Monday, August 29, 2011

Old Music or New?

There is a perception that the older you get the more you connect with music from your youth, especially your high school or early college years. Plenty of evidence backs that up, but I also see people attaching to music that reminds them of music from their youth. Case in point: plenty of grunge music from a few years back had the same hard acoustic sound of old Van Morrison songs; a lot of people liked both.

I usually don’t really fit the pattern. My favorite music is contemporary country, contemporary blues, 80s rock and classical. None of that was popular during my high school years and none of it sounds like the music that was. I also happen to like plenty of other music, so I’m a bit out of sync with the norm.

But I did have an interesting experience this evening. My day at work was particularly stressful. I work around music, specifically five radio stations of varying music genres. Some days I want to relax by hearing anything but that music, which often means I choose music I’ve never heard before – brand new or out-of-the-mainstream or very old. As I was surfing through the myriad of channel options on Sirius XM satellite during my drive home, I stopped on a channel without even thinking about it. Traffic was heavy so I had to pay attention to the road and not my radio.

I didn’t realize till later that I was listening to Aerosmith, Rush, Heart and Tom Petty … not exactly soothing, relaxing, stress-reducing music. However, those songs did exactly what I needed. I was feeling much better. Those songs happen to be from a period of significant personal and professional growth in my life and I subconsciously associate those sounds with good times. Those loud, edgy songs enveloped me like a soft, warm blanket and covered me with calm.

Maybe that’s why so many people hang onto songs from their youth as they age … those songs were their anchor during a volatile time in their lives and in the uncertain times of aging years, where nothing is what it was, those songs are anchors again. Security blankets. Comfort zones.

Those songs put me in a better mood today but after the fourth or fifth song I decided my brain needed stimulation; I changed to a channel playing brand new music I had never heard. Then I got home and purged music from my head entirely for awhile.

I am still awed by this piece of reality: all music is a combination of 12 notes. That’s it! There are only 12 notes. The rest is an endless combination of chords and octaves that lead to every possible emotion. People like me who search for the meaning of life, the universe and God sometimes think that the answer to that quest lies somewhere in music.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Great Movie Line

It comes down to a simple decision: get busy living or get busy dying.

- Shawshank Redemption

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Stormy Randomness


Heard this while channel surfing: “… it’s huge! She’s coming. Keep watching, as we stay on top of Irene …”

Hey, that was the Weather Channel not a porn channel.





I live about 50 miles northwest of Washington DC and will be feeling the effects of Hurricane Irene tonight. It’ll mostly be rain and some wind gusts; nothing like what they are experiencing along the Atlantic coast.

What goes better with a hurricane … Chianti Classico or Rioja? An expert advised me to try both, so I started with the Chanti.

I am fascinated with storms, especially hurricanes. Considering the negative impact hurricanes have had on my Louisiana family I should feel guilty, but I don’t. Fascination does not mean I wish harm on anybody. I just happen to be impressed with the power of hurricanes and tornados.

I respect that power too.

Speaking of power, I might lose mine tonight. I think I lost electricity for six hours during Isabel a few years ago. I am mostly prepared (see wine comment above).

I have well and septic on my property. If the power goes out, the well pump doesn’t work. I have stored water for drinking and water for flushing. But not enough for a shower, so I’ll go take one now.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Just Don't Tell Me It's ...

Death is the only certainty in life. We will all die at some point, hopefully after a long and mostly happy life. Of course the 'long and happy' part of the equation is not a certainty.

This is on my mind today because I got two pieces of bad news in the same email this morning. A cousin died and another has breast cancer. Both are cousins by marriage ... G, the one who died, is married to my cousin C; and S, the one with cancer, is married to another cousin J. C and J are brother and sister and I spent time with all four of them last Christmas.

I had not seen G in more than thirty years. We had some nice catching up conversations and he told me about some serious medical conditions he was going through. He died yesterday of complications connected with some risky surgery related to those conditions. I am grateful that I could connect with him again.

S had surgery a few weeks ago and will likely have to undergo chemo soon because there is more cancer. She and J are health freaks. I stayed at their house a few times after Hurricane Katrina and remember them getting up at 5 am to do aerobics together. Their meals are healthy; in fact S is an awesome cook.

All four of these cousins are older than me and are all retired. They had good lives, successful careers, well-educated children and a few grandchildren. They have done some interesting travel in their retirement and continued to live fun lives. However some of that living is being interrupted by these situations they have no control over, and at what I consider to be a still young age (they are all in their mid 60s).

Death and cancer are reminders of our own mortality and serve as a wake-up call for us to get on with our lives while we can. Be sensible but don’t wait around to live.

It bothers me that people who live healthy, moral, caring, successful lives can be struck down at such a relatively early age. There is nothing they could have done to change it, but it is still frustrating to see. Seems to me living a good life should be rewarded with more time to live it longer. But I guess that isn’t always the case.

I wish I knew why. Probably just sadly random. Just don't tell me it's God's plan.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

OBXcape


One of my favorite places on the planet is the Outer Banks, North Carolina, affectionately known as OBX. It is a chain of barrier islands stretching from the Virginia state line southward to Ocracoke Island. Towns include Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Duck, Sanderling, Avon, Rodanthe, Avon, Buxton and others. Attractions include the Wright Brothers National Memorial, Pea Island Bird Sanctuary and several lighthouses including the Cape Hatteras light.

Hurricane Irene apparently likes OBX too because that’s where she is headed for the weekend, with a predicted check-in time of mid-afternoon Saturday, just like the tourists. There is now a mandatory evacuation of all tourists (except her) (actually because of her) and a futile evac order for permanent residents, a hearty and sometimes foolish bunch who often risk riding the storm out rather than leaving.

Ocracoke Island is near the top of my list of preferred OBX haunts because it is less crowded even at the height of the season. There are no fast-food chain joints there, only local bars and restaurants, ranging from burger-and-fries places to gourmet establishments. Ocracoke is the first place to order evacuations because it is only accessible by boat. Cars use one of three ferries, the shortest of which takes 45 minutes to get to something resembling a highway; the other two take hours. Each boat holds about 50 cars, so the escape is long. There is some wind speed level at which the boats stop running.

Weather Channel anchors are a regular fixture there when storm approach. One of them is at Kill Devil Hills tonight. Jim Cantore has been there many times and one of his regular hang-out spots is the same restaurant/bar that friends of mine used for their pre-wedding party several years ago.

I’ve had OBX adventures at least twenty times since the late 1980s but only one evacuation order … for Hurricane Floyd in 1999. I got an advance phone call about the order from friends who live there but I still stayed at my rental house till the required time arrived – noon that day. Somewhere in my photo collection there are pictures of me standing on the beach in the rain pointing at the sky, an hour before my ten hour drive home (it usually takes five). I was tempted to ride that storm out but was talked out of it. I have gone through many hurricanes growing up in New Orleans, but few, if any, direct hits and never in a place with only two roads in or out (both flood-prone and including bridges).

I have much empathy and sympathy for OBX tourists and residents who have to make a decision to leave such an awesome place because a hurricane is coming. I wish them well and pray a little for the islands too.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Earthquake Randomness

When you live in the Mid-Atlantic States you learn to expect floods, drought, hurricanes, tornadoes and blizzards. Earthquakes? Not so much.

We do get them … a noticeable one last year, for example, the first one I knew of in the 26 years I’ve lived here. But today we experienced a magnitude 5.8 in the Washington DC area. The epicenter was 88 miles away, near Mineral, Virginia and the quake was felt from the Carolinas to New York.

When my building first shook, I assumed it was the dumpster truck banging into the loading dock, a regular occurrence, but the shaking continued, mixed with a little lateral left-and-right motion, for at least 45 seconds. Then the alarm sounded and we all evacuated the six-floor tall structure. By the way, my office is on the top floor. As we waited outside, we learned that the vibration truly was an earthquake.

As far as I know, the building was not damaged, although I don’t especially trust that evaluation. Other buildings in the area, including a couple of apartment buildings in the next county, were damaged and have been condemned, at least temporarily. Government buildings, museums and monuments in DC were closed till safety examinations can be done. My office is in Rockville, about twelve miles northwest of Washington.

My most specific memory of the actual quake was me standing in a hallway outside my office trying to mentally process what was going on. Earthquake crossed my mind, but I was still thinking about that garbage hauling truck as well as the mysterious construction project going on in the parking levels, involving cement and inconvenience. My first thoughts were of the possibility that something went terribly wrong with building supports. Then it occurred to me this was a quake and we had to get out. But how? Certainly not the elevator. But were the stairs safe? Probably safer than waiting around to find out if the building would collapse.

And we are five radio stations, disseminators of information between songs, yet the live DJs had to leave too. Music continued, thanks to sophisticated automation equipment, but the DJs on duty were standing around on the sidewalk with the rest of us, clearly bothered that they couldn’t be on a microphone telling listeners what was going on. We have many contingency plans but I wonder what our plan is if we are ever unable to re-enter the building. I’ll ask about that tomorrow.

There were aftershocks but I’m not sure I felt them. I did have the sensation of lateral movement a couple of times … sort of like the feeling you have the first few minutes on land after spending a few hours on a boat. Could have been real, could have been psychological.

I was quite distracted the rest of the day. I hope tomorrow is uneventful.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Robert’s Ghost

A few weeks ago I wrote about the “27 club” – a moniker for musicians who died at the peak of their career but at the young age 27, like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse. Blues man Robert Johnson was probably the first; he died on August 16, 1938.

Even though I’m a fan of blues music, in fact it’s my favorite, I knew little about Johnson till this year. He is considered as influential in many ways as B.B. King and Muddy Waters, but is less well known outside of blues enthusiast circles. His music was not commercially successful during his lifetime but was “discovered” in the 1960s and inspired Eric Clapton and others.

Songs in his discography made famous by others in later years include “Sweet Home Chicago” (in the Blues Brothers movie), “Cross Road Blues” (adapted by Clapton to become “Crossroads”), “Riverside Blues” (Led Zeppelin) and others recorded by the Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac.

The specific song that led me to dig a little tonight is “Walkin’ Blues”. A Facebook friend posted an Eric Clapton recording of that song, which I happen to have in my CD collection, but I searched for another and found this … by a duo I had hoped to see at a local blues festival last Saturday (I was unable to go).



More info on Robert Johnson, if you’re interested:
Robert Johnson Foundation 
General Info 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Totally Random 6.2


Looking for something to write tonight. Nothing especially in my head. The work week starts again tomorrow but I was at work today for about four hours, catching up on some things in the distraction-free environment of Sunday, so I guess it really stared today for me.

- Went shopping yesterday. I’m one of the few men I know who actually likes shopping, but I am very focused. I got exactly what I went in for with none of the decision stress of my outlet mall shopping venture a few weeks ago.

- Photography is one of my passions but I’ve been so busy lately that I’ve hardly taken any pictures, except for the Tim McGraw shots from last week.

- Two or three trips coming up between now and the end of October. One to Vegas for that music festival, one to L.A. for a union committee meeting and a possible couple of days in North Carolina to shoot fall color pics. If the NC trip happens, that’ll be the only one I’m paying for. It’s nice that the other two are covered – first time in several years that that’s happened. Did I ever tell you good luck follows me around?

- Speaking of free, I did a little timely begging recently and came up with free tickets to a local Major League Baseball game. Not just any tickets, but exclusive club section tickets; not just two but four. One of my guests is an old friend and her husband. I haven’t seen the friend in more than twenty years and I’ve never met her husband.

- Do you ever look at the calendar and wonder aloud, “How is it already (insert today’s date here)? Wasn’t is just (insert a date eight months ago here) yesterday?”

- Three of my favorite cities regularly have music in the streets … New Orleans, Washington DC and Asheville NC.

That’s all for tonight. I guess I had more in my head than I thought. Thanks for visiting. Please leave a comment.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Music Randomness 1.2

Great movie sight gag … in the first few minutes of Back to the Future, Michael J. Fox’s character’s band auditions for a high school talent show, playing a horrible version of a Huey Lewis & the News song. A very nerdy judge stops them and rejects them for the show. The nerdy judge is actually Huey Lewis.

Timing is everything and maybe so is fate. Right before that stage crash at the Indiana State Fair last week, singer Sara Bareilles had just finished her performance and was safely off the stage. Sugarland was doing their pre-show prayer circle ritual when their manager had a feeling about the looming storms and walked them away from the stage to ride it out. Just over a minute later, the unpredictable wind gust blew through and knocked the whole stage over, killing six people.

I stopped on the Classical Arts channel for 10 minutes this morning. Heard part of Dvorak’s Symphony #9. Very relaxing.

Funny sentence from an actress … when Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler’s daughter actress Liv Tyler was filming Armageddon, producers were looking for a song and performance to go with the soundtrack. She told them something like, “well, my Dad has a band.”

Two years ago this month, Michelle Branch was taking a detour from pop music to country and visited my work. She is back to pop now.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fall for Fall


I fully expect to be living back in the “yeah there’s too much concrete and too many people but I like it anyway” suburbs soon, but one thing I will miss about living in the “it’s too far away from my real world but I’ll have to admit it is quiet” country is the obvious connection to the nuances of nature.

Since moving out here nine years ago, to a block-long development of acre-plus lots surrounded by working farms, I have learned how to feel seasonal changes without the help of a calendar. Or a clock. I feel the shorter days. I see differences in shadows. Even on the 90-degree days of this week I sense a coming chill in the air. Animals behave just a tad differently. Birds aren’t flying south yet but their aerial dance is different than it was a few weeks ago. I just didn’t notice that stuff when I lived in a “why are there only two parking places per unit when some neighbors have three cars” townhouse development full of homeowner association regulations and un-neighborly neighbors.

Life is full of trade-offs. The high price I pay for the solitude of country living is social isolation and a long, stressful commute. In the near future I’ll have a much shorter commute, proximity to people I know and people I have yet to meet and, well, more noise and concrete and less attachment to nature. I suspect, however, that the nature connections I’ve made will stick with me and I’ll be more aware of the natural side of my surroundings than I was in the past. And even though I’ll likely be living in an apartment or condo again, my requirements include proximity to some kind of green space; that sort of thing does exist in my target neighborhoods, fortunately.

Fall has nearly always been my favorite season. I love the color palette and the sense of rebirth that comes with that time of year. Strip off the old, let the leaves fall in their calm and colorful manner, retreat into yourself in a way that forces you to prioritize what it’ll take to get through the winter; shed some old skin, knowing it’ll grow back cleaner and fresher by spring. Recharge and renew. Geez, maybe I should stop to hug a freaking tree after saying all that. If you know me well, you know I actually do mean what I’ve said and I usually find a balance between the ethereal and the pragmatic. A tree-hugging yuppie. I am comfortable in both of those worlds and find my own balance.

This was a great summer but I am ready to move on to what’s next … in so many ways.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

More Random Lyrics

We go together like peanuts and Payday, Marley and reggae
And everybody needs to get a chance to say
This is how it starts, lightning strikes the heart,
it goes off like a gun, brighter than the sun.
- Colbie Caillat


Full moon shinin’ bright
Edge of the water we were feelin’ alright
Back down a country road
The girls are always hot and the beer is ice cold.
- Jake Owen


Wishing I was knee deep in the water somewhere
Got the blue sky breeze and it don’t seem fair
Only worry in the world
Is the tide gonna reach my chair.
- Zac Brown

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Writing Non-stop for Two Minutes


I’m going to attempt some freeverse writing, just write whatever comes to ming for the next few minutes and see what happens. Not sure why I decided to do this, maybe just haven’t in a long time, and maybe never on this blog. Just saw my picture as I was logging in and realized it’s the same picture I’ve used since I started thig blog abour 4 yers ago, and I used it on my previous blog too. The picture is about 5 or 6 years old. I actually do not like the way I look in most pictures of me taken in the past 5 or 6 years. I’m not insecure about my looks, I just haven’t found the right “pose” to accentuate good features about my face (smile, eyes) and reduce the parts I don’t like, like my almost double chin – actually is more like that straight shot from my throat to my chin, geeze I hate that. Muyst find a way to get rid of it, but not a surgical way, maybe just keep up with my exercise. Geez, Ive been typing for only 2 moinutes and already my wrists hurt. Speaking of wrists and fitness (was I speaking about that?) I worked out tonight, about 90 minutes ago. Pretty good workout, almost back to the intensity of my pre-surgery week – actually in some ways it’s more intense now, using somewhat heavier weights, trying to convince myself that this is all about health and not about trying to look younger. Are you buying that? OK, that’s enough. My typing skill is a little weird in that I havgen’t looked at my monitor since starting this – I am just watching my fingers on the keys. I do know how to type the proper way, but I’m not very good at it, so I do look at the keyboard while I type. Ok, done. Let’s see how weird this looks. As always, thanks for visiting.
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PS – I decided to post this as-is, without correcting spelling mistakes or typos. I write most posts in Word first, then copy and paste, which means there are many red underlines on the text, pointing out the typos.

Country Girl

This song got a great reaction at the concert Saturday.  No surprise.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Random TV Line

Best “did he say what I think he said” line in a TV show … NCIS character Gibbs, demonstrating to a female companion, in a fairly seductive way, the finer points of sanding the wooden frame of a boat he is building : “You feel the wood?  You can’t get a sensation like that from any power tools.”

Random Quotes from FB and Other Places in the Cloud


A Facebook friend posted quotes from a site called Pure Nourishment. These caught my eye:

- An “ex” is called an “ex” because it’s an EXample of what you shouldn’t have again in the future.

- If you’re not willing to look stupid, nothing great is ever going to happen to you.

- Embrace MESSY.

- Sometimes you have to look back at your past and smile at how far you’ve gotten.

And this one was actually written by that friend:

- After awhile, you know what you want and you know what you won’t put up with.

And one more from a different source – a blog I stumbled on:

- Morality is not determined by the church you attend, the faith you embrace. It is determined by the quality of your character and the positive impact you have on those you meet along your journey.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

McGraw

I forgot how much I like Tim McGraw's music.  I saw his concert last night; first time in several years.  I still remember the first time I saw him, at the biginning of his recording career back in 1995, and it is great to see how much he has grown as an artist.  It's also awesome to know he is still making hit songs and performing for huge crowds in arenas and pavilions.

Here he is singing in front of his own larger-than-life big screen image:



Here is Luke Bryan, one of the opening acts:




Bonus goofiness ... me and my friend Jessica sampling over-priced-but-yummy margaritas:


 












Even better bonus ... my favorite Tim McGraw song.  Much of his music is high-energy, but this song means more to me than I can possibly say here (although I think I did say something about it in an earlier post):



Saturday, August 13, 2011

I Am Master


I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Those are the last two lines of Invictus, a famous poem written in 1875. The word invictus is Latin for ‘unconquered.’ The lines are quoted and sometimes misquoted by everyone from a character in Casablanca to the Oklahoma City bomber. I heard actor Morgan Freeman speak them in his incredible voice on a Biography special this morning. I like the sentiment. I am trying to live it.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ha! There Is A New Name for Us


I never admit my age because of rampant age discrimination and for other reasons, but I'll say in this post that I’m older than the current President and younger than the previous two.  I'm in the Baby Boomer group.

But now there is a name for this segment of baby boomers … alpha boomer. I heard this term a few weeks ago, laughed at it and didn't pay much attention. Then this week I read an advertising trade website article that points out something I've been saying for many years … we have buying power and we listen to radio a lot.

Here is the quote:
"With the 50-65 segment of the U.S. population projected to grow by 70% over the next 15 years, radio and TV broadcasters have been working to show advertisers the unprecedented buying buyer of a new generation of 55-64 year-olds known as Alpha Boomers. The evidence continues to build."

This interests me because I work in radio advertising but I am more drawn to the idea because I still believe we rule the world. That’ll change in our lifetime, of course; every generation is replaced by another one. But mine still dominates and the snot-nosed 23-year-old media buyers and others who think 50-somethings don’t spend money and are stuck in all their old habits need to start paying attention. In fact they should be concerned because, uhhh, we’re spending their inheritance.

Another interesting observation (written by a 44-year-old in a London publication):
"the very generation that invented the cult of youth might also be the cohort to debunk it."

And this one (from a New York Post online article)
"They make up half the population and spend more money on goods and services — nearly $2 trillion — than any other age group. They buy more technology and gadgets — 40% of the market — than any other demo."

Many of us boomers are a bit too ‘tree hugger’ but for the most part we earned our place in history and are responsible for most of the good things everybody enjoys (cell phones and civil rights, to name two). Many Gen X and Gen Y folks feel entitled. Sorry, you’ve got to earn your place too. The ones who are succeeding are the ones who already know that and put it into practice. You don’t have to do things the way we did; just learn from it. Fix our mistakes and put your own stamp on the world.

But wait till tomorrow. We aren’t done yet.



Were Your Ears Burning?


This is one of the oddest phrases in American English vernacular: “were your ears burning?” It does not, of course, have anything to do with lobes on fire. The setting is usually when two people are talking about a third and the third enters the conversation; one of the other two says ‘were your ears burning’ meaning ‘did you know we were talking about you?’

Do you think maybe that third person DID know he or she was being talked about?

What I’m really curious about is this … can you feel when somebody in another location is talking about you or thinking about you?

I’m not much for praying but I do strongly believe in karma and good vibes. In a context where someone might say “my prayers are with you” I am more likely to say I’m sending good karma your way, or good vibes; maybe positive thoughts.

I often do that, by the way. There are a handful of close friends that I think about regularly and I often specifically send some kind of wish or vibe to them, mentally. Do you think they know when that is happening? If you are one of those friends, do you know it? Can you tell when I’m thinking about you? Can you feel my presence in some way, encouraging you or consoling you, almost like a spirit or ghost tapping you on the shoulder or giving you a hug?

Do you believe in that stuff? I do. Were your ears burning when you read this post? Did you call 9-1-1 or did you call me?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Enjoy


I don’t know the source of this (I ‘borrowed’ it from a friend’s post on Facebook) but I like the sentiment...

There are 5 things in life you cannot recover: A stone...after it's thrown. A word...after it is said. An occasion...after it's missed. The time...after it's gone. A person...after they die. Life is short. Break the rules. Forgive quickly. Kiss slowly. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably. And never regret anything that made you smile. Enjoy Life!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Random Day at Work

Even though I work at radio stations, most days are fairly predictable and are somewhat the same from one to the next. But some days, like today, are oddly random.

And I happened to have my camera with me, so here are a few moments in my day today.

The fire alarm went off around 9:30 and we had to evacuate the building. That means six floors down the stairs. The fire department did show up but whatever set off the alarm was handled quickly and by 10 am we were climbing back up the six flights of steps to my office area.



This is my life every morning … coffee and audio editing.



I ended my day by meeting a friend for dinner in downtown DC. While we were on our cell phones trying to figure out where each of us was, our conversation was interrupted by blaring sirens and a sudden street blockade for vehicles and pedestrians. If you live around DC for awhile you know instantly the President is on the move. And you never know which vehicle he is actually in but you can be sure it is not one of the twenty police motorcycles.

We finally found each other and went to this Mexican restaurant. My reason for choosing this one was to check out the rooftop bar but it was too hot to eat outdoors, so we opted for a table in the air conditioned area. We did go upstairs to look it over before leaving. I’ll go there again, when it’s cooler.



And now I’m home. My dogs are so relaxed they didn’t even bark when I arrived.




Although my day was quite random I actually wish every day was this uniquely random.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Totally Random

I’ve been using cocoa butter on my surgery scar. I don’t know if it does anything but I like the fragrance.

I like Pink; the singer not the color. Not my usually music preference but some of her songs are fun and even meaningful.

My commute sucks. Time to stop whining and do the rest of what I have to do to change my commute.

Remember that sunburn I got on my feet a few weeks ago? Now the skin is peeling. I haven’t experienced that in a long time. Ugly.

I’m going to a Tim McGraw concert next week. I saw him on one of his first tours back in 1995 and again a few years ago when he toured with his wife Faith Hill. This year he is on the road with two fairly new performers.

Except for the sunburn I really like the beach and I want to go back. Maybe my cousin in Virginia Beach will have another guest room opening before the end of summer. If I go, I’ll remember to use sunscreen on my feet.

Speaking of sun, there is an all-day outdoor blues festival not far from here in a few weeks. I want to go but haven’t purchased tickets yet. Only one friend is interested in coming but I bet she ultimately says no. There are four bands I want to see there but I know there is little or no shade at this venue so I’m still undecided if I want to spend 8 to 10 hours soaking rays and bathing in sunscreen.

What the hell is cous cous really? I like it but I don’t really know what it is.

My Nyquil/Dayquil cold-fighting ritual seems to be knocking out this crappy summer cold I’ve had for almost a week. Last night for the Nyquil tonight because I’ll be drinking at least one margarita tomorrow night. I don’t think those would mix very well.

Two of my best friends are about to start the fall school semester this month; one is a teacher, one is a student. I wish them both the best.

OK, that’s enough randomness for tonight. Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Self Discovery Update

If you’ve been following along on my two-and-a-half year self-discovery journey, you know one of my goals is to live more in the present. Companion goals include less over-thinking and more living on my agenda and not that of other people. I’ve made huge progress on all of those issues but I’m laughing at myself tonight.

I was offered a free trip to an amazing multi-artist music festival in Vegas as compensation for a company project (the one I mentioned a few posts ago). The ‘me’ I want to be would have RSVPd “yes” in ten seconds. The ‘still not quite there yet me’, however, thought about it, talked it over with two other people, thought some more and finally, after ten hours instead of ten seconds, said yes to the opportunity.

There are factors I can’t really talk about here that made the decision more complicated than it had to be and I’ll give myself credit for thinking through some of them. One relates to a work schedule conflict but my boss gave me the OK to work around that. Other personal matters will result in the likelihood that I’ll take this trip alone, which is ridiculous because if you know me in real life you know I want to share experiences like this.

One factor that made it easier to say yes to the trip is that I’ll know some people there, some of my work peers who I know online or on the phone but whom I rarely see or in some cases have never met. The company president will be there. Maybe I’ll hang out with him … in some parallel universe. Actually I might meet him for 30 seconds. Whatever.

So I wonder if there is truth to that line ‘what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.’ The only thing that happened last time I was there did stay there … my money.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

If ...

If someone close to you has ever died and you wish you could visit him or her again while you're still alive, this song might put a smile on your face.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Fashion Cents Randomness

I pay a lot of attention to fashion but I don’t always buy or wear the right thing for the right occasion or the right combination of items. I am fashion-savvy enough to know I shouldn’t try to dress like a 20-year old but I also don’t want to dress like my age or anything close to it. That disparate combination equals frustration at the mall.

Here are some random observations and thoughts from my shopping trip to a local outlet mall yesterday:

- I am a fairly focused shopper. I usually know what I want before I walk in the store; sometimes I walk in with a written list. Halfway through my list I get hit with decision stress and leave.

- I know my sizes and I have a clear picture of what is already in my closet. Contradicting that, however, I also tend to buy and wear many of the same colors and sometimes I forget I already have that exact same shirt in that exact same color.

- Jeans are great but I like pockets (geez, I’m turning into my Dad), so I wear cargo pants a lot.

- Eddie Bauer, Dockers and Reebok should hire me to be their spokesman. I have more of those three brands in my closet than any others.

- The old fashion strategy that says people respect you more at work if you’re more dressed up seems to be true even at my extremely casual work place. But if I dress up too much, I look like the sales people and if I dress too casually, I lose a bit of that respect edge – not completely but there is a different attitude based on clothing. My very casual boss just got a promotion and she is already dressing more like someone further up the management ladder. Same thing for her boss.

- I have every shade of khaki there is (Dad again?). I laugh at myself when I replace worn out khaki chinos with exactly the same thing. I also have plenty of olive. I need another color, don’t I?

- My closet is adult grrranimals. Everything goes with everything. That is intentional and maybe a little boring.

- The outlet mall was packed yesterday, even though everything except the food court has exterior entrances and the temperature was 98.

- My list included some specific shirts, pants and shoes. I got most of my shirts and no pants or shoes.

- I’m looking for a new look for work but I am undecided about what it should be.

- If any Asian country is searching for a few hundred missing teen-agers, try the outlet mall in Hagerstown, Maryland. I think they were all there yesterday.