Saturday, January 16, 2010

A few bands I am high on...

A while back, I deleted every song on my iPod and started over. I felt like my music was sort of stale. To re-stock, I surfed youtube. It was a brilliant idea. I've always like that folky-mountain music some, but not enough to really get into it. Here are some bands that fit that mold, but I really dig.

Here are a couple of bands that share a play list.

The Weepies, Gotta Have You

The Be Good Tanyas, The Littlest Birds

Noah and the Whale 5 Years Time

Old Crow Medicine Show Wagon Wheel

Monday, January 4, 2010

Strange Botwin

Once in a while, a fictional character comes alone that just... man... leaves you speechless. If you never saw the tv series Weeds, you are missing out on several wonderful characters. Tops among them is Shayne Botwin. Other kids call him Strange Botwin.

I like him so much I want to learn guitar or the drums or something, just so I can start a band and call it Strange Botwin as a tribute.

Three examples of his creativity and charm:

Exhibit A: (my personal fav) The terrorist video

Exhibit B: His gangster rap

Exhibit C: His Graduation Speech

There are three things I love about this last speech: 1) the Segway that rolls past in the background, 2) how this scene ties up the season, and even the series, so perfectly and 3) the way he references a famously bad movie and by doing so makes that movie cooler.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Half full Vs. Half Empty

The old idea is the glass half-full or half-empty is an example of how to frame something. Through it we are taught that it is better to view the glass as half-full. We should see the potential in things. We should look for what we have rather than what we are missing.

I disagree. I think that is too simplistic.

In some cases, it may be much better to view the glass as half-empty. If viewing the glass as half-full means that you are content with a half a glass, it is holding you back. Wouldn't it be better to recognize that the glass is half-empty and work on a solution to fill it back up?

So, I think, it is much better to be able to frame the glass as half-full OR half-empty (maybe even at the same time) depending on how you want to use it to motivate you. The thing is, it is a choice.

Monday, December 28, 2009

What this Theory of the Frames buisness?

This is still a work in progress, but basically, here are some of the elements:

1) If there is a universal Truth, we mortal humans can't comprehend it. We, therefore, deal with "small t" truths. These truths depend on contexts.

2) If you change the context, sometimes you change the truth. The act of choosing a context is what I call "framing" it. This usage is stolen from the way cinematographers talk about "framing" a shot.

3) We naturally (automatically) frame things, but not always to our best advantage. There are various approaches like positive self-affirmations or visualizations or the Law of Attractions that seek to teach a person how to always frame themselves positively.

4) The way we frame ourselves and the way other people frame us is not always the same. There is a co-constructed middle ground. This is often a battleground, and it should be monitored.

5) If the the way you frame yourself and the way other people frame you are too dissimilar, conflict arises. Under enough stress, a frame can burst. This is often a painful process. It sometimes leads to a period of personal growth.

6) It is possible to learn to re-frame situations before a crisis, and there are benefits for doing so.

7) Some frames are easier to maintain then others. A frame without support is easily burst. Support comes from factual proof (I am rich because I have a million dollars) or from social proof (I am rich because I hang around other rich people and they treat me like an equal).

8) It is important to learn to support (and maybe even undercut) other people's frames.

as it pertains to sports

I got a call today from Leon. He congratulated me on my fantasy football win. He complained a little about the Steeler's game. According to him, Baltimore had 3 touchdowns called back for penalties. He said, "There are two sets of rules in the NFL: Those for the Steelers and those for everyone else."

I agree with him on this.

A few minutes later, Shawn let out a whoop. He is a Steelers fan. He typically hides from any highlights or news programs that might leak the score until he can watch the game on demand though the NFL package, a nifty trick when you live half-way around the world, and the live games are broadcast in the middle of the night. He was beaming about the second penalty, which had just happened for him.

I whined a little about how the Steelers get all the calls, and the Lions (my team) definitely don't. He was quick to defend his team. He used my theory --my own ideas-- against me.

"Winners win. Losers lose," he said. "The Steelers have a reputation. We are a hard-hitting, blue-collar, team with a strong work ethic. Sure, the refs see that and reward us. But, like you said, that frame is co-created." He added, "Yes, we get some calls for us, but we seem to do well at the critical times in games. And we get penalized a lot, too. We are one of the most penalized teams in the NFL."

I don't know about that last bit. I don't want to look it up either. It makes a valid point anyway. Winners overcome adversity. I like the idea, though, that the Steelers are somehow able to project the frame that they are winners so strongly that even refs buy into it. Furthermore, I admit, the Lions have been losers so long that people --even refs-- are content to frame them as losers.

Now that I think about it, I have witnessed something that suggests the lowly Lions can dare to hope. My high school basketball team, the Pellston Hornets, were losers for a long time. The school was a small school, and it was country. When I first started playing and watching games, it seemed like the refs were always out to get us. It seemed like every call at every critical moment went against us. I wasn't the only one who felt this way. Murmurs would spread through the crowd, and sometimes the refs would be booed. Okay, it happened a lot.

The thing is booing the ref for bad calls... well... that is low status behavior. It is what losers do.

Then we got a different coach. I don't know if it was his idea. I don't know it it coincided with a state or nation-wide movement, but there were T-shirts and such with the slogan, "Good sports are winners." I remember him hushing the fans after blatantly bad calls. It took a few years, but the fans were re-educated to encourage the players after a bad call, rather than boo the ref. Let's say there was a blocking foul when everyone could see it should have been a charge. Coach would clap his hands and say, "Junior, you got to beat him to that spot. Get there a second quicker." It didn't matter that the kid had done exactly that. Coach demanded he do it even better.

Then something happened. I noticed a few times we started to get crucial calls to go our way. Sometimes the call would be iffy (at best). I would smirk under my hand and think, "We got away with one there."

Everyone gets bad calls against them. If you are able to endure those, if you are able to over-come them, if you are able to maintain your frame that you are a winner by continuing to display high-status posturing, you can subtly influence refs to view you as a winner, and even though they try to maintain their impartiality.

In and of itself, framing yourself as a winner by itself isn't enough to win. Still, sometimes, especially in highly competitive fields, it is the smallest of differences that separate winners from losers. In the case of the Steelers vs. Baltimore with playoffs on the line, Baltimore had three touchdowns called back and only lost by three points. Those were some important penalties.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Hill I


The hill

I walked this hill more times than I can count. This collage is nice and simple, more relaxing than some of the other ones.

Sometimes less is more.