Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Garden - Fortune

It was discussed today on whether my co workers had the personality & ability to make money in YouTube or podcasts. I felt like Kip in Napoleon Dynamite, of “I’ve looked into it.” And looking to the internet for a quick answer would probably end up just as disappointing as the time machine in the film. If there was an easy way, it would have already been taken & filled.

The prime real estate has been claimed in the garden of new media, & the low hanging fruit market has been subsidized by the investment of advertisers. But how to get the attention of advertisers? I would guess by doing something that appeals to the interests of an untapped market’s attention. But with many good areas claimed, you have to prove there is a market by gaining that attention first. It requires hard work. You plow the dense soil, breaking new ground & staking your claim. You plant seeds in reddit & other discussion boards, establishing the potential fruit of your research & opinions. You encourage cross pollination of your plants with adjourning fields for mutual benefit. And with patience & hard work, establish a name for yourself in the community.

But that is hard & thankless work. Requiring a measure of passion & interest in the importance of what you are making. It is much easier to walk into someone else’s field & just claim it as your own by offering prettier or tastier fruit. Alternatively, cough over all the fruit in a field & try to create a viral outbreak on the content. Or catch someone in the act of taking this unhygienic shortcut & call them out. Audiences love a good scandal, & being a muckraker can be satisfying in the short term. Of course, there are hazards to this. When you stir up muck, you can instigate a mudslinging war. And even if you don’t suffer this, the odor of that occupation can keep others at a respectful distance, lest they fall victim to being associated on either side of the matter & be caught in the crossfire.

So, while I believe it is unlikely that my co workers will discover fame & fortune in new media, I also concede that the unexpected is always possible. But even if they get lucky & manage it, to maintain that attention involves a lot of hard work. A life of ease only seems to happen when it was a preexisting condition to achieving that fame. As lottery winners tend to squander their money, subjects of viral memes tend to squander their attention by getting stage fright in the spotlight.

However, I certainly haven’t achieved such success. Most of this is derived from listening to Grace Helbig’s “Not Too Deep” & Rhett & Link’s “Ear Biscuits.” Their interview guests usually have some good general advice, but admit that the path by which they got to where they are is mostly closed due the the medium evolving & advertisers becoming more skeptical, demanding more work for less reward.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Probability - Poet-try

My life is a probability tree.
My roots fork deep, though slow.
My decisions break the ground for Me
To become more stable as I grow.

Each day are choices to be made.
Each morning to sleep on or to rise.
Each time I draw aside the shade
To greet the challenges of blue skies.

Though true that there may be greyer days.
Though rains may fall outside.
Though sometimes it feels harder to praise
To be at peace and abide.

Trees can take years to mature.
Trees are often quite boring to view.
Trees sometimes even need manure
To allow their soil to refresh and renew.

So let patience be my rhyme & reason.
So may steady progress be my goal & love.
So that my behavior be pruned in due season
To direct my limbs towards heaven above.

I am learning to branch out to new spaces.
I attempt to overcome shyness and malaise.
I admit it is vulnerable and painful in places
To stretch beyond a tendency to laze.

An object at rest tends to remain in that state.
An object in motion does the same.
An object to Newton's laws comes too late
To ever affect the memory of his good name.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Memory - Momentary

In the land of memory, the time is always now.


Hang on a second. That is quite inaccurate. It always "was." For in recording something to be remembered, it simply must be in the past tense to become a memory.

The land was populated with has beens, ustacoulds, & never-wases. Over time, their edges became less distinct & more fuzzy. Which made for them to become more comfortable when embraced in reuinon, but difficult to recognize & be certain of which of the above groupings it fit. There were some inhabitants which switched roles, depending on the person they met & the strength of their relationship to them.

There were quiet periods, when there was a lull in visitation traffic. There was a recent shift in popularity in the neighboring realms of the present & the future. The amusement parks of Creativity & Imagination had rides that were routed to pass through the land of Memory. That led to some interest in Memory tangentially. And as the visitors to the park aged, they tended to spend a good portion of time wandering through Memory's lanes & reuniting with old & forgotten friends - reliving past experiences & rehashing old events.

The youth had little interest in Memory's offerings, much preferring to spend their time in the moment, capturing stray moments like the fluttering of butterflies, pinning them to boards, walls, & posts. Then they were packed away & shipped off in boxes to Memory, to be reviewed later. It often took years for these youth to get around to following up on what they had forwarded, some of it lay dormant in Memory's storage for years. Forgotten in the general clutter, & lonely in waiting for the opportunity to be brought out again into the fresh air & used.

Some people were lost to Memory & had no one left to inquire after the matter of their rediscovery. There were others who were never fully recovered, & those who bore witness to what remained of their loved one never fully recovered themselves either. Something more was lost than merely the person, but also the witness of the lost soul who had invested themselves into that person's life & felt the loss of that access to that part they gave away.

Time is said to heal all wounds, but there was no promise that it would dull all pain. Scars have ran deep in the families & friends of those lost souls - in certain environments & times of the year, the hurt is felt more sorely, like a phantom limb. Time offers alternative options & opportunities to spend oneself into other people & projects. But it is not designed to replace the person, but to substitute for every soul is unique & the bonds that have been severed cannot be replicated & spliced into another relationship, however much both parties may try. New bonds must be formed & recognized for their own unique abilities & value.

It is a dangerous business to travel Memory alone, without a destination held firmly in mind. One can never be certain who they shall meet along the way. Encounters may involve the untangling of messy & complicated relationships with other travelers walking the same paths. Some of these may become suspicious or territorial around certain areas, & become aggravated & defensive when questioned as to why they should be so. Often, these people will turn the question around & ask what right the first person should have in being there in the first place. The first person may protest that there was no indication of ownership in the area, upon which the defensive individual may counterpoint that there were signs in the area, if you knew how to read them. But, as not everyone is literate in such things, it may be the second person's elitist behavior becoming exposed as thinking that everyone else thinks like they do. Which, when seen in plain daylight, is frankly embarrassing to all parties involved. Depending on the graciousness of the party, such revelations may be either grounds for apology & forgiveness or enmity & bitterness. Sometimes both take place - even when forgiveness is offered, a bitter heart can perceive this as pity & reject the offer along with the person behind it.

As stated above, traveling alone throughout Memory is dangerous & liabilities are assumed at the traveller's own risk. Discretion truly is the better part of valor, and not all situations are worth the fight given the cost of a victory. Overall, it is the individual's attitude & perspective of such matters which shall dictate whether their time dwelling in Memory is a pleasant experience. Selective travel can lead to better & healthier routes, while confronting some of the problems in troubled areas can lead to encounters which leave the traveller in either cathartic or crippled state.

It is recommended that you be patient during the time spent in Memory. Some parts have fragile ecosystems & will only bloom & ripen into full splendor in their due season. Most things respond better to respect than coercion in providing directions to desired areas & names of personages. Often, a circuitous route is offered, but it is often for good reasons. Shortcuts may be littered with dead-ends, leaving the traveller cut short on their journey. And often, more is learned on the way to the destination than when arriving at the destination itself.

This ends the official overview of the Land of Memory. Please feel free to visit at leisure & stay as long as preferred. The inhabitants will be able to add more details regarding specific activities & opportunities within its borders.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Explanation - Expression

It has reached a point at which I am that peculiar balance of caffeinated and exhausted which causes me to feel inspired in wanting to write something down. This has happened in the past months, but I have talked myself out of it. It is strangely narcissistic on two fronts to do this. On the one hand, I question the importance of my thoughts being framed for others to see - isn't that hubris? On the other, this self-deprecation does no one any good, when my conscience chides me that I really fear mediocrity. That my thoughts are not so profound or worth sharing. (Which may be the case.) Or that I shall not do a good job of communicating to others as to why my interests are interesting to me.

But really, in the end, even if no one reads me but me? I shouldn't mind so much. But I write with an audience in mind. I do better when I am trying to explain something and tailor it to that particular person's feedback. In this way, I gain a better feeling for whether my interest really is interesting and whether it is able to be shared. Because, ultimately, these interests I come across give me such joy and delight that I want to share this feeling with others so that their lives become similarly improved.

Long introduction aside, I shall try to engage in this blog more often. I have said this in the past, and each reason I have stopped is because I hit a proverbial wall in things to talk about. I tend to front load my priorities of things I find interesting, then get tired of writing when I reach less interesting things. Each time, it has gotten to a point where my time would be usually spent experiencing interesting things worth writing about has been replaced by me trying to write about them instead.

Quite simply, I exhaust my content of interesting things and decide it is better to return to the pursuit of seeking out things that interest me, figuring it is better for all involved. If I write something, I wish it was worth the reading.

But this is but an introduction and an explanation as to my absences in the past. As I have tried to do more or less successfully in the past each time. And each time, I learn a little bit more about myself and how I process information. I can be quite self-obsessed, but am not always self-impressed.

Thank you so far for your patience.

To return to the concept of my thinking better out loud to other people, I am rereading Douglas Adams' "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency." There is a character named Way who is the Steve Jobs of the fictitious WayForward technology brand. One of his peculiar habits is of calling his employees and leaving long messages on their home answering machines. In these messages, it often happens that he hashes out the details of ideas he has for products and services to be offered by his company. So it is the job of his secretary to go around to the houses of people that he might have called to retrieve and transcribe the messages he leaves, so that he can reread them in his office each week. The reason that is given as to why he didn't make the process easier and just use a voice recorder on a cassette tape, is that he probably didn't like to listen to himself. And since he was rich enough to pay someone else to deal with his eccentricity, the behavior was humored for the most part by family and employees.

While the above novel is ridiculous and absurd, I have an affinity and empathy for this character which Adams created. I tend to love the author's work precisely because of such things. I delight in being delighted and surprised by cleverness, and Adams' work is extremely self-impressed by its cleverness. But if it is ever pretentious, it acknowledges the behavior as a particular defect and accepts the joke on itself with a smile.

Similar feelings and affinities abound when I read G.K. Chesterton. Both authors are deliciously eloquent and I aspire to their turns of phrase and joy at looking at the world with fondness. They each remark on the everyday oddities that all too often we learn to take for granted as natural parts of life. They ask the question as to "Why we give such things a free ride? What if an element of the practice were tweaked to be exaggerated to grotesque magnitude or minimized to the simplest iteration without any edifices?" It takes a certain deftness to perform such delicate surgery on perspectives of an audiences' minds and allow them to see the world anew with greater clarity and awe.

But these are the authors who speak to me and my understanding. There are other writers and speakers who are able to convey the same message, tailored to a different audience with different relative positions and connections to correlate ways of understanding ideas and information.

I hope you find them. That these people who share your enthusiasms, interests, and mindset structure are located and that you are able to learn from and be challenged by them.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Cobwebs - Excuses

I have a few of the first because of many of the latter. By rights, I shouldn't have any of either today. My day was shortened at my job because my department had caught up with the important tasks of the week & I had reached my 40 hours.

I have been living away from my family for the past 5 months, as an opportunity opened to share a place with a friend. I have enjoyed this time to figure out how to take on responsibility for my daily decisions and upkeep of household duties. Cobwebs are one aspect of these things. The house has spiders, but also other pests. I have been of a mind to let some of them live in order to reduce the amount of mosquitos and flies that wander about the house from time to time. But some webs locations need to be discouraged, such as near my clothing, food, and books. But corners and behind the sink? If any bug is careless enough to go exploring there, it deserves to face some consequences.

But cleanliness is a consistent maintenance issue, and some jobs can be put off to be dealt with in batches, while others require more immediate address. Spiders can be pushed down on the list if they keep their heads and legs down.

Now, as for excuses. My current job can and typically does take more than 40 hours of my week depending on the workload brought in for my department to process. It becomes easier to focus on just keeping up with those demands rather than planning for personal growth and improvement. I have relatively low social requirements for satisfaction, and my family worries whether I will become an mildly-agoraphobic hermit who just leaves the house to work and get food.

It is tempting, especially when I can spend my evenings in the company of my personal library of books. They don't make demands, and patiently wait for my attention to unlock their ideas. They are predictable in their behavior and will remain in that state barring any elemental disaster or decay. But that is what makes human company that much more interesting. Unpredictability: Depending on mood, recent events, personality, and satisfaction of appetites, etc. People are entertaining and strange. Books, when doing their job properly, provide context for events and personages. People are not bound by that requirement and often take advantage of this freedom.

I tend to think that I explain myself better than I actually do. My family and friends humor me in this, but it is sometimes aggravating when I forget to do so in a timely manner. But as ever there are excuses.

I have a habit of stalling for time, of trying to gather myself to be prepared to put forth a good effort towards a yet to be determined goal. I am better with defined, external goals because then I am accountable to something outside myself for getting something done. And I like to help other people when I can figure out how to be useful.

It all comes down to the question of how to best spend the time I have. It is easier to tell myself that I have fixed obligations, because then I can take those for granted and not question them too much. Excuses are a convenience to fill space and time until I find something I strongly want or need to do. Because life is not easy, nor is it simple. But it can be made more manageable and maneuverable when I clean out the physical and mental cobwebs. Then I can make efforts to simplify my field of vision by looking outside myself and learning how to recognize tasks & people involved who could be served with my attention.

It will take time. But I am yet young and by God's grace and favor I am gifted with a sufficient amount of that at the moment.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Silencer - Report

I have put a bullet in my twitter account for the moment. I have been using it as an release valve on my thoughts for the past three and a half years. It is an outlet altogether too convenient for me, and I am wondering if I have been leaning on it too much lately.

Can I manage to keep silent for long? I still habitually check it from my mobile device, but I am seeing if I can scale back on this habit.  I want to grow as a person & I realize that using twitter as a vehicle and medium to convey my thoughts increases my impulsiveness and impatience with other things in my life.  It has immediacy in its ability to be an addictive ongoing chronicle of other peoples' thoughts and actions.

It increases my passivity while simulating the feeling of activity. It plays and preys on the idea of pithy popularity as to the interest and reaction by others to what commentary and quips are added to the social stew. I become alternately fond and frustrated by the site's limitations and flaws. What I choose to do with my time will shape who I am now, as well as build habits towards who I will be in the future.

So I will be quiet for a spell on that site, and try to explore other things with that allotted time. I can't say how successful I'll be. Right now I am scratching that itch to share my life to the limited public eye on here.  But why should you or even I particularly care to know such things.

It is a habit, a means of creating noise to avoid the silence and the questions it brings. I am reminded of the passage in Douglas Adams' five part Hitchhiker trilogy about the planet Kakrafoon Kappa, a race that was enlightened, accomplished, and silent was punished by a galactic tribunal with a societal telepathy. "Any thought, if not articulated and verbalized immediately, would thenceforward be broadcast for everyone to hear across Kakrafoon's smug neighbouring planets." This ruined the silent society as all the Kakrafoonians were forced to break their practice of silence lest everybody overhear instead of the smaller and more immediate group.

Silence isn't always comfortable to carry around. Reticence can be perceived as antisocial or rude.  I have friends who wear it better than others. Sometimes I don't talk because I have nothing to contribute and much more to learn by keeping my peace.  There is also the frustrating maxim, "Speak only if you can improve upon the silence."  Whenever I remember this saying, I become hyperaware of speaking up at all. And declaring the epigram aloud is even worse to my sensibilities because it appears a haughty and condescending judgement upon anyone else who happens to be talking.

I am reading through Richard Foster's book "Celebration of Discipline" with a group of men. There are chapters on prayer, private meditation and study of ideas, simplicity, and solitude. This respite from engaging in social networking sites might allow me to exercise in these disciplines and habits. I am grateful for the opportunity and am excited to see what I learn during this new year.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Compare - Aware

Another long day at work. Mondays are getting that way for me. Some practices are still new to me, and I wish I could have applied them retroactively. But until someone tells me, I just stick to the parameters of which I am aware. Slightly frustrating for me not to excel at things.

I engage in a consistent series of comparing and contrasting against others around me. Not competitively, but observing how others perform tasks and create systems throughout their lives. My friends have greater discipline & dedication in certain areas and I admire their handiwork. I wonder often if I could adapt to these systems if given enough time.

But time is a resource and if I spend it in study of other people, then I have little to show for it besides for theories as to how things are accomplished. I have to start with small steps on an incremental level, adding complexity as I can handle it. I get frustrated with myself more than with other people. I can directly affect my behavior, and try to be patient and excuse other people for theirs.

The girl in Eleanor Estes' book Ginger Pye had this habit of making elaborate excuses for other people's behavior. That book had a strange effect on me looking back on my course through childhood. I don't really understand how there is an overarching plot in that award winning novel, but there are memorable character traits. The other influence I had from that book was the vertical swimmer, who was not exceptional at speed, but could hold his breath underwater for an impressive period of time to the other kids. I was quite inspired by that logic, but alas, am rather landlocked and so have not pursued a career as a deep sea diver.

The fact remains that I must improve in many areas, and have the same patience with myself that I want to extend towards others when I am feeling inconvenienced. I am bothered by the notion that I am often dissatisfied with my own level of competency. But then I remember that otherwise, I am likely to grow comfortable in mediocrity & my drive to progress is through a spur applied by this aforesaid defense mechanism.

Also, I need to get better at owning the things at which I actually am pretty decent. But I don't want to be conceited, so I much prefer it when someone else arrives at the idea that I am. Thank you for your short attention to this & you're welcome for whatever you like about it.

There will probably be better content next week, but I am tired at the moment. An earlier draft of a blog post was written last week, but was a stew made of resentment & frustration, so I have decided to see if it will be better served after being put on ice another week.