Insulated and isolated

moving houseOur new neighbors moved in. They used a large Penske rental truck that they drove from a distant city.

Somehow I thought of villagers having to move their worldly possessions due to war. Everything they have is carried on their backs or loaded on a cart pulled by a donkey. What a contrast to life in America.

I live such an insulated life here. If I don’t visit websites to read and see what’s going on in other parts of the world, I am blissfully unaware. And even if I do see what’s happening, I become desensitized to the pain and suffering. There’s so much of it.

What can I do? I could give. I could downsize my possessions, so I don’t feel guilty about having so much. I could go overseas to try to help. I can pray for those who are hurting. I’ve done all those things, but it still does not seem to be enough.

Does the family moving their possessions on their backs feel less guilt than I? It’s hard to say. Do they feel more pain? Yes.

Where am I going with this post? I don’t know. Maybe just sharing the pain will help a little.

The photo of the refugees was taken by Julien Harneis and is used under a Creative Commons license. If you click on his name, you can read a little of his story, which took place in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2008.

Footnote: A good friend is going to the middle east to make a difference. You can give to help her efforts. Among other things, she will be teaching zumba classes in the West Bank. Visit her site.


One way to save millions of dollars

ford-lotAbout once a week for about a year, I rode my bicycle past this completely full car lot. All these cars cannot even be seen by the public from the dealership’s already ample lot. This is an overflow lot on a side street.

There are two reasons why this dealership has about $3,000,000 worth of trucks and cars constantly sitting in that lot: 1) They want buyers to be able to buy a purple model with or without a sunroof today and not go to another dealership; and 2) Ford essentially requires them to keep that much inventory through various arcane regulations.

Europe is not that way. You may have to schedule an appointment three days in advance to test drive the car you are considering. But that’s the system, and people are used to it.

One system is built upon instant gratification. The other system is built on high real estate values.

All I know is that this kind of American excess breaks my heart.

I took about 20 photos of this lot under various lighting conditions. Maybe someday I’ll create wallpaper or something with those pictures.


I quit Foursquare

swarm app download request screen shotFoursquare was fun, while it lasted. I checked in at interesting places I visited and shared those with some of my social media friends. I enjoyed seeing where they checked in too. It was great to not use Facebook for that, as I never want to overwhelm any social media channel with too much stuff about me.

Then Foursquare switched things up. Now it’s just a platform for advertising. (Google Maps already allows me to look for businesses quite well, thank you.) Foursquare forced anyone who wanted to keep checking in to download a new app called Swarm. Not me.

This is a perfect example of bad friction. Good friction is when something is a challenge and you dive in. Bad friction is when something happens that breaks the camel’s back.