Life is personal.

hang in there

I’m just on a role of saying things that need to be said.

It is no secret I’ve been going through a hard time and I pretty much always share how I feel.

I’ve read (or posted or shared) about a thousand of those Facebook posts that are basically the new version of this poster from the 80’s.  Some of those really do need to be said because some of us are really stupid and don’t get it.

Let me make it simple.

  • We are all the same. The color of our skin does not matter. Our religion does not matter. Our sexual orientation does not matter.
  • The crazy people of today are the innovators of tomorrow. Think of someone you think is a great historical figure. I bet you ANYTHING someone told them they were stupid or crazy.
  • There is no reason why anyone should be hungry. None. Zero. What the hell is our problem in implementing this? We should all be fired as humans.
  • And most of all – life is personal.

The problem with society today is that we DO NOT CARE. We have numbed ourselves to what our neighbor, our friend, our family, other HUMANS are going through and have just accepted it as ‘the way it is’. We have told ourselves ‘I can’t do anything about it’. So we don’t.

That is what we need to stop doing. Stop accepting it for the way it is and strive for more. How else is it going to get any better for us, for our kids? Let’s learn from what we do wrong as individuals and groups and apply the learning to a better world for tomorrow.

It is not ‘the way it is’. It is ‘the way we choose it to be’. If you wish the world were more understanding, more fair, more kind…make it so! Make small choices every day that make it happen!

Here are some suggestions:

  • Pick up garbage when you walk down the street
  • Get to know your neighbors and become involved in your community
  • If you know someone going through a hard time,
    contact them if only just to say ‘are you ok?’
  • Forgive someone that has really made you angry
  • Imagine once a day you were born somewhere completely different than where you were
  • Imagine you lost everything you have and have to rely on other people

If you have other suggestions…feel free to add!

Should consumer product designers give up now?

What is the world coming to when in order to make a hiring decision for a designer, a timed ‘design-challenge’ is requested and the challenge is to design a button to a specification in 45 minutes.

I mean really. Can we stop with the engineering led design already?

I’m not a stuck up design type AND have done my fair share of design as  fast as you can but this is ridiculous. I’m so drained by engineering led companies that drop the letters U and X like they really mean something to them.

Please stop! You get us design types all excited that you are different and you really do want to design something fantastic – the best of its kind. You lure us in with promises of ‘usability’ and ‘creativity’ or even ‘passion for design’, then you crush our souls with cheaper, faster, better!

Just stop will you?

Didn’t Steve Jobs already prove design AND engineering need to be harmonious? Didn’t he also prove that being the first to market does not determine if you make a profit…doing it right does!

…or if you are that way at least be honest about it so we can both not waste our time.

Jeez people. Learn!

I’m going back to my hole now. Piss off. (That part was a joke. I’m really not that bitchy…just playing the part.)

If humans are so smart why do we work so much?

I don’t know about you but I wasn’t designed to be on a computer 10 hours a day. We have spent the last centuries inventing an insane amount of technology and science – can’t we take some time off to just live as humans?

Look around you, people. This world is fantastic! It has everything we need to survive and take care of each other! It has what we need to be healthy and happy – every one if us! Why don’t we do that?

If computers make things so much more efficient why don’t we work less? I really want to know.

Many will say it’s to get money and things but there already is enough for everyone. You don’t have to do that anymore. You can stop. Or maybe at least slow down.

Many will say to take care of their family. Do you really believe that? Wouldn’t it be better if we knew that other humans would always take care of our family – how it used to be? So we weren’t constantly ‘earning security’. Wouldn’t it be better for us and our family to spend time with them rather than earn them money? Having spent a good part of my life working my ass off I can honestly say that I don’t think it did much for my family life.

If we are so smart, wouldn’t we have figured out that working is not the best part of life? Just a thought.

Reboot: Arcata Part II

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So, I can’t recall if it was the next day or the same day, but I wandered a little further down the coast from Trinidad to Arcata. A little place I like to call ‘The Promised Land’. A quaint little town square (referred to as The Plaza) was surrounded by unique, local owned shops filled with yummy food, unique wares and fantastic people. As I walked around The Plaza, I was really shocked by how friendly people were. I felt a bit as if I was in the film Truman and wondered if it was a stage all for my benefit. It was real.

I had a rather tasty latté in a small cafe just off the square then I strolled down to a really wonderful shop filed with lots of Asian inspired arts and crafts. After that I walked next door bought a cool outfit for Hannah at a shop called Beautiful People and then had a beer in a beer/wine bar that was just opening for the first time. It was a fantastic afternoon.

Mis compañeros were waiting in the car so I headed back and got them out for a nice stroll through the town. We meandered past the baseball field up the hill past the theatre that was showing The Big Lebowski…one of my all time favorites! (AND you can have beer while you watch the film!) I window shopped at the local realtors, strolled past the 100 year old Minor theater and just wandered around for a while.

When we got back to the car. My keys were missing. The car was locked but no keys in my pocket. No keys in my bag. Crikey. Well, I must have dropped them along the walk somewhere so I walked the same path again looking for them. Nope. Nothing. Poop. Beginning to panic a teeny bit.

Ok. So I have my doggies and no way to get into my car. I start going from business to business seeing if I left my keys. No. No. No. No and no. Ok now what? Its getting dark. Better call AAA. That went a bit like this:

“Thanks for calling triple A are you in a safe location?”

“Yes but my phone is almost dead and its getting dark and I’ve lost my keys.”

“Have you lost your keys or are they in the car?”

“Well they could be in the car I guess but I can’t get in it so I have no idea.”

“Well, which is it?”

“Does it matter?”

Can I have your triple A number?

I don’t have my card with me.

Can I have your phone number?

It might be under mine or my partners which are XXX-XXX-XXXX or XXX-XXX-XXXX.

“Hmm. Nothing coming up. Could it be under another number?”

“No.”

“Ok. Where are you right now?”

“I’m in Arcata California in the town square.”

“Oh, I will have to transfer you to the California AAA.”

“Ok.”

Transfer occurs.

“Welcome to triple A, are you in a safe place”

OMG YES! We go through the whole thing again only to find out that I need to be transfered to the WASHINGTON call center. WHAT THE HECK? The databases aren’t connected??? Um, yeah. Speechless.

They have no record of me. Phone is running out of battery…have about 10 min left. I have to pee. The lady futzes around with her computer…’please wait’…’just let me transfer you’…

LADY! MY PHONE IS ALMOST DEAD. ITS DARK! JUST SIGN ME UP FOR A NEW ACCOUNT OR WHATEVER. I NEED HELP!”

“Oh. Ok. Well, I’m not sure how to do that. Can you hang on a minute?”

“NO!”

“I just can’t find any record of you.”

“Forget it. I’ll just find someone around here to help me.”

Phone down to 8%So I figure I better find a place to stay. Two small problems. Zak and Lucy.

A lady at one of the shops told me Hotel Arcata doesn’t take pets but she is pretty sure the motel at the other end of town does. I start walking.

On the way, I give one of the many people ‘passing through’ a banana as he is begging for food. The motel is about a mile away from the car. When I get there, the first thing I notice are several large signs that say “NO PETS. NO EXCEPTIONS”. I attempt to talk the very nice girl into doing just that – making an exception. I explain the situation. I can tell she is sympathetic, especially looking at the two cute furry faces next to me. But she doesn’t do it. Maybe she could call her boss and ask? She looks frightened of that idea. I ask her if she knows of any other place that takes pets. She doesn’t.

Do you happen to have an iphone charger I can use? Not much hope there as I can see quite plainly she has an android phone. However, she keeps chargers for guests and she offers me one. Things are looking slightly better! Can I pay for it with a card. Um no. I have $1. I give it to her. She gives me the charger. I plug in my phone. I call the Hotel Arcata and believe it or not THEY DO TAKE PETS!!

I really have to pee by now. I ask if I can use her restroom. She says no. Boss has security cameras everywhere. She says ‘you could try Subway across the street’. Thanks, I say, but they probably won’t let me take the dogs in. She very kindly offers to watch them for me. She seems like a cool person so I leave them with her.

“Stay here guys. I’ll be right back.” They look at me like I’m mad.

I run across the street to Subway. No we don’t have any restrooms. Really? How do you pee then? Run two more blocks to little hot dog stand and just make it to the toilet. It seems like that stream is NEVER going to stop. Finally it does and I get back to the dogs as quickly as possible.

We walk to the hotel and get a room. The man at the desk (Ben) is really helpful and friendly and get this…he calls the parking department and tells them about my car so they don’t tow it! Really? Can you imagine someone in Seattle calling the parking enforcement and saying “Please don’t tow my car”. If you are lucky they might not hang up on you.

We get to the room and we are starving. The in hotel restaurant and room service is sushi! Score! I order a couple of rolls for me and some plain chicken for the dogs and we settle in for the night.

To be continued…

Understanding People: Expect the Negative

People do strange things. They surprise me all the time – sometimes good, sometimes bad. You never know how a human will react or proact. I had this crazy strategy I developed when I was a kid…expect the worst and plan for it, then you will always be prepared and if you get better than the worst…well BONUS! This way you can never be let down. It actually worked. Many people might call it negative thinking but to me it was the opposite…it allowed me to think positive because the negative was already sorted. The problem is somewhere along the line I stopped thinking this way, I got ‘comfortable’ and that’s when life slapped me in the face. I’m not sure what the moral here is…expect the least and you will always be in the positive? Sure. Why not?

Reboot: Arcata Part I: The Restart in Trinidad

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Those of you who have a computer (or are reading this through some black magic and grew up in a cave) you know that rebooting your computer consists of turning it off and on again. This is a human reboot. I turned off in Seattle, stayed off in Eugene, Oregon. I turned on again in California.

Just past my mystical, magical, awe and tear inspiring first-time experience with The Redwoods (pictures cannot do it justice), I ran out of gas in Trinidad, California. I passed numerous fuel stations on the way but did not stop. It got to the point that the ratio of [fuel range] to [miles to destination] were battling for the greater amount – gaining on the downward slope only to lose on the upward.

I began coasting as far as I could, cursing myself for not stopping for fuel. What an idiot I am! I eased into the Chevron station thanking the universe I had made it. I didn’t stay longer than it took to fuel up as I had only a few more miles to go to my destination.

David (the owner not the significant other) had let me know it was difficult to find, and the GPS confirmed with an ominous and unemotional ‘This route includes unknown territory. Please confirm the route on a map before proceeding and use the dotted line as guidance.” A map?? What the hell is this, 1980? Dotted line? What does that mean? ‘We think it’s this way?’

In the end I got there using the in car GPS and the iPhone GPS in collaboration with or contradiction of each other. Its almost as if the voice guidance was saying ‘I think its this way…good luck with that.’

The next day I returned to Trinidad, past David Road (yes, another David reference – give me a break!) to 101 North. What I found was a breathtaking beach, fabulous café and fantastically intriguing little town. It sucked me in. I spent most of the day there. I strolled along the beach with Zak and Lucy. I hiked to the top of Trinidad Head and saw the gravestone of some poor sod who came in the 1700s (probably discovered this place). I watched a grey whale breach in the surf just off the lighthouse. It was indescribable. I ate brunch in the café and listened to two amazing musicians converse about music as if it was the only thing of importance under the sun.

It was lovely, spectacular…soul touching. It was the entry into an area of the world and myself I had been seeking out for most of my life, with no awareness of what I was looking for.

To be continued…