Friday, April 4, 2008


Are any of the 12 of you still alive? haha Anyone heard anything from the school or Bonnie, lately?

Friday, February 29, 2008

The Wisdom of Starbucks?

Found on the side of my Venti Latte:

"My cousin in Tibet is an illiterate subsistence farmer. By accident of birth, I was raised in the West and have a Ph.D. The task of our generation is to cut through the illusion that we inhabit separate worlds. Only then will we find the heart to rise to the daunting but urgent challenges of global disparity." -- Losang Rabgey, National Geographic Emerging Explorer and co-founder of Machik, a nonprofit helping communities on the Tibetan plateau

Just seemed appropriate for this course, somehow. And by the way, my coffee doesn't taste all that different than it did before Tuesday's nationwide "Barista retraining effort." Oh well.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Paper Abstract

This paper will address the rising problem in American society of isolation and withdrawal from those individuals who share our streets, sidewalks, fences and even walls - in short, our neighbors. Growing out of the latter-half of the 20th century (and into the 21st century), this phenomenon has been coined "Crowded Loneliness" by environmental and behavioral psychologists, and focuses on the apparent rapid erosion of relationships-by-proximity. Exploring the possible causes of this phenomenon is critical to understanding that, first, it is a problem for society and that, second, it is a problem that can be solved. Theories for the problem range from architectural, to socio-political and even technological. This paper will approach the analysis and resolution of the problem from an architectural standpoint, to investigate how residential design and planning effectively facilitate relationship-building or encourage isolation. Beyond that, individuals, collectively, will have to decide to rebuild the relationships that have been lost, or to sink further into the crowded pool of anonymity.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A cold!

I am sick today -- actually, it started yesterday, Monday, a day when I absolutely could not call in sick to work (wayyyyyy too much junk piled up on my desk and in my inbox last week). I also could not call in sick today. One really draws the frustration of co-workers when one disappears for a week, and then brings back a virus as a souvenir.

So.....WHICH one of YOU did this to me??? ;)

Monday, January 21, 2008

America's Crowded Loneliness

When I boarded my US Airways flight to soar back to Charlotte on Sunday, I was fortunate enough to get a window seat. I'm not crazy about flying, but for some reason I like it better with a window seat (this from a guy who bungee jumped...go figure). The plane was a bit smaller, with only 2 seats on each side of the aisle. A few minutes after I had found my seat, I turned to see a young, black woman joining my row and taking the seat next to me. I watched silently out of the corner of my eye as she stowed her belongings and settled-in. I planned to give her a polite hello, perhaps a nod or a know, a friendly stranger-to-stranger greeting, especially considering that I was about to spend the next 2+ hours sitting inches from her. Much to my surprise, she stared straight ahead, put on her headphones, flicked on the iPod, pulled her baseball cap low, and completely ignored me. "Oooookayyy..." I thought. Over the course of the remainder of the flight, she switched between various forms of entertainment - iPod, books, magazines, etc., but never once looked at me, spoke to me or even acknowledged me. It was the loneliest ride I've had on an airplane in a long time.

Maybe she just wasn't interested in chit-chat. I can understand that - no one wants to find out the hard way that they are sitting next to a salesman on a long plane ride. Maybe she was really, really shy. Maybe she was afraid of me (just kidding!). Whatever the reason, I tell this story because in a sense, it's an interesting microcosm of the topic I'm considering for my research paper. I'm planning to look at the relatively new phenomenon known in behavorial and psychological circles as "Crowded Loneliness." This is the idea that we are surrounded by potential friends, neighbors, mates, etc., all day long in a very populated nation -- but no one knows anyone or speaks to anyone. We keep people at bay, and they do the same to us.

So.........what causes this? How have we gotten to a point where we live in neighborhoods where no one knows anyone else? (Although Melissa has volunteered to be a source for an exception to that statement). What does this say about America? The phenomenon, from what I've read and heard so far, does seem to be isolated to our country and isn't nearly as prevalent in Asian, Middle Eastern or European nations.

During the week, I had thought about this idea of "the strangers next door" and how it might relate to what seems to be a rapid decline in American patriotism. I'm not sure if or how to continue to pursue those ideas together, or if I should focus more on one and let the other become more cursory. The latter concerns me as I see more and more of my peers losing faith and pride in their nation -- the generation that's basically getting ready to completely inherit and take over the country (Us!), is largely fractured and doesn't seem to believe in America any longer! I'm not saying that the last few years have been the easiest or the greatest for our nation -- but don't we have to hold onto the vision for what America is, what it stands for, what it can continue to be? How do we restore unity and a sense of national pride in our citizens, and then how do we get them to go next door and get to know each other?