Checking in

Just after the new year, fellow blogger Cynical-C announced he was raising the white flag again to continuing his site. He wrote that he is over with “news” and the roller coaster of the news cycles.

I can’t link you to his site, because it’s completely gone. He’s one of the first dudes I ever followed when I started this madness back in 2008 or so. It’s sad to see him go. But it is what it is. I’m still continuing here, although, the scope of what I’m posting has changed a bit over the years. Less jokes. Less personal life. But yet, here I am.

We’re in North Carolina at the moment. A snow bird at 47 years old. I don’t know what to think about that.

I revel in it, though. I love spending time in North Carolina, but love having access to big city friends, culture, and life is still a priority.

I’m pushing myself to be creative while here. I’m writing every day. Journaling. Trying to come up with stories. I’m trying to take a photo a week (some kind of made image) with me, my wife and dog. Trying to make short films, but that one hasn’t happened yet. I created some content, but it’s got to be edited.

This is my ambitious goal list for the month:

  • Create a photo a week
  • Write Short story or poem a week
  • Create a video a week (I have some content, but not edited yet)
  • Read a book a week
  • Hit 10K steps a day average
  • Keep my resting heart rate below 60.

So far I’m missing the mark on the last one and the video/film. Today’s RHR average is 60.

Last week, I averaged 20,000 steps a day. Most of the steps were doing yard work. We have a half acre. I carried a lot of leaves, branches, weeds and stumps that I dug up to the street, which is up hill both ways and feels like a mile each way as well.

I was a popular cat, though, when I was working in the front yard. Several neighborhood women stopped and chitchatted. One woman named Ana chatted with me a long time. Asking questions about the house as an AirBnB, how well we do. The conversation crossed into neighbors who might help with house cleaning and yard work, neighbors whose hobbies include racing boats, concerns over renters in the neighborhood, because of her neighbors who rented shot some people at a local high school a couple years back, and a handyman contractor who she recommends if we ever need stuff done around the house.

It’s remarkable, though, how quiet the neighborhood is as a whole. Because of my 10K step goal, I jog or walk the area almost every day. I’ll do 3 to 5 miles and not see ONE other walker or person in their yards. It’s a densely built up area. I see people in cars.

I even walk to our local grocery stores, which is so Chicago. The closest real grocery store to us in Chicago is 3/4 of a mile away. Here, there’s one 1/2 mile. It’s so easy. But I bet money most if not all of our neighbors drive there.

I’m not saying I’m better. But I’m writing that I am.

The yard is full of birds. I’ve seen deer a few times this trip. I see their hoof prints in the mud. The other night, our dog Josie needed a midnight potty break. I was *this* close to leaving her off leash, but last minute, latched her up. When we came out, a raccoon waddled off and climbed this tree about 20 feet from us. Josie would have tried to catch it. And she may have. She’s caught rats in Chicago.

Yesterday, I spotted a rare daytime opossum waddling away from Jo and me.

And on Saturday, a house nearby had eight cops surround it, a fire engine and an ambulance. All us neighbors, about four people, found ourselves on the corner wondering what was going on. One neighbor named Charles thought that it might be a mentally handicapped guy who lives with his mom at the end of the block.

I’ll ask my neighbor Sally if she knows what happened next time I see her. Sally is the first neighbor we met. She walks her dogs a few times a day, and always makes sure to stop and chat when we’re outside.

Of course it’s also good to be closer to my family. We had everyone over for a big meal recently, and we’ve met for breakfast a couple times. Tina and I have lunched with my parents at their house. And I’m sure they’ll be here for more meals. And my dad is supposed to help me with some house work.

So lots of fun. Exciting times.

Thanks for reading this ramble. If you made it this far, I’d like to recommend this 2023 Intentions list from my favorite, new-to-me bloggers Swissmiss. I discovered her when Jason Kottke was on Sabbatical, and she does not disappoint.

The only beef I have is in her “reminders” list that reads, “The universe is friendly.” I think I understand what she means, but the universe is literally the least friendly place ever. So unfriendly, in fact, that we only know of one planet in its infinitely massive size that is friendly to life.

One. Little. Speck.

But in terms of friendliness in the universe, I can get it. Like this story I heard recently during an interview with Ewan McGregor that he read in a book about a guy who motorcycles all over the world. In one story, the guy’s motorcycle broke down in India and he parked under an overpass, sat down and waited knowing that eventually, someone would stop and help him. He called it a universal truth that happens EVERYWHERE he’s ever ridden.

And that, dear reader, is amazing.

There’s proof of UFOs in the Bible

This tweet caught my attention, and I had to look up Ezekiel 1 to take a look at this proof. Apparently it’s about a 30 year old who experimented with fermented sheep urine and started hallucinating.

NIV translation:

I looked, and I saw a windstorm coming out of the north—an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal, and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures. In appearance their form was human, but each of them had four faces and four wings. Their legs were straight; their feet were like those of a calf and gleamed like burnished bronze. Under their wings on their four sides they had human hands. All four of them had faces and wings, and the wings of one touched the wings of another. Each one went straight ahead; they did not turn as they moved.

You’ll want to read the whole thing.

Taking this seriously is a challenge. But give her a whirl. You might convert.

Contemplating Twenty Twenty Three

I’m with all of you who think of the new year is a miraculous fantasy machine. A contraption that when it notch clicks from 2022 to 2023, the promises made are intoxicating.

Twenty twenty three, a coup de foudre of doughy-eyed promises, ecstasies. Whispers of magical potions, grandiose ambitions and impossible possibilities.

Surf’s up. I’m riding this wave. It’s fun to dream. Imagine. To create. Love and be loved. Show compassion and receive it.

Twenty twenty three. With abandon, let’s do this.

Werner Herzog offers not one, not two, but 24 pieces of advice

I saw this posted over at Kottke. He originally posted it back in 2015. Jason writes: “Paul Cronin’s book of conversations with filmmaker Werner Herzog is called Werner Herzog – A Guide for the Perplexed. On the back cover of the book, Herzog offers a list of advice for filmmakers that doubles as general purpose life advice.”

My brother once gave me a Herzog t-shirt. It was my favorite shirt for a long time. Although, in a hackish way, I’ve never considered myself a big Herzog fan. I’ve watched him and his work, but never been awe struck by it. But sometimes it’s good to look at these lists from other artists/filmmakers.

I’m emboldening the ones I like the most.

The advice:

1. Always take the initiative.
2. There is nothing wrong with spending a night in jail if it means getting the shot you need.
3. Send out all your dogs and one might return with prey.
4. Never wallow in your troubles; despair must be kept private and brief.
5. Learn to live with your mistakes.
6. Expand your knowledge and understanding of music and literature, old and modern.
7. That roll of unexposed celluloid you have in your hand might be the last in existence, so do something impressive with it.
8. There is never an excuse not to finish a film.
9. Carry bolt cutters everywhere.
10. Thwart institutional cowardice.
11. Ask for forgiveness, not permission.
12. Take your fate into your own hands.
13. Learn to read the inner essence of a landscape.
14. Ignite the fire within and explore unknown territory.
15. Walk straight ahead, never detour.
16. Manoeuvre and mislead, but always deliver.
17. Don’t be fearful of rejection.
18. Develop your own voice.
19. Day one is the point of no return.
20. A badge of honor is to fail a film theory class.
21. Chance is the lifeblood of cinema.
22. Guerrilla tactics are best.
23. Take revenge if need be.
24. Get used to the bear behind you.