Monday, April 29, 2013

Solar Weather Designy App

If you're like me and live in a city with four distinct seasons that's frequently subjected to Mother Nature's PMS moodiness, then checking the weather is a daily obsession. We check it before walking out the door, before making plans, to see if it's too cold to be looking cute, and if there's some good weather to look forward to in the coming weekend. Not that having two days off isn't good enough, but I think we can agree that two days off and warm, sunny weather is just that much better. A., who's from California, said he never even thought about the weather before moving to New York! "So what on Earth did you talk about with strangers?" I asked.

Solar is a top weather forecast app that uses colors to tell you both temperature and weather conditions. Apart from how pretty the colorscapes look, I like how the screen will flash and vibrate if a thunderstorm is underway and how clean and simple the interface is. Scroll up to see the forecast change throughout the day, pull down for a quick view of the next three days, and swipe or tap the screen to see weather in other cities.

So now not only can I talk about the weather, but how I check it, too, therefore doubling the arsenal in my bag of awkward break-the-ice conversation starters.

Monday, April 22, 2013


In the last month I've found myself completely pulling back from blogging, from tweeting, from sharing too many snippets or thoughts on Facebook. It's not that I didn't have things to say - I had so many! - it's that I couldn't find the energy to string the words together. I felt so zapped and uninspired. Frankly, I was tired and bored of my own self.
In trying to figure out how to merge all these interests I possess, I realized I've been spreading myself thin and the spread wasn't even all that awesome sauce to begin with. I realized that I'm a dabbler in many things, but truly amazing in nothing and have been too busy running all over the place, chasing wisps of dreams rather than sitting down and devoting myself to just a craft or two. It's just so hard to choose! What if I follow the wrong rabbit down its hole? What if I devote myself to one subject only to find myself constantly yearning for something new?
Then there's the challenge of doing what you love versus doing what earns you money and finding a way to marry the two. Advice from older generations have usually gone along the lines of "find something, a company, and just stick with it until you can retire." Or "it's not about doing what you love, it's about loving what you do." They must think we're so spoiled and wayward with our "search for passion" and "following our dreams" when their career missions went no further than doing whatever it took to ensure food made it to our table.
They say financial security leads to happiness and while I agree that money woes are stressful as hell, I'd like to think that passion, motivation, and income can align so you're not miserable at a high-paying job, sticking around merely because the pay is so good. I don't want to be driven solely by what would be lucrative choices and I don't want to be a slave to the dollar. I want to feel as if the work I've done has an impact, that it carries meaning because once that spark is gone, then it all become a dreadful waste of time.
I recently quit a weekly assignment on that principle because I no longer felt challenged or invested. In addition, I started questioning if my time and skills were being used to the best of my capabilities and for a stretch there I didn't feel like I'd been making much of an impact at all. What am I contributing here? What service am I providing? How am I helping others? How important is it that I feel important as well?
This is where I feel that honing in on a niche and going boom-pow! on that target would make one an indispensable resource. The odds of being the go-to person for one specific topic with some trailblazing contributions are greater than if you tried to cover too broad a segment. For starters, the time you spend chasing all those paths could be better used to become devoted and amazing in one thing. Perhaps later on, after you've got a stronghold on that puppy, then you can add another piece to the batch.
Writing is what makes my heart pounce, but then what of photography, art, creating, volunteerism, and travel? What of helping others express themselves and unraveling my inner thoughts through words and color? A part of me wants to continue searching and searching until the answer opens up before me and says, "This is how. This is the way." I do not have all the answers and no longer want to feel stuck in this standstill and so I write to say hello, to say I'm here, and to say I'm ready.
Images: all photos taken by Dorkys Ramos at the New York Botanical Garden