yahoo - a company who's core products are web/cloud based - that they can't be effective with remote employees?
This is just ridiculous. Glad I have no desire to work for Yahoo!.
With an ache in my heart and tears brimming from my eyes, we said goodbye today. 18 long years we've had, I truly cannot complain.
I will never forget that first day we met. I reached for a hissing kitten and you purred a figure eight between my feet. I knew then that we were mates, bound for life.
Pasha Kitty, you've seen me through college, boyfriends and breakups, marriage, kids and divorce. Through it all, you've been a sweetheart purring in my lap. Pushing for attention, greeting my guests at the doors, showing extra love to those that don't like cats. You've been a constant in my life for 18 years.
But life has taken its toll and you spent your last weekend stumbling, confused and lost. It hurt me so deeply to see you suffer and it wounded even worse this morning. Nestled in a towel, you took your last breath in my loving hands.
I may still have my Ginger Whale and Spicy Beast to soothe me, but Pasha Kitty - they just aren't you. Laying on my tummy, the small of my back is cold and empty without you snuggled up on me.
The said you were lucky to have lived such a long life, with a family that obviously loves animals as much as we do. But she missed the biggest point. I was lucky that you graced me with your sweet presence these 18 years.
I'm not ashamed to admit I sobbed unabashedly. Pasha Kitty, you're a wonderful creature worthy of grief. May the Rainbow Bridge treat you well. I love and miss you. My Pasha Kitty, my Old Kitteh.
Wow, not cool +Instagram. I'll be deleting my profile this week. Not cool at all.
In 1999 I went on safari in Kenya. At the Sweetwater Tented Camp they had this rhino under guard, day and night, against poachers. Sadly I do not remember the species, but +Ergin Kocyildirim reminded me of this moment when he posted about the western black rhino being officially extinct.
Incidentally, this is my dad's favorite picture of me.
I have two important points I'd like to make here. They may surprise you, as they pertain to the YouTube commenting integration and well, Miley Cyrus.
I've largely held silent on the YouTube/G+ integration because, to be honest, it just made sense to me. I've been mildly confused by the outrage. If I was +Google and had all these products I'd produced and purchased, I too would work on bringing them together under one platform. And +Vic Gundotra said from the very beginning that +Google+ was going to be the new +Google. Why wouldn't they simplify it and bring it under one unified system? From the most basic business perspective it makes no sense to support multiple commenting/reply systems. From a smarter, marketing perspective it makes total and complete sense to unify across platforms.
This was most clearly illustrated to me tonight. Yesterday someone posted this video. I saw it flow through, but wasn't in a place to watch/listen. It niggled in my head. Tonight, I couldn't remember who it was and lazily searched in YouTube for it.
The awesomeness of the new system was that +Farran Lee's post from yesterday sorted to the very top of the comments. Indeed, it was his share yesterday that made me want to watch this.
Next, I decided to play it for +Jonathan Camp. But before he heard it, I wanted to ensure he'd heard the original. When I visited Lana Del Rey's original video I was shocked to see just how many of my G+ friends had shared this video in recent months. I'd missed it in my stream (because, let's face it, I circle thousands and miss a lot)....and now, in one central place, I can see how many people that are relevant to me have also shared and love this song!
And now, on to Ms. Cyrus. Despite all the chaos that exists around her, despite the over produced, pop nature of much of her music, I find her to be an incredible musician. In this cover, I think she actually conveys a deeper soul and conviction than Lana Del Rey (another songbird I very much enjoy). As young as she is, she's paid her dues. I don't agree with all her artistic choices and feel she's spinning a bit out of control. But that's truly her decision to make. I'm just glad that when I went through my own "out of control" phase, it was private and without all the judging eyes. I think her performance here speaks volumes.
I didn't join Google Plus to find love. I wasn't looking for it. In fact, I was licking my wounds from a failed relationship and firmly eschewing dating of all sorts.
The thing is, with the power of Hangouts I starting meeting so many people. Irrespective of location, it became so easy to connect with kindred spirits. Friendships grew, connections grew richer and deeper.
Months passed. The beauty of it all is that we were able to talk face to face, but not just one on one. But also, through shared friendships and mutual experiences on this ever growing network.
Then, we met. In person.
I'm pretty open about my life here, but I've largely kept my romantic life to myself. I don't particularly care to put my foibles and hurts out there in the public forum.
But, things have changed. After a year and a half of friendship progressing to infatuation to love, +Jonathan Camp is moving. On December 29th, our journey together shifts from long distance.
I swear I wasn't looking for love, but it still came up and took me for a ride.
Who else has found love on the internet? How did you meet? Tell me your stories, I want to hear them all.
And an enormous thank you to +Google+ and people like +chee chew, +Vic Gundotra and the countless others that made this space possible. Without your vision, +Jonathan Camp and I never would have crossed paths.
+Shaun McLane Please understand this is before the height of my vision loss. Much beyond this point I flat out refused to take a pic with glasses on. Thank goodness Lasik has since corrected my 20/950 vision.
Although this is a response to a political comment, this goes much deeper. But first let me tell you a story about my cousin, Jeffey.
Jeffey was born different. It became apparent early on that he wasn't like the rest of us and his mental development stopped permanently at 18 months old.
He was physically strong, but never progressed past toddlerhood in his mind. Although I lived in a different state, Jeffey always remembered me. I was the only person who's hair he pulled. It was a ritual between him and I. It always made me smile, to know that he recognized me from year to year.
We never thought he'd live to adulthood. His teen years were difficult for my aunt, as his strength grew. I clearly remember one year he managed to ingest some silk flowers. The wire lining tore through his intestines and he was hospitalized for weeks. When his kidneys shut down, they had to give him drugs to keep him awake but paralyzed so they could perform dialysis to keep him alive.
Terrified, with no understanding of what was happening to him he laid there. Awake and unable to move. His teenage brother Chad climbed into bed with him, soothing him. I don't know of too many teenage boys that would do something like that, but Jeffey's brother did.
Because Jeffey taught our entire family so much about unconditional love. He was never institutionalized and always lived at home with his mother, father, brother and sister. Our entirely family knew a selfless, giving love that he taught us.
When Jeffey's brother grew up, he joined the army. Chad struggled with the use of "retard" during boot camp. It was a trigger point for him and he had to work very hard to maintain control when his drill sergeants used "retard" to insult the new recruits.
And then the unthinkable happened. Shortly before Chad's boot camp graduation, Jeffey died. He'd gotten into the family dog's food dish, eaten some dog food, choked and died. He was 25 years old. Chad left boot camp early (meaning he needed to repeat it) for his "retarded" brother's funeral.
Jeffey's favorite song was "Your Are My Sunshine" and we all sobbed as we sang it during his funeral. It's a bittersweet mix as Sunshine has always been my nickname.
Folks, words have power. Mr. Stephen's letter is beautiful and amazing. Please give it a read. Then, watch yourself when you decide to sling insults.