Category Archives: Stories

The Best of Ted Talks

S.C. Barrus, S. Cody Barrus, Away and AwaySo here are a few of the best Ted Talks from recent memory.  If you haven’t seen Ted Talks before, make sure you check out their site because it is the best site on the internet (if you disagree, show me one better).  It is essentially videos of experts in their fields talking about what is important to them, be it culture, oceanography, education, music, arts, etc.  So, here it is, my personal top five Ted Talks (which I have seen, and not yet covered):

5. Nigel Marsh: How to Make Work-Life Balance Work

Work-life balance, says Nigel Marsh, is too important to be left in the hands of your employer. At TEDxSydney, Marsh lays out an ideal day balanced between family time, personal time and productivity — and offers some stirring encouragement to make it happen.

4. Amber Case: We Are All Cyborgs Now

Technology is evolving us, says Amber Case, as we become a screen-staring, button-clicking new version of homo sapiens. We now rely on “external brains” (cell phones and computers) to communicate, remember, even live out secondary lives. But will these machines ultimately connect or conquer us? Case offers surprising insight into our cyborg selves.

3. Martin Jacques: Understanding the Rise of China

Speaking at a TED Salon in London, economist Martin Jacques asks: How do we in the West make sense of China and its phenomenal rise? The author of “When China Rules the World,” he examines why the West often puzzles over the growing power of the Chinese economy, and offers three building blocks for understanding what China is and will become.

2. Dan Barber: How I Fell in Love With a Fish

Chef Dan Barber squares off with a dilemma facing many chefs today: how to keep fish on the menu. With impeccable research and deadpan humor, he chronicles his pursuit of a sustainable fish he could love, and the foodie’s honeymoon he’s enjoyed since discovering an outrageously delicious fish raised using a revolutionary farming method in Spain.

1. Sylvia Earle’s TED Prize Wish to Protect Our Oceans

Legendary ocean researcher Sylvia Earle shares astonishing images of the ocean — and shocking stats about its rapid decline — as she makes her TED Prize wish: that we will join her in protecting the vital blue heart of the planet.

Farewell from S.C.B.

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Issaquah Coffee Company Event Coverage

S.C. Barrus at the Issaquah Coffee CompanyI finally, after running two virus scans, a registry cleaner and defraging my computer, got my computer running properly once again.  So, I fixed the errors I had with the video I uploaded, as well as finished uploading clips from the event at the Issaquah Coffee Company.

Once again, thank you to everyone who showed up, and especially to those of you who bought a book.    If you want a copy and you know me personally, just let me know and I’ll give you a copy for $10 (sorry, no discounts, they’re expensive to make).  If you don’t know me, be sure to come by my next book reading event or seek me out on the streets of Seattle or Issaquah because they are not going on sale on line, not for a good long while anyway.  Right now I have a batch of 20 printed, many of them sold, and inside the front cover it is labeled “1st printing”.  Next batch I order will be a batch of rougly 100 and labeled “2nd printing”, and so on, so if you are planning to be a fan for the long haul, be sure to get your hands on an early copy, they might just be a collectors item some day (that’s the plan anyway).  Call me, hunt me down, stop me on the street, look for me at The Issaquah Coffee Company, at Round Table Pizza (for now anyway), just don’t try to get it online or through comments, cause you wont get it.  You can try emailing me, but it wont go through the mail (unless you have a great website, such as The Last Chance Texaco.  Read his story.).

Anyway, below are the videos of me reading excerpts from The Island and the Sea, and Everything Else by the Wayside. The short story “The Hanging Gardens” (which is in the running for the best prose piece of the Bricollege Magazing, I’ll let you know if it makes it when I know) is not here because the camera died midway through the filming of it.  There are also Photos of the event if you scroll way down to the bottom, all of them taken by my lovely wife, Tana, who did a great job capturing the atmosphere of the show.

The Island and the Sea: Part One

The Island and the Seat: Part Two

Guest Musician – Valeri Lopez

Guest Musicians – Jason Barrus and Ian Christensen

Everything Else by the Wayside: Part One

Everything Else by the Wayside: Part Two

Photos – The Night Before

Photos – The Night Of


Thank you Ryan and those of you at the Issaquah Coffee Company for letting me put this on.  Jason Barrus, Ian Christonson, and Valeri Lopez for playing great tunes.  Thank you Steve and Angela Barrus for help financing the printing of the book.  Stuart and Brit Heath, Bret and Shirley Heath, they know what they did.   Thanks Chad Riddout for the camera, Markus Harris for the Cord, Kyle Winkle for the Mic, Sarah Cox for picking up the Mic, and everyone who showed up to listen to me talk for an hour and a half.

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TODAY!!! S.C. Barrus Book Reading at The Issaquah Coffee Company

S.C. Barrus at the Issaquah Coffee Company

TODAY!!! Special Guest's Jason Barrus and Valeri Lopez!

That’s right, TODAY at The Issaquah Coffee Company 5PM, I will be reading excerpts from both of my novel’s in progress and a short story.  We will begin with some adventure in the novel The Island and The Sea. Next a taste of my work in progress of the last three years, Everything Else By The Wayside. Finally, we will end with my short story “The Hanging Gardens”, a folktale.  A few songs will be played before the reading, as well as a song between each story.  It should be a fun time, so be sure to come.

Farewell from S.C.B.

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A Quote by Stephen Colbert

“Don’t be afraid to be a fool. Remember, you cannot be both young and wise. Young people who pretend to be wise to the ways of the world are mostly just cynics. Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us. Cynics always say no. But saying yes begins things. Saying yes is how things grow. Saying yes leads to knowledge. “Yes” is for young people. So for as long as you have the strength to, say yes.”

Stephen Colbert, via Dave

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Ted Talks: Writers

Ted Logo

S.C. Barrus, S. Cody Barrus, Away and AwayLast week I highlighted a few musicians from Ted, my favorite web site on all of the internet, if you haven’t yet checked it out, be sure to.  Just watching one video from Ted a day will make you more educated, informed, cultured, and perhaps interesting in casual conversation.

Over the past week, I went back through some of my favorite ted talks by writers or about writing, and I have found the three best ones out there, one which was posted just this week.  These videos can be a bit long, so I’ll put them in order of length so that you can judge your time wisely.

This first video is of poet Suheir Hammad.  To describe the power of this video, allow me to share this brief anecdote.  While watching Ted Talks, I’m often doing other things at the same time, such as cleaning or doing the dishes, menial tasks so I can stay focused on the speaker but be productive at the same time.  While listening to Suheir Hammad, I literally stopped in my tracks because it took my breath away.  It was the feeling that you get when someone describes something perfectly that you’ve been feeling but were unable to articulate.  This video is special, heart breaking, and hopeful, all at once.  Don’t miss it.

This video is of the writer Elizabeth Gilbert, whom I have never read but I probably should.  She discusses the phenomenal success she achieved early in her career, and the stress involved in living up to that success.  She also discusses the idea of a genius in the ancient sense, which is facinating.

And last we have J.K Rowling talking about failure.  Ironic, I know, she having written the world wide movement that is Harry Potter.  For those of you who love her, this video will inspire you, she feels very down to earth and she goes into her past, back before she had more money than the Queen of England.  For those of you who don’t like her writing, I still suggest you listen.  She only discusses Harry Potter minimally, and her life before he success is fascinating.

Farewell from S.C.B.

 

Related Posts: Ted Talks: MusiciansBOTM: A Scanner Darkly, Live Reading by S.C. Barrus

 

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Ted Talks: Musicians

Let me preface this post by saying, if you have never been to Ted.com, what the hell are you doing here?  Go, now!  Ted is my favorite website on all of the internet, my home page when I open my browser, and there’s good reason for it.  Ted is nothing but videos of brilliant, passionate people talking about the things they love, be it science, education, research, music or literature.  If you’re up for it, here is a goal for you for the next week (I’m going to do it too): start your days off by watching just one video from Ted.  That’s it.  You will get smarter, you’ll become more cultured, more educated, and more entertained.

So, here in this post, I’ve decided to gather videos of many of my favorite ted musicians, and in future posts, I will gather a few of my favorite artists and writers, so be sure to check back for that.  Hope you enjoy yourself.

Music:

First we have Jake Shimabukuro who tries to convince us that “what the world needs now is ukulele” by playing Bohemian Rhapsody.

http://ted.com/talks/view/id/1063

Next we have one of my favorite live musicians, Andrew Bird.  I mention live, because he uses a loop machine, which is fascinating to watch when used well by a talented musician, which he is, and he does.  Here we have three live songs and stories around them.  And believe me when I say, watching him run around stage picking up different instruments and whistling is supremely entertaining.

Now we are sliding closer to story telling as we have Robert Gupta, professional violinist and eloquent speaker.  He speaks of music as medicine, which it most certainly is.  He speaks of music as the catalyst which restores sanity, particularly the paranoid schizophrenic “charming, rugged, homeless” Nathanial Anthony Airs.

Now, there are many more musicians on Ted.com, most of them excellent.  If you find one you particularly like, be sure to share the link in the comments section below.  And, discussion on music ensue in 3,2,1….

TTFN

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Books Should Be Free

If you have not yet found the website Books Should Be Free, especially if your short on pocket change these days, be sure you follow the link and check it out.  Essentially the title of the site speaks for itself, unlike the website you are currently visiting.  Books, after a certain amount of time, enter the public domain (they are owned by everybody, including you), which is how big publishers sell super cheap copies of these books at book stores, no royalties.  Why pay for something you already own?

That is were Books Should Be Free comes in.  Volunteers record themselves reading these books and give away the recordings.  Because it is all volunteers, and because there is no real filter for talent, the quality of these audio books varies from professional quality and perfect annunciation, to grainy audio of a kid who breaths with a wheeze.  However, by an large, I have had great luck on this site.

Books I have listened to for free include:


Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. A great book and a very good narration done by a single narrator which helps with continuity.

Treasure Island also by Robert Louis Stevenson. The quality varied from chapter to chapter, as each was read by a different narrator, my favorite appearing several times.

Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche. Good quality if I remember correctly, but a difficult book to digest in audio format.

The Art of War by SUN TZU. Great quality, easy listen, surprisingly applicable to modern day living if you can think of it as a parable.  Its only an hour and a half long, and then you can say, “Yeah, I read The Art of War.”Collected Public Domain Works of H. P. Lovecraft, The by H. P. Lovecraft

The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells. Good enough quality, interesting story, never finished it because my stereo was stolen before I had a chance.

The Collected Public Domain Works of H. P. Lovecraft by H.P. Lovecraft.  While I only listened to a couple of these before my stereo was stolen, what I heard was spot on considering the subject matter.

These are only a fraction of the books you can get for free.  I personally downloaded all the Sherlock Holmes stories, as well as Swiss Family Robinson, White Fang, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and many, many more.  Hope you find some cool titles there.  If you happen upon an excellent recording, be sure to comment.

TTFN


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