I especially like this song, “The Two of Us.” Reminds me of Tara.
Final polls show Tory lead. How are my British friends voting?
Donald Trump’s Son… what’s his name, has said that he’s, “never seen hatred like this,” when referring to how dems are resisting his father’s agenda. He even goes so far to say that, “Dems are not people,” further dehumanizing the opposition.
I will not further comment on this, as I think his insanity is self-evident.
“Always remember that the future comes one day at a time.” — Dean Acheson
Have I just not noticed that apple has started using a tpeface called SF Pro Display, or did this just appear today in their Website redesign, which, incidentally was broken immediatly after today’s keynote. Seems to be working OK Now.
Apple announced that they will be adding easy AR to the next iOS.
A lot has already been made about what a horrible year 2016 has turned out. Looking back, I can see many highs, but many, many, many more lows in 2016. I’m not here to complain. Instead, I want to try to make sense of it all: why was 2016 so bad?
There were a lot of great things that happened to me and even in the world, however, I will always remember 2016 as “The Year of the Bully.” 2016 was the year that uncivil, unreasonable, and unconscionable behavior flourished as accepted, mainstream and was often even lauded. It was a year with people who had overbearing confidence, although little competence, seemed the most successful.
A bully is someone who sees their power over you as a right to make you weaker. Bullies lack compassion and reason. They also have an innate feeling of superiority and seeming confidence, but the confidence is really a mask for their fear.
Bullies are often physical, emotionally, and verbally violent, but that’s actually not a pre-requisite for a bully. Whether expressed as anger, through a pervading sense of superiority, or both, at its core, bullying is really about fear: fear of difference, fear of losing power, fear of becoming irrelevant, fear of looking foolish, fear of being hurt. So the bully puts the person or people s they fear on the defensive as a way to make sure their fears do not come true.
In 2016, we saw the King of the Bullies crowned President of the United States, we saw the Czar of the Bullies help a prince of bullies slaughter civilians who opposed their will. We witnessed religious bullies run down, gun down, and blow up people in public spaces, hoping to make them fearful as well. We also saw religious bullies pass and enforce laws to deny their fellow citizens basic civilities. We saw trolling bullies belittle people who dared try to entertain us, because the entertainment was not to their taste. We witnessed friends bullying friends online in arguments over the bullies.
I know this did not happen all of a sudden. Bullying tendencies have been festering for years. But 2016 felt like the year in which the chickens finally came home to roost. It was the year the very confident seized power from the merely competent at the behest of the “common people” who were afraid of losing their cultures. It was apparent in online trolls who hid behind anonymity, afraid of loosing their past. It was apparent in our politicians for whom compromise is a loss of power, something they are always afraid of losing. Most notably, it was apparent in individuals who fear losing their privileged place in society.
This was not only true in the public sphere but also in my own professional and private life. I encountered many bullies this year who cost me dearly. I came up against people who seemed to think that reasonable settlement of disputes was unacceptable. I cannot say whether this was just my bad luck to encounter these people, or whether this is the result of the general trend in World Culture — bullying is not an uniquely American trait, I’m sorry to say — but the demeanor of more and more people I interact with is that “might makes right.”
And now my confession: I am a bully, or at least I am not immune from bullying other people from time to time. I had always felt the victim of bullies in my young life: the chubby kid everyone picked on for being different, weird, a bit slow. Then in eighth grade, a new kid joined my K — 12 school.
He was a bit plumper, a bit sheer, and was at my private school on scholarship. I was afraid of being bullied, so I bullied him for almost an entire year. Made fun of him, belittled him, and generally made his life difficult so that I could feel better about myself. I wasn’t the lowest on the totem pole anymore. I wasn’t the least athletic kid in a school that prized athleticism. I wasn’t the most awkward kid in a class full of overachiever.
Then one day I was walking down the hall and did something mean to him (I think I shoved him), and he said ,“Why do you do this to me?” and I had to stop and think, and it came to me almost immediately that I was doing to him what I hated others doing to me: I was the bully. I’m sorry, David.
I spent the rest of that year trying to make it up to him, and we ended up becoming good friends. He is wicked smart, and I like wicked smart people. But all through my life I have kept a careful eye on myself to make sure I don’t fall into that trap again. Unfortunately, I still fall for it from time to time.
That’s why it’s all the harder to see the destructive behavior of bullies all around me. I’m not sanctimonious about it, it’s natural human defense, but one that we should grow past as a species.
So what am I doing to make sure that 2017 isn’t the Year of the Bully, Part II?
First, is mindfulness. I’m practicing mindfulness meditation and I am amazed by how much this has helped me clear my thoughts and see clearly.
Second, have hope. I’ve put together a list of 17 songs to help me with hope in 2017. I recommend you make your own list, not of “favorite” songs, but songs that make you feel hopeful rather than afraid. If you do, let me know. I’d like to hear them.
Third, I will not tolerate intolerance. I know that sounds strange and counter-intuitive, but the one thing I’ve found cannot be tolerated is people’s intolerance of others. Have whatever opinions you want, whatever ideas, but do no harm to other people with your opinions.
I hope 2016 is a year we look upon in the future as a turning point in how we perceived attitudes of fear, intolerance, and bullying. I hope we get past thinking that people with confidence are better than people with competence at leading us. And I hope you have a year full of hope and fulfillment in 2017.
The President of the United States of America serves many critical duties beyond the mere title of the office: chief of state, chief executive, chief diplomat, and commander-in-chief of the military. He (because it has always been a man) also has many unofficial responsibilities: chief of his political party, guardian of the economy, and leader of the free world.
There’s another unofficial responsibility the President takes on and it is more important than all of the other unofficial and official responsibilities combined: Role-model-in-chief. The US President is the leader of behavior in this country—both for positive and negative ends—and represents this countries values to the rest of the world.
This is completely independent of his political outlook and are even separate from policies, although the policies are the actions through which the measure of the man might be taken.
Donald Trump is a bully. He has regularly spoken about excluding members of our country from meaningful discourse. He has encouraged violence at his own rallies. He is threatens to sue anyone who criticizes him. He has personally said that he can grab woman without their permission. As President, he is normalizing attitudes of coercion and intimidation. I say this as a simple, demonstrable fact.
I have heard some say that he simply said these things to get elected, that he didn’t really mean them, that he will now moderate his tone. Maybe. Maybe not. Regardless, his behavior and attitudes set the norm for US Citizens and represent our values to the rest of the world.
Whether you agree or disagree with the President’s statements, policies, or actions, he is the one who sets the standards we will all be acting on and reacting to for at least the next four years. If that person talks about exclusion, encourages violence, constantly threatens litigation, denies experts, and speaks positively about personal assault, then those traits begin to become acceptable within our society at large.
As the Role-model-in-chief—whether — whether you agree with his politics or not — President Obama was always calm, always informed, always engaged, and always present. Even at the most outlandish of accusations, he kept his cool. He could not keep all of the promises he made, but I never felt this was for lack of belief in the promises themselves, only the circumstances he found himself dealing with.
Donald Trump, on the other hand, flies off the handle at the slightest slight. He attacks anyone who criticizes him and then, in a typical bullies fashion, tries to make out as their fault and expects them to apologize. He plays this game time and again, and it seems to work. His attacks do not have to be accurate, realistic, or even reality based. In fact the more outlandish, the accusations, the more impossible they become to refute.
How do you answer the question “Have you stopped beating your wife?” These are the kinds of rhetorical situations Trump’s opponents find themselves in when dealing with him, and he can now officially be declared the grand-master champion of this tactic.
This is actually the smart bullies tactic: attack, attack, attack and then act conciliatory. You put your opponents on the defensive by barraging them with insults, condemnations, and accusations, pushing them off-balance, forcing them to try to attack back just as viciously and then offer them the olive branch. If they don’t take you up on your “peace offer,” then can act unapologetically hurt that they have acted with so little compassion. If they take your offer, you act like they are your closest friend and confidant, making them feel special, because the bully isn’t bullying them anymore.
We see this again, and again, and agin in Trumps play book. Whether it’s “blood streaming out of her whatever” Megan Kelly, “lyin’” Ted Cruz, “little” Marc Arubio, or countless others, he initially attacks outrageously and then makes peace. His opponents accept so that he will stop attacking them and, as a result, they stop attacking him back. And they did, and some began to support him, even if only tepidly. The one case where this did *not* seem to work was with Jeb Bush, but that didn’t end up costing Trump anything in the end, so effective were his attacks.
And that’s who we have chosen as our Role-model-in-chief to represent the United States of America, a country many were already fearing as the great big bully on the block, threatening their neighbors, ignoring the world community, and only worried about themselves. It looks like we have proven them right.
I was talking to a friend of mine at a party the other day who, half-heartedly, admitted to me that he couldn’t stand either of the Presidential candidates, but was voting for Donald Trump because of the supreme court appointments he would make. The subtext was simple: “I’m pro-life and want to overturn Roe v. Wade.”
I can understand that to a point. I don’t think abortion is something anyone should ever have to go through. At the same time, I think the best way to prevent abortions is not to make them illegal, but to make them unnecessary. No woman should ever have to be pregnant if they do not want to. To do that takes education and easily available contraception. No, we will not stop people from having sex. Sorry, that’s a non-starter as a strategy to reduce pregnancies.
If you don’t think people should be having sexual intercourse before marriage, than that is a completely different discussion, one you should not be hiding behind abortion to make. People will have sex without the intent to procreate. Whether you like it or not, that is a fact. And if you think pregnancy, then, is a consequential punishment they (i.e. the woman) has to endure for their desire for pleasure, then that’s a debate I want to hear you argue.
Getting back to my friend, he’s willing to put the future of the United States, the future of his children, the future of his children’s children… into the hands of Donald Trump because he wants abortion to be illegal. I invite my friend to think carefully about that goal. Is that worth putting a self confessed sexual predator, bully, anti-intellectual, racist, and misogynist into the highest office of our United States of America?
Instead, let’s work for a world where abortion is not illegal, but unneeded except in dire circumstances where the woman has been raped or the mother’s life will end. Let’s make all other needs for abortion unnecessary rather than illegal. That’s what Hillary Clinton says she will do.
Donald Trump will not take us into that world, but rather create a world where abortions are needed out of desperation. Donald Trump does not respect women beyond their aesthetic value as objects of beauty. After that, he is done with them. He has several children, yet leaves his children’s mothers as soon as they have served their purpose.
If you are voting for Trump simply because he gives lip-service to being “pro-life”, please look closely at the issue or you may end up throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
5 Things I am not afraid of:
- ISIS coming into my grocery store and blowing it up.
- Immigrants raping and stealing.
- An epidemic of pot smokers.
- An invasion by China or Russia.
- Having bureaucrats in Washington appointed by elected politicians decide my healthcare.
5 Things I am afraid of:
- Not having enough money to pay my grocery bill.
- People being shot for the color of their skin.
- An epidemic of pot smokers having their families torn apart and being imprisoned for decades just for having a few joints.
- Spending all of our money on the military while our schools suffer.
- Having bureaucrats in insurance companies appointed by profit driven CEOs decide my healthcare.
The big moment finally came for me to give my closing keynote. It felt really good, like I was teaching them something that felt true while also being forward thinking. Thanks to everyone who tweeted these pictures of me, and the staff at UX New Zealand for their amazing conference and giving me the opportunity to speak at it.
— UX New Zealand (@UXNewZealand) October 14, 2016
This time next week, I’ll be as far from my birthplace as I have ever been: I’ll be in New Zealand. I’m going speak at the UX (User Experience, for those of you not in the profession) New Zealand conference.
I’m talking about a topic I’ve been doing a lot of research and contemplation about over the last few years: design thinking. Succinctly put, design thinking is helping non-designers solve problems using design methods; i.e. Teaching them to think more like designers.
More on that in another post.
I haven’t been keeping up with my personal blog much in the last few years. I initially set it up to talk about my operation, but let it flounder. I’m hoping to change that, and use this blog instead to cross publish to all of my various social media outlets. We’ll see how that works.
A year ago today, I had my nut cracked open in a vain attempt to remove a tumor from my head. As I write this, 365 days ago I was in the ICU asking my wife if I could have something to drink, how my children were, and if we could go dancing.
The operation failed and I still have the tumor. The good news is that it is not growing, and the operation did have the positive result of stabilizing, if not clearing, my hearing.
I have learned a lot in the last year about life and what’s important. It was not a sudden epiphany that came to me after the operation, but long and some times hard learned wisdom.
But I am thankful for where my journey has brought me and where I hope I am heading.
Immediately, I am heading to San Francisco for a few days for work, but with Tara with me. We plan to spend the nights taking in the sights, and all day Saturday exploring Alcatraz.
This summer, we will be heading with Jocelyn and Dashiel to Barcelona! One of our favorite cities!
I am excited about our future and I thank all of my wonderful friends and family for their support and love this past year.
The one thing I’m really missing is taste. Between the anesthesia and pain killers I’m on, plus the fact that I bit my tongue during the operation and it took a few weeks to fully heal, my sense of taste has been really off. Foods that should be bursting with flavor are bland. Salty barely registers, and sweet is almost nonexistent. It’s gradually picking up, but I’m really beginning to appreciate my sense of taste!
As for my rehabilitation, Physical Therapy (PT to those of us in the know) is helping me a lot to adjust to the dizziness. They tell me, though, that my nerve will never un-stretch, so it’s a matter of me adjusting to the new norm.
The scar is also clearing some, and Tara is having me put on sun-screen on my neck every time I go out. Speaking of which, I had a big weekend, going out to my favorite Indian restaurant for lunch (which helped with the taste problem) on Sunday and to the mall on Monday! Big Adventures!
Between all the sleeping while I let my body recuperate, I’m catching up on a lot of TV. Tara and I watched all of Top of the Lake, which was amazingly good and I highly recommend it. We’re on Arrow, which was a bit slow at first but picking up as the season progresses. When Tara is not around, I’m watching one of the best American TV shows of all time, I Spy with Bill Cosby and Robert Culp. Although its a very simplistic good guys v. bad guys theme, the banter between the two stars is priceless, and the show actually got into some pretty deep issues, especially for the mid–1960s. If you’ve never seen it, it’s available on HULU.
So, I’m still humming along, and still gob-smacked by the kindness of my community and the support they are providing for Tara, the kids and me. Thank you all.
Be well, do good work and keep in touch…
Gaining your sense of balance back is a remarkable adventure. It’s now three weeks after having my nerves played on like banjo strings, and I’m still walking around like I’m half–drunk. Half–drunk but without the great euphoric feeling you get before the hang over. Now, everything I do is an adventure: Going up and down stairs; showering; getting a drink in the kitchens; carrying… anything. And don’t get me started on going outside.
But the recovery moves along, and I did, indeed, even have my first adventure time out of the house on Sunday, when Tara and I went to meet the wonderful Martha at a near-by Starbucks. It was wonderful being outside on such a beautiful day. I got to get out of my PJs and robe and wear my big boy clothes for a while, and it almost felt normal. Normal except for the big scar running down my head onto neck, that is.
Despite what the doctor said, I feel fairly certain that I will have a noticeable scar on my neck — Tara tells me that the picture she took after the operation is not suitable for polite public consumption so I’ll spare everybody. Not that I’ll mind that so much. As the saying goes “Scars are just tattoos with a better story.” But some advance warning about that and the small titanium plate they put in my skull would have been nice.
In fact, I was not 100% confident that they didn’t just take out a big hole in the right side of my head. Until the feeling started coming back this week, that is. As nerves mend and anesthetic clears, I can begin to feel again over. That’s a good thing, but another adventure as the pain creeps in as well.
But the adventure I didn’t expect — the one I’m most astounded and delighted by — is the continuing adventure in support we’ve experienced from all of our communities. I am overwhelmed by the kindness. People who are helping with rides, food, understanding, and warm thoughts. Thank you all.
I’m looking forward to getting out more in the next few weeks as I get geared up to go back to work.I’m still tired and shaky, but I’m starting physical therapy, and hope to see you all in person real soon.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch…
I had my follow-up visit with my neurologist today. Both he and my in-home physical therapist — whom I met with yesterday afternoon — agree that I am coming along nicely. I’m still off–balance, tired, and spacey, but I’m not sure most people could tell the difference. Seriously, Tara and the kids are taking extremely good care of me: helping me up and down stairs, getting me food, taking me to doctor’s appointments and just sitting and keeping me company when I’m awake.
Talking to my neurologist today, though, we’ll take next steps carefully, putting off any decisions until I’m completely recovered. The most obvious option right now is something called the cyber-knife. Since it uses radiation, though, it’s a one time shot, so not something we want to use haphazardly.
This is apparently an extremely rare condition, and, as my neurologist kept saying, there is no playbook for what comes next.
The other great thing that happened today was I got my suture out, and my head feels a lot better. Having your head sewn together with a piece of plastic twine might sound comfortable, but trust me–It isn’t. I even think my hearing improved afterwards, and I know that the whooshing sound in my ear has decreased a lot.
Thank you to all of my friends who have reached out with their support. I appreciate all of you. Especially the ones who sent cookies ;-).
be well, do good work, and keep in touch,
A little over a week after I emerged from surgery, and I’m ready to write a little update. I just took some heavy medication, though, so I’m not really sure how long I’ll be able to last.
If you’ve been reading Tara’s updates, you’ll know that things did not go as planned. When the surgeons opened my skull, the expected to find a acoustic neuroma — a benign tumor on the vestibular cochlear nerve — which they were going to remove. What they found was a tumor on the facial nerve that could not be removed without complete loss of facial function on that side.
I asleep during all of this, though. The last thing I remember was walking back with Tara. The next thing I remember was waking up in the ICU wondering where Tara had gotten to.
The next few days were not particularly pleasant. Fortunately I also don’t remember a lot of those hours. I was sick for 26 hours straight—waking and vomiting, waking and vomiting — and no water. But once I got into recovery things started getting better, especially once Tara could stay with me and I decided to come home Saturday after my family visited.
I’ve been mostly sleeping the last several days, with my family taking excellent care of me. I still feel as weak as a bag of kittens, but feeling stronger everyday, and just thankful to be through this segment.
So, I got the operation, but no resolution. Yes, I’m trying to take this as well as possible. I’m told that there was no way of knowing this was inoperable without the operation. There are always other options, though, and, once I’m back on my feet I’ll start exploring.
Well, Jason decided the food is better at home, so when the docs gave him the option of leaving today or tomorrow, he chose today.
He sits up often, is eating fairly well, and can walk around the nurses’ station twice before needing a long rest. (This post sounds awfully similar to things I said when the children were babies!) Regardless, he is working hard to regain strength and balance.
He is very, very tired, and the nerves are waking up. He is feeling more pain, but he is also more conscious. He loves hearing what is happening in the world of our friends, and he appreciates all of your support and warm wishes.
The dizziness is part of the docs lifting up his equilibrium nerve and checking things out during surgery. As are the balance issues. PT and OT will come to the house to help, but mostly it will just take time, time, time.
And snuggling from children, which is in much greater supply at home. Along with delicious food from Nana and Dodo, and a new bathroom floor from Papa! We are well loved, and it means the world to us.
They finally found a med for Jason yesterday around two that quelled his nausea. So, after 26 hours post-op of awful sickness, he found some rest.
This also allowed him to take some better narcotics, to relieve some of the pain. To get to the location of the tumor, the surgeons had to cut through neck muscle before they could proceed upward to the skull. That comprises most of his pain.
He is dizzy and still nauseous, but eating a tiny bit now. He has stood a few times. He held a fuller conversation with me today, with his eyes open for the whole 10-15 minutes.
Today he is tired. Thankfully he is sleeping, and with rest comes healing. His nurse is amazing, and the Georgetown staff are so kind. Our community is beyond words. All I can say to you is, thank you.
Finally got into recovery to see Jason! He was still so sleepy, and actually quite a bit ill. He said three things to me, in this order (with nodding off in between):
1) My eyes aren’t working right.
2) How are my children?
3) I’ll take you dancing.
They gave him the really good stuff.
So… the latest:
Jason’s diagnosis has changed. He no longer has an “acoustic neuroma.” He has a “facial nerve tumor.”
They are biopsying it. Soon he will get concentrated radiation to hopefully reduce the size and cut off blood flow, thereby virtually ending the effects of the tumor.
He has been in recovery for a long time, and I jus found out it is because he is sleeping so soundly. If I have to wait until he wakes up to see him, it will be next week 🙂
Friends and loved ones of Jason CranfordTeague, here is the update:
Surgery started at 8:30.
The neurosurgeon just walked out to tell me that while Jason’s life is not in danger, there is a very real curve ball.
The tumor is not attached to the aural nerve primarily. It is attached to the facial nerve.
They will not be able to remove the tumor, as that would mean complete loss of facial nerves and movement on the right side of his face.
They are widening the canal for the tumor and the nerve cluster, so there is less compression.
After he heals from this, we will have to find an acceptable time for the cyberknife surgery, where radiation shrinks the tumor and cuts off blood supply. It is not a great option under normal circumstances, but it is the only option under this 1 in a 1,000 circumstance.
ICU, hospital stay, recovery time still remains the same.
Good thoughts, love, prayers, well wishes, and friendly vibes are all appreciated.
Don’t empty my mind! Please, I beg you! My mind is all I have! I’ve spent my whole life trying to fill it!
— Dr. Hanz Zarkoff
By the time you read this, I will either be in surgery or out of surgery; I’m writing this the night before, but scheduling the words to post mid-morning, about half-way through my operation.
So, let me tell you a bit about my little brain.
First off, I’m very fond of it and hope to keep it for at least a few more years to come. One of the worries I have with brain surgery is that things might change, for the better or for the worse. I read about one guy recently who had a traumatic head injury and woke up a mathematical genius. I’ve joked a few times about having some cybernetic implants put in while they are poking about in there, but mostly I just hope I don’t lose my hearing or my rugged good looks.
Second, I like feeding it good stuff. I am constantly reading books, playing games, and watching videos to keep my mind busy. My biggest worry, post-op, is less to do with getting through the nausea and vertigo, and more about how I will keep my mind occupied without input. I’m more worried about being bored. Of course while I’m going through nausea and vertigo, I may be plenty occupied. But If I’m feeling better, and the lovely Tara is not there to keep me company, I hope to get into some deep thoughts. That’s something, quite frankly, in the age of constant input, I don’t do enough.
I’m taking one book with me, though: Carl Sagan’s The Demon Haunted World. It’s my touchstone book. When I asked Ann Druyan (Carl’s Widow) which book you should recommend to someone who has never read anything by him, that’s the one she recommended. I don’t know if I’ll have time or energy to even look at it while I’m in the hospital, but I’ll be glad just knowing it’s there.
Anyway, back to the operation 😉
be well, do good work, and keep in touch
Despite my slowness this morning, We made it, only a few minutes late, thanks to the amazing driving skills of the wonderful Tara. I’m in my comfy clothes and ready to go.
Jocelyn is keeping me entertained with Cat Gif animations and I’m helping Dashiel get logged into the hospital wi-fi.
Strange to think that people are about be playing around inside my brain in just a little bit.
In two weeks—29 April 2014— at around 7:30 in the morning, I will be receiving surgery to remove a benign tumor—an acoustic neuroma—from my inner ear canal.
Although this is not literally a “brain tumor,” it is brain adjacent, so tricky to get to. It’s a common type of tumor centered around a nerve cluster leading between my ear canal and my brain that control my right facial expressions, balance, and hearing.
My surgeons will likely take about six hours to extract the tumor. I will then need about six weeks to recuperate. The surgeons will be going from the back of my skull in order to reduce the risk of hearing loss.
I’ll lose some hearing in that ear (I already have) and there’s a 50% chance I’ll lose all hearing. There’s also a 10% chance of nerve damage on the right side of my face. The good news is that even if my right nerve for balance is damaged, my left ear will, overtime, compensate. Oh, and there’s a 1 in 200 chance of death, but let’s not dwell on that.
I wanted to spell out the facts for my friends and family. I’ll be writing more soon, and be blogging about my experiences as possible, although I doubt they’ll let me do a selfie from the operating table.
There are definitely worse things that I could be reporting. The tumor is operable and not cancerous. The chances are good that the the doctors will be able to completely remove it. I may be sporting a hearing aid the next time you see me, and I might be slightly less symmetrical in the face, but other than that I should be fine.
Either Tara or I will post updates here or on Facebook as news comes in.
be well, do good work, and stay in touch…