Friday, November 18, 2016

Broken Hearted

In morning there's always the light
Hard to imagine it in the dark we live

They say there's light at the end of the tunnel
Hard to believe when all there is right now is gray

Standing in the shadows that morning holds near
It's the evening that we all fear

You always said you wanted wings,
But that was hard to believe in

esoteric, philosophic meanderings

It's not like you struck or hate
you chose to save a life
so when you see your maker be sure to share this with him tonight
without you, the life you leave isn't one worth living

Friday, October 14, 2016

Legos, Trains, and Haunted Houses

The Limiting Truth of Unlimited Possibilities

How to Overcome The Adversity In Your Life, One Lego At A Time

In a room, two boys are playing, each with their own Lego set. Each boy has an equal number of pieces, identical in every way.

The only difference is that one boy has the box that shows a picture of what the parts can build. It demonstrates the potential that using the particular pieces as depicted can form.

The other boy has all the same pieces in a clear, plastic baggie. He has zero guidance, no scaffolding to work from, and has an unlimited set of options in front of him.

For the first boy, we think of his options to be more limited by being given the display. While he may choose to build something unique, the probabilities are that he'll build something derivative of the display.

While he's been given a head start on what he is potentially able to build, it would seem that it also limits his creativity by creating a preset image of what should be done. One would think that this is the fallacy of expectation; that by showing what is possible, it creates limits on his creativity.

But for the other boy, the one with an unlimited set of options with what to build, how many pieces to use and for what purpose, the task is actually much more limiting.

He lacks any frame to focus his creative energy on. The limitlessness of his options actually works to hinder his creativity.

He has too many options, too many choices to make. He can build tall, he can go wide, he can make anything he imagines, and that analysis leads to a paralysis of action.

Trains In Vain

How Designers of Disneyland Overcame Physical Limitations  

Self Improvement Tips

Take a look at another example. When Walt Disney was growing up, he had a fascination with trains. 

He was so keen on trains; he made the designers of his theme park build a railroad track that circumnavigated his property line as an attraction.

When Disney was designing the park, he placed a train track that went around the perimeter of the park for people to get a tour of everything that was offered. But as the popularity of Disneyland grew, and Disney wanted to include more attractions, the property limitations placed a huge burden on the designers and architects. There was a finite amount of space and an unlimited number of options for more rides and attractions.

So what were the designers and architects to do?

If you've ever been to the California Disneyland, you've seen some of the creative solutions to these property limitations. Most likely, without even being aware of the problem in the first place.

If you've ever entered the Haunted House, you know that you walk into an octagonal room that closes behind you. As the doors close, a pre-recorded voice streams over the loudspeakers and sets the tone for what comes next.

As the tape is played, the room elongates and stretches before the audience's eyes.

But it's all an optical illusion.

What's happening is a creative solution to the limitations placed on the designers.

To add an attraction without taking away from other existing rides and structures, as well as the train that circumnavigated the perimeter of the park, the designers realized that they couldn't build upward -

- they had to build down.

So the magical stretching room is an elevator that goes underground to a tunnel that is the ride.

It was only through the limitations placed on the designers that they created one of the most memorable, popular attractions in Disneyland.

And it was because of the restrictions imposed on the developers that a solution was formed, not from them having unlimited options.

So, when you're confronted with endless options, ask yourself what are some parameters that you can work within.

What are some things that can confine you, to help you devise a plan, an option, a strategy?

Learn to set limits, you'll discover that you'll need to be more creative with them than without.

(I first read about Walt Disney, Trains, and The Haunted Mansion "Stretching Room" on the Nerd Guru blog)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Cutting Strings

The door pushed open slowly as her fingers curled over the edge.

It was the first time I saw her that morning.

She walked into the room. Her eyes on the floor, her black hair wet and curly from the shower. She wouldn't look at me, just kept staring at the carpet that separated the two of us.

It's an ugly, old, stained carpet. The stains are from previous tenants, sure, though I know we're just as guilty to the patterns that've developed over time.

At least it's a dark colored rug, brown in fact, with darker shades mixed in at random.

Anyway, this old, ugly carpet laid before us like a gulf between a sailor and shore; all he can think about is landing in port, gathering up his gear, heading home to have a beer and, if lucky, have sex with his girlfriend or wife.

For the less lucky sailor, he'll cast off to the nearest bar and watering-hole hoping that the arrival of his ship in port will bring out the local gals; the ones interested in the guys who pursue a life on the ocean, a wanderlust that is the solitary independence of being on the open seas.

They'll look for the type of gals that say they only want what the sailor wants - a beer, a shot perhaps, than to go home to get laid maybe, but most of all to lay down with someone else, if for just a few hours - and to lose the loneliness of being an adult in this world, before the mask of self-deceit is ripped away by the intrusiveness of morning.

It was morning. And I was spinning about in my head like I did every day, scrolling through emails and unessential social media, in effect, mentally masturbating.

I was decisively indecisive over what path I was to take for the day. I knew I needed to exercise - and so too, did the dog - but I didn't  want to do anything, stressed about the normal adult things, finances, bills, work, and the usual what-not.

In other words, I was too paralyzed by fears and thoughts. I was 100% self-absorbed.

It's usually when we're at this exact moment in our lives that the universe comes along and slaps us upside our heads. The little lady that controls this thing called life (if it is a little lady - I'm sorry - I mean nothing wrong by revealing your existence) has a penchant for the dramatic, a tendency to shake the tree and see what falls. If not for her amusement, then at least for our own.

It doesn't matter to her what we've planned, the vacations, the holidays and trips to visit friends and family; nor the best time to start a family; or for the retirement for those lucky (or smart) enough to plan; the toys to buy, the stories to write - it doesn't matter, because when the little lady decides she wants to do something in our lives, we're like marionettes on a string, her hand makes us dance to the song she's singing.

I wasn't much there, not mentally present at least. As she stood, she stood by the bookcase that we had put next to the door of the bathroom, the carpet sea a gulf between us,  and I turned back to my desk, too self-absorbed to see her.

"I'm pregnant."

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

To The Barometer of Temperature - A Nightly Show Goodnight (keeping it 100)

There Are More Important Things Than Profit

One of the greatest tragedies in modern society is the fact that something of value, something that represents positive thought and opinion is subject to the whims of a profit motive.

Take Comedy Central's "The Nightly Show."

While it's hard to replace a great program like the Colbert Show (ask Steven Colbert about replacing Letterman) - The Nightly Show was a necessary infusion of viewpoints under-represented otherwise.

I didn't always find the show funny.  There were times it was boring and dull.

But there were other times it was incredibly entertaining and funny.

Most of all it tried to be fresh; it worked to present perspectives that you couldn't find on the other networks.

Today it was announced that The Nightly Show was cancelled and wouldn't air after the end of the week. 

While that may, or may not, seem like a big deal, it is.

The reason it matters is that The Nightly Show brought to attention a lot of racist and socio-economic issues that you haven't seen or heard of before.

And tonight, the cast, especially Mike Yard and Rory Albanese, ripped apart the veil that too many in an industry are willing to hold over their faces. They were willing to say basically, "fuck it, I'm now out of work anyway, so here's the truth as I see it."

In the segment "Pardon The Integration," they discussed the "N-word", it's power and influence on society and most importantly, how it still has it's power.

The segment showed that the word has it's power because it makes white people uncomfortable.

I will miss The Nightly Show.

Much like I miss Jon Stewart, Edward G. Morrow (even though I wasn't alive before he died) , Howard Zinn, Kurt Vonnegut and others (such as Mark Twain, Edgar Allen Poe) that were willing to speak truth to power.

Larry Wilmore has been willing to speak for those of us without the megaphone that what is going on is not right. He said some incredible things about the dangers of a Trump Presidency in a way that was honest and truthful without the histrionics of other shows.

Gone is the voice willing to speak when others shout.

Forgotten is the power that nonviolence wields as a hammer on the anvil of hate.

Lost somewhere is the authenticity, the genuine, for the temporary pursuit of profit.

When we leave, it doesn't matter how much paper we had or what our returns on investments carry.

What matters is how we treat people, what we make them feel, and most important, what we make them think long after we are gone.

There are more important things than a profit motive. 

How often do you discuss profits and margins with your loved ones?

How important is your 401(K) to your friends?

While they matter to you, it's not that important at the end of the day.

There are more important things than a profit motive.  

(Fuck you Comedy Central, MSNBC, Viacom and others. Yes, you have a right to make a profit, but not at the expense of truth)

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Only Way To Develop Expert Habits Is To Fail At Developing Them

Just This Once You Should Look To Fail

If you want to make a change in your life, there's only one way to do so.

If you were to go for a hike on the local trails, how'd you get started?

How about losing some weight, get in better shape and become healthier?

What's the first thing you'd do?

How about wanting to make more money?

Would you get a new job, pick up additional shifts at your existing one, or start a business?

In every example you're making a trade-off.

You're making a trade-off of something, it may be time, or money, for the idea that there's a payoff at the end. You're giving up something in order to receive some type of reward.

If you were to make a lifestyle change, such as living healthier or making more money, how would you get started?

What's the first thing you'd do?

No matter what expert habit you hope to develop, no matter what new skill you want to master, and what change you wish to see in your life, there's no fool-proof method.

Regardless of what you want to accomplish, or wish to change, there's only one way to get it accomplished.

Get started.

There's only one way to be successful.

To get started.

Will you fail?

Will you learn?

What you do with your experience(s) after you learn is up to you.

When asked how he persevered to develop the light bulb after almost 10,000 different versions failed, Edison is quoted as saying

"I didn't fail. I just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
If you want to make an effective change in your life, you need to act.

It's only through action that we learn, and through the trials and errors that we experience, is how we succeed or fail.

Another American innovator Henry Ford is quoted as saying, "whether you think you can, or cannot, you're right."

It won't be easy. It probably won't happen when you need it to, but if you try, fail and learn, you're further along than if you didn't get started in the first place.

In other words, the only way you can develop expert habits in your life is to fail at developing them.

But it's by failing that you learn what doesn't work and puts you one step closer to finding what does.