Slacking off

Took a little break, as I went into tech week for a show (Oklahoma!), as well as starting a new job. Thus far, all has been going well. Still, there has been some slacking on my part.

I haven’t been reading much. A couple of nonfiction books. I’ll include that in Friday’s post. It seems that I’ve been incredibly busy without getting very much done.

Busy doesn’t mean productive. Someone said that once. I think.

So what have I been doing?

Good question.

 

The GOP Exodus

“May you live in interesting times.”

– Chinese Proverb

And these are certainly interesting times. But they’ve been clocking in that way for quite a while. Though you may argue since the 2016 presidential election campaigns, it’s been increasingly public and messy for decades in politics.

Right now, the Republican-led Congress is experiencing tumultuous decision making, trying to navigate the stormy seas of Trump’s presidency, the concerns of constituents, and their own moral compass. With such directional challenges, some are opting to flee rather than fight.

Just this week, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan announced his retirement from Congress. In the growing instability of National party politics, Speaker Ryan seems to think that it’s time to jump ship.

You may recall Paul Ryan receiving the Speakership following John Boehner’s forced exit, amid criticism that Boehner wasn’t coalescing the party enough. Now, with the current Administration inciting divisiveness at all levels, it would be a wonder if there were Congressional Republicans who would want to remain.

We are living in interesting times, but I’m sure most Americans are hoping that every day wasn’t more interesting than the last.

Fifty years of 2001

Another fifty year anniversary happened, and that was for the release of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Well it has been years since I’ve seen this movie, but I do recall HAL’s (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer) greeting to the protagonist: “I’m sorry, Dave…” Kind of spooky.

For me, I didn’t particularly like the movie when I first watched it. Roger Ebert had this to say. It is on my list of films to watch this year though, so perhaps I’ll have a different understanding of it. In reading about it for the 50th, Mental Floss has some interesting things to say.

And, if you don’t want to watch the film, or listen to “Blue Danube” or “Also Sprach Zarathustra,” you can check out this episode of Echoes, dedicated to space-inspired soundscapes.

 

Too many things to too many people

Time management. Focus. Exhaustion and overextension. These are elements that I consider often.

For several months at a time, I remained relatively secluded. It was a period of recovery for me. A necessary one, and well-received (by me). Now, as I make my way back into the world, the balance of finding time for myself and for others is again proving challenging.

This can be placed pretty much solely on me. I said yes to several commitments, and the wear is starting to show on me. I’m exhausted today. When there is no time to decompress, all you feel is the compression.

I’ve spent the past week trying to implement controls in my schedule, decluttering my workspaces, and preparing for some new particulars which will be coming into play over the next month or so. I’m excited to start these new adventures, and will be sure to write about them in subsequent posts.

I have a dream

Fifty years ago this week, in Memphis, TN, civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated at the age of 39. As the cultural climate has changed considerably over the past fifty years, one can’t help but notice that the work of social justice and equality is still being done.

This week, remember Dr. King. Think about those doing the good work. Possibly get involved, or volunteer yourself.

And if all of that seems too much, just say hello to a stranger. You may make their day.

Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live – a long life; longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. So I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

-Dr. King

The Crazy Ones

How do we say, oh crazy ones,
That the world is not ready?
Your time has either passed,
Or has yet to come.

You burn with unquenchable fire,
A flame none of us can comprehend.
Then we witness your struggle
To control your madness, your blaze.

The dying embers leave us empty,
An unsettling quiet in the pit of our soul.
You brought brilliance with you,
Gave us light from your very core.

I watched them die down,
Oh crazy ones. You fire starters.
Each great and mad all at once.

Better than most, yet misunderstood.
For how could we understand you,
We without the fire of madness?

A silent hearth, unsure of itself,
Whimpering in our complacency, waiting.

In some simple presence
Was enough to ignite passion,
Buried deep, long held silent
And at bay. The rules

No longer applied, for you,
The crazy ones, We who,
Like you and so many others
Before, after, and all time

In between: You called out to us;
Not knowing you were doing it,
Giving us the strength of your fire,
A spark that by itself could
Ignite the world.

Mere contagion will have to suffice,
As I and those like me bare the truth –
Since you are gone, Oh you,
Who were one of the crazy ones.

You have given us laughter, fear,
Compassion, understanding, fire… Hope.
We hope that we brandish your fire well.

Without fear, or hesitation. The way you did.

Time is a finite resource

How do you spend it? What does your currency go towards? Are you doing things that make you happy?

Some of the more pervasive questions I’ve been asking myself of late. Over the past two years I’ve had roughly 4 different jobs, and I’m currently interviewing for a new position. (Several, actually, across disparate fields.) I’ve had okay “jobs”, and tended to excel in them. However, much of the work has been hollow. Or left me feeling hollow.

Certainly it’s a societal norm to trade hours for money. And we trade the best years of our life away in a notion that we’ll enjoy our retirement that much more.

Yet I’ve been reading the 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss (finished it, and have actually begun rereading it). It’s one of those books that resonates with me. The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin was another. Business-focused, creative, and with just enough balls to say that the system may be wrong.

When I was a president of a board, I recall bumping against the mindset often; the mindset that was resistant to change because “it’s the way we’ve always done it.”

And if that’s the kind of mindset I have to fight tooth-and-nail with, is that really how I want to be spending my time?

I think not.