Its Life Jim But Not As We Know It- The Cool Tech Stuff Making ISO Easier

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

2020 has bought some surprises, and tech has never been more important. We peek at some of the tools, innovations and ideas that have showcased brilliant out of the box thinking in living, music and health. 

When we attended the Pausefest business festival in early 2020 guest speaker, Dom Price from Atlassian made some stunning predictions. The global whiz company make tools like Trello and Jira, along with customized collaboration platforms. 

So what did Dom Price, Atlassian work futurist predict? Well, he mentioned a new wave of productivity wasn’t too far away, with teams working from their homes instead of sterile office spaces with sharp efficiency. We all smiled and thought it too far out of reach. But it seems the future thinkers at Atlassian are touched with the golden gift of insight when the future came hurtling through the front door quicker than you can say Pandemic. In a new survey commissioned by Atlassian, 96 per cent of respondents stated that some or all of their employees have transitioned to working remotely due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

Along with the likes of Atlassian, some wonderful innovators are seeking to connect and improve people’s lives. Amongst them is Next Address. 

The real estate selling platform has been winning hearts now for a few years; Next Address is at its core in an exciting bid to place the power of buying and selling homes into the hands of the people.

Using next-level tech, the company founded by Julie O’Donohue has an extensive listing all over Australia thanks to their closely held secret marketing algorithm and sales results. However, it is their virtual tech systems that have rocketed into popularity since COVID hit. 

Julie says; “Virtual Technology creates powerful user interactions and social experiences, all with the goal to generate a positive impact.”

Cleverly named; the NextReality3D technology allows you to virtually walk through a house, conducting an inspection from your chair!

All the elements of the property are extracted using a smart tech camera and its pure genius. From isolation or interstate, people can inspect homes and get more of a real aspect of the property that you cannot achieve with photos or a clever promo video. Check it out for yourself here: https://nextaddress.com.au/property/15-cluny-road-armidale-nsw-2350-23296

Virtual tours – tick! Now, what about some Yoga or self-discovery? 

 

One very special place adapting their sails to the wind to extend help to others is the Rocklyn Ashram.

Settled in the beauty of Wombat State forest in Victoria, Rocklyn Ashram has been a sacred place for schools, VCE students, Backpackers, CEOS, Doctors, Nurses, Mothers, Fathers, Grandparents and Retirees for well over 4o year. Every walk of human has passed through those doors from around the world.

A traditional Ashram, it is a destination for global specialists, botanists and horticulturalists with the drawcard of simplicity away from the rat race. 

With COVID came restrictions on visitors to the Ashram seeking solace and retreat. The very forward-thinking Yoginis have recreated a whole variety of classes and lessons online using a combination of their platform, Facebook and Zoom; however, the home retreat via Zoom was the one that caught our eye.

With classes live streaming to homes all over the country, the retreat aims to help offer some stability and routine each day, a regularity and re-establishment of daily practice. If you are in isolation and seeking to glean some peace and self-exploration along with balance, this is a beautiful and affordable way to do so. 

With offerings of Yoga, Yoga Nidra, Meditation and Asana, there are 3-4 online classes a day along with guidance from instructors. Click here for more details. 

What about Music? The musical arts have certainly taken a hit with tours, performances and festivals being canned quicker than you can say BoyBand. 

However, in true form, many musos have risen to the occasion thinking outside the box to deliver music to their fans. Facebook live concerts, the ABC Sound series, Youtube and Instagram have become the new dance halls. However, there is one more delightful la tribune that has really amped things up; MIXLR. 

MIXLR kicked off in 2010 by Londoner Rob Watson. A live social platform, MIXLR users can push out their live audio feed. In other words; create your own radio station!

We are big fangs of Fangradio- Neil Finn’s MIXLR station. Sublime, personal and brilliant; Neils rendition of Prince’s classic When Dove’s Cry is on repeat in the Ponderings office (Heroes by Bowie is pretty bloody amazing too) 

Perhaps the charm comes from being able to watch while the Crowded House legend strums it out with the mic on the table cloth, notes and headphones, but I am guessing it is more than a hint of musical genius. You can use the playback feature or play live; the choice is yours. Check it out here: https://www.neilfinn.com/fangradio

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

Narnia, A Faraway Tree with a smidge of a Doc called Suess, and some Kahlil Gibran is the word charm that grew seeds in Kirsten Macdonald's imagination. She has an innate curiosity about the stories of "us" and a deep faith that is strongly supported by a dark sense of humour. Ask this wordsmith about anthropology, ancient religions, the curious nature of humanity and the incredible cuteness of sloths and you will have a conversation for hours. Writer, editor and researcher, Kirsten has developed Ponderings into a space that is now shared by a team and a shared vision that is infectiously positive and forged in good stuff.

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A Nibble on Philosophy and The Soul Part Four- Berkeley

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

Welcome to Part 4 of Ponderings Nibble on the Soul, an unashamedly reductionalist peekaboo at one of the greats: Berkeley.

George Berkeley was a priest of the Church of Ireland and one of the three most famous British Empiricists.  

Berkeley is best known for his early works on vision and metaphysics; a field of philosophy that is generally focused on how reality and the universe began.

In the Principles and the Three Dialogues Berkeley champions two metaphysical discourses: idealism (everything that exists either is a mind or needs a mind to exist) and immaterialism (matter does not exist). 

If we do not see a tree if we do not use a tree, then does the tree exist? Or if a tree falls in a forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Our perception of what a tree is gives it form according to George. 

Berkley’s argument that every physical object is actually a collection of ideas is reflected in his motto esse is percipi (to be is to be perceived). 

If ideas are understood to be objects of knowledge, then there must be something that “knows or perceives them, and operates them, remembering them and willing.” 

Berkeley calls this ‘mind’ or ‘spirit’. Minds (as knowers) are distinct from ideas (as things are known). For an idea, to be is to be perceived (known). Since this holds for ideas in general, it holds for “sensations or ideas imprinted on the sense” in particular. 

 This article, for example, doesn’t actually exist, it is a construction of your mind. 

According to George, there is something indeed behind the thinktank, driving it and helping it to create form. Ordinary objects are nothing but collections of ideas, he proposed, and there are only two kinds of things: spirits and ideas. Spirits are simple active beings producing and perceiving thoughts, ideas are passive beings which are created and perceived by spirits.

The truth is perfect and eternal, but cannot found in the world of matter, only through the mind. The world of matter is imperfect and constantly changing. 

If you smash a table to pieces, will it cease to exist? No, because the memory of it still exists in your mind so therefore it still exists in some way. The idea of it makes it so. 

Incredibly complex, George’s thinking was nothing short of a gold winning Gymnast defying the laws of gravity and walking tiptoe on the roof holding a powder puff as walking stick. He liked backgammon. Imagine playing Cluedo wih him? Yikes. 

 

Hmmm. 

 

References:

(An Essay towards a New Theory of Vision, 1709)

(A Treatise concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge, 1710; Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous, 1713). 

Berkeley, George | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. https://iep.utm.edu/berkeley/

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

Narnia, A Faraway Tree with a smidge of a Doc called Suess, and some Kahlil Gibran is the word charm that grew seeds in Kirsten Macdonald's imagination. She has an innate curiosity about the stories of "us" and a deep faith that is strongly supported by a dark sense of humour. Ask this wordsmith about anthropology, ancient religions, the curious nature of humanity and the incredible cuteness of sloths and you will have a conversation for hours. Writer, editor and researcher, Kirsten has developed Ponderings into a space that is now shared by a team and a shared vision that is infectiously positive and forged in good stuff.

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The Revolutionary Scar Treatments Helping Aussies

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

The introduction of new tech into mainstream clinics is making procedures for scar reduction more accessible. This is a welcome relief for many Australian’s with issues of scarring. 

According to the Cosmetic Physicians College of Australasia, Australians were spending more than 1 billion dollars a year on minimal or non-invasive cosmetic procedures. However, while people are choosing cosmetic procedures to enhance their physical features, it is scar reduction treatment that is presenting exciting treatment options. 

Dr Ian Holten, a prominent plastic surgeon, travels globally assisting with reconstructive surgeries, along with life-saving surgeries through his affiliation with volunteer doctor organisations. He says the psychological perspective of patients with scarring cannot be underestimated. As Dr. Holten has witnessed, the significant psychological impact of scarring is heavy.

According to a report on Cutaneous Scarring patients affected by major scars, particularly children, suffer from long-term functional and psychological problems. 

“The introduction of advancements in scar reduction means we can help people feel good about themselves. Scars can deeply impact a person’s confidence and their sense of wellbeing, causing anxiety and deeply impacting emotional trauma,” says Dr Holten. 

Those with scars undergo remodelling of their emotional state and are more prone to the development of depression and anxiety; feelings of shame and aggression can follow says a report by the University of Maryland- titled the Psychology of Scars.

“The reduction in downtime, more pain-free options and affordability makes procedures more accessible than before. The less trauma inflicted on the skin and the person, the better the outcome” says Holten.

Dr Holten and his extensive team of surgeons and clinicians offer services in skin checks and skin cancer, a very serious issue facing many Aussies. 

Skin cancer removal, acne scarring, unwanted tattoos and congenital skin discolouration and burns are examples of skin issues people are seeking help for. 

 

“We have seen some terrible cases of people who have had large and deep surface areas of their skin chopped out for skin cancer removal. Early detection of skin cancers can not only save lives but also reduce the heavy scarring associated with cancers needing surgical removal. This is all thanks to technology advancements” says Dr Holten. 

Early intervention and the introduction of treatments like Photodynamic therapy (PDT) means less scarring and earlier assistance. PDT is a light-based therapy targeted at pre-cancerous lesions, acne and rosacea or damaged and impaired skin cells. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a treatment that uses a specific wavelength of light, producing a form of oxygen that kills nearby cells. This is not to mention the help for early intervention in skin cancer, which accounts for around 80% of all newly diagnosed cancers in Australia. Likewise, the PICO laser treatment for tattoo removal and acne scar removal has revolutionised the way scars are treated.

The future is looking bright as we look to advancements, says Holten. 

Watch this space! 

 

For more information about Australian Skin Face Body Click Here

 

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

Narnia, A Faraway Tree with a smidge of a Doc called Suess, and some Kahlil Gibran is the word charm that grew seeds in Kirsten Macdonald's imagination. She has an innate curiosity about the stories of "us" and a deep faith that is strongly supported by a dark sense of humour. Ask this wordsmith about anthropology, ancient religions, the curious nature of humanity and the incredible cuteness of sloths and you will have a conversation for hours. Writer, editor and researcher, Kirsten has developed Ponderings into a space that is now shared by a team and a shared vision that is infectiously positive and forged in good stuff.

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15 Tips on How To Be A Good Digital Citizen in Business

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

If you are in business you most likely know how important it is to have a thriving digital presence, but what about internet etiquette and ethics? 

How we behave online greatly reflects our business but it can also flow through to our personal lives causing extreme stress and discomfort for workplace colleagues and reputation. 

How often have you heard horror stories about a brand’s customer service? Happens more than you think. Social media is the playground for human dynamics to play out, and like all playgrounds it isn’t always nice. 

Human behavior and reputation management go hand in hand, so it pays to know your audience well! 

 

Being a good digital citizen helps know who you are; and it also helps you to protect and maintain your integrity. This is as crucial as having a brick-and-mortar retail store in a prominent position, front and centre on the main street with wonderful foot traffic passing by and cleancut employees who know what to say, how to say it, and have etiquette oozing from their every action.

 

So how can one be a good digital citizen? How do you, as a business, use technology appropriately and responsibly—be it on social media, e-mails, or more?

1. Keep exchanges legal and legitimate.

2. Maintain a professional and courteous demeanor around the clock.

3. Maintain a positive tone and attitude.

4. Avoid poor spelling, punctuation, grammar, and be careful with your choice of words.

5. Keep in mind that while we are using a computer to converse, there are real people on the other end.

6. Always ensure you have permissions in place for images and reference where you get your information from! Just because its online, doesn’t mean you can take it without permission. 

7. Use phone calls when necessary to avoid mishaps in tone and assumptions. 

8. Avoid spammy over-promotion. Create content that is useful to customers and be authentic without being offensive!

9. Authenticity is the queen of making connections online, fake isn’t nice in real life and it doesn’t translate well online either! 

10. Don’t use marketing as a means to throw shade to competitors. Keep personal opinions out of it, you might think cats suck but your business place online is not the place to put it. 

11. Do not tolerate offensive, bigoted and derogatory remarks from people on your pages. Be very aware of who is posting and have some firm boundaries in place! Turn the notification settings on so you know when someone has commented or ensure the person looking after your social media is being alerted! 

12. Use negative commentary or reviews as an opportunity to show people how you respond to feedback. Polite, positive language helps and a commitment to show you are trying to solve the problem.

13. Deleting reviews are harder than ever and not clever. If people see you doing this they question your motives, so use it as an opportunity, they are always there. Prepare statements and keep them on file so you have a template of responses. Proactive is always the best policy! 

14. Everyone working for you visibly represents your business online and on social media. This is important to remember, whether they are actual employees, subcontractors, or brand ambassadors. Have a social media policy in place for your team! Never abuse, always engage wisdom and more importantly remember; if people have you showing up on their news feed you are a part of their day, so try and be the best part of it, not the mundane. 

15. Be inclusive, always. Use inclusive language and make sure diversification is a part of your brand. Give extra! 

Virtual impressions matter as much as in-person first impressions. Bad experiences can stay with a customer forever, losing you business. Creating a positive digital footprint can be done quite simply if you have the right tools and mindset. Being a good digital citizen in business is not necessary – it’s crucial. 

 

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

Narnia, A Faraway Tree with a smidge of a Doc called Suess, and some Kahlil Gibran is the word charm that grew seeds in Kirsten Macdonald's imagination. She has an innate curiosity about the stories of "us" and a deep faith that is strongly supported by a dark sense of humour. Ask this wordsmith about anthropology, ancient religions, the curious nature of humanity and the incredible cuteness of sloths and you will have a conversation for hours. Writer, editor and researcher, Kirsten has developed Ponderings into a space that is now shared by a team and a shared vision that is infectiously positive and forged in good stuff.

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Thinking Yourself Slim is Serious Science

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

Can you think yourself slim? According to groundbreaking therapist Julia Lorent, the answer is a resounding YES.

 

More than 12 million Australians are overweight according to the ABS, and surgeons operated on more than 22,000 people to help them lose weight from 2014 to 2015. Bariatric surgery is becoming more popular for people to shed kilos in Australia, however with many elective surgeries on hold due to COVID19 rules the operation is not as accessible. 

 

Julia Lorent, change expert and therapist- receives referrals from doctors around the country trying to assist patients and need help- urgently. 

 

The psychological impact of weight gain and loss and the urgent need for mind science to merge and complement surgical interventions is crucial, says Julia, the founder of Savvy Bariatrics

“Right now with people in Isolation our Zoom personal conferencing allows us to do the therapy for patients in their homes. Our new bariatric program helps to scaffold the process and set up patients for success with a multidisciplinary approach” says Lorent.

“The combination process targets different brain pathology, stimulating and strengthening neural connections. The results have been exciting for patients. Everyone has a unique mindset, so it is crucial to use finite targeting and profiling to help the patient. So when you recondition the mind and provide tools and support- you have a winning combination for the patient. It all starts with a conversation.”

“We shine a light on why the mind is triggering behaviours, then we retrain it, reform it and revitalise the patient” says ​Julia​.

The successful Melbourne based therapist says people are not getting psychological assistance, and the statistics combined with the growing referral rate is evidence enough- people are in crisis. “When people are in isolation they can become depressed, eating triggers can be reactivated and old habits can emerge, we really want people to reach out now more than ever.” 

 

For more information about Bariatric Surgery for the Mind Julia Lorent click here http://www.savvybariatrics.com

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

Narnia, A Faraway Tree with a smidge of a Doc called Suess, and some Kahlil Gibran is the word charm that grew seeds in Kirsten Macdonald's imagination. She has an innate curiosity about the stories of "us" and a deep faith that is strongly supported by a dark sense of humour. Ask this wordsmith about anthropology, ancient religions, the curious nature of humanity and the incredible cuteness of sloths and you will have a conversation for hours. Writer, editor and researcher, Kirsten has developed Ponderings into a space that is now shared by a team and a shared vision that is infectiously positive and forged in good stuff.

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Delicious Chaos – Interview with Clare Bowditch

Delicious Chaos Clare Bowditch Audio

by Ponderings Radio

https://ponderings.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Ponderings-Radio-ClareBowditch.mp3

Words by Kirsten Macdonald

On this planet, there appears to be an advanced species dexterously capable of left and right brain agility which is dangerously marvellous. David Attenborough missed the memo.

Delicious Chaos – Interview with Clare Bowditch

She comes with flaming hair, a voice teeming with talent, rich with humour and she’s a wordsmith and enjoys unusual cups of tea along with the joys of a backyard family jam. She’s an aficionado. Musician, actress, radio presenter, mamma, clever business human and an author…and there is more. But if we whisper ARIA win and Logie nomination, and add in the smattering of awards and deluge of really nice stuff people say about her- there is more than a little wow.  

We are not going to pretend to be cool here. We can’t. She’s thermal. 

Well versed in life experience, Clare Bowditch is a survivor and journeyer and now has more than enough ingredients to deliver a recipe of awakening.

Her new book Your Own Kind of Girl is the full menu of light and shade, this artist has wisdom to impart. The ‘be real’ memoir will no doubt be a refreshing insight to seekers of self-awareness, and it feels like a conversation. 

Treehouse or cubby house? Which one?

Treehouse for me. I wrote a song about it. I did have a treehouse as a kid. But I once read a book by Italo Calvino called The Baron in the Trees in my early 20’s and it was one of the books that inspired a song I wrote called “On this side”- and I also went to a school that had a classroom built into a tree. 

What is your perfect day?

It’s a very simple day. In a perfect day, all my washing is done. I collect herbs from my garden, everyone brings a plate. We get to sing together, and the kids really want to be there. On a perfect day- this is more exciting to them than tech, playing minecraft. My favourite days are always the multigenerational ones, and we might go for an ocean swim if the weather is nice. 

Where is your favourite place to shwalk?

“Shwalking” A term Bowditch coined to name an inclusive style of exercise: that combo of walking and shuffling that is not quite running but feels wonderful).

Anywhere there is a body of water nearby. St Kilda beach. You never know what you will see. 

What is your spirit animal?

The little girl sitting in her bathers on the cover of my book full of chutzpah. Master of guinea pigs…

My fave song of yours is “You look so good,” then when I read the chapter Amazing Life- I had an ‘aha second.’ It got me thinking that this workplace was THE specific cubicle and I have to ask- was it one and the same and what exactly was it that you wanted to touch? 

Hmmm, call centre, character maybe partly me? Mostly or partly fiction. I can tell you it was not the telephone I wanted to touch!

Do you think being a song-writer helped you when it came to writing the book?

For a long time, I didn’t really know how to express my emotions or how to give words to them. I had lots of feelings as a kid, and I thought that the trick was to learn not to speak them. I tried a few alternative routes, and I discovered as young adults, it’s actually a really handy skill to have.

This is one of the gifts of going to therapists and having writers like Stephanie Dowry, Caroline Jones and Dr Claire Weekes in Australia.

These are great women who taught me through their books how to speak about emotions. So this, combined with the love of making music, was a good training ground in a way for writing Your Own Kind Of Girl.

But, I think you can hide behind songs in a way that’s not possible in the writing of a memoir. So there were some really quite difficult growing pains with allowing myself to tell my story in so much detail but we did get there. I am seeing the value of it now.

Most intriguing person you have ever met?

The person I am with at the time, I genuinely believe we are all pretty bloody intriguing at our core. 

Who would you invite to your pool party?

(no hesitation-) Lizzo! I love her! Ohhhh more than one? Hmm, Ru Paul. Friends with opinions. Clem Ford, Zoe Foster Blake, and Jamila Rizvi- there are lots of people I would love to have; my family! Comedy side, someone like Will Anderson, writer; John Marsden. Actually, you know what? I’m more likely to invite anyone who wanted to come! Circa 1999! 

Piece of advice for people trying to make it as an artist and earn a quid?

Work out who you admire or who you are jealous of. Then really look at how cleverly they have worked. Forget the guilt about making money- give yourself permission to succeed and make money as well as do the project.

Learn from those that have been successful. Keep a lean ship- it will work out. When I started, I was teaching music lessons, working in a community house- you just have to start and get out there.

What lead you to write the book?

I had a nervous breakdown at the age of 21, which is the story I tell in the book. It gave me great hope that if I did recover from my nervous breakdown, I would one day write a story about it. I said I wasn’t going to write it until I was really old, but I would write it one day.

So it was with the hope and a promise but not the pressure that I would write it when I was in a better place. Thankfully I did learn how to recover and learn how to maintain my mental health. That was a great skill to learn, particularly in the industry that I am in. That’s one of the stories that I tell in my book as well as the love story.

(PS- We love the love the story- sigh) 

What’s been your favourite bit so far with the release of this book and going on the book tour?

By far, the best part- I was working on a hunch. I suspected that there were other people out there who needed this story the same way that I once did. It’s a story about living with and learning to work with self-doubt.

There’s nothing that triggers self-doubt louder than saying you’re going to write a book about it. It’s been quite a difficult few years getting to this point. So that’s really satisfying.

“I was on a flight, and when the pilot was preparing us for landing he announced that if anyone was looking for a bit of summer reading the author Clare Bowditch had written a book which he just bought in the bookshop and that I was onboard and I would sign books if they asked really nicely.

I just thought that was so funny. I pinched myself. What’s in this wine? You know he was this lovely Brittish guy.

That was bizarre and lovely. He bought the book for his wife- he had no idea who I was and I had no idea who he was- it was a lovely exchange.”

Have you found the book tour part of the process, fun but rigorous? 

It’s just always a surprise and an honour to connect with people. But I am effectively strongest when I am on domestic duties. That’s how I restore so I think it’s probably time for a bit of restorative pottering. It’s really the art of pottering that makes me come back to my centre.

What is your favourite tea?

I have a very special favourite tea. It is a tea that I inherited from my Godmother Rita. It is a fresh pot of tea. It is looseleaf. It is half earl grey, half English breakfast. I know, right?

You realise we’ll be trying this tomorrow?

It’s a strong tea with a good dollop of milk, and when I’m feeling a little crazy I add in another little trick my friend Kim taught me once- I add a knob of ginger. I know it sounds weird, but I’m tellin’ ya, it’s top quality.

What’s next?

Well next I’m actually going to do some pretty serious summer self-care I think. Lots of swimming. In terms of projects, I am finishing an album. I’m also doing a couple of special projects for Audible that will be released next year. But for now, I’m going to spend the summer decompressing.

In the film clip for ‘You make me happy’- you are messing everything up.

From a creative perspective do you sometimes think when things become stagnant or aren’t moving or not- in-flow, there is a restlessness that can happen where you create a little bit of subconscious havoc? Is that where creative juices flow from when things are too still? 

I think that life, as it has presented itself to me, has always offered this chance for chaos. I did ask a set of questions actually in that album: The Winter I Chose Happiness: can we be peaceful, creative moon units and still be productive in our work? So I tried to slow down my life and find this equilibrium that I heard existed and you know it’s beyond me, I couldn’t. 

So I embrace now that delicious chaos of this full dance card of parenthood, animals, creativity and making our living that has some meaning in the world. So I think I understand that restlessness very much. I do think it’s actually just a pretty normal part of the process of living as a human being. We get to choose as creatives what we do with that restlessness which is a great gift- the feeling, the calling to be creative.

Oh my goodness that is the best answer I have ever heard.

(Kate: I think we just wrote a song!)

Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you?

Just that I really appreciate what you are doing and I think this conversation is worth having, and I wish them all, and you, great courage. Don’t forget to tell your inner critic to eff off if it gets in the way- get on with what you are called to do.

Clare’s book is a best seller and can be found at all great bookstores (including airport lounges).