Sunday, April 24, 2011

On Writing

  
      It's funny that I had this big plan to sit and write every night about things that I wanted to blog about, every single one of my blog posts since that statement has been written on the spot. The reason I had planned to write every night night was so that I would be sure to have something to write about every weekend in my blog. I think the funniest thing is that when I sit down to write a blog post, I have no idea what I'm going to say until I see it on my computer screen. Usually the title is the last thing that I add to the post. I sat down this morning with the idea of being "productive".
     That's actually kind of interesting because my definition of productive is constantly evolving, which I didn't realize until I actually just saw the word "productive" and realized that I consider writing to be productive.
     I really like writing. When I was younger I used to write poetry. I think some of it was pretty good, I had a book with thirty or forty some poems in it. That's kind of a story in and of itself, I'll tell it briefly.
      I took the time to take all my notebooks that had my poems in them, and rewrite them in one brand new notebook. I threw away all of the rough copies of them so I only had this one copy of all of my poems in this notebook. I let my cousin borrow it because we had been talking about poetry, and he wanted to read my work. He stole the book of poems. I was pissed. Then he died, I guess I don't know the whole story but I think it was drug related. I never got my book of poems back. True Story.
      I've always been good at writing. Essays, stories, poems, whatever. One of my favorite books is actually called “On Writing” by Stephen King. Some of his words of advice to are aspiring writers are “Read a lot.”. I do. I always have. I love reading, and I'm aware of what styles of writing that I like, and I think that shows up in my writing.
      I hadn't really written in a long time until recently. I don't know why, I think that lately I was focusing on making money and I kind of viewed writing as a hobby. I've entertained the idea of writing for money, a freelancer, an author, whatever. I would have to be something like that. I couldn't be a writer on assignment I don't think. I want to write about what I want to write about. I guess I probably could, I mean I've written reports about things that I didn't care about, and if I had the opportunity, on second thought, I guess I would. But I'd be happiest just writing about what I want to write about.
      I'm going back to school in the fall. I thought that I had figured out what I was going to do, or at least roughly... I wanted to do something in the computer industry. Initially I thought that I was going to go into web design. I've been doing that a bit, I enjoy it to a certain extent, and there's good money in it. I started my web design business, and actually started doing it in my spare time. I'm not very good yet, but I've made a couple decent web sites for my friends, I gave them a good deal, got some experience, it seemed like a win win situation. But after a couple of weeks of working late into the night, I began to realize that although I like web design, I'm not passionate about it.
     With that realization I started looking for something that I really liked, and now I'm looking at computer science. I've always been into computers, from the commodore sixty four and the Apple II's of my youth, to my current laptop and desktop that I use every day. That's still an option for me I think. , but when I started writing again I realized that this is something that I love doing, that I'm passionate about, and something that I'm good at. It feels like this is what I'm supposed to do. I can see myself at my computer all day, writing stories, or articles about things that I actually care about. Hell I sit here and write this for fun, and I consider it being very productive. It seems like a clear cut case of what I should do with my life, maybe something that I've always known I should do.
      I'm not really faced with a conundrum here, the reality is that right now I need a job that pays the bills. Were it only me it would be different, but I have a child to support, and she can't live off of Ramen noodles and caffeine.
      The starving artist stereotype really isn't a stereotype. J.K. Rowling, while not homeless as the rumors say, was extremely poor and on assistance when Harry Potter was released. There are tons of artists whose work didn't make any money until after they were dead. I can't afford to be one of those, but although I'll go to school for a marketable skill, I always have been and will be a writer at heart, and maybe I can sneak a writing course or two in next to those computer classes.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The soundtrack to your life

This is actually part of a comment that I left on a friends post, but I thought that it was a good enough topic that decided to continue it on my post.
      Although music isn't my hot, hot, sex, anybody who knows me knows that I love, and listen to A lot of music. I have 9,581 songs on my computer, and my music collection is always growing. Music has always been a huge part of my life. I listen to music pretty much all day, every day, and like my friend Andrea whom inspired this post, I rarely listen to the radio.
      I love the fact that you can create playlists and listen only to the songs that you really like on an album, or that you can create themes or whatever, kind of like making mixed tapes back in the day, workout mix, etc. 
      I think the ability to  customize your music listening experience is awesome, as well as the fact that you can store massive amounts of music in a very small space, and take it with you wherever you go. I often think it would be interesting to hear the sound track of my life. 
     I generally listen to music by genres. I listen to all types of music, which I'm sure is a source of endless amusement to my friends. I get in the mood for a certain genre for a few weeks and that's all I'll listen to for the most part, So you may catch me listening to Gangsta rap one day, and some random underground country a week later. I generally have certain bed time standards that I listen to regardless of what I've been jamming to during the day however. Sade is a big favorite, Emmy Lou Harris, Joni Mitchell, Al Green, these are some of my favorites to fall asleep to. Bedtime is when I listen to a lot of playlists as well. Usually they have creative names like bedtime playlist #1, or acoustic playlist 02/04/2010.
      But anyway, here are some things that have been on heavy rotation in my world lately.

      "By The Way" by The Red Hot Chili Peppers. I absolutely love this album and have been listening to it incessantly the past week or so. I think that this is, if not the best, one of their best albums. A lot of critics either felt the same way, or absolutely hated it. How you could hate this album is beyond me. The whole thing is absolutely amazing.

      "Fancy Footwork" By Chromeo. An electro-funk Gem. This whole album makes you want to shake your ass. I find my self dancing in my seat at work listening to Tenderoni, and especially the Mack Anthem, Bonafied Lovin'.

      "Ruby Vroom" By Soul Coughing. If you're not up on Soul Coughing you need to be. One of the most original and interesting groups I've ever listened to. But be warned, they are not for everyone.

      And finally for the political Gangsta in you, "Revolutionary Vol. 2" By Immortal Technique. This dude is angry, and if conspiracy theories and anti-government rap is your thing, he's who you want to listen to. My favorite song on the Album is "Point Of No Return", and while I don't think that there are any weak songs on this album (although some did take some time to grow on me), some other strong songs are "Peruvian Cocaine" which talks about the government flooding ghetto's with cocaine, and the path it takes to get here, and "You never know" Which is kind of a tender-y, ballad-y, sad song. Give the album a few listens though, because as I said, it took awhile for a couple of the songs to grow on me.
      Hopefully this will add to your music collection, or at least help you revisit some old favorites. I truly believe that music is one of the most powerful mediums of expression and inspiration. So here's hoping that the soundtrack to your life is truly an epic one.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

My first love and my first taste of freedom.

Well, I actually started writing a new blog post yesterday just like I was supposed to, but it turned into something much bigger than I had intended and so is still a work in progress. In order to meet my the publishing schedule  I set for myself I decided to put in a quick post.
     It has been a gorgeous weekend. Even though today is pretty gray and drizzly, it's still relatively warm out, and it beats the hell out of winter. Jada and I went for a bike ride on Friday night, My buddy Ron, Jada and I went for a ride yesterday. It feels like spring is finally here.
     A lot of times while I'm riding my bike I think about how many miles I have ridden all over this town.  We moved from Custer to Ludington when I was five, and I've been pretty mobile since then.
     At first I was only allowed to ride around the block, but as I grew older, I was allowed to roam further and further from home, to the point where as still an adolescent, I could get up at eight in the morning on a summer day, and be gone all day without causing any worry.
     My bicycle was my ticket to freedom, and how cool you were was directionally proportionate to what kind of bike you had.
     For a long time I had a bike with a banana seat very similar to the one in the picture. I'm pretty sure that it was a Western Flyer, but whatever it was it was bad assed. Deep metal flake purple with a chrome chain guard and fenders. Big Ape Hanger handlebars, and a fat slick rear tire that held me stable in skids for miles. That bike was my first love.
   That bad assed purple hot rodded Western Flyer was the first bike I ever jumped, ever raced, and ever rode double on. I don't know how many tears and skinned knees it caused, but my love for that bike was written in blood all over these streets.
     My love affair with bicycles continues to this day, and it seems like I've passed that love on to my daughter. I see myself as I watch her ride for hours around the block, or in a circle in the parking lot across the street. It's something that we do together a lot. We go for long rides and we talk about things. Sometimes we stop and get food, and sometimes we have places to go, but for the most part we just ride because we love it.
     I know that as she gets older and starts to develop more interests and more independence, our bike rides will take a back seat to sports, and boys, and all sorts of other things, and although that saddens me, I understand that it's just the way things are... You can't stop time, nor would I want to. But as the spring turns to summer, and the seasons turn to years, I hope that my daughter will remember these times with fondness, just as I remember that purple western flyer and my first taste of freedom. And hopefully someday, as she watches her child circle the block for hours, she'll think of her old man and call me up for a ride every once in awhile.
    

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The journey of a thousand miles.

Lately I've been thinking about this whole blog thing, actually quite a bit. I think that having people who might actually check in on the blog from time to makes me feel like I should actually write something in it from time to time.
   A lot of people have problems figuring out what to write. I have problems figuring out what not to write. I am constantly learning new things, thinking about old things, I mean, for the most part, from the time I get up, until the time I go to sleep, my mind is working.
     Maybe there are a lot of people like that, I don't know, but I rarely run into them, so for the most part my thoughts remain in my head. That being the case, a blog seems like the perfect outlet for my thoughts. My conundrum is time. I don't have the time to write in my blog every time I have a valid idea or a thought that I want to discuss, I have a job, I'm trying to start a business, I have a child, there are only so many hours in a day.
     I've also determined that I need a schedule, and that I have to discipline myself to stick to it. This is going to be a hard one for me. I've kind of been anti-schedule, Mr. @ a moments notice all of my life, but I've come to the conclusion that in order to make the most efficient use of my time, I need to devise a schedule and stick to it.
One of the first steps in my new schedule is to take the last half hour of every day, and write about what I thought about that day. This however would not be the blog entry, but more of a journal entry. Then on Saturday when I have more time, I can go through, see which things I want to write about, then update my blog weekly. The two birds with one stone thing, although one of the birds (Disciplined schedule) is just wounded a little bit. It's a step in the right direction.
     Actually that kind of brings up another topic that has been in the back of my mind. Every task, every journey, every goal, begins with that one step. The most important one. And sometimes, as I'm sure we've all come to realize after you've reached your destination, the journey is just as, if not more important.
      Sometimes taking that step is the hardest thing to do, but if you look at it as just a step, it gets easier.
     Everybody has something that they've been meaning to do, but the task just seems too daunting, and so gets pushed to the back burner. I think this whole thing comes down to scheduling and discipline. You just have to break the thing down into steps, and have the discipline to take them one at a time.
     So that's my goal for the week. First steps on the things that I want to accomplish. And this Blog entry is just the first step.