Friday, July 24, 2015

Accursed Mental Scripts

I woke early, my brain rattling. My mind blaring away these negative scripts, negation of myself, my vision. All kinds of internal challenges to my dreams.

Why am I so negative with myself, but positive with others? I notice this with others, too. This really puzzles me. I deeply value and encourage the talents of those around me. Why don't I do that to myself? Why do so many struggle with this?

Then there are those who belittle everyone; the only way they can interact with others. I think these may have common roots. Perhaps it's easier to negate everything than to seek the positive within oneself. Which really is sad.

Sadly funny how this miserable malaise takes hold. This drags us back, sucking so much potential out of life. Oh, these wretched internal scripts!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Focused on the stats

Recently, my son started exploring vlogging and video creation. Inspired by the fame acquired by those YouTubers he admires, he focuses on emulating their styles. And on his stats. He finds it frustrating that his follower growth is slow. The expectation, I suppose, was to post a few videos and have followers blaze in.

I constantly reinforce my belief: focus on quality, the followers will follow. Focusing only on stats and followers is much like the high-school kid who makes all their decisions based on maximizing social leverage, that which gains them the most popularity. It's a short term proposition, and the proverbial "moving target". Ultimately, you end up shallow and vacuous, with no depth or understanding.

Many times in my career, through my whole life really, this notion comes up. Whether a business struggling to appeal to everyone, or just my own ponderings of why some piece of content hasn't taken off, I, too, look. Tis a struggle: focusing on quality over effect, upon numbers of views over engagement. It's a dangerously seductive slide that I hope to help my son manage well, as well as my clients and colleagues. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Pacific Crest Trail in Three Minutes

I love discovering clever web projects. Today, I present you the entire Pacific Crest Trail compressed into 3 minutes. I found adding 1 second of video from each day to be a very unique approach to this.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Retreating from fear

A puzzling realization: this desire to retreat from fear. Well, at one level it makes sense: fears represent danger, which one should avoid. But there are things we fear whose only remedy is knowledge. So, knowledge is power, but to gain it we often must face our fears. Ah, yes, winning the battle against reflex! This shows the importance of mindfulness.

One must be awake and in control of the mind. Awareness of those reflexes, and knowing the sad path they lead down is critical. And that's much harder in today's world where nimble reaction is highly valued. Taking time for thoughtful reflection is not. We must remember that there are some things that Google doesn't know. And those are the things that make us the most human. Which makes me think of Replicants and Blade Runner's symbolism, but that's a post for another day.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Mediation on blackbelts, parenting, adoration and balance

As a parent, I've witnessed many moments of adoration by other parents. Last night, at my dojang's blackbelt awards ceremony (my wife and son both received their belts) I was struck again by parental devotion. Watching my fellow parents, with grandparents, beam with pride at their child's accomplishment was both delightful, and a little sad.

Decades ago now, I got to do some projects that helped street involved youth. In that process, I heard stories, terrible stories of (dare I say) evil parents. One of my friends from those days, an Episcopal deacon, shared with me once the power of this juxtaposition. We were sitting next to each other at our church's children's pageant. She pointed out to me the parental adoration. And her deep experience with it's opposite. This, as you would expect, colored her view of such events. I have puzzled about this, too, ever since. How does a human get to be so monstrous? Vicious sociological cycles? Some sort of deficiency within genes? But, more critically, I ponder the monumental devastation wrought. And am filled with sadness.

Such thoughts come at these moments of intense love for my son, and the other children around me. And I think about this at mother's and father's day. What must it be like to see parental adoration when it's been denied you?

To not end on such a sad thought, I bring you a few of the many organizations that work to counter-balance the misery. They truly do great and dignifying work.


This is not meant (not even close) to represent an exhaustive list.  These are the abrupt few that pop into my mind immediately. There are so many people doing kind, gentle and great work in this space that I'm deeply humbled and grateful. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Thoughts on the CFPB

We in the real estate business have been hearing TONS about the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) lately. The biggest piece for us has been the changes in the required disclosure documents that will be launching "soon". Mainly, the required documentation has been cleaned up/made less confusing (and I think they've done a reasonably good job at that part). (More details in the video below.) However, I do have some concerns.

As a fan of federalism, I am not too keen on this organization being (relatively?) clear of Congressional oversight. I highly value the mission and role of the org, but also deeply value governmental transparency and accountability. I would like to see more of that with the CFPB, even considering the partisan and often grandstanding nature of Congress. But that's another issue.



Thursday, July 16, 2015

A weekend at Camano State Park

I really enjoyed camping at Camano Island State Park last weekend. We've been there before, but only for the day. It's been years since I've done any camping, and decades since I've car-camped. Even more important than my enjoyment, though; my son enjoyed his first camping experience.

Camano park apparently was a private camp at one point. Then the proprietor left the grounds to the state park service. Sounds like a glorious gift to your community. Our campsite has a grand view of Whidbey Island over the Saratoga Passage. And we were close enough to a bald eagle nest to hear them chittering at each other, and the crows shriek in protest. 

Though we brought bikes, we didn't ride much. Mountain biking wasn't really accessible. At least not where we were. We did hike a bit, crabbed and kayaked, rode a little, and napped. And were treated to a fireworks show of sorts (over on Whidbey's shore) Saturday night. A pleasantly chill weekend. Those are far too few in our lives right now.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Today's Real Estate Thoughts

I am concerned about the current steep rise in overall housing prices. The sales prices are rising quickly, but that's only part of the equation. Rental prices are rising faster. Demand keeps rising and inventory is nearly constant: thus prices climb.

Part of my concern is simply access to affordable housing. As this is a fundamental human need, issues with access deeply trouble me. Another concern , though, is on first time home buyers, those just starting out. In this kind of marjet, it's hard to keep up. And the rising rents eat away at your ability to buy.

Ultimately,  though, markets balance out. Patience is crucial, I guess.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Fitness Journeys

One thing that strikes me, on this fitness journey, is how a sedentary my life had become. My fitbit's basic plan is to accomplish 10k steps per day. Well, today, I just got that. At 11:40 at night. That entailed pacing around me house for a few minutes. And I did an hour of taekwondo and cycled for about an hour. I may not be as sedentary as some. Yet, reaching these basic steps require significant life changes.

That speaks to an internal illusion of mine. Fitness. I see myself as the epitome of health. But I'm 20+ pounds overweight and nowhere near the peak fitness levels of my youth. Plus, that fitness was based on lots of exercise, and nothing else. My diet was atrocious. And is only slowly getting better. These are not the easiest changes to make. Decades of bad habits, brought home to roost as my metabolism calms.

At one point, I wanted to recapture the fitness of my youth.  Now, though, I want something very different. I want greater health, one of better diet, of richer health, as well as strength and endurance. I'm creating something new. This really is a new mental and physical place, a new way to live. I'm looking forward to this new journey.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Twitter and Rage

Every so often I read something on twitter which infuriates me, filling me with horror and revulsion.  I long for the power to remove such wretched souls, deleting the parasitic blight. However, I know that is not my path. Reveling in rage only fills me with misery. I seek the right response, though,  one which shows them the destruction they wreck. Perhaps, someday, such shall be found. Until then, the best I see is to act with kindness to their victims.

Inhuman humanity

This is puzzling:
Why it is humanity
That's most inhuman?

Monday, July 06, 2015

An Evening

Sunlight fades; colored bursting glow. 
Never to eek out more than a breath
From my imagination. Slightly glorious 
Fading into night's uniformity.

Random Thought of the Day

Oh, Maslow's pyramid and all that psychological think! Is there anything greater than interdependence and self-actualization? Yes, this is a rhetorical question. Right now, no. Or, better put, nothing we know of. But our culture evolves. I wonder what the future will think, looking back upon this moment, about what our perceived upper-bounds were in terms of compassion, interconnectedness, justice. I'm confident that they'll find us amusing, perhaps with a judgmental view.

Friday, July 03, 2015

New Photographer Discovery: Eric Esterle

I just came across this photo over at 500px and just fell in love.


Eric Esterle gives some great detail about the creation of this photo, and some nice insights into his post-production work.

More of his work on the web:



Apple music and upgrading to Yosemite

Ever since the Apple Music announcement, I've been eager to try it this new service. As I have a lot of Apple content, this looked like a solid win for me. And then there's the family plan. $15/mo all we can eat streaming? Perfect!

Well, I need to update my MacBook to Yosemite for the family bit. That did not go according to plan. After sitting, stalled, at 50% complete for over 24 hours, I was worried. But a brief perusal of the internet, I was confident that a reboot would solve it. With a reasonable chance it would fry everything and I'd need to reinstall everything from the OS up. Fortunately, the reboot worked and I'm up and running.

Now I just need to figure out why icloud is not accepting my password. Always something..

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

The critical importance of the pdf

I've seen some creative uses of PDFs, Adobe's ubiquitous document tool. My favorite lately: printing out the fill-in PDF form, filling it in on a typewriter, then scanning and resending. A rather unique blend of old and new technology. This got me thinking about how important the PDF has become.

In real estate now, the PDF is used for most documentation. And our transaction forms (at least in Seattle) are all fill-in PDFs. The ability to edit and manage these forms is critical to business. Fortunately, there are many tools for this, and one isn't bound by the brutal Adobe pricing structure. I fully recommend this investment for every business.