Category Archives: thinking better

LTE to Oregonian on cellphones

Dear Oregonian,

I read the article recently about the teacher who finds her students texting and her reaction to that experience. I gave up my cellphone 2 years ago and have hardly looked back. I first did it because I didn’t like the disruptions in my life – phone calls, texts, you know the drill.  While others have been stepping up more and more towards smart phones, I continue my distance. It’s interesting because I’m in the high-tech industry, have been for the past 15 years as a software tester and now a teacher of social media and email marketing. You’d think I’d be swimming in mobile technology – but I’m anything but! And I Love It!  

As a businessperson I do think it’s important to be available to all possible inputs out there – phone, text, email, social media (OK, perhaps not FAX).  I also enjoy LPs, Cassettes, CDs – yep!  But when it comes to mobile, I feel my unplugged life makes me a calmer person.  It makes me a less-distracted one – I’m becoming a better and better driver because my attention is improving rather than being scattered.  And, I think it’s even an advantage in business as when I’m talking to someone, they have my full attention – I am not about to be interrupted during our talk.  I never take a call, or interrupt something for something buzzing or ringing in my pocket or on the restaurant/café table (please don’t!, it’s a tech turd, actually!).

Yes, I can’t always be reached by people who I love. Yes, I miss out sometimes on last minute invitations or impromptu gatherings.  Yes, I’d love an app to do this or that.  But no app is going to plant garlic cloves. No app is going to stir a pot of chili.  No app is going to replace a hug – in fact, my sense is that apps increase the distance between us – taking our time with community and friends and focusing our attention elsewhere.  

Without mobile technology my life feels richer than it ever has. If you’ve never done a tech-fast before – give it a try. There are many great articles out there about how one works and their benefit. Who knows, maybe you’ll join me someday (unless you’re already there) and give up your cell, altogether.  You can do it.  You might even like it!

With gratitude,

Albert Kaufman

PS – see other writing I have done on this topic: Why I originally gave up my cellphone, and The Cellphone game 🙂

This just in from the NYT on 8.26.12 – get rid of the tension

Advertisements

If you’re packing for the playa, a couple quick reads

This one by Mark Morford of the San Fran Chronicle (I recommend subscribing to his weekly column…) is very good.  And then there’s this… for those staying at home, but a reminder to those going, too 🙂

From Aspen Madrone, goddess.  “As I feel you all prepare for the burn, embody the words of Mo Lohaus. may i burn the man at home this year”

may i burn the man at home this year may i finally become a full participant
may i kick the culture consumption habit cold turkey and get on with resonating funky genius and vulnerable enthusiasm

on my
own channel, 24-7
may i see every public space as center camp and roll around on the ground with strangers lovingly and with worshipful presence
as we contact one-in-other
may i strut my feathers and leathers and muppet cape
and naked benevolent childish soul everywhere i go
feeling fully in character
may i trick out my apartment like a theme camp and invite people in off the street
to lavish them with exorbitant gifts
of presence and affection, lovingly prepared because i can
because i am rich and overflowing and giving is why i am here
may i share shattering rock-bottom truths
with everyone, as casually as tea
like old lovers with nothing left to prove or improve on in the utter safety of the silky oscillation
between me and we
may i strip the locks off my heart and hold open house
with everyone i meet on the bus in line for groceries
or at the gas station
granting them the hallucinated embellishment of fur, goggles, nudity and dust
and allowing myself full excitement
and wonder at who they might be
may i look past the surface
and see into everyone
recognizing pirates
alien ambassadors, superheroes and translucent mermaids
may i call my campmates
or show up at their houses
as easily and shamelessly
as i might wander up to their tents
and never need a reason
for pressing my nose on their cheek
or for flopping on the couch and snuggling
may i love fully, fluidly
everyone who pulls me deeper into living and put away any residual shame
about how my love looks
remembering: we’re in the desert!
remembering: we’re dusty and unkempt and beautiful! remembering: we are mad ones and saints and divas all and there is no expectation of tidiness
remembering: there will be grit and friction, there always is,
but in the cathartic blessing
of our meeting and self-discovery
no one notices
remembering most of all
that my emotional nudity is my ticket to the event past the gate and greeters
to unity and a friendly universe
and is always honored and gratefully received
may i hallucinate freely
seeing volvos as giant bunny slippers and hondas as mobile cupcakes
may i notice the installations of genius and wild vision
all about me
may i see the dreams made real in my daily built world
may i touch the wide round belly of the pregnant possible
with both my hands
may i witness those around me
strutting their beauty and hope
their frailty and unfinishedness
and quirky unique poised artful
equilibrium above the abyss of judgment and may i yell out my approval, and applaud
may i witness the gifting that happens
every moment
the trade of glances, smiles and kind words
that are as quenching and comforting
in this daily wasteland of formality and alienation as popsicles and mist baths ever were
may i burn the man every day
may i take his idealized ass down
may i take the icon of who i am supposed to be and gently release him to flame
may i take his habits, opinions, head noise timidity and ego-protective arrogance and lovingly douse them with gas
this is my religion,
humbly, devotedly, and persistently performed: THAT MAN will BURN
may i build the temple every morning
and honor and celebrate
those who have sung the song of my life, who have held my life
like their own dear infant in their arms
may i build the temple every morning
and be awestruck by its beauty every day as i smear it with prayers and tears,
and then at dusk
release it in holy smoke
may i smell it burn
and know that that was it: this one day was my whole life and it is over
and if i am blessed to wake once more…
may i do it all again
more fiercely, more passionately
more graciously, goofily and generously
until my life measures up
to the love i feel
as i walk, bike or ride an octopus through the eternal city of dreams in which my soul is at home
mo lohaus www.lohaus.mobi

Gifting Economy


I was having a discussion with folks in the Portland Burning Man community yesterday, and here’s something I penned about gifting:

“Jason, I would say it’s not an exact science, and rather perhaps more of an
art form this giving and receiving.  I’ve been working on something
recently that’s in a similar vein, Farm My Yard (http://farmmyyard.org ) and it’s been an interesting trip.  I thought it would be an a + b = c kind
of experience, but instead, it’s full of thousands of variables and every
situation is different.

same with giving and receiving.  it’s not that cut and dry.  each of us is
in a very different place in life – may be same age, but diff class
background.  may have same skin color, but different gender.  may have
different life experiences – having had a lot, easy access to stuff; or
none at all.

that said, I take each situation as well as I can in the moment and use my
judgement, wisdom, and also make plenty of misjudges and mistakes along the
way.

thank God there has been Burning Man, because that has been an incredible
crucible for me to try this type of exchanging, gifting, asking/receiving,
activity out for the last 12 years.

one year I came back and started FreecylePortland – and I don’t mean that
as a show-offy comment, just that I think about this concept A LOT.  and
try to live it, and share it, and yeah

hope everyone’s having fun preparing this year….

Then, later, I added this in. Feel free to play in the comments section!

I’d love to hear you take a few minutes and spell out what a gifting
economy is.  your words, a few paragraphs, go.

winner is all of us.

I’ve gifted you with some of my understanding of gifting economy 🙂  what’s yours? 

Interesting Cellphone Game

Everyone puts their phones in the middle of the table. Whoever cracks first by touching their phone, pays for the entire meal.

The purpose of the game was to get everyone off their phones, away from twitter, facebook, texting, etc and to encourage conversations. In other words, help cure the “Anti-Social Social Media Craziness.”

Rules:

1) The game starts after everyone sits down.

2) Everybody places their phone in the middle of the table.

3) The first person to touch their phone loses the game.

4) Loser of the game pays the bill for everyone’s meal.

5) If the bill comes before anyone has touched their phone, everybody is declared a winner and pays for their own meal.

We had a blast. Conversation rocked. Everyone loved it.

Are You Game? Are you willing to turn the tide of anti-social behavior? What do you think?!?

(Thanks, Felix Roth, for the find on FB)

Yum, Cranium Crunches – a review

So, for a little extra cash and because it sounded like a really fun assignment, I find myself reading about the founder of Cranium Crunches, Ruth Curran.  After I felt well-versed in where she’s going with this, I start checking out their various social media properties, listed below, because that’s where I tend to travel most. After a little feedback back to the company of some improvements they could make on same, I dive into a game. It’s this one, Match!

After playing just one round I find that my brain feels a little recharged. It’s funny, I’d just been writing recently that I want to be entertained less, and be more active in life, and this certainly feels like that result.

Next up I learn that one should practice brain fitness as much as possible and that they provide a new “everyday thing” that one can do on their fan page each week. Here is the most recent one I could find – part of the Find the Difference set of games. But this game is a little too difficult to me, and I’m also interested in a more active game to pick up my energy at 4:30pm.  I still have some more work to do after this on a couple projects!

Cranium Crunches: “It helps us feel as if we have a bit of control over what happens to our brains as we age.”  from an interview with Ruth Curran, Founder Cranium Crunches.

So, I try a scramble. Tough, but the way the game is designed, I’m looking forward to working on this one more.  It’s funny, in the next image I try to unscramble, my first thought is that I wish the picture were different – it’s a sky full of chem-trails.  And, I know some great photographers! So, perhaps there is an opportunity there.

More about the Games Page: “Brain games help fire pathways in the brain – keep the chemicals and electricity that nourish and fire the brain active and moving. There is so much research out there now to support the tangible benefits of playing a variety of games and working on a variety of skills. The unifying theme though is this: active brains not only age more slowly but injured brains can also heal, re-wire, and open new pathways through an activity.” from an interview with Ruth Curran, Founder Cranium Crunches.

So, now they’ve got my Sesame Street side – “One of These Things is not like The Other” – OK, I’ll bite!  4:48…  Wow, that’s a tough one – and, I’d recommend having your screen set for greatest brightness.  Again, I’m going to talk to the company about the photographs they’re using, but I live in paradise, so perhaps that’s part of my bias 🙂

So, if you’re looking to improve your brain, or help someone you know this might be worth your time. I was about to say – “someone you know who is experiencing brain issues” but then I realized that it’s never too early to start a program like this.  I’ll probably update this blog posting as I learn more about the games and try them out more. Until then, happy thinking!

Cranium Crunches on Facebook
Twitter
A review by a professional writer!  

My current favorite game on the site. Memory Match

I wrote this blog post while participating in a campaign by BOOMboxNetwork.com on behalf Cranium Crunches and received payment for my participation. All opinions stated within are my own.  Albert