Potato Chips, Vulnerability, British Accents, and Free Stuff #FascinatingFriday

So I just made up something called ‘Fascinating Friday.’ Yep. Get excited.

Don’t worry; it is not–as some of you may have suspected–about how fascinating I am. It’s about interesting things I ran across this week. Mainly around the internet because that’s where I do my most random wandering. (You should see my google search history; I’m definitely on one or more watch lists.)

It’s my blog-style take on Twitter’s “follow Friday” where people promote other Twitter feeds that interest them (or shamelessly promote anyone in the hopes of winning their notice…ick). I’m not even sure that any cool kids do “follow Friday” any more on Twitter but at one point some of my favorite writers were doing it and I frequently discovered new things I liked by looking through their recommendations.

Someone (ahem, my mother) once described my blogging style as “like eating potato chips.” I gave her an inquiring look (while already banging my head against a mental wall). She then saved our relationship explained that what she meant was that my posts were compulsively readable. A good mix of humorous and serious. Satisfying. Like potato chips.

As I’m doing “research” on the 100+ things a day that strike my interest, I run across all kinds of things–blogs, pictures, people–that make me feel the same way: Mmm, give me more of that. I’ll pick the most interesting ones and highlight them on Fascinating Fridays. In case you’re tired of potato chips.

For your culinary delight, here is a sample of what you can expect to see in the future. For the sake of continuity, I’m going to carry on with the food analogy. Don’t worry, I’ll probably drop it in the future. For today, I’ll try to offer you a well-rounded meal.

Brené Brown: This is a perfectly cooked fillet with a black peppercorn crust. (And I don’t make the analogy lightly….I love steak.) Brené is a professor who studies human connection. She was a speaker at a leadership conference I attended recently and I loved everything she said. Better yet, I think she said really important things. She became something of an internet sensation when her TED talk–which she was hoping would get 10,000 hits–got over 10 million. Now she’s been on Oprah and is being asked to speak everywhere. But she was still nervous at ours, which of course ensured my immediate and undying loyalty. Check out her TED talk “The Power of Vulnerability” here!

Letters of Note: Let’s call this a nice Merlot. Because every time I visit this site, I feel a little classier. It’s written by Shaun Usher, who is interesting, humorous, and British. (For future reference, British equals classy. At least in America it does. During my stay in the UK, I discovered that this formula only works while you’re in America.) Per Shaun, Letters of Note is “an attempt to gather and sort fascinating letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes, and memos.” As with anything this fabulous, there’s a book coming out soon (pre-order it here!). I love the description of the book: “From Virginia Woolf’s heart-breaking suicide letter, to Queen Elizabeth II’s recipe for drop scones sent to President Eisenhower; from the first recorded use of the expression ‘OMG’ in a letter to Winston Churchill, to Gandhi’s appeal for calm to Hitler; and from Iggy Pop’s beautiful letter of advice to a troubled young fan, to Leonardo da Vinci’s remarkable job application letter, Letters of Note is a celebration of the power of written correspondence which captures the humour, seriousness, sadness and brilliance that make up all of our lives.” Swoon. Sold. This needs to be on my bookshelf stat. Anyway, you can still get all the goodness on the site. So far my favorite letter (of many) is this one.

Free Online Class From WORLD CLASS Universities: Take Lit classes at Oxford. Study Psych at Berkeley. For free. Many world-class universities have taped and released classes as either podcasts or YouTube videos. Openculture.com has a good list of them here. This is grilled asparagus with some kind of balsamic reduction. Fancy but healthy. I download a class and then listen to it while I’m biking or running. You’re getting the best of school–all the content people pay thousands of dollars for–and none of the tests or crushing loans. Win-win! I’m currently listening to a Yale course which “examines major works by Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Faulkner, exploring their interconnections on three analytic scales: the macro history of the United States and the world; the formal and stylistic innovations of modernism; and the small details of sensory input and psychic life.” Further proof that I’m a giant dork. 

That’s what I found this week. Do you have something fascinating? Comment or send me a message and I’ll check it out!

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