A Vacation with All that Jazz

Vacations… they don’t serve as a balm to the mundanity of life; I usually just end up in a funk once they are over. But on my most recent trip, it was exactly what the doctor ordered. While I could write thousands of words about it, all I really want to say is, thank you to my friends (old and new) and to the city of Chicago. Even though I contracted the plague (or flu), it was the most salubrious of vacations I’ve had in a long time.

I searched my brain for a fitting quote about the city, only to end up singing “All that Jazz” to my house plants. So turning to the internet, I found a quote most fitting…

“It’s one of the greatest cities on the planet. My heart beats differently when I’m in Chicago. It slows down and I feel more at ease.” Jeremy Piven

Chicago

It’s Like That Everywhere

“It’s like that everywhere.” It’s a response I’ve used many times. It is a Swiss Army knife phrase; it can be a balm to sooth the cries of bleak or a final retort to silence the indignant.

It simply states, “I am aware of the situation you described and it is not unique. And due to it’s
universalness, little can/should/will be done.”

Today, I lamented on the state of our team to a colleague. As she smiled gently, she uttered the words, “It’s like this everywhere.” In full disclosure, she prefaced the statement that she had been to many similar organisations, so she has had experience.

And it’s probably true. But it got me thinking. Shouldn’t we aim to be better?

Feeling the Social Media Drain

Someone sent me a link to an IDC paper. I wanted to tear my brain out.

I’m feeling fatigued by social media and data mining for marketing purposes. There is no use for it to be a movement, just a way to convince us to buy more of what we already like.

Yes I realise this is a social media forum I’m writing on. I always hoped that the Internet would be a tool to share and discuss the great polemics.

I don’t know if I see the dialogue getting better. I see far more polarity because people use what we put out there to continue to pander to us. Rather than really try to change.

And I even feel slightly more intolerant of opposing views. I used to be patient. Now it all bubbles up. Because there’s so much more hatred.

Like this post

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I’m a cyclist, a driver, a pedestrian, and a public transportation commuter. I think it’s best to live all in harmony. There are awful cyclists who are bullies. But the same goes for all other commuters.

The man above had one possibly good point about available bike racks, but it’s lost within his vitriol.

To circle back, do you think data mining for commerce will be used to engage him to find a common solution? Or will it just pander to his beliefs?

His Facebook is completely open. He lobbies for the ‘typical’ conservative ideological practices. And I’d be happy to listen, but it’s tiring when the voice is so strident.

Maybe it’s time to get off the grid.

Travel

I blame Disney World for my desire to travel with my appetite leading the way. Food is an easy way to experience culture and is a large part of the way I travel. Growing up eating chicken feet and odd textures was a good basis to be open minded about different food. 

Epcot changed the way I saw the world or to be more precise, I saw the world for the first time. Yes the Disney version of the world, but the world nonetheless. The costumes and architecture were the antithesis of my cookie cutter corner of suburbia. Smells and tastes went beyond my very young palate. Noodles had only been Chinese or Italian. But in a dark Bavarian tavern, I was confronted with soft pillows of pale egg noodles bathing in a warm spiced brown sauce. I think my dad just wanted beer at the time, but it changed everything I knew.

Disney is an antiseptic way to see the world; the safe distillation of the journey at our fingertips. There’s nothing wrong with that. 

There is one other memory that solely contributed to the way I travel. Upon my burgeoning adolescence, my parents once again took us into a journey, but this time further away. I don’t know why my parents decided to drive within continental Europe, but it changed everything.

Somewhere upon the windy motorway in Switzerland, we were lost upon it’s rolling pastures. Stopping at a small grocery store, my father begrudgingly sought instructions. My mother decided to feed her grumpy children. We were probably all grumpy.  

This wasn’t Disney World. We were all being challenged in some way like a dare of the universe. Every olfactory sensation was new: petrol, people, air. Music and languages were unfamiliar and tickled my brain. Even the frequency of the light hummed at a different rate.

We settled on a table with our impromptu picnic lunch. The cheese came in a little pyramid container. There were stuffed tomatoes. Salads were darker. Everything was spectacular. I don’t know what we talked about, but I remember the sensation of eating the glorious meal. Cheese, meat and vegetables all different in tangs and textures danced on my tongue. And in the landscape, a ballet of bucolic life danced before us as the Alps outlined the horizon.

My sister and I still recall this lunch.

From then on my synapses were wired not only to find what’s outside the boundaries of my home, but to also allow things to get off schedule. Because when you are adrift, you can find treasures unknown.