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Jul 4, 2014

Many Kinds of Silence

I started thinking about silence because I have been spending a lot of time in silence.  At first, I wondered what the difference between being alone and silent and being with another and silent (my husband calls this “companionable silence,” which assumes a certain comfort with the silence…and when it is there it is quite wonderful).  At that moment in time, I thought there were just those two kinds of silence.  Of course I decided to google it before I wrote this blog and found that, according to vox populai there are so many kinds of silence I couldn’t list them all here.

First, I ended up on a psychiatrist’s blog which said, with authority, there are eight kinds of silence.  They included  ”I don’t agree, but I am afraid to tell you.”   “I have an idea, but I doubt you will listen.” ” I have no idea what you’re talking about, but I am afraid to offend you by telling you. ”  You get the idea.  This gave me a whole new view of silence.  I spend some tie with a psychiatrist who is, I think really good and has a legendary reputation and we sit in silence a lot.  This is mostly because “I have nothing to say” kind of silence from me, or “If I tell you what I am thinking, we will go there and I don’t want to” as well as “I am wasting your time” kind of silence.

Then I happened on a site where a person who works with writers offers a phrase and people respond to it.  One of them was about silence.  People wrote poetry about the thundering silence of nature.  And the quiet sound of nature.  I put the blog aside.

And I am glad I did because this week Brook and I finished setting up a blog for the Domestic Violence Action Center about the worst kind of silence.  That is the silence that so often surrounds domestic violence.   Ours is a violent culture that breeds more violence.  This blog is about our culture and the need to change our culture.  It is called, not surprisingly, changingculture.com.  I hope you will visit it, and subscribe to the feed.

Jun 25, 2014

It’s A Good Thing I Don’t Use My Cellphone

Last Thursday I ran a red light in the main intersection in Kailua and had a small accident.  I don’t know where my mind was but I realized it the moment I crossed into the intersection and tried to get out of the way of the oncoming cars.  Unfortunately, one poor soul, also not paying attention, crashed into me.  I don’t use my cellphone in the car, or almost anywhere else, so this was not the problem.  It was an alternate definition of a no brainer.

At any rate, this started a long process talking to my insurance company (readers of this blog know I have an intimate relationship with State Farm).  They were glad to hear from me.  There is only one State Farm approved auto body shop on our side of the island and so I immediately picked them.  Went up there with my son and discovered they had a backlog of two weeks and it would take six weeks to get my car back.  So, after many conversations with claims and RPMS auto body, the car was moved to Pearl City where it will be repaired in two weeks.

All of that was backstory to the multi-tasking effort (another no brainer) that caused my home phone to drop to the bottom of our pool while I was talking to the person at RPMS.  It happened twice:  the first time I was able to grab it mid air, and then, not learning my lesson,  I went back to the holding-your-phone-between-neck-and-shoulder position and resumed trying to fix the pool sweep (multitasking).   Shortly, the phone fell off my shoulder and headed to the bottom of the pool.

At first I tried to yell that I had dropped the phone (as it was heading water-wards) and then I imagined the person on the other end talking underwater and sounding like we did when we were kids and tried to sit on the bottom of the pool and have a conversation.  I rushed into the house and picked up another headset, actually thinking the person would still be blubbering about the estimate.  She had probably gotten smart when she heard the splash and hung up.

A bit later I suited up and dove to the bottom of the pool to retrieve the head set.  I pulled out the batteries and laid the whole mess in the sun in what I assumed to be a losing effort to restore the phone.  Ian came home and threw the phone in the rice jar.  Neither of us actually expected it to work, but this morning we put the batteries back in and lo and behold — the headset works.  So I highly recommend Panasonic, a company who gave no guarantees of waterproof, and I can tell you the headsets are good to a depth of 9 feet.  It is a good thing I don’t use my cellphone.

Jun 11, 2014

Social Media Gets Social

The New York Times reported this weekend on the trend for promoters to capitalize on the latest flashes in the pan, with live concert tours featuring youtube stars.  A group called Digitour Media sold 18,000 tickets last year and expects to exceed 250,000 by 2015.  Calling the surge of social media tours and festivals simultaneously predictable and counterintuitive, the Times points out that [all] “fan bases need tending.”

It also points out that many of the youtube celebrities (I would say most) have no experience whatever with performing for someone, let alone thousands of someones at a “concert.”  They make their videos alone, and often what they do — dispensing advice, for instance — does not carry well to the big stage.    Digitours has a global division, and there have been concerts in Singapore, Sydney and Mumbai.  The Times reports that about two thirds of the performers at DigiFest NYC were “hunky guys”  — basically standing there looking pretty.

These concerts are called “experiences” by one promoter.

Interesting isn’t it, that youtube and twitter brought about the Arab Spring, but in America they bring out thirteen year old girls who scream for 10 to 15 minutes just looking at a guy named Connor Franta “whose shirtless pictures have their own Tumblr account.”

Another promoter says “It’s all about bringing the Internet to life.”  And I thought the Internet was life.

May 25, 2014

Rod McPhee’s Chair

I have been thinking about writing a blog about Rod McPhee’s chair for so long, I don’t know if I have already written it.  I have been sitting in this chair, Rod McPhee’s chair, for about eight years.  This chair has seen Brand Strategy Group work, Lanikai Bath and Body work, payrolls, emails, facebook posts, bank account checks, blogposts and more.

The chair is a Herman Miller Aeron chair which used to sell for $1000+ new and I had been jonesing to have one for years.  My alert friend Liz Howard told me that Sharon McPhee was selling an Aeron chair and Mark and I popped up to her lovely home to drive it away.

I bought his chair from  Sharon in 2006, and she told me he’d barely had a chance to sit in it.  This may be the reason that my hopes and dreams for Rod McPhee’s chair have not come through.  He didn’t sit in it often, or for very long, so I guess it is not surprising that I don’t remember names better.  This was one of Rod’s standout features:  once he met you, he remembered your name.  Not me, and its not getting any better.

It’s also not surprising that none of his hearty, hale fellow well met attitude has rubbed off on me.  After all, he didn’t sit in it often, or for very long.  I’t's not surprising that I have not become more gracious, as he was, because after all…

It’s not surprising that I am probably not among the names to replace Jim Scott if he ever leaves Punahou School.  It’s not surprising that I am not a good fund raiser, and that I never got to know all of Honolulu’s movers and shakers.

Most of all, it’s not surprising that David McCullough will not come to my retirement party and take his pants off while giving a speech about what a great man I am.  After all, Rod McPhee did not sit in this chair very often, or for very long.

The main consolation is that I have gotten to sit in Rod McPhee’s chair for eight years, without paying $1000+ to do it.  The provenance of my chair is quite wonderful.  Now, Aeron chairs go for less than $600.  Just think:  I would have had to wait eight years to sit in a Herman Miller Aeron chair, and it wouldn’t even have been Rod McPhee’s.

 

May 15, 2014

Recognizably Hawai`i

While I wasn’t looking, Hawai`i’s ad agency changed the promotional logo for our state’s tourism efforts.

Apparently, the decision to change Hawai`i’s logo (promotional logo) from the one pictured with the competition, including the balmy climes of Armenia and Budapest to the new one, pictured separately, was based in part on the fact that many tourism competitors, including Armenia and Budapest, were  using bright colors (some deemed “rainbow colors”) in their logos.

To quote an unnamed source, “too many people were copying Hawai`i”.  So the bold, primitive yet sophisticated, exotic ROYGBIV (red,orange,yellow,green, blue, indigo, violet) logo was dumped for a logotype that no one will want to copy.  Each are pictured below.

Because Hawai`i is the most well-known geographic/place brand in the world, and probably the most well known tourist destination in the world, it doesn’t matter much how you draw it (but they have changed it to “The Hawaiian Islands” with the emphasis on Hawaiian), people will recognize it.  But if you ask me, and I have some street cred in this area, it was a mistake.  You could see where I was going from my description of the “old” logo.

Not only was the “old” logo more “Hawaiian” — the new one looks like a faceless upscale hotel — it was extremely well recognized by visitors to the islands.  I know this because Brook and I worked on the Hawai`i Seal of Quality for which we borrowed the “old” logotype in part because of its survey-proven recognizability factor.  There are times to change your logo (Kentucky FRIED Chicken to KFC, for instance) and there are times when it is not a good idea.  Could this be  the latter?

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Gloria. Circa 1955.



Gloria. Circa 2012.




Other than working for the American Red Cross in Korea for two years, Gloria Garvey has lived in Hawai`i since 1971. Her opinion and other writing has appeared in: The American Philatelist. Honolulu Weekly, The Honolulu Advertiser, The Honolulu Star Bulletin, The Star Advertiser, Hawai`i Reporter, Pacific Business News, Island Scene, The Design Management Journal.

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