Not really, of course . . . vegging is defined as “relaxing to the point of complete inertia.” I’m a few ticks shy of complete inertia. I am, however, indulging myself to a day of doing nothing beyond eating, reading, listening to music, and looking out the window.
Oh, and playing with photographs . . . specifically, photos from our October 2004 trip out West. The photos in this post are from the Badlands.
That’s my father-in-law walking back from an observation platform.
By the way, you can click on the photos to see a larger version or go to THIS SmugMug gallery to see the full versions.
This was our second visit to the park. The first visit, in 2002, is documented HERE.
The 2004 trip had a purpose beyond enjoying the Western Scenery. Having decided to leave Michigan, we were scouting potential destinations. As some already know, we ended up in Colorado Springs in 2005.
The photos for this brief foray into the park will likely be indistinguishable from the ones from 2002 . . . except for this guy. I think he’s new.
The hills and landscape are pretty much the same as they were back in 2002. That’s what happens when no cataclysmic event disturbs the landscape.
This post, however, is not about the Badlands. It’s about me freewheeling. That’s right; I’m going to write stuff down as it comes to mind. The photos are a bonus.
So, what am I thinking about? Well, just now, I’m thinking how nice it would be if motorcycles had proper mufflers. We just had a small convoy of motorcycles go by. The noise was louder than the music I was listening to, and a few items in the condo actually rattled.
Motorcycles don’t have to be that loud. In fact, many quality motorcycles aren’t. Then, there are Harleys. They are constructed specifically for people insecure about themselves, about their value to society, about the size of their appendages, and their ability to breathe through their noses.
The bikes, then, serve to let everyone within the radius of a couple of miles that, hey, here’s an individual with little value to the human race. An individual with nothing to offer in life beyond being noisy and obnoxious and unconcerned about others.
The thing is, I’m sure that if some friends and I went to people’s houses and screamed at the top of our lungs through megaphones, well, I think people — including bikers — would find that annoying. Of course, I won’t do that . . . since I have neither friends nor a megaphone.
Still, I understand . . . pathetic lives often hope to gain significance by making a nuisance of themselves, running for President, showing no consideration for others, and playing at being uncivilized unwashed hordes. If I sound unkind . . . well, I’m old and not as tolerant as I used to be.
I mentioned I’m reading . . . I’m reading a lot. I’m flying through Jim Butcher’s Dresden books. I’m kind of pissed at him since it’s now a couple of years since the last book, and I’ve yet to see a publication date for the next book in the series.
Reading is good for me . . . well, not for the writer in me. But, you know, reading has other benefits.
The Dresden books are an interesting read in that they combine magic with pretty good action, if occasionally a little repetitive. I’ve mentioned before that both Scalzi and Butcher are writers I like and somewhat identify with. Meaning, I like their writing and think it close to my own.
Sure, they pull it off with more skill, but I see similarities. Certainly, I like reading their books almost as much as reading my own, so that’s something, right?
I’m reading a lot so that when I stop reading, my drive to write will have awakened and push me to new heights of productivity. So one hopes.
Here are a few jokes about writing and writers . . . and words and language.
I should mention that just past the anniversary of me attending the Viable Paradise workshop, I’m back to being sort of, kind of, pretty much isolated from the community.
I mean, I keep track of a few things, still follow some of the people, but my interaction has dropped to . . . zero. Lest someone gets it in their head this is me trying to elicit sympathy or complaining, au contraire, mes lecteurs.
It’s just what it is, and to be truthful, it’s a lot easier on me doing things on my own. Perhaps not as conducive for success, but easier.
What else occupies my time? Well, dying. But, that’s everyone, so few are interested in that aspect of life.
But, related to dying, getting older. I’m prepared, of course. I know all the physiological consequences of aging and while not obsessing about it, I make a token effort to combat the slow deterioration of my body. I have a simple goal . . . at 90 (if I make it that far) I still want to be self-sufficient.
That’s a broad target, but the specifics are pretty simple; be able to dress myself, to keep myself reasonably clean, to drive a car, to lift and carry stuff, to walk unaided, to retain enough mental acuity to debate religious folks and anti-guns nuts, and to retain the desire to “do” stuff.
Toward that end, I do control what I eat (within reason). I also exercise. We walk 4.5 miles each day and go to the gym for weights and additional endurance-type exercises. I row. Usually, a half hour. The weights I do are not to build a lot of muscle — although I do try to upkeep my Twin Black Mambas Pythons — but to keep up my overall strength.
Think about it . . . if I get to 90, this blog will then be 33-years old, the human population will have almost doubled . . . and I’ll still draw no more than twenty readers per day. Of those twenty, two-thirds will only look at the photos (by then, they will be holograms with the option to smell what you see). Of the remaining third, half won’t get past the first few paragraphs. Of the remaining sixth, half are only visiting out of habit and promptly forget everything I write.
The remaining reader, me, will thoroughly enjoy everything I do, as I always have.
I wonder at the state of the blogosphere thirty-some-odd-years from now. I predict the average post will consist of five words and a phone selfie. The words will be contractions and acronyms.
Although, we’re almost there now. One can find thoughtful explorations of the human condition (no, not here; elsewhere) but you have to hunt around for them gems. The things that are easy to find, that get “liked” and shared, that generate a lot of traffic, often could be used in a dictionary as examples of banality.
I occasionally do look at Twitter and Facebook . . . and wonder how people find the time.
Then again, they might ask me the same thing about this blog.
You know what else I think about?
I notice, here in Hawai’i, that many, many people, both male and female, spanning a wide range of ages, economic backgrounds, race and nationalities, sport tattoos. Not only that, they are big tattoos over large portions of the body. Designs that wrap around legs, arms, torsos, shoulders, necks . . . I have never seen so much ink in my life.
I have nothing that I would want permanently imprinted on me. I can’t think of anything that I would be confident to like as much even a year from now as I do now.
Before someone says “Melisa”, understand that is different; it’s a personal thing that is felt at the core. Not only I have no need to advertise my relationship, in some respects, it would cheapen it. How can a tattoo represent the depth and breath of a relationship? How can it add anything to it?
Understand, I have nothing against tattoos. As much as I don’t understand and can’t relate to the desire to inscribe one’s skin, I respect people’s choice to do so. Perhaps a person’s tattoo has a special meaning or perhaps they get something from it that I get in other ways.
Still, at the core of it, for me, it comes down to the fact I have nothing I would want permanently inscribed on me for the simple reason that people change. I’m not the same person I was even last year. I can’t think of anything I could have tattooed on my skin then that would mean the same thing to me now.
Honor, love, integrity, honesty, loyalty, empathy . . . those and other admirable traits are things one should strive for and tattooing them on one’s skin does not facilitate living up to them. Likewise, symbols are not per se all that important . . . it’s the ideas behind the symbols that carry weight.
About the only times I half-heartedly thought “yeah, that’s neat”, is in reading about people who shared a profound experience and wanted to commemorate it. Perhaps a sign of respect, or as an homage to something lost or something gained.
I still don’t think I would do it, preferring it to be a private thing.
Because that’s the thing . . . a tattoo invites questions, curiosity. You are then either advertising or inviting interest. I think most tattoos I see fall under the category of attempting to stand out, to present something differentiating you from those around you.
I could be wrong. Perhaps they have no deeper significance than me choosing what clothes to wear. As a matter of fact, I have been wearing pretty much the same clothes for the better part of my life. They have become a uniform of sorts. You know, as much as cargo pants and t-shirts can be considered a uniform.
I know people who have tattoos . . . they’ll probably take the above as a personal affront. I don’t mean it as such. They are not me, and I am not them. While I don’t understand it, I don’t let it cloud my judgment one way or another about the person . . . at least not any more than if they are or aren’t wearing cargo pants.
Hmm . . . I have a few more photos to show and I’ve probably lost most of the readers by now. Perhaps I should touch on something deep, something meaningful, something of profound interest to the human condition, you know, as a reward for anyone who has made it this far.
Let me see . . . something profound . . . that’s a toughy.
Let me show you this . . .
Ignore the equations, they are not important . . . what is of interest (maybe) are the phrases above the equations. These are from my last job. Each one is something someone said that the group found worthy to write down for posterity. Some of them lose their impact without the background leading to the phrase itself, but some stand on their own.
The rules were simple . . . you could not write your own stuff down; someone else had to find it worthwhile and make a note of it.
What’s profound about it?
Well, not the saying themselves . . . it’s the fact that people were listening, really listening to each other speak. Listening enough to recognize when something was said that was clever, or appropriate to the conversation, or funny, or worthwhile. Perhaps it wasn’t any of those things . . . perhaps what was said just struck the listener a certain way and they took note of it.
You can’t do that when you talk past each other. You also can’t do it when you are ‘trying’ to do it. All of those were unforced and spontaneous and had everyone stop and say “that’s board-worthy!”
We had three or four boards that would get erased and refilled. I think I have photos of the others somewhere, but they are not as important as knowing that every person in a conversation contributes, sometimes in ways that are unexpected.
Not sure that’s profound enough to make it worthwhile getting all the way here, but that’s all I got.
Oh, yeah . . . and one more photo.
That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.
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. . . my FP ward . . . chieken shit.
Finally, if you interpret anything on this blog as me asking or wanting pity, encouragement, or advice to better my life, know my subtle mix of irony, sarcasm, and humor is blowing right by you.