31 January 2011

Linear brains vs shapes brains

People seem to come in two thought process categories. Those who think linearly and those who, well, don't follow the straight line, it's more of a free association of ideas. They see things differently and we need both in the world.

I read an organizational article describe it as the pilers versus filers. The visual among us need to see the papers or the objects that need attention. The filers can put these same objects in a file drawer in a folder and still do the task or find that paper and make it useful at the appropriate time. I'm a piler. If it needs to be done or dealt with, it needs to be where I can lay eyes on it. I use a file cabinet for deep storage, like receipts for next year's taxes. It's not something that needs to be dealt with on any regular basis or soon. It's very hard for me after I've been on kick of putting things away because I can't find anything. Usually something terribly important is missing after these organizational bouts. I KNEW where it was when it was in the pile on the desk. If you are not a piler, you will not understand what I have just described.The disadvantage is it leads to lots of piles and it's not pretty. I've tried bags - that is taking all those stray canvas bags and putting all associated things in a bag. It hasn't worked very well. Unseen, undone, unuseful.

Another way of looking at these different patterns is a formal outline versus a sort of  free shaping brainstorm. I was at a seminar where this was described a couple times and I can't remember or find on line what the real name is. Rather than I. A. a. B. b., you take a piece of paper with your main idea in a circle in the middle. Then you sort of free associate anything related that you can think of in other smaller circles on the page and you can eventually connect the circles that go together. It ends up as a series of shapes and lines, like a sloppy line drawing. It sounds messy, but for those non linear people it is very helpful. It turns the idea into a shape or visual that you can begin to manage.

One interesting thing I've noticed about this lately is that these two categories do not necessarily line up with personality types.  I hear people say they are a big idea person and not one for details. I think the idea people and the detail people can be on both sides of the linear versus shapes thought processes. 

I can be the idea person and often am, but I can execute the details too. It's odd to me that so many people see that as an either or question. Yet, how can I be a detail person and yet not be linear in my thinking? Or is it that I don't think linearly enough so I run rampant around my mind in circles until I've covered as many details as I can think of? I'm not sure I know the answer. I know it's not a straight line.

So which are you?

22 January 2011

Foodies, gourmaunds, and wanna-bes

Have you known a foodie? Are you a foodie? Do you disdain the chains for local places? Have you ever driven out of your way because the "fill in the blank" is so good at a particular place? Do you make things you've seen on the food channel?

I think we all have our foodie moments where we like something more from somewhere else, but there are people that are much more serious about this. I don't think it is a flaw at all. In fact, I have a touch of regret that I'm not a more adamant gourmet follower.

I do like things I make sometimes better than something I might get out. That will NEVER stop me from eating out though. You want to stop at Sonic? Okay, sure! It means I  don't have to cook.

I know people that don't order pizza from the standards (Papa Murphys, Ceasars, Pizza Hut, Dominoes). They have that good pizza place where they get it, usually actual Italians are involved.

These are the people you want with you if you want to eat good stuff. Maybe not cheap but it will be good eating. I want to be these people. I do; it's just that ultimately convenience is a stronger pull than my inner gourmand.

Our gourmand friends do not buy prebattered chicken at the grocery store, or frozen entrees. They are ring shoppers. They circle mostly the outside ring of grocery store where things are fresh and have to be assembled to create the perfect meal.

I have often one of these ring shoppers (not lately) but rather than out of pure foodie motives, it's because I'm cheap. But all that making things from scratch takes a long time. It does taste good usually, I have to admit.It can be cheaper depending on the ingredients. I wonder if the foodies always enjoy cooking  or just the results? Is it the yummy food or do they enjoy the journey?

One of my more guilty cooking escapes the last couple years has been....prechopped onions. Excessive I know. Cost ineffective as well. It just jump starts that homemade meal and helps me get off square one. Well, that is, if I'm actually cooking something REAL. See? I have foodie genetics recessed somewhere deep within me that prepared foods (boxed soup? fake potatoes anyone?) don't qualify as REAL. The difference between me and a foodie is I'll eat 'em anyway.

17 January 2011

False religiousity

It seems our culture can use everything for spiritual guidance but God as in Jesus.I read some articles lately that talk about pursuing happiness. I noticed a quote from Dante in an article - he wrote that your pleasure will guide you. We speak much of tolerance and equality in our current culture, and it seems we will tolerate everything but any sort of "one true" God definition - especially if it relates to Christianity.

I understand that it is not unreasonable to take solace or be encouraged by other ideas beyond Christianity. Our current day level of learning and information does have a lot to offer,  but those other ideas have become God. We have substitued serving Jesus with feel good speak especially in society at large. People who have not embraced Jesus have embraced a spirituality that has no roots in a tangible belief structure or maybe it is a melange of all belief structures but leaves out Jesus-as-God-who-wants-to-save-us-from-ourselves.  We are turning ourselves into our own resource. The danger is that it removes the everyday mundane from our spirituality. We don't have to apply that vague spirituality to the mundane aspects of life because it is centered around us, ourselves.

Two things recently had such deeply Jesus-God spiritual language that would have been normal and accepted in the culture in which it occurred. One was Martin Luther King Jrs' I have a dream speech. He quoted scripture and used hymns in his speech. No one cried out about separation of church and state and no one said what is he talking about? In True Grit there was a level of spiritual talk that was normal and everyone knew what they were talking about. That didn't mean they all obeyed God or served him but the idea was the divine God was there, they all knew it and no one was redefining who that "God" might be.

We don't culturally know who God is anymore. Do people recognize the spiritual references in everyday speech? No, you can have whatever kind of spirituality you want and that's okay.  We are inventing anything else to take the place of Jesus-God and calling it spirituality.

In the church we are trying to worry about that generic spirituality and appealing to that rather than sticking to the facts of Jesus. I can be guilty of this too. I have worried about relevance to culture when trying to think how to present Jesus, rather than pure honesty.

Here is an article for Christians (Link to article) that is very thought provoking on what living in Jesus really means for ourselves and the church. It isn't always very appealing in a personal benefits way - at least as our culture views it. Ultimately, Jesus saves us rescues us from ourselves and challenges us to live with him in mind first before ourselves. A high bar that is hard, not easy. The challenges are real but I'm glad I've chosen the Jesus-God version of spirituality.

11 January 2011

Have Unions jumped the shark?

Just in the last few weeks I've wondered if the days of Unions helping employees have passed. I believe they had a season where they were necessary, but some things occurring lately make me wonder if something else needs to evolve.

We've been closely watching the economic conditions in Spain, anticipating our return. The government is close to or probably past going bankrupt like Greece. They have called for austerity measures and because of that the unions of every type representing mostly people paid by the government, which is most of the people, are staging protests.

Protests that THEIR pay cannot be cut; it's not possible. Of course, the fact of the matter is that the government cannot keep up. They've already raised taxes a few times and lowered the retirement age trying to force more jobs for the 20 percent unemployed. 

I hear of Michigan which was a mecca of union jobs, but it appears they raised the bar so many times on the employers that the employers fled. It's almost as if the unions disregard common sense or the circumstances of the day, and just keep the benefits or pay going higher regardless of whether the industry can sustain it.

In Hollywood, the movie industry has unionized to the point of one person who loads film, one who takes it to the processors, one who shows the daily developed film. You can get in trouble if you do something logical like adjust a light if you are a camera person. Two things are wrong. The jobs have all become contract because no one wants to pay anyone fulltime for this tiny single job that the union allows them to do. It makes people not be able to cover multiple roles at one time - to multitask if you will. The other thing that is wrong is that media is changing. It's smaller; it's more streamlined; it doesn't need actual film anymore. The jobs are not as singular as they were 40 years ago. The union is holding fast to the former days and may lose the race. A team of 7 or 8 nonunion hobbyists in the industry are making up the cutting edge of film in Vietnam and they are being backed financially by new media types. Times they are a-changing.

Is it possible that one can over protect a job so much as to protect yourself out of the business completely?