Virtual Memorials Run Well

Virtual MemorialsMaui Tree

In the past few months I’ve been asked to help with 3 virtual services. Here are a few of the things I’ve learned. If you would like my help with a virtual memorial please reach out.  

  1. Probably as with the rest of life, every virtual experience is different and none of them go perfectly. As much as you practice and prepare know that there will be hiccups. They probably do something to humanize the experience rather than put a dent in it. That said, mostly I’ve seen these events be really sweet experiences where people share what they loved about their loved one. Participants have come away surprised at what a lovely experience a virtual memorial can be. 
  2. Do hold a tech run-through – try out things like sharing the screen to show a slideshow and practice spotlighting people and muting people if it’s going to be a big group so that the main person speaking can be heard.
  3. Make sure that the main person who is overseeing the event understands well how to use Zoom or whatever platform you’re using. Also, ideally, hand this role off to a professional or at least not someone who is close to the loved one – so they can experience the memorial and relax into it. 
  4. Know that the event will probably go better than you can imagine. People will share in all sorts of unexpected ways. Every time I’ve run one of these I’ve noticed that the events have a natural flow and really seem satisfying to the people who attend. 
  5. Given that not everyone is an expert with Zoom, it makes sense to hold a short training session early on in the event. In this I highlight how one can change or add their name if they want to; how to use the chat feature; how to turn off one’s video so that connectivity is improved in some cases; how to mute oneself; how to raise your hand; and different ways of viewing – speaker vs. gallery view, for instance. As Zoom continues to change, so does the short tutorial. 
  6. Decide in advance whether you want to record the session or not – and perhaps let participants know if they’re being recorded. 
  7. podcast on the topic 3.28.21 led me to


“We hired Albert to help our family host a Celebration of Life Zoom service for my mother in law. We needed to get organized quickly and invited over 100 people to attend and share stories. We also wanted a live music element. Albert could not have been more skilled and helpful every step of the way. He pulled off a seamless event; and he was lovely to work with. We couldn’t be more grateful! Highly recommend using his services.”  
“Albert helped facilitate a virtual memorial service for my Uncle. It was such a relief to not have to worry about the technology during the service and to have his support for new Zoom users at the service. Albert has a solid understanding of Zoom’s setting and options and helped improve the event. He was kind and responsive and a huge help during a challenging time.”

From the Songwriter Soiree Website – some tips on using Zoom.


Using Zoom for the First Time? Here is a good INTRODUCTION VIDEO on how to join a meeting!

  1. MAKE SURE YOU ARE MUTED (you will be muted upon entry).

  2. Top right of screen: speaker view or gallery view – try those out.

  3. You can click on a person’s square and pin them – then you’ll see them big.

  4. At the bottom is a chat function – you can use that to chat with others individually or everyone at once.

  5. Zoom usually works better using a laptop or desktop over a phone – and on a computer it likes the Chrome browser. With a phone you don’t get all the bells and whistles you would get with the other devices.

  6. Please keep your camera steady.

  7. Confidentiality is important – and I’ll always remind people of this. No screen-shots, no recording. (unless there is consent by the whole group).

  8. If you come in late or don’t quite get the instructions, try your best to listen and follow along 🙂

  9. Scroll around on the screen and see what you see and teach yourself how to use Zoom. Like many programs – it works differently on different platforms. Don’t get hung up on the tech – notice who’s speaking and focus on that.


  1. Use just one mic for both guitar and voice. Using more than one input causes phase cancellation of common frequencies.

  2. Before joining, make the following adjustments to your ZOOM audio:

  3. Go to your ZOOM preferences>settings>Audio. Uncheck “Automatically adjust microphone settings.” (test this out).

  4. Go to Preferences>Settings>Audio>Advanced>Audio Processing: Under “Suppress Persistent Background Noise” AND Suppress Intermittent Background Noise” Select “DISABLE.”

  5. Also check “Show in meeting option to “Enable Original Sound” from microphone. You will then have an option on your Zoom chats on the top left of the screen. Press “Enable Original Sound” during the meeting to use your sound setup the way you intended. Try it out first and have someone hear the difference. It’s a big one.

  6. Now you will see a button in the upper-left corner during the meeting, which lets your turn Original Sound on or off. We recommend you turn it on when you will be playing an instrument. You may need to turn it off when you are speaking or singing without playing an instrument.

  7.  Start your own meeting in the App and record yourself.   When you end the meeting, the software will compile a video that you can watch and listen to.  You will only sound as good online as that recording. Make audio input adjustments to reduce distortion and test again.

  8. Please consider doing a test beforehand with another friend using zoom to test your sound.

  9. Play around with volume and or position from the mic to get the best sound.

  10. What has worked well for many: Using a Mac audio interface for audio input with a good quality microphone with compression and EQ being applied through interface software. But use what you have! The built in mic can be just fine.


How to use to effect Neighborhood Change

Using Nextdoor to Effect Neighborhood Change

nextdoor.comI posted an article about my love of and why it’s useful a few years ago. Since then, my thinking about has changed and grown. I see Nextdoor as a much more powerful tool for neighborhood change than I did in the past. Here are some of the ways I’ve been encouraging my neighbors to make changes that may be for the better. Please read through these and give this a try – if you have any questions or comments, please leave them below or write me.

  1. Be the one who starts the conversation. If you want to move the needle on an issue it’s important that you be the one to initiate the conversation on Nextdoor. This allows you to choose which neighborhoods (just yours, others around you or “anyone”) are part of the conversation. For instance, if you’re missing a kitten – you’d want to alert just your neighborhood. If you’re trying to show people a better way to park, the further the reach the better. And, if you’re trying to raise funds to save a theater or movie store – working with friends in other parts of the City is a great way to get maximum coverage. Also, by starting the conversation – you can clearly explain in detail what you’re hoping to achieve and you can provide clear action steps for people to take. You can also moderate the tone of the conversation and possibly edit the original post once new information is added to the thread.
  2. Something is broken on the internet. Eventually, or possibly right away, someone will pooh-pooh your idea or disagree with it, or go off-topic. There’s a wide variety of responses people have when they’re presented with information asking them to change their behavior. I started a conversation recently on why loud motorcycles are not such a great thing. You can imagine the push-back – everything from “having a loud bike saved someone’s life” to “freedom!”.  You just toughen up and get used to it. It’s not necessary to respond to every comment in a thread – and, if someone is mean or posting irrelevant information you can “mute” them. I don’t recommend this as a common practice, but it may make your life a little less stressful. I think in the 5 or so years I’ve been active on I’ve muted 2-3 people. I often will write the person directly and try to get a discussion going. The key thing is to stay on message – you’re likely trying to make things better for your neighbors – stay with the original topic and don’t get too concerned with off-topic rants.
  3. Nextdoor is different than other social media platforms in a number of ways.  If you’re going to post anything on Nextdoor – esp. within a conversation – take a moment to make your point. Longer, careful explanations of your thinking beat short retorts (which also may end up out of order and make no sense at all!)  Snarky comments – or questions that don’t exactly follow the stream may get ignored and the person posting probably will end up looking foolish. Don’t be that person – tell a story. Take a moment to educate and illuminate your point. 

  4. Spelling, grammar – double-check… Providing links to back up your comments/points – are probably all good things to consider.

    Like with all social media – you’re potentially speaking to a large group of people. Take a moment and review what you’ve written to make sure it makes sense – and try for clarity. Sarcasm, and wittiness can easily confuse people.

  5. Remind people about the issue every once in a while. If you have new information to share or you just think it’s time for the 1,000 NEW people who’ve joined your neighborhood group to learn about why it’s not a great idea to beep your car to lock it – add a new comment to the conversation. This will add your thread to the digest version that many people receive daily and thus keep the conversation fresh in peoples’ minds. (This also works in FB groups – if you post a new comment to a conversation, that conversation rises to the top – it doesn’t matter how old the conversation is!) You’ll be surprised that new people will join the conversation whenever you raise it again often adding valuable information to the neighborhood hive mind.

What’s a way that you’d like to see your neighborhood grow and change?  Want to start community potlucks?  Get more people to rip out their lawns and plant gardens?  Encourage people to use less pesticides?  Whatever it is, take the plunge – give it a try. I think you’ll be surprised that if you can start with a positive tone and stay on topic, you’ll actually have your neighbors listening to you and possibly following your suggestions which will improve life where you live.  I’ve tried this with everything from some of the above to issues like gun control and trying to stop fighter jets from using residential neighborhoods for their flight path. All of the conversations are still there waiting for me or someone else to continually add to them. To me is the best tool ever invented for local organizing. It’s not perfect (where’s the ride-share app?  Neighborhood dating match-up?  But as it is, this is quite a powerful tool and I recommend giving it a try where you live in the way I have outlined above.

Happy activating!

Albert Kaufman, 5.25.18

PS – If is not popular in your area, hop on and get started. It likely will grow and like many things – it’s good to be involved early. Perhaps you have something similar where you live – use the above guide with whatever platform is available.

PPS – Here’s my next article. It’s about how to use Nextdoor in combination with other digital tools to build a local friends/cause network. Check it out.

This article was updated on 10.17.19, and again on 3.28.22

Kind Notes from Friends

Kind Notes from FriendsAlbert and Alex music by the River Augut 2018



Happy birthday, Albert!!  I hope you have had a bliss-filled day.  I’m fully vaccinated and am also having these charged conversations.

Thank you for all your activism, and 60 years of uplifting music, we can always count on you.

In love and light!
A note from a neighbor

A note from a neighbor September 2021


1.28.13 – Hi Albert –

I’m filling out my intake questionnaire for my animal communication class, and one of the questions is: name three people you admire, and why.

You are one of the three people I picked, and I thought I’d share with you what I wrote. Enjoy:

Albert, I first met in 1999 at the Breitenbush Summer Solstice Healing Retreat. He’s done so much to better the lives of people, to make them aware of their impact on the environment, and of the environment’s impact on them. We got to be good friends after he moved to Portland, maybe in 2002 or so. He’s an amazing connector of people and resources, and I couldn’t begin to list all the projects he’s created or been involved with. He’s got a lot of Loki energy too – always messing with people to challenge their minds. He’s involved with the BRCPO (Black Rock City Post Office) which is an interactive theme camp at Burning Man that makes fun of the bureaucracy of the Post Office, yet is also an actual post office. He gets people involved, by asking them questions or challenging them to do something in the here and now. He’s created a project called Farm My Yard, he’s been doing classes on how to make the best use of social media tools for personal or business, he’s part of the DePaving project, created a Birthday Garden in Portland (his birthday wish a few years ago, a community garden). He puts out a newsletter called the Eleven, sharing ideas with people about how we can make the world a better place in this, the eleventh hour. I can’t say enough about Albert – I really look up to him because he just dives in and gets things done, gets people engaged, is fully present, open, and compassionate, and even though he may get discouraged about how the world is today, he’s a shining light that’s contagious, and that gives me hope for the world.

Thanks for all you do – – Kristi

Albert Kaufman



I thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed your newsletter.  The details and scope of your work is not only impressive but inspiring.  I hope many people read this and take heed.  Thank you for being such a leader in this.  This is my biggest passion and concern on the planet.  Working full time, being married, and raising a 4-year-old late in age, I am becoming limited in time and energy.  I realize that is no excuse but I try to do what I can in every present moment.  You’re newsletter just gave me a huge boost of energy!  Thank you. – Nancy Cardwell

from David Burdick

I love you Albert for being you and your awareness and kindness…. and strength to stand for what you want and believe in… Thank you for being my friend and so encouraging and clear to so many people in our community…. You are such a gift… thanks for being part of the miracle of my life… Amira

thanks, Albert, you are a wonderful being and a real contributor to what makes Portland special.

John William Johnson

Hi Albert,

I really like that you write your newsletter. I find it informative, entertaining, and personally revealing. Keep up the good work Dude, er, Brother!  Steve Bennett


I have much enjoyed the things you sent, Albi.  I keep “The Goal” on my lamp table.

My spiritual well-being has been so well solicited by those around me, but you have sent such good energy–I couldn’t miss it.

So I just wanted to write before any more time passed and tell you how much your mail has meant to me.

Postally yours,
philosopher, Greg Tropea


Thank you for giving voice and being such a bright beacon in the community. Your personal journey and

caring informs you making a difference to others and me.


Marc Gadoua

Happy Autumn Albert~
Thanks for sharing the Eleven w/ me!
You are an amazing Spirit and Light in the World.
Rock on, Brother. 
Erin Conway

Hi Albert,

I was thinking about you on election night, and feeling grateful for all your efforts towards improving our community and world.  I know you have been very involved in political organizing.  My life has been very busy in other realms, and politics has not been at the forefront of my engagement with the world.  Thanks for committing to what you believe in and leading the way.  I appreciate how each of us carries a little bit of the whole and somehow it all fits together and works out for the best.


Hi Albert,

Thank you for your positive spin on a slumping economy. And thank you for encouraging people to think about what is good in their lives. I have been getting so much juice from this exercise.

Bless you!

Paul Parks



From Amira: I do know that you are a juicy sweet man who has a lot to share and you are wonderful to spend time with, encouraging, sensual, dynamic, hot, smart, clear, kind, and likely an exquisite lover…….  


Oh Albert: the roller coaster is quite a ride and it is not all fun at all. I have been staying in clarity and truth with loving-kindness, accountability, and boundaries. and I wish I had a video cam for proof………  Bizarre and sad. Send prayers. I miss your wonderful mental health. You are one of the most loving and kind and clear men I know. And I think this one Jack is very wounded. I am trying to stay on for the ride….. wish me luck. and say prayers for us both. Love Amira

Sing, Sing, Sing: Isn’t it so great that you can feel so so wonderful. Actually, that is a really good thing. To feel and experience what your own body is feeling is soooooo amazing. Now. To also match that with someone else feeling it………..ahhhhh. Regardless of matchups or outcomes, you definitely are a love bird. And there are so many wonderful people in the world to interact with. I wish I was going to be up in Portlandia singing along with you tonight. Please do another one soon on a weekend………… Also, put Aug 11-12 on your calendar for the Boogie Blues Festival in Brownsville, it is looking like some dance folks are planning on helping do a ritual and party Fri night, with music maybe a talent show, and the official festival on Sat. Holly and Donna have volunteered to sing and help and you doing a sing-along would also be great. I will see what money we have (not much) but we could also pass the hat. We have a nice kitchen we could use and share food if we want and a covered dance area.   Tonight will be sweet. Good luck. sometimes when things don’t quite work out it’s that the energy isn’t right or there is another being just behind a tree waiting. You always have your Beloved just in front of you, whoever it is. Blessings sweetie. Love AMira

Psst, not a lot of time to write- But, I want to say, in a nutshell- “You’ve got it all going on Albert.”  Thanks for sharing that.  You are kind, sensitive, emotionally intelligent, handsome, health-conscious, fun, kid-friendly, independent, exciting, lovable, growing, open, crazy, appropriate, and a fabulous friend.  I appreciate being a part of all of that. – Brenda Sutton

Dear Albert,

hey just got your message. I’m running around today doing this and that. But we were on the same wavelength because all morning I’ve been thinking about you, and how much I value you as a friend in my life. You are one of the very very VERY few people who I feel just being able to be with in all my moods with no pressure to change or be different. I love how you hold space when I just want to talk and I love your wisdom when I do want guidance and I love how you trust me with all your unfoldings with what is. So thank you for being you. You do it well! ; )

love ya

Susan Cerf

“You certainly set a standard for the degree of attentiveness a man can show a woman. I would say that men who do not express that level of attention to their women as you do just don’t’ ‘get it’ – don’t get what a woman wants. And E is worth every bit of that attention. She is better than vitamins. Should your devotion also extend to multiple practical levels, then she would really have a very good man at her side. Your relationship is absolutely beautiful to see.” Joy

Hey sweet Albert.  Thx for sharing yourself with me last night.  I appreciate what you offer to the world.  Here are a few of the things that you exhibit that make me want to clone you…

Generous with spirit and heart

Compassionate and understanding

Notice the strength and beauty in others (I learned something about this from you last night)



Music and dance lover

Embrace nature



Charming (Oh my did I see this last night)

Kid-like and grown up at the same time


You get present with and enjoy children

You feel good to hug




Life long learner



It’s always an honor to be in the presence of you and E.  Thanks for hosting such a great gig.

Hugs to you, Bre-Lou.



A quiet joy
A surrender
A fierce, gentle strength
An integration
and a way that you are more rooted in your heart of you….


And, as always a lovely, loving soul.

Talk soon

Carolyn Campbell

Hello Albert!

I wanted to thank you so much for inviting me to last night’s open house.  I had such a wonderful time and really enjoyed being surrounded by such great energy and good people.  I also wanted to apologize for not having gotten much opportunity to interact with you at the event.  When I first arrived, I caught a glimpse of you walking up the stairs on your way to do something and I immediately saw someone I recognized and ran off to say hello to them after taking off my shoes, I did not see you again until you were playing your guitar and singing, and then I had to meet a friend at 8:30 PM who I ended up being late to see because I was having such a good time at the open house that I had a difficult time leaving.  I ended up seeing a bunch of people at the open house who I know and think are wonderful.  It was great.  I brought Sheila-the one who said she knows you-she was the one sitting on the floor with me during the sing-along.  She actually ended up knowing some of the people there too.  I saw one of my co-workers from Columbia River Mental Health there who I really enjoy, and her partner is actually a therapist at the house and I REALLY enjoyed meeting her and sitting in that middle room for a while kicking it with her and the other women who work there and their friends.  Enjoyed some great conversation with them, as well as with Greg and Tabor-two guys I’ve known for a year who are fabulous and who I absolutely adore, hadn’t seen for a bit and was really happy to see there.  It was neat to see a bunch of the people I have met through you and Living Earth, who are in Love Tribe, at the Open House too.  Love Tribe and its members have always been something very fascinating to me.  I admit that it is something that is not at all for me (I am not at all into that kind of lifestyle and those activities and, in fact, at this point in my life, am not actually very into or comfortable even with much touch or massage or anything like that with others aside from hugs, etc.) but I can respect it, enjoy being a voyeur and learning about it, etc., and really enjoy and like the people who I have met that are involved with that group and how warm and open of people they are.  Your friend Christie, who gave me the massage months back, looked like a different person-she was glowing, looked so much healthier and happier.  That was wonderful to see.

Back to work.  Hope you have a fabulous week.  Again, thank you so much for inviting me to that.  Cheers.

Take care,

Becca Bull


You da man Albert.  I appreciate your letter very

much and will write a similar one myself.  Years ago,

when I was in college under Reagan in 1987 I remember

stating a similar position in a man on the street

interview for the local newspaper.  I said the country

needed revolution: cultural, political, economic, and

spiritual.  I’m still exploring what I said 19 years

ago.  I do what I can, but sometimes I feel what the

Onion described at “Outrage Fatigue”.  It really is

amazing how this administration and political-economic

elite have leveraged and commandeered so much power. I

remember commenting to people that the only way the Bush

administration could succeed in any way given his

self-serving, cynical, and corrupt domestic agenda was

to distract and unify the American people by going to

war somewhere.  After I graduated from college I moved

overseas for a year and considered staying.  Since

returning, I have been making my peace with being

American in America.  I think we need a new political

party or movement of some kind.  Something big.

Something affirming.

-Daniel Herzberg, CA

Here are some things I really like about you:
You’re ALIVE.
You have a great sense of humor.
You’re fearless (or at least you have different fears than I have, all things being relative…) =)
You play guitar (this is quite attractive to someone (me) who’s never dated someone who played guitar, but always wanted to).
You are who you are. You’re real.
You’re (and I’ve said this to a few people, even) one of the best Snugglers in Portland.
I feel safe and comfortable with you, like I’ve known you for a long time and I can tell you anything and you accept me as I am.
You ‘get it’. – Kristi