Creative Problem Solver, Design Coach, Guru of the clear message
Jim Watson has served as a competition judge, textbook reviewer, consultant, and facilitator. Jim helped organize the AIGA Oklahoma chapter and served on its board for 6 years. He has written horoscopes, acted on stage in numerous roles, written and lectured on creative problem solving; sat on the edge of the Grand Canyon under a full moon, run over a bird in his car (sorry), sat at the top of a Mayan pyramid in the moonlight, walked around an Egyptian pyramid, met Lyndon Johnson and Rosa Parks, waved at Barack & Michelle Obama and Joe & Jill Biden, and owned Ringo Starr's autograph.
Jim has 35 years experience in design including interiors, furniture, products, graphics, and environmental design. He has invented TravelPants, a flag waving hat, the word neurobics, a dog leash belt, and he holds a US Design Patent for Backgammon in the Round. He conducted Study Tours and spent several months each year in New York City. Since retiring from teaching, Jim travels, writes, and feeds his AOLA (Adult-Onset Lego Addiction).
A few Hilites
• Invented a flag waving hat, the word neurobics, a dog leash belt, and the Ultimate Backgammon Board
• US Design Patent and copyrights for Round Backgammon board and TravelPants
• Taught at 6 schools
Performing & Visual Arts High School, Dallas
Brookhaven College, Dallas
University of Central Oklahoma, Professor of Design
Oklahoma State University, Visiting Professor of Design
University of Oklahoma, Visiting Professor of Design
UPAEP in Puebla, Mexico, Visiting Professor of Design
• Honored with awards:
Distinguished Student Service
Outstanding Design Educator
• Designed and remodeled house and office
• Designed sets
Girls in 509, The King and I, Spring Thaw
Life with Father, For Heaven's Sake
Yes, No, and Yellow:
The Matchmaker, Under the Gaslight, The Crucible
• TGIF travel, consultant, floor plans
• Round Backgammon, NYC
• New York study tours
• Lived more than 1 year in Dallas, Austin, New York City, Edmond Oklahoma
• Lived more than 1 month in Los Angeles, Chicago, Cleveland, Ft. Lauderdale
• Travels: Europe, Egypt, Caribbean, Mexico, NYC, and all over USA
I am a minimalist. I am often disappointed by movies. My favorite number is 44. I love to travel to other cities. Bryce Canyon in Southern Utah is my favorite natural sight. Walt Disney World is my favorite man-made sight. I do not believe in superstition and myths. I like to drink coffee in coffeeshops. I like to write. I like to invent. I like to solve problems. I neither trust nor respect politicians. I think teachers and medical support staff don't get paid enough. I think most CEOs get paid too much. I am opposed to the death penalty. I think religion is the root cause for almost all of the man-made horrors the world has experienced. I don't like laughtracks on sitcoms. I am pro-choice. I am anti-abortion. I do not like lima beans. I am a dog lover. I prefer Dewar's scotch. I like eating out with friends. I love New York. I miss my friend Laird. I miss my parents. I miss my dogs. I love to teach and to push minds. I love sudoku and crossword puzzles. I love to solve mind games. I am fascinated by word origins. I like granola cereal. I like to read the newspaper. I don't like telemarketing spiels. I don't like boring stories. I am not cowed by ancient beliefs that are meant to terrify me into submission. I fear little. I think life is a hoot.
James Robert Watson was born in New Orleans, the youngest of 3 sons, in 1950. The family moved to Dallas in 1952. They took family vacations each summer all over the USA. Jim designed stage sets and spirit posters in high school and worked summers at Six Flags.
He went to the University of Texas during the turbulent late sixties/early seventies; he majored in set design, graphic design, and advertising. Jim was president of the Sigma Chi fraternity and worked as a freshman orientation advisor.
After UT, Jim worked as a designer for 5 years in Austin & Dallas. After committing to a profession as a teacher, he went to graduate school at the University of North Texas where he earned a 4.0 GPA for the Master's degree and was inducted into honor fraternities. During graduate school, Jim taught high school and community college in the Dallas area. Jim earned the PhD degree in 1987, moved to Oklahoma, and began teaching at the University of Central Oklahoma. He became active in student services and specializing in creative problem solving and design. He also taught at Oklahoma State University, the University of Oklahoma, and the Universidad Popular Autonomous del Estado Puebla in Mexico.
In 2001, UCO created the new Department of Design with Jim as the chairman of the department. Building this department was Jim's primary focus for a few years.
Upon the death of his parents, Jim bought and furnished an apartment overlooking the Hudson River in Battery Park City in downtown Manhattan. He spent most semester breaks there. He retired from full-time teaching at UCO in the spring of 2008 and from Design History at OSU in 2016. Jim currently writes a blog about designculture and innovation, serves as a Design Coach, and spends time at his 29th-floor condo overlooking downtown Austin and the Colorado River.
The operating manual for the game of life
Strive for a balance between these two tasks:
1. Make a responsible contribution to society/community.
2. Have fun.
Make society work more efficiently and enjoy life.
Usually, life is a hoot. Sometimes its a bitch, but usually, its an absolute hoot.
I still have a great sense of discovery, awe, wonder, exploration, and curiosity for all that the richness, complexity, and pleasure that life brings.
People often comment on my enthusiasm, that I have a real zest for life.
Life is truly a journey - ever changing, ever evolving. I know I will never arrive, I'm always going forward. Barriers do come up. I try to step around them.
I am an innovative thinker.
I know I often stand apart from society and sometimes in conflict with it.
I strive to:
be a problem solver
be well rounded
be well read
be active in cultural activities
experience new sources of input
make new connections
see in new ways
keep an open mind
live in peace, not fear
live with the power, confidence, joy, and peace that strong esteem provides
not need the approval of others to feel useful or important
create a relationship with myself that provides comfort, security, and hope
love fellow inhabitants of the universe
be tolerant of those different from me
avoid being closed-minded, and judgmental
avoid applying my values and beliefs to others
(this is often difficult as I have quite strong beliefs)
Norman Vincent Peale author of The ecstasy of human existence, the human experience.
Life is to be enjoyed, by seeking within for guidance, wisdom, and comfort. Life can truly be ecstatic.
Some of Jim's eccentric quirks
I don't spend much time on social media
According to Moira Rose, social nedia is A cauldron of self-absorption. and An amusement park for clinical narcissists.
Wearing a uniform
As a kid and in the vulnerable years during school, I wanted to be like the others so I begged my parents to buy certain shoes and clothes. In Junior High it was black rubber-soled shoes from Thom McAn; in college it was Bass Weejuns loafers and Cole-Haan lace-up shoes. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was a slave to fashion trends as reported by the popular media and what others were wearing. So, after college, I began to explore what I really wanted from clothes. I wrote these notes in 1977:
• Comfortable (loose fitting).
• Easy to put on and take off.
• Aesthetically pleasing
Shoes without socks
Shirts: Pullover, collar not really necessary, pocket not necessary.
Pants and shorts
• Pull on - drawstring or elastic waistband, solid waistband, no break for button or snap, but zipper for taking a pee. No belt.
• Front pockets big enough for hands, shaped to hold change while seated or lying down, rounded corners to avoid lint in corners. Back pocket big enough for wallet.
• No unnecessary decorations - keep it simple.
Colors: Subtle colors and patterns, natural earth colors. Don't compete with the face and body - enhance it. No white (shows dirt).
Fabrics: Unbleached muslin, solids - no prints.
I even hired a seamstress to make some shirts and pants that met the above objectives. They worked fine while I was farting around, but, they were a bit too odd for a professional work environment. I had to alter my clothing philosophy to fit in at work and not stand out for the wrong reasons.
Like many people, I went through the morning ritual of deciding what I wanted to wear that day and what shoes and socks would go with the shirt and pants. Once I gained more self-confidence and got over the need to impress people with my clothing, I gravitated to the classic ensemble of a white shirt and khaki pants. Wow, my life became simpler. Deciding what to wear was really easy - reach for the next white shirt and khaki pants in line. Fashions and fads are so fickle, I didn't mess with it. I stuck to those classics.
My work uniform: Tan sox, brown shoes, white button down collar oxford shirt, and pleated khaki pants.
I put the just-washed underwear and socks at the back of their drawers so they keep in even rotation each week. This allows them to wear out at about the same time. When one or two pair need replacing, I replace the whole bunch (same with the shirts and slax, which are also kept in strict order of cleanliness.) I order the shirts and slacks online (I'm not a big fan of shopping) and they are delivered to my home. Simple.
The fall 2007 History of Graphic Design class dressed up for Halloween - in a truly scary costume - Watson's uniform. A Graphic Design 1 class trying to look impressive. What a hoot.
One day while on a NYC Study Tour, we were scheduled to meet with the designer Massimo Vignelli in the afternoon. That morning I put on a black shirt in homage to Massimo. He always wears a black shirt with black pants. That is his uniform. That afternoon, however, I went home to prep for the afternoon. I debated wearing the black shirt. I realized that that is his uniform and that I should respect that by wearing my uniform, rather than trying to fit in with he and his wife (she wears black, also). I'm glad I did. That afternoon he spoke to us about being true to ourselves and not being hypocritical. Massimo stated, "If you're never in fashion (succumbing to the fashion-du-jour trends), you can never go out of fashion."
My retirement uniform: White/black sox; white/grey/black shoes; grey/black t-shirts or a white dress shirt; and black slacks and jeans.
• Minimal animal products (little to no leather).
• Easy to clean (no dry cleaning).
• No ironing.
• Easy to fold, hang, store.
• Globally responsive: no sweatshop, green company.
• No decorations, embellishments, or commercial logos.
• Neutral, no bold statement, no colorful distractions.
Colors: Shades of grey to black, mix/match.
Textures: Solids, tweedy, weave, some depth.
Accessories to match: Car, phone, pad, laptop, pen.
I read Steve Jobs, the biography of his life that came out soon after he died. Jobs wore a uniform - black turtleneck and jeans. The logic of wearing a uniform inspired me again to consider it. I am typing this while on a plane and looking at the attendants in their sharp uniforms. It just makes so much sense - getting past the notion that our clothes should represent us and our moods. I just want my life to be easy, or easier. No more decision fatigue deciding what to wear.
The following from The science of simplicity: Why successful people wear the same thing every day, by John Haltiwanger, November 2014.
Have you ever thought about how much time you likely waste deciding what to wear in the morning? It's probably made you late to school or work. We waste so many precious moments concerning ourselves with frivolous details. We've become an excessively materialistic and superficial society. There are greater things to worry about than clothes. Don't sweat the small stuff. Make your life easier by concentrating on the big picture. Some very successful people have adopted this philosophy in their daily routines:
• Albert Einstein reportedly bought several variations of the same gray suit so that he wouldn't have to waste time deciding what to wear each morning.
• Steve Jobs wore a black turtleneck, jeans, and sneakers every day.
• Mark Zuckerberg typically wears a grey t-shirt, jeans, and a black hoody when in public.
Decision Fatigue: a psychological condition in which a person's productivity suffers as a result of becoming mentally exhausted from making so many irrelevant decisions. By stressing over things like what to eat or wear every day, people become less efficient at work. This is precisely why many people have decided to make life easier by adopting a wardrobe uniform: Make Life More Simple.
Because of hyperconsumerism, we're forgetting about fundamental things and wasting human strength on frivolities that have little to do with human happiness. Many of us are guilty of obsessing over material things. When it comes down to it, they bring no real value to our lives. True fulfillment is acquired by going out into the world and fostering palpable and benevolent changes. Buying a new pair of shoes might make you feel more confident in the short-term, but it will not enrich your life in the long-term. Life is complicated enough, don't allow the little things to dictate your happiness.
Our life is frittered away by detail. Simply, simplify. - Henry David Thoreau
Why I stop at stop signs
I don't stop at a stop sign just because there is some red and white paint on a piece of metal. It doesn't even matter that its in the shape of an octagon. I choose to stop there:
1. To avoid the hassle of being pulled over and paying for a ticket.
2. To avoid hurting people.
3. To minimize damage to the car and paying for car repair
4. It's easier than closely checking for cops and other cars.
This list was prompted by seeing several people get stuck at stop signs in our naberhood during the blizzards. If they hadn't stopped (there was no other traffic), they could have glided right on. I suspect these were FoxNewsies, people who are trained to obey and not think for themselves: "Its a stop sign - I have to stop."
The drive home from Colorado took me down I-25 to Raton, New Mexico and then southeast towards Amarillo, Texas, where I would spend the night. Just before getting to the Great State of Texas (that's the way we were taught to write that), I went through Clayton, New Mexico. I had already passed the Capulin Volcano and other small towns where the speed limit dropped from 70 to 30 or 40. I suspect some of those are intended as speed traps to get unsuspecting drive-thrus to pay a 'donation' to the city. Well, it seems to work. I am very alert when I drive. I avoid driving out of habit - I don't always use a turn signal (only when there is someone I need to communicate with). But, as alert as I was, this officer was better - he was well-hidden. By the time I noticed him behind the trees, it was too late. I pulled over immediately. I was already on the outskirts of town. The speed limit lowered in town, but then returned to 50 and then 70 at the edge of town.
A ticket for speeding is just no big deal. Really.
• Sometimes, I choose to speed. It is entirely my decision. I accept the consequences for my actions. I am willing to pay the ticket in exchange for my decision to drive higher than the posted limit.
• I am very alert when I drive. But, sometimes, I miss spotting a police car. They sometimes play the game better than I do. Congratulations to them.
• The issuing officer is doing exactly what we ask him to do, exactly what we pay him to do. He is doing his job - and doing it well.
• Since the officer was doing a good job, I am very courteous and polite to him/her. That usually pays off in reduced fines - in the Clayton case above, he clocked me going 54 in a 40 zone, but lowered it to 44 in a 40. The citation I mailed back clearly showed the 5 crossed out and replaced with a 4. How kind of him. And I thanked him for that.
• Once I get home, I pay the ticket as soon as I can and then put it out of my mind. It's done. Over. No big deal. I see it as just making small donations to cities and towns who play the game well.
I am often amazed and disappointed how angry some people get at getting a ticket. They fucked up, not the officer. Maybe they are just mad at themselves and too proud to admit it.
The Beatles at Dallas Love Field, Thursday September 17, 1964. Concert on Friday, September 18, and standing on the stage at the Ed Sullivan Theater (where the Beatles first performed in the USA) while Letterman's set was being loaded in, July 1993.
Lyndon Johnson in the bathroom at his Library in Austin, March 9, 1974. We were each at the urinal - I had a captive audience for my request to shake his hand (after we each had washed up).
Scott Hamilton, the ice skater. My mother, niece, and I had watched an Olympian ice skating show in Dallas in the mid-1980s. Hamilton stuck around to sign autographs and visit with fans. As a result, he missed the cast bus back to the hotel. As we were leaving, I saw him walking by himself from the arena. I pulled over and we offered him a ride. He appreciated it and got in. We had our own private audience and a good visit with him during the drive to the hotel.
Rosa Parks - I was sitting with Laird at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, CA, January 7, 1989. During the announcements, Robert Schuller said we have a guest - Miss Rosa Parks. I nudged my friend and said "I have to go meet her afterwards." As soon as the service ended, I made a beeline to where she was seated and spoke briefly with her. I told her that I tell her story in my class and that she is an inspiration still today. She smiled and we shook hands.
Liam Neeson, Matthew Broderick, Sarah Jessica Parker - I was wandering around Times Square. I went into the Marriott hotel to use the bathroom. When I came out, there was a small crowd across the street, right at the end of Shubert Alley. Several men held shoulder mounted video cameras and others had some 35mm cameras with pretty good-sized lens. I stopped to see what was going on. Two of the people in the crowd moved towards me and stood right in front of me, within inches. I was a bit baffled. I looked at their faces. One was Matthew Broderick. The other was Sarah Jessica Parker, his wife. They both looked sad. There were a few other people near us - Vanessa Redgrave. Then it occurred to me what was likely going on. They were friends of Natasha Richardson who had just died. The lights of Broadway theaters were dimmed for one minute in honor of the actress. This group was standing at the best place in Manhattan to see the most theaters - about 6 or 8 theaters within sight of the spot where we were. I suspect the lights were dimmed while I was inside the Marriott. Then a tall man came up and hugged Parker. She whispered, "Thank you, Liam. How are you?" Liam Neeson, Natasha's husband. He, too, was sad. "15 years." He kept saying, fifteen years - they were married in 1994. The crowd of celebs took turns hugging and kissing him. One of the well-known faces asked him what he was going to do now. He said he was going to an Irish bar and get a drink. "You know, a traditional Irish wake." Broderick asked him where. He wasn't sure. This was going on all around me. I just stood still, right in the middle while we were circled by the photographers. The footage was aired on the news later that night. I was tempted to snap some pictures but I didn't want to look like the other tourists around who were sticking their phone cameras into our circle. Liam gave a few more hugs then walked off down Shubert Alley with a friend. The photographers didn't follow him. They left him alone. March 19, 2009.
Barack & Michelle Obama and Joe & Jill Biden Inauguration Parade, Washington DC, January 21, 2013.
Donald Trump at the OK State Fair, September 2015. A horrible human being - an embarrassing rep for our species.
Hillary Clinton and Chelsea in NYC, October 2, 2019.
• Ed Benguiat: From conversation while he installed a show of his work at SVA, NYC.
• Christo: From a preview exhibit at the Met, NYC.
• Milton Glaser: Dylan poster: From an AIGA Conference, Las Vegas.
• Milton Glaser: I heart NY More Than Ever: From his office, NYC
• April Greiman: Mailed to her in LA.
• Gary Lewis and the Playboys: From an appearance in a store in Dallas.
• Philip Meggs: From a conversation at a type conference in Ft. Worth.
• Clement Mok: From an auction at the AIGA Fellow presentation, NYC.
• Karim Rashid: From conversation at Price Tower lecture, Bartlesville, OK.
• Ringo Starr signed to me and the Impalas: My dad met him at a lunch at J. Paul Getty's house in England and I was in a junior high school band (The Impalas) at the time. I later sold it to a collector - I needed the money for Graduate School.
• Deborah Sussman: From an auction at the AIGA Fellow presentation, NYC.
• Massimo Vignelli: A 1970s Subway Diagram, NYC.
I rarely answer the phone
Telemarketers. Long-winded talkers. My upbringing and culture taught me to always answer the phone (remember how we would run to answer the phone - it had to always be answered). While reading a book on grieving, one suggestion was to ignore the phone. I tried it and I liked it. It resulted in less stress and more influence over my time.
I most enjoy phone calls that are Vignelli/Swiss style - pure, clear, and to the point. The phone doesn't allow visuals, expressions, gestures, etc. and, because I'm a visual thinker/processor, hearing only a voice is awkward. I'm not one to 'chat' for very long on the phone. However, there are times when a call is the most efficient way to give or get info, and that's okay.
I don't give many gifts
For birthdays or weddings, I rarely know what people really need or even want. If its something really utilitarian, the person would probably already have it or would soon get it. If its just frivolous, it would likely end up as clutter that they would have to deal with later - and that seems sorta rude, inconsiderate, and wasteful. As I try to minimize clutter in my own life and encourage others to do the same, it doesn't make much sense to give stuff to others. I also assume and hope that a gift is not equated with an expression of how much I love or care about the recipient. I do buy gifts when I see something that someone might enjoy or that is just too appropriate for them - but it may not be for a birthday or at Christmastime.
I like the color yellow
It's bright, cheerful, fun, lively, positive, warm, glowing. Studies and research in color psychology show that the wavelength of light that we perceive as yellow enhances creative thinking, intelligence, and problem solving. A great color for accents in homes and classrooms. I was once lecturing about color psychology in the design classroom at UCO. I looked up and realized the walls were plain vanilla. I was a bit ashamed that this design program wasn't implementing what we were preaching about color. So, I had one wall repainted yellow.
There are urinals in my house
I hate to clean up the 'drip and splash' residue around toilets. No matter how hard we try and how careful we are, men will miss and drip. This is why I sit on the toilet to pee - especially in someone else's home. Mankind has invented a device that helps solve this problem - the urinal. We use them all the time in public bathrooms, why not in the home bathroom? Some bathrooms have bidets with the toilet - lets just add another fixture. Important: a home urinal solves forever the issue of leaving the toilet seat up or down. It never needs to go up. I have replaced the original urinals with waterless ones. These use a gel to trap odors - there is no water line, no flushing, and no wasting of water.
My house had no doorbell
Its an obnoxious sound. The house is so small I can hear a knock. Friends coming over usually call and leave a message that they're coming. A knock is more human. Knocking saves electricity. Update: I now have a ring video doorbell. I am often back in the office or out of town and this technology allows me to know when someone is at the front door.
I do not use a straw in drinks
1. Sipping through a straw makes the drink go too fast, I want to sip and savor drinks and pace out the alcohol or soda.
2. Hot drinks - the straw melts.
3. Waste of plastic straw and paper wrapper. Very short useful life span. Think of the raw materials, storage, shipping, truck distribution, etc. Then they likely end up in a landfill or litter in the street.
I order soft drinks with no ice
1. The ice takes up over half the volume of the cup, I get more soda.
2. Waste of ice. The ice is unnecessary - the drink is always plenty cold. Waste of water, electricity, storage.
3. Annoying cold bergs in the drink - tilt the cup to lips and those bits of frozen water just get in the way of a good sip.
4. The ice melts and dilutes the drink. I like my drinks strong and flavorful, not watery.
I use to drink drinks over ice because that's just what we were conditioned to do. I had never really thought about why the ice was in there (I think it's so the restraunt doesn't have to put in so much soda.) If available, I also order half Diet Coke and half Diet Dr Pepper. To be fair. And it tastes good.
I untangle phone and electrical cords
They look messy when all tangled up so I, often while on hold, I rotate the handset or appliance so that the cord unwinds and untangles. Maybe its part of meeting my mission of making things better or just a weird quirk.
My watch chronology
• Fascinated with Timex in high school and college. I wasn't real keen on wearing something on my wrist, but I needed to be punctual.
• For years, I just asked people what time it was. It helped me make a connection and I didn't have to wear anything on my wrist.
• I had a tiny digital watch in my pen that I kept in my shirt pocket. I could look at it covertly if stuck in a boring meeting or conversation.
• My favorite watch was the TimeGauge by Frank Nichols. Wore it for years.
• Once I got my first cell phone (about 2002, I stopped wearing a watch. Haven't since.
I open up folded pages in books
You know how the corners of pages in books, especially phone books get folded over? Well, I unfold them. Yep, got to make that book look better.
I don't tie shoes.
Instead, I use: Velcro straps, Pressure clasps, or Slip-ons.
I am a 'Minister'
But, I do not perform the negative rituals of Funerals, Baptisms, nor Weddings.
I stir my coffee with used stir sticks
When at Starbux, Borders & Noble, or another coffee shop, I just reach into the trash and pull out a stir stick to use in my coffee. I waste so much stuff when I get coffee - they sometimes put a sleeve around the cup, a lid (though I request none "We have to put a lid on it" - dang lawsuits), and a paper packet of sweetener. I figure the least I can do is to not waste another wooden stir stick. Now, for those of you who are gagging at the thought of my using a stir stick that some else has put in their coffee and possibly licked - remember that I am immersing it in very hot coffee that is likely to kill any germs that may have survived on the stick in the trash. And if I get really sick I can just sue Starbux on the grounds that they did not adequately warn me of the dangers of using stir sticks from the trash. That'll show 'em.
I return shopping carts to the store or a corral
(From the internet) To return the shopping cart is an easy, convenient task and one which we all recognize as the correct, appropriate thing to do. The shopping cart is an ideal example of whether a person will do what is right without being forced to do it. No one will fine or kill you for not returning the cart, and you gain nothing material by returning the cart. You must return the shopping cart because it is the right thing to do. The shopping cart is what determines whether a person is a good or bad member of society.
My car is silver/grey
Silver/grey is honest and pure, real, and true. Cars are big, massive, and powerful machines. The essence of the machine should show. It ought to look mechanical, industrial, and technical. Hiding it as a lollipop or colorful statement seems inappropriate for such a big machine. Do we really try to impress people with our cars? (that anyone can buy)?
Why I don't put on my seat belt when I start the car
Because it's dangerous.
I strive to have as many things in my favor as possible when I drive. I want to avoid an accident by limiting distractions and encouraging alertness. The windows are not tinted, there are no decals on the windshield that might obscure part of the view, and I drive cars (since the 1970s) in which I sit up high for a better view. So, here's the problem with putting on the seat belt when I get in - the belt constricts my movement when I turn around to see behind the car while backing out of the driveway or a parking place. So, I don't put it on. Once I put the car in Drive, then I put on the seat belt. Every time.
I use to speak only in sentences that had an even number of letters in them (the preceding sentence has an even number of letters in it). I really did (even). No kidding (odd). How weird is that? (even)
I think it was to keep my brain from being bored - to constantly give it challenges. Or to have fun. Not even odd.
I think and speak words backwards
Maybe nothing more than to keep my brain busy and occupied. And maybe because its fun for my brain. Some of my favorites:
Tucumcari (city in New Mexico) = Iracmucut (I rack 'em, you cut)
Tulsa = A slut
Barcelona = An ole crab
Chattanooga (city in Tennessee) = Agoonattahc (A goon attack)
Republicans = Snacilbuper (Snackle Bupper)
Democrats = Starcomed (Stark Oh Med)
University = Ytisrevinu (It is revenue)
Automobile = Elibomotua (Elly Bo Mot Chew Uh)
Biblioteca (Spanish for library) = Acetoilbib (Ace Toil Bib)
Miscellaneous quirky things
I hold a US Design Patent for Backgammon in the Round (info).
My dogs, Vegas and Manhattan, were in a photo shoot for a lingerie catalog for a company from Chile.
I was once the Voice of TGI Friday's on all their training tapes. We recorded the audio in a sound studio and as I traveled the country working for the restaurant, people, even years later, would recognize my voice from their training sessions.
I've been on TV: in a promo spot for the PBS affiliate of educational television in Oklahoma City; on the HGTV show, Small Space, Big Style (more info), and on one of the local news morning program.
I once used the washing machine as an ice chest for a party at my house - it worked great: held lots of ice and drinks and cleanup was easy - the ice melted when I ran a wash cycle. It was fun to tell guests to get their drinks out of the washing machine.
I like alignment, order, consistency
I design buildings and interiors with overlapping angled grids
I was ahead of my time:
Ranch + salsa
Quirky behavior in the classroom
One of my most eccentric habits
I had spent much of a day wandering through the massive Museum of Modern Art. I took a break for an afternoon meal at Terrace 5, one of three eateries in the museum.
After a meal of salmon bruschetta, shrimp noodle salad, and an apple cobbler sundae, I arranged the unbussed items in this straight line. The order and alignment felt right at home in the museum.
Life impactors (in no particular order)
Tracking the Santa Fe Trail
Once I stopped alongside the trail in western Kansas to see the trail ruts. Parallel to those ruts is the US highway, Route 50. On the other side of the highway is the Santa Fe railroad. I stood in the open field under a beautiful sky and it occurred to me that it was that railroad that replaced the Santa Fe Trail - it was faster, safer, and more comfortable. The railroad declined in popularity as people took to driving on the US highways - like the railroad but more convenient - one's own space and on one's own timetable. Just about that time in my thinking, a plane flew overhead paralleling the trail, the railroad, and the highway - now making 4 ways to travel along this route. I had a couple of impactful thoughts. One, the people on the Santa Fe Trail could not comprehend the automobile, much less, an airplane - a metal cylinder full of people that streaks through the sky. They might think one was mentally off if they described such a wonderful way to travel. The wagons on the trail made about 12 miles a day while the car travels that in about 10 minutes. Second, I wondered what the fifth mode of transportation would be. There's no good reason to think that transportation progress will stop with airplanes. Just like the wagoneers could not conceive of the car or plane, we may not be able to conceive of the next step or the one after that. Someday, people along that stretch of path in Kansas may look back on the obsolete airplane as being very primitive.
Interurban commuter rail routes: North Texas, Oklahoma City, Boulder
The Oregon Trail
The Sound of Music
My parents took me to see the musical at the Music Hall in Dallas. I was only 13 years old. I was enthralled by the recreation and telling of a story on a stage. It got me hooked on seeing live theater. I am still awed by live performances - that people can communicate so well a time and place and emotion. Bought the soundtrack at Titche's Preston Forest. Sidenote: Sister Margaretta was played by Kay Creed who I would teach with in Oklahoma 24 years later.
Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do
A great book that opened my eyes to the notion of living by two principles: 1. Do not hurt anybody and 2. Do not hurt anyone's possessions. That's it - simple yet thorough principles for life. All else falls within those two. The book details all the problems caused by government intervention into controlling people beyond that - to enforce a specific value system that infringes on individual liberties and responsibilities.
Living in Austin, 1968-74
Some of it is memories from college - an impactful time in life anyway, but also the impact from the city of Austin - a very diverse, laid-back, tolerant, and progressive community. There was the beautiful natural environment - lakes, hills, and parks that allowed an escape within the city and Austin preserved and protected as much of its natural character as it could. Going to school at a major university provided numerous opportunities for exposure to new ideas, people, and events.
Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Disneyland Paris
All well-designed places that taught me to cherish my childhood and see the world slightly skewed through the eyes of innocent fantasy. I was impacted, as many 50s kids were, by watching the TV show Disneyland and wanting to go there. We did - in 1956, one year after it opened. It was life-changing. This wonderful place of comfort and familiarity that was all about fun. My design sense was influenced by what I experienced - the attention to detail, the craftsmanship, the historical references, the storytelling.
This movie encouraged me to see the mundane differently - a Dadaist approach to experiencing our surroundings.
New York City
I fell in love with this 'wonderful town' in 1958 when the family visited and later when I made regular visits while working with the Pressman Toy Company on Backgammon-in-the-Round. What changed me was the energy and the inspiration of sights and ideas. Even though I live there for about 60 days of the year (2 months total) I have yet to tire of walking the naborhoods and discovering great new stimuli.
Black Like Me
This book influenced the way I thought about Negroes and discrimination. The author, John Howard Griffin, disguised himself as a Negro in New Orleans and experienced being treated completely differently from a few days earlier when he did essentially the same activities, but as a white man. This impacted my empathy and appreciation for what Negroes have suffered. It led to my admiration of Rosa Parks. I first read the book while in the Listening Lab in the Academic Center at UT.
While opening the Chicago TGI Fridays store in March of 1978, Lynsey or Nora recommended this book by William Duffy and were amazed at how young the author looked. It was well researched and helped educate me about the effects and varieties of anti-nutrient sugars added to our packaged goods.
Comments from student evaluations, emails, and letters
I read these when I need a boost or when I am having doubts about my teaching or the impact I am making on others. They always provide the lift and inspiration I need.
Design for the Real World
Book by Victor Papenek: how I thought about the power of design. I read this in college when I was more idealistic and hopeful about how design could impact the world. The book encourages designers to use their talents to affect third-world countries and the less-advantaged.
I have had strong relationships with 4 people in my life who must be in the Top 5 of World's Biggest Narcissists. They were so self-centered that every conversation would be twisted until it was about them. As a child and young adult, I didn't realize the energy drain and shallowness of these relationships, but as an older adult, I finally realized how selfish, inconsiderate, and destructive it is to be so selfish. I didn't want to be that type of person.
Summer 1970, I was working as a Freshman Orientation Advisor at UT. One evening there was a female student splashing in the fountain in the courtyard of the dorm where we all stayed. Another advisor was nearby. I asked if we should ask her to get out of the fountain, thinking that it was not appropriate or she would hurt herself or she simply shouldn't be there. The other advisor said, "Why? She's not hurting anybody." I learned that as long as one is not hurting any one nor themselves, let it go.
Sigma Chi Fraternity at the University of Texas
I certainly enjoyed the friendship and activities in the fraternity - late nights, pledge class functions, the parties, serenades, trips to the gulf coast, working on the house - I designed and rebuilt two rooms, one with a wall dividing the bath area from the bedroom. One thing that influenced me but I now regret was advising 'troubled' pledges, those that were not meeting the criteria the actives had set out for them. It seemed important then, but now I realize it was lots of crap. Anyway, I conducted sessions with the individual pledges and told them that it was not important what they think of themselves, only what others (the actives) thought of them. Ouch. I bought into that then. I know better now. I later learned the opposite to be true. I hope I didn't steer anyone dangerously astray.
In high school, I had bought and was wearing a spirit ribbon on my shirt. I and some friends had gone to Northpark Center after school (maybe to watch Sump'n Else which aired from the mall) and as I made a purchase, the cashier/clerk read the ribbon, Kill AHHS, and commented that killing them was a bit too extreme, too violent. She was smiling, but I had to agree. We hadn't even thought about the message - kill an opponent, a reference to military campaigns, battles, and conflicts. I learned to pay more attention to messages and consider less violent ones.
Don't overthink it
Dennis Cavanaugh, supervisor at Dobie Mall where I worked after college saw me trying to balance drink and items on my tray. He said to simply not look and let my hand achieve the balance. I looked up and he was right - achieving balance was then easy. I learned that one shouldn't try too hard, but to often let the innate system take over.
Smoking a cigarette
As a kid, our family would spend many summer afternoons at Spring Valley Country Club in north Dallas. Once, I was walking around the golf course with my mother. It must have been during the week as the course was not too busy. I got somewhat bored but it was a nice walk. About halfway through the course, we took a break at a shed that had a water jug and paper cups. My mother lit up a cigarette (this was before we understood all the dangers of cigarettes). I asked if I could try it. She said, "Sure. Take a deep breath." I did. gag. Cough, Sputter. I was dying here. Hocking my throat out. After I quieted down a bit, she said, "I hope you never do that again." I haven't.
Interior design class
For fun, in my 20s, I enrolled in a class at EastField College, Intro to Interior Design. The elderly matronly woman who spoke with an air of authority and respect discussed priorities. A sofa or chair with a bright busy print might look great in the showroom, in a catalog, or even in the living room - but what will happen when a guest with a busy print dress sits on that sofa. Not so great anymore. Her point and her lesson: the people in the room are the most important design element in a space. Design around them, not despite them.
'Authorities' don't always know
Interviewing in Dallas after college, I showed my design portfolio book to Alan Lidji and he told me what my best piece was (I don't remember which) and he told me not to show another piece. Later, I interviewed with Stan Richards of The Richards Group. He commented that the best piece was the very one Alan said not to show. Instead of just being confused, I realized right then that it would be entirely up to me to decide what is good and what isn't. Here were two very successful designers in Dallas and they had differing opinions, almost canceling each other out. It was now up to me to make intelligent decisions.
Hotel room in Rome
On a sojourn through Europe, my EurailPass in hand, I rode the bullet train from Paris down to Nice and then over to Milan and Rome. In Rome, I got off the train and wandered around looking for a room for a few nights. I was relieved to finally find a room and a place to rest - Pensione Marsala. The room was sparsely furnished - a bed, nitestand, and an armoire. I noticed that the room was quite symmetrical. the single window was right in the center of one wall. The bed headboard was in the center of another and the armoire was in the center of it's wall. The thick walls were blank - no artwork or decoration - and the simple symmetrical window had 2 sets of shutters: one inside the room and another that swung out against the outer wall. The sense of order and the almost-bare room was calming and restful. I didn't realize until later how much I enjoyed living in that simple sparse room. I didn't take photos but have clear images in my mind of that room. And it has stuck with me - the joy of such a minimal space.
Bryce Canyon in the rain
I stood on the rim of the mesa looking about 200 miles to the east and spotted a thunderstorm off in the distance. Instead of seeking shelter - I just stood there and waited for the storm to come up the mesa/canyon walls and right over me. Standing in the rain - phenomenal, spiritual, and mesmerizing.
Western US with Laird; Las Vegas: attention to detail. excess, elaborate, spend the money and it shows; Seattle, Los Angeles, Orlando,
Bryce Canyon, Southern Utah, Grand Canyon, Northern Arizona, Mexico; Europe and Africa
Working summers at Six Flags over Texas
My first real job requiring responsibility and maturity (other than being a paperboy). I had to ensure guest safety and that each would have a positive experience in the park. I enjoyed making guests laugh and have fun. Worked with great people, all there to have a good time in the summer. Met people from all over the area.
I also spent time observing the urban planning and park layout: the traffic flow, building locations, que lines, architecture, Victoriana. I often reworked areas to address observed issues and improve user desires and needs. I came up with ideas for new rides and sketched rides, buildings, and layouts.
This bumper sticker
Once I had decided to become a teacher and experienced the low funding for education, this image disturbed me.
Sleepover in south Dallas
Growing up in north Dallas, we had a maid who came to the house at least twice a week. She was actually part of the family. She had a son, also named James, who was my age. My mother suggested that I go home with Fammie and spend the night at their house so James and I could play. I suspect she worked out the details with Fammie beforehand. I remember having some of Fammie's excellent cooking that night. Fammie and I reminisced 50 years later - fried chicken, red beans, mashed potatoes, cornbread, and real churned butter form Fammie's family in Marshall, Texas. I remembered a cow that was over the neighbor's fence. James and I played outside until dark. It was a fun sleepover. My mother never coached me or cautioned me that I was going to south Dallas into a black neighborhood. She positioned it simply as two kids playing together for an evening. It was a good lesson on what makes us more similar than different.
Summer vacations with the family
We saw Civil War battlefields, big cities, national parks, purple mountain majesties, amber waves of grain, and oceans white with foam. These trips forever showed me the joy, inspiration, and growth that comes from traveling out of one's naborhood.
Scout and summer camps
Watching the human spirit at its best
Cirque du Soleil, the Andy Williams Show in Branson, Olympic competitions, and the NSync and Michael Jackson concerts.
Building paper models
Summer, 1956: Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm. At Knott's, I saw this envelope of flat card stock with models of some of the park buildings. I loved to make models and was so eager to get it home and build these. I cherished the models; set them up on Margie Chalkley's card table in their den. It inspired a lifetime of delight in designing and making models.
Delta crash & OKC Murrah bombing
Frank Lloyd Wright
Richard Saul Wurman
Jim and Lorraine Watson • Parents
Laird McDonald • Best friend and fellow traveler. Great designer and conversationalist. We redesigned almost every environment we encountered. And it was fun. I will always miss his friendship. More
Margaret Hudson • Hillcrest High School art teacher in Dallas from 1966 to 1968. Guided me with a sense of humor, high expectations for my work, and subtle encouragement and support. Demanding teacher who wouldn't allow mediocrity from her good students.
Thomas Boggs • Manager at TGI Friday's.
Donna Adams • Helped me get through graduate school and got me my first college-level teaching job.
Wanda Hill • Good friend with an incredible and positive zest for life. Tons of energy and selfless service to others.
Dennis Cavanaugh • Supervisor at 1st out-of-college job.
Milton Jackson • Chapter Advisor to Sigma Chi Fraternity while I was President. His no-ego dedication to helping others was unusual to see at that time and has guided me since. He died of cancer when I was still in college.
Judi Kauffman • Program Director, designer, teacher.
Cecilia Robertson • Best girlfriend who taught me about relationships and encouraged me to look at myself, 1985.
LeighAnne Dial • Richland designer, Country dancing, spring 1984.
Sarah Martin • UT alum, guitarist singer; Dallas 1979-89.
Abdullah Syed • Design student, teacher, artist.
Acquaintances • Tommy Moore at Camp Constantine, Jim Wilson at Dallas Times Herald, Rip Parker, singer at Six Flags, Tennis player at Highland Park high school, basketball player at Audelia Road court.
Some favorite jobs
• Six Flags ride operator, 4 summers 1967-70: parking lot trams, Tower, 'doubles' log ride. More
• UT Orientation Advisor, 2 summers 1970-71, Jester and Kinsolving, training retreats
• Teacher: play with minds in the classroom
• Paperboy as an adult - it was okay as a kid, but not while in Graduate School
• Ad sales: UT pearl magazine, Dallas Times Herald. I am just not a good salesman. If someone doesn't want something, its tough for me to talk them into it - unless I feel passionate about the value it would have for them. But ad sales? I am not passionate about persuading someone to buy an ad.
• Unloading produce trucks in downtown Dallas and Irving: early mornings, physical, satisfying
• Gordon Sibeck & Associates, Architects, 1967, presstype, logos from Mobil offices
• Texas State Trooper cafeteria, Austin, early 1970s, busboy, dishwasher
• 2-J's Hamburgers busboy and drinks, frat guys came in, Austin, early 1970s
• Baker's Dozen, Dobie Mall, Austin, early 1970s
• Dobie Mall Promotions Director, 1974, not much fun, back to school promotion, Christmas decorations with empty light sockets, designed mall improvements
• TV Facts production, hired even though I was "overqualified", wrote horoscopes, redesigned headings, 1975
• Dallas Times Herald, 1975
• TGI Friday's Restaurant, Dallas, 1975-81
• Richland College designer, fast, efficient
Some of Jim's Social Justice issues
I have been a registered Independent most of my adult voting life. There was a short stint when I registered as a Republican because Oklahoma is such a red state - your vote doesn't count much unless you vote Republican. I gave up on the Republicans when I realized they had strayed too far to the right; they want government to be too intrusive into personal lives and were not taking care of citizens to the level I thought they should. I became a Democrat for a short while, but they're not a whole lot better. So I went back to being a registered Independent. Both parties have some similarities. I'm just as disgusted by the extremists on both the far left and the far right and all those in either party who put their party before their country. I do relate better to Democrats - they are less racist and sexist, more open-minded, better thinkers, and more humanistic.
• Peace Tax Fund
• War Tax Resistance
• Death with Dignity
• Final Exit Network
DEATH PENALTY, PRISON REFORM
• Death Penalty: Equal Justice USA
• Sentencing Project
• Drug Policy Alliance
• Humane Society of US
RACIAL, WOMEN'S, HUMAN RIGHTS
• ACLU Foundation - 1994
• Planned Parenthood - 1995
• Southern Poverty Law Center - 1980
• American Atheists
• American Humanist Association
• Americans United for Separation of Church & State
• Center for Inquiry/Richard Dawkins
• Freedom From Religion Foundation
Some of Jim Watson's favorite things
Authors in alphabetical order
• Chip Kidd
• Dan Brown
• Dean Koontz
• John Grisham
• Malcolm Gladwell
• Michael Crichton
• Richard Dawkins
• Sam Harris
• Victor Papenek
• A Time to Kill
• Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do
• Angels & Demons
• Black Like Me
• The Cheese Monkeys
• The DaVinci Code
• Design for the Real World
• The End of Faith
• The God Delusion
• God is not Great
• The Lost Symbol
• Steve Jobs
Cars I've owned in chronological order
• 66 Mustang
• Remodeled Volkswagen van
• Geo Tracker 2-door
• Chevy Tracker 4-door
• Dodge Nitro
• Tesla Model X
Cirque du Soleil performances
Cirque shows represent the ecstacy of the human species - dedicated craftspeople who strive to do their very best. In order of preference, best to worst (tie for first place):
• Mystere (Treasure Island Las Vegas) and La Nouba (Downtown Disney in Orlando)
• LOVE - the Beatles
• Corteo (not so hot - avoid)
• Zarkana (horrible - avoid)
• Comedians: George Carlin, Martin Short
• Sitcoms: Arrested Development, 30 Rock, The Office, Cheers
• Comic strip: Calvin & Hobbes
Concerts in chronological order
• The Beatles
• Dave Clark Five
• Rolling Stones
• Beach Boys
• Cat Stevens
• Michael Jackson
• Andy Williams in Branson
• Blue Man Group
• Lord of the Dance
• Coffee, Cold brew coffee
• Dewar's scotch
• Diet Dr Pepper & Diet Coke mixed together without ice
• Margarita on the rocks, no salt
• Chicken quesadillas (no sour cream, please)
• Chili cheese Fritos
• Granola cereal
• Pistachio nuts,
• 7-11 Big Wheel
• Taco Bell Frito burrito
• Benjamin Franklin
• Buckminster Fuller
• Frank Lloyd Wright
• Herb Lubalin
• Richard Saul Wurman
• Steve Jobs
• Thomas Edison
• Thomas Jefferson
• Walt Disney
• Air conditioning (in summer)
• Bedspreads (in winter)
• Cruise control
• Back to the Future
• The Big Chill
• The Birdcage
• Close Encounters of the Third Kind
• Days of Heaven
• Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
• Fried Green Tomatoes
• The Greatest Showman
• Groundhog Day
• The Hangover
• How the West Was Won
• Jack Reacher
• Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
• Lucky number Slevin
• Men in Black
• Michael Jackson's This Is It
• Midnight in Paris
• A Million Ways to Die in the West
• Now You See Me
• The Pink Panther
• Rise of the Guardians
• Scary Movie 4
• The Shawshank Redemption
• Silver Streak
• Star Wars: A New Hope
• What's up, Doc?
Music and composers
• Andreas Vollenweider
• Andrew Lloyd Webber
• Buddy Holly
• Cat Stevens
• Cirque du Soleil soundtracks
• Danny Elfman
• Ennio Morricone
• Philip Glass
• Stephen Sondheim
• Wyndham Hill artists
• Come From Away
• Dear Evan Hansen
• In the Heights
• The Lion King
• next to normal
• Notre Dame
• Phantom of the Opera
• Spring Awakening
• The Wedding Singer
• Las Vegas
• Mexico City
• New York City
• Puebla Mexico
• Bryce Canyon
• Disney theme parks
• Grand Canyon
• New York City
• Northern Arizona/Southern Utah
• Eleanor Rigby
• Fast Car
• Fiery Nights
• Lady Madonna
• Lay Lady Lay
• The Maelstrom
• Midnight Rodeo
• Rivers of Cesme
• The Shoop Shoop Song
• Stairway to Heaven
• Tree of Life
• Trip Stumble & Fall
• White Bird
• Eating a bowl of granola cereal (with sliced pecans) from the breakfast buffet at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas.
• Walking the dogs along the Hudson Esplanade.
• Browsing Borders & Noble.
• Laying in the hot tub watching the sunrise and listening to the birds.
• Traveling. Road trips.
• Solving a sudoku and crossword puzzles in the morning. While drinking coffee.
• Encouraging people to spell Wensday and Febuary in more intelligent ways.
• Sitting in museum cafes with coffee and pastry.
• Sunday mornings in bed with a book - while its raining - with the dogs on the bed.
• Arrested Development
• 30 Rock
• Schitts Creek
In chronological order
• What's My Line
• To Tell the Truth
• The Flintstones
• The Jetsons
• The Ed Sullivan Show
• The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
• Bob Newhart
• Lou Grant
• Tim's Place
• Police Squad!
• Miami Vice
• PeeWee's Playhouse
• Northern Exposure
• Ally McBeal
• Mad About You
• The West Wing
• Malcolm in the Middle
• The Simpsons
• Boston Legal
• Arrested Development
• The Office
• 30 Rock
• Family Guy
• Cash Cab
• Modern Family
• Schitts Creek
• 1963 Kennedy Assassination coverage
• 1964 The Beatles onThe Ed Sullivan Show
• 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games
• 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Opening Ceremony
• 2009 Barack Obama's Inauguration
• Walt Disney World
• Disneyland Paris
• Six Flags Texas
• Six Flags Atlanta
• Six Flags St. Louis
• CircusCircus AdventureDome
• Knott's Berry Farm
• MGM Grand Adventure
• Universal Studios Hollywood
• Worlds of Fun
• Interurban tracks in North Texas and Central Oklahoma
• Oregon Trail
• Route 66 (I've driven the entire 'old road' from Chicago to LA)
• Santa Fe Trail
A few experiences that will likely never be surpassed.
• Comedy, humor, laughter
Fame Becomes Me, a one-man show by and with Martin Short. I laughed so hard
I almost had to go to the lobby to save myself from doing physical internal harm.
The Rothschild Drawing collection at the Museum of Modern Art.
• Entertainment experiences
Cirque du Soleil
424 East 4th Street, Edmond OK
Battery Park City, Capitol View, Seaholm
Chevy Tracker, Tesla X
• Man-made place
• Natural place
Not so favorite
• Lima beans
Something happened in childhood to turn me against these vile things.
• Ribs, wings, whole lobster
Too much work for too little reward.
• Food with faces that stare at me
Some other things I try to avoid
Not everything I face in life is going to be good, uplifting, or deserve my attention.
Here are a few things that are just not worth my time:
• Poopy people
• Toxic people (negative, complainers, rude, egotists)
• Bitchy people
• Any internet, web, or email technical support phone marathon
• Religious fanatics who believe they are correct, everyone else is wrong
• People who have closed their minds well before they die
• Mosquitoes - Noah should have killed both of them
• Talking to people who lean their seat back on the airplane (won't help and its really their call)
• Oysters. As Woody Allen says, "I will not eat oysters. I want my food dead. Not sick, not wounded - dead."
• People when they are telling me about a movie they just saw. If I'm going to see the movie, I don't want their abridged version of it and if I'm not going to see the movie, their tale is just boring
• Car salesmen
• PWUTMAs - People who use too many acronyms
• People with egos bigger than their brains
• Egocrats and narcissists:
Definition: nar-cis-sism [nahr-suh-siz-em]: inordinate fascination with oneself; excessive self-love (normal at the infantile level of personality development).
Synonyms: self-centeredness, smugness, egocentrism.
Many narcissists are hiding deeper insecurities and fears - 'me first' is a cover so underlying deficiencies can be masked. The illustration above, by Ron Barrett in The New York Times, is so right-on. It portrays the extent of the universe in the minds of many people.
Avoid these overused trite cliché phrases
None of these phrases help clarify communication. They're mainly used as delayers, like 'um' 'er'. Most people say them without thinking - they have become ubiquitous silly interjections.
• Don't get me wrong
Why assume someone has misunderstood you - were you not clear? And avoid telling people what to do or what not to do.
• Without further adieu (or ado)
Adieu? Further adieu? What does this even mean. A silly phrase that never needs be said. Just say whatever follows the trite phrase.
• Last, but not least
No one said it was the least. Why rank order items? Finish the list and omit this useless qualifier.
• Needs no introduction
Then, don't mention this.
• It is what it is
Well, of course it is - how does this phrase add anything to the conversation?
• So, I mean and So,
Starting a sentence with these seems like the speaker is unprepared to answer.
• Reach out
What happened to call me, contact me, or message me? Reach out? Where?
The name Watson is a sept (English word for a division of a family) of the Clan Buchanan. Clan origin: 1225 grant of lands on the eastern shore of Loch Lomond to clergyman Sir Absalon of Buchanan by the Earl of Lennox. The clan tartan:
Maternal: France & Germany
My brother received these results for his DNA:
70% Great Britain (68% Great Britain, 2% Ireland/Scotland/Wales)
19% Germanic Europe (including France?)
11% Scandinavia (9% Norway, 2% Sweden)
80% England, Wales, NW Europe
12% Germanic Europe
4% Ireland & Scotland
According to the StrengthsFinder test, these are Jim Watson's strengths
From the book Now, Discover your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham & Donald Clifton. I found these results to be very affirming to my identity - that of being a positive ideator, learner, relator, and activator. The explanations of each item are taken directly from the StrengthsFinder Report.
You are fascinated by ideas, concepts. You are delighted when you discover beneath the complex surface an elegantly simple concept to explain why things are the way they are. An idea is a connection. Yours is the kind of mind that is always looking for connections, and so you are intrigued when seemingly disparate phenomena can be linked by an obscure connection. An idea is a new perspective on familiar challenges. You revel in taking the world we all know and turning it around so we can view it from a strange but strangely enlightening angle. You love all these ideas because they are profound, because they are novel, because they are clarifying, because they are contrary, because they are bizarre. For all these reasons you derive a jolt of energy whenever a new idea occurs to you. Others may label you creative or original or conceptual or even smart. Perhaps you are all of these. Who can be sure? What you are sure of is that ideas are thrilling. And on most days this is enough.
You love to learn. The subject matter that interests you most will be determined by your other themes and experiences, but whatever the subject, you will always be drawn to the process of learning. The process, more than the content or the result, is especially exciting for you. You are energized by the steady and deliberate journey from ignorance to incompetence. The thrill of the first few facts, the early efforts to recite or practice what you have learned, the growing confidence of a skill mastered - this is the process that entices you. Your excitement leads you to engage in adult learning experiences - yoga or piano lessons or graduate classes. It enables you to thrive in dynamic work environments where you are asked to take on short project assignments and are expected to learn a lot about the new subject matter in a short period of time and then move on to the next one. This Learner theme does not necessarily mean that you seek to become the subject matter expert or that you are striving for the respect that accompanies a professional or academic credential. The outcome of the learning is less significant than the 'getting there.'
You are generous with praise, quick to smile, and always on the lookout for the positive in the situation. Some call you lighthearted. Others just wish that their glass were as full as yours seems to be. But either way, people want to be around you. Their world looks better around you because your enthusiasm is contagious. Lacking your energy and optimism, some find their world drab with repetition or, worse, heavy with pressure. You seem to find a way to lighten their spirit. You inject drama into every project. You celebrate every achievement. You find ways to make everything more exciting and more vital. Some cynics may reject your energy, but you are rarely dragged down. Your Positivity won't allow it. Somehow you can't quite escape your conviction that it is good to be alive, that work can be fun, and that no matter what the setbacks, one must never lose one's sense of humor.
Relator describes your attitude toward your relationships. In simple terms, the Relator theme pulls you toward people you already know. You do not necessarily shy away from meeting new people - in fact, you may have other themes that cause you to enjoy the thrill of turning strangers into friends - but you do derive a great deal of pleasure and strength from being around your close friends. You are comfortable with intimacy. Once the initial connection has been made, you deliberately encourage a deepening of the relationship. You want to understand their feelings, their goals, their fears, and their dreams; and you want them to understand yours. You know that this kind of closeness implies a certain amount of risk - you might be taken advantage of - but you are willing to accept that risk. For you a relationship has value only if it is genuine. And the only way to know that is to entrust yourself to the other person. The more you share with each other, the more you risk together. The more you risk together, the more each of you proves your caring is genuine. These are your steps toward real friendship, and you take them willingly.
"When can we start?" This is a recurring question in your life. You are impatient for action. You may concede that analysis has its uses or that debate and discussion can occasionally yield some valuable insights, but deep down you know that only action is real. Only action can make things happen. Only action leads to performance. Once a decision is made, you cannot not act. Others may worry that "there are still some things we don't know," but this doesn't seem to slow you. If the decision has been made to go across town, you know that the fastest way to get there is to go stoplight to stoplight. You are not going to sit around waiting until all the lights have turned green. Besides, in your view, action and thinking are not opposites. In fact, guided by your Activator theme, you believe that action is the best device for learning. You make a decision, you take action, you look at the result, and you learn. This learning informs your next action and your next. How can you grow if you have nothing to react to? Well, you believe you can't. You must put yourself out there. You must take the next step. It is the only way to keep your thinking fresh and informed. The bottom line is this: You know you will be judged not by what you say, not by what you think, but by what you get done. This does not frighten you. It pleases you.
Jim is a Highly Sensitive Person
Sometimes called Sensory Processing Sensitivity, Hypersensitivity or High Sensitivity isn't a disorder or a condition but rather an innate, permanent trait. It was first identified in the 1990s by Elaine and Arthur Aron, research psychologists. People who are highly sensitive have a deeper depth of cognitive processing, are easily overwhelmed, have bigger emotional responses, and notice subtleties more, says Dr. Elaine Aron. It isn't the same as introversion, although HSPs find the need to withdraw from social interactions or stimuli when their brains get overwhelmed.
Today, several hundred research studies, from brain scans to genetic analyses, have been done on topics related to high sensitivity. Brain-scan studies of HSPs show differences in their neural activity: HSPs are more empathic, pay closer attention to their environment, and are more attentive to social clues from their close friends and partners.
Some common traits of one born in the sign of Leo (July 23 - August 22)
Leo's great need is to create. Creativity is one of Leo's keywords, and Leos have the vitality and ambition to be successful in their creative endeavors. Leos are especially prominent on stage and in Hollywood, as their natural ability to act and their flamboyance and love of attention make them naturals at fame. Additionally, Leos love romance, and take pride in their warm hospitality. Leo rules the fifth House (the House of Pleasure) which besides romance and children also involves gambling. Many Leos love to gamble, and may be brash and extravagant at the gaming table. They see it as their natural due when casinos treat them as royalty! Pleasure is important to people born under Leo, and they like to spend money to feel good. At their extreme, some Leos can be vain and childish or overbearing in their reactions, but generally they're happy so long as they are comfortable.
In their leisure time, Leos prefer to play in groups rather than solo. They are too gregarious to enjoy solitary running or weight lifting, and they much prefer team sports or group exercise. In love relationships, Leo tops the charts in almost every area, from devotion to romance.
Symbol: Lion. The Lion is the King of Beasts, and Leos enjoy being treated as the kings and queens of the Zodiac. Like the Lion, Leos have great physical strength and stamina. They tend to be opinionated, but they have a strong ability to see their projects through to the end. Leos may be arrogant or egotistical, but they are good organizers and tend to be popular and even inspiring. Despite their tendency to patronizingly interfere in others' plans, they are leaders, confident and dignified.
Color: Yellow, gold
Ruler: Sun. In ancient times, the Sun was believed to be the center of the Universe, the core of existence, the Father. Today, the Sun is important because it generates warmth and keeps life on Earth moving. Leos, too, sometimes feel they are the center of the universe, and sometimes they are! They are gregarious and social, fun-loving, and live life with enthusiasm. Despite their tendency toward bossiness and pretentiousness, the natural leadership of people born under Leo and their administrative prowess helps ensure that their projects are successful. As leaders, Leos are decisive and direct, optimistic that they will succeed. Sometimes they exaggerate problems and overreact to stumbling blocks, but generally they are positive and their natural pride and stubborn streak keep them from giving up. They can be demanding leaders, but they are also generous.
Element: Fire. Fire Signs are physical: they tend to respond to the world through action, rather than practicality, intellect, or emotion. Leos jump headfirst into life, without worrying whether their latest goal is realistic or practical. For them, everything about life is Big with a capital B, and if drama and courage is required to do what they want to do, they have both in abundance. Like Fire, Leos are always moving and quick, and their warm-hearted and outgoing personalities are similarly fiery. They tend to seek power more than other Signs, and because of this people sometimes feel they are obnoxious, boastful, self-centered, or rude. But despite their sometimes hotheaded or cutting response, Leos are cheerful and self-assured, sometimes to the point of living in a fantasy world. They are always happy as long as someone is paying attention to them!
Traits: courage, charisma, strong-willed, magnetism, leader, dignity, self-assured, dedication, hardworking, high standard of excellence, finesse, elegance, excellent taste, tact, diplomacy, even-tempered, great communicator, well-balanced, diplomat, mediator, just and fair, desire for adventure, passion
Strengths: ambitious, courageous, creative, faithful, generous, honorable, humorous, open-minded, organized, powerful, self-aware, resolute
The great strength of the Leo-born is in their creativity and generosity with others. Sometimes these two can combine, resulting in thoughtful gifts or unique solutions to problems.
Famous Leos: Louis Armstrong, Neil Armstrong, Napoleon Bonaparte, Amelia Earhart, Alfred Hitchcock, Dustin Hoffman, Madonna, Robert Redford, George Bernard Shaw, Martha Stewart, Andy Warhol.
Celebrities born on July 27: Alex Rodriguez (A-Rod), Maureen McGovern; Peggy Fleming; Jerry Van Dyke; Norman Lear
People around you think that you are fresh, vivid, charming, fun person who is realistic and always joyful. You are a person who always attracts people's attention but you are never impertinent that you know how to be modest. You are recognized as a warm hearted, kind and considerate person. You are known to cheer up your friends when they are blue and help others when there are any hardships.
You are a charismatic leader who likes to create at the highest level. (From personality.com)
The Ultimate People Person
It is most essential that you recognize that you are a charismatic leader who loves to achieve at the highest level. Your creativity is getting other people to do what you want or envision. You are a realistic "Pied Piper" that everyone follows. If you are on a team or doing a project, you are the spontaneous motivator and communication leader. Everyone knows and recognizes your energetic and enthusiastic direction. Your networking with others reaches far and wide.
Your manner is always extremely positive and confident. When everyone else is feeling discouraged, you provide an individual and group spark that rekindles inspiration and rejuvenates excitement to continue forward. Your threshold for positive leadership is extremely high. In fact, the worse the situation, the more you thrive on it. Above all else, you love to interact with people. It doesn't matter how many people there are or at what level you're communicating, you do it effortlessly. Conversation has been extremely natural to you your whole life. If you're isolated from people for a long period of time, your energy's focus seems to become depressed.
The time when your energy's focus doesn't become depressed in isolation is when you are positively engaged in creative, optional and strategic thinking. It's here that your intuitive and analogical thinking process combines with some factual and logical thoughts to give you a new, holistic perspective on what you're doing or planning to do. When you share these conclusions with others, they usually are amazed at how you developed these dynamic missions and/or strategies. When you are presenting or explaining something that has been developed, your presence makes each person feel that you are personally addressing his/her individual needs.
Interacting with People
When you walk down a corridor or a street, you're always greeting or stopping to talk to someone. People just love to talk with you about anything. That's because the positive energy that you give off during conversations develops an instant bond with everyone. You have a wonderful sense of humor. When people are with you, they smile and laugh a lot. You're naturally funny and entertaining - your humor and ways of communicating are constantly creating situations that relax and motivate other people. Even if you're not knowledgeable about a subject area under discussion, you come across as smooth and intelligent. It doesn't matter what conversations others are having or what topics they're discussing, you can join in without missing a beat. That's because you intuitively know people and what turns them on.
Your Learning Style
Conversations and dialogs provide you with the opportunity to learn best. It's during this repartee that you're able to ask any type of question: logical, analogical or just odd ones to serve your curiosity. One of the best ways for you to learn and to be motivated is to belong to a study group, particularly one that has members who are focused on the objectives and deadlines. The process of studying with these groups can provide you with the focus and needed detail to study and learn effectively.
Getting the Job Done
You usually don't like doing the details or grunt work yourself. In fact, you'll try to get others to do it for you. But, when that ploy doesn't work and you have to do it alone to meet a deadline, you'll concentrate, focus and finish what needs to be done. But, that's only after you've procrastinated until the last-minute. Then, when the tasks or project are completed, you'll want to celebrate this successful achievement with others!
You don't like to focus on details or facts without being shown the complete picture. A boring and stiff supervisor creates motivational problems for you. You are an extremely active person, moving quickly from one person to another, one group of people to another or from one task to another. You must always be moving, motivating and/or talking. That is why your favorite way of achieving things is through direct dialog. You innately organize others and when push comes to shove, you can keep them focused and working by relating to them in many different positive ways.
The Myers-Briggs personality test results
Jim is an ENTJ (extraversion, intuition, thinking, judgment), one of sixteen personality types from the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, developed from the work of psychiatrist Carl G. Jung. ENTJs are among the rarest of types, accounting for 2-5% of males formally tested and 1-3% of females.
Traits of ENTJs
Self-driven, motivating, energetic, assertive, confident, and competitive. They generally take a big-picture view and build a long-term strategy. They typically know what they want and may mobilize others to help them attain their goals. They are often sought out as leaders due to an innate ability to direct groups of people. Unusually influential and organized, they may sometimes judge others by their own tough standards, failing to take personal needs into account.
They focus on the most efficient and organized means of performing a task. This quality, along with their goal orientation, often makes ENTJs superior leaders, both realistic and visionary in implementing a long-term plan. Fiercely independent in their decision making, having a strong will that insulates them against external influence. Generally highly competent, ENTJs analyze and structure the world around them in a logical and rational way. Due to this straightforward way of thinking, ENTJs tend to have the greatest difficulty of all the types in applying subjective considerations and emotional values into the decision-making process.
They are dynamic and pragmatic problem solvers. They tend to have a high degree of confidence in their own abilities, making them assertive and outspoken. In their dealings with others, they are generally outgoing, charismatic, fair-minded, and unaffected by conflict or criticism. However, these qualities can make them appear arrogant, insensitive, and confrontational. They can overwhelm others with their energy and desire to order the world according to their own vision. As a result, they may seem intimidating, hasty, and controlling.
They often end up taking charge of a situation that seems (in their mind, at least) to be out of control, or that can otherwise be improved upon and strengthened. They strive to learn new things, which helps them become resourceful problem-solvers. However, since they rely on provable facts, they may find subjective issues pointless. They appear to take a tough approach to emotional or personal issues, and so can be viewed as aloof and insensitive.
Some famous ENTJs
• Napoleon Bonaparte, General and emperor of France
• Julius Caesar, General and dictator of Rome, adoptive father of Augustus
• Aristotle, Greek philosopher, student of Plato, mentor of Alexander
• Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft along with Paul Allen
• Carl Sagan, Astrophysicist
• Dick Cheney, US Vice President
• Rush Limbaugh, Conservative radio talk show host
• Jack Welch, Management theorist and CEO of General Electric
• David Letterman, Talk show host
• George Clooney, Actor and filmmaker
• Matt Damon, Actor
• Penn Jillette, Entertainer, partner of Teller
• Katharine Hepburn, Actress
A spot-on reading of Jim
You consider yourself a skeptic. You value science, logic, reason and fact more than the spiritual unknown. But you also acknowledge the fact that as humans, we don't necessarily have the power to claim that we have all the answers and explanations.
People like you who are always questioning the norm, and searching outside the realm of what we know are usually successful innovators. You push the boundaries of what people claim to know and open people's eyes to other possibilities whether they are scientific or not.
Analysis of handwriting
Jim appears to be a moderately energetic person. He is curious and enjoys uncovering new information. He is very logical and excels in rational problem solving, continuity of ideas, and follow-through. He has carefully cultivated his sense of taste and exercises good judgment in aesthetic matters.
Day of birth
Courageous. More than many, you have the capacity to be connected to the wisdom of the heart. Your strong leadership ability allows you to inspire others through your tremendous passion and curious nature. You live your life authentically, in a very courageous way.
People tend to notice you, for you are very charismatic. A powerful thinker with a fertile imagination, you have the ability to take ideas and concepts and put them into useful, constructive form. You need time alone to dream these visions. With your fortitude you can seize opportunities to create original approaches to timeworn challenges.
You have a strong need to be surrounded by beauty and culture. Nature, art, and music nourish your soul so that you may, in turn, nourish others.
Career: Educator, counselor, administrator, entrepreneur, artist, musical conductor.
Last-borns are the entertainers and spotlight-seekers. Some of history's greatest satirists - Swift, Voltaire, Franklin, Twain - were born at or near the tail end of large families. 20th-century comedians Charlie Chaplin, Oliver Hardy, Danny Kaye, Mel Brooks, Jim Carrey, Eddie Murphy, Steve Martin, and Stephen Colbert are last-borns. Last-borns are also more likely to be pranksters and risk-takers; they are overrepresented among the ranks of explorers, entrepreneurs, firemen, and fighter pilots. Last-borns are said to be charming, affectionate, spontaneous, mischievous, and - because the baby of the family tends to get infantilized - pampered, temperamental, irresponsible, and manipulative.
Mystical numbers from Jim's name
Number 4: Freely give their loyalty and in so doing attract the same from others; pleasant easy going personality often hides their adept business acumen and a sixth sense which helps overcome obstacles the encounter; likely to be successful professionals that appreciate what their hard work brings them.
The number 4 has always been good to me. At the school Fair, I kept putting my coupon on number 44 at the cake waslk spinner. It won so much, the ladies at the booth asked me to stop betting on it. I sent my friend to bet on 4 - he won.
Number 7: Spirituality, Wisdom and Success - an odd mix of creativity, intellectual knowledge and receptivity. Traits: usually trusted friends; valuable employees; vibrant, out-going personalities; like to know everything about everything; and sometimes intrusive with their questions.
Number 11: Power, Success and Adventure. Traits: deep thinkers; sometimes avoid sharing their thoughts; see big pictures, but rarely want to be bogged down in details; almost always on the go, mentally and physically; and can suffocate in a mundane work environment.
Master Numerologist, Roy Kirkland's numerology
Life Path: 22
You are an optimistic individual who has the rare capability to manifest your higher ideals into reality. You are blessed with the ability to realize even the most far-fetched and seemingly impossible ideas. You are a clear communicator and eloquent with words.
You are natural born leader and others willingly follow your direction. Usually you are attractive in appearance.
You are brilliant, inventive and above average intelligence. Others find you to be charismatic and inspirational and your life is often filled with appreciative employees and friends. Your very presence is reassuring and comforting to others and many seek out your advice and wise words. Many 22's become recognized sages and spiritual gurus by the end of their life.
You also make an exceptional parent, teacher, counselor and spouse. Perhaps the only thing you may not excel at is being a follower.
You are also very emotionally balanced and a guardian of all that is harmonious and beautiful in life. As you are a great lover of art, you may also serve as a patron to artists, poets or musicians.
As you are also considered to be an enlightened number, you will also be very charitable and philanthropic during your lifetime. Many charities and organizations will benefit from your wealth, as will your relatives, friends and family.
Despite your achievement, you will also be much beloved simply because you are such a humble individual.
Your exceptional intelligence and ability to spend hours by yourself was probably noticed when you were a young child. As an adult your probably still spend a great deal of time alone in the world of your incredible imagination. Your verbal and written skills are excellent and you have a keen analytical mind. Your brilliance often allows you to achieve scholastic excellence. You could be a great teacher, inventor, scientist or artist.
Sometimes your curiosity leads you down taboo or forbidden paths. As you were so smart as a child you may have been left out of normal social groups. This makes you more vulnerable than other numbers to joining a cult or being influenced by a religious leader.
Many elevens are so eccentric that they can't hold down a job. In most of these cases however they seem to find someone to take care of them so they can pursue their mental and creative interests.
You have the potential to thrive in the business world but you probably prefer a more unconventional lifestyle that gives you the room to explore your various interests. Travel and history are two subjects that greatly interest you.
Favorite colors and meanings
Grey You are cool and composed, and a very reliable person who tends to conform to keep the peace. You prefer to be independent, are practical and seek balance.
Yellow You enjoy learning and sharing knowledge with others. You are cheerful, helpful, and optimistic, and you have a strong sense of humor.
White You are organized and very independent, and you rely on logic to solve every problem. You tend to view the world in a positive and optimistic way.
Orange You love to be with people and socialize. You are known to be adventurous and love the outdoors.
Black You strive for power and control in life and do not share well with others. You are artistic, responsible, and a natural-born leader.
Link to Jim's resume