Clamor

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There is an interesting culture shift going on around here. The clamor is growing, and what really blows my mind is that while I’m off doing something else, some other mundane task like bathrooming or soundly sleeping, the clamor is still carrying on in its appointed realm. The clamor I’m talking about is the noise of opinions, voices trying to be heard, trying to be more right than the rest, even sometimes trying to make a positive change. The clamor’s appointed realm is the infonet, no doubt. For every second of my comfortable sleep at night, there are 20 million opinions being expressed across the cybervoid. Never mind the dark web and the banking industry and the sound channels and the video loggers and the fake news and the real news and the amazonian purchase surveys, because textual opinions alone account for 20 millions uploads* per second on the infonet.

*From the certainty principle of hyperbole.

I’m sure, as more and more people become connected through digital streams of communication, the clamor will grow.

Sometimes it gets me down. Sometimes I feel like the picture, the beautifully done picture I wish I could credit to someone, where the u.f.o. is stealing a child’s trike. I mean, I feel like someone stole my trike. There used to be more intimate conversations. There used to be civil communication. Now there’s just clamor.

But that’s just the pessimism talking. If you’re not careful, the pessimism and the clamor can trap you in their beam.

Optimistically I can see now there’s not only clamor, there’s also a way to quickly communicate with my relatives in Australia, my friend in Alaska, and some people I love but have never met who live in various places across the globe. I probably would never meet them or even get to hear what they have to say except through this great tool. The ‘net is a great tool for keeping in touch with people. It’s also a great tool for finding new friends.

The infonet also has this amazing capability of dispensing info. Through the infonet recently I’ve learned how to make butterscotch pancakes (All Recipes). I’ve learned why I should dry brush my skin ( Why dry-brush?). I’ve learned that my regular day job may seem Lynchian, but it could be Shakespearian ( Is your job Lynchian? ). And best of all, The Blackwater Fever has a new album out ( The Blackwater Fever: Delusions).

My hope here is that you may see the clamor as I see it: something that happens, and even though it may appear to be ready to draw you in at any moment, you don’t have to be a part of it. There really is good stuff on the ‘net. You have to avoid the clamor to recognize it. Can you be near the clamor without being trapped inside? I’m sure it’s possible. Give them your trike if you have to, but stay out of the beam.

Earth Day

nature-3335439__480Don’t you absolutely love the Earth?

And trees! How do you feel about trees? They are some amazing life-forms, in my opinion.

Today is the day that many people on planet Earth express their love for the planet. A lot of people show their love for the Earth by picking up litter, or combing a beach, or planting flowers and trees.

For Earth Day, I thought I’d brag about my stats.

Because I’ve worked in the Recreation and Parks arena for a few years, I can say I’ve planted 330 trees in my life so far. That’s 330 + or – 10 (thanks to GIS, I can actually look at the trees I’ve planted from an overhead perspective). I can say, with confidence, that I’ve cared for over 400 trees.

One of the policies I’ve pushed over the years is that whenever a tree has to come out, whether it’s due to age or health or whatever other reason, then I make sure two more get planted to replace it.

So, if you’re thinking, “Why do we have only one day where we celebrate the Earth?” well then, that’s good thinking. You can take action every day of the year. Many types of trees can be planted inside, in a pot, with some good moistened potting soil. So if you live in a climate zone where there is snow on the ground through the winter months, you can still start a tree and wait to plant it outside when the weather is less harsh. This is actually really fun to do as a gift for neighbors. I’ve done this, and one of the people I gave a tree to kept telling me that the tree was still growing. Every time they saw me, they’d mention it. So I made at least one person happy. And the Earth has one more tree on it.

Make the Earth happy, plant a tree.

Another Kind of Solo

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The Age of the Introvert Dash-Cam Soliloquy is now.

The best way to find out what your pet introvert is thinking is to install the cell’ ‘phone holder on the dashboard of their automobile and then leave them alone for a long time. Any time your introvert has a problem with someone, instead of talking about the problem with that person (which the little introvert would not do anyway), they can hook up their ‘phone and pretend indignance in front of the cell’ camera.

Just think: if they get upset at enough people, you can turn your pet introvert into a video logger (a.k.a. vlogger). You can put their lonely rants online. You can compile them under clever headings like, No Wally World Employee Will Ever Talk To Me That Condescendingly Again, or, This Is The Last Time I’ll Get Too Much Ice In My Super Sipper At The Drive Thru’, or, They’ll Think Twice About Crossing Me At The Gym ‘Cause They’re Gonna See This Video And Their Ears Will BURN AS IF TOUCHED BY HOLY WATER.

One other great benefit of this idea is that your little introvert will release some of the tension that typically builds up inside the less-than social brain. In the past, introverts with no outlet have blown their tops—or blown a gasket—or even “gone postal”. That’s no good. Give your pet a way to relieve themselves.

And of course don’t forget the encouragement. After they’ve let all of their anger out while yelling at the dashboard camera, make sure you save the recording and tell them, “Wow, you really took care of that situation.”

Goofing on Politics

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People who get too political bet boring. Their every sentence is a judgmental condemnation of something. Their brains have apparently undergone a transformation similar to leaving a Hostess Twinkie on a dashboard on a really hot day.

The political ones coax each other to it, claiming that if you don’t get in on the political debate you couldn’t possibly prove your intellection.

They stand in an imaginary place that they feel is above everyone they perceive as lesser.  They point their fingers and mock everything about you, from your annual income to your lifestyle to your birthplace to your supposed level of intelligence. And if you happen to prove your knowledge base with data, they swiftly deny your data because of whatever random personal fault they choose to notice that day. Never mind having a conversation. For the political, every subject is a debate (even your birthday). They seem to prefer the hot takes* and the puke funnel** to a chance of waxing eloquent. They have a predilection toward controversy. They believe many things that are absurd and strange and illogical, with the sole backup of the traditions of their chosen party. They have facebook pages that look like propaganda and that hint toward surgical scars on their frontal lobes. They have piles of tweets that are so single-minded as to be narrow-minded.

If you find yourself making excessive political comments and posts and tweets, don’t worry, there’s a way out. Be aware that you can become normal again. Start by cutting back on your CNN and FOX intake; stop using words like “popinjay”, “redacted”, and “kakistocracy”, and start using words like “syzygy”, “intergalactic”, and “dashing”. Not only are those last three words fun to say, they’ll lead you to other places entirely. More positive places. They will help you stop poisoning your brain with judgment of others and start your progress into realms of praise. You’ll find yourself becoming fun and interesting again, instead of dull and lifeless.

(*Hot takes are intentionally controversial comments on current events that are constructed with very little, if any, research and even less thought.)

(**The puke funnel is a device invented by lovers of politics so that they can get more politics down their gullet.)

The Mountain and The Padded Biker

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My favorite sport, mountain biking, is no doubt an extreme sport. It has killed people. Or maybe I should say people have killed themselves by doing it. The most common deaths I’ve heard about were when people have fallen off of cliffs.

Interest in the sport has exploded in the last ten years, from 2007 to 2017. I’m equal parts encouraged and disappointed about the statistics.

Encouraging things first: There are now teams of high school age boys and girls who participate in the sport. There are younger people mountain biking. There are older people mountain biking. Also, I’ve had an easier time finding people who will go with me. It’s a good safety to have a buddy along. Especially on the sketchy trails.

Disappointing thing next: The trails can be super-crowded some days, and too many people on a singletrack trail can ruin the experience, as well as the trail.

I’ve seen people who are really skilled, experienced bikers break bones; inexperienced bikers however, can be hazards to EVERYONE on the trail, not only themselves (depending on the difficulty of the trail, of course). Most trails are not physically marked and locally rated for difficulty level. There are web sites and books that you can reference to find the difficulty of specific trails. In my opinion, most people either don’t check the ratings, or overestimate their abilities.

Actually, that’s kind of funny. Because I don’t respect the ones who underestimate their abilities either. Recently, I almost ran into this guy who was covered head to toe in armor. He looked like that kid on A Christmas Story who gets bundled up by his mom so you can’t even see him under all the padding. Anyway, this guy was coming down the hill and not stopping for anyone. “Watch out! Watch out!” he kept yelling. Protocol and courtesy is to stop for uphill traffic, and I was going up, so I yelled back at him, “Use your brakes!” but he acted like he didn’t have any. Maybe he didn’t. I could give him the benefit of the doubt on that—except that I did see him slow down. He aimed his motorcycle helmet at me and said, “Go right!” And that cracked me up even more than his padding. I don’t think he could see the sarcasm in my eyes, but I’m sure he heard the laughter. I laugh loud.

On some singletrack, there’s no left or right, there’s extreme drop on one side and impossible climb on the other. It is singletrack after all.

So I paused and prayed to the God who made the mountains that this oblivious, bundled up and bungled, child wouldn’t hurt anyone—and hopefully wouldn’t return. He passed me safely enough. But I hoped that maybe since he was so scared of getting hurt he would sell his bike and buy a skateboard. And while he was skateboarding, he could wear that same padded suit.