New Favorite Word: Ideation

When I grow up, I wanna be an ideator.

Realization #1: I love and thrive on creativity, ideas, and innovation.

Realization #2: I get bored easily.

Are you like this too?

While at the gym today, I was listening to a podcast I’d downloaded nearly a year ago from Gaurav Suri, a philosopher, author, fMRI specialist (no, I don’t know what an fMRI specialist is) was speaking on what happens in our brain when we create. The podcast, though a bit dry at times, was tremendously inspiring and made me forget my workout–always a good thing.

Listen to it here.

Suri, through his research and other smarty-pants things, deduced that the ‘ah-ha’ moment an idea is birthed in our conscious (though often unconscious) mind, massive amounts of dompamine are released into the brain. In normal people language: when we have a cool idea we feel awesome.

(Side note: cocaine and nicotine have the exact same effect on our bodies.)

People actually make a living of doing this idea-making thing. Some license products, or even ideas, to companies who desire to produce the ideas, market them, and sell them to the public. Apparently the process of formulating ideas and concepts is called ideation. And it’s my new favorite word.

Dreaming up ideas is a lot more fun, and healthy, that smoking a cigarette. Or using cocaine.

And it’s cheaper. . . not that I would know. Just guessing.


Dating Advice that Will Also Help Anyone in a Sales Career

While Sarah and I enjoyed a ‘Love Boat’ of sushi tonight, we couldn’t help but listen in on the conversation of the couple behind us.First date? Probably.

Possibly a set-up? Seems likely.

Will there be a second date? Not a chance.

Sarah pondered what it would be like if we just sat down and offered some basic advice. How brazen! Though we didn’t, we sure enjoyed discussing what we’d share.

Ironically, I’d just finished training some sales reps the past week and quickly realized that the advice I would give this guy is nearly the same advice I’d toss out to sales reps.

  • 1. Ask a good question. Shut up. Listen. This guy would not. Stop. Talking. He was only interested in himself and learned nothing about his date. He’s probably going to blame his friends who set him up with such a loser of a woman because she didn’t kiss him goodnight. No dude, you don’t know how to sell. Sales application: if one is excellent at asking questions the customer will naturally want to buy your product. The salesperson then learns about what kind of person their customer is and thus, learns how they like to be treated and how they like to buy.
  •  2. What’s in it for Me? If you’re saying something (and remember, that’s probably not a good thing–see point one on asking questions) it better matter to your customer. Dude, she doesn’t care about how you can discern a truck’s gas mileage by smelling it’s fumes. Sales application: when doing your ‘pitch,’ make sure it’s something that is going to matter to your prospect. Stop spewing meaningless information. You’ll end up sounding just like Charlie Brown’s Teacher, and you’ll also end up not getting the sale.
  • 3. Differentiation. Your date, like a customer, can smell your slimy desperation breath loud and clear. How are you different from any other guy? What makes you stand out? Why would she pick you over the other guys with receding hairlines? No really… why? She would pick you because you’re the type of guy that she’s going to tell her girlfriends about.  “He’s amazing. He’s not like all the other losers. No, really Sharon. This one is different! He really listened to me. He also makes his own clothing. Now that’s a little weird, but at least he’s different.” Sales application: if you are like all the other peddlers on the street selling the same product, why would I buy it from you? I’d buy from you because you’re different. Simple rule of thumb: people do not like salespeople. Don’t be one. Be different. Be a person who likes people, finds problems, and gives advice for solutions if it’s needed.

Sadly, I don’t think these two are going to enter into a profitable relationship. She’s far too nice and he’s far too enamored of himself to show any real and genuine interest in her.

He lost the sale.

30 Entries, 30 Days, Mini-Obama?

Matt, my bro-in-law, offered a challenge on his blog. To write 30 things in 30 days–I believe he’s choosing poems.

His throwdown. My pickup. Game on!

Day 1…

I’m getting older. Not just the kind of getting older that happens when you’re 18. But the getting older that older people used to talk about and I’d think that won’t happen when I get to be their age. But it kinda does happen.

Apart from the gray hairs and a slightly slowing metabolism (hmmmm, these pants used to fit just fine. Woah. What the? Treadmill time) the most noticeable change has been a desire to live with purpose and intention.

Why do we really do what we do? What is the purpose? Who’s life am I affecting? What change can I make to bring a difference?

Making money isn’t rewarding enough, though having the bills paid is a tremendous blessing. Thankful.

Still, the greedy me wants more. To bring change.

Sounds kinda political.

Four and Eleven, Ballet, and Hot Dogs

The following was written in 2005, edited recently. 


    Although instincts had led astray in the past, their candor and edge are, at present, unmistakable. Lincoln Center–yes, that’s it. I’d been there once to see Madame Butterfly. I remember red and gold, but I also recall that my nose actually bled from the altitude of our seats. I’d arrived by subway before, and now could only rely on my feet and compassless sense of direction while wondering if those big white buildings were east of Central Park or west. I was almost sure it was west. A street fair. Dairy-free ice cream? Really? Can they even call it ice cream. It was good, although I questioned how it could taste so cow-like without any dairy.   

    “Excuse me, but I was wondering if you could point me to Lincoln Center.” Continue reading “Four and Eleven, Ballet, and Hot Dogs”

Candy is Art, Candymakers Artists

Walking into an old time candy shop is like walking into an enveloping fog of pure joy.

I think I’d like to own a candy shop like that. Maybe when I’m like 70 and am a weird old man. The kids would say ‘let’s go see that crazy candy guy.’ Yeah, I wouldn’t mind being known as the crazy candy guy with the cool candy shop.

My adorable nephew exemplifies how I feel about sweets. You do me proud Joshy!

Names for my shop:

Candy is joy.

Joy Candy.

I Candy? Maybe not.

Candy is a comfort. Seeing and feeling and smelling all the lovelies in the bulk aisle of a grocery store–too much. Puts me on the edge of acceptability. Almost can’t take it.

Look at it–it’s sole purpose is to tantalize the senses. The color, the texture, the carefully orchestrated scents and smells. Come on.

Candymakers are artists unrealized.

What’s not to love? How can someone not like candy? It’s like saying “I don’t like color, joy, and anything other than my job.” This person is an alien. Or they’ve divorced themselves from their true passions.

One of my passions is candy. Not that I sit around and eat it all the time. Sometimes I just look at it or think about it, and after an hour or two of that, it’s time to move on to something else. Maybe taffy instead of the chocolate.

Oh, chocolate. We live in a town where they make M & M’s and man, when the wind blows just right, we’re breathing in chocolate. Little bits of it.

Incidentally, that’s what always grossed me out so much about farts–the thought of where that smell came from and the science of why I’m smelling it–too much. Particles from that place are floating around and entering into my nose. Actual. Particles.

So I’d rather be smelling chocolate. Or fudge. But not that other thing.

Free Breakfast

Being depressed and moping around, Peter and a few other guys jump in a boat and go fishing in the dead of night. They thought fishing would take their minds off their sorrows and cheer them up.

They fished the whole night. They caught nothing.

Not a real successful cheer-up attempt.

So, in the early morning, their Mentor and Teacher comes to the shore, just a stone’s throw from where they are… but they don’t recognize him because …

    they’re focused on what they don’t have.

“Boys, you don’t have any fish, do you?” The Teacher calls out.

“No!” they blurted. “But thanks so much for asking weird-guy-at-the-shore that’s making us feel like failures.” They didn’t say that last drippingly sarcastic remark, but they thought it.

Long story short: their Mentor gives them some fishing tips, the listen, they catch a ton of fish and bring them to shore where the Teacher is making a breakfast.

They sit down to an incredible spread where the Mentor has a fire of coals, fish cooking on the fire, and some bread.

They all have breakfast and a pretty transparent conversation.

John 21:3-9 (in-my-own-words-version)


I was shocked when I read this passage. I thought:

So they’re upset that Jesus is dead. I get that. Their lives seem over. Everything they had lived the past two or three years is completely over.

Time to go back to work. What do we do when we’re upset. We try to get what we need to fill a void. Just keep working. Just keep working. Just keep…

It’s interesting that this same pattern continues today. Sometimes in my own life.

What makes the story so fun and so surprisingly ironic, is that Jesus had the fish all along. He had prepared a table for his laboring friends.

At that moment of realization, I hopped out of the boat, onto the shore with Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, James, and John and had a stellar little breakfast that I’d been working for during a seemingly hopeless night.

Jesus always has that for which we’re working.

Sometimes He seems to call out to us as if to say “did you get it yet? Did you find the (insert need here)? That’s OK, why don’t you just listen to me, I’ll tell you how to get what you really want. Even better, hop out of your boat, I’ve got it right here, and I’ve had it all along. I always will.”

Shivering in the Heatwave

  • Air conditioning
  • A quiet morning
  • The shiver of God
  • Colorful veggies and fruit

Hmmmm. I just wanted to list a few things I was thankful for and that ‘the shiver of God’ is sticking with me and I couldn’t really write anything else… well, except “colorful veggies and fruit.”

The shiver of God…

It’s a cold-hot chill when His tangible pleasure can be felt. The sense is that glitter bits of heaven have been sprinkled just over head, and they dance around in enjoyment.

It’s truly heaven on earth.

The shiver happens unpredictably. It may be when reading a passage in a book that forms a connection between the temporal and the eternal. I’ve felt it when I watch people do what they were made to do: teach, dance, sing, preach, garden, run, greet, or simply just smile.

The common denominator is that it’s felt (or rather, God’s stamp of pleasure is felt) when there is a connection that brings the mundane day-to-day-ness of daily tasks into the eternal realms of the One Who never sleeps.

What if there was always this connection? What if it wasn’t just a moment from time to time?

What if everything I did and said at every waking moment had those glitter bits of heaven showering down– all. the. time.

God is good.

Soak it All Up…

Tucked. Fresh. Old. New. Creative. Multi-colored. Salty-sweetness.

Peace and relinquishment seeps from the surf into the streets, enveloping natives and newcomers into the arms of it’s two-hundred year Scandinavian history.

Kudos to you, Danish Maid Bakery, and your 25 cent lemon pockets of sheer wonder. . .  and your butter bars. Oh, and the macaroons.

And that shortbread that you’ve  made there since butter was invented. The sense memory took me back three years to when I first experienced four simple joys for a buck.

Thanks also going out to the folks at the Columbian Café. For your garlic, jalapeño, pepper and who-knows-what-else homemade jellies for the toast.

And for keeping it kitsch-less but still artsy.

Oh, and for the amazing breakfast burrito with the super-smoked cheddar. Who’s your daddy?

Mr. Hotel Elliott with your motto of ‘wonderful beds’ emblazoned throughout (including the floor of the semi-working elevator); we slept well. So well, I sneaked in a nap before checkout at 1.

And thanks for the late checkout.

This is our first visit here in three years since traveling the Columbia River as singers on numerous cruises. Each Friday, we’d stop in Astoria, Oregon to spend an afternoon soaking in the lovely that is this town.


I suspect Sarah and I will come back here from time to time. We’ll bring a few more wrinkles with each new visit. And that makes me very, very happy.

We’ll never stop revisiting the old, and we’ll always experience something new: this is the way to create memories.

Sarah admires the Columbian Cafe–Astoria, Oregon