Thursday, July 27, 2006

swollen memebrains

Just a little check in from the Summer Institute...

I am having a grand time this week. Lot's of new inputs to swell my brain. But more than just additional intercultural tools for my professional toolkit, I am undergoing some substantial mental growth.

Like sitting in workshop and feeling my brain actually putting pressure on my skull. I'm not getting smarter, but my pathways for making meaning are altering.

Heady stuff indeed.

It is exhilarating and unsettling and ultimately system-changing. Now the rest of what I think and do has to adjust to bring my self system back into equilibrium.

I stopped back into work yesterday afternoon after only 2+ days away and the place looked older. I felt like I was gone for a month or longer. I am seeing it through a new lens.

When I am totally back in another week, I won't really be back - it'll be a different place as I am in a different place.

I confess I am curious and energized in new ways, but I don't quite know how I'll relate to the same people at work.

Just as expatriates have a hard time reintegrating and just as it is "lonely at the top", I don't quite know who I will talk to about my experiences and about my readjustment.

Will probably have to reach out to the blogosphere.

Friday, July 21, 2006


Seems like I've been on this treadmill of education for a looong time. Lately, I've been in and out of many meetings and training sessions as we beef up our learning and diversity competencies around the company.

Tomorrow I get to kick off two solid weeks of...more of the same. :?)

I'll be attending sessions at the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication (SIIC).

A little bit bleary-eyed, but excited. In our own backyard (Forest Grove), several hundred professionals and faculty congregate and exchange ideas. It is about as fertile a place for growing intercultural understanding and knowledge as can be found.

Now, I have to figure out how to make some room in my brain for all the new learning. Guess I'll have to toss out some old information.

Uh, if I forget your name - please know it was for a good reason and just remind me one more time. As ever. ;?)

Monday, July 17, 2006

new links

Got some new links up.

Epicurious is the place to find just about anything you'd ever want to know about cooking. I could just get lost in here and dream.

Iain Banks is one of the finest science fiction writers extant. But don't fail by boxing him in as a genre writer (as I, seemingly, have just done). He can dance AND sing as well. The proverbial "triple-threat."

And then there's Doonesbury. Which needs no introduction. It is occasionally (increasingly) near unbearable to think about what weak men can do to great nations when the people do not hold them to high standards. Where press are unwilling to question, humorists dare to tread.

Friday, July 14, 2006

on courage

(I need to do some free thinking, so don't hold me liable for the direction of this meandering...)

[Unless you liked what he said]

{Or how about if it inspires them to some personal insight that confirms their own beliefs in a self-congratulatory, self-delusional epiphany?}

(What, like the way you're always impressing yourself?)

{Hrmph! I shall not dignify that!}

[I think he likes he likes to hear himself say, 'epiphany'. Like he's cultured or something.]


Whenever I take a fresh look at my values, there's this word "courage" that keeps popping up.

I guess because so much of what I see around me these days bespeaks an absence of courage.

To be sure, I have taken the easier road myself. Usually rationalized around what is the greater good vs. what is the most direct, moral course. (Ahh, when morals collide!) But when we interact with the wider world, we need mediators to help us understand:

Governments, representatives, journalism, public servants, etc.

There are lots of kinds of courage - the classic physical kinds, mental fortitude, faith...

The kind I long for is not a category, but an intention - to live up to our potential. To think of more than just our own little pile of gold. To believe in grand purposes and commit to doing better (Why is New Orleans a gaping pit? Where is our greatness that we have not the will to commit to fixing it, then finding the way?) Or to simply take more right paths than easy paths.

I will take the ring to Mordor, though I do not know the way."

~ Frodo Baggins

It seems that when you do the right thing, good things will happen. Cliche? Only to the extent of its confirmation.

So when I think of the intermediaries we rely on to help us, inform us or act for us I ask for some of this courage.

At this moment (and sadly most of the time) it is hard to know if our agencies of government are acting the way they ought to. When the pentagon is spending billions on public relations, when the executive contracts reports to surreptitiously report it's messages as their stories, and when we have a PR-driven "dialogue" with the public at which only pre-screen "loyal" American are allowed to attend and ask pre-screen (for loyalty) questions, one simply must wonder.

Who then represents us? Once upon a time, we though of the press as an agent of the people.

Well, that's a little more romantic than true.

How about a little journalistic courage? To tell the real story to the best of your understanding; To not worry about ratings or accusations?

Walter Pincus has a few words to this point. They are worth a read.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

new addition to links

Been a while since I've worked on the page. There's a new link you should run to - Barack Obama, U.S. Senator from Illinois

Is it dangerous to give your heart to a politician? If only we could woo him to Oregon.

Softly now...

-woo- -woo- -woo-