What Makes You Think?

The last week has been a serious test of mettle, mind, and my composure. It's also been a wonderful reminder of things that matter and several that make me think.

The things that mattered included the simple joy of taking in great art with good company, the infectious optimism of seeing two souls and two families come together in a perfectly personalized wedding, and the assurance and calm of doing something confidently and well.

The things that made me think? Well, they're a little more diverse. And presented here with links for exploring:

  • Indian Tacos. I spent the defining portion of my childhood out west, where my classmates were as likely to be Mexican-American, Mexican, or Paiute, as they were to be of European extraction. And Indian Tacos were fair food, somewhere outside one of the barns, with multiple vendors razzing each other over the crowd in a battle for customers. Health food, they are not. But they made me think about the exposure to various cultures that's been a constant in my life, and what a rare view that's provided. And, in fact, that I need to seek out more of that diversity in the coming months and years.
  • Come From Away. This is the noun used in Atlantic Canada to describe a person who is not native to the region (or the specific city or town). It's also this year's surprise Broadway success, with seven Tony nominations including Best Musical. The story of the "plane people" who descended on Gander, Newfoundland, on 9/11 and the pure response of the locals is full of heart, overflowing with Canadian humor of the Red Green variety, and set to music that can't help but get feet tapping. It got me thinking about the small acts of service that add up to huge changes. Something else I need to seek out.
  • Robots. What, me, thinking techy? Actually, yes, this is one of those fields that I find super interesting when it's paired with potential impact on the world. So, when I boarded the train on Monday evening, I kicked back to watch the sunlight dancing on the Hudson and listen to an hour (Episode 1) of a new tech podcast. I can follow big thoughts pretty well, but I don't naturally dream up the what-ifs that are inventors' and philosophers' stock in trade. A friend of mine was the podcast's inaugural guest, and his brain does work that way, which is equal parts inspiring, mind-blowing, and challenging (not difficult, but rather, bucking the status quo). So not only did I get to think about the current state and potential of artificial intelligence, but about the vast potentialities that are latent all around us until someone's mind starts clicking away.
  • The Last Kingdom. This British drama traces the (real-life) formation of England through the experiences of a (fictionalized) Saxon-born, Danish-raised warrior. Its second season recently arrived on NetFlix and I have now seen it all. I like historical "stuff." I find this period in British history super intriguing (300 years after the reign of the historical King Arthur). And I'm a sucker for a really good love story. Enter the sub-plot between Erik, the ostensibly bloodthirsty Viking kidnapper with a soft side, and Aethelflaed, the strong princess of Wessex kidnapee fleeing domestic violence. Okay, so perhaps I've been using this more for not thinking. Still, if you can stand constant swordfights, close-quarters bloodshed, and treachery, the characters are sufficiently complex to keep the storylines moving along. And that's fairly rare these days.

What's gotten you thinking lately?