Hate Politics: Why I Put a Hillary Sign in My Yard

6 November 2016 | talking about Random Thoughts

I usually don’t care too much about election outcomes. I believe we have an increasing range of tools that empower us to build sub-governments—and ask for forgiveness, not permission. When we can create change directly as private citizens the function of elected officials as representatives of our interests is less important. Although I look forward to a world in which we can make policy change via Twitter, that reality might be a long way off. So given my views about elections why did I decide to become a vocal Hillary supporter and put a sign in my yard? One word: HATE. The opposition to Hillary Clinton, President Obama, and the Democratic party has devolved beyond disagreement to breathtakingly vicious hate. Our history is checkered, but I believe that on the whole we are a country that stands up hate—not one the fosters it.

I have witnessed many whom I hold in high regard become enraged by Hillary. People who otherwise demonstrate good manners call Hillary the “C” word. These same people are equally enraged by President Obama and anyone who shares similar views. The election news bears witness to a torrent of lies and appalling acts of physical violence and intimidation. Despite their claims, these haters are not promoting American values. Supporters of Hillary and friends are neither exhibiting nor inciting the same level of rage. Outrage can be productive—rage cannot.

I know Hillary has done some questionable things, but her actions don’t merit much outrage. I’m not sure I have ever used the “C” word, but if I do it will be for a much more deserving person. As for President Obama, as far as I can tell he has run one of the cleanest presidencies ever, period. No scandals. Never a question of his ethics. And yet...

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Why I Did Not Answer Your Call

6 March 2011 | talking about Random Thoughts

Growing up there were really only 2 forms of non-face-to-face communication: land lines (phones), or snail mail (letters in the mail). You used either one of these forms of communication based on your particular needs. Dialogue that was time sensitive or required a lot of back and forth was done over the phone. Dialogue that was less time sensitive was done via snail mail. Both of these forms of communication, for the most part, were very controlled by the recipient. If I received a letter I controlled when I’d open it, and when I’d respond. There is nothing interrupting about a letter. On another note, in the days before cell phones, a phone call only interrupted a person who was near the telephone device. Back then, if you were at work all day you were not home to answer your phone. Likewise once you left work, your work phone would not be distracting to you.

Fast forward to today. The majority of communication is instant. An email shows up in my inbox instantly. A tweet, Facebook message, or IM all reach me instantly, and could reach me 24 hours a day. While all of these are instant in nature, one form of communication really stands out as distracting: The phone ringing in my pocket. All other forms of communication, I can choose to ignore until I am ready to respond, just like the snail mail letter. When it comes to the phone call, however, if I do not respond right then, the caller may leave a message, and I might call back at a time that is not good for that person, starting a loop, a “phone tag”.

The Distraction Called “The Cell Phone”

Let’s say I am sitting at my computer writing a blog post, like I am doing right this very second. I am deep in thought organizing all my thoughts and all of a sudden my phone rings. That switch in context from writing to saying “Hi how are you....” can be very expensive. Once I am done with my phone call it will take time to get back to were I was, sometimes never getting back into the groove I was in.

The gang at 37signals often talks about office interruptions, how in a traditional office your work day is just filled with 10 - 30 minute blocks of focus. In a traditional office, people are constantly distracting each other with the “tap on the shoulder”. With this model employees have to work late or very early in the morning to get any focus. Real work is often not done during the work day. The phone plays that part of “tap on the shoulder” for me. If I paid any attention to it ringing in my pocket I would be distracted breaking my day into blocks of focus instead of continued focus.

I have a habit of managing my time is the most productive and rewarding way I know how and answering the phone is not part of the equation.
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Music In Your Lives

2 March 2011 | talking about Random Thoughts

Music in our livesSo we all know her, or him but to tell a better story we will keep it to a “her”. The girl that stops everything when “her song” comes on the radio. The girl that will interrupt almost anything you are saying to sing at the top of her lungs whatever song is playing in the background. The girl that can not even drive a block in the car without putting in her favorite CD in the CD player and  dancing all the way to the next block. You know what I say to this girl, “Come one!!! Really?? Its one freaking block!!”.While I am wildly annoyed at the above mentioned person, I am starting to realize this behavior is something she can not control. I have spent my life being a computer geek / business man / engineer; a world of black and white, right or wrong, one or zero. This music thing is unexplainable. How can music be so consuming?

Don’t get me wrong. I really like music. I listen to music of all types. I have attempted to play many instruments in my life and have been known to sign a song or two after a few drinks, but never once have I felt so consumed that life has to stop. I am ashamed to say it, but for many years I felt it was inexcusable when a person was so consumed by music that life stopped and complete disregard for the person around them kicked in. Today I realized something. I was at an Eric Clapton concert and I saw the musicians on stage just moving their bodies as if they had no control. That same trance Michael Jackson was so famous for. Mind, body, and soul just taken over by the music. I realized that is the same consumption I have seen from my friends when just the right song happened to be played.

I am always on a quest to understand the world better. To learn from others. To really understand what makes others tick. The power music has to take over one’s being is beyond me and I may never learn to understand it, but I think I can learn to respect it.

Ok music lovers, let’s make a deal. I promise to attempt to understand when the sound of the music is just too strong and it takes you over interrupting me mid-sentence. I promise to support this uncontrollable urge you feel. I promise to continue to evolve and try to understand. All I ask in return is you do the same. Respect that not everyone around you loves the song that is playing. Not everyone around you is taken to that special trance. Most importantly not everyone wants to hear you sing the song at the top of your lungs. If I am ever going to respect music or any one particular song I need to enjoy the original artist, not your dubbed-over version.
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