Holiday season enthusiasm

Holiday season enthusiasm extended to early morning Christmas shopping throughout Boulder and Westminster, Colorado. Joni forget a pair of glasses early this morning creating the opportunity to engage in early morning shopping after visiting the University of Colorado at Boulder. Weekday shopping before lunchtime is usually a great way to avoid the crowds during the holiday season. Every year shopping for family and friends seems to become increasingly difficult. For example, over the years, buying gifts for Jason has always been a major challenge. At some point, a tradition of buying Jason baseball related movies during the holiday season developed. After a few years of buying movies from the Major League movie franchise and other random baseball movies Jason has developed a very large collection. This year the tradition will require expansion to include all sports related movies instead of only baseball related movies.
Back in Lawrence, Kansas, several years ago Brian purchased a small Christmas tree about three feet in height for the apartment. Most Christmas trees require external lights, but Brian found a tree that came equipped with custom internal lighting. The apartment still had New Years Eve decorations on the walls and ceiling from the previous year, but Brains Christmas was definitely an addition to the apartment. Maybe Brian took the Christmas tree from Lawrence, Kansas, to California during the big move last year to ring in the west coast holiday season. Gus and Jason have six feet of Christmas tree from the holiday season last year that has spent the last year in the living room. Artificial Christmas trees require storage year after year, or they start to build up a large amount of dust. Gus and Jason are going to have to find some way to clean all of the dust off the Christmas tree this year.

Traveling and writing

Several hundred miles of traveling across Kansas and Colorado has substantially slowed the pace of writing over the last few days. Traveling creates the potential of having to operate without a stable internet connection or scheduled blocks of time without interruption. Several weeks ago, Pat noted the inherent value present in taking the opportunity to organize thought and refine ideas without the structural constraints imposed by the computer screen. Distilling big picture ideas into manageable paragraphs requires the writer to develop strategies for planning, communicating understanding, and providing a degree of story telling. Writers develop different strategies for developing documents. For example, college students often write a near stream of consciousness draft and then edit the draft until a polished paper emerges.
Today in Boulder, Colorado, winds traveling from the northwest gusting from between thirty and fifty miles per hour were literally shaking the walls of the apartment. Throughout the day, shrill sounds of wind were shaking the apartment walls. From slight cracks around the windows or doors, the apartment was full of shrill whistling sounds. Outside the apartment, the local market located near the Blockbuster video store had a sale on both diet cherry coke and the strange cherry and vanilla flavored diet doctor pepper. Something about the sound of wind shaking the walls of the apartment is unsettling. Maybe the apartment can be a sanctuary that provides safety, reliability, and consistency in a world that is full of chaos. However, when the wind is shaking the walls and rattling the windows perceptions of safety, reliability, and consistency disappear.
Several pundits on television shows this week were discussing the idea of legacy without raising questions about public records and other permanence related issues. Regardless of what the leasing agents might believe the apartment complexes are not permanent structures. Today every once in awhile fifty mile per hour winds seem to come out of nowhere nearly bending trees in half and startling birds. Traveling on the highway in a sport utility vehicle across the state of Kansas with high winds can test the nerves of almost any driver. Shortly after the Thanksgiving holiday, travelers were shocked when several highways in western Kansas shut down due to blizzard conditions involving high winds and snow drifts. Some parts of the highways in western Kansas were actually shutdown for the better part of two days causing serious delays for holiday travelers. Surprisingly, Boulder, Colorado, has yet to experience any significant snow accumulation this year.

Does the structure of the argument matter?

At some point, the debate has to shift from specific issue analysis to general questions about theoretical considerations. Argument formation is an art that has been lost in the fast pace world of fifteen second audio and video clips. Almost every discussion of an argument involves a persuasive attempt to communicate. Certain classical argument structures provide empirically tested approaches to persuasive communication. Presenting an idea to society requires navigating the structural constraints presented by the mainstream media. Time is the central structural constraint requiring a presenter to trim down an idea to fit into a single sentence or statement. During the process of trimming down an argument, structure, logic, and evidence quickly seem to evaporate. Consider for a moment the example of a researcher presenting a pivotal observation after a lifetime of gathering evidence. After collecting enough research to fill several encyclopedia volumes the researcher constructs several pages of carefully worded press release announcing the findings to the world. Maybe the mainstream media spends thirty seconds reporting the findings to the world that the researcher already condensed from the size of an encyclopedia to several pages of press release.

Are these questions about interests or personality?

Q: What is something unique about you?
A: Unstoppable seeker of knowledge
Q: Who are people you would like to meet?
A: Jim Morrison, Albert Einstein, or Paul Erdos
Q: What are your interests?
A: Snacks, technology, tacos, philosophy
Q: What music do you like?
A: G3, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Eric Johnson
Q: What are your favorite movies?
A: Usual Suspects, Real Genius, Sneakers, War Games, Spies like us, Fight Club
Q: Do you have any favorite television shows?
A: Sopranos, The Apprentice, Rome is Burning, Stargate, Firefly
Q: What are your favorite books?
A: Bowling Alone, Civic Honors, Dune, LOTR, HGTTG

Big night at the Lazy Dog bar

Every once in awhile a good dinner is in order and tonight involved venturing out to the Lazy Dog Sports bar on Pearl Street in Downtown Boulder, Colorado. Inspiration for a downtown dinner in part came from the fact that Pat and Kelly drove into Boulder, Colorado, from Westminster, Colorado. One central observation came out of lengthy political discussions about the past and future. During the conservation the fact that Lawrence, Kansas, has an open traffic downtown district while Boulder, Colorado, has closed off Pearl Street to traffic really stood out as a major difference. In any event, the conclusion of the conversation involved a recommendation that Lawrence, Kansas, should consider closing traffic on a section of Massachusetts Street. A public square would add to the college atmosphere and allow people to walk around downtown safely. Tomorrow the big trip to Kansas City will take up the majority of the day, but after the dust settles, the idea of closing part of Massachusetts Street will defiantly receive additional consideration.