Reflection Poem.

Reflection Poem.
Dad studying
Dad studying

So, I was working on my page today for the students, and of course, my mind is running amok with other ideas while I manipulate code and try to create what I need. WordPress doesn’t really give great help for what I wanted, so it took awhile.

Now my mind focuses on the upcoming week of new classes. But let me backtrack a bit and explain. I am in Scotland with Wisconsin in Scotland Program this fall, and we teach on a modular system. I have fourteen days to squeeze and cram sixteen weeks of information. Not an easy task by a long shot. It can, and is overwhelming.

My first class is a 100 level course, jam-packed with a host of information. I will have to focus on the most influential concepts while expecting the students to be highly reflective and rigorous with the info. So, I contemplated how to explain reflection best. I thought a poem. It’s a brainstorm in five minutes, thinking about being in a coffee shop and focusing on the process. Apologies.

I sit and think, understand
Watch and observe
Listen and hear, more than words
I dip and dabble, postulate
Wondering the connections
The pathways explored
Past, present and yet, to be
I soar on ambiguity
Coast on reality
Dribble without syntax or grammar
Various viewpoints, arguments, my own
I write gaining speed, opening doors
Organize and snip apart
Rebuild, reconstruct
New, even old
Gaining ground and more
And questions
Always questions
Left in my wake, before me
Tangents and diversions
Yes, even frustrations
And extrapolations
Inward, outward
Lost on the Journey.

That’s five minutes.

Promotional Power: A deeper breath…

Promotional Power:  A deeper breath…

There is something to say for having the Internet.  Once and awhile my senses are awaken by gems of video, music and words as they were today when I received a post from VisitScotland.  They were inviting me to SINGLE MALT WHISKY: THE ISLAY 8 + THE FESTIVAL AWARDS CEREMONY.  Unfortunately, I will not be able to go but wish I could just to sample Islay’s best whiskies and the food by Chef Art Jackson food.  

I know Islay’s whiskies.  I’ve tasted all of them and relish their unique flavors.  I would love to live on that island and be a part of that subculture of Scottish society devoted to making uisge beatha; the water of life.  Heck, I would love to work in marketing in one of their distilleries just to be surrounded by the people who have such a devotion to their craft.  These people breathe deeply of their loves and convey it with every dram.  Scotland’s economy is driven by whisky and shouldered by tourism.    I can’t wait to see this film in its entirety and use it in my classes.

It demonstrates the authentic experience of this island’s life as well as the promotional power that one product, various brands have in drawing people to its table.   It embodies a sense of self, a sense of identity that draws you in and holds your attention.  It conveys a sense of place and deep-rooted mysticism that has more than a kernel of truth.

Whisky: the Islay edition. Long trailer. from Olav Verhoeven on Vimeo.

Whisky: the Islay Edition.

This film is an initiative of POSTORGASMICKITCHEN.

Produced and directed by Olav Verhoeven

Scenario by Fabian Molleman.
Production by Ellen Cosyn.
Editing by Remo Beutels and Olav Verhoeven.
3D direction by Fabian Molleman and Michiel Coene.
Soundmixing Emanuel Van Egghen.
Art Direction by Olav Verhoeven.
Art direction VFX by Tim Vandekerckhove.
Director of photography Olav Verhoeven.
Camera 2nd Fabian Molleman and Michiel Coene.
Research process and facts by Lies Debeer.
Assistant and grip Olivier Van Mele and Sean Goossens.
Sound recording by Sean Goossens.
Copywriting by Fran Bambust.
Colourgrading by Bart Verraest.

Our Social Fabric…

I love the Budweiser’s commercials and especially, when in my Introduction to Hospitality and Tourism, we start our module on Food and Beverage Management.  Now I have other disciplines in my class, notably this semester consumer affairs and merchandising, even two students from psychology and one from journalism.  I try to draw parallels and inter-relationships between the historical development of beverage management (okay, brewing) with marketing, shifts in social thoughts and patterns and the development of new technology.  These areas are all vital because the needs and wants of society were changing.  Brewing was part of our social fabric and still is.  The local tavern or pub, even restaurant is at the heart of community.  Maybe not as much as in Europe and other countries, but it still remains a strong social center.  These symbolic representations also promote our own mythology (factual and fictional–just think Santa Claus with Cocoa Cola).

So I thought I’d share one of my favorite ads, one of many that I will use to discuss sales, marketing and hospitality within several of my classes.

Excuse me….a little rain please

On the way to Neist Point Light House...
Brilliant blue skies on the Isle of Skye

The heat has been oppressive for the last month and there is no rain in sight here in the middle of no where.  Heck, there hasn’t been rain in my neck of the plains for two months now.  You can’t think, you can’t do much of anything but skip, dash and dart from one air condition place to another. Daily life is certainly not ideal when you are stuck inside most of the time.

These are the days when I long for the cool, wet miserable days of Scotland. Even the sunny moments when the greens come alive under a brilliant sky. I have a relationship with the landscape. I loathe heat and humidity and relish cool, wet, dry, bright, dull. I loath below freezing (I’ve been in Chicago when it was -80F with the wind chill–shudder) and love forty, even thirty-two on a bright sunny day. But this 103, with a heat index of 115 is too much. I can’t think straight and I need to use my brain at the moment.

So, heat wave, go somewhere else and bring me some rain!

Are we…

Characteristics of an innovative culture
Second part of social media research about innovative culture

Are we really an innovative culture?  I wonder.    How do we envision the use of technology?  Is it a tool or toy?  Is it both?  Is it a lifestyle choice or is it just for entertainment?  Do we have those innovators like da Vinci, Jobs and Edison still among us?

What is an innovative mind-set?

I really enjoyed Michael Gelb’s Innovate like Edison.  It offers insight into how to take your creativity, your own intelligence and construct something meaningful.  The book talks about a quality of life.  Do we not decide to do something because it will enhance our lives?  Do we not take trips, escape the mundane, ordinary world to find something special?  Does social media enhance, engage our quality of life or is it just a way to disconnect from life?  Why is it that all of a sudden we see people retreating from Facebook?  Are they migrating to the next ’15 minutes’?  How many still use LiveJournal, MySpace, etc.  Is Google+ the next ‘big’ place to be?

A host of questions and yet, still there remains the question to quality of life.


Passing snow storm- NW Sutherland
Passing snow storm--NW Sutherland by bruiach/Colin Campbell

Since receiving a picture of the albino deer that frequents my parents back yard in Pennsylvania, I’ve been surfing around Flickr for other pictures of albino deers. Yet, there is something so majestic, so regal, so wild about Scottish Deer. They hold no candle to those I’ve seen in Pennsylvania or other places. Maybe reindeer but not really.

Red Deer Scotland
Hello Deer!
Originally uploaded by gms

I really get a sense of mythological power when I see pictures like this. I see the spirit of the Earth; its’ soul. I see an age-old story begging to be told. I see time and space. I’m finding words and phrases difficult to explain it exactly. But there is something there that really makes the writer itch to speak; the artist wish to draw.