Tuesday, December 29, 2009
One of my favorite history teachers made a point to teach us through storytelling, rather than the recitation of facts and dates. This book takes that tact, outlining Freud's last days in a conversational, but still accurate way.
What makes this book particularly interesting is the way the author handles the historical context. In telling Freud's story, Edmundson also takes on Hitler's rise to power in Germany, his take over of Austria and the fuhrer's subsequent acts of war. In his psychoanalytical works, Freud explains what people get out of tyrannical dictators -- a replacement to the guilt-inducing superego.
Edmundson goes on to apply Freud's theories on power, dictatorships and mobs to present day geopolitical situation. In other words, without going into great detail, he applies psychoanalysis, to terrorism and fundamentalist religious sects in the United States, Middle East and elsewhere.
Piggybacking on Freud, Edmundson makes the case for continual reevaluation of divinity, connections and self. Being self-aware and aware of the forces of the subconscious results in inner tension, the ego constantly battling the superego and the id to create balance.
It's worth a read if you:
a) have an interest in psychology,
b) like history (particularly WW2 era), or
c) need food for thought.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
That's all well and good for those challenging moments. But what about prolonged situations? How does the aspiring yogi handle long periods of challenging, anxiety-provoking times?
Since Thanksgiving, my family has been managing a fairly consistent challenge. With stress levels already pretty high, I came home for the holidays prepared to give support and broker some sense of calm. A challenging situation from afar; I jumped head first into the fire.
Returning to the question at hand, how do you deal with ongoing stress? Here's what I've been working with in the wild, wild west:
- Create space (for you) -- I've had to work pretty hard to find time away from all the madness of the drama at hand. But I've really needed the time and space to have the energy I need to be supportive to anyone else. It's been challenging for a few reasons: logistically, I'm without a car; emotionally, it can be hard to leave someone when they're hurting (even if you don't have anything left to give them).
- Perspective -- Although the situation here is admittedly pretty bad, I know it won't always be. It's been really helpful to remember that. I believe things will be better for everyone involved, eventually.
- Parse & Prioritize -- While perspective tends to feel like a future-looking worldview, the immediate issues still need to be resolved. Break down the big problems into smaller more manageable pieces; then order them according to importance and linear progressions (this has to happen before that, etc.). If you want to move out of your place, you probably want to find a new place before you pack all your stuff up.
- Talk -- Human beings are uniquely social--we need to communicate. It's healing to speak to friends, family, partners and even professionals (therapists, social workers, psychiatrists, psychologists, etc.) about what's on our minds. Also, how we feel about any given situation gets molded and refined by our contact with others. Pain, regardless of the cause, has an illness narrative.
- Find the Good -- Some people would call this perspective, but I think it's different. When you make the conscious choice to be happy, meditating on the good things -- especially at challenging times -- helps keep you there. This situation doesn't make me happy, but I am (sometimes with a little help) able to find some positive things that have come out of it.
I have a few more days here in the thick of it, so I'm open to suggestions. I'll keep you posted. :-)
Thursday, December 10, 2009
In reflecting on the situation and what led up to it, I'll just say this as a public service announcement to all you regular people out there trying to do the right thing:
Honesty is the best policy for a reason. It can seem kinder to keep hurtful things to yourself, but remember: trust betrayed is the worst kind of hurt. Beyond the immediate feeling of betrayal, you damage the person's ability to trust you again, to trust others and to his / her judgment. It's three or four times the pain you would have caused by simply being honest.
Yes, truth is the kinder route. But if that's not enough of a reason to be honest, consider the obvious: it's a whole lot easier to remember the truth than the little lies that build up.
Be kind; tell the truth.
You can find the "Honesty Jar" image in protactinium's flickr stream.
Friday, December 4, 2009
When it's raining out. Visibility is bad. Ask yourself, can this driver see me? Can the driver even see the crosswalk?
When it's raining out. It takes longer for a vehicle stop. Stepping into a crosswalk twenty feet in front of a car that's moving at 30 miles an hour isn't smart regardless of how you do the math.
Whether or not it's raining, it's probably not a good idea to just decide you're going to walk in front of a moving vehicle a) if you haven't made eye contact with the driver b) if the crosswalk isn't marked or c) driving conditions are less than ideal.
You're life is probably more important than being right. But I suppose that's something you have to ask yourself.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
So to structure my thoughts around some of these things, I'm introducing two different features to this blog: episodes and PSAs.
Episodes is more of a concept for telling random stories. We like to think of life as a timeline, but often times it's specific conversations or timing around a series of events that stands out as meaningful. That is what episodes is for.
PSAs - public service announcements - are typically ad spots that are run pro bono for a cause (think ACS or Red Cross). At Sandying, PSAs will be snarky, ranting commentary for the betterment of others. Basically for amusement, I'll be telling folks how to not be tools (or D-Bags) in everyday life.
I'll still be writing about social media, marketing, and other such topics. However, I will likely be moving that sort of content to the Media Awaken blog in the coming weeks -- I'm still trying to decide whether I should cross post everything here (so that this blog remains a central place for my content). If you have any suggestions on that, please share! I'm not sure what makes the most sense.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Yesterday, I was grateful for community. Yesterday, it was my yoga community. Everyone came together to look out for someone, cover for and guard the reputation of someone. Community brings safety. Community also encourages growth and learning. The communities that I'm party to encourage the sharing of ideas, innovation and creation. In my communities, the social media scene, the yoga and alternative healing community, I've found nurturing and unique knowledge.
Today, I'm grateful for reruns. Something to put my mind to when I'm pushing off tedium.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Today, I'm grateful for follow through. It's wonderful, and unfortunately unexpected these days.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Because of that conversation, and the many like it that I've had over the years with my mentors in archaeology, social media and elsewhere along the path I've wandered, I'm thankful for the smarties today. I'm grateful for those people around me that make me think, wonder and question. Thanks!
Saturday, November 21, 2009
I sing in my car. Loudly. No matter where I'm driving, I give a performance to the passersby.
So for today, I'm grateful for music. Music allows you to connect to your emotions, to others. Music is a way to heal from past hurts and feel communicative when it's hard to be heard.
Friday, November 20, 2009
But I had time. I'm grateful for that. To put it in a cliche, time heals all wounds. To put it another way, time provides space from hurt and frustration.
I'm up now and it's been a couple hours... The frustration of my morning is now gone and my day is on the up and up. Time works wonders.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Coming soon to a Sandying post near you, "Kicking the Coffee Addiction." It is probably time to give it up again, but I'm grateful for the simplicity of the routine. Every morning, I get up, turn the coffee maker on and do the dishes while I'm waiting for my cup of joe. Doing the dishes that are left over from the previous day, or from my roommates since I went to sleep, is my time. It's almost meditative. Because there's no real thinking involved, I can clear my head by concentrating on the physical task at hand, and maybe begin to clear my day.
Do you have something like that? Something you do every day that allows you to clear your head and refocus on and plan for the bigger tasks? Oh, right. There is yoga. :-) ...We'll have to call this my caffiene asana.
What are you grateful for?
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
For today, I'm grateful for all the listeners in my life. I love to to talk. This I know about myself. I don't know that I could ever show enough appreciation for the people in my life who actually take the time to listen, hear me out and maybe just maybe understand!
Thanks for listening!
What are you thankful for today?
Sunday, October 25, 2009
1) Landslide, Smashing Pumpkins
2) Foundations, Kate Nash
3) Stay, Lisa Loeb
4) Nothing Better, The Postal Service
5) Blackbird, The Beatles
6) New Soul, Yael Naim
7) Irreplaceble, Beyonce
8) Don't Forget About Us, Mariah Carey
9) Standing Still, Jewel
10) Shake It Off, Mariah Carey
There were a few more songs on this list initially that I pulled off as I refined the mix because they started to get on my nerves or I thought they interrupted the flow. When I Grow Up by Garbage and A Thousand Miles by Vanessa Carlton are two that fell off the list that you may still appreciate.
If there are particular break up songs you've found to be helpful in the healing / coping process, please share them in the comments!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
With that background, Men Are from Mars has been a fascinating read. It's simultaneously freeing and incredibly irritating to think that in order to understand each other we must first accept that we don't understand each other. I suppose you can use that premise of understanding anywhere, but I've always found it particularly frustrating with male / female interactions. I've often found myself asking, "why can't we just communicate about these differences?"
Apparently, we humans make a lot of assumptions. Martians understand Martian, Venusians understand Venusian. We expect to communicate in our local dialect with our mate, but they use and understand their language differently. Interpersonal communication is forever complicated by the fact that when a woman says a phrase and when a man says that same phrase, the two could mean very different things. What fun!?!
I've always been an advocate for a high level of interpersonal communication with a significant other. For women, this heighten communication makes for a heightened feeling of intimacy; according to Grey, this intimacy makes men question their personal abilities and power. We communicate differently; we love differently. Now, I find myself wondering, how do you support someone if you can't relate to their needs?
Indeed, Men are from Mars. I'm about half way through the book, so I guess I'll have to keep reading to find the answer to my question.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Breast cancer and I have history. Not a personal history, but family history. I was named after my grandmother; she died of breast cancer while I was still growing in my mom's tummy. This history is why I've done my fair share of relays and walks to raise money for a cure.
Noting that it's a personal issue for me and many others, I have to say that fighting breast cancer has become one of the most widely recognized charitable causes ever. Aside from the RED campaign to fight AIDs in Africa, I can't think of a more marketed charitable cause. Pink is the new black. Pink is in. Unless you're wearing a pink polo with a popped collar, that's out.
But seriously. As a marketer, I feel compelled to ask how effective is it to hop on the breast cancer bandwagon? With the exception of Yoplait and Avon, if your company is linked to the fight against breast cancer in some way, I'm not going to know about it or remember it. I'm not saying that supporting breast cancer is a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination--of course, I'm in favor of eradicating all forms of cancer. But in terms of supporting your brand, in terms of differentiating your brand, there are other ways to do cause marketing.
With international organizations, like CancerHelpUK, noting that there are over 200 different types cancers, it's tempting to suggest just picking another one. However, you could do better for your brand by choosing a charitable cause or organization that is in someway related to your business. For example, a publishing company could partner with a literacy organization to improve the reading level nationwide.
While choosing a cause that meshes with the nature of your business is important for cause marketing, I imagine the pink cause bandwagon is good for sales. How many people out there own pink shirts (or shirts with a pink ribbon) specifically in support of the breast cancer cause? Pink teddy bears? Pink-ribboned water bottles? Pink anything as a sign of solidarity with the cause?
Pictures by Flickr user Musiclver05: http://www.flickr.com/photos/musiclver05/
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
New year's celebrations in any faith or calendar system serve as an opportunity to take stock and prioritize anew. Spiritually, it's a chance for a fresh start and a clean slate. Practically, it's a time to look around a make changes based on what's working and what isn't.
We do it at year's end, we do it at birthdays, month or week's end too. We collect our thoughts and create a new strategy for next time, whatever the duration of time is.
What has the empty plate given you the opportunity to see?
Fasting is a way of taking you out of your most structured routine, to free up time to examine how you treat others, what you want to be doing, etc. I spent yesterday journaling, bringing closure to the events of last year and reorienting myself for the coming one. I also dedicated some time to putting my actual beliefs to paper (screen, really).
When was the last time you actually wrote down exactly what you believe?
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
The Winding Road
Canadian Flag Over Missoula Mall
Read the Bumper Sticker Over the Bar
It says, "I'm hung like Einstein, And smart as a horse."
That's comically unfortunate.
The Bridal Party
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Only in Seattle, would you find artichokes being grown as decorative plants in a person's front yard.
Graffiti at TUBS
Art is certainly subjective, but this building's graffiti is delightfully colorful.
Apparently, there are three kickball leagues in Seattle. Here Ball Deep (yes, you read that correctly) is leading the Monster Squad, just barely.
Sunset Over a Lake
I've seen some beautiful sunsets in my day. But this one makes me want accidentally miss my flight home.
Don't worry Boston, I'll be back soon. I promise.
Friday, July 24, 2009
As most of you know, I am an expatriot Oregonian. So I couldn't be happier to be launching my travels next week in the Pacific Northwest. My first port of call? Seattle--although I was looking forward to the soothing rain of this city, it's supposed to get up to 105 degrees. From there I make my way to a very small town in Montana for my pal Angie's wedding. I'm looking forward to the wide open spaces, mountain backdrop and the ease of conversation of the country...
I get back to Boston on the 11th of August and leave for NYC two days later. My client PigSpigot.com is throwing a launch party on August 14th and I'd love to rally the folks from the Boston to NY Australia Day trip of 2008 for the party--@paullyoung @sarahwurrey, can it be done?
Here are the important dates:
- Seattle: July 29-31
- Montana: July 31-August 11
- Boston: August 11-13
- NYC: August 13-17
- PigSpigot Launch Party: Friday, August 14 (client)
After August, who knows?!? But I'd love to see you while I'm traveling!
Friday, July 17, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
With all the recent talk of cloud computing, we think less and less about the physical infrastructure that makes the world as we know it work. Wireless connections support this idea that we don't really need to be tied down to anything. And yet, we're always using backbone somehow.
Internet Backbone is the physical connections between various networks--large corporate, military and educational ones-- that allow information to flow between them.
Logically, it makes sense. The interwebs have to touch, have to be connected. But it is a little mind-boggling to think that we're so locked in, so bound together, even as the networks themselves are like ever expanding stars in the universe. Atlas still holds us up.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
I just saw this in the bathroom at Espresso Royale at BU. I suppose I could point out that societally this marks a shift from phones to blogs as the primary mode of bathroom to outside world discourse (think “for a good time call”). Where before we saw bathroom vandalism as a likely form of harassment, now we find shameless self-promotion. As if the movement towards straight advertisements in the bathroom wasn’t enough evidence of a society over saturated--now even the scribbles in the corner are trying to sell us something.
However, what’s truly idiotic about this attempt at vandalism is the fact that it’s so easy to track back to its creator. When you quote Shakespeare or rock lyrics, or when you write someone else’s number on the wall, maybe someone could speculate, but no one would ever know for sure who it was. Unless you’ve got a truly avid fan—which I highly doubt either of these two bloggers has—it’s pretty clear who vandalized the bathroom.
Then again, it’s ERC. Who would report it?
Friday, July 10, 2009
- They are following a boatload of people and are being followed by substantially fewer.
- They have more followers than they have updates.
- They have the words guru or god in conjunction with marketing or SEO in their handle.
- They request to follow you multiple times, but you have no idea who they are.
- has followed me 2x sine June 21
- As of today, this one has ever tweeted.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
I'm sure you've all noticed that I've been quiet these passed few months. On this blog, and on twitter, I've been a little more removed.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
I got into PR in college because I believed it was the field that had the ability to make change. More than journalism, more than finance, communication changes perception. Yesterday, I wrote about being drawn to writing, how it's inspiring to learn, teach and share ideas. For all these reasons, I believe it is public relations and communications more broadly that promote true shifts of the mind.
Consequently, and despite the ease with which we burn out or become jaded, we communicators must remember that we have the ability to make or break the companies or organizations that we work with.
Working with startups, I see the potential next generation of technologies. It's a blessing and a curse--while the excitement runs high, so does the significance of the work. A single, well strategized media placement can make the difference between a VC signing on the dotted line or needing to find a new job, client, etc.
Technology changes the world everyday. But what if no one had ever heard of the major players we're now familiar with? What if Gates had never been conscripted to create DOS? Would we do without our iPhones?
Communication can make or break a new technology. That's one way to change the world.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
I flew through Reagan National Airport today and my airline offered its guests free copies of a number of publications. I thumbed through Politico, the Wall Street Journal and pub I haven't looked at since I worked with a mobile technology company, Business Traveler.
The last time I had read through the bios of the reporters and freelance writers affiliated with this publication, I had one goal in mind. Sell, sell, sell the product I was repping in the hopes that they would feature it somehow.
This time, when I read through the bios, I got a sense for people that loved their work. I was uplifted and inspired to read about the business traveler turned travel writer, the freelancer who wanted to be a foreign correspondent for the NY Times at the age of seven.
Why do we write?
Clearly for the writers at Business Traveler the answer is simple--they enjoy doing it. People write to learn, to teach, to share ideas. Communicating is human nature. We get pleasure and validation from being understood.
But what I really took from reading these bios is that we should all walk towards those activities that make us happy--whether we've been pursing them since childhood or following a meandering path towards them since joining the professional ranks.
Monday, June 1, 2009
- All my priorities
- Stuff I enjoy doing
- Stuff I don't enjoy doing
- Daily activities
- Places to visit
- People I want to see more of
- People I want to see less of
- Recipes I want to learn
- Five year goals
- Companies or organizations I admire or want to be affiliated with...
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
The moral of the story is that blogging from your phone is limited and a post on iPhone blogging apps is in order.
Alas, that is for another time--once I have rewritten my previous post!
Friday, April 17, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
Saturday, February 14, 2009
'What are we doing this weekend, Hunnneee?'
The tone of the question already ensures I am doomed. I don't know who the hell is
responsible for letting Valentine's Day fall on a Saturday this year. Whoever you are, there are a few million of us guys ready to meet you in a dark alley, you dumbass. Dinner and chocolates just got upgraded to an entire day of romantic expectations. Way to raise the bar!
Ouch! Well, Steve, I challenge you to a phonesaber duel. You on behalf of men, me on behalf of women--long, romantic V-Day getaway weekend FTW!!! Ok. Enough.