Flotsam and Jetsam

The Wonder of the World

I try to live my life in gratitude, Never taking for granted or losing sight of what I have and all the wonderful things in my life and the world. It’s so easy to adjust our perspective and let our norm become mundane or lacking somehow. My iPhone is a good, if a bit obvious, example. I’ve often thought that if I could go back 10 years, 20 years and show myself my iPhone, my mind would be utterly blown (metaphorically, not literally). It is science fiction come to reality. There is a reason my lock screen is The Hitchhikers Guide To The Universe.

On a less obvious note, the other day I really thought about my keys. What an amazing piece of technology a key and lock is. A little piece of metal cut so uniquely as to open one lock which can only be opened by this magical combination of ridges. It’s really almost as magical as Gandalf illuminating runes and speaking Elvish to enter. A friend of mine also brought up what a status symbol keys really are. It says that you are prosperous enough to have a car or a house or whatever, and that it’s all locked away for your use only, you fascist ass-hat!

Sorry, I got a bit carried away.

I’ve taken up meditation and started using an app called “Insight timer” to time and log my meditation. It’s a really great app with a nice community layer to it. When you’re done meditating it will tell you how many other people were meditating (using the app) around the world. You can send message to people saying “Thanks for meditating with me.” I quite often think how vast our world is and all the things that are going on at any given moment. Right now, there’s almost certainly many people around the world doing just about anything you can think of.

At this very moment people are having sex, being murdered, getting fired, sleeping, shaving, climbing a mountain, watching a TV show, making a movie, vomiting with the flu, tickling a koala, snuggling, writing blog entries, plotting a scheme, eating way too much ice cream, getting married, achieving a lifelong dream, feeling depressed and useless, viewing the quivering fringe of a special doily draped across the piano with some surprise, pondering the significance of short-person behavior in pedal-depressed, panchromatic resonance and other highly ambient domains*.

The world and universe is filled with wonder. Never lose sight of it. With all we know, the fact is we know nothing. Only 4% of the universe is matter. The other 96% is still a mystery to us.

*-Frank Zappa “Evelyn, A Modified Dog”

Firsties!

I’ve noticed that a lot of people like to post birthday or holiday greetings on social media the day before the actual holiday. I don’t get this. It’s not the event yet. Wait for it. My only guess is the strange internet phenomenon of “Firsties!” The desire to be the first person to comment like it’s some kind of badge of honor.

It just seems like sort of a cheat. If the day before is fine, then why not a few days. Or weeks. Or months.

“Happy birthday for the next 5 years!”
“Merry Christmas for infinity! Whew, glad I got that out of the way. Now I never have to say it again!”

Look, patience is not one of my virtues. I get it. But wait for the day. It’s kind of like if you open your presents on Christmas eve, that seems all exciting at the time, but then it’s kind of a bummer when you have nothing on the day. Same with greetings. Hold out. Ask Sting for Tantric sex techniques or something and maybe you can apply them to holiday greeting. I hear Sting can give holiday greetings for like 6 days.

The Key To Memorization Is Not Repetitive Reading, But Recalling

I’ve read several articles such as this one (I can’t find the original article that I read about this, but there’s plenty out there) that talk about how the key to memorization is the act of recalling. So repetitively reading a script or passage will only go so far (this is the phase where your brain is loading it into your short term memory) but it’s the crucial recalling of that information that forms and strengthens the neural pathways, so the quicker you put down that script and start trying to remember it, the quicker you will strengthen those neural pathways and have the text memorized. Don’t spend hours re-reading something a thousand times. Only once you put it down and begin actually trying to remember it will you start the important phase of the process.

Letting Go of Perfection

Today I had a long talk with one of my best friends, Brian, regarding many things, including our podcast, our futures, goals, fears and graphically sexual improvised bluegrass songs. Among the many reasons I wanted to start a podcast, we discovered a new one today: to learn to let go of perfection and just create. He and I both tend to be perfectionists who don’t want to do things unless we can really do them to the absolute best of our abilities. Our podcast was always conceived as a sort of free form show with no real boundaries that was as close to the insightful, hilarious, wonderful, deep and ridiculously silly conversations he and I always have. Now, of course, that just isn’t possible to replicate because once you add a microphone and possible listeners into the equation, it changes the dynamic and there’s just no way around that, at least for us. The podcast just is what is is and will organically shape itself and grow and change as long as we do it. This means that since it is just us free form conversing, there will be moments that aren’t funny, aren’t insightful, aren’t in any way entertaining to someone somewhere and this is scary for us. We realized that it’s scary in the same way stand up comedy might be scary in that this is just us. It’s not us playing a character, or reciting a script or hiding behind any artifice. Therefore, if someone doesn’t like it, they essentially don’t like us. It is always going to be imperfect. And we must learn to embrace this and use this muscle.

I’ve found that for me and so many others, that quest for perfection, that fear of falling short of what you could be keeps so many people from doing anything at all. You want to make a film but feel you don’t have the money, equipment, talent or some other ingredient, so you simply don’t make anything at all. This could apply to anything. Music, painting or just life in general in whatever applies to you. If you can’t be (insert favorite director, actor, musician, artist, whatever here) then why do anything? Why put out something that does not reach our own lofty standards? Well there are many reasons. Creating for the sake of creating. Honing and practicing your art. You never know what roads could lead to which destinations. People have gone amazing places based on a “silly little podcast” or received huge development deals based on youtube videos with no production value shot on a webcam. There are a million ways to any destination and most likely, you will not see the road that will get you there. It will almost always be some turn of events you never planned for or expected.

Another example I spoke of today are the “Live Raw Acoustic” videos I periodically put out. These videos make me extremely uncomfortable. They are NEVER up to par in my eyes. When I am on stage with my band, I feel alive and in my element, but when I watch these solo acoustic, rough videos, I see so many flaws. I can see my own lack of confidence, my own doubts and hesitation. I hear the mistakes in my playing and singing and yet that’s the point. I don’t practice for weeks until I can hope to maybe give a much more polished performance. I just do it. It’s supposed to be raw and real. And I do it partially because it makes me uncomfortable. I don’t know why, but I’ve definitely got some rebellious streak in me that makes me sometimes want to lean toward the things I think need improving as opposed to just sticking with what I know I can do well with my eyes closed or things I can coast through. When I find something that I can’t do to my own exacting standards, it just makes me want to do that thing even more.

Every day I want to grow and face my own insecurities and shortcomings and hopefully be a better person tomorrow than I was today. I often fail. And that’s where the real trick is. Not beating yourself up for that either. Muscles don’t get stronger without using them and working them out past their current limits. I believe this applies to emotional and spiritual muscles as well. Sometimes working those muscles out is uncomfortable and requires putting yourself out there and being vulnerable.

What’s my point? Hell, I’m not even sure any more. Do something. Don’t let fear hold you back. Don’t let the impossible quest for the ever elusive and mythical beast known as perfection stop you from doing anything at all. Do. Create. Be perfect in your imperfection.

Specialized Google Alternatives

This is my brain. This is my brain on a random Google tangent. It likes to take these flights of fancy and just keep on going.

If you want your search results to all be within the last 24 hours, then use Noogle.
If you are searching about ghosts, Boogle.
There’s a lot of false information on the internet. For only true and factual results, Troogle.
If you need more information about the Hebrew culture, Joogle.
For only search results about the Blue Man Group, Bloogle.
Wondering what kind of glue is best for the job? Gloogle.
If you only need results relating to brass horns or sickness symptoms and remedies, Floogle.
Need to find the cheapest online pricing? Froogle.
Want only results about cows, Moogle.
Find the nearest public restroom with Loogle.
Need a lawyer? Soogle.
Want results that are positively affirming? WOOgle!
Train schedules? Choogle.
What’s that smell? Pyoogle.
Oh, that’s what that smell is. Where did that fecal matter come from? Poogle.
Interested in all our planets animal species? Zoogle.
Dating sites? Twoogle.
Spoon collector? Spoogle.
Alchemy? Broogle.
Need new footwear? Shoogle.
Need to hire people for you new crab boat? Croogle.
Trying to solve a mystery? Cloogle.
Mr T’s favorite search engine? Foogle.
Hopping marsupials? Kangaroogle.
Info on the bands playing this year? Bonnaroogle.
People directory? Whoogle.
Want to see what’s on the internet about you? Yoogle.
Want search nothing but 5-7-5 syllable poems? Haikoogle.

I can’t stop. And after reading this, you probably won’t be able to either. I’m sorry.

Inspirational

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Discourse On My Discombobulation With Most Men’s Seeming Obsession With Obtaining the Forbidden (Or Wassup With The Anal Sex?)

I’ll probably have my “man card” revoked for this. Well, who are we kidding, my “man card” was probably revoked long ago for a multitude of reasons. Like using “discombobulated” or owning and wearing a red velvet shirt among countless others. I don’t care, it’s time for the truth to be out there. This is a discussion that needs to happen. Well, “needs” may be a bit strong, but it’s going to happen anyway.

I have no desire, whatsoever, to have anal sex. I’m open. I’m not bland and unexciting (then again, I guess that’s not for me to judge), but I just don’t get it. That is an orifice that is designed to be a waste exit. The sphincter is there specifically to be a traffic cop and keep things sealed tight. Plus, just next door, women have these wonderful things called “vaginas.” They are warm, self-lubricating. Accepting and welcoming a penis is one of their specialties. And yet so many men seem almost obsessed with “getting in the back door” to the point where it’s revered as some kind of holy grail, some “rusty sheriff’s badge” of honor. Something to celebrate when achieved or to ask for on special occasions or as a reward. Of course, I’m generalizing here and I don’t mean to paint all men with the same brush and I’m also specifically talking about us heterosexual men.

Look, even if you want to change it up, there’s mouths, hands, a veritable sexual cornucopia to be had, but no, so many men seem laser focused on “riding the Hershey highway.” I think part of this is the very fact that maybe you’ve been told you’re not supposed to go there, or that many women don’t want it there and yet so many men seem to have some primal animal instinct to want to do that which they are not supposed to do or are told they can’t do. I believe that this is the same reason that men can be with a wonderful, gorgeous, sexy woman, and they still stray and cheat like douchebags wearing ass-hats. The whole “thrill of the chase” stupidity. Yet I’ve never heard of someone really wanting to put it in the crook of an elbow, or knee. Don’t get me wrong, purely by the odds I’m sure it’s happened and that there’s probably a sub-Reddit for it. In fact it seems that throughout history men have most likely tried to put it everywhere it’s not “supposed” to go. Animals, pies, probably most melons. It’s a dark hole I don’t really want to explore…pun intended.

I have known some women who say that they themselves genuinely enjoy it very much, and in that case, great. What happens between two consenting adults is fine. I’m not condemning it as an act itself, I’m just saying that I don’t get the obsession with it and especially if your partner does not want it. But then again, I’m the kind of person who likes a mutual good time for all. It’s not some great and rare artifact to be sought after like “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Poo.” It doesn’t make you a conquering hero. It’s the human exhaust pipe. It’s a garbage chute. And we all know what happens when you go down garbage chutes. You get drenched in muck, the walls start closing in and there are slimy creatures that try to pull you under. Have we learned nothing from Star Wars?

I’m not sure what my point is, really but if you’re going to be all freaked out because someone was using their iPad in a bathroom stall (this doesn’t bother me in the least), then you most certainly shouldn’t want to put any of your body parts into a waste disposal unit. If you gag when cleaning that hairball out of your sink, but then really want the wife to give up the “chocolate starfish,” then maybe you should think a little harder on that one.

Ah wait! I think I found my point! If everyone involved is cool with it, then great, “take it to brown town.” Just stop it with the wanting what you can’t or shouldn’t have. It’s ridiculous. Instead, maybe put that energy into appreciating and recognizing what you do have.

Indiana Jones and the Egyptian Swamp Ass

After getting myself a new improved Indiana Jones Jacket recently, it made me think: He wears this thing in the jungles of South America and the deserts of Egypt? Now, true, it was made of a very light leather (much lighter than you would think), but it’s still a dark leather jacket.

The caption at the opening simply says “South America 1936”. The Amazon basin has an average year round temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26.6 Celcius) with 90% humidity making for a heat index of 86F (30C) though the largest region (the Brazilian region) averages from 80F to 90F (26.6-32.2C) and again, the humidity will make it feel much warmer. Now true, the night time can be cool, again made to feel cooler by the humidity, but if he’s going on a trek after a fertility idol during the day, I would think he’d leave the jacket.

The Egypt scenes are a bit more plausible because when we see him walking around during the day, he does not have his jacket. The first time we see him wear it in Egypt is at night when he goes after the ark. Then he gets trapped in the Well of Souls by Belloq, and by the time he escapes it’s day again (which doesn’t seem to add up to me either, not to mention that he “escapes” by pushing out a loose stone that exits right next to an airfield the Nazis are using and yet they never checked what was in there…), and from there gets on a horse and goes after the truck with the ark on it. So I can buy that the desert gets cool at night and he wasn’t planning on wearing it during the day but then got stuck with through circumstance but even then he could have left it with Sallah and Marion before running off after the ark. That thing had to be hot in the Egyptian sun.

Lastly, I don’t know what kind of garment cleaning procedures they had in 1936, but that thing had to be pretty rank. I know how bad it can be just to be in the car with myself after an outdoor band gig, much less gallivanting around the Egyptian sun in wool pants, a long sleeve cotton shirt, Leather shoes, felt fedora and a lambskin leather jacket. I think the scene on the submarine where Marion is helping him undress and lay down in bed would have been more like, “Here, let’s get you…OH, GOD, JONES! You REEK! Do they have a shower on this sub? I mean, I’m all for sexy time but how about we begin in the shower?”

Confessions of a Shirtless Yoga Dude

I started doing hot yoga at Sunstone Yoga a couple of years ago. I bought a a bunch of shorts and tank tops made for working out, made of “Duo-dry” material to wick the sweat away, I guess. Of course in hot yoga you end up completely drenched so there no amount of wicking in the world that can help you. Over the years there were maybe a few times when I just felt so hot or uncomfortable that I removed my shirt. Now, there are lots of guys who don’t wear shirts in class. Seems pretty common, but I always preferred to wear one, both out of consideration for the rest of the class who might catch a glimpse of my hairy and flabbier-than-I-would-like torso being contorted and compressed, despite their best efforts to just concentrate on their own practice, and because my own insecure body image issues.

However, a few weeks ago I had a turning point. I showed up to class and realized I’d accidentally grabbed 2 pairs of shorts instead of shorts and a shirt so my choices were to either just skip class and go home or do class shirtless. I found that not only was I much more comfortable but that I could concentrate on my practice much better as I wasn’t being distracted by a sopping wet, bunching up shirt. At that moment, I decided to try life as a shirtless yoga dude. Since then, I have definitely confirmed my experience and accepted my new role. It’s also been a good mental exercise on not caring what other people think (about my body or my choice to go shirtless) and to do what’s best for my own yoga practice and experience.

I still try to position myself in the back right corner though, out of consideration for my other yogis.

Communing With Trees

I was out taking a walk tonight, enjoying the cool, post rain air when toward the end of my walk, I experienced something strange, cool and wonderful. Suddenly as I looked at the trees around me, I saw them as living things, the same way you would see an animal. I had the urge to touch them (and I did) like you would a horse. It put the biggest smile on my face. The rest of my walk home, I was surrounded by welcoming, guarding friends.

No, I’m not on drugs. Call me weirdo, new-agey hippie or whatever. My tree friends will have sex in your nose and make you feel miserable (I apologize on their behalf if this happens regardless of what you do or do not call me…I’m fairly positive they have no control of it).