Tuesday, July 31, 2018

That's so 90's

I've been on this Harlan Ellison kick lately so I was watching a video of him on YouTube over the weekend and this graphic in between segments caught my eye:

It looks like something made with Windows 95 or 98 to me. It's so 90's. I love "the new Corolla" and if you watch the video you'd see that this whole thing is in motion, of course.

It makes me miss stuff like this. Everything is so easily professional looking and clean and crisp now that the personality seems to be sucked out.

Of course, my mind was so self-focused in the 90's that I missed a lot.  I wish I had paid more attention to culture back then and had been creating things and not just going through the motions. I also didn't watch much television in the 90's so I'm thankful for people posting videos like this on YouTube.


Monday, July 30, 2018

Hospital Time Warp

Today begins week two of my life centering around the hospital and it's like there are two different worlds. Normal world is filled with the normal day to day stuff that needs to be done or that I would like to do and it has structure. Hospital world is filled with the uncertainty and we can only react to whatever needs to be reacted to.

Both worlds keep going. You just get pulled back and forth between the two. One moment you are in normal world taking out the trash and the next moment you are in hospital world packing the car for the nearly hour drive to the hospital.

I was in my hometown last Friday night at 8PM checking the house. I can't remember the last time I was there at 8 o'clock at night. Everything feels off and no wonder - hospital life is the same at 3PM as it is at 3AM and it is the same at 10AM as it is at 10PM. It goes on and on and the phone could ring at any time. It probably won't but it could so my hospital bag remains packed near the door filled with paperwork that I hopefully won't need and snacks in case I go up and get stuck for a while without food. 

And today I am also back at work so now there is normal world, hospital world and work world all vying for attention and all I can do is stay patient and know that this too shall pass!

I keep thinking of this song for some reason. It sort of fits so here it is.


Sunday, July 29, 2018

The Twenty-Eighth July 29th

A short poem to mark this twenty-eighth July 29th


If I had known what trouble you were bearing;
What griefs were in the silence of your face;
I would have spent more gentle, and more caring,
And tried to give you gladness for a space.
I would have brought more warmth into the place,
If I had known.


If I had known what thoughts despairing drew you;
(Why do we never try to understand?)
I would have lent a little friendship to you,
And slipped my hand within your hand,
And made your stay more pleasant in the land,
If I had known.


                                                            Mary Carolyn Davies

Friday, July 27, 2018

Discouragement or reality?

I've had a lot of idle time over the past few days as I have sat either in various waiting rooms or my father's hospital rooms (rooms because he has been moved several times but this is a sign of progress so that is a good thing) and I've been filling quite a bit of that time goofing off on my iPad. I should have been reading one of two books I checked out but it is hard to concentrate for too long with continuous interruptions.

Twitter is perfect for very short chunks of concentration so I have been spending a lot of time there and I have a new appreciation for Twitter after the last few days. It was on Twitter that I found someone had shared an article called "No, you probably don't have a book in you" and I've been thinking about that article on and off since I read it.

At first, I took it as discouragement and as a way to gatekeep. "These are the real writers. You are not and will never be one of them. Stay out of the way of the real writers and let us keep our exclusive club to ourselves!"

As the somewhat intelligent side of me took over from the typically reactive side of me, I moved from considering this as discouragement to acknowledging that what the author, an agent, is sharing is reality, albeit a disappointing one.

Take, for example, this quote: "Writing artfully so that someone enjoys what your're writing is even harder."

How does one write artfully? I have no idea. I obviously have no book in me but I have known that for a long time.

If you do want to write artfully, you can take the author's class and probably find out how.

Obviously, it boils down to being a commercial author in pursuit of monetary success instead of just pursuing the art out of the joy of just making art. I make podcasts. None will ever bring me monetary success unless I make major, major changes that I may or may not have the skill to make but I don't make podcasts for any reason other than my own person enjoyment.


The author mentions options to apply my podcast way of thinking to writing. "There are many options if you just want a copy of your story that you can hold in your hands," she writes, although she doesn't share any of these options. I assume you might learn them in the above-mentioned class.

To me, I find it important to create, create and create some more. I love the process from the idea popping in my head to the moment I hit publish either here or over at the podcast. I don't give much thought to what happens afterward nor do I have to. A lot of people give a lot of thought to what happens afterward because they are depending on what happens afterward to put money in their bank account. Some people give so much thought to the slim chance of being financially rewarded for their creativity that it stunts their ability to actually create.

I think that creators will and should create regardless of the discouragement or the reality but I do realize the freedom that comes with me not having the pressure of my creations having to be used to pay the mortgage.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

They WILL Write!

I spent most of my Monday at the hospital (and yesterday and today, of course, and this will go on for a few more days) waiting while my father was in surgery. To pass the time, I listened to Tom Snyder interviewing Harlan Ellison over the years on old Tomorrow Show clips posted on YouTube.

I watched one a few weeks ago after Harlan Ellison died and I was just blown away. There is so much good stuff that he says, great stuff in fact, that I think people need to hear.

Of course, only a very few people listen to my podcast but I decided for the benefit of those folks that it was important enough to go interview by interview and write out the starting and ending times of certain clips so I could go back at my earliest convenience and edit them into one nice, consumable audio file.

That file is right here: http://upinthisbrain.com/up-in-this-brain-388-tom-and-harlan

It's probably in the top 5 of the most important episodes of the podcast I've done in 388 episodes. Maybe it's even in the top 2.

I keep returning to this quote. It opens the podcast. I've been feeling guilty about not writing ever since I heard it.

"It's a very simple philosophy. Anybody who can be deterred from writing should have been. People who want to write really want to write and they WILL write." - Harlan Ellison

I have not been writing. It's not that I don't love writing. Maybe it's that I am distracted by life lately and maybe I shouldn't be letting life distract me. Maybe it's laziness. Maybe it's lack of focus. Maybe it's all of the above.

Whatever it is, the wheels are turning in my head and my fingers are moving across the keyboard again. I'm writing and it feels good.

Now, if I could just harness one percent of Harlan Ellison's confidence and conviction:

"Are you loyal to the United States of America or are you loyal to your writing? Forget it, jack. The country could sink into the ocean for all I care. I only care about the integrity of the work. That's really all I give a damn about and I'll kill to keep those words that way. I spent twenty years of my life doing what I do and I think I do it very well indeed and I'll be damned if I'm going to let people mess with it. That's my religion. That is precisely where I am.  " - Harlan Ellison


Thursday, July 19, 2018

There is no time to waste

I keep being reminded of this lately, over and over.


The latest reminder came early this morning. The early morning text message is the early morning phone call of the past. Neither typically bring good news and when I heard the notification go off this morning my first thought was "this cannot be good."

The news was of the sudden passing of a friend from high school, a friend who was younger than me and had dealt with so many health issues while I have gone through my years relatively unscathed (so far). We last spoke at a funeral and that seems to happen more and more. Funerals are the main places we all seem to come together these days and there is nothing that made me think that the next funeral I attend would be hers.

So, what lesson do I take from each loss or each struggle I read about on Facebook or Twitter? That I am lucky enough to be able to complain about getting worn out mowing the yard. That I get to keep making memories and adding on days even if I know I am not always making the most of each gift of a day that I get.

I wonder sometimes why I get to keep going. I have no answer for this, of course. It's all science, I know, and it could change in a flash. The clock is ticking. There is no time to waste.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Out of site, out of mind

Something happened Friday and Saturday here. That something is nothing.

In fact, I didn't even think about this site one time either day. I didn't feel bad because nothing was scheduled to post. I didn't have any ideas for posts. I didn't even have the idea to have an idea for a post.

But, it is comforting to know that the site is here for when inspiration, no matter how paltry that inspiration is, hits.

The only person insisting on my posting here every day was me and it was an interesting, albeit unsustainable, experiment. Life is out there being lived and I have to briefly pause life to come here and write about life. The same goes with podcasting, sharing on Facebook, Tweeting, etc.

It's no different from when you were a kid and your mom expected you to write thank you notes for birthday gifts. Sure, I was thankful but I didn't want to put down the Atari controller long enough to write out a card!

It's a struggle. I want to create and share but there is so much life going on and the urge to play more and pause less is intensifying as the clock ticks down.


Thursday, July 5, 2018

The 5th

Today is the ignored day.

July 1st is Canada Day and I know the majority of Americans celebrate that just like I do. On July 2nd and 3rd, Americans are gathering fireworks and meat for their grills. July 4th is Independence Day. July 5th is ignored and a day of recovery.


And, when July 4th is on Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday, most people have to go back to work the next day no matter tired they are from being out in the heat all day and from how late their neighbors were up blowing up stuff.

For me, I'm kind of glad to be back on the schedule. Between vacation last week and holidays this week, I have been out of the typical daily structure and I've missed it. I like getting up at the same time every day and having my lunch at the same time and sitting in the house in the evening when it's steaming hot and not being out sitting in the driveway watching people blow up stuff.

Speaking of structure, I've been trying really hard to write hear every day and I'm not sure that's doable. So, if I miss a day here and there, that's because my mind was blank and I didn't want to just phone something in like this throwaway post right here!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

A poolside holiday

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a picture that Steve from Saskatchewan posted on Facebook of the pool he had just put up in his backyard and that got me thinking about all of the pools I have put up in the past and how I put my foot down a few years back and said NO MORE!

There were three reasons for this. First, keeping the water clean was a nightmare. Second, the weather would never cooperate. It would pour rain. We would have terrible storms. It would suddenly get cold in August for no apparent reason. Third, these things ruin part of the yard. When you pull it down at Labor Day, you have a nice, stinky dead patch of yard left behind.

Our pool ownership was jinxed!

Of course, maybe posting stuff like this didn't help gain me any karma!

I did look at installing a real above-ground pool a few years back but we have a power line over the backyard so that was a no-go but I did miss the idea of going in the backyard and cooling off in a big vinyl bowl of water so...

There it is! We bought it on day one of our vacation so it rained for the next three days solid, of course. But, it was nice this weekend and we have all been in and out of it.

It has this one really cool "jet" that the previous pools I bought didn't have. The filter is underpowered and probably pointless but it is cool looking!

No matter how puny the filter is, the water is staying clear this year because I decided to not be cheap and I invested in the Clorox Pool&Spa strips that an app reads right on the iPhone (TECHNOLOGY!) and the app tells me exactly what I need so I bought the chemicals necessary to (hopefully) keep this thing looking great for the rest of the summer. I also have to skim it and brush the liner daily and so far, I am very pleased with the results.

This is where you will find me on Independence Day unless there is a torrential rain or hailstorm or tornado or it snows. You just never know.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Back from vacation, back to chores

I have to admit - I let it all go during vacation last week. Sure, I washed and folded a load of clothes here and there but the rest of the chore list was ignored. I didn't vacuum the floors. Someone else did. I didn't clean the bathroom counters. Someone else did that to. I didn't clean the showers. No one did that. I guess two out of three isn't bad.

Not only is this sexist (Note how the only chore the man does is chop firewood. I do all this stuff.) but it's also a lie. I do all these things and I haven't lost a pound. 

Since I work at home, I am also Head Domestic Engineer. I have daily tasks in my Todoist that have to be done to keep the house somewhat clean. When I am on vacation, I leave both of my jobs for a bit. I read when I would typically sweep. I sit outside at the park when I would typically clean a mirror.

I wish I could report that I avoided the weekly trip to Walmart but it seemed like we went there every day during vacation. There was always something dumb that needed to be bought.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Tired

My energy is depleting.

I've been on this schedule for years. Up early in the mornings, no later than 6:10, typically up earlier as I tend to wake up around 5 and am then unable to go back to sleep.

Wind down around 9-ish. Asleep by 10, hopefully, barring a sleepless episode which can keep me up until midnight if I am unlucky and don't want to pop a Benadryl.

Being on this schedule is fine in your teens, twenties and thirties. It's a tad wearing on the downward side of your forties.

The big yawns catch me now, especially in the shower before the first cup of coffee and especially late afternoon. If I stay still too long, when reading a book for example, I can feel the drifting start and I yearn for a nap but I am not napping, not yet. Naps make me feel like crap. Naps are for being sick. I can't think of anything but sleep after a nap and I typically get a headache.

But, I feel the transition to being a napper coming. I'm at that age. The energy level is not holding up.

My go, go, go is just about gone, gone, gone.