Remember Those People Who Inspired You? Be Them.

Do you ever take the time to think back on your life and remember the people who have either inspired or helped you along the way It’s those people that have made your personality and success what it is today. I can remember in junior college wayyy back in 1993 I had a drawing instructor who really helped me out in my college experience. At the time I was in a band and playing clubs and parties on my off time. I would draw pictures of our equipment and stage as well as guitars. He gave me several good words that were nothing short of charitable! Nonetheless, he took the time to let me know I had something special to offer the world.

I have another memory of someone I work with standing up at a meeting and telling the room how grateful he was that I ran a talent show for the kids. That was a much needed encouragement and I will never forget it as long as I live.

If you run through your past, I am sure you can come up with a few if not dozens of memories like these. Let’s ask ourselves this question . . . is there anyone in our lives we could bring up these days You never know when the thing you say to someone will be like a landmark on their road of life and give them an eternal assurance that they have something important to offer that only they can give. My thoughts this morning . . .

(Written Jan 9, 2007)

Paradigm Shifts and Why we Need Them

I once heard a motivational speaker tell a story about when he was on an airplane and a 5 year old child was just making all sorts of racket. He was right next to the speaker so he was getting very annoyed. What annoyed him most was the way his mother obviously heard the noise and yet chose to ignore the problem. After a long time, the speaker spoke to the mother and said, “Pardon me ma’am but can you please control your son?” She replied by explaining how sorry she was. She had just found out the boy’s father had died and she couldn’t think of a way to tell him.

This produced what they call a “paradigm shift.” It makes the bad behavior seem acceptable and changes the way one perceives a given situation. I try to stay open to having these shifts. An example is the way the dogs near me have been barking at all hours of the night. I’ve been so angry at their owners and wished they would do something about it. I actually dd go over and talk to one of the home owners. His story was understandable. The uncle had left the dogs there and said he would come back and he never did. The dogs came up to my son and licked his hand. they were sweet dogs, albeit extremely loud. Since that meeting there has been very little barking. In a sense, I got a paradigm shift being open to it. When I feel angry at someone or a group of people, I need to remember a paradigm shift could turn my anger around.

The Lonely Rocket

Neil Armstrong was in a lonely rocket. I can’t comprehend losing a child. I have at least 2 friends that have lost kinds and I do not think I could get through that. I was really arrogant in my early adulthood in that I thought I could always bring myself up from my own bootstraps come what may.

Even that was before I was a parent. I have 3 kids and I really think I would be defeated if I ever lost one. I’m saying that because I have utter respect for those who have suffered this unthinkable loss. What would that be like? I think it would forever change a person. People can move on from this, like Neil Armstrong does in “First Man.” BUT, he is changed, I think that is clear,

Running your OWN race means not comparing yourself to slower racers or faster ones. It means improving the only way you know how and that may be different person to person. It also means setting your standard much higher that everyone’s when you are the only one that can get it done. Neil Armstrong again? Your heroic actions may affect millions, you have only your race to worry about. Set personal goals and get personal rewards.  Setting weekly, even daily goals in a journal can be a great way to measure success. Again, Bill Gates’ measure will be different from a lemonade stand worker. I’m a huge believer in journaling. In my case, later years has produced online diary journaling. It’s a lot of fun and helps me gauge my own opinion of my success.

One small step for man. WE do not see how crucial our steps are for others. Sometimes we never see but faith keeps us going. Recognition isn’t always there. If motivation to do things depends on the recognition of others, it will probably fail. Be your own cheerleader. Reward yourself for achieving a goal. Don’t have any? Set some. I can guarantee you Neil Armstrong had them.

Hancock (Movie Review)

This is a repost of Will Smith as Hancock: Lacking Human Moments published first on Yahoo Voices Jul 16, 2008.
Will Smith’s movie “Hancock” is a superhero flick that struck me as lackluster at best. There are a few moments toward the end that worked but overall it was just a movie trying to win an audience through special effects.

In the beginning we find John Hancock curled up on bench in Hollywood, California. He’s clutching a bottle of booze much to the chagrin of a little kid urging him to go get the bad guys. This scene is wholly confusing and I found myself guessing that he was a well known bum with amazing powers. Sounds stupid huh? Well, I was 100% correct. In the first 2/3 of the movie we see Hancock go through rehab and do jail time. I kept hoping we’d get something to hold onto in terms of a moral, but it never came. I suppose one could justify that big chunk of the movie by saying it shows people should be responsible and stay in jail even when they have the superhero ability to break any brick wall down (or thick steel for that matter). I’m sorry but the morals here, which are always there in great super hero movies, are cloudy if not non-existent. This superhero movie had no morals and therefore slipped and fell most of the way through. Now, in the last 1/3 of the movie it recovered somewhat, at least in the morals department. We find out he has a wife he didn’t know about and he does a few things to save her life. Without giving away too much of the plot, I will just say this moral of “selflessness” is presented in the most cryptic way it takes a movie reviewer to glean it, at least that is this movie reviewers opinion. If I were to ask one of my kids what the moral is of the scenes between Hancock and his wife I have a feeling I’d get a blank stare.

Should superhero movies be that complicated?

The second area the movie flopped in my opinion was the lack of human moments. Ironically, superhero movies are great because they reveal the humanity through the characters. Not only did these characters lack endearing human qualities, they seemed one dimensional, like a storyboard that was never fleshed out with human characteristics. I found the characters flat and built to serve only the grossly overdone violence that never stops from the first scene. This movie has tons of CGI effects that are neat to look at but unfortunately they don’t carry the weight needed to become a great superhero movie like “the Hulk” or “Spiderman.” I am a big Will Smith fan, but unfortunately, not even Will Smith can save this colossal train wreck.

Hancock will be a good rental for kids that want to see things get destroyed or by drunks that find identification in going to jail to sober up. For the rest of us working class heroes that need good movies to inspire and propel us to do great things, this movie will fall on empty ears and desperately-seeking-for-more than “Hancock,” human eyes. Those eyes, in case the makers of Hancock are interested, want morals and human moments in movies, it’s what keeps us coming back.

I Hate Harry Potter and iPhones and I Like Punk Rock

I have an attitude and sometimes is gets me in trouble. Other times, I know it has saved my life. I’ve been walking past my TV all morning trying to fix my central heating system that died a couple days ago. My son has been sitting on his derriere the whole time gawking and Harry Potter. Like I stated in the title, I hate this show. It reminds me of what the establishment wants us to pay for. It has no history in it for kids, no culture. It really is a stupid story if you asked me and every movie he has forced me to see has sucked … period. My wife reminds me that people in my family may take issue with this post so let me just not apologize in advance. You like it? Explain why on your blog 🙂

I relate it to Johnny Rotten singing:

I am an anti-christ
I am an anarchist
Don’t know what I want but
I know how to get it
I wanna destroy the passer by cos I

I wanna BE anarchy!
No dogs body!

Anarchy in the UK illustrates my attitude well I think. I was a punker through the 80’s and I aim to stay one now. I use my iPhone but I will never love it. Rest his soul, Steve Jobs had some great ideas but he was no messiah. I see him as more of a large scale Billy Mays pushing Oxy-Clean. I want to challenge every system that takes hold of this Earth. I want to be a free spirit. I’ll never forget my friends who were through my history. I hope my kids follow me but if they don’t and choose to pad the pockets of JK Rowling and Stephanie Meier then so be in. They will have plenty of fragrances, shoes, and lego collections that will match Holywood puke. I guess that would be one advantage if I was trendy, I’d have a lot more to buy and do. Alas, I prefer being the rugged individualist. I’ll close with my favorite fight attitude poem to date (by Dylan Thomas):

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

I say, fight the system and don’t let it define what cool is, or what anything else is for that matter.

Life Feeling Lighter for Me

I’m feeling lighter than air lately. It’s as if a field of seeds is finally sprouting. I’m not worried about much these days and I have little to no anxiety. So, what am I doing differently? Nothing. I am simply doing my meditation and exercise along with the other diet stuff I have opened up to in the last year. I take a multivitamin every morning after my mandatory breakfast. I jog most every day. I have all but cut out sugar from my diet. My wife has been great in helping me to keep my glucose numbers down. I am not diabetic yet but I do have elevated glucose levels which has pushed me to eliminate all forms of sugar and empty calories.

All these healthy habits have not been fun to develop but now they are my habits. In the past week or so I have noticed I have less of the irrational fears I have suffered from most of my adult life. I am so glad to be alive. I have grown to believe it is okay to be vulnerable on this human journey. I believe it is all there is and perhaps that is what has ameliorated many of my anxieties. Anyway, I got that going for me. I just thought I’d let you know.

Shipping the Whirling Leslie

I worked with a musician once who swore his whirling leslie was the only instrument able to make his song perfect. He actually had it living on the other side of the country and in order to get it here for our band, we had to have it shipped. Why wouldn’t a Target keyboard suffice? In the end I was very glad we had it shipped but the process seemed daunting when we first started, This was Hammond B3 organ with a whiling Leslie speaker and once we found a trusted place for shipping furniture, it was the most exciting thing in the world waiting to hear him record it.

When it arrived, he was elated. Chewing his Dentyne gum he got the thing up and working and starting wailing out trills on the thing. I could finally see that his vision was correct. When I told him it might be expensive he said: “Desperate times call for desperate measures.” When the song was fully recorded, I had to say I knew and agreed with exactly what he said. What an amazing sound it had. Every time I hear that song, though the quality is not perfect, the sound of that whirling Leslie gives me the chills. Since then I have learned that with music and any art project in life, it is best to pull out all the stops and get the instruments/tools you need to do it in style. Below is one of the songs we recorded with the Leslie, in case you are interested.

Talk to Me – 1992[powerpress]