Archives for October 2014

A Disruption In The Rhythm Of Life

The Witch House  The Spadena House, also known as The Witch's House, is a storybook house in Beverly Hills, California. Located on the corner of Walden Drive and Carmelita Shot by Lori Branham

The Spadena House, also known as The Witch’s House, is a storybook house in Beverly Hills, California. Located on the corner of Walden Drive and Carmelita Shot by Lori Branham

Long ago in the days when I was part of a wolf pack and not a lone wolf I used to pass the house above. ‘D’ lived around the corner and when we would hang out I would pass by and sometimes wonder who lived in a house like that.

Back in those days I had other ideas about what life would be like when I was all growed up and none of them looked like they do now. Not even close which shows me how naive I was about some things and how much I have grown in others.

It never would have occurred to that guy to ask if you were living your dreams because he was certain he was on the verge of doing all that he had once imagined he would do. I wonder if that kid would have been more resilient at bouncing back from some things or if he had enjoyed too much comfort to just move on after some of the other crap.

Hard to say and not particularly important but old Jack is a curious man and he’ll wander down a pace or two just to see if he get a gander at what lies yonder.

Dude would have laughed at some of the content in You Shouldn’t Blog About Sex On Halloween and The 69 Scary Reasons Halloween Should Be Banned. But it wouldn’t have taken him long to roll his eyes and wonder why I just didn’t shake of this disruption.

Texas wasn’t quite right without those kids and LA wasn’t quite the same without Texas. It was disconcerting and I wondered if it was just nerves or if I would drive back and discover that the gut was truly unhappy.

And then I got here and confirmed that nothing feels quite right.

I am on a seesaw and it is irritating the fuck out of me.

Yeah, I sometimes swear in my posts. When The Rhythm of Life Is Disturbed

I guess that is part of the difference between me and him is I have learned sometimes you can’t just shake loose of some things. Sometimes there are moments that last a minute and minutes that last a lifetime because of things that are outside your control.

What is kind of funny to me is that he and I would look at the video below and nod because I am sure he would get it as much I do now. But that moment would probably be prefaced by his wondering how I didn’t figure it all out between then and now.

A Disruption In The Rhythm Of Life

This moment in time is part of a disruption in the rhythm of life. It is a moment where I would like to have my own Spock to talk to, someone who was certain about the path to take and the choice to make.

I might not make that choice or take that path but we could and would debate it.

But the thing about disruptions is they don’t always provide those opportunities and now I replay these words again.

Spock: Captain, I cannot allow you to do this!
Bones: Jim, you’re not actually going after this guy, are you?
James T. Kirk: I have no idea what I’m supposed to do! I only know what I *can* do!
Star Trek Into Darkness
I did what I thought I was supposed to do and it led me to this place where I no longer can see what that is supposed to be. I don’t know what do to do any more, I only know what I can do.
Part of me finds that a bit frightening but most of me revels in the excitement because I sense possibility and opportunity. I know what I can do, but I don’t know yet what I will do.
It makes for interesting times.

What Would Happen If You Got What You Wanted?

Mystery and Imagination
This shot would be perfect for some of the fiction I write and I probably should save it for that but it also fits the post you are reading now.

It is a post based upon what if, as what if you got all you dreamed of what would life look like then?

That photo is supposed to have sort of a mix of mystery and magic, like you walked down that alley and the world changes.

What Would Happen If You Got What You Wanted?

Sometimes I ask my kids to think about the question and to answer it because it is useful for teaching moments. But it is not limited to working with them to think about what cause and effect. Not limited to trying to help them see how what we do now can affect the future.

It is useful for adults to think about what it is we want. I don’t know about you but I have a lot of different dreams and I am actively working on turning some of them into reality.

Dreams are important to me, they are part of what motivates me to keep going. But sometimes I like to do a reality check and think about what my dreams are and ask which of them are relegated to improbable and which are impossible.

There is a place or space between impossible and improbable that is important to me as well because it is the center spot called possible.  The realm of possible is always exciting to me because those dreams are things that I see as being accessible and achievable. They require work, time and effort but they aren’t dependent on luck.

I look at things that are dependent upon luck as being contingent upon effort and desire. Effort and desire leads to success and the improbable dreams are built upon small victories that lead to large ones.

One of the reasons I ask what would happen if you got what you wanted is it helps me to identify what I want as well as what I need. Flip through the pages here and you’ll see it is a regular theme.

Might be because I have been immersed in change for a while, might be for a variety of other reasons. What I know for certain is my heart hurts and my soul aches because the path I was on was wrong for me.

Took a bit of time to sort out and accept but once I did it became clear I needed to figure out the answers to want and need.

Why?

If you don’t know what you want or need you can’t actively work on obtaining them. Once you identify them you place yourself in a position in which you can create a road map that leads to them.

One of the other reasons why I like to ask the question is as we grow people change and so do some of our dreams so it makes sense to think about it from time to time and figure out where things are at.

What Happens If You Get What You Want?

It is an obvious question. What happens if you get what you want? What happens if you figure out what you want and what you need and manage to get those things?

Someone call the Shmata Queen and remind her I know things and that among those is I am a practical dreamer.

My first focus is on getting what I need and the second is on getting what I want. I don’t expect to get it all in one fell swoop and as I said people change over time.

I am not going to limit myself solely to what I want now. I want to write several books. In the future I may want to write screenplays for the movies or maybe for Broadway.

I don’t know and I don’t have to know all that I may want. I just have to ask the question and determine if I am willing to go after whatever it is my heart desires.

A practical dreamer breaks things into pieces and then goes from there.

What about you? Do you know what you want?

The 69 Scary Reasons Halloween Should Be Banned

Halloween Pumpkins
Frank Sinatra is singing about luck being a lady tonight and I am thinking it has been a while since Vegas enjoyed the pleasure of my company.

Back in the day it was a four five hour ride from college and the boys and I went more than a few times. That was in the good old days before going to college made me feel old and it cost $50 bucks for a night at Caesar’s Palace.

That was long before that desert town was overwhelmed by corporate interests, adults who used it as their version of Disneyland and the tourist agencies started promoting the what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas line.

We didn’t need to be told to keep our mouths shut about the things we did there then because we knew better. Some of those tales would fall into the scary stories you tell on a Halloween night to friends who ooh and ah and wonder how you made it back without harm.

It was during those years that my almost 90 year-old aunt her 100 year-old boyfriend lived off the strip and complained about the tourists who would come screw up their card games.

She was four foot nothing, feisty and fearless. If you pissed her off she had no problem telling you that you were a fool and I of course loved nothing more than teasing her.

“You learned some bad habits from that grandfather of yours.”

“Yeah, I sure did, didn’t I.”

“Don’t bad mouth your grandfather, my little brother is a wonderful man.”

Sometimes I miss those conversations. She and the boyfriend went for a drive one night and some other driver took them out, luck wasn’t much of a lady that night.

The 69 Scary Reasons Halloween Should Be Banned

Wandered through a grocery store picking up some odds and ends and heard some lady tell her friend that guy “Obama better do something so more people don’t get  ‘the Ebola.'”

Listened in as the guy checking out the cantaloupes told them “Obama ought to focus on teaching the gun nuts in Texas to keep their weapons in their pants and not bring them to school” and wondered where the hell he is getting his news.

Almost told them both to be very worried because come Friday night All Hallow’s Eve will be here and gun nuts from Texas will be roaming our streets, while crazy people from cleveland set fire to our rivers and fools from D.C. open the borders and invite people with ‘the Ebola’ to come roam through the streets infecting people.

Then with a big flourish I’d finish by telling them I had 69 scary reasons that Halloween should be banned. Might even add a maniacal laugh and then draw my shirt across my face like it was a cape and slowly walk away.

My big hope there would be for some brave soul to ask me to list all 69 scary reasons and that they would be willing to stand and listen as I came up with them.

I don’t have 69 scary reasons why Halloween should be banned but if I wanted to I could come up with them. I could blog about Jack Steiner the dad blogger from Los Angeles and Fort Worth who tried keyword stuffing his post on Halloween not because he expected it to work but because he could.

Intermission

  • Come Monday– Jimmy Buffet
  • Come Live With Me– Ray Charles
  • Tougher Than The Rest– Bruce Springsteen
  • Revolution 1– The Beatles
  • She Sells Sanctuary– The Cult

There is a girl in the other room calling my name now. She says “Daddy, I am bored” and expects me to come running. I tell her to go read a book and I’ll find her shortly.

She asks me how long shortly is and I tell her it is shorter than forever and sooner than later.

“Daddy, I want a straight answer.”

“Ok, get a ruler or my level and figure it out.”

She mutters something under her breath and I give her a look that freezes her in place.

“You know I am only kidding daddy.”

“I don’t know what you said but I am not kidding about that. I love you and I will spend time with you but I need a few minutes to clear my head and you need to finish reading that book for school.”

She nods her head and skips out of the room. I love that skip, it is pure joy and a sign she is happy.

One day she’ll be too busy living her life to want to spend time with me and I’ll miss these moments but those days have yet to come and she really does have to read for school.

In a few moments this post will come to its conclusion and I’ll grab a book or magazine and read next to her. When she asks me what I was writing about I’ll tell her it was 69 scary reasons to ban Halloween she’ll yell at me and say it should never be banned.

I’ll laugh and hug her and a few minutes later if the stories I am reading don’t grab me I’ll think about that one time in Vegas and smile.

Going To College Makes You Feel Old

Keble College, Oxford
Your old friend Jack kids around about being an old man but he doesn’t think of himself as such, no sir.

The guy I picture in my mind is somewhere between 19 and 25. He has a full head of hair, muscles that ripples when he moves and has trouble buying shirts that fit him because his shoulders are broad and his waist/belly are trim.

Sometimes he looks at the mirror and wonders who had the bright idea of buying one of those carnival fun house mirrors because he surely doesn’t look like the image he reflected back at him.

After he recoils in horror and makes a mental note to avoid the donuts and extra slice of pizza he puts on his superhero costume, the one that says “Dad” on it and goes about his day.

Today our superhero encountered his arch nemesis time. You can read the tale of their battle below.

Going To College Makes You Feel Old

Not so long ago someone got the bright idea to try to save money by not extending my contract which placed me in a position in which I needed to spend some time wandering among the people looking for a new place to hang my hat.

Yeah, that is a sort of silly way of saying I am in between positions now and looking for work. Since I am stuck in the position of having to do the heavy lifting the opportunities I can take are more limited than I would like them to be, but a superhero does what is required to save the day.

A short while ago a friend reached out to invite me to join him at a job fair at our alma mater.

I asked him if it would be appropriate for experienced professionals and he insisted it would be so I agreed to join him.

So today he and I put on suits and ties and wandered among the coeds who believe that 80 plus degree weather requires short sleeves, short pants and a back pack.

I won’t tell you about that decades after I graduated they still haven’t figured out how to make enough parking for the students and people who need it or specifics about how other things hadn’t changed.

Because let’s be honest, the view walking across campus wasn’t all that bad. Can’t complain about seeing some hot California girls walking around until you realize you are old enough to be their father.

It is not a secret, but you don’t really think about it until you ask someone to point out the new building the job fair is in. It wasn’t there when you were a student and when you mention this to the students they of course ask when you attended school.

Insult turns to injury when you find out they weren’t yet born when you were a freshman and suddenly going back to college makes you feel old.

Time Meets Jack

Still you persevere. You continue your forced march across the concrete and green and arrive at the fair.

Inside you discover you are among the very few who wore a suit and tie which is part of why some students ask you what companies you represent.

You move through the room and silently curse how crowded and loud it is looking for the few booths you marked as being companies you wanted to speak with.

Of course when you get to those booths you try not to be distracted by the realization that the person you are speaking with is much younger than you are and is looking for people who have limited experience.

It makes sense to you that they would search for new grads but you were told by your buddy and the career center there was a reason for you to be there.

You battle time and manage to get a few good licks in and when you head off to lunch feel like you got something out of it. Since you are on campus you figure you might as well grab a bite to eat there.

Back in the day your time was your own so you could have gone off campus and blown a few hours, but not today.

So you stand in line with a bunch of students, grab a meal and then sit down to eat. While eating you realize the kids sitting next to you are talking about a television show your son watches and the same video games he plays.

Since he is in 8th grade you wonder if that means he is really mature or that the kids who are talking are really immature.

But mostly it just makes you think that going back to college makes you feel really old. 🙂

Sometimes Bad Headlines Don’t Matter

Shot by Steve Jurvetson

Shot by Steve Jurvetson

Sometimes bad headlines don’t matter but that is usually because you have built a relationship with your readers and they have enough faith in your ability to provide entertaining and or educational content to visit regardless of headlines.

Been thinking about this headline business because many of the headlines I have been writing have been focused on my ideas/thoughts about the post and not on trying to encourage new readers to come visit.

Of course if you know me you know I have mixed feelings about headlines and it is not because I have trouble writing them but because so many people spend too much time focusing on the headline and not on the content.

A great sandwich requires more than just great bread.

The Second Part Of My Quest

Been thinking about all that has happened in the last year and trying to figure out if my perception of how it all unfolded is accurate or not. If I look at 2013 I can see that I accomplished every major goal I had on my list of things to do.

Part of me feels pretty good about that but I am not satisfied because it feels like so much of what I did came undone and I wonder about some of the decisions I made.

The beauty of the blog is it enables me to look back and try to gain some insight as to what happened so that I can identify the moments. So I started by grabbing a post from October 30, 2013.

Those things I felt came about, not all, but many and perhaps the most important. Can’t be more specific than that because there are boundaries in blogging that even an unfiltered man like I maintain.

But I recognize that in the midst of much joy there is some anger and frustration there too. So in my cryptic manner let me continue by saying it felt a bit like I managed to steal fire from the gods and then they tried to steal it back/

So now I am in the second part of my quest.

Twelve months later I look back and those feelings haven’t changed. I read further down the post to see if I missed something and I come across this:

I moved heaven and earth to find out whether it was intuition or desire. It was both. Now I have to play out this hand and work through the second part of the quest to see what happens.

Part of me is quite certain because I know things. What happened in 1724 isn’t limited or done. It is just in transition. Time will tell how that all plays out.

I can’t decide if I am inspired, infuriated, motivated or frustrated by this.

Because when you put all you have into forcing something that is upside down and inside out into reverting to its proper shape you cannot not be upset when your work comes undone.

Yet I am not entirely sure it is as messed up as it feels. Maybe I am too close to it all and missing perspective so I go with my gut and flip through some more posts to see what I see.

These are not the write words for the work that needs to be done but soon they shall be. The Right Words

Something about that feels right, might be because I don’t feel like I am expressing myself as clearly as I want and some it is because the reference in the post to being in the on deck circle makes sense too.

The Right Words Written Right Write Their Own Tales

That is a headline from yet another post I read again today. Several of the quotes I used in it jump out at me because they fit now just as they did then.

A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” Oscar Wilde

There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.“ Oscar Wilde

Restlessness is discontent and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure.“ Thomas A. Edison

Maybe I have good reason to be frustrated. Maybe things I worked on came undone and I can shake my head because no one likes feeling like their hard work was for nothing.

But maybe I am missing the bigger picture. I have to deal with a lot of crap, much of it unexpected and it has left a bad taste in my mouth. Some of the people I normally would rely upon let me down and that frustrates me.

It is always good to be part of the pack except the thing is, sometimes I enjoy being the lone wolf and doing my own thing.

If my kids were upset about something I’d tell them to take deep breath and think about it. I’d help them walk through what happened and try to help them gain some perspective and then we’d have a better chance of seeing the truth.

So I am going to take my own advice and take another deep breath and try to figure out if I am missing the forest for the trees here. Not all I accomplished fell apart and not all I have done is lost.

Sometimes perspective makes a big difference.