Finger Food 26 - Time

I am haunted by the passage of time.  For some reason I feel like time has now caught up with me and all those things that I have been putting off and saving for a rainy day are now do it or you never will. 

I don’t mean for this to be a macabre post.    No this is different.   I need to explain how my memory works.    

My mind works in file cabinets.   I as I go through my day I take what I've learnt or dealt with and place it into a file under that specific day under that specific month, under that specific year.   Just like how most people may organize their pictures and videos on their computer, I have to timestamp everything I have done.    

 

It gives me perspective.   It allows context.  Growing up, I most certainly didn’t have a photographic memory.  No, if I did, well, my life would be exceptionally different.    

I grew up with a memory that time stamped everything and placed it into the corresponding drawer of that year.    So I could open it later and reference it if needed.   Literally,   that is how I catalog my memories.   It as a child through my twenties that was fine.   You could name a specific date and I could in general tell you what I did round about from there.  I may not have been able to recall that specific day but I could tell you about a day that was nearby it.    

And that gave me comfort.   Because it placed a context in my world.   If I needed to reference something I went to the earmark and immediately pulled the information I needed. 

I have come to learn that is not the way everyone thinks.   And I panic as to how other people can live that way.   I have specific conversations with friends and family about an incident.   I time stamp it and file it away.   a few years later, something comes up to reference that moment, and that very same person I was talking to has no recall of that moment.   I list of the details of where they were, what they said what may have been playing on the TV when they said it.   And they just laugh it off saying, "Oh I guess I just don’t remember."    

And it is no big deal to them. 

No big deal to them???   It's a huge deal to me!   Suddenly I am the only one in this entire world who knows what transpired that moment years ago.   To everyone else, it's gone.   It may never have existed.   And I panic because you have to remember these things.  If you don’t, if you can't place that context in the relation with where your life is now, how can you function???  How can you move forward without worry? 

Which brings me back to the fact I am haunted by time.    

I have slowly begun to realize I have needed to walk by a whole lot more file cabinets to get to the ones from my childhood.   Or to even high school now.   When not so long ago that was instant recall, I now have to maybe go to the basement to find those files because so much has happened since.    

And the scary part?   It's not that fact that I have to metaphorically walk farther to access an important memory.    

It’s the fact that I can walk that far, open the drawer, and realize that the file is damaged or missing.    

Most people will lose a memory without knowing it.   But not me.   I KNOW when a memory is missing.   And that is the most infuriating part of it.   Because I know the culprit.    

It is Time.    

There is a quote in Star Trek Generations where the villain tells Captain Picard that "Time is the fire of which we burn." 

He was desperately trying to get to a place where he could relive those memories.  Not necessarily because he was losing them, but because he took comfort in them and no longer wanted to live in the current world.    

But that phrase is all too true.   You see, I am not only cursed with the knowledge of that I am losing specific memories due to time and age, but I am cursed to know the specific memories that OTHER people are losing.   

And sometimes it gets a little overwhelming.    

Now for the record, I am fine.  More than fine.   I have a wonderful family and wonderful children.   The two of whom I can already recognize have the same ability I do when it comes to memory.    

In fact I have nothing but good things to look forward to.     

Yet I am dogged by Time, constantly reminding me that with every passing second, minute, and hour, more distance is passing between me and what I used to be, in whatever era over the course of my short life.     

I have eventually come to terms that I am not in control of Time.   The funny part is I never was.   I was under the illusion I was but nonetheless, it was a big step.   I recognize that in any other era before me, I may have slowly grown cranky realizing how age can tinker with my mind.   Which is in effect my soul.   

But I have noticed a paradigm shift over the course of my last 10 years.    

Social media.    

Facebook has a convenient feature that tells you what happened on This Day in your previous posts.   I love that.   It is the physical embodiment of what my brain does! 

There are other photo/storage video programs that allow you to scroll through your entire library online.   And It places dates to all of those files, those memories.    

When I was in college, I took pride in the fact that I could memorize my schedule, my practices, my exams.    I looked down upon the idea of a Personal Data Assistant.   I was better than that! 

Yet my senior year, I found my schedule to be too confounding.   I eventually purchased a personal calendar.    Yeah the kind you fill out by pen and can leave in the small front pocket of your back pack.   It was a life saver.     

And when I look upon that, and see that even then I didn't have a full graps on my reality atg that very moment, maybe I never had a full grasp on my past.    So I treasure these new apps and programs.   I need them.   They are my firefighter to the burning of the files in my mind. 

 

And while I will never win in a fight against the passage of time, at least I have assistance.   And this allows me the opportunity to move on.   Share the present.   Experience the new.   And have little worry that I will lose that experience in the long run.    

It's been theorized that by 2042, computers will be sophisticated enough to back up the human brain.   Which is a big deal.   Think if a future where you go to bed and plug your brain into a computer and back everything up.    Then the next day, you get into a car accident and die.   Rather than your family losing you forever, your being, your memories, and experiences are saved.    And can technically be downloaded into a cloned body.   Who will have all the memories of you except for that tragic day.  Which isn’t too different from actual victims of tragic accidents who live! 

It is immortality.   And soon.   

But we have that now, in a way.   It is becoming more fashionable to share your life on social media and save your precious moments on cloud storage programs.    Its crude.   And it certainly doesn't bring back that person.    

But at least with those programs, that person, that memory is preserved.    

And it still exists.    

~PS McKay

 

Newsletter!

Hi Listeners!

We have decided to put together a semi-regular newsletter for the show.  Yeah I know we do the social thing but we have received a lot of feedback that some of you want to get some of the content delivered directly to your inbox.  This won't be the kind of thing we send out daily, or even weekly but I could see the possibility of it being monthly.

Want to start the happy train?  Put in your email address below to get signed up!

-Elliot


Finger Food 25 - Ten Steps - How To Make

10 STEPS - How To Make

by Fish McGill

PREFACE: I met PS McKay in 1992 on the first day of 5th grade at a middle school where I knew none of the kids. I liked him from the start, we became fast friends, dedicated students, and creative kindred spirits. Our one academic showdown came in a spelling bee where I somehow bested him by correctly spelling the word “proceed”.

Our lives are on separate coasts now, but I get to hang out when I listen to entwined. He asked for a guest post and I am here to share some insights into my creative process. I am a professor of design at MassArt, I’ve worked on video games like Rock Band, Guitar Hero, and Dance Central, I’ve done design and drawing projects for some awesome companies and organizations. Here are the ten steps I follow with all of my creative projects.

1) I listen closely to my distractions.

My distractions tell me a lot about what I am actually interested in working on. Lots of future projects come from paying attention to what gets my attention. I keep track of it by observing it and making a note to revisit. I can move on and use it for future work.

2) I eliminate time, materials, & options.

At some point I stopped drawing in pencil and just went straight in with pen (black waterproof Uniball). Then I found another great secret; when you have less time you make better work. I think of it like this: how boring the circus would be if acrobats were wearing harnesses? You have to jump in and just do it already

3) I sketch out a pile of terrible ideas, without thinking too critically.

Nothing gets a project going better or faster than thinking of the worst possible solutions that would never be picked. First of all it gets you started, second/best of all it is fun AF to think of ideas that go against the project you are up against. This one always leads to something useful.

4) I work with and around other people whether it’s in a studio, library, cafe, conference room, listening to podcasts, etc.

I often expand my idea of what it means to be around people. I think of podcasters like Jalen Rose, Michael Rapport, PS McKay, Terri Gross, and more as people I hang out with on the regular while I am working. Being around other people while I am making work gives me energy. I have guests at my studio all the time or just work around my students on campus. One caveat; I have worked in a few different open offices and I am so over that phenomenon.

5) I take short breaks, I get fresh air, I take the stairs, I drink tea.

Breaks are the best. Great ideas come from unexpected places, not from looking at other people’s work on the internet. Exercise keeps my brain sharp and my moods up. Tea is the fuel that keeps me humming, although now that I am a dad of 3 under 4 coffee is a must have to start the day. Kurtis Blow was right, “Break it up, break it up, break it up!”

6) I write thank you notes. I am grateful in the mail, in person, and in life.

I have this theory about gratitude; I think it’s the most dominant emotion any person can feel when they actually sit down and do it. When I feel grateful and I share my gratitude I feel a rush of creativity and momentum. Who knows where I would be if I didn’t have so many great family members, dear friends, awesome colleagues, talented students, and inspiring creative people in the world? I start my day thinking about a few things I am grateful for.

7) I like to show my work to people as it comes together.

I find it inspiring to see other people do creative work. The process is non-linear for nearly everybody who makes for a living and good ideas can come from anyone, anywhere, any time. Showing the work before it is complete always leads to a better result than I could have done on my own.

8) I do my best to document along the way, I often have help from my talented wife.

It is a challenge to stop and photograph/video a project as I work. This is where breaks come in handy, not to mention my awesome wife Sheryl Pace. She is a supremely talented photographer, skilled teacher, and a super-fine Baberham Lincoln.

9) I make time to do nothing, actively and with intent.

My main man Calvin of “Calvin & Hobbes” knows what I am talking about here. He once wisely said, “There is never enough time for all the nothing I want to do”. Time to reset is essential. This means a break from the phone, email, work. Pull a book off the shelf, zone out, wander. This keeps the creative batteries charged.

10) I enjoy working on multiple projects at once, if I get stuck I can switch to another, or just write a list.

More than one project is not just ideal, it is also a great strategy when you get stuck. Switch to another project and make some progress, make it happen however you can. If you are still stuck, stop everything and write a list of ten steps covering how you get stuff done like I just did.

Finger Food 24 - Perfect Strangers (Guest Post)

This week's guest post comes to us from Michael B of the TX Files Podcast.  


“Can I get a hot dog?”, I asked the defensive lineman working the concession stand. I didn’t get an answer. Instead, he shot me a dirty look and walked to the other end of the concession stand and ignored me. I never got that hot dog, but I did meet my friend Michael aka MC.

I was the new kid in town and was about to start playing in the local high school’s 7 on 7 summer football league. If you aren’t familiar with the concept of 7 on 7 football, it’s like 11 on 11 football minus the offensive and defensive line. If you aren’t familiar with football and that makes no sense, I can’t help you. With the lineman not participating, they were relegated to working the concession stands during these summer tournaments. That’s how we got Hot Dog Gate. Throughout the summer practices, football in Texas is a year-round sport, we got to know each other a little better and he eventually sold me hot dogs at the concession stand.

Lakeway was a place I knew well as a summer vacation spot as a kid. We went there every summer. I had learn how to water-ski and wake-board there when I was younger, but knew no one there. When I was 15, my family and I had moved to Lakeway, a suburb of Austin filled with retirees, golf courses, yoga and white wine addicted housewives, banks, and lots of bored teenagers. Lakeway, commonly referred to as Lake Travis was where I had come with my family every summer since I was in 1st grade. I had fond memories here of wake-boarding, eating Thundercloud sub sandwiches, and gawking at women in bikinis at the marina. It’s technically a small town, but feels like a miniaturized version of “The Stepford Wives” meets “Cocoon” mixed with “Dazed and Confused”. Having moved around a lot I wasn’t worried about leaving old friends, moving, and going to a new school. This was old news to me. Still, it didn’t change the fact that on the first day I ate lunch in my car alone while listening to “…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead”. I may haven’t had minded moving, but that didn’t change the fact I often didn’t feel comfortable being around new people regardless of the setting.

Luckily for me, I had a familiar face in the last class of the day. Michael and I ended up being at the same table in art. We had a great little crew at the table. Kids from every clique you can think of and everyone was cool to each other. It was like the end of “The Breakfast Club”. Michael and I got to know each other better during this time and he actually met his wife at that art class table. No, not me.

Our real adventures would begin during our senior year. There wasn’t a whole bunch to do in Lake Travis in 2006 other than to get into your own fun. We did watch “The OC” together much more than we probably should admit though. However, we always did have one thing that peaked both of our interests and that was an interest in weird and paranormal topics. I’m not saying we were studying old grimoires and doing exorcisms (though there was that one time), but we always made sure to watch the new horror movies. This led us to go on further adventures such as “ghost hunting” and walking around more old graveyards than most people who aren’t named Morrissey.

Then came Podcasts.

Michael first introduced me to “The Joe Rogan Experience” around 2011. That was the one that popped my ear hole cherry. Soon, I was discovering a wide array new shows. Some made you think and others made you laugh. You could find a show on just about any topic you could imagine; True Crime (check), paranormal investigation (check), any time period in history (check). I had grown up listening to talk radio in my parent’s cars and had almost exclusively owned stand-up comedy albums until I was in 6th grade, so the medium was nothing new to me. What was new is that I had access to a wealth of information for free and could listen anytime I wanted to. Growing up, I had to wait patiently for the next alien or conspiracy cover up show to wind up on TV. Now, I could google a conspiracy and listen to 20 shows talk about it.

Our love for podcasts inspired us to take our own steps towards creating a show, The TX Files. Where we get to talk about ghosts and serial killers from our home state. The most important part of creating something with a friend is having fun. Sure, you’re gonna argue about things. For instance, Michael refuses to admit that Reagan was shot with .22LR exploding rounds!! The idiot!! But, at the end of the day we laugh more than we argue and most of the time when we are arguing we are laughing and that’s what matters.

I hope everyone can find a friend in their life that can create something with. I know our friends over at “Entwined” have found that same sort of thing.

Michael B (The other Michael)

Finger Food 23 - Lost Stories

McKay here!

Yep, I’m doing a second Finger Food in a row.  Sorta.   Part of it is I owe Elliott a solid.   The other part is we will be having a guest contributor from The TX Files Podcast later this week.  

So until then, I wanted to share a little bit of the behind the scene work when it comes to writing these episodes.   Episode 24 started out very differently.  Below is the opening story I had trying to introduce you to the Follett family.   Ultimately, this story just wasn’t necessary.  It was fun to write but I decided shortly before record time to go a different direction.   

I decided to take this opportunity to share my story that didn’t make it to air, and how I unceremoniously introduced myself to the Follett Family…

***

There was a small cemetery near my neighborhood growing up.   It was unobtrusive and even hidden under years and decades of overgrown shrubbery.  If you didn’t know any better, you would never have known it existed even while living in the area for years.    It just sank back into the trees, letting nature reclaim it while the neighborhood grew around it.   

None of us gave much thought about it growing up.   It was New England.   You could drive in the country and come across random family plots that sometimes practically were in the middle of the road.   Literally, this small cemetery was in between two houses, hiding behind a small almost ancient wall of stacked stone.  

Rumor was these walls were built by slaves.    The idea seemed preposterous growing up.   These walls were everywhere in the countryside there and the idea that slaves did this was just far too confounding.   Not for people who felt they were enlightened, growing up in the center of education, in a state that held the world’s most premiere universities.   This state fought to free the slaves!  The scars of the civil war were still being felt in far off places like the south, not in Massachusetts. 

But it is easy to forget that Rhode Island and Massachusetts were the epicenter of the slave trade during the early colonial days.    Slaves were traded from Africa to the Caribbean.   Some of those slaves came to New England along with a large shipment of Caribbean sugar cane.   And New England would manufacture rum and other goods back to Africa.    Wash, rinse, and repeat.    It wasn’t a very efficient cycle.   It was estimated to have taken a year to complete in full.   But it was enough to begin the industrial growth in the north.   The building of walls in the country.  Of whole universities.   Brown University’s very foundation is covered in the hands of slaves.  

The point being, that in New England, in comparison to the rest of the US, things are 400-500 years old.   Twice the age of the country itself.  And there are layers upon layers of lives and history that sit under the modern day neighborhoods and cites that litter the modern day landscape now.  

Going back to the cemetery, I had heard of it but the idea of seeking it out never interested me.   I respected the history and I didn’t want to accidentally defile the old tombstones that were haphazardly trying to maintain their vigil over the family that lay there.   But I knew it was nearby.  To be honest, it was no further than 50 feet from the bus stop that I went to every day.   That goes to show how strong the undergrowth became.

I met the Follett Family plot by accident.   It was a Halloween night.   No fooling.   I know it sounds really cliché’s but just follow me a moment.   At the age of 12 my friends and I were wanton to go about trick or treating by ourselves at that point.   We had important candy to grab and we couldn’t be slowed down by our fathers and younger siblings.   It’s basically a rite of passage to be able to trick or treat on your own without your parents.   

But it also holds inherent risk.  For every preteen that was out there, there was also the older, more nefarious teenager whose goal was the sweet succulence of a snickers bar.   No, their goal was to create mayhem, strife, and fear.    Rumors were there were several groups of high schoolers roaming in trucks tracking down trick or treaters and throwing eggs at them.   We weren’t too worried as long as we stayed in our neighborhood.  We promised our parents to do so.   The bordering road by the bus stop was not well lit and it was a big hazard for us to cross that night anyway. 

But of course we went outside the neighborhood.   That’s what kids do!   It wasn’t like we were out TP’ing the trees or putting shaving cream in someone’s mailbox.   No, we were just looking for candy.   And the endeavor had gone well.   We were able to add a nice bit of inventory to our pillow cases.   And just as the evening had started to quiet and the group of 12 or so of us walked along the side of that country road laughing and talking about what 12 and eleven year olds discuss, there was an ominous light that shown before us about a quarter mile down the road on a small hill.  

We all stopped aware that we were on the main artery and exposed to traffic.   We were quiet as we heard the engine of the now identified truck begin to grow louder and it dawned on us that it was time to go.   

There is no chivalry as children.   There was no order.   We scattered.   We went into all sorts of different directions trying to avoid those high schoolers that were yipping and hollering.   Most of the group went left.  I was the only one that hopped the wall and went right. Crashing through thick brush.   I lay there quietly hyperventilating as the truck drove by throwing what I assumed eggs.   It sounded like eggs.   But I luckily never felt the cold sticky yoke.   They didn’t linger thankfully, continuing down the road past where all my friends scattered.   I didn’t want to give away my position so I lay there for a good few minutes before I felt it was safe.   I took the quiet as a sign the rest of my group had been able to make it back to the neighborhood.   Deciding it was best to use the woods as a cover I quietly began to jog behind the tree line along the road to get back home.   

And that was when I unceremoniously caught my foot on a heavy rock hidden under the discarded leaves and fell down.   Now this story is true.  And while it would be dramatic to say that I was face to face with the headstone of one of the Follett family members that would not be accurate.   It was too dark in there.  I accidentally grabbed one to help myself up while I recovered from my smarting knee.  

That was when I realized I was introduced to one of the oldest families in New England.  In their cemetery plot.  In the middle of the woods.   On a dark black night in October.  

Yeah, I didn’t stay very long to lend pay my respects.  

***

So there you have it.   Should I have kept it in?   I'm still not sure.   But I'm glad I got to share this little piece of my history.    Anyway, stay tuned for a future contribution from The TX Files!

Finger Food 22 - Flying by the Seat of My Drone

McKay here!  Long time no talk!   We’ve had some great guest entries in our Finger Food series and I just want to say thank you to all of them for their contributions and wonderful insight on this page.  

And now I have to foul it up with my entry…

Good times…

Anyway, I don’t have anything deep.  Well, maybe.   My wife bought me a drone for Christmas.  It was awesome.  I had always secretly wanted one but never felt worthy.   Like she does, she of course could read my body language and other allusions when talking about them and bought me this little mini drone with an HD Camera call a Hubsan 4X.

Now Of course I pulled out the directions and tried to read them, knowing that most drones are broken on their first day.   But the print was really small and it talked about technical things like Tilt, and Axis and Accelerometers , I just didn’t have the time.  This was a Christmas where all the men had inadvertently gotten a remote controls item.   My son a Cosmo robot that you can teach through the iPad which is awesome.  My Father in law and his brother in law, a remote controlled boat.   They were interested in the drone. 

I don’t know what possessed me to try it in my bed room.   Maybe I felt that since it was so small (literally maybe 4 inches long and wide at most) that it wouldn’t be such a big deal.   I carefully place it on the center of my bed and held the remote, the accelerator being controlled by my left thumb.  

I turn it all on, see the lights blinking on the drone and the remote and then push the accelerator all the way.

And the drone went up, hit the ceiling, bounced a second, and then I panicked and turned off the throttle.   IT fell unceremoniously behind the headboard.  

I of course jumped and inspected it.  The Small plastic propellers were originally pristine but not nicked and a little dented on the ends.   I was nervous because I had heard when there is a discrepancy on the propellers the drones don’t flight correctly.   Additionally, I was only given one extra pair of propellers so I had to be very careful.  

I tried once more putting the ting on the center of the bed and launched it.   This time it went promptly into the bureau mirror, careening back and falling to the ground.   I grabbed it again and saw the additionally dents on the end of the props and decided to give it a moment and rest.  

I quickly replace on propeller and started charging the battery in the kitchen. 

When I knew the battery should have been charged, I tried flying it from the counter, next to the living room where everyone was.   I hit the throttle and one side of the drone just started going into the counter while the other side tried to lift.   I had no idea what was going on!  I gave full power and it still stayed sitting on the counter in this weird tug and pull.  

Finally I gave up and put the drone in the corner.  I was ashamed that I fell into the category of all the other plebes that broke their drones on the first day.    I was sad that I couldn’t enjoy my present.  But I was even sadder that my wife couldn’t see that I was enjoying the present. 

You see, I don’t care how I ultimately feel.   I want to make sure others who do good things for me are satisfied with what they did in pleasing me.    It seems weird, I know.   But to give you an idea, when I was ten, my father gave me an edition of a Calvin and Hobbes book.   One I didn’t think I had.  Which was true.  He even wrote a little foreword for me for my birthday.  I was touched.  He gave me a tussle on the forehead, said “I love you, Happy Birthday” and left.  

It was then that I opened the book and noticed the cartoons seemed familiar.   In fact, they were the same cartoons from the anthology collection I read at my neighbor’s house for the last month.   I didn’t collect those.  I only would get the general editions in the collection.  Not the special grouped together editions that combined the books.  

And I broke down crying.   My Mother couldn’t console me.  There was no way to explain it.   I wasn’t devastated because my father gave me a book that I already read.   I was devastated because I couldn’t enjoy a present for the first time that my father thought he provided.   I didn’t feel bad for myself.   I felt bad for him and was hurt because of it.  

Those similar feelings brushed back into my life as I looked at this limping drone that was supposed to work but couldn’t.

So I put it in the corner for a whole month, choosing to see it now and then but not interact with it.   Sometimes time can give answers.  

So eventually I realized I could watch some YouTube videos and see if others had given instructional demonstrations.   Which of course they did.   And through that, I learned I put the wrong facing propeller on the wrong motor.   I also learned where the led was to see if the battery was full charged which I had no idea.    

And through those I leaned other tips on stability, how long the battery truly lasts, and the durability.  

The next time I took the drone out was Super Bowl Weekend.   Using those instructions pieced together, I was able to finally get the drone in the air.   And learn that putting it in a stable hover is a trick, not an expectation.    This made me feel better.   This made me realize, as I slowly glided the drone across my living room in front of my family, much to the delight and terror of my kids that I just needed to find a better way to learn.  

Maybe one specific way of learning isn’t meant for everyone.   I learn from doing.   I could see the practice and then mimic it.   But I couldn’t take black and white words and then translate them into precise actions.   

Since then, I have bought 20 replacement props, a six set of batteries and multi charger.   Usually in the evening, my house hears the whine of the electric motors in the living room as I perfect the precise landings.    It took me a month to get over the fact that I may have to learn a different way.    A month that I could have used playing with the very toy I love to this day.  

I guess the lesson could be that if you experience failure, maybe it’s not just you.   Maybe it’s the instructions.   Maybe if you find an outside the box solution, you can actually reach your desired goal. 

And not feel the guilt and pain of not enjoying a genuine present someone intended you to experience.   

 

 

 

Finger Food 21 - Pattern Interrupt (Guest Post)

This week's guest post comes to us from Yusuf Clack the owner of ClackFit in San Jose California. You can check him out on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter


My man Elliot asked me to spit some lyrics for this here entwined blog, so here we go. Since we went to high school together, it brings me to a more spontaneous place than normal when we interact.

You remember that time. The uncertainty. The emotions. The elation. The terror. All cycled throughout a single day, sometimes even within the same period!

So here we go. Step into the cipher with me. It’s about to get REALLY real up in this biaatch.

You might notice my Ebonics flow. 40-year-old, suburban raised white man here -- but my formative years coincided with the 90s, the Golden Era of Hip Hop, so the lingo never left me. I used to suppress it in my late 20s when I was worried about being something called “professional,” fearful that I’d never get solid footing in this world.

But screw that. That was wasted time pursuing some stuffy standard that was someone else’s. All that matters are your intention and the results produced. Everything else is just style points. Do it your way homey.

And that is where this brief essay is going to take us, a lesson anyone can glean from hip hop culture.

“Celebration of Life”

Desperate circumstances, lack of hope, and constriction, can paradoxically force a sort of freedom at the same time. There’s no fear of losing status or being judged. It’s assumed that the status quo thinks less of you anyway so eff them.

Their approval isn’t needed. “Who are they to be equal to?” -Ice Cube

The external might get bleak, society may feel rigged, but laughter, style, expression, and celebration become a form of resistance, an act of rebellion.

The hands can be shackled but the spirit cannot.

Ask yourself which audience laughs deeper: one at a Seinfeld performance or Def Comedy jam?

Hip Hop culture embraces the stoic reality of the street: handle your business and don’t get caught slippin’, but have some style, some swagger while you do. Live free. Any moment could be your last...

No matter how serious life gets: as a father, a business owner, a trainer, I try to accomplish two things without settling for one or other:

1) handle my responsibilities and  2) be outrageous while doing it.

It makes me laugh and that’s reason enough.

The sands of the hourglass keep falling and I’ll be damned if I’m not going to celebrate every moment on the way to my dirt nap. I strive to be serious as a heart attack but silly at the same time. It all matters and doesn’t. As an entwined listener (and reader), you get that duality. I don’t even need to expand on it.

“Stay Gold Ponyboy.” - The Outsiders

Keep it fresh. Keep it lively. Keep it moving or you’re lost.

Want more motivation? Your kids. Or any youth you hope to impact.

The youth in general can sniff out irrelevance a mile away. If you’re not fresh, you’re stale. They’ll be polite if you hold position over them or they need something from you, but you won’t be able to “influence” them without this bold philosophy and ability to celebrate the moment, having fun, authentic, unscripted interactions with people.

A pattern interrupt.

They may not know a lot, but they understand a broken down, joyless adult when they see one.

Alright, I’ve begun to overstay my welcome here and get a little preachy. But it would be incomplete to leave you with some flowery lines without some practical nuts and bolts, a “how to” recipe in bringing back the spark if you fear yours might need some rekindling.

Of course there is no one recipe. And I guess the standard advice here would be to identify something way outside of your comfort zone and commit to it. I think Ramit Sethi has a challenge where you’re supposed to negotiate with your local barista on a cup of coffee.

There was that plank thing going around a couple years ago. There are unlimited ways to get silly or practice being bold. But I want to go a level deeper:

Your fitness: specifically, full range of motion resistance training.

It’s the most powerful anti-aging tool there is. It’s my career as a gym owner and personal trainer. I see it every day. Come visit my clients in their early to late 60s and see for yourself how fun and crazy they are.

Don’t just settle for any old lifting. Get help from a top notch personal trainer on a few sessions and tell them you want to learn the fundamentals of lifting and improving your mobility at the same time. Sound lifting technique, owning the archetypal movements at every point in the lift, means you have the raw materials for physical expression.

If you’re locked up in your shoulders, or wobbly in certain positions, you lack autonomy and awareness. The boldness of your personality is capped in some ways by the physicality which houses it.

What if I am restricted due to an injury or handy-cap?

The swagger we speak of is more a function of your trajectory than absolute level of physicality, although the power of that can’t be denied.

But utilizing and maximizing your available range of motion, regardless of what that is, and safely increasing your training volume over time will do wonders.

Be bold. Be outrageous. And get results. Don’t fall for the 'okey doke' I did where you have to choose between being a fun flake or a responsible downer.

Finger Food 20 - Having Two Spouses: A Practical Guide (Guest Post)

This week's guest writer is the part of the Flash Pulp Podcast, the Flash Cast and is part of the Skinner Co. Network.  After reading follow these links to find out more!


Hello, my name is Jurd. I’ll be your host for today’s round of Finger Food, and I’ve come to deliver a very important message regarding the proliferation of polyamorous marriages.

For example, are you familiar with the term polyfidelitous? It turns out that there are some folks who engage in relationships that involve multiple people bonded equally. That is to say, not he’s with her and she’s with her and him and her - although there’s nothing wrong with that if everyone involved is a consenting adult. Nor do I refer to what many simply shorthand as Sister Wives.

What I mean is that some people find themselves with some count of adults otherwise carrying out what many would consider a traditional marriage - emotionally, financially, physically - just more so.

I know, because it happened to me

And it could happen to you.

This brief guide is intended to aid you through such a life transition. While too broad a topic to cover in a single post, here, as a bit of Finger Food, is a brief sampling of advice gleaned from my own marriage.

Yes, we’ll get to some sweaty bed-based nitty gritty, but first some more practical considerations:

Nutrition

Back when I was married to just one person the choice of where to eat out was often a battle of indifference - well, let me tell you: With two spouses it hasn’t changed all that much.

A front of indifference is often a way of letting the other person have their way, but, as it turns out, they then want you to have yours - and when you toss in a third person to shrug towards matters tend to wind up in a swirling drain of indecision.

This can actually get a little problematic, as frustration sets in when your intended gift isn’t just accepted. Eventually, because you all respect and care for each other so much, you find yourself in an argument about how you all respect and care for each other so much.

Here’s the secret though: Everyone does actually have a preference about where and what they’re going to eat.

Through trial and error I have discovered that the most surefire way to reach an a decision is to suggest a place you know the others will be disgusted by.

Yes, sometimes the most effective solution is to troll both your wives with that greasy diner with the fantastic Texas toast that they’re convinced, rightfully, has a kitchen overrun with filth.

But, I mean, how gross can a toaster get, realistically?

Whatever the answer, if the proposal is presented in the most innocent of tones you’ll soon suddenly find yourself flooded with counter-suggestions and a full gullet.

Resource Management

Now, I’d like to think that perhaps it requires a certain sort of thoughtfulness to find yourself with two spouses, but it may also be the case that you’re twice as berated when you’re not pulling your weight. Whatever the case, pitching in is important.

There are some advantages to having, say, three adults in any given household. Many of the day-to-day duties can be pooled and shared, and there’s (theoretically) less complaining when the chore list is divided into three - even if four children means that each job on the list is a little bit more of a hassle to accomplish.

Did you know, however, that having two spouses means they can go through your clothes twice as quickly as you can? It’s true, and, even if you double up on socks and undies out of spite, if you ever want to see your favourite hoodie again you’re going to need to put yourself in charge of laundry.

Which leads us to an important secondary truth: Whoever controls the laundry controls the loose change. In the end you’re going to be stuck doing your share anyhow, so you may as well claim the position that’ll eventually provide enough rogue quarters to hit Subway when you’re done.

 Bedroom Business

In this day of online mattress delivery and the Matress-Store Bubble you may be scanadalized to discover the hideous truth Big Slumber doesn’t want you to hear: King size just isn’t big enough, especially if you’ve drawn the short straw of sleeping in the middle. Eventually you’ll learn the Jerk and Scoop technique, which isn’t nearly as exciting as the name implies. Either you’ll find your elbow pinned against the headboard as if you’re constantly signalling a right-hand turn, or you’ll slip a tender forearm beneath your beloved’s sleeping head.

Fine enough until your shoulder stiffens up. Inevitably you’ll find yourself snuggled on the opposite flank, giving no escape room, and you’ll have to release yourself by sitting up suddenly while pulling your arm as smoothly as possible from beneath your sleeping loved-one’s head.

Best case scenario: You turn over and settle into the same conundrum on the opposite side.

Worst case scenario: Sitting up suddenly in the still darkness, like a crazed jack in the box, startles the person sleeping behind you, who then instinctively pushes your clearly nosferatu-infected self away. That, in turn, locks your lifting elbow, causing you to raise and drop the head of the other sleeper, who, having been given the sensation of unexpected falling, also begins to flail in panic like you’ve all signed up for a Naked Gun movie sketch.

That said, especially with seasonal change, temperature regulation is a tricky bit of business. You don’t realize how badly you need to hang a leg off the bed to keep yourself from overheating until you’ve found yourself the center in a 7-Eleven hot-dog roller of a bed.

 My advice for you is twofold.

First, keep a blanket folded at the foot of your bed like your grandmother. If you awaken to find yourself sweating like you’ve just survived a Rocky montage the best option is often to extract yourself as gracefully as possible and sleep on the uppermost surface of your bedding. Having the grandma blanket will keep you from freezing to death, and you can amuse yourself with comparing your sleeping spouses to Morlock’s beneath the surface of the crust. With any luck this position is comfortable enough that you’ll be asleep before you realize you’re only making the unfavorable comparison because you’re bitter that you don’t have the ability to hang your leg over the side, or that, logically, the notion means you’re the Eloi.

The second part of my advice is to start a letter writing campaign, because eventually there’ll be enough of us to justify a size bigger than King (or the utter scam that is California King. Fah!)

Disclaimer

I hope this quick guide to the world of polygamy has helped shed a little light on the cold, harsh realities of multiple marriages. Remember: I believe in this utopian future of sizable mattresses and reasonably quick eating decisions, because it happened to me - and it could happen to you.



Finger Food 19 - Resolution

So it is a new year.  It’s The New Year, and if you’re anything like me you are undoubtedly working on potential excuses to not have a resolution.  It’s not a skill issue, I mean, I’ve done it before.  Picking goals, keeping track, making sure everyone knows what true focus looks like.  It’s not rocket science, it’s not even preschool science and yet at the end of the year I can’t even manage to pull together a token goal to impress my friends with. 

The whole concept of making a New Year’s resolution is something so common that realistically I could or maybe should plunder the hopes and dreams of those around me. Just steal a resolution or two and play it off like I came up with it.  That could work, right?  Maybe embezzle a goal from the wife, or ransack the plans from my Dad. Heck, Pops and I look the same, maybe what he has planned for 2017 could work for me.

I honestly looked into it.  No joke.  I actually typed these words into Google, “Best New Year’s resolution ideas for 2017,” and I doubt any surprise will come from what I found on the results page.  Take a guess on what the #1 thing on the list is.  Oh and it is number 1 by a mile…  Lose weight.  So there you go, step one done.  This should be my first and only stop in the resolution planning department but the fact that it’s so simple, and so necessary makes me think twice about it.  So to me, I liken this to the moment when the percentage of answers on a Scan Tron test are “C” and I go back and erase half of them to make things seem more, well, balanced. The same answer so many times, that just can’t be right! Those of you reading this may have actually uttered the words, “That doesn’t work,” like Mrs. Gladstone just did, then you can take comfort in the fact you are a normal, possibly a well-adjusted individual because the Scan Tron thing, yeah, doesn’t work.

But like I said, I looked into it.  According to Statisticbrain.com almost 22% of the New Year’s resolutions for 2017 are either weight loss, or eating healthier followed by some sort of life, or self-improvement. After those two which are really good resolutions come making better financial decisions and quitting smoking.  Gosh, the hit parade of great ideas just keeps on marching along and yet I am still not even close to motivated to choose one.  Also on the list is spending more time with family, finding a better job, and doing more good deeds.  Yep, all good things, all good things.  All things worthy of being called New Year’s resolutions and all of those things, except for the smoking bit, could enrich my life.  I really couldn’t have asked for a better road map to success. 

The Egalitarian in me keeps searching the web and is excited to read that only 41% of Americans actually makes a New Year’s resolution.  Seriously, 41% of Americans.  So I am normal, at least in this respect and then I find it.  There it is, right there, sitting near the bottom of the page in the same black text on white background as everything else.  And as I read the page I actually catch myself saying out loud, “Nine freaking percent,” and what could be interpreted as shock is actually the most informed I have been since starting this quest. According to the same site only 9% of Americans actually feel like they reached the goal they set when making their New Year’s resolution.

So out of 100 people only 41 make a New Year’s resolution.  Out of those 41 less than 4 people will actually feel like they were successful in hitting their goal for the new year.  Less than 4 people!  That’s crazy pants! This kick starts the debate of why the heck would anyone set a goal if people fail so frequently?  It also forced me to think about why people fail. And most of all it really helped me drive home how important the actual resolution is to the overall process.  Yes, the resolution to pick actually matters!

Dear diary, this year I want to lose 80 pounds and have a 6 pack, oh no wait, an 8 pack before summer.  Nope, not going to happen, ever… At least not for me.  Dear diary, I want to get promoted and be rich.  Yeah, that isn’t going to happen either.  But it’s not all bad. Nope, the whole idea of setting the resolution and the process of trying to achieve the resolution seems to actually be the biggest part of the journey.  People dream big, and really try to fix large personal issues in one fell swoop all for the sake of ringing in the new year with a bang. So here I am, sitting here avoiding the process of bettering myself because of what?  Because I don’t want to commit?  Because I don’t want to be like everyone else?  Because it is just too hard? 

I don’t actually know.  I honestly have no idea but what I do know is every single year I do actually want to commit to something.  So this year I plan to try a bunch of things.  I plan to be a better father and husband.  I plan to eat less food fried in oil, or fat, or grease, or things that make food taste good.  I plan to work harder, and be a better boss. I plan to spend more time with the kids. I plan to pet my dog more often.   I plan to love.  Every gosh darn day I plan to love.  I plan to love myself, others, my family, my job, everything…   It might not be the best or clearest resolution but at the end of the day it’s something important to me.  Maybe I land in the 9% or maybe I don’t, but at the end of the day I am going to have a whole lot of fun trying.

Happy New Year and #StayTwined

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finger Food 18 - Merry Christmas

Growing up I hung on the words of the incredible Mr. Watterson through his comic Calvin & Hobbes.   It was through that comic where I gained the beginnings of my vocabulary.  I loved the antics they got involved in between imagining Space Man Spiff getting captured by aliens and Calvin battling it out with his own clones.

But it was the holidays that Watterson captured the spirit and it always got me excited for the coming Christmas season.   And while this is a short Finger Food, I leave you with one of the most precious moments in Calvin and Hobbes history. 

Hug those dearest to you and make sure they know how much you care.

Merry Christmas and here’s to a happy New Year! 

#Staytwined

Finger Food 17 - In a Moment

I spent a large percentage of my formidable years avoiding the effort it takes to be great at anything.  Growing up is hard, it’s downright impossible, and finding ways to fit in or feel part of something is nothing short of a rite of passage. Finding ways to avoid schoolwork and pretending to have no idea what it means to be responsible seemed just par for the course.  I wasn’t a lazy kid but… ok, so I was a really lazy kid. But come on, cut a guy some slack because as a young kid the predictive algorithm of what it takes to be successful was more accessible than I cared to accept. 

I mean let’s be honest.  In school, any grade really, most of what it takes to bring home the proverbial bacon is a simple dedication to completing homework on time.  That, plus the ever so important step of marking each assignment with your name, or something that vaguely resembles the pencil marks which could be interpreted as your name.  Sure, there is more to it but it is amazing how far you can get on just putting in the time to get the work done. This simple concept, blanketed in tragedy, was my undoing while receiving years of government provided learning. 

The idea of putting in the effort to get the job done is something that can be found in the prologue of pretty much any book or essay on the concept of how to be an adult.  As a kid I wasn’t interested in the idea of getting any help on the subject let alone a book on the topic. So, where did this land me?  Well, let’s just say there were some things that happened over the years that I am not totally proud of but that helped shape who I am today.  Things… Let’s just say things because honestly this could be your story, it could be your kids story and the specifics of how we make mistakes don’t really matter.

Over the years there are a lot of movies or television shows that deal specifically with this issue.  Films celebrate the educator that connects with the misguided student or vilifies some of individuals who end up unable to move with pomp and circumstance. Last night I watched the movie, “Hunt for the Wilderpeople,” and was shocked at how much I enjoyed the film.  It was funny; I laughed and laughed often.  It was sad; I almost cried twice, and feel free to interpret the word cry in almost in any way you like. It was inspirational; Who knows what was intended but I walked away feeling optimistic.  For those of you unfamiliar with the film here is a link to the trailer: 

Okay, so this is nothing like my life.  This is fantasy.  I mean, it is almost cartoon like in how it approaches some of the more far reaching concepts which is just part of its genius.  I won’t recap the whole movie but I do want to dig into one of the themes of the film a little bit: Acceptance.

We are who we are, whatever that means, and in the end it is up to each of us to decide how we interact with one another. This film is filled with people who wouldn’t fit in with any of today’s social elite.   The film’s protagonist, Rickey Baker, is a 13-year-old boy headed to his last chance home before he takes up permanent residence in Jouvey.  Baker pairs up with an illiterate bushman whom he calls Uncle, and is capable of spending years off the grid.  Each character is fantastically unique and the dialogue is well crafted and those of you who read my blog often know I am a sucker for good dialogue.

Again, this is nothing like my life but I couldn’t help but draw a few parallels between Rickey Baker and myself.  Surprisingly enough it was the moments throughout the film where Baker seemed lost, where he seemed hopeless, and when he finally found himself, well… that made me think about myself at his age. I am not trying to make you feel bad for me, or think I was a train wreck of a kid but understand that these moments of self-discovery are important.  And what might be even more important is that for some kids that process of self-discovery can be way off script.

So we as a society put kids in groups and we pass judgement with the understanding that everyone will eventually fit into a round hole regardless of their shape.  For me I was a giant square peg trying to be crammed over and over again into that round hole and I just didn’t freaking fit.  But that didn’t matter, it didn’t.  I am doing the adult thing with the best of them and it is important to see that my unique path didn’t put me on the road to failure. 

Acceptance.  I get it now.  It is more than just being open to different viewpoints, or lifestyle traits.  Acceptance. It is about understanding and allowing each individual’s life path an opportunity to grow into, well, whatever it grows into.  For me, my life didn’t take a normal path, it didn’t follow any historical charts, and I certainly wasn’t the typical kid for my parents to imprint their values.  But I am me and this means something.  So no matter how weird, no matter how unconventional your life may seem, take comfort in each moment.  Not because they are building on something but because each moment is just that, a moment.  We get to decide who we are and what we become and the moments we live along the way are just part of the journey. 

I’ll leave you with a moment from the film – enjoy.

Finger Food 16 - 7 Lessons of a Life Well Lived

My name is Blake Fletcher and 1 1/2 years ago I quit my job to start a podcast called Half Hour Intern.  On the show I interview people about either a career or hobby that they are really passionate about.  We get to hear amazing stories, great advice, and learn a lot more about what everyone around us is doing all of the time.  The thing that I love most about working on the show is getting to meet amazing people from all over the world.  The guests are always so candid and give me such insight into their lives and what they do.  Often they drop truly insightful pieces of advice and divulge the heartfelt lessons of a life well lived.  After over 150 episodes I can definitively say that these 7 things are the most important lessons that I have ever heard.  Not all of them are novel, but good advice can never be given too many times. 

Enjoy the top 7 lessons I have learned from the past 150 interviews I have done


#1 - CUDDLE MORE

“If it’s someone that you’re already cuddling with and comfortable with, just do it more…practice in touching, practice in relating really authentically and openly, and that’s what we all need a lot more of is just practice in these things”

This is probably the most straightforward and awesome piece of advice on the list, so I won’t expand on its simple greatness.  Cuddle more.  Touch more.  Be authentic more.


#2 - WORK HARD

"Don’t look at work as something that is bad, look at it as an adventure and look at it as a thing to do so that life doesn’t get boring”

I’ll be the first one to say it, I don’t feel like working hard every day.  I don’t feel like waking up earlier than I have to.  Sometimes I don’t feel like making another post or trying to sell myself.  Unfortunately, and fortunately, this is nearly always what separates those that make their dreams a reality from those that do not.  As Cameron says, we seem to feel like everything can and perhaps should come easy, but that is just a lie that we tell ourselves.  It didn’t come easy for anyone else, and it probably isn’t going to come easy for us either.  Wake up a little earlier, work a little harder, and sleep happy knowing that you’re doing everything you can to succeed.


#3 - DROP YOUR EGO

“If you want to get anywhere, if you drop your ego it becomes a bridge and you can walk over it.”

Tim is an amazing person and does absolutely amazing work helping Australian veterans.  While Tim was in the Special Forces he had an epiphany that he credits with changing his life and the lives of those around him, particularly in the Afghanistan War.  Tim realized that everyone, including himself, was so worried about protecting their own egos and saving face that they were unable to get where they needed to be mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  Like most things in war, the ramifications of this were heightened in Afghanistan.  Tim realized that he could sacrifice his ego and use it as a bridge to get where he wanted and needed to be.  This helped every soldier he came in contact with in Afghanistan.  We all can remember a time when we refused to apologize to someone, only to have it hurt us in the long run.  We all know of areas in our lives where we probably need to be more honest with ourselves about what we can achieve, how we are currently performing, or what type of effort we are putting forward.  Yet, we put off even having that conversation with ourselves at the expense of our ego.  Our ego remains intact, but our potential is left unfulfilled.  Drop your ego and build an ego bridge.  Use your ego bridge to take you from where you currently are to where you want to be.


# 4 - LISTEN TO YOUR HEART

“My boss was super cool, super nice. The job paid well, I worked four days a week. Birthday and Christmas my boss was giving me something super dope every year. Free concert tickets, bonuses out of nowhere…an unbelievable set up! But I was completely miserable.”

In the majority of our lives we are told to, expected to, and often rewarded for thinking with our head and not with our heart.  I’ve learned that thinking with your head can only take you so far, and with the most important decisions in your life you need to let you heart do the talking.  Think of going on a date and having it just not ‘feel’ right.  Maybe you’ve been on such a date.  Everything looks good on paper, they’re everything you think you should want, you and this person should be clicking…but…you’re not.  We will somehow easily walk away from this in a dating setting, yet too often settle for ‘good on paper’ in our careers or other areas of our lives.  I say, if it’s not good enough for a person that you are going to be spending a good portion of your life with, it should’t be good enough for a career that you’re going to be spending a good portion of your life with.  Listen to you heart, listen to your soul.  They know a lot more than we give them credit for.


# 5 - PERSEVERE!

“You know, it’s 2 1/2 years of nothing happening and expecting nothing to happen, and then all of the sudden it just explodes and you’re like, what happened?!”

There are so many stories from the 150 people I have interviewed on my podcast that illustrate this lesson. Travel blogger, Musician, and YouTube Gamer are three of my favorite examples. Time and time again people hang in there, often past when they think they should have, and in the 11th (or 12th or 13th) hour everything clicks. Sales start to come in, people start to subscribe and follow, dreams become reality. If the stories that I hear on a regular basis are any indication of what to expect in life, expect it to not go as you planned. Expect it to not happen on the timeline you had planned on…probably expect it to take longer. But always hold out hope, always persevere. Years in, at your lowest moment, just when you’re ready to throw in the towel, it might all change.


# 6 - LIFE IS SHORT

“Life’s so freakin short, why not put your all into something that will make you happy. If you can be successful that’s great, if you can just survive then that’s awesome too”.

In many different ways we allow fear to hold far too much power over our lives. DO NOT let your goals in life or the possibilities that you lay before yourself to be effected by fear. The week before I quit my job to start the podcast I was really scared. The day before I quit I was terrified. All I could think was, "If I am this anxious and afraid now, how bad will it be after I no longer had a job?" I considered backing out. What kind of person quits their cushy job with the salary they need to survive to start a ‘business’ that they know absolutely nothing about, that will pay them no money for the foreseeable future? Do you know how many horrible ‘what if’ questions popped into my head? Nearly every 'what if' road led to me being homeless and unable to ever get another job ever again. The fear was strong. I breathed deep, put my head down, and went through with quitting. You know what? That day before I quit was the absolute most scared I ever was. As soon as I quit and committed to the unknown, committed to working hard to make a new life for myself, all of my fear went away. I occasionally have small bouts of anxiety about finances or other things, but I have never felt what I would call fear ever since I quit. Once you look a monster in the face, it’s just not that scary anymore. You realize everything will be okay. Ask yourself, “what do I want to do with my life?” If you come up with an answer that is different than what you do now, you owe it to yourself to at least try and go for it. Look your monster in the face and go for it. Worst case scenario, you’ll have a great story to tell your grand kids one day.


#7 - DON'T BE SO HARD ON YOURSELF

This is not a lesson learned from the story of one guest, but rather a lesson that I learned from listening to guest after guest talk about their path in life and seeing the one misstep that it seems we all make. We are far too hard on ourselves. You, reading this right now: there is a 100% chance that you are too hard on yourself. Follow the rest of these lessons; chase your dreams, cuddle more, work hard, but while doing all of it have the same level of compassion for yourself that you would for anyone else. If you slip up, just get back up and get to work again. No need to chastise yourself. We subconsciously think that being hard on ourselves is the only way to keep in line, but that simply isn’t the case. What you focus on expands, so focus on the positive, not the few things you could’ve done better.

That’s it! If you follow just one of those lessons, I’m sure your life will be better for it. If you manage to follow all Seven, please contact me and let me know how it’s done!

Finger Food 15 - True Colors

I actually texted P.S. Mckay this morning and attempted to get out of having to fulfill my Finger Food obligation this morning. Not sure what my problem was but I know that I desperately lacking inspiration, or maybe motivation is a more appropriate term.  Normally I have ideas weeks out and often am already done before the due date rolls around but this time I felt my creative juices suffocating for some reason.

McKay was helpful, he really was.  He tried to pump me up and even offered a few ideas for me to steal.  We went back and forth and I am sure I said something like, “hummmm,” or maybe, “ah, that’s an idea.” But really nothing sparked any awesomeness, nothing really made me feel like writing.   I thought about doing it on football; Nope.  I toyed with the idea of getting into some election nonsense; oh hell no.  I thought about boldly going where no man has gone before; Nope that won’t work, McKay goes there all the time.  I thought about Football again because heck, it’s Sunday; Still nope.  I watched my dog dig in the mud a move sticks around the yard and…. Um, no way, boring!  I almost threw in the towel and put this week on rain delay, I mean, it’s raining somewhere, right?

Tonight my family and I spent stopped for Pupusas which was actually kind of a cluster.  I mean the food was GLORIOUS but there was a wait and the one human who spoke English seemed to be out for the night.  Communication was a mess but who cares because the food was on point.  Please feel free to briefly click away to look up where to order a Pupusa if necessary. So we are on the way home, the six of us, and it’s been a pretty good day.  My wife and kids saw the movie Trolls on Friday because of the holiday and we were rocking through the entire soundtrack.  It wasn’t a long car ride but we started with the “Sound of Silence” and then continued onto “True Colors.”   The kids love it and keep asking for us to play, and replay “True Colors”.  For those of you who are not familiar, Trolls is a new movie release but has a lot of great music and this version of True Colors was performed by Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick.

If you listen to our show, then you definitely don’t need to be reminded that Cyndi Lauper originally released it in 1986 and it was later covered in 1998 by Phil Collins.  Fun fact, remember Babyface?  Kenneth “Babyface” Edmunds?  Well he actually produced the song for Collins and even played keyboard and provided background vocals on the studio recording.

So there we are driving down the street, heading home, with the Trolls version of True Colors playing over and over and over as we roll up on our house to find a half-naked man walking in the middle of the road. Yep half-naked and before you get too excited let me tell you that it was the top half which was naked. So after some effort I am able to navigate around the guy to get into my driveway and as I pull in a lot is going through my head.  To get started this type of thing isn’t super common in my neighborhood.  I mean, it was warmer today but dudes walking up and down the street without a shirt talking on their cell phone isn’t something we get to see out in front of the house often.  Downtown, yeah for sure, but at 7:30 on a Sunday night in my driveway? Not so much.

Due to the irregularity of the moment I elected to get out of the car 1st and take a walk around the car just to make sure there wasn’t anything funky happening.  As I disembarked from the minivan I noticed my eldest trying to be part of the action and without explanation pushed him back into the car.  By the way this totally pissed him off.  So I take my walk around the car and notice the shirtless man walking back down the street and realized that all aspects of funkiness can be ruled out.  I head inside with my wife and kids and we all sit down at the table to enjoy the aforementioned Pupusas. I was starving and started to dig in when my wife looked at me and said, “did you just use the last paper towel?”

With my mouth full I managed to mumble, “um, yeah, but.”

She wasn’t impressed, not even a bit and she said, “Fine, I’ll handle it,” in what I will officially refer to as a friendly tone as she headed out into the garage to grab a replacement roll.

The kids and I took turns passing the salsa around grabbing handfuls of chips and as my wife walked back into the kitchen she said, “So…  I just heard a noise that sounded like a person getting hit by a car and loud screeches.”

Immediately my mind went to the shirtless half-naked man walking up and down the street outside and I bolted to the front door and out into the yard.  Before I made it to the end of the driveway I saw the man lying in the middle of the road and two things went through my head.  The first was super reasonable and the second was, HOLY CRAP! I elected not to use quotes there and I am sure you can understand why.  The other thing was I need a land line to call 9-1-1 because if I use the cell phone in my pocket I am going to end up talking to someone in dispatch like 2 states away who has no idea where I am, and where to send the ambulance. 

I ran, yes ran, back into the house and attempted to find the cordless telephone attached to the land line which hasn’t been used for anything in the past several years.  Well that isn’t true.  We get about 2-5 calls a week from Solar companies, in the past month we received 10 calls a day from political campaigns, about 3 calls a week to do “quick” surveys, and, oh, we get a ton of calls that our computer as a virus.  So you can see that we use the phone but not really enough to have confidence in its location.  One would expect it would be charging on the base, and…. Nope, not there.  After some frantic debate the phone was located and I rushed back outside.

So let me lay this out for you.  This is a residential street with no center line separating the two directions.  Cars are parked on each side and at this time there are a few cars parked as such.  It is dark because it is 7:30pm and the nearest streetlight is directly adjacent to where the man is laying in the center of the road.  Between my house and the man in the street there is one shoe 20 feet from the man and as I sprinted towards him I also passed the cell phone he was using which now lay, like the shoe, in the middle of the road.

The man was well lit by the street light and in my absence another man, my neighbor, had arrived on the scene and was already calling 9-1-1.  The two of us knelt next to the man and I got my first good look at the guy and guess what, it was really just a kid.  Maybe 22 – 25 years old.  He had dirty blond hard which was shaggy and unkempt.  The kid was rocking basketball shorts and had tattoos covering most of his chest and arms.  He was conscious and clearly in shock and the only thing I could think about was that less than 5 minutes ago I was worried this guy might be trying to steal my mail and now I am worried he might die. 

It was at this moment my wife walked up next to me and I handed her the phone I didn’t use to call an ambulance and asked her to head back inside because the kids must be freaking out.  She, as wives do, tried to be helpful and tidy up at the same time.  She collected the man’s phone, and shoe and brought them to him in what could only be described as a gesture with no purpose.  I love her.  So she hands the man his phone while my neighbor and I are asking the kid what his name is, where he lives, and trying to keep him focused when I hear my front door thrown open and the collective cries, complete with tears, of my children.  If this is the first time in the last few minutes that you remember we have kids, yeah well, us too.

I turned to my wife and said, “Go to the kids, they’ve got to be scared.”

She says something like, “Oh honey, you are right, you are always right, and so smart, and handsome.” Word for word.  So she runs to the front of the house and back to the kids and almost all at once the tears stop because…. Mom is back.

As Mom leaves the crime scene the police arrive and they are not nearly as concerned about neatness.  They don’t pick up any shoes, or phones and actually start painting the asphalt where they find things.  The ambulance and fire truck and all my neighbors also arrive about the same time.  The kid doesn’t want to go in the ambulance but isn’t able to stand or walk on his own so he agrees to the insurance funded ride to the hospital.  It all happens pretty quick.  No back board, or medical attention.  The ambulance folks just collect the kid and get on their way.

I walk back inside and am met by all four of my children at once asking 2-3 million different questions.  I am able to focus on the loud ones best, and can clearly pick out, “What happened,” and, “Who hit that man,” and the worst by a mile, “Daddy, I’m scared.”

Yep, “Daddy, I’m scared.” I mean, what am I supposed to do with this?  I created this!  We arrived home and I created unnecessary tension about the half-naked man and then something happened.  Totally unrelated, maybe, but still something.  The kids might be connecting my initial concern but really the fact a person was hit by a car and that the driver fled was enough to get their little minds going.  I felt horrible that a kid I was worried about stealing my mail ended up motionless in the middle of the road and possibly seriously injured. So How to deal with “Daddy I’m scared?”

I am a huge fan of telling my kids what they can handle when they can handle it.  So I elected to be honest, tell them the truth, use this as a teaching moment. I talked with them about what happened. I talked with them about what I did, and what the police did. I answered all their questions which mostly focused on why that man was hit with a car.  We talked about how accidents happen, and how it’s possible to get hit by a car.  Might have been the wrong decision but I used this as a justification for every time I barked at them for walking into the road without looking both ways.  Yeah, it’s a stupid Dad thing to do but I couldn’t help myself.

During dinner, during bath time, and during bed-time we continued to reassure them they were safe. Their little minds worried about cars, and half-naked men and the police lights that would flash for over an hour after bedtime. They sensed the panic, the concern, and the reality of the moment and they latched on.  Those poor kids struggle much harder than I do in letting this moment go.  Because… because they don’t understand, and they still don’t despite all the conversations, reassurances, or police badge stickers, they don’t nearly come close to getting it.  We love them, we hug them, and we just make sure they know we are there for them, always.

I want my kids to know I am here, and I can keep them safe.  I want them to know they are safe.  The night got kicked off with Justin Timberlake singing True Colors and in the end I can’t get that one part out of my freaking head…..

If this world makes you crazy
And you've taken all you can bear
You call me up
Because you know I'll be there

I want them to know, I really hope they know…..  I am there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finger Food 14 - When Halloween Freezes Over

McKay here!  

And today is the entrance into the holiday season that I so enjoy…  HALLOWEEN!!!  

Now I love Halloween.  But I love the innocent form of it.  The little kid scares, the Hocus Pocus movies that have some quick jump starts but overall are not gory yet keep you in the spirit of everything.  

I was never into slasher movies.   I have a hard time dealing with suspense movies because I have enough anxiety in my life.  

And while I know that most people will be providing some kind of spooky memory about Halloween, like how they had some kind of supernatural experience affecting them.   Or how they spoke with someone transient only to find out from a third party that the transient died thirty years ago, I’m going for a more happy version.  

When I was five, I was living in Colorado, just outside of Denver.  If you’re not familiar, that area is rather high in altitude.   I lived in a very nice neighborhood dictated by home owners associations when they were still new.   There were so many new families who had children my same age.  On Halloween evening of 1986, I remember it so clear.   It was the year I was He-Man.   In those days you didn’t have fancy cloth costumes meant to look like the original in the best way.  Then?   You wore a plastic jump suit that had the body painted on.  And then you wore a mask with eye holes that were half the size of your own eyes and nose holes that barely matched your nose. 

Yes, this was a thing...

Yes, this was a thing...

But it worked back then.   I remember all the neighborhood kids being led by their fathers.   We all walked along the street, from house to house that was decked to the nines in Halloween gear.   One was a witch’s coven.   Another haunted house.   It was a wonderful shared experience among the neighborhood that I can only hope we will find again.  

And while that was fun, and so enjoyable, there was something else that stuck in my mind.  

My Father was not a strict man.   Yes, he had his “dad” moments where he raised his voice at us when there was nothing else we responded to.   But he was fairly liberal in how I and my brothers proceeded in our lives.  

During the Halloween of 1986, there was a blizzard.   And while there was no snow when the evening started, it quickly accumulated over my head as we proceeded through the neighborhood.   Slowly but surely, my friends dropped away, heading home to count their candy and call it a night.  

But not me.   I was on a mission   And my father never questioned me.   As the thick snowflakes fell, the air was deathly quiet.   We were only illuminated by the street lights and it gave a sharp, yet soft glow to the neighborhood as we walked through it.   The only sound was that of mine and my father’s footsteps as we walked through the accumulating snow.   It got so cold my plastic costume started to freeze and crack under the constant movement.  

But I was captivated by the Halloween spirit.   We had dropped off my younger brother earlier.  But I knew an opportunity when I saw it.   I was going to get that candy.  I was the only one left.  

And my father never complained.   He would follow me with interest, watching as I walked with determination from house to house, and my costume slowly breaking apart with each step.  

It was really one of the only times that I could really notice my father’s appreciation for me.   I had a goal and I wasn’t going to let a simple blizzard stop me.  I honestly think it was one of the first times he looked upon me with pride.  And appreciated how head strong I was, despite how different I was from him.  

To give him credit, the temperature was below zero, and while I don’t remember it being that cold, plastic costumes don’t lie.   And he never once tried cajoling me into turning around into going home.   He was willing to stick out the blizzard as long as it meant his oldest son was going to have a Happy Halloween.  

And I always smile thinking about it.  

Happy Halloween, everybody.   And #StayTwined

Finger Food 13 - That Thing You Said on Firefly

Hopefully everyone is familiar with Joss Whedon, not best friends familiar, or wave at each other from across the food court at the mall familiar but familiar enough that if someone said the name Joss Whedon you wouldn’t immediately say, “who?”.  McKay and I are totally familiar with the man but sometimes we forgot the rest of the world doesn’t always share our same interests.  Also if Mr. Whedon happened to be looking for a new best friend we would have no problem filling that roll, I mean, if he needed it - which he probably doesn’t.  So if for some crazy reason you happen to NOT know who Joss Whedon is please do a quick google search then head back over and finish out this blog post. 

Joss Whedon may be well known for many projects but he did some of his best work on a canceled science fiction television series called, “Firefly.” Yep, I said canceled.  So, Firefly is so many different things and can be difficult to explain to those who haven’t watched it.  There are hilarious moments, touching moments, and suspense moments all built around character development and great writing.  This show, which lasted less than a season on FOX gets billed as a space western but to those who have watched it is so much more.  For me this is when I discovered Whedon. 

This show was so tremendous.  I am a sucker for great dialogue which is why I have loved pretty much every David Mammet play, anything in the Cohen cinematic universe, and yup, the Princess Bride.  For those of you who love podcasts its why I fell in love with the Bright Sessions.  Great dialogue, and even better conversation, really helps develop the characters beyond their specific sets of fact.  You can learn more about who each character is by focusing in on their conversation, a concept which can be exemplified by great acting. For a television series, Firefly, and some of the best dialogue which only helped to strengthen each of the characters.

Another aspect of the show seemed to be the endless supply of one liners which have probably fueled tumblr, Pinterest, and click bait everywhere for years.  Here are a few of my favorites:

"Someone ever tries to kill you; you try to kill 'em right back!"

"I've been under fire before. Well ... I've been in a fire. Actually, I was fired. I can handle myself"

“You know what the chain of command is? It's the chain I go get and beat you with until you understand who's in charge here."

Whedon was so much more than Firefly, it wasn’t his first or last project.  He has been credited with so many great lines in so many great programs, both film and television.  Another one of his greatest hits was his writing on the movie “The Avengers.”  I could go on and on about some of the best moments but one of my favorite lines from the file was when Tony Stark said, “Dr. Banner, your work is unparalleled. And I'm a huge fan of the way you lose control and turn into an enormous green rage monster..."  Good stuff right? Funny, and spot on in the exact same breath.

Whedon wasn’t just an action movie writer/creator but he did a lot of work on sitcoms too.  Who knew he write 4 episodes of the Rosanne show?  Or that before Buffy the Vampire Slayer he penned 3 episodes of TV’s Parenthood? The man was all over the place and contributing real quality everywhere he went.

The most interesting project to me which Whedon was a part of in his long career was when he worked on an animated movie which saw its release in 1995.  Whedon wasn’t part of the original creative team but was brought in later to help pour some pep back into the film.  Originally the lead characters were a ventriloquist’s doll and an astronaut named Tempest. The characters were reportedly sarcastic and not the fun and likable heroes they needed to be.  Whedon spent time working with the production company to change the feel of the film and eventually the ventriloquist dummy was changed into a cowboy doll.  The character referred to as Tempest, well, he had a name change and to infinity and beyond would be remembered as Buzz Lightyear.

Joss Whedon didn’t just save the movie Toy Story back in 1995 but he also contributed one of my favorite lines to the film.  You may remember when Buzz looks at Woody and while shaking his head he says, “You are a sad, strange little man., and you have my pity.”

Watch it again and I guarantee you will catch his influence.

 

 

Finger Food 12 - When I Found Star Trek

I am a geek.   I’ll admit it now because for some reason it has become fashionable.   But there was a time when that admission would result in being a social pariah. 

And because I was a geek growing up, I discovered Star Trek.   But not in the way that I hear most scientists, astronauts, or physicists say they found it.   Most of them found Star Trek first.   They saw the star ship Enterprise floating in space and the Vulcan logic and Captain Kirk, a Horacio Hornblower impersonator, running and thinking about the greater philosophical standing that humanity had in the universe.  Sometimes solved by phaser fire.  But most times solved through positive discourse.  

I found Star Trek a different way.  I found it through astronomy.  When I was ten years old, I was given a beginners book on astronomy for Christmas form an uncle that is usually not involved in the gift giving process.   I immediately found it fascinating.  I couldn’t keep y nose out of it that entire night.   It started with the sun, then the planets, then the galaxy, and different astronomical phenomena like nebulas, quasars and black holes.  IT ended on the possibility of other earths.   But ones that were twice the density of our or half, and how those life forms would develop.  It showed me how such characteristics would influence all kinds of development.  

And I was hooked.   I was later given a telescope the next year and learned how the constellations were made up, how the Orion Nebula to the naked eye just looked like a smudge rather than the pink glowing cloud I saw in Sky and Telescope Magazine.   How patient you needed to be to watch and be satisfied with a meteor shower.  

After a particularly cloudy week, I was forced inside and came across a specific episode of Star Trek.   It was a Next Generation episode in the third season where Wesley Crusher, just a kid, whom I admired immediately, lost control of a few microscopic robots called nanites and they began to take over the ship.  The issue was that this was going to interfere with an astronomical event where they were observing a star eating the gas from another and causing a massive supernova.   Something that could rarely be predicted and was a huge opportunity.  

I know this wasn’t a situation where people’s lives were in danger.  But the fact that they used a real astronomical event as the cause for concern, I was intrigued.  I had seen Star Trek before and knew it existed, but it was this episode that taught me Star Trek was about science.  IT was about discovery and expanding our own knowledge.   And that was what hooked me.  

I realized that this show could be used to teach you about, not just science but about our very humanity.  

Over the years, I followed Star Trek religiously, pardon the pun.  I couldn’t miss an episode and there were so many things that Captain Picard, Sisko, Janeway, and even Archer taught me about growing and being a leader, not necessarily in a group setting, but in a life setting.   Without Star Trek, I would not be the even headed thinker that I feel I am.  And without Star Trek, I would not feel the need to continually reassess myself, constantly, making sure that I live up to the ideals that I hold dear.  Because if you don’t question yourself, if you don’t question your actions and how they relate to what you live for, what is morally right, then what do you stand for?  What is your purpose?  

I know this may be a stale argument.   But I am not necessarily a fan of the New Star Trek movies.   I enjoyed 09 Trek a lot.  Because it was a new birth and ended with optimism.   But Into Darkness left me angry.   Angry that I wasted time and money on a plot line that had been hashed not once, but TWICE before with Wrath of Kahn and Nemesis.   And I’ll admit, the TNG movies, while they had the best shows, were the worst movies of the bunch.  

I didn’t like being pandered to.   Remember, I didn’t need Star Trek to inspire me into science.  I was already scientifically inclined.   But I did NOT appreciate the idea of Star Trek dumbing down to the point where it was merely a flashy action movie with terrible plot holes and needless sexism.  

I entered a crisis of faith in Star Trek, a crisis in which I still stew.   I didn’t see Star Trek Beyond.   I wanted to but I didn’t have the courage to do so because I didn’t think I could give it a fair chance.   I will eventually rent it.   I heard Simon Peg talk about how Paramount wanted to make the script “less Star Treky”.

And I don’t appreciate an ideal that challenged an audience once upon a time, being watered down for the sake of the stupid masses.  It is insulting to me.  It is insulting to humanity.   What Star Trek always taught us was that we are, as a species, driven to make ourselves better.   Driven to have a conscionable discourse in our problems.   Otherwise, it will result in the last chance phaser fire.   And Star Trek was not about violence.  

Yet I can’t help but look at twitter, and I see countless posts from people trying to say meaningful things.   Their hearts are in the right place.  But when it results in vitriol, and insults, the other side will not listen.  There will be no responsible discourse.   There will only be closed ears.   And closed ears cannot solve problems.   Otherwise the Enterprise would have been lost long ago.  

I still have hope for Star Trek in the future.  I still have hope that humanity will eventually listen…

~PS McKay

Episode Rewind

P.S. McKay and I started this project back in April and in the release of Episode 1 we neglected to include any background music.  The episode contained a few mistakes and moved too quickly, but the content was good.

So for all our wonderful Patrons I remixed the episode to include background music. To make things interesting I stepped up our game a bit on the song selection.  This is available for our Patrons at www.patreon.com/entwined as well as on your private RSS feed for all reward levels. Yep - drop by and give us as little as a Nickel and you get access to the remixed episode.  Its definitely worth the 5 cents!

If you find yourself becoming a Patron and give the remix a listen then we would love to get your comments after you listen to it. Did you enjoy it as much the 2nd time?  Was it better with music?  Do you want more fun, remixed episodes going forward? Some other crazy questions I never thought of? Hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, Google, or via e-mail.  

Thank you and #StayTwined

Finger Food # 11 - Beowulf

This week the guys over at the Legends Myths and Whiskey Podcast have graciously accepted our request to guest write an installment of our Finger Food Blog.  For those of you who are not familiar with the show, head on over to iTunes and check them out!  As always if you have comments or suggestions please hit us up on Twitter or Facebook.  Thank you and #StayTwined

The Anglo-Saxon epic-poem of Beowulf is old. Like, really old. Like, over 1,000 years old. Sure there are older manuscripts out there, but there aren't any older poems written in Old English out there. So aside from being the incontestably greatest hero of all Scandinavia, Beowulf, son of Ecgtheow, is also the oldest existing bastion of the earliest days of verse; at least where the English language is concerned. Beowulf is, however, unique and special for more reasons than just these - one reason being the focus of this article.

The Humanization of Beasts

Art by Paolo Puggioni. Designed for Beowulf: A Mythosymphony by Satyr Productions.

Art by Paolo Puggioni. Designed for Beowulf: A Mythosymphony by Satyr Productions.

Beowulf is the work of an unknown author, and we can't assume that much about him (indeed there is much debate over the poem's authorship). What we do know is that the epic-poem of Beowulf has a decidedly Christian slant for being written in a Pagan world. The work clearly posits the Christian God as the supreme decider of human fate and takes several potshots at the ineffectiveness of paganism. In spite of this however, Beowulf has a very unique theme running all the way through it: This Anglo-Saxon epic-poem makes constant concession for its villains by giving them incredibly human traits. By forcing us, when we study them closely, to identify with them in ways we shouldn't.

This is unheard of.

Why would a Christian author, clearly competing against the pagan religions for dominance in Europe, spend time showing us the mind of Grendel? Spend time illustrating the good heart of Grendel's beastly and horrific mother? Convey a dragon as anything less than repulsively evil? The Bible doesn't do this. The Bible tells us that an evil entity simply is evil and simply does evil things. But in Beowulf, evil has a mind, it has a reason beyond itself for acting as it does, and it seems to have a good heart in some places. Grendel attacks because he is kept awake by the constant noise of bad neighbors; not because he likes eating Danes. Grendel's mother mourns the death of her son in a visceral way and even goes so far as to endanger herself to in order to make him complete again in death. The Dragon does no evil until it is stolen from, it lives happily atop its hoard; sleeping for days at a time, feasting not on the flesh of Gaets.

Art by Paolo Puggioni. Designed for Beowulf: A Mythosymphony by Satyr Productions.

Art by Paolo Puggioni. Designed for Beowulf: A Mythosymphony by Satyr Productions.

The hero Beowulf, son of Ecgtheow, may treat these beasts with the edge of his sword, but the author treats them as complete characters and goes out of his way to ensure they explain themselves through his narration. This is worth discussing.

What else might be hidden in this story?

Now that I've got you thinking, you may be super interested in taking a second look at Beowulf; to see for yourself what you may have missed all those years ago. At the same time, it may sound like the most daunting task you can imagine: sitting down to parse through ~120 pages and then deeply analyzing their hidden or missed meanings.  But you're in luck, we've made something just for you and people like you.

Beowulf: A Mythosymphony

Art by Paolo Puggioni. Designed for Beowulf: A Mythosymphony by Satyr Productions. Album cover.

Art by Paolo Puggioni. Designed for Beowulf: A Mythosymphony by Satyr Productions. Album cover.

Recently I got together with two friends of mine and started a production company: Satyr Productions, LLC. We produce the tri-monthly Legends Myths and Whiskey Podcast and recently we've begun creating and releasing Mythosymphonies. A Mythosymphony is a story set to a completely custom soundtrack from start to finish. But that's not all. Spaced out between the chapters - and at various intervals - are commentary tracks featuring discussions just like this one (including this one, actually) intended to provide context and insight which is difficult to gain when reading on your own and without spending hours on research.

So if you're interested in giving Beowulf another go, and in learning more from it than you have before, pick up a copy of Beowulf: A Mythosymphony today on iTunes or Bandcamp (Google Play soon). We'll finish this discussion when you get there! See you soon!

Questions? You can find us on Twitter & Facebook and we're always in the mood to talk mythology; so reach out! Thanks for reading!

Patreon and Stuff

Today we posted our 3rd installment of our Fireside Chat which is available on Patreon at the $5 dollar level.  In each chat we spend time talking about recent episodes and heading off on tangents.  It's great fun! 

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Anyway, we would love for you to head over and check out the reward levels, and help us keep the lights on.  

Plug in the following website (http://www.patreon.com/entwined) into your browser and you will be on your way to a bonus content extravaganza. 

For those of you who love Podcasts but hate Podcast Apps McKay has a solution for you.  We are on Youtube! I posted our most recent episode (#13 - The Atomic Goose) just in case you wanted to check it out.  

 

Thank you and #StayTwined

 

Finger Food #10 - Who’s Afraid of Ghosts?

Mckay and I are pretty excited about the Finger Food this week because Diane Student of the History Goes Bump Podcast agreed to guest author this weeks article.  Diane has been tremendously helpful to us and we are excited to have her as guest contributor to the website.  Diane is a very talented woman and you can find her podcast HERE.  

Diane Student of The History Goes Bump Podcast.

Diane Student of The History Goes Bump Podcast.

Ghosts. They are a controversial subject and something one does not typically bring up in polite company, similar to politics and religion. But I have found that if you are in conversation with just one or two people in a corner of a room somewhere - away from the main party - once you mention ghosts, the floodgates will open. Normally, people will not share a haunting experience they have had due to a fear of being thought of as crazy. Once they hear that you might be a true believer, they are all too willing to share and pick your brain about theories.

Ghosts and the unexplained started early in life for me. I was always that one kid with my head stuck in a “Mysteries of the Universe” Time-Life Collection or checking out books from the Fortean section of the library. And no, there was no real Fortean section in my local library, but I knew where to find all the weird stuff. I enjoyed Halloween far more than was probably healthy and not just because of the load of candy I hoped to obtain. I did my own make-up and enjoyed scaring other kids. I put those sentences in past tense, but who am I kidding? I still love Halloween more than is healthy, I still do my own make-up and I love to scare any little kids above the age of seven when they come to my yard on Halloween night.

My first unexplained experience came as a teenager. My sister and I were watching a scary movie on a weekend night when my folks were out of town. Halfway between Jason jumping out of a closet with a machete and Freddie Krueger slashing some sex crazed teenager with his finger blades, we heard the padding of a dog’s paws across the linoleum floor in the adjoining dining area. This would not normally be a startling experience except for the fact that we did not currently own a dog, nor had we ever. I remember glancing at my sister to see if she heard it too and she was looking back at me with eyes wide as saucers. We confirmed with each other that we had both heard a dog. We would certainly have been amusing for the casual observer to watch, as we crept to where we could look into the dining area. We saw nothing, of course.

So what did we hear? Was it our overactive imaginations playing with us as we watched a scary movie? Was there a ghost dog walking around the house looking for scraps? We will never know. How could we? Science has tried for decades, perhaps even centuries, to prove the existence of the human spirit after death. Parapsychologists and ghost hunters have all used ever changing devices and tests to capture evidence. Some believe they have. But in a world where the scientific method requires corroborating a theory by having it repeat itself over and over in a controlled environment, proving that ghosts exist is an impossibility. But grab a couple people at a party and ask them if they believe in ghosts and many will claim that they do, at least in part. That topic of religion that is as taboo as the topic of ghosts, lends itself to some people believing in spiritual existence after we die. Spiritual people believe that there is a soul that continues on after death. Is this what a ghost is, just a soul after death wandering around aimlessly looking for the door to Heaven or Nirvana? Why do they seem to just stay in one place and say really weird, incoherent things on tape? And what’s with the poking people? I thought that was just supposed to be a Facebook thing. What if ghosts aren’t really human spirits or any kind of spirit? What if this is some kind of time slip phenomena? Or some kind of crossing of dimensions? It all gets very science fiction when trying to explain something that goes bump in the night and is not seen.

So, do I believe in ghosts? I always say that I’m an open-minded skeptic. I’m open to the possibility, but even after having quite a few unexplainable experiences, I’m not ready to declare that what I have experienced is a ghost. The Spiritualists of the Victorian Era and the ghost hunters on reality television have made it hard on those of us that take this kind of stuff serious. We do not want to appear silly or crazy. I have almost reached that age where I do not worry much about what people may think of me. And I’m getting closer to that point in life where one really starts considering what happens next. Whether I get a punch card into Heaven or get to aimlessly roam the hallways of my home after death, the one thing I hope for, is that some part of me continues.

So when people ask if you believe in ghosts or if seeing or feeling a ghost would scare you, consider what you think a ghost may be and you more than likely will not be afraid. For me, ghosts symbolize hope and that cannot be a bad or scary element. But I do admit, a full-bodied apparition would get me to run, just like Scooby Doo.