Hillary vs. Donald. It may be my outsider’s view of the 2016 American election, but how is this even a contest? What rational, informed person would ever think that Donald can even hold a candle next to the qualifications, significant achievements and abilities of Hillary? She has spent her entire adult life advocating for others and only slightly fewer years in public service. He only ever had interest for himself and his businesses until he started his run for president last year. Ugh, should I even attempt to write a blog post about my bewilderment about the 2016 American election happening south of our border? The whole thing is disheartening.
But, I love puzzles and mysteries. I get a real satisfaction from thinking through a puzzle and coming up with an answer. And so, I’m following the election with the kind of perverse interest and investment of time, because feels like there will be the big plot reveal come November 8, 2016. I have clues and strings of narrative in the jumbled ball of information stuck in my head. The following is an attempt to lay out these clues and muse about what it might mean for the outcome.
Globalization of goods, people, capital, and information
Just think of the advances in technology in the last 40 years in transportation (airplane travel, cargo shipping), communications (cable television, cellular telephones, internet, social media), and computing power (calculators, personal computers, smartphones). The rate and distance of “things” moving now from one place to another is staggering compared to 40 years ago. With this movement comes change. And we humans don’t typically like dealing with change because it means we have to recognize there is a change, and then make the effort to change ourselves.
The rapid pace of change unmoors us from feeling secure
We derive a sense of ourselves by a)the families and communities we belong to, and b) the benefit to our society through the work we do. Continue reading Bewilderingly watching the 2016 American election
One man’s constant connection to the endless news and media feed and how it broke him. The differences between being rude, mean, and a bully. And the amazing tale of two brothers’ discovery that their parents were not Canadian emigrants to the US, but rather Russian spies. That’s the Jeneral Finds of the week: 2016-09-20
This is your brain on continuous information feed
The pervasive usage of digital devices is on my mind a lot lately. And by lately, I mean for the last two years. It started off as an exercise to come up with a strategy of how and when I would be comfortable getting a mobile phone for my daughters. As I read and think more though, the exercise is quickly morphing into examining what my own device usage is doing to me.
Andrew Sullivan’s long-form piece “I used to be a human being: Technology almost killed me” in the New York Magazine this week is an eye-opening cautionary tale. It is all the more terrifying to foresee how easily many more of us will experience the same breakdown as Sullivan.
Rude vs. Mean vs. Bullying
My younger daughter got pinched and pushed to the ground by another unknown child at school last week. When she later worked up the courage to tell me about it, she started off her story with “I was bullied today”. A phrase that sends the heart up the throat of any parent.
The info in “Rude vs. Mean vs. Bullying: Defining the Differences”, by Signe Whitson, was helpful to keep in mind while I assessed whether I needed to be alarmed about the occurrence. (thankfully it seems to be an isolated incident of a kid being super rude) With the hyper awareness and classroom discussion on the issue of bullying now in our schools, it is not surprising that she labels all aggressive behaviour as “bullying”.
Most of all, I am so proud of her that she put her hapkido self-defence training to use. She told us she immediately confronted the child by making a stop sign with her hand and saying assertively, “Stop that! That was not nice!”. She was shaken up by the experience that day, but she seems be be okay now.
The Spies who loved me
“The day we discovered our parents were Russian spies“, by Shaun Walker in The Guardian is a fascinating read. The title of the article says it all; it’s a crazy story out of a TV show plot that happens to be true and real life.
Recently my friend Eric proposed an idea to his circle of friends in the interest of deepening our knowledge of each other beyond our shared history and current situations of jobs and family. Would we be interested to gather one evening and to trade 10-minute talks about a topic we each find deeply interesting, TED-talk style?
Inspired by Shonda Rhimes’ memoir, Year of Yes, I immediately said “Yes”, even though I felt uncomfortable with the idea. Now that some weeks have passed, though, dread creeps upon me. Because even more frightening than the idea of public speaking is the thought, What if I have nothing interesting to say?
Continue reading What if I have nothing interesting to say?
A group date activity involving sharp implements and competition = a dubious decision?
Group date night. My hubby and I are fortunate enough to be a part of a circle of friends that make such a thing a reality roughly every 4 months or so. Among the 7 couples, we take turns planning the dates, involving activity and food. Then on the appointed days, we ditch our kids with babysitters, and enjoy some company, food and activities with only adults.
This past spring, the planned activity was battle axe throwing. https://badaxethrowing.com/ In general, the point of it all is to throw the axe 10 meters and have it stick in the plywood target as close to the bullseye as possible. The bullseye scored you 6 points, with the score decreasing the with each subsequent ring of the target. To make things interesting, there are two small blue circles worth 10-points located within the 1-point ring, at the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions.
The nine of us split into two teams. Eric was captain of Team Axe FX; Aneil the captain of Team Buns on the Run. The teams battled over the course of 3 different tournaments, each tournament with a different objective to achieve. The day ended with a forth tournament: the individual knockout.
Who will be battle axe champion?
The final two contestants in the final round of our individual Continue reading Who will be the Battle Axe Champion?
First day of school. There’s nothing quite like the start of the school year to reflect on the passing of time. During my school-age and university-aged years, September always felt more like the natural start of a year than New Year’s Day. It’s the start of a new grade, new subjects, new teachers, new school supplies and clothes…nothing quite gave the feeling of a blank slate of opportunity than the first day of school. It was an exciting, energizing, if slightly anxious, feeling.
When I became an adult and joined the working world, the reset-button feeling of September faded from memory as the months and years blurred together. The feeling that September brought was of some irritation as the traffic on the roads were noticeably and considerably heavier than in the prior summer months, but otherwise life went on. New Years and birthdays passed, but it felt like aging was put on indefinite hold. A pause button instead of the reset button.
Fast forward a few more years, and now I have school-aged kids (aged 8 and 6) of my own. They change so much every 6 months that it really feels like life is being played at 2x speed. Their shrinking clothes and shoes play tricks on me, because they certainly can’t grow that fast that quickly, can they? And yet their weight is heavier while sitting on my lap. Their faces are higher in the view of the car’s rear-view mirror. Their stories and imagination are so vivid and complex. These tell me that no, this is not a trick.
The passage of time for me is now marked by their milestones—their birthdays, their first days of school at the beginning of September. Another new grade: new classroom, new teacher, new configuration of classmates, and subjects to learn. September to my daughters is like a reset button again. For me, however, it’s turned into a stationary marker that whizzes past me and makes me realize how fast the years are passing. And so I give them extra squeezes, cuddles and kisses, trying to will the tactile memory of their feeling in my arms and lips into the woefully inadequate storage vessel that is my brain. There is no other choice though, there’s no app or solution that can store that feeling in your heart, and in your throat. Quickly now, before another September rolls around.