There has been estimations that over 2 million people have taken place in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness (and donations) for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS… If you don’t know what ALS is, I’d suggest you watch some videos on it and what those suffering have to deal with… This condition is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement. Meaning you see people waste away, and those that are left to care for them contend with a person incapable of moving, eating, and eventually breathing.
It’s amazing who has taken part in this challenge, from all walks of life, and various continents, the social media circuits are buzzing! I’m currently saying that David Grohl has won for best video with his ‘Carrie’ video. While some people have used small buckets that are around 2 gallons, i’ve also seen large containers and ice coolers… It’s even gone so far as there exists a video where a man has a cement truck dump water on him. The quick math on that video is: An average dump truck holds 10 cubic yards of cement, there are 202 gallons of water per cubic yard. So that guy used approx 2000 gallons of water (not counting the front loader that added yet more water on him). With all these variables, and for the sake of quick numbers, lets say that the average person doing the ALS ice bucket challenge was dumping a 5 gallon bucket of water. Since ice is less dense and expands when frozen, taken up less room, what we end up with is 4 and a half gallons.
So yes, 4.5 gallons of water being repeatedly rained down upon the heads of the approximately 2 million people. We end up with around 9 million gallons of water dumped on various people wanting to make a difference in a horrible horrible disease that I wouldn’t wish on an enemy.
If you think that this is going to be a rant on water usage… Well it is. But not for the ALS challenge. Well, not solely on it. What does 9 million gallons of water look like? The typical means for the media to offer sizes of water is to lump it into something we might encounter in our lives. So, think back to the last summer Olympics, and picture that large tank of water the swimmers are racing across… 9 million gallons of water would fill just shy of 14 olympic swimming pools (approx 13.636 to be exact). But, how about another reference; Remember when Portland dumped out it’s water reservoir when a teenager felt the need to relieve himself in it? Well, when that young man peed in that pool, the city felt it best to empty the entire contents… That was 38 Million gallons, over 4 times the water used by all these people doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenged combined… And it looked exactly like this…
Now… 9 million gallons doesn’t seem so bad compared to that water waste right?
“But what about the California drought, you number throwing bald guy?!?” You might say to me, and I’ll compliment you with your usage of an interrobang…
The California drought is something amazing, we are at levels so low that we’ve actually never seen this before. We’ve had low water levels in the past, but nothing at this level, and what is truly worse is that scientists are worrying that the aquifers that the citizens are draining will take thousands of years to come back to the levels we previously saw…
So, you are right where does nine million gallons fit in…
While i’m not arguing that nine million gallons would definitely help ease some of the problem, how much would it help in comparison to what has already been lost is the real question here. This time lets be more creative with our representative imagery. Lets say that this 9 million gallons of water from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is represented in nine very large and extremely well hydrated Water Buffalos… Yes, a million gallons per Bubalus bubalis…
Nows lets figure out how many of their equally hydrated friends each of these nine would need to invite along to help reach the grand total of the water lost.
The would require over 7 million others of it’s kind to join in to reach this total… each.
The California drought has taken over 63 Trillion Gallons of water from just the groundwater aquifers… This isn’t taking into account shipments of bottled water or anything being piped in from other areas to help lessen the trouble.
Yes, you’ve read that right, since about 2013 California has lost 63 trillion gallons of water from it’s natural aquifers… 63,000,000,000,000 gallons… Or 63,000,000 Water Buffalos all carrying a million gallons, or if you need a different visual, that is enough to cover all the land west of the Rocky mountains with 4 inches of water. This is the amount of H2O used by humans to do everything from drink, bath, wash their cars, fill their fish tanks, and yes… dump over their heads after being told to by a video on some social media outlet.
So, we see that having a bucket of water dumped on your head might seem wasteful in one light, but in truth it’s not much different than taking that long shower to relax, or watering the lawn. It’s purely situational, and all about perspective. It seems this current era of humanity is gifted with the wonderful and often burdensome aspect of having so much knowledge at our fingertips, the ability to learn and know what we should be doing, and what our actions are doing to the world around us. But, what we are still cursed with the mindset from our past of not looking at the larger picture in what our actions as a whole are doing. The awareness and funds raised by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge will possibly improve the lives of those 30,000 people that have been diagnosed, and to the 5,600 new people each year. Is that worth the cost of a few gallons of water? To one person that answer seems like yes, now multiply that by a few million and we start to see a different picture. Neither right nor wrong, but just a point where you need to think before simply performing an action or in this case a challenge.
If you are wondering if I was called out for the challenge, then the answer is yes. My social circle tend to be on the cusp of stuff like this, and I was called out long before I fully understood what it was.
Did I dump a bucket of water on my head?
Instead of doing this, when I was challenged I went an bought 5 $20 gift certificates from small businesses here in city that could really use $20 (Small grocery stores, restaurants, etc). Then dropped them off to the local ALS support group here in Rochester. I did this without giving a name, just smiled and told them to give it to families that could use it.
You can find the local support group chapter by visiting the ALS website: http://www.alsa.org/community/support-groups/
The businesses wins and a person that has ALS (or their family) in the local Rochester area is directly effected in a positive way. Considering all that money you donate to ALS doesn’t go directly to the people, but goes to supporting ALS and it’s various projects such as the walks to support awareness. And, I felt that thanks to this wildly successful campaign we are pretty aware. There are figures that less than a dime of every dollar goes to help anyone directly, with a larger portion of it going to research. But a surprisingly larger portion of the funds that get donated to groups like this are used for administrative needs and business expenses, which I understand are needed. After helping out with groups like the American Cancer Society, I was surprised the cost involved with charitable events and just what is needed for all the administrative duties. When I stopped and thought about it, it made me feel as though, I’d much rather touch a local person’s life. And, I figured after being called out, that my method was a direct way of helping multiple parties in the area, both those effected with ALS, and businesses that really could use my support as well.
I’m not exactly sure how to take these scenarios when I go in for job interviews and they repeatedly tell me that they are excited to have me, but are more interested in hiring me for contract work. I guess this is the new working world, where the concept of going in and simply getting hired for a job is a thing of the past. But, the oddly humbling (and confusing) aspect is why they want me to be a contract employee, and not place me in a single pre-made role within their company…
I recently was on the phone with a CEO of a local corporation and he put it this way “…every head of the department that you chatted with were thoroughly impressed with what you talked about. No matter the department or topic at hand you impressed them… And, I don’t think we can shoe horn you into a single role… you don’t strike me as a person that can be shoe-horned in… so, I want you to come in and put together a plan as what your role with the company will be…”
I’m honored that these companies seem to find me impressive, and it’s amazing that they seem to realize I have a potential that their company hasn’t found a title for… I’m just having to re-adjust the way I’m wired, as the world I was raised to be in was that of a “go find a job, go sit down and work for company X”, and for the past decade or so I had worked for a person that had been so controlling and rudely negative that the concept of self-worth in my business ideology was quite literally squashed. With that, finding myself being asked to be a consultant and improve systems and company internal structures for such a diverse group of clients wasn’t something I had planned on or was necessarily ready for. I have been called ‘impressive’, ‘refreshingly unique’ and even ‘gifted’ by heads of companies and organizations in the past year. It has been a tad overwhelming…
Back to the original topic, the working world seems to have changed for me, looking like I’ve become a consultant and idea creator for everything from designing corporate identities and branding, marketing delicious beer to saving the environment. My company MagnusApollo Design is picking up steam and doing so many more diverse projects than I could have guessed… Maybe that CEO was right, I’m not a person that can be shoe-horned in.
I’m not sure if people generally talk about our mortality in public anymore. It’s not really something that you hear in idle banter. Maybe because it might drift to the scary moment of discussing a religion. Or maybe our youth questing culture my not be able to cope with that topic.
I’m not talking about that the what ifs… I’m talking about the cold hard truth that all the creatures that science has encountered, for all of them their life has an end. At some point the person paying taxes to the Federal govt will cease to send in more payments, my credit card companies will turn their thirst on some other person, and my inbox will continue to pileup with spam unfiltered.
We die… It’s how we do, to quote the current vernacular.
I couldn’t really tell you what my friends are thinking about in regards to the point of their own mortality. I assume a few things because I know them, but truly I really don’t know. I try to be vocal about it to those I know. In a subtle way, when the time is right. I don’t just blurt out “omg, I don’t want anyone to ever do a funeral procession for me!” In the middle of dinner conversation. No matter how true that thought is.
I recently found myself talking with a friend about life, and what I want to do and what you hope for after it all ends. It’s was a pleasant conversation, it wasn’t morbid persay, barring that the content was about my own death. But it was nice in a calm discussion about the world I hope to leave behind. We agreed on the ubiquitous statement “want to leave it in a better place… ” or “make a positive change”. The type of stuff you see on coffee mugs. But what we talked about was our own personal ripples in this world, the ones we have already caused, and ones we hope to see in our future.
I like looking at my life like that, the connections, and where they all lead. It’s why I like to meet new people every day. The fractal nature of our world and its stories.
We talked about what ripples will play out after we are gone. Children and your achievements in work are the typical ways for you to get some levels of long effecting ripples, (a bit of immortality if you will). I told them that I was hoping that I’d still make surprise ripples in lives of people I would never know when I die. That these people and our orthogonal lives only finally bisecting after my death.
I talked about organ donation.
The people were surprised at how animated I was about the concept of donating my organs to someone. I told them that I’d be happy knowing that some part of the person that was me might extend the life of another. That my liver might go to a person that gets to see the face of their child, or hell my heart might finally help a person to get to the top of a mountain. I told them that in that scenario my heart, a small essence of me, is still out there. Doing awesome things. It’s why I like the idea. That part of me still gets to go out and carry on the making-ripples part.
postscript: since I started this ramble I came across this article…
I’m also glad to see that people appreciate the other end of this.
(Cut to scene of ticking stopwatch)
So, last year while I was looking for various jobs to fight the dreaded condition known as “Unemployment”, I sent out resumes to a wide variety of places. Some of these places were local businesses, some advertising agencies, and a few were places that I thought were something that would be unique to have on my list of employment. To those that don’t know, my resume looks a bit like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, where a person just haphazardly flipped to random pages to read. I’ve done various jobs like Graphic Design, Modeling, Public Relations and even tried my hand at Marine Biology (among a vast many other things)… I enjoy doing various jobs, as I find myself getting bored easily, and I also want to live and learn as much as I can during a single life time. With that sort of career behind me I get quite a wide range of job openings directed at me. One of the job postings I was sent was actually for the site that wishes to tell you what emotions you need to feel in it’s click-bate style subject line. That site Up-Worthy. I had virtually met quite a few very cool people that work for the site, either via FB or Twitter, and they passed me along a job posting. And, to be honest, I was actually excited to be part of a site that seemed to be striving to make the web a less awful place. At this point in time, UpWorthy was trying to share uplifting content. (this was also months before I finally saw how Ebaum-y their site was for taking content and funneling it through their own pages for click hits, but I digress.)
I had sent in a resume that was pretty damn impressive if I say so myself. The cover letter crafted in such a way that all that read it (even the people that worked at the company I ran it past) would respond in a similar fashion: a moment of silence… a look at me.. and a statement like “holy cow, I want to hire you just to be around me!” So, to be blunt, I pretty much figured I had this job in the bag. To make an already long story short; after some email exchanges, and soft interviews I sadly received an email from one of the heads of hiring informing me that I just wouldn’t be a fit for their company. In truth the statement was “we don’t see a great fit for your skills and experience at this time”, which I have to admit is a lack of foresight on their end.
So, I decided to have some fun (what are they going to do, reject me twice?). I responded with a rejection of their rejection. I figured I’d share this with folks here, as my friends would probably appreciate it.
As we continue on with daily reflections… The past few days had quite a bit of snow fall on the east coast. You’d have to shovel a couple times to get a head of it. Even then you were moving a lot of snow. The cold rarely bothers me, so when I see neighbors struggling I try to go over and help dig them out. Today I had a long conversation with a neighborhood man, he laughed at how well I seem adapted to the cold. He chatted through scarves and full hoods pulled down around his face about how he was moving to Georgia when his lease was over. He was dressed in camo coat, but beneath it was plenty of gold and urban attire poking out from seams. It probably looked interesting me, shoveling with my jacket unzipped, covered in show, laughing and not bothered by the temp, and a man from a completely different upbringing, and as he put it “from a people that lived on the damn Serengeti, where we have heat and none of this cold BS”. We chatted for a while and would have continued, but he just seemed so cold, and I had more shoveling to do. It made me happy to know that even though I’ve had a rough time here in this house, with breakins, theft and some issues that might turn someone to be judgmental of races, I still am who I am. Willing to talk and share a good laugh with a good person, not matter who they are. I’m grateful to still be hopeful that people are decent. #365grateful #life #roc #snow #day3
As I continue to post the little things that I’m grateful for this year… I wanted to share that I’m happy that the first two days of this year were spent creating and making art. I found myself on the first day of the year in the 1975 gallery working on cool creations for an upcoming art show. Then today I taught a class of young kids how paint a funky fish. It was enjoyable, and easy! I then followed it up by coming home and creating more art. I have to learn to embrace the creativity. To remember it’s okay to be a bit weird, and that if you can’t laugh at yourself, then you live with fear, and that means it’s going to be a life that you don’t live up to your potential. #365grateful #day2
2014 has started, and instead of hoping for a good year I’ve decided to make it a good year. And one of the thing I’m going to do is remind myself of those moments and experiences during my day that help me realize how grateful I’m am to be living a life like mine. I’m grateful of the various moments in my day, but they flitter away so quickly, I need to document them more. Think of this like journaling, but on tumblr, so I can access it should I be having a bad day. #tumbling? Day 1: grateful for the awesome people that are part of the #filmfail crew. Each week I get to laugh and enjoy the company of smart people as we watch some weird films. #365grateful
So, I’ve been away from tumblr for quite some time… it’s not that I’m against it, it’s just that, well… I couldn’t remember the password, and unfortunately the email account I used to set it up was with my previous employer who fired everyone and promptly turned off my email. In a magical bit of awesome, the password came to me while I was taking time out of the day to do some daily drawings. Now, I’m back, and able to tum all overly the blr. Definitely time to change the theme and work on making this a bit more aesthetically pleasing.
Perhaps I should take this moment to write a bit of what has been happening in the world of Moi. It’s been over 6 months since I’ve left the software company, and during this time I have spent a great deal of the time trying to find a new path to my life. Looking at what I should be doing, and what I can be doing. It’s difficult when you are an individual with a very diverse background and no real education. Sure I was in college and have a few lower level degrees, but thanks to the automated ways of applying for jobs, rarely does my resume see human eyes. Which has been difficult and slightly ego shattering. It’s an odd feeling to send out a few hundred resumes, and quite literally get next to zero responses. The real rough point happened, when I had a home burglary when they robbed me of not only all my computers, but all my backup hard drives. Meaning I lost all my portfolios, all my personal photos, nearly all my history of me has gone. It’s difficult enough trying to get a design job in this city, but without a portfolio it’s next to impossible. It’s the reason I’ve been so busy, I’m completely trying to rebuild my entire life portfolio with new jobs and various projects in the past few months.
"So, what have you been doing with all that time?" you might ask…. Well, the answer is "Stuff!!" I have taken up the charge of improving the city I live in, and I do so by volunteering my time and energy in between sending out resumes. I’ve worked on some rather large projects this year, from working with the amazing WALL\THERAPY campaign, to TEDx Rochester, a bunch of non-profits, and what has to be a whole slew of art openings and galleries. Quite a few of the projects I have worked on made it into the Best of Rochester events for the City newspaper. Making me feel rather proud to be part of those teams. Speaking of Best of, I was also asked to model for the event. I’ll have to post a photo of my regal visage some point in the near future.
What else: Been slowly building up my own studio/agency.
I have a goal to help rebuild this city, and to do so, I’m going to focus my attention and my resources on the small companies in this city. Rochester needs a solid foundation of small business owners, ones that have a vested interest in the well being of it’s community. We have found ourselves depending on the big business and chain stores for far too long, so I have taken it upon myself to help local small business and first time home owners get a chance in this economy. I’m the agency for the little man, the little companies, the entrepreneurs, the foundation of the Roc.
Well, this long ramble hopefully is the start of my return to the tumblr and online world.
All my best,