Category Archives: learning community

52 WoLP #23: what we talk about when we talk about sharing the Park

A couple of things while walking through Lincoln Park this week, and they both have to do with sharing. West Seattle has more people in it than ever before, and that means Lincoln Park does too. By a mile.

We share the park with each other, which sometimes requires grace and skill, and we share the park with creatures, which always requires TLC and respect.

The first story involves a sea otter–did you know we have them? They’re interesting creatures: live in the water, hang out on the shore rocks sometimes, and make their homes on terra firma, in the bushes or under structures, etc. The one I saw this week, and who is making regular appearances down at the water’s edge, was finishing up dinner and just chillin on the beach. At the same time, a large group of elementary age kids was rambunctiously making its way up the walkway.

The kids and teachers stopped to watch the otter, along with the rest of us. Then a couple of the girls edged closer and closer until finally they chased the otter back into the water. I mentioned to one of the adults that that was actually illegal, it’s against the law to harass marine mammals on shore, and she shrugged as if the kids were making the rules now.

I don’t want to get all in the teacher’s biz, but wasn’t that, oh I don’t know, a LEARNING OPPORTUNITY? . Yeah, I think it was. The kids need to learn we share the park. We share nature. We don’t own it.


The next opportunity came just yesterday when I was walking down the center trail to the shore at sunset–a little dusky, a beautiful evening. I hear voices behind me, yelling back and forth, approaching quickly. Before I have a chance to turn and look, three cyclists come racing by at full speed, downhill, about two inches of margin between them and me. Then another. And another, and yes, several more. I finally stop and look behind me and there are even more barreling down the trail. I ask how many more, and someone says, a lot! I’d say there were about 30 twenty-somethings in all.

So I step back onto the trail and let them know I’m going to keep walking and they need to slow down for pedestrians, which they immediately do and I give them full credit for that. They’re just having fun, and I understand the allure of that trail, I’m a bike rider and live for the downhill. But at one point I was nearly nailed against a tree by a guy who didn’t know the trail tightens up at one turn and then another.

Again, they need to balance their fun with the rights of others on the trail to feel and be safe, not to mention the creatures that cross the trail all the time. I never thought I’d say this to bike people, but that gang needs to share the road better.

So, the park is busy. We all love it. So, in the immortal words of Sgt. Esterhaus, hey, let’s be careful out there.


52 WoLP is a year long dear diary to my favorite park in Seattle. Enjoy!

52 WoLP #16: Saturday in The Park (can you dig it?*)

This Saturday, in the Park, 10:30 – 2:30: first ever Celebrate Lincoln Park event! Here’s what you do: come to the park, at the entrance there will be an enticing menu of activities for everyone, kids to big kids and the biggest kids of all–adults.

click here for the deets.

It’ll be a low tide and the Aquarium will have a couple naturalists on hand to explore the tide flats; we’ll have resident experts leading walks through the park exploring the flora and fauna (that’s trees, flowers and birds to the rest of us:-); we’ll have sketching and writing in nature sessions, and down in the driftwood, sculpture making, and more. Go here for more, but be sure to get your beautiful nature-self to the park this Saturday!

*Saturday in the park (can you dig it?) by the Pleistocene era rock band Chicago.

52 Weeks of Lincoln Park is a year long exploration of the beautiful gem of West Seattle, it’s history, nature, essence and presence.


52WoLP #14: I Just Wanna Celebrate!

Celebrate Lincoln Park is a combo of two free events being offered by Fauntleroy Community Association. Here are the deets:

  • April 23, Tues., 6:30-8:30 at the Hall at Fauntleroy: speakers (such as the fabulous Trileigh Tucker) tables, fascinating people sharing fascinating information (full disclosure, I will be part of the crew at the ALPN table)–and who else? Seal Sitters, Whale Trail, Puget Sound Partnership, Seattle Parks, and more. Come get some history, some future, some ongoing thangs.
  • April 27, right smack in the park itself, all kinds of things going on! First, there will be a low tide and naturalists available and also, therefore, a zillion happy kids running around. ALPN, Alliance for Lincoln Park Nature, will be offering Art in the Park with three sessions of writing and sketching and having some fun ;-). I’ve heard a rumor that the guy who makes those beautiful balancing driftwood sculptures will be down at the shore making beautiful balancing driftwood sculptures.(full disclosure: I love what Sky Darwin does.) There will be nature walks, nature talks, nature all around. Don’t miss this.
  • All activities will start at the south of the park, much more information will be available at the Celebration on April 23, plus I’ll be keeping the faith here, check back as we get closer.

    Mark the dates! April 23 & 27–see you there!

    52 Weeks of Lincoln Park is a year long project chronicling and loving the seasons of LP in beautiful West Seattle.


    Day 153 & 154: MLwC and one cool thing

    Here’s a cool idea for those omni-readers among us that falls in the category of re-use and recycle: a book trading site. I found this on Teensygreen’s blog–(a great blog for Moms looking for smart ways to be more green) the book trading site is called BookMooch.

    Pile o books– for more

    The deal is you list the books you have that are looking for a new home, trade them off to folks for points and then cash in the points for books you want. Best to know what books you want because even though the search function is good, the browse function is horrible. Still, I entered Jane Smiley and got a full page of available books of hers and even a few I haven’t read.

    All you do is pay the shipping to the requester, (if you’ve ever participated in Amazon’s marketplace, you know shipping books is pretty affordable ) and when you select a book, that person pays the shipping to you. Interestingly, they also participate in Amazon’s referral program, so if you don’t find the book you want, you can pop right over to Amazon for a fresh-off-the-press version, full price and shipping included.

    So why do I think this is good? I haven’t tried it yet, so the jury is still out but it does a few things that are cool: it creates social networks of mutual benefit, it recycles perfectly good books to people who really want them, and it avoids chopping down more trees to print more new books. For those of us who mostly transitioned to the library a while ago, this is a logical extension. There is the issue of carbon based shipping, which excludes this from carbon neutrality, but hey, you can’t have everything. I’ll let you know how it works when I give it a whirl.

    Daily Stat (Tues, Wed)
    Car: 10 miles (3 tasks, 1 person)
    Bike: 8 miles
    Ped: 6 miles
    Bus: 0
    other: 0

    Day 148 & 149: MLwC and a 4 minute vid about how we connect

    Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us

    Take 4 minutes and watch this vid created by a group of students at Kansas State University’s ethonography dept. It’s amazing and inspiring and beautiful in its weird way. it’s the world we are living in and participating in. it’s us.

    I’ve had family in town all weekend with a ten year-old to show the sites of Seattle and environs to. We did a lot of it via bus, ferries, monorails and foot–you know when you’ve worn a ten-year old out, you’ve walked a lot.

    Daily Stats (Thur, Fri)

    Car: 0
    Bus: approx 5 miles
    Ferry: approx 8 miles
    Monorail: approx 2 miles
    Ped: approx 7 miles

    Encyclopedia of Life and E. O. Wilson’s one wish

    I just visited the Encyclopedia of Life and watched E.O Wilson’s 20 minute video, upon receiving the 2007 TED prize.

    Wilson discusses the vast importance of insects to our living environment….he focuses on the massive scale of insect life that is simply unknown and yet are key parts of our great chain of life.

    Also: there’s a fabulous vid-within-vid moment accompanied by Billie Holiday.  Worth a watch and a listen.

    So, what is E. O. Wilson’s one wish?  That we work together to build the Encyclopedia of Life– built and shared by all communities around the world.  For the first time ever, the ability to gather and share the enormous magnitude of knowledge about science, biology, the climate, global warming, species preservation–the ability to gather this information is within reach due to the internet.

    Well, if you check out, it looks like Wilson got his wish.  Cool.

    Day 115 & 116: MLwC and Paul Hawken’s Blessed Unrest

    I’m continuing to read and appreciate Paul Hawken’s new book Blessed Unrest.

    One of the compelling aspects of the structure of the book is to wander back through time, considering the many cases where citizens have risen up in outrage or unwillingness to accept the status quo. This is followed by real time cases of outrageous events in our own time: Bhopal and Union Carbide, Standard Oil and other Big Oil co’s in places such as Zimbabwe and the Amazon jungle. The invitation demand for action is nearly implicit.

    Michael Spalding is part of another of Hawken’s creations: WiserEarth, a gathering site for input and joining of disparate organizations or individuals who are working on improving the world we currently live in–in lots of different ways. Michael contacted me to let me know about this web based growing un-named movement that is gathering at I’ve gone through the site and note that it’s “beta”and there is a definite feeling that the meeting place is trying to find its stride. That could just be me, I’ve asked Michael for more information.

    It is exciting though–Hawken and like-minded people are trying to find a way to communicate and come together in a net-molecular way that will create even more energy and focus on issues that matter.

    I’m going to spend more time in the site the next couple of days, as I can, to see if I can dig deeper.

    Daily stats (Wed & Thu)
    Car: 12 miles
    bike: 0
    ped: 3
    bus: 0
    air: 1700

    Day 114: MLwC, my car in a pinch and Paul Hawken

    I had a situation on Monday wherein I learned to appreciate my car. Alas.

    I’d scheduled a shared ride pickup with a local Shuttle service to the airport for 7 am. At 7am I was out front waiting patiently. 7:10. 7:15. By now I’m getting nervous because our house is a little hard to find and we’ve had problems before….

    At 7:20 I estimated the time needed to get to the airport, check-in and out to the gate. I needed to leave now. So, guess what: I hopped in my car and drove out to the airport, double checking my decision all the way. Could I have asked a neighbor? They were all on their way to their own Monday morning schedules. How about a bus? I didn’t even know the schedule or the route. It’s funny: I used to drive to the airport and park a few days all the time and never gave it another thought, but things are different now and I’m just not used to driving as much. What a thought–I’m not used to driving! So, okay, I drove, I parked, I caught my plane. I was grateful I had a car in this instance–what can I say? It’s true.

    Completely unrelated (or maybe not so…), a thought from Paul Hawken’s new book, Blessed Unrest, related to our growing connectivity–on the web and otherwise:

    “This movement is a new form of community and a new form of story. At what point in the future will the existence of 2 million, 3 million or even 5 million citizen-led organizations shift our awaremness to the possibility that we will have fundamentally change the way human being govern and organize themseleves on earth. What are the characteristics of leadership required when power arises instead of descends? What would a democracy look like that was not ruled by a dominant minority?

    “…What if some very basic values are being reinstilled worldwide and are fostering complex social webs of meaning that represent the future of governance?”

    Hawken’s thoughts on the growing movement of social webs of awareness are hopeful. And I have to believe he’s right. We are connected in new and amazing ways, and stories are being shared at a mind-boggling pace–we are creating new, shared vocabularies and priorities…and not waiting for a stamp of approval. Badges? We don’t need no stinkin badges. We will find a new way that works.

    Daily stats: (Tuesday)
    Car: 0
    bike: 0
    Bus: 0
    air: 0

    Walking, and how to think about “transportation”

    Tom followed up yesterday’s piece on walking with a great entry of his own–with gorgeous snaps of his daily route through Lisbon–including time, transportation mode (mostly walking) and some thoughts about the added benefits of not driving. It reads at time like a poem, at other times like a mini-travelogue.

    Jodene followed up this morning with a comment on her own walking method and a tangential thought about the long term (very nice nod to investment strategies!) benefits of walking–intellectual, physical, emotional, environmental.

    So, I got to thinking: how cool would it be to get feedback from anyone/everyone who actually shakes it up in the transportation department. Those who are doing something other than the regular single-car/single-passenger-moving-through-urban space routine–and what you think about it. What does your transportation method allow you that you would not get from driving?

    This would be more than a survey with radio buttons. This would be postcards from the urban-travel edge. We’ll see, maybe it could work.

    Day 92 & 93: MLWC plus Command-and-Control Knowledge

    Alright, it’s about time “My Life w Car” got its own acronym, doncha think? So, here we go: MLWC. For a while, I’ll link back to day 90 for an explanation of the project and then, once it’s so common place that I hear it on the nightly news, I’ll stop linking 😉

    Command and Control Knowledge “Management.”
    I consult on operational issues relating to the customer and the front-line worker—that vital connection between the company and the public. Of late, that connection has shown some wear and tear. Its been commoditized as companies try to manage costs—and when they try to manage costs, they head for the frontline first. They buy software, dream of robotic systems, outsource their service—not because it’s better but because they hope it will make the problem of the frontline-to-customer relationship go away.

    Knowledge Management, in all its many forms, is a command-and-control oasis. With very few exceptions (and those exceptions are basically Web 2.0 leaders), companies desperately hang onto the notion that they should, and can, control the information that flows from the agent to the customer. This subverts the agent’s role into that of a robot and so far in all my agent observations, I’ve yet to meet a robot.

    Internet-based knowledge sharing—wikis, blogs, online collaboration tools—is both revolutionary and elegant. It engages people at an intuitive level and collects tacit knowledge in natural, accessible ways. Legal will hate it, IT will distrust it, Management will eschew it because they don’t understand it. The New Knowledge Sharing–how many more Knowledge acronyms can we bear??–which will take place online is the one innovation that will engage the front-line, enable JIT knowledge transfer, help the customer, and give command-and-control management style a run for its money. I know where I’m placing my bets.

    A couple of articles to consider about this issue:

      A local fave rave consulting group, Ramp Group, has some interesting thoughts about knowledge and content sharing on their blog.

      Here’s a great rundown of articles tackling the problem of knowledge sharing across global groups and in enterprises–note the dates of the articles, the more recent ones are coming to the same conclusions as above.

    Daily Stats:
    Car: 13 miles (1 person/3 tasks)
    Bike: 0
    Bus: 0

    Note: Jorge Gajardos Rojas from Chile wrote yesterday to ask why I don’t just walk? He lives close to work and ammenities and walks daily. Such a great question–most Americans don’t walk unless it’s for leisure. We don’t walk to the grocery store, for sure. We couldn’t carry back the massive amount of stuff we buy. But elsewhere in the world people walk everywhere, daily. I’ve walked to the grocery store a few times in this project but haven’t kept track of it; I imagine if I walked to the store daily, I wouldn’t have to pay for a gym membership. Thanks Jorge!

    Day 87: my life w car plus Big Blue Goes Green

    IBM is investing a billion a year in figuring out how to utilize alternative energy resources for their systems–from cooling mechanisms to software. The company promises higher CPU without any more energy use. Sweet!

    read more | digg story

    Also, a friend (sorry Yo, now you’ll really have to do that site ;-))and I had coffee yesterday in Pioneer Square and discussed the issue of.. well, Web 2.0 and knowledge management–though I wince when using the Web 2.0 term. It seems hackneyed, yet what can we call this internet wave that’s upon us? The one where we are increasingly in touch, sharing info at such a massive level–truly a big tent community with all the noise and chaos of a bazaar. At every level, corporate and personal, the sheer amount of information out there is mind boggling yet at every moment has the potential to organize itself organically and pretty doggone effectively.

    My point was, how can you deny that information sharing is morphing right before our eyes when companies like Dell are forced to change their ways by the popularization of a term to describe their dysfunction on a single customer blog–the blog heard round the customer experience world?

    A side note on Dell–Dell himself. How come these guys get big money? Thanks for this, Yo!

    Daily Stats:
    Car: 0
    Bike: 0
    Bus: 0
    Flexcar: 0
    Run through Park along waterfront: approx 3.5 miles

    day 81 & 82: My life w car

    Read an oldie the other day, The Victorian Internet, by Tom Standage. It was a quick, fun read but sort of silly in some ways.


    His claim is that the singular invention of the Telegraph was the first Internet…and to take a phrase from Standage himself (out of context): “Well, sort of.” In fact, it seems the invention that is most strikingly a first step on the way to the modern internet is the use of electrical pulses as a means of conveying information and data from point A to point B. The rest—how humans wrestled with the new communication potential—may well be a repeat of previous “great leaps” in human history and a reflection of the human impulse or instinct to communicate and share information—whether it be in words, electrical impulses, art, oral tradition, trade, or teaching, we seem driven to communicate—and to leverage communication to our own ends.

    Among the interesting tidbits that have stayed with me is the change in work culture (from a sun-up-to-sun-down schedule to a newly global 24/7 schedule)–we struggle with our 24/7/365 always-on, always-open global culture and it’s interesting to consider how 24/7 changed things way back in the Victorian age. But in the end, Standage lost me when he boldly asserted that the changes Victorian era society went through during the introduction of the Telegraph so thoroughly modernized them that “time traveling Victorians…would, no doubt, be unimpressed with the Internet.”

    I mean, come on. In my own lifetime, I’ve marvelled at the new forms of technology that interconnect the world. I’ve even marvelled at the innovations with bicycles, ferchrissakes. To think that folks from the 1880’s would not be blown away by our technology and interconnectedness now is surely ridiculous. But, someone 100 years from now will be writing something similar to Victorian Internet and gather together a treasure trove of quotes about how the internet made our lives (choose one): easier/smarter/harder/better/faster/worse and will come to various conclusions about technological impacts based on that.


    The world is on a trajectory of inter-relatedness (interesting related thought here). When the printing press was invented, it spawned the creation of entire new religions and the Holy Roman Empire took a huge hit. Suddenly the written word was available not just to those in the cathedral but to anyone who could get a hold of a manuscript. The rise of the first person narrative novel can be linked to MySpace; oral tradition can be linked to the blogosphere; tribal knowledge can trace a direct line to wikis; and certainly the old market and bazarre network can be linked to craigslist and ebay. But all those parallels speak more to human nature and the impulse to inter-connect than to any of the devices invented to achieve that goal.

    Daily travel stats:
    Internet: a million miles, give or take
    car: 6 (4 tasks, 1 person)
    bike: 10.5 miles
    bus: 2.5 miles
    flexcar: 0
    passenger ferry to downtown Seattle: 3 miles

    Day 65 & 66: My life w car

    Yesterday, all across the country, there were peaceful demonstrations about global climate change. The purpose was to raise awarenes and consciousness. From awareness and consciousness, one hopes, comes change.

    Yesterday in my home town paper, there were dozens of articles about global climate change, how we as first worlders impact it, and what we can do. Everything from incandescent lightbulbs (How many governers does it take to change a lightbulb?) to transportation (Seattle’s master bike use plan) a million small changes that add up to big cultural change at the family home level.

    Exciting times. I was talking with some friends about all the stuff happening, and explained my blog–my personal transportation game–where I’m trying to become conscious of car usage, see if there’s a reasonable, workable way to ditch my car at some point in the future, and what I’m learning in the process. It seemed a good time to review some of these ideas here and also some of the conversation that ensued yesterday.

    I started the “My life w car” series as a year-long plan to be conscious of transportation habits, dependencies, etc. The hope was that some day we could become a one-car family with lots tasks and travel delegated to bike, bus or flexcar. My secret hope was that it would all happen quickly and easily. Wrong.

    Some of my rules around this transportation game: no single use trips (unless it really really can’t be avoided); multi-passenger use whenever possible (task combos); at least two days of non-carbon based transportation per week; improve bike mileage by 10 miles minimum per month. Obviously, the rules won’t work sometimes–last week was sort of a bust. But they work more often than not, for sure.

    After 65 days, what I’ve learned: I’m not a big car person, I don’t really drive a ton or put a lot of focus on my car and I really don’t have an attachment to it. But even with my limited dependence on a car, I have found, after 65 days, that limiting one’s use of a car is dang difficult. Our entire culture is built around cars, about zipping here and there, about the luxury of simply not having to plan, think, or consider one’s dependence on cars at all.

    Now, if we are really expecting people to reduce their automobile usage, combine trips, use mass transit, or bikes, there’s going to have to be some serious-ass change in our culture. A willingness to revise time and access across a lot of channels to make this work. Mass transit has got to be better than it is, biking has to be safer, and jamming schedules with non-stop action and to-do lists will have to lighten up. I’ve done it, to a degree, and while it’s been hard, I have to say: I’m happier for it. But the point is, this is a massive change on a massive scale…but it will all start at home, in your own backyard.


    Upshot: after talking about these learnings with my friends, and coming to the conclusion that it would be very difficult to jettison one’s car in the near term, we turned our attention, each of us, to how we could reduce our daily car use by one or two days a week. Carpooling, bus, combining trips to reduce trips, planning ahead…all the things I’ve started to incorporate into my thinking on a regular basis.

    We are learning creatures (nice article here): it’s what we do best, and on a continual basis. Not saying we learn good things, just saying we are constantly in “adapt” mode, which means learning. This key feature may be what saves is in the end.

    (One among us who is clearly lagging behind on the learning curve, however, is discussed here. Oh, Dear Leader! Once he’s outta the way, though, maybe we can actually begin to build a future instead of destroying it)

    Daily Stats:
    days without carbon trans: 0
    car: 18 miles (multiple tasks, two riders)
    bike: 0
    bus/flexcar: 0

    Day 59 & 60: My life w car…and a note about elearning

    Is elearning effective? I’ve wondered that for a long time…personally sometimes it works, like for short topics with clearly identified skill goals, and sometimes it doesn’t work, especially for conceptual learning. IMHO, It’ll never work for teaching customer service handling skills, for example–that’s a practice and mentoring issue.


    But I was reading Design for Living this morning and was captured by her idea of rolling several other layers into traditional elearning–blogging on the subject matter, for example, being able to share one’s experience or understanding of the subject matter, adding to it, filling it out, making it more vital to the individual or community–and that made a lot of sense to me.

    The biggest problem for me with elearning is how “flat” it feels–it forces me into such a passive role and I get antsy in about now time at all. Anyway, this idea of adding several community creating layers to elearning is just great–and the elearning company could potentially use the information to vastly improve their content on an ongoing basis. win/win.

    On the car front: after tax time, I’ve pretty much realized that I can actually call my car a 100% business related expense since anymore I’m doing all my tasks, errands, etc on my bike. This helps me see my car in a more limited way–and I really like that.

    Daily stats:
    Days without carbon based transportation: 2
    Car miles: 0
    Bike: 6.5
    flexcar/bus: 0