100 pieces of advice/NEAT/Jury Duty

Recomendo - issue #372

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100 pieces of advice

I love reading people’s collections of advice and have recommended many of them in Recomendo. Here’s a list called 100 Things I Know, by writer and artist Mari Andrew. 


  • If you’re in an argument that’s going in circles, suggest switching roles: “I make your point, and you make mine.” It helps with empathy, yes, but also brings humor and levity to a strained situation.
  • If you’re stuck in a place or situation you hate, see what you can do there for others. I learned this through experience: When I hated working at a law firm, I’d think of ways to brighten my co-workers’ days. When I hated living in [City Name Redacted], I signed up to teach ESL lessons.
  • If you never learned how to dance at parties/weddings/clubs, you can teach yourself by watching videos of Motown and girl groups of the 60s. The songs are slow and the moves are simple enough to follow along to. You’ll get the rhythm and the basics down, then it’s easy to start embellishing with your own style. I identify as a good dancer, and I learned everything I know from spending a summer watching live performances of The Supremes.

— MF

Easy ways to expend energy

I recently learned the concept of Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)  which refers to energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating or sports-like exercise. I’ve always been aware of it, I just never knew the name for it and since I’ve learned what NEAT is, I started finding opportunities to go out of my way to “move” more. This NPR article outlines the science behind it and all the benefits. It’s not a substitute for exercise but it is the most accessible and practical way to increase physical activity. Examples of NEAT includes using a standing desk, walking to work or parking far away from buildings, cleaning the house, or fidgeting while sitting down. — CD 

Real-life Truman Show

For laughs and for a sweet time watch a real-life Truman Show, the 8-part series Jury Duty on Amazon. Our unsuspecting hero is serving on a fake jury, where everyone else – judge, lawyers, witnesses, clerks and other jurors – are all actors.  Every one of the hundreds of people surrounding him are in on the fiction, except him. The level of deceit is epic. They conspire to keep comedic things happening every hour, but all the while our hero keeps doing the right things. He turns out to be a perfect juror, and as you go through the entire trial you also get a good lesson about the American jury system. The humor is honest, one surprise after another. — KK

Happy hotline 

PEPTOC HOTLINE is probably the cutest hotline to ever exist. It offers prerecorded life advice and pep talks from K-6th elementary school students from Healdsburg, California. The phone number is a local US number 707-8PEPTOC. Press number: 1 if you’re frustrated, 2 for life advice, 4 for children laughing with delight and 6 for how awesome you look. My favorite advice I heard from a young student was: “If you’re feeling hurt just take a sip of water. If you’re feeling bad and deflated just go somewhere and do what you like best — it reinflates you.” I heard about this in the the Creative Mornings newsletter and am just passing on the cheer. — CD 

Always sharp pencils

It’s a small thing, but in my workshop and studio I use Paper Mate Sharpwriter mechanical pencils to mark and measure. They are cheap (35 cents), super lightweight, very finely precise, have a good eraser, and are forever sharp by simply rotating the end. They are cheap enough that I have them everywhere, and wouldn’t care if I lost one, but they are bright yellow and none of them have ever broken. I hear they are favored by students as well. — KK

Solid shelf

The Amazon Basics 5-Shelf Adjustable Heavy Duty Storage Shelving Unit was just what we needed to store kitchen appliances. It’s made from stainless steel, and plated with chrome, and is very sturdy. We just bought another one for our closet. Best of all, it was easy to assemble. — MF

Kevin Kelly, Mark Frauenfelder, Claudia Dawson


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