No Memory

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The ship pulls me east
over the deep blue.

Wind and water whisper…
unintelligible but crystal clear.

As the shore disappears
the tugboat retreats.

Anchors, ropes, docks;
all restraint is gone.

There is just the wind
playing with the waves.

On a small paper
I write to them:

I surrender.

Gaptooth Willy: How a photo nut can save time on vacation

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Gaptooth Willy on a brisk Venice morning

I admit that it wasn’t my idea but I’ve decided to log my trip to Europe using a ridiculous action figure. Why?

  • It helps you keep things fun (and a little silly). It is pretty funny pulling out a doll from Rayman’s Raving Rabbids in front of world-renown monuments. We get a lot of “WTF?!” looks and it just makes us laugh.
  • You can let folks know where you went on limited internet access. Good internet isn’t always easy. Right now I’m stealing it from some poor guy with an open network (and being courteous of course — no streaming!). A good way to maximize your internet access and let people know where you went is to take a funny picture w/ said action figure at every major landmark.
  • You don’t have time to process all that crap anyway. I’d rather spend my time having fun and seeing stuff than post-processing all my photos and cataloging my journey. With my current project, I can skip all that and still have some of the meaty parts of my day logged. To date, I have about 900 photos. Of those, I’ll probably end up with 100 but the time it takes to get there could be better spent.
  • It’s fun to name your buddy. What’s in a name? Everything, if it’s a pirate. Are you kidding me? I agonized over this and finally arrived at Gaptooth Willy for this little guy. Pirate names are fricking hard.
  • Because it’s different. Yep.

This is going to be a radical trip. I’ve never been to Europe, this is a 1.5-year belated honeymoon, and I’m a photo nut in photo nut paradise. My photo project is fun, but it’s also very practical. In a lot of ways, necessity gave birth to this little project — not insanity (I swear!). Thanks, Gaptooth Willy!

If you’re morbidly curious, the slideshow (of what I have so far) is below or you can see the set on flickr.

He’s flippant, but is he right?

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Criticizing tone instead of having rich discussion is a waste of time. In most cases, the time it takes to criticize tone and delivery can be spent arguing the issue at hand.

In a case where someone has the courage to raise their voice and question things publicly:

  • Try not to discourage them from speaking up in the future
  • Focus on what they said, not how they said it
  • Address the issue in your response, always

In Paul Graham’s post about how to disagree, he states:

“So if the worst thing you can say about something is to criticize its tone, you’re not saying much. Is the author flippant, but correct? Better that than grave and wrong. And if the author is incorrect somewhere, say where.”

While it’s not constructive to react and submit knee-jerk comments, it’s just as counter-productive to criticize tone and delivery instead of offering solid reasoning as to why you disagree.

Of course, we can frame things initially in order to not invoke a predictable response to our snarky comments. But outside of insults or out-of-bounds comments (which are usually best ignored), I usually prefer to focus my energy on the problem, not examining words and etiquette.

Be wary of criticizing tone. It’s not as productive as it might feel and won’t do anything to change the end result.