Flossing


Last week, I took an Unannounced Social Media Vacation. I have found Announcing such breaks leads too often to Interruptions and Inconveniences that tend defeat the purpose of taking such breaks. I need the break because those outlets had been draining me more than fueling me in terms of my own work here. Twitter at the moment is something to check up on during bathroom breaks. I need to come up with a better strategy for that platform. However, in the meantime, please follow me there. It’s free.

I also have been Spamming myself with all the Saved links, photos and articles that I think maybe useful at some point to my work here. They are all pulling me away from this. And it was time to start shifting through their Backlog. I also need to clear up and assemble the ideas I have on my various notepads. I think that the reason I feel behind the last few months because I was thinking (more like other thinking) the Final Product. Rather than finding Peace in the Process of creating it. Word counts and web stats for me lately are clearly things that have gotten in the way. And for the Trap that is The False Mirage of Obtaining Perfection. Walk Around with the Blank Stare. I was looking for maybe an online group. But with an unreliable Internet connection during the day at work it is hard because I would be trying to jam too much in within a short amount of time at home in the evenings. Plus, I am weary of placing myself in a position to just Feed the Trolls.

Maybe I am stuck in the Process too. I have been reading books (because a book is always available) that are helping me to adjust the Process.

 

On Directing Film by David Mamet. It you want a subtle conversation than Mamet is not for you. If you need a Head Lock then this is the source.

Scriptshadow Secrets: 500 Screenwriting Secrets Hidden Inside 50 Movies
by Carson Reeves. Forget get about Theory. Study the Actual Application

Save the Cat by Blake Nelson. Another way to look at the structure of a story and work within

 

Additional Reading (Because we can all use reminders)

Vince Gilligan on the Best Advice He’s Received and Would Give to an Aspiring Writer

24 Lessons for Filmmakers from Werner Herzog (And can applied to life too. Printed this out and taped on my wall)

23 Brilliant Life Lessons from Anthony Bourdain

Plus something worth a listen


A Podcast episode featuring Maria Popova ( www.brainpickings.org )

 

And finally, something I saved a while ago that I finally understand.


 

Moving on from here.

All I can do that is within my power is to Mark the Trail that I am on.

Because that is all I can do.

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The Obstacle is the Way

Our actions may be impeded…but there can be no impeding our intentions or dispositions.

Because we can accommodate and adapt.

The mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstacle of our acting.

The impediment to action advances action.

What stands in the way becomes the way.

 

Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor 170 A.D.

 


I am always making notes. I look and listen for new sources. I kept hearing a name from a variety of different people saying there was an author whose book you had to read. It was by Ryan Holiday. The book was titled The Obstacle is the Way. I am glad I was made aware of this book. If I had a teenager or young adult in my life this would be the book I would give them. This is a book that I have read and reread several times over the last year. There are books that should be read and reread because they do not reveal all of their insights at once. Plus, when I started to breakdown my own Experiences it has made go back to this book.

Tip: Beware of person who reads a book just once and think they have all of the knowledge from that book.

I had read some of the writings of Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, Seneca at some point in college. However, I was never taught what they meant to each other and how their writings were the basis of a philosophical discipline known as Stoicism. It is defined as “the endurance of pain or hardship without a display of feelings and complaint.” My early Catholic education was not going to mention them because they relied only on Magical Thinking. In high school, this may have been more useful than the SAT Prep book. As the author said, the writings of the Stoics are pretty much straightforward and college professors tend not to like works that are not Open to Interpretation.

In Ryan Holiday’s book he takes these teachings and how it applied to people throughout History: Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight D Eisenhower, Amelia Earhart, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Thomas Edison and Steve Jobs.

The lessons and examples in this book are still relevant to our times. If not more. We live in times where every day there is someone selling the Top 5-10 Steps for Success. The title implies there is Magical Linear Path to success. It is just a trick. That is all. However, the real message should be, Whatever Your Pursuit is. You will be lucky to bat .250 at it. So be prepared to learn more through what appears to be failure.” The book contains how these people adjusted, persevered, and endured to achieve the goals. In this current time, where people are complaining about the Inequalities that are life and Magical Thinking a politician can change that. This book can be Antidote to that outlook.

Here is audio sample of from Ryan Holiday. 20 minutes long. A Good listen for the Commute Time.

 

 

In the end, this is the reality that none of us can escape.


And Avoid anyone trying to sell you an Escape Plan from this Reality.


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Circumstances


This is another one of those post that seem to “bounce around my head” for a while. Then it gets to point where it is time to get it out and move on.

I do not want to get into an in depth discussion on religion. It is too personal of issue for most people. However, I would like to point out Pope Francis’ Top 10 Secrets to Happiness in which he basically tells people “to get over themselves and let others live”.

I also wish that people who always seem to be expressing their religious or political views would act in a certain way. HAPPY. I am tired of the “misery” of their company. I would rather have an open conversation with them. But I will do by my best to avoid their “lecturing”.

The downside of Democracy now is everything has to be two-sided and political. Democrats and Republican just yelling at each other is just an episode of Jerry Springer but this time they are all wearing $1K suits. I do not know why people cling so hard to their “political” views. They should view them as something that should be evolving. I have lived next to a cemetery for years. I have taken walks through there and this is one thing I have noticed. NO ONE ever puts their “political affiliation” on their tombstones. And that should tell you something.

It is quick and easy with social media today to Judge People. However, social media really needs The Context App.

Over the last few months, I have become somewhat fascinated by the postings at Humans of NY along with its book. It is really amazing how just a picture of person with a few sentences attached to it can convey a story. It makes me pause to listen to them. If you look at the photos with An Immediate Rush to Judgment then you may want to look at yourself first.


Post Secret on the other hand reveals that people are struggling Behind the Scenes in this life. There is a coexistence of Hope and Fear within a person.

It seems to keep coming back to Circumstances. Which many people laying Judgment tend to ignore.


The movie, Warrior is one that I have come back quite a few times over the last couple of years. This is the story of two brothers who are mixed martial art fighters who are at odds with each other. One brother, a teacher who is trying to keep his family from financially failing returns to the ring. The other brother is a returning, haunted combat veteran. The may be at odds with each other. In this story, the “circumstances” that brought them into the ring is the “enemy”. Also in this movie is the Father played by Nick Nolte who is a recovering alcoholic listening to the audiobook of Moby Dick. (A book I need to reread without having the academic pressure to it)

Also from the movie is the one trainer uses the music of Beethoven. So many a nights now I have been streaming the Beethoven Channel via the Tune-in Radio app. The reason for the music is mentioned in the movie but I am trying to find some reading to explain it for myself.

I came upon this book, when I was looking for something to occupy my time while waiting for my father’s medical procedures to be done. It just caught my eye on the shelf in a Target store.

This is a story of how a man goes from being an aid worker, then going on to be a Rhodes Scholar and from there going to through the training to become a Navy SEAL. It is a narrative that is very counter to lifestyle mandates of our current modern society. One that does not recognize much anymore that the “heart and the fist” can be in balance with each other.

The reason is the people judging are asking “Why” on their own terms.

This is about what he learned and experienced and how it helped him to better deal with people.

Henry David Thoreau’s Walden is probably one the more romanticized books of our modern era. It is something that we should strive for. However, try to do it on your own and you are going to get into a lot of trouble. Here is a case in point.

This is the journey of a man trying to work off his student debt that left him with a worthless liberal arts degree. Yet he decides that he wants to earn a graduate degree from Duke University. However, the only way he wants to do it is by not taking on anymore debt.

So he decides that he will live in a van while attending the university. The problem is that this is not allowed. So while he is there he must go into hiding in regards to his living situation. If was making the payments on $50k camper they may have found a parking spot for him.

Self-reliance is celebrated in literature but not so much when placed into practice.

All I am trying to say is everyone has different circumstances they need to work through. How they choose to do it is up to them? Too often people are not willing to help out. But it does not stop them from speaking out.

Just take a moment. Circumstances can be a very tricky thing.


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A Bit of the Curious for a Friday Flush

 

I have always been a fan of the movie The Big Lebowski. I have seen it several times over the years. However, to this day I could not give you a Suitable Explanation for the plot. I can quote several memorable lines and reference scenes from the movie. But I WILL NOT give any firm answers as to what the movie is truly all about.

The closest answer to explain this film I ever heard had to come from an Alien Culture.

 

 

 

 

This movie even inspired the creation of the religion Dudeism a.k.a. “The World’s Slowest Growing Religion”. In fact, it led to me becoming an Ordained Minister within their sect. All it took was the power of $25 and United States Post Office to become Ordained. Let’s face it more power has been assigned for less in Matters of Importance.

I never really did anything with the title. Yet. But someday I would like to put the title down on a job application. I just want to see the look on the Interviewer’s face. However, I am not willing to use the title to get better parking in front of hospitals. However, I am going to leave that decision up to my bladder.

I have never really studied the Tenants of my Faith. And I never really questioned them either. It is the holdout from my Catholic upbringing. Asking questions just leads to trouble. And I got into enough of it with my time spent there. But I recently read of an Exorcism or “Dudercism” Ceremony. Imagine the Public Service that can be done in the name of “You ARE NOT as Cool as You Think You Are”. It may be more important than having the Affordable Care Act.

As Buffalo Springfield sang, “There’s something going on here. What it is. Is not exactly clear.” Or maybe I should be quoting Creedance Clearwater Revival here. But definitely not the Fuckin’ Eagles.

 

It is odd to like something that for the most part will not have an acceptable Final Answer. Or a Final Solution. Because that is really bad. And you should never bring it up.

We live in a Society that is constantly demanding for the facts. Or at least the ones that fit whatever –Ism is yelling today.

I do not think Curiosity is given the Benefit it deserves. The virtue that it can be. Thanks in part to Eve and that damn cat giving the Notion of Curiosity a really Bad Rap.

I recently was listening to a podcast featuring the film producer Brian Grazer. (The show is already in the site’s archive which you would have to pay for. So no sense linking to it). He has just published a book about Being Curious. It is titled A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life . I found it to be an interesting read. The biggest lesson, he shared was (paraphrasing) “Take some time to shut up and listen to another human being”. The other one, “It is all right not to know everything. And you don’t have to fake that you do.”

I think it may be a better approach to start looking at a “Problem” with being Curious first. Rather than demand Answers first. Because are the right questions being asked. Is all Evidence even apparent?

Curiosity may be just keep alive in these times a Sense of Wonder to see live on this planet.

 

 



 

And the rug really ties the room together.

 

 

 


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The Friday Flush

What can I say? Other than than the Process Gets Ugly. Originally, this was suppose to be posted Friday night. However, after work I had to deal with (all too common lately). “Seriously. We Have to Do This Now.” And sadly I had to.

I was going to hold off. But why. It was done. Ready? Who knows.

 



 

The format of this post (and possible ones like it in the future) is an idea I have had for a while. However, (until now) never actually attempted.

I make a lot of notes. And now that Facebook allows you to save links. So I accumulate quite of material during the week. I would rather get out ideas out there. So this segment is going to be a few ideas or observations. There maybe even a few questions that I am looking to have additonal information about. I am not sure yet of a defined format. I may find one. I may not. But I am going Forward.

 

I usually do not go out on Friday nights. I hate crowded movie theaters. I do not enjoy trying to have a conversation over loud music in a bar. Plus, most of the time the people are there to bitch about the work week, wife, kids, politics, sports BLAH BLAH BLAH. So I am going to use the time to clear some things off the notepads. It is one the Life Experiments, I am trying out. I am not going into the others because More Often than Not people do not want to understand them. They want to hear more about the Guaranteed Results. See What Happens is going to be My Approach. There is always going to be the Ego Battles in this territory. So I am going to share a segment from a Paul Jarvis’ newsletter.

So how do you avoid letting your ego take over?

  1. Listen + Learn. In any and every situation, try and remember that you don’t know everything (which is in fact true). There’s always something to learn. If someone is saying something you don’t want to hear, then use that as an opportunity to learn (as in, why don’t you want to listen to them, why do you disagree with what they’re saying, etc?)

  2. Give up control. Control is mostly an illusion any way. The less you try to control and the more you accept that what others think and how they feel (about your products or even your character) is beyond your control. Your idea or product or even job could bear no fruits. It sucks, yes, but it’s not the end of the world (and doesn’t mean you can’t then try something new).

  3. If you ask someone for help or feedback, circle back to #1 and #2. Too often we ask questions of others we think we already know the answers to. If you’re asking something, there’s a reason for it.

Speaking of Life Experiments

I was listening to a podcast and he had an offer to try a sample from one of his sponsors. I always try to support the podcasts through their sponsors when feasible. This one was an odd choice. It was to try a couple of protein bars made with Cricket Flour from Exoprotein.com. I read through some of the information on their site. Basically, if you can eat a shrimp then you can eat a cricket. Biologically, they are closely related. And I have to say they were not bad at all. It is just right now their price point is not going to make them a staple for me yet.

Then I fear such a food source may make me a better Bait Food for the Zombies.

 

I finally watched the Transformers: Age of Extinction and I am still watching this series Out of Spite. You do not need to wear 3D glasses to see the Steam Rising of the Turds here. The series has not had any real character development. And the latest one decided that a defined plot line did not need to be included either. This is Special Effects for the sake of Special Effects.

The problem with this franchise is like many other things that need to be reformed. As long as they continue to Suck in the Money then reform will never happen. Any time I hear more about the Budget Costs then I suspect there is a better chance to make an argument about the Fraud and Waste involved. I want to hear more about the Creative Effort involved. Because that is where the Risk/Rewards are really found.

There is a Fan Made Transformer short that did a much better job. Plus it was made Old School using Stop Motion Filming. (You to click on the link to view it)

I have to say that was more Cohesive than what a budget of $210 Million Dollars produced.

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