Showing posts from September, 2017

The Cars I Drove and The One I Still Drive

As teased on the latest Up In This Brain, here is the much-anticipated entry in which I present a list of the cars I have owned and was the primary driver of and the pictures I found!

1985 Chevrolet Cavalier
My first car! Aside from weird random breakdowns and multiple water pump and alternator replacements, it was a great car. It took me thousands of miles during high school and almost all of college. I have lots of great memories of this car. Sadly, at about 160,000 miles (which was probably beyond its life expectancy), there was a problem that was deemed more expensive to fix than it was worth and it was wholesaled out for parts.
The Cavalier on the last day I had it. I took a bunch of pictures before saying a final goodbye.
The Cavalier parked outside my high school in the parking lot by the bandroom, probably in 1991.

This was Christmas Day at my parents house. I think it was 1993. It was the first white Christmas we had in years and the last one until a couple of years ago. 
1991 Pontiac Sunbird
The Sunbird replaced my Cavalier and it was basically the exact same car. It had the exact same mechanical issues also. It went through alternators and water pumps like crazy but lasted me past getting married and even moving back to Tennessee in 1998. I loved the color. I've always been a fan of blue on a car.
At my parents house, the same day I said bye to the Cavalier. Almost brand new!

This is in Ohio where we lived for a couple of years.

Look carefully! There is the Sunbird in the snow at our apartment in Florence, Kentucky in 1997.

1973 Volkswagen Beetle
My first purchase in my dumb Volkswagen obsession in the late 90's. I didn't keep it long and there are no pictures. I got rid of it when I found the Super Beetle.

1973 Volkswagen Super Beetle
This car was mint but had that dumb autostick that was nothing but problems. I ended up selling it to a collector for more than I paid for it about a year after I got it.

1982 Volkswagen Rabbit
This ended up being a winter beater for a bit. It was a good car, less than 70K on it. I sold it for what I paid for it when we decided to move back from Cincinnati. No pictures!

1984 Volkswagen Rabbit GTI
My last VW. Bought here in Tennessee and sold here also. I finally got over my VW thing. There are pictures somewhere but I could not find them.

1985 Cadillac Seville
My dad knew a guy that had this car in mint condition with less than 40K on it. It was my last dumb car purchase. I can't remember who I sold it to.

1996 GMC Jimmy
I barely had this maybe six months. Nothing but problems. No pictures.

2000 Chevrolet Metro
I did an equal trade on the GMC Jimmy for this brand new 2000 Metro. I loved this car! It was a 5 speed and had like no power but the gas mileage was great back when I still commuted to Nashville every day. I wish I could have kept it but it felt dangerous once we had the kids so I finally sold it.
At my parents house. I had gone to Sears and picked up a new push mower for them in it! This car had tons of room.

2003 Pontiac Vibe
I bought this car and almost immediately got a company car, leaving this car to sit most of the time. It was also a 5 speed and I ended up trading it on a new car for my wife after a year or two. I am sure there are pictures somewhere but I could not find them.

1999 Ford Contour "The Mighty Ford Contour"
Lots of memories in The Mighty Ford Contour. I miss this car but it slowly fell apart over the years and I finally turned it back in to the company last December. I was one of the last people with a company car and mine was the oldest by far. When it was in good shape, it was the most comfortable car I had even driven. It drove great in the snow.

I took this picture right before the tow truck came to take it away. :-(

1999 Buick Regal "Proud Grandmother"
This was my mother's car, bought by my parents in 2000. My father didn't need it after she passed away so I took it once the Mighty Ford Contour went away. It's in nearly perfect condition and only has 130K on it. Since I work at home, I don't put a lot of miles on a car and we always take one of the other cars on trips. It's my "run about town" car and will be driven to our away football game tonight. It's like driving a pillow. Comfy!
I did take the "Proud Grandmother" license plate off but the nickname has stuck! I'm hoping to get some good years out of it.

My way too long post about the new TV season

Many years ago, one of my favorite annual publications (aside from the Radio Shack catalog, of course!) was the TV Guide Fall Preview. It's back when TV Guide meant something and long before they destroyed the magazine by making it full-size.

We would go to the local bookstore every Monday after school and buy all the new weeklies that had just come in including TV Guide and this issue was always HUGE compared to a regular issue.

Serious viewing decisions were made based on the descriptions of the new shows in those pages, especially before VCR's came along. You could only, hold on - this is scary, watch ONE SHOW at a time! That's right. If two shows came on at the same time that you were interested in, YOU HAD TO CHOOSE! It was terrifying. Thank goodness those dark times are over!

Now it feels like we have too many choices. We can DVR to our hearts content and then drown ourselves in new shows. There was something good about being limited to catching it in prime time or not catching it at all. Even with VCR's, you had to watch one show and record one show so it wasn't that bad. Now I can record three shows at once and stream everything else on demand even from the toilet! If my great-grandmother was here to see this! TV on the crapper!

I don't watch a whole lot of television. I went to college without one. Never saw Friends when it was new. Didn't see ER until season three. Now I sort of force myself to sit down in the recliner some evenings without the iPad and I stare at the glowing screen, trying to watch the shows the rest of my family wants to watch without falling asleep or zoning out. It's tough, so tough.

But, in this new mission I have to melt my brain cells, I have seen a few new shows already and have plans to watch a few more.

On Monday night, I stayed with CBS for the comedy block. Here are some thoughts:
  • The Big Bang Theory - oh, man. It's so cringe-worthy. This was my mother's favorite show and it was my fault for getting her hooked on it because I enjoyed season one. I kept watching it because she loved to talk about it the next day. I stopped watching it when she got sick and only watched the last season finale when they repeated it last week. I watched the premiere even though I was pretty certain Amy would say yes to Sheldon's proposal although she deserves far better. This will be a marriage of suffering just like it was a relationship of suffering with Amy trying to get Sheldon to stop being so self-absorbed. I know, Sheldon has an excuse as he is written in a way that we have to assume he is OCD or has some type of anxiety disorder. There is no excuse for Raj. Why have they written him into being such a sleazy loser? He, the actor Kunal Nayyar, deserves so much better. He is great in interviews. Hopefully he will get a decent show once BBT ends. And don't get me going on Bernadette and Howard. They were funny together at first but now they are just immature and annoying and have a kid that is never seen. The strongest parts of the show for me are Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki. They are written decently and are both super funny actors. Give them a show, CBS. 
  • Young Sheldon - Young Sheldon had a wonderful Radio Shack shoutout that I loved. It's a completely different dynamic than BBT. It features a Christian (Sheldon's mom) and an atheist (Sheldon) in the same show yet Sheldon still goes to church with his mom. Is the world ready for the attitude that we can all get along and see each other's point of views without having to prove someone wrong? We'll have to wait until November to find out because Young Sheldon does not come back until Thursday Night Football is gone. This show reminded me of Roseanne for some reason, the early, good Roseanne and that's a good thing in my book.
  • Kevin Can Wait -  Good golly, Miss Molly! They killed off Kevin's wife to write in Leah Remini. This is very troubling. I watched the show three or four times out of sheer boredom last season. It is mildly funny. The British guy is annoying as heck though and is there just to be made fun of. However, I have a lot of respect for Leah Remini for standing up to Scientology and that is why I watched and will probably keep watching. This show is not as good as King of Queens was in the first few seasons. At the end, King of Queens went nuts and I can certainly see the same thing happened with Kevin Can Wait. It sort of already has (R.I.P. Kevin's fictional wife).
  • Me, Myself & I - I had high hopes for this one. I watched and realized that all of the actual plot was already condensed in the preview I saw on YouTube and watching the show was basically pointless. I do love me some John Larroquette and for that fact alone will come back next week. 
Last night, I only caught parts of The Good Doctor on ABC. I really don't like cringe-worthy television and this accident victim that The Good Doctor saves in the pilot felt so incredibly over the top and it dragged on and on. Where were the paramedics while he is going back and forth with the witnesses and searching for a knife? This kid would have bled out five times in reality. The ending was so kitsch, the old recycled plot of we will give you this job out of pity regardless of your skills. Troubling.

Aside from returning shows from last season like The Goldbergs which was the only show I regularly watched, not much else on the schedule looks appealing to me. Wisdom of the Crowd looks interesting. It reminds me of Person of Interest which I enjoyed before they buried themselves in that big machine vs. machine plot. But, I watched the preview of Wisdom of the Crowd on YouTube and Jeremy Piven is SO overdramatic and I believe that is going to kill it for me!

Finally, I am curious about the return of Will & Grace although I have no idea how they are going to pull it off. How old are these people now? Have they made no progress in their lives since we last saw them? Does one episode involve them all signing up for Social Security? I guess we'll find out this Thursday at 9 eastern / 8 central!

tl;dr: I watched some television.

A quarter of a century!

I was listening to episode 645 of the dicksnjanes podcast earlier this week and Ken mentioned something about 1992 and how that was twenty-five years ago and my first reaction was to not believe this at all. How could 1992 have been twenty-five years ago! A whole quarter of a century has passed since I was a sophomore in college! How could this be?

When I think back to 1992, I can't say I remember a whole lot of specifics. I know that I wrote papers in the library in this big area filled with large PC's and CRT's. I believe we were on a DOS version of Wordperfect in those days. I spent a lot of time in the library. I read just about every book about being a writer and every literary journal that I could get my hands on which should been a hint that my heart was not truly in majoring in music. I would also sit high up in the football stadium and read books whenever I had the opportunity. I guess this was before the fear of heights I have now!

Fall of 1992 - nineteen years old and ready to take on the world, always with the idea that I SHOULD BE A WRITER (in bold and capitalized to show how much I really thought this!) in the back of my mind! I had convinced myself of this although I had absolutely no idea of how to do it. Ha!

Instead of sending completed future New York Times bestseller manuscripts to agents, I worked in the music department and spent a lot of time making copies and filing music and even stuffing envelopes for different mailers. It's there that I worked on a Mac Classic moving the music library database from a card catalog to Filemaker Pro.It's surprising how many times those skills ended up being useful over the years. Of course, I bet they went back to the card catalog the minute I walked out the door after graduation!

I also wrote quite a bit of crap inspired by all those writing books and literary journals  I read in the library on the huge IBM typewriters we had in the music department. Luckily, I saved none of it nor do I have a memory of what any of it was. At least there was no Instagram. If there had been, I would have probably been sharing pictures of it!

Blogging secrets

I write these posts whenever I feel like writing and I schedule them out so there is some semblance of regularity. Yesterday, I wrote four blog posts (including this one). Maybe I had just the right amount of coffee. Who knows. There are plenty of days when I don't feel like writing a thing, when I have no ideas whatsoever. And then, I have those rare glorious days when I have tons of pointless ideas and I unleash them all here. Wooooo!

Turn Up Your Speakes: "Take Your Time (Do It Right)" by S.O.S. Band

Another blog, another revival of my old favorite feature, Turn Up Your Speakes!

Years ago (pre-YouTube) at work, I believe (the actual story has gotten fuzzy over the years) someone gave me a flash drive with a video file on it and there was a post-it with "Turn up your speakes" written in pencil stuck to the drive. I wish I had saved the post-it but I have always remembered the words "Turn up your speakes" and they have lived on via posts on various blogs over the years.

At one point, I tried to do these every Friday. I think I will do them just as I feel like it moving forward. I can't maintain a schedule of  blogging/podcasting/creating/etc. without the schedule sucking the fun out of things.

With that intro out of the way, our first Turn Up Your Speakes at Jason Writes Here is from 1980, "Take Your Time (Do It Right) by S.O.S. Band. In fact, this song peaked at number 3 on August 16, 1980. Wikipedia lists the genre as post-disco although the song sounds fairly disco to me!

I heard it this morning for the first time in a long time and I was surprised at how well I remembered it and how good a song it is. It's a perfect way to start the weekend so Turn Up Your Speakes and enjoy!

How do you measure a month?

I measure by when all of the bills are paid, specifically my father's bills. I took over my parents' bills when my mother went into the hospital two years ago next week and I slowly paid things off and found better deals so they would save more money each month. It horrified me to see how much they were paying for certain things but I had never gotten involved in their finances up to that point.

After two years, everything is planned out month to month and I spread the bills out so the budget stays intact and money can go into savings much more often than it comes out. I review everything each Friday and the weeks keep flying by.
Source: Thoka Maer
I was thinking about what else has changed since my mother left the house for the last time two years ago. The house no longer has the "museum" feel that it had during her illness. We had left everything pretty much untouched for months while we were expecting that she would return. Now, many of the material things she had held on to for years are gone and I am hoping that those objects are finding use now since they were donated. We did leave her recliner and the table beside it as it was. My father didn't want me to move any of that so that little part of the house remains as it did in September of 2015.

There are days, fewer and fewer now, when I still find myself surprised by my mother's absence, especially when I am tempted to pick up the phone and call her when there is news to share about one of the kids. This only lasts for a second or so before reality snaps me back. The months we spent in different hospitals and facilities only come back to me when I have to go to the hospital to visit other people. Certain beeps and boops from machines make my skin crawl. I assume that is because those sounds (especially the alarm of the IV when it runs out of something) jarred me awake so many times when I was half asleep in whatever uncomfortable hospital chair I happened to be in.

So, here we are, another month that just happens to mark another year for us moving on - still looking back, but moving on just the same.

Cooking up another batch of thought nuggets

Yikes - seeing "thought nuggets" on my screen seems even worse than using the word "content" and I do try to avoid calling things "content" as much as possible.

I guess I do cook up some thought nuggets daily and I share them via Twitter and now the Twitter thought nugget restaurant is back open for business to the general public. It wasn't long after I removed the option to protect my tweets that I got retweeted by a bot that apparently retweeets any mention of illuminati. At least they didn't automatically follow me.
My Twitter thought nuggets don't taste as good as these but are probably just as bad for you.
Since the heyday of Twitter is over, I don't expect to get hardly any new followers now that I have cleaned out the followers I didn't know or didn't care to have following me.

I also decided to give Swarm another chance just because I am curious about the redesign. I don't know if I will keep messing with it long-term or not.

Bonus non-internet related thoughts: It sure is hot here. I want to say that I am ready for the heat of summer to be over but I know what comes after it is. It should be fall but we keep losing potentially nice fall days to the summer weather that just won't leave. That means more lawn mowing and another uncomfortable band weekend out in the heat. Yuck.

My Fitbit falling out

My Fitbit would have jumped for joy last Friday and Saturday. With all of the moving stuff back and forth for my daughter's school, I would have been thousands of steps over my daily step goal. However, the Fitbit and its charging cable are now in a little plastic bag on a shelf.
My Fitbit falling out started a couple of weeks ago when I had been out doing stuff all day and I decided to check my Fitbit to see how many steps I had gotten in and that's when I noticed that I had forgotten it. My first thought was to be discouraged, like my steps didn't count unless they were registered in a little tiny machine and then transmitted into an app.

A couple of days after that, I came home and noticed that I was only about 100 steps off my daily goals. I could have walked around the house and got those steps but I realized at that moment that there was no point. What difference did it make? So, I just put the Fitbit on my desk and left it for a few days before packing it up.
What I've realized is that the Fitbit doesn't encourage me to walk any more than I am going to have to walk on any given day. It doesn't motivate me to head to the park or walk around the neighborhood. It's just another little device to deal with that is small and can be easily lost and that must be charged at least once a week. It's nothing more than another to do.

In fact, it can act as a discouragement more than an encouragement. I have a negative feeling when I think that I am behind on my step goal and, instead of making me get up off my rear and walk, I tend to wallow in the discouragement and do nothing.

I did lose a bit of weight when I was going to the park to walk every day but I was also stressing myself out trying to fit that daily walk into my schedule and I began to realize that even if I made my goal one day, I probably wouldn't have time to make it the next day so I won't hit my end of the week and that was incredibly frustrating. Why would I want to deal with something that does nothing more than remind me that I am perpetually behind?
I'm sure these are not the feelings that Fitbit marketing wants me to associate with its devices but I have packed mine up, at least for now, and I am still getting my steps in regardless if they "count" or not.

Too hot for pumpkin spice

We made it through weekend one of four in a row with football games on Friday night and band competitions on Saturday. Just in time for weekend one, summer decided to come back. Our early fall has vanished and the heat was just about oppressive yesterday and just as soon as the blazing hot sun went down, the mosquitoes came out in force to inflict a different kind of misery. What is this, Saskatchewan?

The good news is that the band did quite well and I didn't permanently injure myself moving band equipment. We'll see how long the latter continues to be valid.

Coffee matters today because of Frasier and Niles Crane

Seeing the story today about Nestlé taking majority ownership of Blue Bottle had me thinking a bit about coffee and how much the coffee industry owes the Crane brothers.

That's right - every company that has made a ton of money on coffee since the mid 90's should be giving a huge thank you to Frasier and Niles Crane and their many scenes in Café Nervosa.

Before Frasier, coffee was just coffee to me. I grew up with my mother fixing coffee in the old percolator we had. I believe it was always Maxwell House. Sure, I would get the occasional cup of coffee at a restaurant, but coffee was mostly an afterthought. I never considered what brand it was or what different drinks might be out there like espressos or lattes.

On September 16, 1993, all of that changed with the premiere episode of Frasier. We are introduced to Frasier's brother, Niles, standing at the bar in Café Nervosa. This was a year ahead of our first peek of Central Perk in Friends and the first time I ever associated coffee with something more than just something to drink to get warm or stay awake.

It took awhile for coffee shops as we know them today to pop up out here around Armpit. Now we have Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, and tons of local coffee shops to sit in and talk and read and work while sipping a variety of drinks and most of these shops remind me of how Café Nervosa looked on television all those years back.

Just writing this gave me the urge to brew a cup of coffee and watch the premiere episode of Frasier on Netflix!

What matters

I was just looking at what is on my home office desk and suddenly one thought popped into my mind - how little actually matters once you think about it. The next thought was how I wish I had always understood this.

What made me think of this is how sparse my desk now is. I used to have all sorts of knick-knacks and memorabilia on my desk. I'm not sure why. I don't think I ever really noticed them until I had to move them all to dust. Their presence didn't make my work day any more joyous and their absence doesn't make it any less joyous.

My desk is now pretty much empty. Only a few knick-knacks survived my purge, including the old wind up Pac-Man I got on a birthday many years ago, the Canadian flag I got at EPCOT in 1984 and a solar-powered flower that moves back and forth on sunny days, unlike the cloudy day we have today.

Things are things and I no longer need so many things to remind me of where I've been and what I've done or to distract me from what I am doing and what I need to do.

All is well in Armpit

What is left of Irma finally arrived yesterday afternoon and promptly fell apart. We ended up with nothing more than a nice taste of fall with cooler wind and light rain. The rain will linger for another day or two and that's it. The normal mid-September heat returns at the end of the week.

My Smooth Sailing sabbatical (awesome alliteration there) began yesterday as I finished up editing the episode featuring my last appearance for a bit. I am looking forward to the break from editing although it takes me far less time to edit an episode now than it did even three months ago.

I was pleased at how well this episode (60) came out. I felt like I wasn't 100% present during the recording and I was worried that I would listen back and be unhappy with my participation in the show. Maybe everyone would here anticipation of the break ahead in my voice, like on the last day of school when I used to stare at the clock knowing that a summer of Atari was almost in my grasp! I am happy to report that I somehow held it together and might have even said at least one funny thing.
The microphone has been pushed into the sabbatical position where it will mostly remain until November.
I think I need the brain break even though the real reason this is happening is so I can move my typical weekend chores to my weeknights since I will be busy every Saturday from this weekend to the end of October. I guess I will be celebrating Mowing Mondays (more alliteration!) instead of recording on Monday nights.

Finally, I am sitting here at the kitchen table surrounded by fall stuff. My oldest daughter has been begging me to pull down the fall totes and now there are little pumpkins and autumn knick-knacks all over the living room and kitchen. It's cloudy and cool and it feels quite perfect. I hope, even with the warmer weather returning this weekend, that we end up with many nice fall days when I can open the windows and let the cool breeze flow through the house as I sip one or five or fifty pumpkin spice lattes.

A poem on my 44th birthday

What I want is
Enough money

To have what I want
What I want is

My own hill
And beneath that hill

A pond
In the pond a lazy

Bass or two
And duck feathers

Resting on the mud
Of the shore

Between the hill
And mud a patch

Of grass where I
Can lie and count

My seven trees
My seven clouds

And count the coyotes
Coming down the hill

To drink
Coyote 1 Coyote 2 

"What I Want" by C.G. Hanzlicek from STARS, published by University of Missouri Press (1997).

Realizations and epiphanies

I have had some realizations and epiphanies from thinking about the comments I got from Shane and Ken on yesterday's blog post and from a short DM conversation with Doug and from listening to MMD's segment on the latest Garbagecast Conversations and from listening to episodes 46, 47, and 48 of Transpondency.

I started writing these down in a Field Notes notebook yesterday. Then, it became too much for that so I started a Word document on my laptop this morning. I wanted to get it all down so I could read through it, accept and consider what I am really feeling these days and start working on who I want to be.

Next, I decided that the best way to really start on what I want to start on was to post it because it would not had happened without listening to and/or having conversations with the people above.

This is sort of a disjointed, stream of consciousness (shout out to Ken!) list but it's all out there on the page and there is no use in trying to edit it to make it 100% cohesive. All of the points that need to be there are there.

Finally, this is a starting point. It's not a solution. It's not a quick fix. It's what I am working on and will continue to work on and I know it's certainly not unique to just me.

1.     Getting rid of old blog posts, podcast episodes, podcast clips that I ended up deleting, web sites, etc. has been mostly a form of self-punishment out of frustration with Past Jason. That's right, Past Jason. It's easy to destroy what Past Jason created because he is in the past and can't do a thing about it.
2.     What do I have against Past Jason? I don't know. He's not a total screwup. I'm not sure what I expected him to do different or how I would want to change my current situation today if he could go back and make different decisions. Maybe I am not just wanting to destroy him but also the bad memories that he is associated with in my mind? Who knows. I have to ponder more over this.
3.     Past Jason has taken on a sort of mythical form in my mind because he's been around for so long and Current Jason is just in the now. It's easier to waste my energy analyzing what Past Jason did or did not do than it would be to invest my energy into becoming who Current Jason would like to be now and in the future (Shout out to Future Jason).
4.     Current Jason is doing fine. He has a good life, family, home, dogs and a sweet Buick. I think the main problem is that he is perplexed as to how he got here and he doesn’t give himself enough credit for getting here since Current Jason thinks Past Jason was sort of a doofus and, while this may be somewhat true, Current Jason needs to give Past Jason credit where credit is due. Maybe Past Jason is not that much of a doofus but admitting that would mean that Current Jason has the potential to work a bit harder and do a little more and that flies in the face of just laying down and being self-defeating and lazy.
5.     The self-defeating and lazy period has been going on since about June of 2015 2001 1990 1973.
6.     There is also the fact that Current Jason thinks he’s just been lucky and eventually that luck will run out and this contributes to sleepless nights.
7.     Current Jason also has this idea that he doesn’t deserve to be happy and he’s not worthy and these thoughts are running on a tiny film screen in the back of his mind and it’s the same film that’s been running over and over since childhood. It’s the self-defeating and lazy part of him that runs that film and there are brief times when the projector doesn’t play and things are going great but then someone seems to plug the projector back in and film starts playing and it might as well be 1979 again.
8.     I did the whole Marie Kondo/Spark Joy thing and before that numerous purges of material things and internet things over the years thinking that getting rid of things would be some sort of fix. I've realized now that getting rid of things fixes nothing and I know I got rid of some things that I probably should have saved, such as pictures I not only trashed but also shredded out of a dumb ceremonial act of ego.
9.     Purging certainly helps reduce the burden of stuff and that is a good thing but it really just clears the space in your environment and in your mind so that you can confront the real issues at hand. So, there is a next step and figuring out what that next step is can be elusive, daunting and even disheartening. Purging removes a distraction and distractions are nice blocks that we set up for ourselves so we don’t have to do the real work.
10.  Holding on to items out of guilt (example: Mom would expect me to keep this! I know she had it out of sight in the attic for 35 years but she still saved it so I would have it again one day!) is unhealthy and one major step in the right direction for me has been letting things go. The idea of considering if items truly spark joy was a major breakthrough for me that allowed me to see the burden of a lot of things I had held onto out of guilt or the elusive status of “I might need this one day.” Of course, as much as I know that it was the right thing to do, the guilt still comes back at times when I consider certain things that I parted with.
11.  My answer to Shane implied that self-consciousness has been the main cause for me recording and then deleting multiple clips of the podcast (probably, and I am not exaggerating, 100 clips in the past 3 months) when, the more I have thought about it, it was more about lack of self-worth and feeling like what I have to share is too negative at times although that is an accurate reflection of how I have felt most of the time.
12.  It’s been impossible for me to share clips accurately reflecting how I feel when I am not always in the most positive state of mind because that validates that yes, this is how I feel. It’s easier to live in denial and deleting clips, blog posts, etc. perpetuates that denial and allows me to avoid the real issues. Also, admitting how I have truly felt would cause people who really do care to reach out and that would lead to me having to confront the problem. So, it’s easier to sweep it under the rug and not have to confront a thing.
13.  On the reliance on the community for feedback and motivation: the community evolves and our reliance on a community in evolution can have a negative effect on our creations if that listenership and feedback in our only barometer of success. So, I feel I’ve distanced myself from the community in order to avoid them abandoning me first rather than just riding out and being a part of the natural evolution of the community.
14.  I quit a lot of things out of my own projection of my own inner negativity onto others around me because it’s much easier to project onto someone else than to admit to an internal problem or problems.
15.  I wrote this yesterday and it was probably my biggest realization of the day and the most truth I have admitted to myself and publicly for a long time: I think I project a lot of my inner doubts and self-punishment onto my creative side, so the blogs, Twitter, etc. get deleted. I am in a state of rebuilding, not happy with what came before, so I keep tearing down my "creative building" instead of building on top of the work I've done. It's a setback. I am talking into the recorder right now about it! Finally, inspiration for Up In This Brain!”
16.  But, guess what happened, which I am surprised I admitted by responding to my own comment: “Oh, well. I tossed that recording too. Can't stay focused. Will try again another day!” I deleted the clips because they were too raw and too real and I think people would rather hear the funny me and I would rather BE the funny me.
17.  Another reason I deleted multiple recordings yesterday is back in point number 7, of course.
18.  On my response to Ken in the blog comments about staying focused: the dogs and the phone ringing is frustrating but I also don’t make recording and writing a priority so the time I could be doing these things without interruption gets spent doing other things. I make my creative side low-priority and there are consequences with starving your inner artist that is discussed all through The Artist’s Way books. But, there is a big difference between knowing this and actually doing something about it!
19.  I feel selfish saying it but I felt some closure of old wounds recently when I saw other folks dealing with loss and, although I was able to see a clear relationship between my past losses and their current loss, I was able to think “This time it is not my loss” and my emotional reaction was not based on my own past experiences but I was instead able to fully experience the current loss only from my current perspective. I think this is a healthy place that I have not been in for a long time. I’m not sure I could have done that even six months ago.
20.  It’s not about me, I say to myself over and over in every situation I find myself in and I feel I am finally listening, some of the time. Past Jason does not loom over me as greatly as I have let him loom over me for years.
21.  Letting Past Jason loom over me has been a defense mechanism, an excuse to not confront today, an excuse to not take risks, an excuse to not put myself in a position in which I have to believe in myself and what I am capable of doing. I wonder if I do this because I am lazy or trying to avoid failure or both? Regardless, the result is that I have become quite stagnant.
22.  Being stagnant is frustrating and, instead of moving forward and building on what I’ve done in the past, I’ve destroyed my past (see point 15) and wasted time in this cycle of destroying and rebuilding that goes back years and years. It’s like trying to build a skyscraper in Sim Tower but constantly getting up to about four floors and tearing it down and starting over, again and again.
23.  On listening to MMD discuss his view of the Garbagecast on the Checking In episode, I was shocked at how positive he is about the art and about the creativity. I can remember a time that I thought the same way and maybe I do feel the same way when I record my segments but most of the time I don’t really understand why I am doing what I am doing so I’m just drifting creatively. I have lost my focus on the love of creating, regardless of what that creation is and I have to start working to get it back.
24.  “As long as I have you out there, I think I can do it” – MMD. This is one of the most freeing things I have considered in a while.
25.  There was a time when my biggest concern in podcasting was the audio quality. Once I relaxed from that, my biggest concern was being something I am not, an entertainer, a clown. I stopped being me most of the time. There are days when just seeing the recorder makes me feel frustrated and panic sets in.
26.  On listening to the latest episodes of Transpondency, I am in awe of how freely Adam talks. Maybe he is deleting a ton of clips also but I doubt it. He just flows with it. The words seem to come out quite easily. There was a time that I could do that, a time when I wasn’t worried so much about what people thought of me or my projections on them of what I think of myself. Yep, that’s the problem – my projecting my own expectation of negativity onto others. The self-sabotage that has become part of my modus operandi is crippling.
27.  On the topic Ken and I wrote back and forth about on a separate creative persona: I think locking down Twitter and closing that door may also relate to a lack of self-worth more than my excuse in the blog post of not wanting my tweets, posts, podcasts to somehow reflect on my kids. The reality is that what is create is really not important enough or controversial enough to really matter a whole lot. Maybe it is the not mattering that throws me into self-doubt and I would rather not confront that so the reality is that I am probably projecting my own inner insecurities onto them in the name of “sacrificing my creations for their good” which I realize, the more I consider it, is a load of crap!
28.  Here are some questions that get in my mind and make me lock down accounts or not create at all: Why publicize this? Why share this? Who is going to care? What if my ramblings and writings just disappoint and repel people? Can I handle that rejection?
29.  On the flip side of that, why have I let possible rejection from people I don’t even know suddenly become a motivating factor in my life? Am I still trying to seek approval like I did in school? It makes me wonder – do I still do it as an adult? Do I feel like I am the least person in the room most of the time? A lot of the time, that is exactly how I feel (I’ve felt it recently in new social situations) and I’m sure it reveals itself in my body language, discomfort and silence. I also have a tendency to want to prove my worth so I probably speak out too much or try too hard to gain acceptance when 95% of what I worry about is in my own head.
30.  Speaking of letting the imagined rejection by strangers influence whether I am able to create or not, it makes me wonder if I am weak. Then I wonder: Should I be ashamed of my weakness if that is the case? Shouldn’t I be old enough to get over what I imagine people might think of me? This is all just me projecting my own lack of self-confidence onto other people and it’s thoughts like this that keep the roulette wheel of negativity spinning. As long as that roulette wheel keeps spinning, no one will ever win – me or anyone around me.  

The numbers game

I accidentally saw the numbers for the blog yesterday. By accidentally, I mean I try never to look at numbers for anything I do. For example, for the rare times I need to go there, I have Feedburner bookmarked to go to pages without the number of subscribers showing.

The numbers here are pretty paltry and I lost half of the readers to any given post after I locked my Twitter account down. I guess that is to be expected but during the heyday of blogging when I had tons of readers, there was no Twitter. Most new referrals came from Google back then and pursuing the search terms that landed people on the blog always brought me joy. One of the biggest keywords that led people to the old blog was Charmin. Weird, eh?

Sometimes I regret blowing it all away but it was too personal. I treated the blog like a journal I would write at home and, although I knew most people would never take the time to sift through thousands of old entries, it still weighed on me to have so many personal, what to a normal person would be private, thoughts out there lingering on the internet.

Locking down Twitter is inconvenient. No more retweets kind of blows. But it felt necessary to put the brakes on being so public, especially with the kids getting older. I don't want my dumb comments and opinions to reflect on them as they get ready to start applying to colleges or whatever. I also no longer feel the need to cultivate or grow an audience. Up In This Brain is what it is. This site is what it is. The other podcasts I am on have public accounts and will hopefully grow their audiences with or without me being present in each episode.

That leads me into the topic of the upcoming sabbatical. I am calling it the sabbatical because it sounds cool. I guess it's really just a short break. I will be off of Smooth Sailing for a bit due to not having many free nights to record until November. I also don't have a lot of time to edit. I am not sure if the sabbatical is going to extend into Up In This Brain and this site. I expect that I will be creating a bit less until my time frees up again in November but who knows.

I haven't had any luck recording a new Up In This Brain so far this week. I don't have any ideas. Maybe the ideas fairy will come along and help me out.

OK - back to non-blog/podcast topics next time.

The weekend that was

Ah, September has arrived. I can smell the pumpkin spice in the air and the nights are about to get unseasonably cooler so it will actually feel like fall a lot earlier than usual.

I'm not sure how to summarize the weekend. It began with a funeral and ended with football. I recorded a podcast we normally record at night at nine in the morning instead. I convinced myself to forego mowing on the holiday, gambling on dry, cool days later in the week to get it done. I ate quite a bit more than I normally would. (It's weird how I fill free time with food when I am trying to not stare at a screen all of the time. I try to remember what we did pre-internet to pass the time and it's so far back in my memory that I can't quite put my finger on it.)

It was nice having Labor Day off of work but I also have a three-day weekend coming up also so this will be a very short work week for me and maybe that adds to the fact that something just feels off. Even with the Pumpkin Spice Latte fuel I have been consuming, I still felt a bit sluggish and low energy all weekend, sort of like I felt like there was something I needed to do but couldn't remember what it was so I settled for just sitting around at the edge of falling asleep quite a bit.

I didn't read much but I somehow wasted a considerable amount of time through a variety of pointless activities to pass the time and now here I am on Tuesday morning back at the kitchen table, listening to jazz on WBGO (my new favorite jazz station) and sipping my coffee (today's K-cup: McCafé Premium Roast).

I seem to be back to my normal self this morning. Maybe it's because I have a huge list of things in my Todoist for today. Maybe the structure is what I need to guide me along through the days. Maybe holidays and vacation days aren't all they're cracked up to be or, more likely, maybe I just do them wrong. I have a lot of days off coming up through the end of the year so we'll find out if I get any better at taking them.