I'm Alex. I love nature, questioning things, and discussing deep ideas. I am really friendly and love when people talk to me.

 

I love talking about politics with people, including people who hold differing views from mine.  But sometimes, when people casually drop political comments in a conversation, it really offends me.  Why?

This video explains how people’s remarks are more likely to come across as rude if they put forth a bunch of potentially controversial points, without giving other people the space to respond, or without listening to or engaging with their replies.  I think that if you want to bring up politics casually, that’s fine, but I recommend not doing so unless you are open to having people disagree, and listening to their perspectives after you present yours.

frickinawe:

The woods taking the train tracks back. #pennypack #vscocam #train #tracks #forest #nature

I’ve walked this path.
This is soon to be gone…not in a bad way though.  I was just here and saw them doing construction work on a newly restored trail that will presumably make it safer to bike here.
Part of me is sad that this is no longer a passenger train line.

frickinawe:

The woods taking the train tracks back. #pennypack #vscocam #train #tracks #forest #nature

I’ve walked this path.

This is soon to be gone…not in a bad way though.  I was just here and saw them doing construction work on a newly restored trail that will presumably make it safer to bike here.

Part of me is sad that this is no longer a passenger train line.

nurtureenaturee:

Beautiful yellow flower at pennypak park. So small, and simple.. but if you catch it for a moment„ and blur out all the noise its beautiful! Maybe there are more people like that in the world, once you block out everything you can see their beauty. You just have to be willing to capture it.

I love these.  These are cutleaf coneflowers, Rudbeckia laciniata.  They are native to this region.  They love growing in floodplains.  This is also a fantastic photograph of them…you capture how the petals tend to hang down in a cone shape.
The pennypack preserve has more of these flowers growing wild, all along the stream, than anywhere else I’ve ever found.

nurtureenaturee:

Beautiful yellow flower at pennypak park. So small, and simple.. but if you catch it for a moment„ and blur out all the noise its beautiful! Maybe there are more people like that in the world, once you block out everything you can see their beauty. You just have to be willing to capture it.

I love these.  These are cutleaf coneflowers, Rudbeckia laciniata.  They are native to this region.  They love growing in floodplains.  This is also a fantastic photograph of them…you capture how the petals tend to hang down in a cone shape.

The pennypack preserve has more of these flowers growing wild, all along the stream, than anywhere else I’ve ever found.

Wow!  Those blue flowers all in the grass in the top picture…they’re all great blue lobelias — closeup in the second picture.  They’re native to this region.  And there are more than I can count!

I published a page on Lobelias of Eastern North America, where you can learn about these and their other relatives, which range from strikingly beautiful to inconspicuous and easily overlooked.

Anonymous asked
What is your favorite food or dish? :D

I so can’t pick one…so I’ll break it down by some of my favorite food cultures:

  • Korean - Doenjang jjigae.  I especially love when it contains seafood and long hot peppers.  But I will say, although I don’t like Kal Gook Soo as much on average…the best Kal Gook Soo I’ve had has been better than the best Doenjang Jjigae.  What made it awesome was that it was full of seafood and had aster leaf in it…mmm…a totally new flavor…
  • Vietnamese - Pho, with tendon and tripe.  I especially love it when they serve it with culantro / recao on the side, and I always put in all the bean sprouts, basil, and lime.  I don’t use sri racha but if they have it I’ll put in the more traditional, chunky hot sauce, like sambal oelek or something similar.
  • Sichuan - Dry Pot, probably rabbit is one of my favorite meats or chicken if i’m not in the mood for picking out the small bones.
  • Ethiopian - Veggie platters…I know it’s not one dish but I just love it, served on injera, the mixture of a couple lentil dishes, something with collard greens, maybe a salad with some hot peppers mixed in.
  • Puerto rican - Either mofongo, or ensalada de pulpo.
  • Mexican - Just a straight up carnitas tacos, with salsa verde, I like the tacos to have cilantro and onions, possibly with a little avocado too.  Sometimes I like to mix both a spicy salsa verde with a chunky salsa fresca / pico de gallo.

And when I’m at home?  My favorite food in the winter is probably soup…I make big soups and they’re never the same twice, they’re very varied but tend to be very spicy and have lots of different ingredients.  In summer I make “alex salads” which are big salads containing no lettuce…they are, again, very unique.  Today I had a big one with squid, octopus, lime, dill, olive oil, tomato, pepper, and onion.

Sorry if this doesn’t really answer your question!

I often hear people say “you should see a counselor” or “you need to see a counselor” when talking to depressed people.  These comments may mean well, but they’re likely to come across the wrong way, and aren’t terribly useful for helping the depressed person, as I explain here.

I conclude the video with explaining more useful ways to encourage someone to seek counseling. I hope people find this useful!

Sometimes we fall into distorting the truth to fit with our existing beliefs. Exaggeration is one way in which we can fall into this sort of distortion.

Here I share a really easy but powerful method that can help you to catch exaggeration in your own thoughts, getting you into a more healthy mindset where you’re more open to seeing the truth.  But this trick is also useful for identifying or catching when other people are exaggerating!

cazort asked
Do you think you may be being a bit hard on yourself, by saying you're not strong like your family?

ka7hrynrobinson:

Not really, I know I’m not strong like them. They have their problems and can deal with them without needing help at all. Me on the other hand always needs someone there to help me through it, I can’t deal with things on my own, I’m nothing like my family

Thanks for your answer!  I can relate to this a lot, actually.  Often my family seemed like they’d just deal with things on their own, whereas I always really wanted other people to help me, whenever I faced some sort of trouble or problem or stress or pain.

I don’t think that it means you are any less strong, just because you want someone to be there with you through hard times, helping you through it.  Maybe you’re just someone who values connecting with people more?

I know, when I’m facing difficult times my first instinct is always to get help from people, try to connect with people, get someone to listen, to understand, to help. Connecting with people can be its own type of strength. Just because someone handles things on their own more, doesn’t mean they’re stronger. Sometimes people just don’t show their struggles.  And different people handle things differently!

Here I give advice about how to deal with authority figures who aren’t giving you what you want, and who seem to be acting unreasonably.  I’ve found this approach extremely effective, and I wish I had learned it much earlier in life.

Watching Captain America 2, I couldn’t help but notice some not-so-subtle social commentary when a bunch of white cops surround and gun down a black man, ridiculously out-numbering and out-gunning him. (pics: source, source).

Bottom 2 pics?  Ferguson, MO. (source, source) Striking how the police look more militarized in real life.