the image on top is "Welcome Home Sweet Sugar" by Kelsey Brooks

Friday, March 8, 2013


There was a downpour in Los Angeles tonight. Strong in Venice. A flash of lightning, followed by a peal of thunder so severe that it awoke a nearby car alarm.

I was staying up late watching tv, whiling away the storm. The rain was more ardent than I've felt in two years on the west coast. It was even louder when I walked into the bathroom, shrill upon the skylight.

A rush of softness came upon me. I understood. Like a sign and a promise from God, I knew the tides had turned. In my favor, I suspected.  

Thursday, March 7, 2013

When Can I Cast My E-Vote?

I'm pretty bummed: I didn't vote on Tuesday. 

Great struggle and sacrifice has been made so that I have the right to vote, so it's not something I take lightly. Also, like many, I want to be an active participant in creating our reality.

So I planned to vote in the afternoon. But after two meetings ran late, and I drove up and down the Valley, I had missed the 8 o'clock cut off date. 

Now, I know this is my fault, and my responsibility. I should have managed my day much better, and have voted in the morning. My bad. 

But voter turnout is painfully low. Yesterday, we're talking mid-20s, maybe low 30 percentages. I certainly won't argue that making it to the polls is more difficult, than say, back in the day by horse and carriage, but we are a population that buys our dish soap in bed. 

I'm ready to vote online. Aren't you? What's stopping us? 

California is a tech savvy state, so in 2000 Secretary of State Bill Jones actually put out a report on the feasibility of internet voting. Now looking aside the fact that this was 13 years ago (that's roughly 5 generations of silicon start-ups), let's explore their concerns:

1. Tech Threats. Viruses and trojan horse pose the same threat as ever, and an attack on your computer could prevent your voting submission or submit an altered ballot.  

2. Voter authentication. Every voter has the opportunity to cast a ballot and no voter is able to vote more than one time. Right now, poll workers compare the signature on your registration, with your signature on your ID. I don't know why or how they do this, because my signature is a bunch of scribbles. Yet CA is concerned with getting you a "digital signature" to use on your ballot. 

3. Privacy. Using a work computer? You don't want your network administrator to see your vote, do you? Well, truly it doesn't matter whether you do or don't. Secrecy is a cornerstone in our democracy. That's why e-voting is different than e-commerce. Banks monitor transactions, but no one should monitor your votes. 

So, with these barriers, what's the process to implementation? My dream is 'remote internet voting'. That means using a computer not necessarily owned and operated by election personnel. Like the one I am typing on now. But that's not going to be the first step. At first, it's going to be internet voting kiosks at the polls. This  will allow internet voting to be tested for authenticity, and minimized the threat of viruses. From then on, we'll be able to move into private residences (though that's a big jump), and maybe, one day, mobile devices. 

Like I said before, this report came out 13 years ago. We better jump on this fast. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Why Yoga Glo Rocks My Socks

I've been spending a lot of time at CoLoft, in Santa Monica, so maybe I'm biased. But tech makes things better. More accessible, more efficient and more productive. In my mind, tech makes me superhuman. In reality, it kills my attention span and makes me a twitter addict. Still I love it.

But YogaGlo is an exception. Here is a piece of technology that makes my life easier, more efficient, and productive, and actually tames my ADD.

YogaGlo is a subscription service that streams online yoga classes. Cool concept, right? But the execution is flawless.

When you sign up (they offer a 15 day free trial, so do it up), they ask you your focus. Maybe it's firming up your core, or getting some relaxation. Some of my favorites were improving concentration (yes, please) and increasing the mind-body connection.

Based on this focus, they suggest classes to you; one class each day. This is helpful because YogaGlo offers every kind of yoga; vinyasa, power, kundalini, yin, restorative, meditation, anusara, ashtanga, hatha- you name it. So you're really going to need their "Search" feature.

I love the search feature. Here's where the magic happens. They categorize their classes with keywords or "specific uses", such as detox, energizing, hormone balancing- you name it. Whatever you need that day- a clear mind in the morning or to get to sleep at night.

It gets better: time. Making time for a yoga practice is difficult. Getting to the studio, parking, taking an hour or an hour and a half class, changing and driving to your next destination can be a three hour process. That pretty much devours the entire unscheduled time of the average adult.

This experience is absolutely beautiful and totally worth it. But it's just tricky to fit in on a consistent basis. This is why YogaGlo is amazing. You can take anywhere between a 5 minute and 120 minute practice. A 30 minute class? Impractical at a studio, but available at your fingertips. Many mornings I can't take a full hour for my practice. But I've got 15 minutes.

Through this app, I've discovered Kia Miller (whose kundalini classes are amazing) and finally took some of Kathryn Budig, Elena Brower and Jo Tastula's classes. I couldn't even catch Elena when I lived in New York. Now she's in my bedroom (sweet).

There is a flip side, though. Because you can do yoga at literally any time, it can increase a tendency to put it off. Studios offer discipline by getting you to that 7pm class. But if you've already got the discipline, or you just can't make it to class, YogaGlo is your spot.

YogaGlo did not pay me to write this review. I'm just this much of a dork.