Jun 01.11.d151/w22
Pondersphere? Open-Orbit? Huh? What’s going on?

It’s been forever. I haven’t forgotten about this site. So much has happened starting from the time I wrote last up to now that it would take several blog entries to write them all. So I’ll resort to bullet-point updates! Starting from my last entry…

  • Returned home from Copenhagen in June 2009.
  • Decided to change the name of this site from Open-Orbit to Pondersphere in July 2009. The new name better reflects the direction in which I want to take this site.
  • Finished up school in May 2010.
  • Spent most of 2010 working on my Master’s project (probably spent more time on that than was healthy, I was a bit obsessed), which, in a nutshell, was a WordPress theme framework for newspapers.
  • All time I spent working on the project paid off, because it really opened me up to the wonderful world of WordPress themes, and I learned tons in the process.
  • In April of 2011, I joined Automattic as a Theme Wrangler. :) To me, it felt like a natural progression after spending most of 2010 working on my theme framework. Automattic –  the company behind WordPress.com – is lovely. I really like the team I’m on, and I have fun working on themes and other cool projects. I consider myself very fortunate to have the opportunity to work my dream job. :)

So that’s where I am right now, in a nutshell. I have so many ideas for posts that I want to write. I just need a new layout! In my last entry, I mentioned a new layout I was working on. However, I decided I no longer like it and so now I’m working on something new! Until then, this layout will have to do (I still like this one). :) Take care and more posts soon.

Apr 29.09.d118/w18
Redesign coming soon…

I know I haven’t updated this site in AGES. Since September 2008. Wow. Well, it’s a bit of an embarassment to have a stagnant site up, but I haven’t forgotten this site. Got too busy in Fall’09 enjoying Copenhagen and being abroad. In January I started working on a new layout that am absolutely psyched about. However it’s been put on the backburner because once again, I’m trying to enjoy my time in Denmark while I can.  ;-)

Anyway, I will soon resume work on my new layout but I’m not going to rush it. I want to re-write many pages and add many new gems to make this site a lovely experience in learning and exploration.

Until then, check out my Travel Blog, I’m still updating that while I’m abroad! http://michelleabroad.pondersphere.com

Sep 25.08.d268/w39
41 Free LiveJournal Icons: Botanisk Have

Sample Icon

Here are some free icons based on photographs I took while visiting the Botanical Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark. They are 100 x 100, perfect for LiveJournal and/or as avatars on forums. To use, please right-click and save them to your hard drive. Do not link to them directly from my site. As far as credit goes, I would always appreciate a link or shout out if you so desire! Please click the “Read The Rest of this Entry” link below to view all 41 icons. Thanks, and enjoy!

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Sep 24.08.d267/w39
Spontaneous thoughts on free-will, randomness, complexity

Free-will seems to exist only within the confines of our “reality.” For example: picture a group of people playing soccer on a field. To the uninformed observer (someone without the ability to see that the group is playing a game with set rules and boundaries), the players’ actions appear random on first glance. Upon greater inspection however, there would appear to be a degree of complexity in their actions – “organized chaos”, but no clear way to explain the meaning, purpose and complexity of these actions.

Another example – an animal confined to a cage. The animal’s free-will is limited as far as the cage boundaries. it’s possible for the animal to live its entire life without realizing it was in the cage. my question is, could we say that the animal’s range of possible behaviors was limited because it was in the cage? had it existed in a reality without boundaries, would it have behaved differently? Is this our position on Earth? Is this our position in the universe? How would we behave differently if we were not bound by our human perceptions; by gravity and by the confines of planet Earth? By the confines of the universe itself?

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Sep 22.08.d265/w39
Personality theories: insights on how much personalities can change

An important aspect of any theory regarding human personality is that theory’s views on how much people can change over time. Do people stay the same all their lives? If so, what accounts for that change, and how much can a person change? Such views give insight on how malleable the theory is. Two personality theorists, Hans Eysenck and Carl Rogers, both have ideas about personality theory offer interesting insights on how much people can change.

According to Rogers, the individual is responsible for his or her own personality. In fact, there is no certain kind of person. Rather, Rogers argues that there are simply ways of living. One such way of living that Rogers claims is most important is self-actualization, the tendency to grow in ways that lead to self-enhancement. By nature, people work towards this tendency. When it comes to change, Rogers believes that there is no limit. Self-actualization is not a specific end-goal, rather, it is something to strive for. The therapy that Rogers developed—client-centered therapy—supports his view. Instead of presenting clients with assumptions and judgments about their behavior, the therapist empathizes with them and helps them come to their own conclusions about their behavior. This can lead to change in any direction.

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Sep 15.08.d258/w38
Botanisk Have & Museum at Københavns Universitet

I recently discovered the Botanisk Have & Museum (Botanical Gardens & Museum) at Copenhagen University. It’s a great place, with plenty to see. I had some fun with my camera. Here are a few of the photos I took while there:

Pretty Lawns

Lilly Pads and Flower in the Pond

Bee on a Flower

Interesting Pink Flowers

Friendly Duck

Pretty Wooded Pond

Duck in Pond

Big Greenhouse

Incidentally, my camera is amazing. I bought it this past summer specifically for my trip. The 6X digital zoom is wonderful, and it helps an extremely novice photographer (me) take decent photos with very little effort or knowledge of photographic principles. If you’re in the market for a point-and-shoot digital camera, I can highly recommend the Canon PowerShot A720 IS. I don’t know why Amazon lists it at over $300 because I bought it for $199 at my local camera store. I’m sure there are other places to find it cheaper as well. The only drawback is that it’s a bit bulky, but otherwise it’s a marvel of a camera!

Sep 03.08.d246/w36
The Future of Children’s Technology

Image from http://flickr.com/photos/tanyaryno/975839418/

It’s very hard to know just where children’s technology is headed. We’re living in the Digital Age, with new concepts and ideas popping up everywhere — Nintendo Wii, games like Rock Star, etc. It’s hard to know what is here to stay and what’s only a fad. My mother once told me that when she was growing up, television sets were still relatively new. She and her brothers thought they would be ridiculously advanced and the center of everything come the millennium. Yet, 2001 has come and gone, and while the television set is still around, it is certainly not the centerpiece of technology. Its cousin, the computer, has taken that spot. Computers have come a long way, and now some children are introduced to them before they even set foot in school. Much of the new technology that’s being developed involves a computer of some sort. It’s only natural that when people think about the future, computers are usually involved. But what if computers face the same fate as television? What if they are replaced with an entirely new concept? Even if the medium of new technologies for children is not centered on the computer, they should still serve children’s needs while at the same time, not stifling their creativity and competency.

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Sep 02.08.d245/w36
Copenhagen Canal Tour

Greetings from Copenhagen, Denmark! I arrived safely last Wednesday and have spent the past week getting acclimated to my new surroundings! It’s been amazing so far. Aside from this entry, I won’t be posting much about my trip here.

The school I will be attending took us on a tour of Copenhagen’s canals as part of our orientation, and I unfortunately didn’t bring my camera to take pictures. So I went back the next day on a different boat tour just to take some pictures. Here are just a few of the shots I took:

The famous new harbor

Copenhagen's famous new harbor

Church

Church

Its just so storybook-like!

It's just so storybook-like!

The famous Little Mermaid

The famous Little Mermaid

Opera House -- I think, I should have paid more attention on the tour!

Opera House -- I think, I should have paid more attention on the tour!

The Black Diamond (Royal Library)

The Black Diamond (Royal Library)

Bikes on Strøget, one of Copenhagens longest pedestrian streets.

(Not part of the canal tour). Bikes on Strøget, one of Copenhagen's longest pedestrian streets.

Aug 22.08.d234/w34
The Door

Note: I wrote this story in 1996. It was inspired by the many ghost house levels in Super Mario World. I’m talking old school Super Mario World for the SNES. The ghost houses always had so many doors and maze-like passages, and I ALWAYS got lost in them!!

My mother told me never to open the door at the end of the looong hallway. But one day I lost my self-control and opened it…and was gobbled up by a huge green monster with claws like chisels and teeth like helicopter blades, never to be seen again on the face of the Earth.

NOT!!!

See, we live in a castle. That’s kind of odd, ’cause it’s just the three of us: Mom, Dad and me. Both of my parents spend their days sitting around in their rooms eating caviar and reading Webster’s College Dictionary. They don’t even come out anymore. So I’ve had to fend for myself practically all my life in this huge castle, cooking my own meals and coming up with ways to entertain myself.

This story was inspired by being lost in Ghost Houses like this. Photo Courtesy of Video Game Critic

This story was inspired by being lost in Ghost Houses like this. Photo Courtesy of Video Game Critic

There’s this looong hallway in our castle that is quite different from the others. Well, it’s identical to the rest of the halls, with ten brown, wooden doors on either side (sort of looks like two opposing teams facing each other). But one thing the looong hallway has that the others don’t is an extra door at the end of it, and this door looks like it was painted red. THAT’S the door I was talkng about earlier, the one my mother told me never to open. All my life, since I was young I’ve wondered, dreamed and imagined what could be behind that red door. I remember a long time ago when I was 5. My mother (before she and Dad became hermits) caught me in the act of attempting to open the door. “There are hundreds of other doors in this castle. Why do you worry about THAT one so much?” she asked me. So for a while, I just forgot about the door. Until now.

One night, when I was sure my parents were fast asleep, I made my way into the looong hallway, and started walking straight toward the red door. When I reached it, I paused and looked arund. No one approaching. Slowly, I reached my hand out and grasped the knob. I turned it, preparing to scream if I had to…

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Aug 19.08.d231/w34
24 Free LiveJournal Icons: Wall-E
Sample Icon

Sample Icon

Here are some fun, free Wall-E icons I’ve put together! They are 100 x 100, perfect for LiveJournal and/or as avatars on forums. To use, please right-click and save them to your hard drive. Do not link to them directly from my site. As far as credit goes, it’s not required but I would always appreciate a link or shout out if you so desired! Please click the “Read The Rest of this Entry” link below to view all 24 icons. Thanks, and enjoy!

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