Stay tuned (patiently) as we occasionally throw updates on here about what steps we're taking to get to our end goals, DIY tricks and life-hacks, child-rearing tactics (strategery), etc.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

CHRONICLES: The UEFA Cup

We're here at work watching the match between Spain and Portugal. This is one of two semi-final matches, the other being between Germany and Italy. I'm really hoping that the final match results in Germany destroying Spain and taking the championship. Not that I'm ahuge soccer fan, but I respect that most of my family came from Germany, and will accordingly root for that team. They're one of my favorites in the World Cup competitions, a far better team than the United States is.

It's fun to watch. I have a co-worker who has family in Spain, and hasn't really let anyone live down the fact that they're the standing World Cup champions. To him, it doesn't matter that Germany has won it more times. It just matters that they didn't win last time.

Soccer.  The world's sport.  We'll see how the Rapids do next season.

CHRONICLES: A Quasi-Alaskan Solstice

Malcolm woke me up at 4:30 this morning. I was wondering why I felt so tired if it was so light out. By the way the sky looked, it could have been 6 or so. But yes, it was only 4:30. I had to snap a picture to share it with everyone.

Today is the day before the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. It's been a lack-luster summer to date. I haven't spent nearly enough time outside. With the days only growing shorter after tomorrow, I'll be cramped for time. Before I know it, it will be dark at 3 in the afternoon, and the cycle will start all over again.

I am thankful, however, that I don't live farther north, where the sun never sets and rises at the different solstices. I don't think I could handle that. This is plenty to get used to.


CHRONICLES: Synopsis of a Dreamscape

It seems that since I've begun to pay attention to my dreams, they've become much more vivid and memorable. Last night, for example, I dreamed that I was walking up a long, gradual ramp in what could have been a school or a museum. On my left, a white wall with the occasional piece of artwork adorning it. A doorway here and there. On my left, however, was windows and a railing. It may have been wide open to the outside. At any rate, it was cool, almost dusk, and raining outside. As I walked up the ramp, I remembered being in New England, or maybe as far south as Pennsylvania. I recalled that this was a place my parents once brought me as a child. As we approached the top of the ramped hallway, it opened up into a large room, what I could describe best as a food court in a mall. To my left was a long, wide hall, almost like a concourse in an airport terminal building...

...this is the crap I remember when I wake up.

When I feel like they could be stand-alone stories, I write them in in a fashion that communicates such things. Sometimes, when I go back and read them, the dreams come flashing forth like memories from a distant past. It's almost as if they are memories from a different mental plane.

There have been theories that when your body sleeps, your mind is free to associate with its counterparts from other realities. In a way, someone could be dreaming about your life while you're awake and don't even know it.

Other theories, like the movie "Inception", have us believing in lucid dreams, which I've found to be a very real thing one time. I dreamed that I was falling, realized it was a dream, and gave myself the ability to fly.

I suppose the only thing I can do in the interim is to keep dreaming and see where these stories take me. It is, after all, good to see so many of these old friends lately.

CHRONICLES: The Moon, The Lake, & The Boy

Today was Father's Day, so natually I was treated to what the typical American father experiences: I let my wife sleep and I got up with the boy around 7:30. I wasn't really motivated to do anything, as I felt it was my holiday, so I relegated myself to only washing two loads of dishes. I read for a good twenty minutes, too. Then my brother, the boy, the dog and I went out to this place called "The Moon". I don't think i's officially called that. It's just a a semi-hidden area in the middle of town on top of a high hill with a pretty incredible view. Then we came home, I ate a quick, late lunch, and we went up to Ward Lake for a walkabout. Malcolm had a good time running up and down the trails. Dash pulled on the leash, smelled everything, and drained what seemed like a good 2 or 3 gallons to mark some territory.

At home afterwards, the bro grilled up some steak and some asparagus which I matched with some easy shells and cheese. A pretty magnificent meal considering my petty contribution. Now Malcolm's in the bath, and I'm preparing to face an evening followed by the last week of my 20s.  While I'm excited to turn 30, I'm not REALLY excited. The closer it gets, the more I realize I'm in the worst shape of my life, mentally and physically, and all I'm doing right now is growing old. (Insert Billy Crystal's speech from "City Slickers" here.)

All in all, Father's Day this year was kind of disappointing. However, the highlight was Malcolm. The highlight of everything is Malcolm. Even if he's in a shitty mood and I've had a shitty day, for whatever reason, he makes me feel needed, and he makes me feel loved, unconditionally, in a way that is totally different from what you feel from your parents, siblings, best friends, or lovers. And to that, I smile as I write and my eyes well up. Happy Father's Day to all you dads who understand how it feels to be a dad.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

THOUGHTS: Whistling Birds and Sunny Fog

The mind is powerful. When it's awake, it simultaneously keeps your body running and interprets so much information into understandable terms. It allows us to exchange those terms with other people and absorb even more information. When it's asleep, it's even busier, taking our souls to different realities, taking our perceptions flying through blue skies or naked in cafeterias or riding insanely giant bicycles.

It can be controlled.

Monks and shamans of many, many different disciplines have traned the mind to perform miracles of self-healing, stamina, kindness, and love. To believe that any of us aren't born with the same tools is disappointing. Each of us was given these gifts at birth, and many of us, at times, only begin to tap into their potential.  We sometimes do nice things for people at certain times of year, when the mood warrants.

What we do not achieve is the knowledge that we can do these things all of the time, every waking moment.

This morning, I sit here, outside, basking in the sunny fog and drinking a cup of coffee, wondering what my impact could be today, and comparing that to what my day will very likely actually consist of. It is somewhat daunting, but being aware of it only improves the chances that I will be somewhat successful in changing my dynamic.

The coffee starts to kick in, and I go with positive thoughts. Prayer, in my way, has been gently touched upon. Today will be better.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

CHRONICLES: A Sunny Day from the Inside

Got done with my morning jam session of printing, laminating, weeding, and application, and when I looked up at lunch time, I noticed that the sun was shining brightly in the southern Alaskan sky.

Work has been slammed, swamped, buried, or whatever other term you'd typically use to describe the situation requiring the taking home of design work and staying late for production. While I relish in the opportunity to help this company grow, I feel wary of burning out. Oddly enough, I find myself looking forward to the END of the summer, the time when work slows down, and where a productive day means cleaning the shop, organizing, taking an inventory, and maintaining all of the machines.

I can't speak for my co-workers, but when I look at Dash, laying on the floor exhausted, it paints a clear picture. The shop dog, one of three, is beat from running around like crazy. I can relate. I'm sure we all can. Go... go... go.... go.. Go.. Go.. GO. GO. GO! GO!   -sleep

That is the way of things.

Monday, June 11, 2012

PROPHESY: The Loss of Faith

I couldn't tell where we were. Some small enclosed room. It looked no larger than a room on a ferry or a train, but it was old and beat up. We sat there, talked. I was taken by how young, how beautiful she was despite the fact that everything around us was run-down and rag-tag. Rusty metal walls or bulkheads and old blankets adorned the place. She wasn't my girl, and, while attractive, not my objective. As we talked, a much older man came in. The thick glasses and white in his beard and hair painted him into his 60s, and the droll, sarcastic countenance lent him an air of annoyance, maybe even a slight narcisism -I couldn't tell yet. However, I could tell in her reaction to his entrance that she was equally annoyed, for, whatever the initial cause, this was her husband. She confessed in a dry and tired way that she had an affair again earlier that day with someone neither of them knew, the confession replacing the standard greeting. With that, I made my leave.

I left those quarters and turned right around a corner. A row of benches went back into some sort of large room, perhaps an old theater, church, or just a lounge. I went down the first row and found my old friend sitting there by himself amidst the coughing and smell of the inhabitants of the rest of the room. He sat quietly, donning jeans, boots, and an a-neck shirt, all of which were dirty from months of wear. A knife hung off the front of the bench from his belt at his right hip as he leaned forward to listen more closely to the display on the wall in front of him. I couldn't help but notice how much more muscular he had become since this all started, since he lost everything, everyone...

"What's the latest?" I asked him.

His eyes didn't move from the screen as he nodded, acknowledging my presence. "It's hard to make out. I can't tell where they're going next." He grabbed some sort of make-shift screwdriver and began prodding at the exposed wires in he wall underneath the viewscreen. He gestured to his left with an amused thumb. "That guy seems to be losing it, though."

I looked beyond him, across the aisle on the other side of the bench. In the flickering light, I saw the man he was talking about. He sat alone on a suitcase, almost hidden from view from a pile of duffle bags and clothing. A little more than middle-aged, he wore no shirt, and on his chest and shoulders I could see burn marks. They looked like a severe sunburn, except that they were in a pattern that would suggest an artificial cause.

He slowly rocked on his suitcase. "This wasn't the plan. This isn't God's plan. It's wrong. It's all wrong." His gaze was on nothing in particular, yet immovable in its focus.  I turned back to my friend.

"I recognize him. He was famous years ago. Years ago. He ran for president, even." I couldn't remember his name, but I did remember the news, back when there was news, when there was a governmet. I remember he wasn't too well-liked, and that his hair, which now looked graying and disheveled, was always immaculate. I also remembered his faith being a campaign issue. I wondered how it went wrong for him, and pity began to flow through me...

THOUGHTS: The Disfunctionality of American Government

Lately, I've been having very thought-provoking conversations and reading informative and intriguing news articles and editorials about everybody's favorite topic: politics. I've noticed a weird trend. No matter which side of the aisle people have been aligned with for the majority of their voting life, they're dishearted, disappointed, distrustful, and straight angry at everyone in charge, not just "their guy" or "the other guy".  Approval of all three branches of government seems to be at an all time low. A recent article I read somewhere (I can't remember where, but I think it was Esquire), basically called the current Supreme Court out, saying the judicial branch that used to be the last bastian of defense of the Constitution is now simply another tool for either party to push their agenda. Congress is virtually inept, spending more of China's money to make sure that their constituents, unknowingly in most cases (as the honest Congress-people surely wouldn't get re-elected), can sign as many bills into law as possible designed to destroy the middle class and enslave as much of the lower class as possible. The presidency: regardless of who's been in office since Lyndon B. Johnson, every single one of them has been driven by either a personal agenda, a party-bound lack of independent thought, or some paid-off security of future corporate wealth.

Throwing all of this into perspective, it's getting much easier to take seriously the rants of those like Alex Jones, Jesse Ventura, or Ron Paul. You know, the guys on the outside who make claims like 9/11 was an inside job or that the Gulf of Tonkin Incident never actually happened? (The latter was proven by declassified military documents since 2005.)

I don't know where you stand on this thought, and frankly, it doesn't matter.  It doesn't even matter is that you're reading this or some other more intelligent take on the state of affairs in this country UNLESS YOU TAKE ACTION.  Taking action isn't simply joining a party and going to the meet-and-greets and town hall meetings. Taking action is demonstrating. It's writing to your senators, reprasentatives, mayors, city council members and county commissioners so often that they know your first name. It's finding out what causes support YOUR stance and helping them. It's finding like-mended and unlike-minded people and having conversations with them to either deepen your beliefs or to learn that they aren't entirely accurate.

The hardest part, though, is learning to respect and fight for the other side. A guy is anti-abotion. Another guy is anti-gun. These two live in a place that's supposed to respect freedom. That means that if I'm anti-gun, i need to understand that as MY choice, not everyone else's mandate. If I'm pro-life, then I make that part of MY life, not by making abortion illegal for everyone. If I'm not gay, I need to respect that some people are, and they have the right to be free and in love.

Loving thy neighbor I one of the ten commandments in Christian theology. It's part of the Golden Rule, the Ethic of Reciprocity, the simplest most basic law, one that transcends Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, tribal spirituality, and even science and humanism. One of Isaac Netwon's Laws of Physics dictates that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.  Science has proven what phophets have preached for millenia.

But I digress from the theological tangent. The point of this rant is that we, the people, are losing this country to th few who would rob it and us blin for everything we're worth and it needs to stop. Do something. Change the world.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

CHRONICLES: A Good Quote

"Savor the fruit of life, my young friends. It has a sweet taste when it is fresh from the vine. But don't live too long. The taste turns bitter after time." -Ronald D. Moore as spoken by the character Kor.

That is all.

CHRONICLES: A Two-Year-Old, a One-Year-Old, and Captain America

Today has been action-packed. Trying to organize and keep up a house alone while a toddler and a puppy are running around all crazy... awesome. Every time I'm two seconds into a project, I turn around and this is usually the result: "Malcolm, don't touch that!" "Dash, don't chew those up!" "Malcolm, stop putting dog food in the water dish!" It's tiring.

But it is what it is, and I can't complain. Life is good for the most part.

Vivid dreams lately. I dreamed of a friend of mine from way back in the day, running into this friend in the wreckage of my hometown after some fire, and getting to know each other again after som significant changes in life. I also dreamed of another person I barely knew in high school, his wife and their toddler daughter, and how happy they were for me to finally meet her. These things rarely make sense when I wake up, but when I'm sleeping, they seem as normal as any other day's reality.

Work has been pretty busy, but we're working to make it through the summer. It's been incredibly fruitful for everyone involved, and the rut we experienced in the wintertime sometimes seems all but gone. However, there are still very blatant reminders of how diffcult it is and how the storm is far from over. That being said, there's lots to do to keep my focus and attention.

Especially at home. Malcolm is napping and Dash is laying on the floor next to my chair. It's mellow, at least for a second, so I'm taking advantage of the time by pushing through some chores and errands. Bart went into town and took the trash with him. Lyss is pulling a while day at the salon. Harry is just now very quietly stalking into the bedroom to avoid Dash's hyper-vigilant dog-hearing. She hasn't quite warmed to the dog yet, and prefers to stay either out of sight or out of reach. The top of the fridge is her new favorite place to hide.

At least, for now, the coffee is still warm. Time to get to work.