July 14th, 2004

self portrait

Now the tough stuff

With time at work to think idle thoughts, I'm up for the next exercise in the Barbara Sher book I've been working through. (As a side note, I've decided to buy a copy of this book. I picked up books from the library for Ericka today and the copy I'm using is nearly overdue.)

If you've been following along at home, the last thing was a look at clutter around the house and ways to clear it out. My personal tool for getting rid of my general clutter is to throw out 10 things. I haven't done this so much yet, but have thought about doing it a few times; a good start for someone like me. Thinking now, I'll have the opportunity to try this technique out at the breakfast table; I have plenty of stuff nearby so throwing out 10 things will be easy!

In any case, the next exercise is "Imagine a Wonderful Project You Could Set up If You Had the Room and the Time."

Ho, boy.

That's a tough thing.

At the same time, my head spins with half-formed thoughts. Projects that aren't a hint of an idea yet. Perhaps contemplating this a bit more is in order. Let it sit and perk for a while.
  • Current Music
    Lie to Me--Johnny Lang--Lie to Me
self portrait

Well, there's that

One Wonderful Project I might pursue if I had the space and time would be to learn to play guitar and to sing.

One of the things I did this morning while staying awake so that I'd be able to sleep enough to not be too tired for work tonight (if that makes any sense) was to compile a new playlist in iTunes. This list includes songs that I think would be cool to hear at the various music parties I attend. Of course, the only way this is likely to happen is if a) I corner a musician and make them as enthused about these songs as I am, or b) I learn to perform them myself.

And, hey, I've got 40-odd years to make it all work.

I'm not settling for this first idea, though. Back to work, Fred! (Not fredcritter, but the other-than-conscious mind whose name I stole from Damon Knight.)
  • Current Music
    Are You Gonna Be My Girl--Jet--Get Born
self portrait

Well, of course

So I bop over to amazon to pick up Live the Life You Love: In Ten Easy Step-By Step Lessons, as mentioned previously. Looking to get the free shipping, I also add If This Is Rock and Roll, I Want My Old Job Back by the Saw Doctors to my order. Amazon dutifully informs me that people who bought the things that I bought were also interested in albums by Oysterband and The Waterboys.
  • Current Music
    Let's Not Belong--Paul Westerberg--Mono
self portrait

The value of real designers

A poster for the company blood drive is up in our lunch room. It features a photo of what appears to be a father and son fishing. The tag line: Get Hooked On Giving Blood.

Apart from the oddness of this from that description, you need to understand that the tag line is given a fairly subdued color palate that matches the photo fairly closely. So closely that the "Giving" kinda blends in if you look at it right.

So there, in our lunch room, is a big color poster with the friendly slogan, "Get Hooked On BLOOD!"
  • Current Music
    I Walk The Line--Johnny Cash--16 Biggest Hits
self portrait

Or there's this

In a bid to suss out ideas for a Wonderful Project, I went looking for career assessment tools. Perhaps by looking at career choices, I'd come up with ideas for a Wonderful Project, I thought.

So I took the test at http://www.assessment.com. I thought the test itself was interesting. They present you with three options. You choose exactly one that you most prefer and exactly one that you least prefer. They then rank you in 10 different areas based on those answers. They have specific jobs (as categorized by the gob'ment) profiled by the same areas and give you matches.

Of course, for free, they don't provide very detailed information. (They have packages of paid services for that.) For example, they don't give you the top 10 matches for your profile and you can't have the listing of jobs sorted out by how close they match your profile. You can, however, check out various careers and see how well they match on their scale by digging through them by category or alphabetically.

One of the jobs that I've thought I would be good at was director of stage, film or video productions. Checking this job title out through this system ended up with an excellent match.

So one option for a Wonderful Project is to direct a film (probably a short one to start).
  • Current Music
    Blow 'Em Away--Chuck Brodsky--Radio
down and right

Thoughts on revolution

So we've seen, recently, the passage of Canada Day, Independence Day and, now, Bastille Day. There was something about the time, the end of the 18th century, that made things ripe for revolution. I'm thinking more and more lately that it might be time for that sort of thing again.

The sheer amount of legislation that now forms the legal code of the United States bears, I think, review. Is the Constitution all the relevant any more? Are there things that should be part of it that aren't? Are there things that are part of it, that should not be.

I had an interesting discussion with my friend Ray (http://www.kaligari.net for his far-too-infrequently updated blog) while on vacation at the end of June. He brought up an article or study he'd read (and a pointer would be appreciated if it's online, Ray) about the theory and reality of the Senate and House of the U.S. Legislative branch.

In theory, the House is a populist body. It's members are elected to two-year terms by direct vote of the population. It should represent the ability of the people to swiftly make changes to the government to redress perceived inequities. The Senate, on the other hand, was initially an appointed body. It was to be the more sober, steady hand of the legislative branch. It's members serve for six year terms and make decisions that effect the other branches of the government, accepting or rejecting the appointees of the executive branch and likewise approving appointments to the judicial branch.

The reality, the theory Ray laid out goes, is that the roles of the two bodies have almost completely switched. Members of the House are now elected for nearly life-time terms. It is rare, in this age of gerrymandering, that a Representative that seeks re-election will not get it. Senators, on the other hand, do not have the benefit of having the voting body they are elected from drawn from areas carefully chosen for their benefit. They are, now that they are no longer appointed, more beholden to the common man in their state and more likely to be ousted after a term or two. So the Senate is a more dynamically changing body and, yet, its responsibilities remain unchanged. The House, ironically, has become the more staid body.

I'm not sure if I buy this theory whole-heartedly. I don't know enough about the current aspects of the daily workings of the House and Senate to intelligently comment on whether or not these characterizations are accurate and I don't know enough of the history of the bodies to know if this change is recent or if this phenomenon has been around for a while. I can report, for what my observation is worth, that I can easily recall seeing campaign ads for people that run for the U.S. Senate over the last several elections that I've been able to vote. I can name several of Minnesota's past Senators. I can name my current House Representative but I can't recall who ran against him in his last election nor do I recall seeing ads for House contests for either my district or nearby ones.

So what stops us from revolution today? One thing is the centralization of the U.S. military. Even the state militias so carefully provided for in the Bill of Rights, are under the command of the federal government. Governors can call out the National Guard but those units train and are in the command structure of the national fighting forces. No, any revolution could not be undertaken by conventional military means. I would go so far as to say that any attempt at revolution that includes a military aspect would be doomed to failure. The impacts of the Revolutionary War included the federalization of the military and the overall distrust among the populace for armed rebellion.

So what peaceful means of revolution are available? My mind goes to Gandhi and the non-violent movement he started that ended with the overthrow(?, is that the term I want) of British rule in India. Are there aspects of civil disobedience that could be undertaken in the U.S. that could have similar results?

I somehow doubt that the revolution (whether televised, allowing dancing, or otherwise) will come soon, if it comes at all. I think that it's healthy to think about it, however, as a way of keeping an eye on the government we have. How far do things have to go (in one way or another) before "it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature ... entitle them,...."
  • Current Mood
    quixotic quixotic
self portrait

Circle Songs

sleigh requested the list of songs I might, as a Wonderful Project, to learn to play and sing. Figured the rest of you might be interested as well, so here you go:

Lucky--Bif Naked--Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Album
Keep Myself Awake--Black Lab--Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Album
Tombstone Blues--Bob Dylan--Highway 61 Revisited
Highway 61 Revisited--Bob Dylan--Highway 61 Revisited
Bad Whiskey--Chuck Brodsky--Radio
Hockey Fight Song--Chuck Brodsky--Radio
Dock Ellis No-No--Chuck Brodsky--The Baseball Ballads
20 Minutes Of Oxygen--The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets--Spaceship Zero
The Math Song--The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets--Spaceship Zero
Jedi Drinking Test (Album Cut)--Dust Rhinos--Got Guinness?
Go Home, Girl!--Gaelic Storm--Tree
I Wish They'd Do It Now--Gallowglass--All Our Best
Health To The Company--Gallowglass--All Our Best
Ordinary Day--Great Big Sea--Road Rage
Helmethead--Great Big Sea--Something Beautiful
I Fought the Law--Green Day--I Fought the Law - Single
Big Rock Candy Mountain-Harry McClintock--O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Like, Wow - Wipeout--Hoodoo Gurus--Ampology Disc 1
Poison Pen--Hoodoo Gurus--Ampology Disc 1
Gene Hackman--The Hoodoo Gurus--Ampology (Disc 2)
Spoonful--Howlin' Wolf--Chess Blues Classics - 1957 To 1967
Are You Gonna Be My Girl--Jet--Get Born
Something Wild--John Hiatt--Perfectly Good Guitar
Angel--John Hiatt--Perfectly Good Guitar
Permanent Hurt--John Hiatt--Perfectly Good Guitar
Riding With The King--John Hiatt--The Best Of John Hiatt
Tennessee Plates--John Hiatt--The Best Of John Hiatt
One Bourbon, One Scotch And One Beer--John Lee Hooker--Chess Blues Classics - 1957 To 1967
I Walk the Line--Johnny Cash--16 Biggest Hits: Johnny Cash
Folsom Prison Blues--Johnny Cash--16 Biggest Hits: Johnny Cash
Rack em up--Jonny Lang--Lie To Me
Color Me Impressed--The Lolas--Left Of The Dial - Tribute To Replacements
Angels Walk--Paul Westerberg--Eventually
Let's Not Belong--Paul Westerberg--Mono(Grandpa Boy)
Bottle Of Wine--Paxton, Tom--Live From Mountain Stage
Mooses Come Walking--Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie--More Together Again In Concert - Volume One
Circles--Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie--Precious Friend (Disc 1)
Favorite Thing--The Replacements--Let It Be
Sixteen Blue--The Replacements--Let It Be
Skyway--The Replacements--Pleased To Meet Me
Here Comes a Regular--The Replacements--Tim
God Loves Me--Rory McLeod--Mouth to Mouth (Disc 2)
Love Is The Law--Suburbs, The--Ladies & Gentlemen...
The Storm--The Tim Malloys--Drunkards, Bastards, and Blackguards
Billy Reid--The Tim Malloys--If You Were Walking
Van Dieman's Land--The Tim Malloys--If You Were Walking
Dump The Bosses--Utah Philips & Ani DiFranco--Fellow Workers
Country Death Song--Violent Femmes--Add It Up (1981-1993)
36-24-36--Violent Femmes--Add It Up (1981-1993)
I Held Her in My Arms--Violent Femmes--Add It Up (1981-1993)
Out of the Window--Violent Femmes--Add It Up (1981-1993)
God Don't Make Lonely Girls--The Wallflowers--Bringing Down The Horse
Froggie Went A-Courtin'--Woody Guthrie--Buffalo Skinners The Asch Recordings, Vol. 4
Hard Travelin'--Woody Guthrie--Hard Travelin' (The Asch Recordings Vol. 3)
Going Down The Road Feeling Bad--Woody Guthrie--This Land Is Your Land: The Asch Recordings Vol. 1
  • Current Mood
    creative creative