How Santa Makes His Rounds

To all those who have trouble believing in Santa Claus, I ask you to read the following with a bit of humor in mind and a leniency for the truth. Many things that are mentioned have indeed happened, and the rest…well they could just as easily be true. All you have to do is indulge your imagination and follow my lead.

Santa Claus is real, and so are all of the trimmings that we associate with him. I have seen him in the mall many times, and having been fortunate enough to chat briefly with him upon a couple of occasions, I consider myself very knowledgeable about his ways. Many people have tried to tell me otherwise, but I know the truth. The truth is that there are elves at the North Pole slaving away to make children happy come Christmas morning. There are flying reindeer that pull not only Santa and his sleigh, but also his sack of gifts, which must be enormous in proportions. Thousands of kids wait patiently, all year long watching what they say and how they act, in hopes that they will receive their chosen gifts. (This includes me.) I fall into the category of believers who also believe in the Easter Bunny, angels, and miracles. Hence, in the midst of the Christmas season that is racing around us, my focus is on proving to you that Saint Nick does in fact exist.
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Michigan Basketball

I need to jump in now and become a fan of Michigan basketball, which I never have been. Ever. Even when I attended Michigan, I went to one game when my family was in town. I sat way up in the nose bleed section and probably spent more time talking, snacking and texting that actually watching Michigan win or lose.

But the tide seems to be turning and, while I am not a huge college basketball fan, except during March Madness when everyone is, I think I can get into the games. We’ve got a new coach and, from what I saw last night, a lot of solid new players. Plus, I need a crutch with the impending close of a dismal football season and no possibility of a bowl game this year.

I fully expected to get trounced by #4 ranked UCLA last night. I was going to play the punching bag at my UCLA friend’s house. Figured it would be a chance to hang out, drink a beer, and watch a game I was sure to lose. Then, we clawed back from a poor start. Down 9 to 1 I was laughing and writing the game of. Ten minutes later, there was a crumb of hope on my otherwise empty plate. Very empty plate.

So, off to a 3-0 start. Not much, but far better than the last decade. Perhaps we’re finally shrugging off the Chris Webber fab-five curse.

Now, #2 Duke tonight. Yeesh. Maybe I spoke too soon!


Creativity and Inspiration

There are a few places I feel inspired and “at home”:

1. College campuses
2. Good concert
3. Film festivals
4. Some conferences

My experience with the later two is macro enough to not be jaded by any of the politics involved. My time in college was the last truly free thinking time in my life. The classes and the people allowed that. Since then the focus has been on becoming more focused – on closing doors – on growing up. I know a concert is good if I leave feeling excited – giddy, almost. I think to myself, “Why am I not a part of this more often?”

It would be amazing to find something that allows me to experience this creative satisfaction and inspiration every day. Maybe that is what people feel when they say they love what they do. Finding the right mix of people, events, activities, and then stepping up to the plate yourself is the tough part.

Alpine Email

I know I’m really bored when I (once again) try to set-up Pine or it’s equivalent, Alpine, email in the Terminal on my Mac. I’m decent with computers and can follow directions, but actually accomplishing this has thus far been beyond me. I’ve approached it on four separate occasions over the past year, and have yet to be successful.

When I was freshman and sophomore in college I used Pine exclusively to access my email. Using the program is completely pointless now as I wouldn’t be able to do things like link or add an attachment, but it has nostalgic qualities that I’d like to revisit.

One day, I will figure it out. I promise.

Beloit College’s Mindset List

Beloit College’s Mindset List:

The Mindset List is a set of constants that each graduating class grows up with – significant people who’ve always been dead, the emergence of trends, etc.

The list is very retrospective, and may appeal more to those who came before the birth of the graduating class because the emphasis seems to be on change. In order to appreciate change, you have to recognize it.

I was born in 1981 and graduated from college in 2004. Most children born in 1981 graduated in 2003, so I went with my birth year instead of my year of graduation.

Beloit has been doing this since the class of 2002.

Creativity Crunched

Steve Jobs makes an interesting point:

You know, we don’t grow most of the food we eat. We wear clothes other people make. We speak a language that other people developed. We use a mathematics that other people evolved… I mean, we’re constantly taking things. It’s a wonderful, ecstatic feeling to create something that puts it back in the pool of human experience and knowledge.

Writing has been my creative outlet since college. Whether it is public or private, it is what I do to express my thoughts, feelings, and imagination… to get away from the stuff I have to do.

Learning to balance my school obligations with my other interests has been one of the most difficult tasks this year. Having been away from a school setting, and entering a more intense school setting than I’ve ever experienced has been shocking. Still is, and will probably continue to be so for the next few years as I chase my diploma, a job, a family, etc.

What’s my point? Not sure… just that I agree that being creative, whether on a large or small scale is an incredibly rewarding endeavor.

UPDATE: I just came across this video of Sir Ken Robinson talking about the role of creativity in education at the TED conference.