Further Musings

Beauty smote his heart, he looked up from the forsaken land & hope returned to him

Archive for November 2008

The December Photo Project Returns

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This year I’ll be endeavoring again to post a photo everyday for the month of December.  Thanks to Rebecca for organizing and I’m looking forward to both posting and watching the other entries.

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Written by furthermusings

November 28, 2008 at 6:56 pm

Posted in General

What Myers-Briggs Type is Your Blog?

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Apparently my Myers-Briggs personality type while blogging is INFP.   According to Typealyzer the parts of my brain that are active when I write are my spirituality, rhythm, and harmony.  Who knew I was so intune with myself?

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November 19, 2008 at 10:02 pm

Posted in Blogroll

On Listening and Learning

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A while ago my sister Katie sent me an article from the Atlantic about conversations that I found really interesting.  I think one of life’s great joys is talking to people about the topics they love and understanding them.

I liked the Fallow’s perspective on what it means to be conversant about a topic.  He makes the point that to be conversant one must have really followed the conversation over the course of time.

Each of us has areas we care about, and areas we don’t. If we are interested in a topic, we follow its development over the years. And because we have followed its development, we’re able to talk and think about it in a “rounded” way. We can say: Most people think X, but I really think Y. Or: most people used to think P, but now they think Q. Or: the point most people miss is Z. Or: the question I’d really like to hear answered is A.

Here’s the most obvious example in daily life: Sports Talk radio.

Mention a name or theme — Brett Favre, the Patriots under Belichick, Lance Armstrong’s comeback, Venus and Serena — and anyone who cares about sports can have a very sophisticated discussion about the ins and outs and myth and realities and arguments and rebuttals.

People who don’t like sports can’t do that. It’s not so much that they can’t identify the names — they’ve heard of Armstrong — but they’ve never bothered to follow the flow of debate. I like sports — and politics and tech and other topics — so I like joining these debates. On a wide range of other topics — fashion, antique furniture,  the world of restaurants and fine dining, or (blush) opera — I have not been interested enough to learn anything I can add to the discussion.  So I embarrass myself if I have to express a view.

For some conversations I’m fluent enough in to be a useful participant and for some topics I’m something of an serious student of and love to talk about (UNC basketball, Tolkien, living in Chapel Hill).  All of these are general conversations that I’ve grown or found my way into.

On the other hand there are conversations that I’ve thought are important enough to try to at least gain enough background in them to ask good questions.  When I was in college one of my professors wisely said that if you listen to any conversation long enough you’ll be able to participate in it.  I think that’s true.  I’ve become more deliberate over time in involving myself in particular conversations (state politics, NASCAR, golf) because I encounter people to whom they are central parts of life.  I’m not an expert in any of them but I like knowing enough to have a framework in which to ask questions.

While I agree with Fallows about my inability express opinions about a lot of subjects, I think that not being able to express a view is an opportunity.  If you know where your ignorance begins and how to lead people into telling you about something they know so much about then it’s a cool chance to learn about new things from a lot of interesting people.

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November 18, 2008 at 3:50 pm

Posted in Reflections

Ugly Betty

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This is one of my favorite photos from our trip.  I love the way it capture’s Charity’s laugh, our interaction, and this spot in the city.

timessquare

In Times Square with Betty.

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November 9, 2008 at 11:11 pm

Posted in Pictures, Travel

Charity in New York: A Series of Portraits

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On the train to Amherst.

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November 2, 2008 at 6:00 am

Posted in Pictures, Travel

Charity in New York: A Series of Portraits

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On the Metro.

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November 1, 2008 at 11:49 pm

Posted in Pictures, Travel

Charity in New York: A Series of Portraits

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At the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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November 1, 2008 at 4:57 pm

Posted in Pictures, Travel