I just found out yesterday morning that a friend has been given 4 to 6 months to live. I can’t wrap my head around that. I’ve always wondered what you would do if you knew you had a limited amount of time but his health is greatly deteriorated and that reduces most if not all options.

It has solidified a thought I was having to take a break from my non-stop attempts at being productive and live a little. Spend the day doing the things I want to do rather than those that I feel I have to do.

Know me that will probably only last a short time but maybe this time around I can make it stick and then figure out how to integrate the “have to dos” into my new reality.

Time will tell.

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Writing Exercises

I’ve been reading and hearing about a lot of different writing exercises lately. Some deal with writing about a specific item and some are about writing first thing in the morning about whatever is in your head. They all seem to be about free-flowing consciousness type writing which I predominately dislike and therefore am not very good at.

I’ve given up on perfectionism years ago but it doesn’t change the fact that I like to go into a project with some sort of structure and plan. That includes writing as well. It’s why I’m not always good at writing – I need to know what I’m writing before I sit at a keyboard or I don’t write.

Oddly enough if you give me a guitar or a piano I will just noodle along until I coax some form of usable melody or chord structure I feel is worthy of hitting record and capturing. I can’t seem to do this with the written word.

I guess the real problem is not knowing how to end something that I didn’t really know how to begin. I can actually flounder through a topic (like I’m doing now) but then I get to a point where there needs to be the final punctuation mark and the words peter out into awkwardness.

How do I resolve this? But just writing more and not being critical about it. Period. End of sentence.

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I was doing the dishes the other morning and their was a stamp on the bottom of the bowl that read Homer Laughlin China. First first thought was “this shitty little bowl is considered china?” But then it occurred to me that really my first thought after seeing the word China was that it was made in China.

So then I thought about all of the different ideas we have about China. Which is the first that springs to mind for you:

1 – The place where a majority of good are made really inexpensively
2 – The place that is massively overcrowded and has pollution, civil rights and cleanliness problems.
3 – The place with a long cultured history with beautiful architecture
4 – Fancy dinnerware that never gets taken out for fear of breaking it
5 – That really catchy song by Red Rockers
6 – The origin of COVID-19
7 – The place where Chinese food supposedly comes from

I’m sure there are others but when you look at that list its amazing to see how much disparity there is. Sure the Red Rocker song has nothing to do with the country but the rest of them do.

It’s hard to reconcile the beautiful movements of tai-chi with crappy ill-made toys but isn’t that the same in every country? Progress happens and not always for the better. I’m sure of you take all of the things you like from the list they have their origins in ancient times and all the things you dislike are more modern based – except for the Chinese food which is really Westernized versions.

Perhaps I’m just disenchanted with modernity lately (he says as he types on an iPad). My current situation allows me to get back out into nature more which always improves my overall mood.

What was the purpose of this post? I can’t quite remember. Maybe I’ll just end it here and give you a link to China – by Red Rocker

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Lawn Mower Repair

Yesterday I did the yard work and put the lawn mower back in the shed when I was finished. I continued doing more things and realized I kept smelling gasoline every time I walked pas the shed. I finally investigated and realized that the lawn mower was now leaking fuel at a severe rate.

I finished everything up and then set upon the task of fixing the lawn mower. Do I know anything about lawn mower repair? Absolutely not. I have however spent a fair amount of time fixing other things so I grabbed my toolkit.

It only took five minutes before I had figured out where the leak was coming from and what needed to be tightened to resolve it. Nice and easy.

But then a thought struck me.

Earlier in the day I had been thinking about how my parents had never really supported me in any direct path in life. I will probably write more about this in a later post. But then as I stood over my achievement of a fixed lawn mower I realized that my father did instill in me the fearless mechanic attitude that I most times possess.

My father was a mechanic so I was brought up around garages and car continuously being repaired. When he was working in the garage fixing trucks for his main job he was working on cars for friends in the garage he rented from our neighbor. This started me down the path of taking things apart and putting them back together even though I never went into that as a profession.

I think the nice thing is also knowing that if something is already broken what’s the worst you can do? Take it apart and remember what order you did everything in and you should be able to put it back.

I do appreciate that I gained that from him. We didn’t always have the best relationship and I’m sure he did the best he could based on what had been provided to him from his parents.

I’m also glad I don’t have to buy a new lawn mower.

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QR Codes

QR code’s have been around since 1994 but I don’t think they ever really took off in the mainstream because people didn’t know what to do with them. They are very handy for a lot of applications but you use to have to have a separate code reader and it was beyond the capabilities of most smart phone users.

I love the fact that they are such a major staple of outdoor dining now. With restaurants having a QR code on the table that will take you right to an online menu rather than touching a physical menu.

It also helps that the camera on your phone now knows how to read them.

Sometimes technology can be a good thing (says the guy complaining about technology last week).

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For All The Right Reasons

I was thinking about some of my past endeavors this morning. I don’t generally like to live in the past except to learn from it but I’ll admit that I am prone to revisiting it from time to time and wondering how things may have been different with different choices.

For the two endeavors I specifically was thinking about I came upon the thread – always do things for right reasons. If you are doing things for accolades or money you will inevitably be disappointed.

By way of examples:

  1. I hosted a music based podcast for 9 years that really tried to highlight and support local and independent music. I believed in what I was doing even though it was a lot of work with little return. I got very little feedback and support especially from the majority of musicians I was promoting. When I abruptly stopped doing the show because of personal issues I think maybe one or two people asked about it. I actually had someone years later ask how the show was going which showed they never actually listened consistently. If I was doing it for the notoriety I would have been miserable.
  2. I worked for the same company for just over 27 years. During that time I worked in several positions and gave everything I had to make sure that I did the best possible work. I built teams from scratch, created processes that others couldn’t and solved problems that inefficiencies created. What I received in return was 2 promotions in that time and then unceremoniously let go.

I can still lay my head on my pillow every night knowing that the things I did were all done for the right reasons. I can’t say that about everything I’ve done in my life. I now know that this is how I want to lead my life every day though. It’s difficult though. Obviously I want these words to go out and be read by people and hopefully liked and acknowledged but it’s not why I’m writing them.

These words are really for me so I can get them out of my head and remind myself to always do things for the right reason.

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Just take a pebble and cast it to the sea
Then watch the ripples that unfold into me

– Greg Lake (1970)

Did I just quote Emerson, Lake and Palmer to start a blog post? You bet I did. Besides being a great song it sprang to mind after a thought I had this morning.

Many times we think of the effects of things we do. This is the concept of dropping a pebble in the water and watching the ripples unfold. But what of the pebble? It falls to the bottom of the water never to be heard from again.

What if rather than thinking of future outcomes which may or may not come to pass we solely focus on the present event? We follow it through to its very end and only after it’s completely run its course and has nowhere else to go we then look at its effects.

Would doing so potentially create a scenario where an event would happen whereas it wouldn’t have if you had thought of the consequences? Is it even possible to not think of the future when doing something in the present? You may not think of all possible outcomes but even one or two would mean you weren’t completely absorbed in the present moment. Even as I write each word here am I not thinking about where each is going to lead next?

Perhaps it is impossible to follow the pebble from the surface of the water to its underwater resting place. Maybe the journey and the ripples need to go hand and hand.

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The (Non) Executioner

If I haven’t already mentioned this about myself or for anyone new to my ramblings (welcome) I love the creative spark. There is nothing that gives me more pleasure than coming up with a new idea. Whether it be writing, music, art, building, cooking (you get the picture) I just love that initial spark of motivation.

However, I loathed following through on things. I would much rather have someone else execute my ideas than to go through it myself. Sure there’s the salification when it’s all done and also the joy in actually doing the task but neither of those excites me as much.

It’s the reason I don’t get nearly as much as I should done. Once I lose that spark I become bored and it all becomes mundane.

That’s when you have to put on your big boy pants and just get to work. It would be wonderful if life was nothing but the highest of highs but if that were the case then that would just be the norm and not very special.

Time to get to work.

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It figures

While I was doing my morning meditation my mind was racing and I was thinking of all these things I wanted to do or write about.

Not wanting to break from my practice I didn’t write any of them down.

Now that I’m sitting in front of a keyboard I can’t remember one damn thing I wanted to write about.

Perhaps I need to adjust my schedule again and work on meditating at the end of the day when my brain is essentially mush and can’t concentrate on more than one thing at a time anyway.

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I live in the United States and I’m starting to feel like civility is a thing of the past especially when it comes to politics. I feel like I’m seeing more and more exchanges that go along these lines:

Person 1: You’re an idiot

Person 2: You’re an idiot

Person 1: How can you say such a thing? You’re just a nasty, rude person.

It seems that everyone is fine slinging mud until it’s hurled in their direction and then slinging mud is the absolute worst thing anyone could do even though there’s still mud on the hands of the offended.

The level of polarization that we have allowed ourselves is disheartening.

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