Take a second to think about what your name actually means to you.  What does it mean to people who know you? What does it mean to the world?

Just the other day, a colleague pointed out to me that, “if you Google Patrick Halligan, the top results are about a kid who committed suicide.” I replied immediately, “yes I know” and the familiar image of Ryan Patrick Halligan came to memory.

Here is what you see: post_suicide_namesearchPic

Ryan Patrick Halligan committed suicide in 2003, electing to hang himself as the result of severe bullying while his father was out of town.  His suicide brought a lot of needed media attention to issues like cyberbullying and the reality that the internet can be a dangerous place, especially for our youth.  The impact was rather profound. His Father, John Halligan, an IBM employee, was even able to inspire IBM to launch an initiative known as iSafe to educate youth regarding internet safety. Following the tragedy, his parents appeared on several news programs telling their son’s devastating story.


All of this information was heavily indexed in association with the keywords “Patrick Halligan.” And now, if you simply search “Patrick Halligan” you will be introduced to Ryan’s Story.

I thought a lot about the conversation, more than I had in past instances, and decided to dig a little deeper into the life of this kid who I share part of a name with, and who would be the same age as me if he were alive today. –I also wonder if we are of any direct relation–

The thought that I cannot shake has to do with the impact of our lives and how the internet acts as almost a gauge of our impact on society.  The more attention you get, the more content that will be produced and therefore indexed by search engines like Google and Bing.  I asked myself, what would it mean or will it mean if and or when a search for Patrick Halligan returns content about me, as the first result on an engine like Google as opposed to Ryan?  Will that mean that what I have done, good or bad, had a larger impact on the internet than Ryan Patrick Halligan’s devistating story? Certainly, right? How important is the internet in determining how important we and our lives are to the world? It could be the single most important thing.

What would it mean if someone searched for information about Ryan Patrick Halligan and content about Patrick Halligan, me, came up first? How would Ryan’s family feel if that happened to them?

Just something I have been thinking about……….


They say that if you are not grateful for what you have today, you surely will  not be grateful for what you get tomorrow. I began to think about that more and more and jumped on the gratitude journal band wagon.

I thought it might be a good idea to put my gratitude journal entry for today up on the blog. A little exercise in putting myself “out there” more than normal.


June 21, 2016-

I am grateful that yesterday, I had the opportunity to celebrate my birthday with some of the amazing people in my life.  I am grateful that I am in a position where I can take the time to fully enjoy such a day. I am also grateful that I feel particularly energized today as I have begun the start of my own personal new year.  I am beyond grateful that I have lived 26 amazing years. –one of the sad realities of life that no one really talks about is that we will lose friends and family along the journey at any given moment and often without warning– People we love will die and it will not make sense.  I think about everyone that I know who has passed away, almost daily, and constantly remind myself to be grateful for another day. I was especially grateful on my birthday…..


Side Note: As there are no guarantees in terms of tomorrow, I find myself being more grateful of experiences in the present moment. While I can not sustainably “live each day as if it were my last” I intentionally do try to enjoy various aspects of my day that I would often take for granted.  One of them is to eat a wonderful meal each and everyday.  A daily, “Last meal” if you will.  Another is to truly try and learn something new.  If you check out, its probably nice to say that on your last day, you ate a great meal and were a little bit smarter than you were the day before.

Thanks for reading 🙂



Religion. It is a topic of discussion that I have intentionally stayed away from with this blog as I was not entirely sure as to how to address it.  I feel the need to express my views on it and here it is with sincere honesty . I ask that you refrain from judgement of myself or my intentions if the opinions in this post offend you. That is not the purpose. I also invite discussion and respectful criticisms,  Additionally, as always, I thank you for reading!


I was raised in a rather traditional Roman Catholic Church environment (depending on which state we were living in, we typically found a “traditional” church) and my parents made the conscious effort to expose me to religion, but allowed me the space to make my own decisions regarding my faith. –I am grateful to them for their approach– From Baptism (of which I was consistently reminded of the significance of the foundational Sacrament) through First Communion and making my Confirmation, I can say that I was at my most “religious” self at some point around my Confirmation. My “faith” in God and embracement of Catholicism was at its strongest point.

In absolute honesty, I must say that since that point, even having gone to a Jesuit University (prior to that point as well), I have grown significantly more secular year by year.  Its not that I do not believe in God or a “God” of some sort, but I can say that I have lost faith in the concept of “church” in all the various forms of which I have been exposed to. After much thought and self-reflection, I have finally concluded that it is a matter of sustainability and the negative effect it has on the global effort to bring the human race together. Bold statement I know!


My reasoning: Religion in general, conflicts heavily with how I digest the reality of the problems of the world. At the core, having blind faith that a benevolent God maintains a plan that I should have absolute faith in goes against every single fiber of my logical self and only directs my attention to the dangers of the profession of blind faith in anything.  This is exacerbated when you consider that organized religions do not have the capacity to endure proposed truths being challenged. When this happens, Religious Orders either evolve doctrine which delegitimize the very nature of a religious organization’s purpose (isn’t the info coming from “God” who is all knowing and is the supreme being? That is the sell right?). As an example, most traditional churches reject homosexuality, therefore alienating homosexuals from the “Church” as well as our often religious society. But, as more people challenge this “truth” Religion suffers a blow to its doctrine and becomes even more delegitimized. Additionally when toxic “truths” go unchallenged they are simply another means of driving people apart and sustaining divide. How can we logically expect vulnerable humans who are taught to have absolute faith in their God, to get along, if their respective Gods have conflicting views?  You cannot.  Its unsustainable as it cannot endure.  In fact, its downright dangerous.  Additionally, in my life and my religion, even the most “religious” people whom I know, do not adhere to the teachings of their church making them walking contradictions who use religion and a particular faith to rationalize their lives.  In my experiences, the stronger someone’s faith, the more they rationalize life as some “it was meant to be” reality (or delusion -not trying to sound condescending-).  This same thought process can also be very dangerous because people often sacrifice accountability for their actions and or become disengaged with the reality of how they impact those and the world around them.  This is most likely because there is indeed much we can cannot explain, and a “God”, no matter how complex within, gives us a generally simple explanation for the culprit behind the “unexplainable”; the ultimate unknown, which lies at the core of religion and the knowledge of, we desire the most.


So, with that said, I am not denouncing or criticizing a belief in “God” as much as I am addressing my views towards organized religion and religion in general. Its simply not sustainable and is very much at the core of many of the World’s conflicts and problems. As long as religion exists, people will do anything and everything in the name of it and no single person can truly prove that they are right or wrong in anyone’s actions.  Conviction in something that cannot be proven and is often, solely based on the interpretation of another human, which is not logical nor sustainable as long as we maintain vast differences in those convictions.

In closing, in my effort to be more understanding of the people of the world, and in a quest to be a more sustainable me, I am officially abandoning any and all of my traditional religious views.  I will maintain my own unique, spiritual, “higher being” concept that will never be used to rationalize my behavior and actions, but to be a constant reminder that we live in a great world where unfortunately bad things do happen. With that said, I will not refrain from entering within the walls of organized religions and I will even maintain deep respect for the Catholic Tradition that is very much a part of who I am. I will just do so knowing the limits and potential for harm to those who are not aware. That is all.



shareable.net Cross

–This has been in the works for way too long!– I want you to rethink the concept of sharing, through an interview with sharing evangelist, Neal Gorenflo. Neal is a Corporate America dropout who has established himself as an expert in sharing.  The shortlist for Neal’s credentials includes: His expertise has been featured on NBC Nightly News, Fast Company and the Today Show.  He has spoken at tech conferences such as South By SouthWest, and he has consulted for Stanford University, Loews Home Improvement and many different startups. Last, but certainly not least, he is the co-editor of Share or Die: Voices of The Get Lost Generation in the Age of Crisis as well as Policies for Shareable Cities, both of which I fully recommend that everyone check out!  Mr. Gorenflo is a true pioneer for the sharing of information that can make our lives easier and allow us to be happier people in a happier society.  As a vehicle for his mission, Neal Co-founded Shareable.net, an amazing resource that encapsulates how sharing can change the world for the better.   I have had the wonderful opportunity to speak with and collaborate with him over the past 2 years.  I also had the chance to sit down with him at a little cafe in Palo Alto last summer to really get an understanding of his mission and why he has dedicated his life to getting us to share more. Recently, Neal kindly agreed to participate in this short interview and I am very grateful for the opportunity to publish it.  Enjoy!


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Here are 5 gems that I found over the last few weeks. Leave any reviews in the comments!

1: Want to Be Smarter?

Check out 17 Small Things To Do Every Day To Be Much Smarter over at LifeHack

2: The Olio Smartwatch

This watch was apparently designed by engineers and designers from both Nasa and Pixar

3: The Catoctin Creek Distillery

If you have never heard of these guys, and you love booze, check them out! A solar power distillery located just outside of DC!


4: Check Out Peter’s Laws by Peter Diamandis

5: Fun Sustainability Lesson

Play “The Fish Game” and get a quick lesson on sustainability!

Its Sunday!  Trying a new thing where I post any ideas/thoughts and or resources acquired over the last week.  I usually do this in a word doc for myself but this way I can share it as well as have a chronological set of resources to look back on.

Physical Diet: 

I have been putting the low-carb high protein diet to the test!   In doing so, I modified/adapted various takes on a keto/paleo, low-carb diets that fit my palate and lifestyle.  I had a more extensive than usual physical done the week before and received the results at the beginning of last week.  Key notes: I lost 16 true pounds in the last 25 days.  I had blood work done but the results are more of a base as opposed to a reflection of the change in eating as I just started.  I will be getting blood work every few months to monitor and will update the results.

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Lets make kombucha the easy way! 

The purpose of this post is to show you how to make kombucha from growing your own SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) or “mother”  (you must have a healthy SCOBY to make kombucha) to bottling and drinking your first batch.

Background: Of late, I have been rather manic with regards to probiotics and building healthy gut flora. Your gut is responsible for nutrient absorption and a poor gut environment can mean malnutrition along with other health concerns.  Some call your gut your “second brain” and its extremely important to make sure that it is as healthy  as possible.  In doing so, as part of my daily routine, I take a probiotic (pill form) as well as eat the typical “active culture” dense foods such as yogurt and kefir.  My quest to have the healthiest food digesting, nutrient absorbing, microbiota phenomenon of a gut has also involved a ton of other probiotic foods.  These typically consist of fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi and drinks like…..KOMBUCHA (fermented tea) which help to create an “ideal” community of bacteria in the gut.  Kombucha or “buch” as the connoisseurs  refer to it, is in my mind, the easiest and most convenient way to get a probiotic boost throughout the day.  I would typically purchase the GT’S brand of kombucha, from Whole Foods, which comes in several flavors.  They include original, gingerberry, mango, citrus, and some weird green flavor. Since I am also on a low–carb, slow–carb diet, I stick with the original or ginger flavor as they are both low in carbohydrates. With my daily purchase, I began to notice a little problem. Kombucha is EXPENSIVE! Like $4.00 a bottle and I was drinking almost 3 a day!  So what do we do? Make it ourselves!



What is Kombucha? Basically, it is fermented tea. If you try searching online, there are a ton of various ideas, concepts, complicated procedures and confusing ways to make this fantastic drink.  Here is the quick and easy way to do it at home.



  1. 1 liter mason jar (sterilized with boiling water)
  2. 5 bags of black tea (caffeinated)
  3. 1 cup of raw sugar
  4. 1 bottle of GT’S original Kombucha (usually carried at Whole Foods)
  5. Paper towels/coffee filter
  6. Rubber band

The first thing is to grow A SCOBY! (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast)

Step 1: Bring 4.5 cups of water to a boil and put in tea bags

Step 2: Add sugar and stir until completely dissolved.

Step 3: Let steep  for 20 minutes

Step 4: Let cool to room temperature.  This is very important as you do not want the tea to be to0 hot when you add the GT’S.  It will kill the live cultures and destroy your chances of growing a SCOBY.

Step 5: Once tea is at room temperature (usually 2-3 hours) poor in the entire contents of the Gts original kombucha

Step 5:  Secure a doubled up paper towel or a coffee filter around around the jar and place jar in a secure, warm place, out of direct sunlight.

FullSizeRenderStep 6: Let your Scoby grow!  This can take anywhere from two weeks to a month depending on the temperature of the room.  It is strongly advised to check the growth every few days to ensure healthy growth.  Watch out for any mold or strong odors/ indications of contamination or rotting.  The contents should have a vinegar smell and the presence of a gelatinous mass growing on top (or slightly suspended in the liquid). Your SCOBY will be ready once it is about a 1/4 of an inch thick.


Making Actual Kombucha:

Once your SCOBY is ready, making the actual Kombucha is pretty much the same process.  Make your liter of tea again the same way described above.  Once it has cooled to room temperature, poor in a cup of the Kombucha batch that you used to grow the SCOBY and then carefully transfer the SCOBY over. It is best to use a fresh rubber/latex glove as you do not want any contamination or outside bacteria to hurt your culture. Finally place the jar in a warm location away from any direct sunlight for 7-10 days. After about the 5th day, it is good to taste your Kombucha using the straw method so that you can achieve the desired flavor you are looking for.  The longer it ferments, the more tart it will become. You will also notice a new SCOBY growing on top. Make sure you transfer this over to your new batch to keep the process going.



Once your batch is at the desired flavor, it time to bottle. I like to bottle my finished kombucha in glass airlock bottles.  I think they look cool and they are perfect for this drink as they keep air out. You need to make a new batch of kombucha and transfer over your SCOBY.  Then, you simply funnel the contents into the new bottle leaving about a quarter of an inch of air at the top.  At this step, you can also infuse with ginger or any desired fruit.  After you have done this, let your freshly bottled kombucha set at room temperature for 2-3 more additional days to get some carbonation.  Then refrigerate and drink!!!

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions, leave a comment or shoot us an email at pmdproducts@gmail.com


If you are new to Kombucha, I definitely recommend GT’S for to try before you begin making your own!


Photo credit: JasonDGreat / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: JasonDGreat / Foter / CC BY

Zen and the Art of Everything. Writing a blog post? Designing the Macintosh computer (Steve Jobs reference)? Sure, why not! The idea for this post was concieved while sitting in dense DC traffic a few weeks back.  You may be familiar with the book, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” by Robert M. Pirsig. It is about a motorcycle trip that a father and son take and essentially uses motorcycle repair as a metaphor for the different facets of life.  For me, that day (like so many others), traffic was causing an enormous amount of stress.  In trying to eliminate that stress, I thought to myself comically,  ZEN AND THE ART OF SITTING IN TRAFFIC! I started laughing. How silly? I honestly have somewhat limited knowledge (trying to learn more) about actual Zen Buddhism (I did take a college course on Buddhism, but we were not exactly meditating).  Is there really a way to be calm and happy sitting in traffic? If the Buddha himself were in my car with me, would he be just as jolly and calm as he is often depicted, cruising at a cool 2 MPH while a chorus of asshole drivers lay on their horns in perfect harmony? Hard to believe but after all, he is the Buddha, right? In continuing this thought process, I began thinking about stress reduction in general as a way to prevent myself from becoming too stressed out about the things that I cannot change–  such as traffic. How? Cue to the Buddhist Monk who stoically and condescendingly mutters “mindfulness.” Read More →

stress playmobilEvery so often we are all due for physical and mental health checks and overall corrections.  In executing these “self-checks,” people tend to use calendar dates for balance or as a procrastination technique (the latter being the usual case). How often do you hear, “starting next week, I will start diet xyz?” As we all know, the empty promises for lifestyle changes and personal growth are most common before the New Year.  The point of this post is to drive home the idea that any given moment, on any given day, is the absolute best time to ensure that we are as physically and mentally healthy as we can possibly be. When it comes to our health and the health of those dependent on us, “it’s never to late to start” does not always ring true. It can be too late as far developing health issues or descending into an unhealthy mental state.

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A while back, we had a member of the community, Shahla Butler, raise some  project concerns regarding our “Bag Project.”  We are gearing up to launch another project and I wanted to provide responses to her concerns as a way to address any concerns that others might have.  Please find the exchange below:

Shahla Butler: I am NOT in the habit of parading my credentials; since in the normal course of Garden Club activities there is no reason to do so; but in this case, I feel that I ought to tell you that I have a Ph.D., in Chemistry, from one of the top schools in the field, namely the University of Chicago.  I only bring this up, so you do not write off my comments too swiftly.

There is no doubt that plastic bags are a scourge on the environment and all of us who care about the environment would like to do something meaningful to combat the pollution they are inflicting on the world.

However, I feel strongly that we should not impose another “Western Solution” on native people who have had perfectly good solutions for generations; if not millennia; as to what works in their communities and cultures.  Africans have been taking goods to market, bringing water to their village and transporting objects for millennia, without resorting to either plastic, or so called “reusable” bags.

Our Response: This is such an important point you bring up because we agree that many well meaning so called ‘charitable’ (and that word itself is a problem to me) projects in developing countries have been useless and often do not involve the local people in helping figure out a solution.

The bag project started in a rural village outside of Arusha, Tanzania and was developed by an American, Lori Robinson, and a local woman, Anna.

You are perfectly correct that the African people have used baskets for carrying things for years. Unfortunately when the ” western solution” of plastic bags came along, the basket became extinct. They are rarely seen now. You are probably aware that the plastic bags they use there are a smaller, thinner version of ours and thus they tear and shred and are useless after one use. The hope for the project long term was to clean up the trash, an immediate solution that involved an educational component of why plastic litter is harmful (they burn it, throw it to the wind, and mosquitoes breed in the puddles collected in the litter) and hopefully the art of basket weaving would be revived once the bags are no longer favored. In fact Tanzania banned them from being manufactured shortly after our project started.

Shahla Butler: TRANSPORTING objects in Africa is NOT the problem to be solved.  If plastic bags have become too popular it is presumably because they are cheap and easy to acquire.  Collecting harmful plastic, reducing its distribution, and educating the local population about its harmful effects is the problem that needs to be addressed!

Our Response: Yes, it was not the bags per say we were concerned about. It was how they were being disposed of. They tear and are left to shred in the environment. Also they are burned because there is no local garbage pick up. The toxins from burning the trash is known to be harmful.We continue to look for ways to recycle the litter into various things and in some areas that is happening. But generally the litter is so shredded and dirty that it is difficult to reuse it.

Shahla Butler: Unfortunately, the so called “reusable bags” have their OWN problems.  Not the least being that those that are made of petroleum products still emanate harmful vapors and, the plastics as well as those made of various clothes need to be laundered if they are to remain clean.  There is growing evidence that reusable bags that are in frequent touch with “groceries” and are not laundered are exposing people to harmful bacteria.  We would NOT be doing anyone a favor if we solve one problem by introducing another!!

Our Response: We are careful to ask for canvas totes and they are laundered. The canvas totes are loved by the women for all kinds of uses. They use them as purses, grocery totes, and children use them to carry things to and from school. They have also provided inspiration to women to make their own as canvas is a much available material there due to all the safari outfitters using it for their tents, vehicles, etc.

Shahla Butler: If the call to action in this case would be to donate $1 for every 20-30 bags collected, we would be happy to solicit, encourage and educate our Club members.  Given the nature of incentives for poor folks in Kenya (and other African countries) money may be an incentive to collect and dispose of harmful plastic bags.  However, exchanging an old problem with a new one,  at the cost  of bag (even if surplus) +$1 that does not go to recipient, but some transportation giant, and does not actually BENEFIT the recipient is not attractive. Neither is the thought of replacing today’s fashionable emergency with tomorrow’s.

Our Response: The plastic bags cost money for these women to buy and they are thrilled to have a tote. We have thought long and hard about using money instead but it felt demeaning. It is common for a thousand women to show up for each exchange and they are so excited to get the tote. Not only because it is practical and useful but it is something they are getting from someone in America. In America they are recycled. Target for instance had 2,000 beautiful new totes they were throwing out because they wanted a new design. We took those to Africa. There is a connection to the fact that we are all caring about each other and the environment.

The money collected with the totes goes to pay local people who are working with us to spread the word before a project, the coordinator on the ground for the project (people from America do not go to do the project ), to hire a truck to haul away the garbage, helpers the day of the project to load the garbage, and an interpreter to talk about litter, and to pay for extra luggage fees for travelers to Africa that we find and beg (:)) to carry the totes we have collected.  $1 a tote barely covers all of that.  There has never been any left over money. We are usually short of money.

We encourage everyone to share any additional project concerns that they have.  Should you wish to become involved at any point, please shoot an email over to patrick@livegreenbegreen.com.