Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Rant.....

Let me first start by saying I had high hopes for this. I choose to attend. I hate giving presentations myself and understand the difficulties behind giving them.

Now let me say I just left (cut and run) one of the worst presentations I have ever attended. When a local chapter of an internationally well known and great non-profit was offering a seminar/training on International Humanitarian Law (IHL) I jumped at the opportunity to attend. Free too! Having studied Human Rights Law I was eager to get back into the discourse of international law and spend an edifying afternoon. This however was a pipe dream as it turns out.

The presenters were not experts and to their credit they quickly recognized and disclosed this fact, although I would hesitate to even call them "somewhat informed".

It is not recognized enough that having an opinion is not knowing facts and explaining your opinion is not explaining the facts. I should know, I am full of opinions and often light on facts. I'll be the first to admit it and as such I will also be the first to recognize it in others.

The presentation was dull, boring, not explanatory and horrifically presented. One should define things, introduce them and have a context in which things are explained or questioned. This was not the case. Notes should be referred to and not read directly from. Power points should be supplemental and not read directly in detail, word for word. Also keep up with your power points without expended pauses. Just a thought. Plus when explaining international law, which can be very confusing and complicated, do it so its not. Explain things not just talk about them. Know what acronyms stand for as well!

There is a difference between Human Rights Law and IHL. Know how to properly explain the differences and use examples. Unfortunately there is a plethora of examples of violations of both, so use them to better illustrate and explain.

To say the least I was widely disappointed as was my co-worker and fellow 'lets leave at the break'.

I was genuinely interested and up for discussion on the topic of IHL. But instead they had my attention because I was vaguely aware of the issues, and details and yet not entire sure they were.

and that, was my rant.

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Years Resolutions and New Conversations...

The best way to keep one's resolutions is to be held accountable to them. So I will tell those few who read this monologue my resolutions for the year in hopes that when you ask me how well I am keeping these new goals I'll actually have done some of them.

Resolution #1: Floss regularly
I was recently at my dentist while home in the windy city and was asked by my dentist how often I flossed. "Its hard to put an exact number on that" was my reply. The reason its hard to quantify the number of flossings my teeth experience is because it only happens when I find something stuck in them. Other than that, I don't floss. May my dental student friend forgive me for this.

Resolution #2: Read one faith book a month.
"Read a book about The Book" as a friend put it. A sister gave me another Donald Miller book for Christmas which I haven't started yet but must finish by the end of the month if Im to keep on this resolution kick. I want to read more books by Elizabeth Elliot, Rob Bell, Brain McLaren, Anne Lamott, among others.

Resolution #3: The Year of Amber
I will once again become comfortable with being alone, I will recuperate, I will be content and even reach happiness along the way. I will save, I will travel back to Europe, I will weekend in Mexico, I will read, I will buy treats for myself, I will pay off debts, I will give, I will contribute and I will work hard.

A conversation I had with someone a few weeks ago has been on my mind. Someone said the opposite of Fear is Love. I took quite a bit of time as it were to consider this idea and decided that I do not agree. The opposite of Fear is not Love. If you want to know why I disagree you will have to ask me why.