Anderson.Paak, The Pine Forest Lodge, & Intellectual Humility

ANDERSON.PAAK

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Here’s a digital sketch of Anderson.Paak - If you told me six years ago that In the future, I wouldn’t be able to stop listening an album about Oxnard I wouldn’t have believed ya, but here we are. Anything is possible. If Anderson.Paak were to tell me his next project was a 2020 album about Bakersfield, I’d give him a chance to deliver.

Really though, it’s become kind of a rarity for me to like an album as a whole these days. This one has some tracks for the gym, some for the road, and all other kinds of moods.

THE PINE FOREST LODGE

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The legend of the Pine Forest Lodge. This is where I stayed for most of the time I was in Haiti. There aren’t many structures like this in the rural forest. It had enough bedrooms and dorm areas to sleep dozens, multiple in each room, a large central living room, and an out of commission kitchen.

It also had a bathroom, but not running water, and electricity through a generator that took an hour to get started. Despite being the nicest structure for miles, my stay was still a bit more like a camping trip.

Our translator told me that every Haitian president over the past few decades had stayed here- which if true would be a fascinating bunch of personalities. I didn’t think that was too likely, but also, there aren’t many other options in the area for accommodations. Either way, the 50 chairs in the living area suggested there was recently some meeting of importance, and there was graffiti on the outside denouncing the mayor.

I’ll mostly remember this spot just for its beauty, and the morning moments spent on the dirt trails behind the lodge.

Also, please keep Haiti in your prayers. There’s some unrest there again this week, and it’s gotten pretty rough at some moments.

TABLE TOPICS

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I was commissioned to put together a deck of table topics for a church potluck. I suppose I should answer my own prompts.

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My most memorable birthday was my sixth, celebrated on board a flight from Cairo to California. A bunch of other passengers, and the flight crew improvised a whole party using whatever was available on board.

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To most people’s surprise, I would probably pass on the unlimited travel. I LOVE travel, but even if it was free, I wouldn’t necessarily want nonstop travel or have the schedule for it. Plus, with the amount I’d save on not buying food, I’d save thousands I could put towards travel.

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Nachos count. If they don’t, I can accept that argument as long as you’re also willing to disqualify potato salad and macaroni salad for being carbs drenched in a sauce with some fruits or veggies.

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The portal would be at my office. The catch is that my home would then be in Oregon. That would be much cheaper than having a portal to Oregon while living in San Diego.

INTELLECTUAL HUMILITY

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Wherever my conversations lead, intellectual humility is a beautiful thing our world needs more of.

Here are some pointers I love courtesy of Dan Pink:

Soldiers defend, scouts explore. Do I think more like a soldier or a scout?

Do I want to understand or just be right?

Do I seek opposing views?

Do I enjoy the pleasant surprise of being wrong?

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THANKSGIVING 2018

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Some Thanksgivings look a little more like grilled cheese and the Parent Trap, my doggy in a turtleneck, 24 hour diners, Playdoh Pictionary, and sticky buns. (Really though, Beignet’s giving off some hardcore 90’s mom vibes.)

Earlier in the week it seemed like Thanksgiving this year was about to get cancelled. Wildfires and sick bugs and everything else seemed to create the perfect storm to disrupt it all. But a little improv meant that in exchange for the typical dinner, we were able to see even more family this weekend.

Hopefully next year we won’t get as many curveballs. But we’re here and we’re thankful.

THE GAP BETWEEN GOOD

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There are a lot of people doing good, and many more who want to do good. But we need to be very careful about that gap in between wanting to do good and actually doing good. Within it, there’s a lot of harm done.

Accountability, discernment, and looking out for the vulnerable must be priorities. It’s important to be hopeful, but not naive. Bold and aspirational, but not reckless.

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TRAVELS OF 2018

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Spent a bit of the weekend planning trips in 2019. I don’t have any big ones on the calendar for the rest of this year, which feels foreign but is also kind of nice. The next month will hopefully be a much needed recharge.

This year had me on the go way more than I expected, but it was a lot of fun. Here are a few of my favorite destinations from the past year:

5) Haiti

Not exactly the comfiest place in the world, but maybe one of the most eye-opening. I was lucky enough to stay in one of the country’s few forests, which is such a gorgeous reminder of Haiti’s potential.

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4) Atlanta

I was amazed by how much I felt like I fit right in. Such a strong sense of community that didn’t take me long to discover.

3) Cinque Terre

Using this as kind of a stand-in for the rest of my Italy trip that included Siena, Rome, and Montalcino. One of the prettiest places I’ve seen.

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2) Vancouver

The beauty of the PNW but with the diversity of... the world. And endless outdoor adventures. I could live here gladly.

1) Iceland

Finally got to visit my long awaited dream destination and it was as gorgeous, adventurous, and quirky as I would’ve expected.

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Philippe Lazaro