Monthly Archives: September 2013

New Media for Designers + Builders

new-media-cover-587I was contacted three weeks ago by architect, author (and more) Steve Mouzon who asked if I would like an advance copy of his forthcoming book, New Media for Designers + Builders in exchange for publishing a review on the launch date September 27th. As I work with designers and builders, the title appealed to me and I said yes.

I’ll share part of the promo information, specifically, who his target audience is:

…anyone who designs: Planners, architects, engineers, landscape architects, interior designers, and other creatives. It’s also for anyone who builds: developers, contractors, homebuilders, and tradespeople of all stripes, plus allied disciplines like real estate. In short, it’s for those who work more often in the world of bricks-and-mortar than clicks-and-orders.

I think that narrows the target, as there are some pretty good things in this book. First, I’ll start with observations about the book format… Continue reading

Random shots, Part 1

I’ve saved some quick thoughts and observations over the last few months which individually aren’t worth a full blown post but as I’ve taken the time to observe these things, they’re collectively not worth ignoring…right?

Good grief!

I took a sociology class in high school and we spent time on Death and Dying. So many years later, I think Elisabeth Kübler-Ross missed the mark. The five stages of grief are not Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.

I say they are: Disbelief, Anger, Sadness, Anger, and Resignation (which really means just pretending that you’re not angry.)

Maybe I should write a book.

Second World?

I heard someone the other day get frustrated with a wireless signal drop and complain about a “First World problem…” That got me thinking…I’ve heard of Third World countries, but why don’t we ever hear about Second World Countries? Is there just a leap from third to first? If not, where are these middle tier countries? Wiki says the term has fallen out of favor after the end of the Cold War. Hmmmm.

Continue reading

And when I snap my fingers…

…you’ll remember none of this.

Except for two nagging problems: 1) I will remember, and 2) I can’t be hypnotized. (You have to believe that hypnotism works in order for it to work!)

After last night, when I opened the shutters ever so slightly to the pain I’ve been feeling, the only therapist I trust and believe in (that would be Andrea, who knows all too well that I don’t think therapy works…for me…kind of like hypnotism) helped me realize some of why I was hit so hard by the fire. And, despite less than four hours of sleep, I was past the crisis.

So…how can a guy go from doom and gloom to “I’m Okay, You’re Okay” – can’t resist the reference to the pop psychology pseudoscience from the 1970s – literally overnight? (Note the appropriate use of “literally”.) Well….I guess I needed to get the hurt out and I needed Andrea’s take on my position in all this.

Sidebar #1: To be a good Navy officer, one has to be able to make instant decisions based on the data available at the time. You may never be called on to make a life-or-death decision, but you must be able to. I’m not in that position now, but I often make very quick decisions on projects…because I can.

Me: Okay. I’ve got enough information. We’re {going this way.}

A poor confused someone at the table who is not used to working with me: But I haven’t finished explaining…

Me: …why we should do what I’ve decided to do?

And I resist dropping the  Captain Malcolm Reynolds’ line: “Why we still talking about this?”

Now, perhaps not obviously, I take the appropriate amount of time to consider really important decisions, but I have a pretty good sense of when to use my “close enough” analysis. In this case, things came together and a switch flipped, and it’s not the first time that’s happened.

Sidebar #2: Back in 1998, CDR Tom Bersson took over as Public Works Officer for Naval Air Weapons Station Point Mugu. The man had a style that I did not like. Fours weeks in to his tenure, I was right behind him leaving a staff meeting when he banged his knee on a chair outside the door. “LT Razinha, get rid of that chair.” “Yes, sir.” No brainer, right? Except…

He banged his knee on the same chair the next week.

So, the Assistant Public Works Officer called me in and hemmed and hawed before he finally told me to get my head out of my ass. Indignant me made an appointment to see CDR Bersson, explaining that in 14 years in the Navy, no one had ever told me to get my head out of my ass. He very calmly told me I shouldn’t think too much of the words used, but that he had “been here five weeks and you still haven’t gotten with the program.” I walked out and the switch flipped. I adopted a new mantra that I still keep and teach to my staff: Know your boss’s pet peeves and make them yours. Oh…and I patterned my Public Works Officer tour after Tom (I can call him that now that we’re both retired.)

This morning, the flipped switch corrected my outlook. I won’t diminish what I went through, and might still have to work through. Sure, I can’t forget, but I don’t have to think about it, right? But, I have enough information and I made a decision, and that decision was that I wouldn’t let the past month stand in the way of the positives.

And there are and will be positives.

Captain Maudlin logging off.

Coming to grips

This is the family coin we had made in Korea when I retired in 2003:

Family coin mediumAndrea edited English manuals for Samsung products and worked with one of their graphic artists to design it. The van was how people knew us in Korea (custom vans were rare and often used by celebrities instead of limousines.) As there doesn’t seem to be a coat of arms for Razinha, let alone the hybrid Razinha-Davis, we made up our own with emblems of things that were important to us: the Navy, music, books and animals/pets. The “Live Well-Laugh often-Love much” quote was on a plaque in our kitchen and Rufus Choate just happened to say something that we hold true.

As I said, I retired in 2003, but the Navy will always be a part of who I am. As for the others… they were ripped from us on July 31st. The van? Destroyed. Our personal library of 5,800 books…gone. Guitars, basses, drum kit, baby grand piano…gone. Our dear, sweet cats….so much more than symbols on a coin.

Out of all of us, I seem to be having the hardest time dealing with the devastating loss of our house and as near to everything we possessed as you can imagine. I, a champion of rational thinking, became physically ill when I went into a bookstore last week. Remembering this

Libraryis probably why.

I, a champion of reason over emotion, feel my chest tighten when I think of this:

P1020733I spent years building, creating, arranging, tweaking, adding to our admittedly WAY over the top display. I even took precious time away from studying for the Professional Engineer exam in 2010 to set it up because it’s such a part of the family tradition. While Andrea’s art went in so many directions and grew so fast that I had a hard time keeping pace, this was a stable part of our lives that I considered my art. Right now, I don’t know how I can start over. It’s like taking ten years off from the gym and thinking, “I can bench press with the same weight I remember I used last time, right?” How can you go from super huge to a couple of skeletons and gravestones? Still reeling. And that doesn’t even scratch the surface of all the things we lost.

“You need to deal with this.” “You need to get past this.” “You need to move on.”

These are words I’ve heard lately from several people. All said, I know, with sincere concern for me. I can forget a ton of things, but for me to “deal with” and “get past” so I can “move on”, I’ll have to wall off those memories of things that can never be again so that I don’t think about them because I can’t forget.

The saying goes: Time heals all wounds, but the podiatrists know that time also wounds all heels.