11 Years of Activism in Portland

bunsnotguns from little t american bakerI’ve been living in Portland for 11 years now. 11 years of activism. I noticed last night as I was updating this blog (for better SEO and righting some images) that I was putting out a lot more activism over the last couple years than I am now.  Issues like billboards, getting rid of the yellow pages, chearing on the first Obama administration, holding voting parties, idling, population growth and saving the Tillamook State Forest – all were big issues for me in 2009.

These issues all still persist, but I haven’t been focusing on them as much. I’ve started fan pages for a few, and I continue to put a shout out for an issue when I see something about it in the media, but my own activism has definitely shifted some. I’ve also been working hard to develop my business and I hope that eventually that will pay me enough to devote more time to the activist areas that I care about. Actually, one area, Farm My Yard, I have been dedicating a bunch of time to – keeping the website up, updating the FB fan page, and I’m meeting with someone today to discuss building an app for the project. So, I guess I’m not done saving the world.

And, some issues come back around – like my current project regarding the Oregonian’s slide to the Tea Party Right on BlueOregon. They’ve been lying to us more and more about their tea party agenda, and I want to do what I can to call them out on it.

So, I guess I just want to say – don’t worry, I’m still at it. And perhaps I’m partially writing this to myself to remind myself that I’m still busy trying to change the world, I’m just mixing it up more with my effort with people and small businesses to help them with their marketing and getting the word out.

Yesterday, as I was heading to a client meeting I was thinking about being 52 and wondering who I could find to take on the various efforts I’ve started or care about. I was thinking about asking in the dance community to see about training some folks who are 20 or 30 years younger than I am, but noone came immediately to mind. And, I suppose activism is not for the feint at heart. You have to have support in your life – people who really are there to back you – and a process to keep you from falling down when things get hard. I’ve been using Co-counseling for that for many years to good effect, but many people don’t have a process to discharge their fears when they come up against things that are hard – government agencies; industries fighting back; a right-wing media.

All good things for me to think about – succession – who are the next group of activists? Who cares enough about the issues that I do to take them on? And, how do I reignite some of the causes that I cared about and still do but which I have let come off of the table?  Perhaps I’ll do a little spreadsheet and see where things are and put that up for myself and others.  and for now, happy new year 2014 – let’s see what we can accomplish!

Letter to the Oregonian on cellphones – mobile

Dear Oregonian,

I read the article recently about the teacher who finds her students texting and her reaction to that experience. I gave up my cellphone 2 years ago and have hardly looked back. I first did it because I didn’t like the disruptions in my life – phone calls, texts, you know the drill.  While others have been stepping up more and more towards smart phones, I continue my distance. It’s interesting because I’m in the high-tech industry, have been for the past 15 years as a software tester and now a teacher of social media and email marketing. You’d think I’d be swimming in mobile technology – but I’m anything but! And I Love It!  

As a businessperson I do think it’s important to be available to all possible inputs out there – phone, text, email, social media (OK, perhaps not FAX).  I also enjoy LPs, Cassettes, CDs – yep!  But when it comes to mobile, I feel my unplugged life makes me a calmer person.  It makes me a less-distracted one – I’m becoming a better and better driver because my attention is improving rather than being scattered.  And, I think it’s even an advantage in business as when I’m talking to someone, they have my full attention – I am not about to be interrupted during our talk.  I never take a call, or interrupt something for something buzzing or ringing in my pocket or on the restaurant/café table (please don’t!, it’s a tech turd, actually!).

Yes, I can’t always be reached by people who I love. Yes, I miss out sometimes on last minute invitations or impromptu gatherings.  Yes, I’d love an app to do this or that.  But no app is going to plant garlic cloves. No app is going to stir a pot of chili.  No app is going to replace a hug – in fact, my sense is that apps increase the distance between us – taking our time with community and friends and focusing our attention elsewhere.  

Without mobile technology my life feels richer than it ever has. If you’ve never done a tech-fast before – give it a try. There are many great articles out there about how one works and their benefit. Who knows, maybe you’ll join me someday (unless you’re already there) and give up your cell, altogether.  You can do it.  You might even like it!

With gratitude,

Albert Kaufman

PS – see other writing I have done on this topic: Why I originally gave up my cellphone, and The Cellphone game 🙂

This just in from the NYT on 8.26.12 – get rid of the tension

9.26.25 NYT Stop Googling, Let’s Talk.

Interesting Cell Phone Game

Everyone puts their cell phones in the middle of the table. Whoever cracks first by touching their phone, pays for the entire meal.

The purpose of the game was to get everyone off their phones, away from twitter, facebook, texting, etc and to encourage conversations. In other words, help cure the “Anti-Social Social Media Craziness.”

Rules:

1) The game starts after everyone sits down.

2) Everybody places their phone in the middle of the table.

3) The first person to touch their phone loses the game.

4) Loser of the game pays the bill for everyone’s meal.

5) If the bill comes before anyone has touched their phone, everybody is declared a winner and pays for their own meal.

We had a blast. Conversation rocked. Everyone loved it.

Are You Game? Are you willing to turn the tide of anti-social behavior? What do you think?!?

(Thanks, Felix Roth, for the find on FB)

PS – here’s a great article on how nice it is to be at a concert without cellphones. Please join by not using your cell at a show.

Donate to Albertideation

Tip Jar – Donate!

If you appreciate the work I do in the world and would like to donate towards it financially, please let me know or click on the donate button to the right.  I like what I do in the world and would love to keep making the changes I’d like to see. Your support helps. Thanks! Albert

Albert Kaufman