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I spent yesterday afternoon attending TEDx Humboldt Bay and had a great time. The twenty-six talks, spread out between three one-hour sessions, covered a wide range of topics under the overall theme of “Outlaws.” In this case, outlaw covered anyone who might be operating outside society norms and expectations. In most cases being an outlaw was a good thing, but there were cases where it wasn’t too. Here’s a quick rundown of the talks I found the most compelling:

Rebecca Kimbel’s “Financing Polygamy” was a shocking look at the damages of polygamy, and is one of the examples where being the outlaw is wrong. The facts laid out about sell children and creating cults was disturbing, especially how much of it’s “allowed” under the guise of religious freedom.

Jasmine Allard talked about “Self Worth and Where to find It” was a timely discussion on what’s out in the world that can damage our self worth and how to make sure you work to build your self worth. Jasmine’s eighteen and it was great to here a teen so self-aware.

Mary Gelinas followed that up with “How We Talk Matters” that drove home the importance of learning how to interact with diverse groups so meaningful conversations can occur. With all going on in the world today, this is so important.

Spencer Ruelos is a gaymer (as in gay gamer) who offered “Embracing Your Outlaw, Transforming Our World” and offered up his own experience in gaming helped him come to grips with his own identity and the process of figuring out the meaning of his life.

Mike Dronkers told us all “How to Interview ‘Almost’ Anyone.” He had seven easy tips on how to interview anyone, even if you don’t know much about the person’s area of expertise.

Brain Smith along with his guest Julie Hayes showed us some “Socially Acceptable” communication through partner dancing. We got a bonus from him as well because he did some impromptu breakdance while his main audio was being fixed.

Tamarah Gehlen told us that we shouldn’t over “should’ve” ourselves in “Hanging up the Cape: Overcoming Superwoman Syndrome.” Granted, I’m not a woman, but I completely understand not beating yourself over “should’ve”… “I should’ve done <fill in blank>” is an evil phrase. It’s so critical to not overbook yourself, and even more critical to not feel quality about it, which is exactly what “should’ve” creates.

Ron Samuels, a local marimba maker, talked about his quest to make the perfect marimba in “It’s All About the Sound.” Speaking of Sound, we got an awesome miramba demonstration from world-class player Eriko Damio.

Betty Chin is someone I’ve heard about since I’ve been back in the area. She does amazing work to feed the homeless and her talk “Helping the Homeless” was a case study in being selfless and working to help those who are less fortunate than you. If we could all incorporate some of her ways into our own lives, the world would be a far better place.

Diana Totten closed out the afternoon with “Finding Yourself: A Tracker’s Guide,” which talked about how important it is to know yourself and to know your loved ones. Her journey, spurred on by her grandmother, helped her find that her identity was a woman rather than the man that she was born as. It was a moving and inspiring story. A perfect way to close out the program.

Each of these talks will eventually end up on YouTube and I’ll try to keep an eye out for them to share since each of these is amazing. You can learn more about the program, the speakers, and keep an eye out for video at