most popular posts of 2017

Most Popular Posts of 2017

Email? What's email for? That was my reaction upon receiving my first email address as a freshman in August 1994. I just couldn’t fathom what one was supposed to do with an email address (I know - sounds crazy now, right?). Of course, I soon discovered that friends at other schools had email addresses too, and you could type little notes to each other if you knew their address. And they’d get them almost instantly. For free! Of course, now we all have multiple email addresses, and experience a…


Singing out Loud: Embarrassing Ear Training Exercise or Nifty Memory Hack?

“Argh…why are we doing this?” “Seriously…WHY?” I wondered to myself, as I resigned myself to my fate, took my place in front of the class, and squeaked out a feeble “la si do fa sol mi fa la re si do…” I don’t know if solfège-ing a movement of unaccompanied Bach in ear training class is some sort of universal aural skills rite of passage, or if this was unique to the teacher I had, but this moment still stands out in my memory - almost two decades later - as the most “I hope I never have to do…


How the Things You Say to Yourself Could Be Sabotaging Your Confidence

How the Things You're Saying to Yourself Could Be Sabotaging Your Confidence

People say that you have to watch what you say and do around young kids, because kids don’t have a filter. Well, we learned that lesson when my son was in first grade, and we had just moved to the neighborhood. To provide a bit of context, my wife and I don’t generally keep any alcohol around the house, but my wife does have the occasional glass of wine when we go out. And she’s one of those folks who immediately turns red, so the kids know when she’s had a drink. One day, my son’s class was…


Does “just Breathe” Really Help Us Reduce Anxiety? Or Is It Just a Total Cliché?

Does “Just Breathe!” Really Help Us Lower Anxiety? Or Is It Totally Just a Cliché?

Audio version For most, going to the eye doctor is an annual event. But having been diagnosed with glaucoma, I have to visit my ophthalmologist every few months, who puts me through a series of tests to ensure my eyes are healthy. One of them is the “tonometry” test, where she uses a device to push on my cornea and measure the pressure in my eyeball. I’ve gotten better at sitting calmly for this test over the years, but my tendency is to hold my breath.…


Are We Really the Average of the Five People We Spend the Most Time With?

Are We Really the Average of the Five People We Spend the Most Time With?

Audio version A few days ago, on my way back from an overseas trip, I had a 9-hour layover at an airport where the only place to plug in my laptop was the food court across from a McDonald’s. In the early hours of my layover, I felt pretty good about myself as I munched on a grilled chicken wrap instead of an Egg McMuffin. But as I continued to sit there through the day, surrounded by the mouth-watering smell of fries, cheeseburgers, and even the puzzling…