Categories
culture general life

America's Terrible Choice

The horror of watching something terrible unfold right in front of you makes it nearly impossible to look away. The 2016 election is such a train wreck, the candidates’ voices like the horrible screeching of metal, so much vitriol like blood spilling onto the tracks.
All the world’s a stage and the greatest nation in the world has sunk to become the world’s stage for reality TV. This campaign has all the makings from bombshell accusations from FBI Director James Comey and Trump’s outright threats (I’ll put her in jail!) to backstabbing within the party (sensible Republicans versus The Donald) and outside interference (I’m looking at you Russia). Could Shakespeare write such a dark farce? If he tried, would scholars label it as tragedy or comedy?
The investigations of Clinton’s emails—opened and reopened during this campaign—ended as much ado about nothing. Twice. Likewise the so-called assassination attempt at a Trump rally. The “assassin” was nothing more than a member of their own Republican Party holding a sign in peaceful protest of a truly terrible candidate.
I feel like the main character in a (more) dystopian version of The Truman Show. Is this reality? Really? The whole campaign is so transparently ridiculous and almost scripted to seem unreal, yet here we are hunkered down on the edge of chaos with a hopeful tyrant snapping at the heels of the only presidential candidate on the ballot.

Categories
culture life movies music

Thoughts on Subscription Creep

While some subscriptions clearly aren’t worth the cost to me, others are. The problem is that a bunch of cheap subscriptions add up to a bunch of money.

  • $11.99 for Netflix for 4 screens + ultra HD
  • $11.99 for Hulu no commercials
  • $9.99 for Apple Music
  • $14.99 for HBO Now
  • $13.99 for web hosting
  • $19.99 for Slingplayer
  • $4.99 for CBS

No one feels like much. Together, they’re nearly $90 a month, or more than $1,000 a year.
Ouch.
We cut the cord on cable a long time ago, and we’re still coming out on top compared to the cost of a cable subscription, but we aren’t getting all of the channels but we never watched all the channels.
That isn’t including the puny bit of patronage I am able pay to my favorite Internet acquaintances, particularly Marco Arment and Brett Terpstra. Shout out to 5by5 as well. They’re great!

Categories
brain life productivity

Finding Peace in Laundry

Doing laundry from start to finish can quiet a troubled mind if you set your mind to it.
I'm talking about being mindful here—completely in the task—and it works with any simple task. The methodical nature of doing laundry, washing dishes, or sweeping the floor can help quiet mental gremlins and find focus again. Change the way you think about these tasks; convert them from mindless to mindful.
Laundry provides several different ways to relax and focus completely on the task.

  • Sorting laundry: darks, whites, lights, and other stuff
  • The drone of the washer and dryer
  • The smell of clean laundry
  • Folding warm clothes

Focused folding is a ritual. When I studied aikido as a young man, my sensei taught me to fold my hakama in our dojo after practice. He referred to the careful folding process as the "Japanese press" because it would look perfect when unfolded to wear next time.
One of life's simplest pleasures is outfitting your bed with clean sheets. That luxurious feeling surprises me every time, a great way to end a day after meditating with eight loads of laundry.

Categories
life writing

Optimism Never Dies

Last month I made some bold claims about my output on this site. Oh well! Life goes on. I remain optimistic that both of my readers will have soon have more to read here than extended apologies for nothing being here to read.

Categories
life productivity writing

One Day at a Time

Because quitting addiction cold turkey can be overwhelming, counselors encourage those who struggle to take it one day at a time.
Quitting isn’t my problem today. Starting is my challenge. Though I am going against the grain to start an addition, the same advice applies.

“Every day? Maybe several times a day?! I can’t do it!”

Yes I can. I just need to take it one day at a time. If I can write one short thing today, I’ve met my goal. When I don’t post something, wallowing in anxiety doesn’t make it better; it probably makes it worse. I should just shake it off and do a better job the next day.
Cobwebs are the only thing connecting this blog to the web. Returning to a daily writing habit seems overwhelming, but I met my goal today. So far, I have doubled it! I hope to do as well tomorrow, but the world won’t end if I don’t. I’ll just try to write again the next day.

Categories
life nerd

Flixel

First shot at a Cinemagraph Pro video/flixel(?).

Categories
life

2013 plus 1

Now, with little light remaining in the last day of 2013, seems like a good time to review the year. Challenges always stick in our memory—money has been too tight for our tastes and we’re all itching for a real vacation away from home—easy painful memories, but I want to focus on the good things we have enjoyed.
My wife has worked a couple of jobs here and there since resigning in July 2011 to earn her master’s degree, but has not enjoyed employment. That changed several weeks ago when she was hired to do work she is passionate about. She makes me proud for sticking to her principles and finding work she loves in a gasping job market. I am ever thankful that she agreed to spend her life with a bum like me.
Our oldest daughter started college in the fall at a balmy south Georgia campus where she is doing great. Her grades are hanging in there after her first semester (which is more than I can say about my own college experience) and she has lots of friends on campus and was invited to join the ΑΣΑ sorority. For now, she has declared a major in criminal justice with some thoughts of going into law.
Our two youngest are still doing great in high school; definitely in the top half (third?) of their respective classes. Great Scott, our sophomore will probably get her driver’s license next month with with her younger brother getting a learner’s permit after his birthday in the spring. They both have a bumpy ride toward learning how to be personally responsible and respectful of others, though they are learning (kicking and screaming the whole way). One of favorite TV characters, Ron Swanson[1] from the show Parks and Recreation, summed up responsibility and respect better than I can.

You know what makes a good person good? When a good person does something bad, they own up to it. They try to learn something from it and move on. Ron Swanson, Parks and Recreation

They aren’t the only ones with lessons left to learn. I need to find my center and be more patient to be a better parent and husband. My biggest failure as an adult and parent is my broken relationship with my oldest son. It took both of us to reach the point we did while butting heads before he turned 18 and struck out on his own. The last time I saw him was during an awkward visit on my birthday in 2009. I love him and miss him, and want to be a better father to all of my kids.

New Year Rising

My hope is the new year will bring health, hope, and good luck to me and my family. Yours too.
My wife and I will turn 42[2] this year. As a feisty young whippersnapper, 42 sounded ancient. Now, I know I was wrong. While I’m not as spry as my younger self and surely need to lose about a third of my weight, I’m still learning and maturing while accumulating the wisdom that can only come with time.
As an inveterate nerd, I have been poking around in several computer languages.[3] My plan is to become somewhat proficient in a couple of those with a good working knowledge of the rest, because doing so furthers my ultimate, if vague, plans.
You see, for years I wanted to be a Writer. In my early 20s, I played the traditional role of drunk tortured writer, perpetually scribbling bad poetry and nonsense with fancy pens in a journal while writing very little. Then, I was hired as a journalist and wrote a lot, complaining all the while how I was so tired of writing for work that I couldn’t write for me. After my stint with print journalism, I migrated to public communications. There is a lot to love in my current job and I’m pretty good at it; however, I stubbornly remain a computer jockey at heart and want to be a professional nerd when I grow up.
Also, read less news and more books, and *groan* write more.
OK then. So, 2014 is going to be a year of growth and learning for me. Thanks again to my wife’s support for my crazy ideas and steady support so we can enjoy this exciting year coming straight at us. Strap yourself in for a Happy New Year everyone. I hope this is your year to shine.


  1. Swanson’s wisdom goes straight to the point like some amalgamation of the Dalai Lama, Yoda, and Yogi Berra.  ↩
  2. The number 42 is the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything, and that has to be a good thing. Right?  ↩
  3. LaTeX, Perl, python, and some PHP with a dash of CSS and JavaScript for the web.  ↩