Saturday, January 31, 2009

Simply Lovin' Web Two Point Oh

Remember two posts ago  when I thought it would be a good idea to start a second blog? After a week of lame ungratifying attempts to be consistently humorous I gave up and  recognized the brainchild for what it truly was: something to keep me awake. So it's gone to wherever blogs go to die. May it rest in peace. Sorry to have bothered you with it. If you hadn't checked it out, never mind, and sorry to have bothered you with this paragraph.

In the meantime, let me draw you attention to some other gems flourishing in the fertile mulch of web 2.0. Twitter might not be foreign to most of you and my favorite twitter site is twitter.com/joshacagan. This is my go-to feed when I need a smile 'cause this guy's hands-down funny. Because I appreciated and honor the gifts & skills others bring to the table I don't often find myself saying "I wish I'd said/done that"; there's enough room for eveyone. But at least once a day I'm green with envy at this guy's originality. And he appreciates the humor of others by having a weekly event called Punchline Friday when followers get a chance [usually for prizes] to respond to a set-up. My wit finally proved useful and I won this past Friday to the set-up "Amy Winehouse's Home Burglarized" by responding "Duffy & Adele secretly high-five." Truth be told there were some funnier posts, but I won't argue with the judge.

Another recent find was 12seconds.tv. It could very well be called 'Video Twitter'. You get a 12-second video post so brevity is your ally. Jen just saw my last 12-sec post [sidebar] and cracked up. Go have fun with it. 

Then there's Plinky. It's a cool question-answer site that ultimately helps along the path of self-discovery. Sometimes it's the simple light questions that send you deeper than the complex ones.

I'll continue to explore and share, but it's a crazy big interweb so please share the cool sites you've found...just in case I'm up again at 3am and try to start another blog [really, what was I thinking?!].

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Shift Happens...My Inauguration Adventure

My apologies for the tardiness of this post. It's been a week since the inauguration but I've been plagued with technical difficulties: broken computer, no computer, couldn't get pictures off the card, cable modem busted, the list goes on. It looks like all is well now and I have rejoined cyber-lization.

So let's start with the obvious. I was there. And I didn't buy a button to remind myself later. This was an event I will never forget. I was there to witness Barack Obama take the oath of office (the first time...more on that later) and become the 44th President of the USA. So were about two million of my closest friends. We came as friends but as close as we stood to each other we were family when it was all over. I'd heard the term "Sea of Humanity" before but this was truly my first experience of it, and I was but a mere drop.

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The mood of Washington, DC was sheer jubilation. We stayed with my friend Irv and his fiancee Tami. And by 'we' I mean eight of us in a condo so small that the 'tour' took less than thirty seconds. But the eight of us represented the diversity-as-one that this new presidecy embodies: a bi-racial couple and child, a filipino couple, a federal employee, a volunteer who had to leave at 4:30 am and a Howard Universtiy alumni playing trumpet in the parade. It was just a big slumber party. Irv lives on U Street and it was just hoppin' all night long. Street musicians entertained and the line from Ben's Chilli Bowl [of recent Obama-ate-here fame] stretched around the block. There were vendors on every corner hawking Obama merchandise.

But no matter where we went, and especially at the actual swearing in, there was the feeling of unity, solidarity, and an underlying sense of relief that the eight-year nightmare is over. I was surprised by the number of young children attending. Despite warnings that it could be a difficult time for young children [read: difficult time for parents of young children] many parents including myself were clear that our children needed to witness this piece of history.

Joy was a trooper what with the cold and crowds. The worst crowd moment was on the metro station. There was a medical emergency at the top of the escalator so the metro staff wouldn't let us get out of the station so for about 30 min while the EMS did their job. Problem was the trains kept dumping more people into to station til it looked like this:

And this was just the lower level; the upper level was just as jammed. Eventually the trains stopped stopping because there was no more room left even on the platforms. Yet in this chaos there was patience and O-BA-MA chants and jokes and one crazy woman trying to sell t-shirts for $30 'cause I imagine the Obama fever went to her head and she imagined we were all crazy enough to buy her $30 t-shirts. They started to let us out in small groups and we had to walk up the escalators which were long enough to be about two or three flights of stairs. I had Joy on my shoulders so she wouldn't get trampled, and about half-way up the steps I figured out what the medical emergency was: people who hadn't climbed stairs in long time were just about passing out by the time they reached the top. The elderly were especially not doing well and there were about five more people with the paramedics by the time we got to the exit. A couple hits of oxygen and they were wanting to go again...talk about determination.

And it was that kind of determination that made it an international affair. We met folks from all parts of the world and all parts of the country [which is pretty much international as far as I'm concerned] who wanted to be a witness. Young and old, rich and poor, black and white [and all shades between], we all stood shoulder to shoulder as one to be a witness. Yes, it was a little surreal riding the metro next to some ladies in their heels and mink coats. ["the mink's not a nice animal anyways" one of them said when asked. wha?!] I had almost changed my mind about going because I knew what DC was like when swarms descended, this was a plague like I'd never seen. But I do not regret being there for one second...well maybe one: when the oath got bungled by Chief Justice Roberts. How hard was it to memorize like four lines?! And then, so they would be no arguments of the validity of the said bungling, they took the oath again indoors. So technically the first one didn't count? I got a headache on that one.

So I leave you with a few more pics of history being made.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Seriously?! Another Blog?!

So I found myself in a bind. This blog is gravitating towards the personal like a tiny comet caught in the pull of a black hole. And even though I subscribe to the less-is-more philosophy, I often run out of characters when posting on twitter...then I gotta edit and it's just too much damn work. The compromise? A new blog! Ta-daaa!

Introducing GOOD.BAD.INDIFFERENT ...a less introspective and wittier approach to the madness that is I. This brain child woke me up at 3am this morning...and I don't lose sleep for nothing. I also finally picked up the cold my daughter & wife have suffered through and I'm congested like DC beltway at rush hour...lying down and breathing is out of question so I must sit up and live. The inspiration for this new blog also came from one of my earlier tweets [yes, I inspired my self...what?!...don't you?] and from http://twitter.com/joshacagan which cracks me up every single day; now this guy's funny.

I know, I know...I'm a glutton for punishment. I can barely keep up with one as it is. But give a lazy man more to do and he'll do less. I just made that up and it didn't even make sense. Cut me some slack... it's now5 am folks.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A post on healthy eating...though it may not sound like it at first.

Whoa! It's been a week since my last post. Good thing I'm not doing this for a living. It's been another fairly uninteresting week. For someone who's blissfully unemployed with supposedly a lot of time on my hands I don't seem to be getting much done yet never seem to have enough time. It's another side effect of my post-post-holiday depression. At this point I'm pretty clear it's just plain ol' depression which sometimes pulls me down like a heavy anchor. So rather than swim alone I'm going to see a therapist to try help me make sense of it all.

So what does this have to do with healthy eating? Therapists make you bring up all that unresolved childhood muck that's supposed to be still causing all the trouble in our lives. While I was putting the finishing touches on dinner I recalled a traumatic issue that I vowed never to pass on to my child thus ending a cycle of horror no-one should have to endure: drinking Cod Liver Oil and Castor Oil. During some of my earliest years in Barbados while my parents were getting their business off the ground I was raised by aunts, great-aunts, grandmothers...took the whole village apparently [what kind of child must I have been?!]. And they each believed in power of indgesting slimy hurl-inducing oils; a tablespoon of cod-liver oil everyday, and castor oil once a week for good measure [torture]. I didn't have a say in the matter and was evidently scarred for life.

Thanks to modern ingenuity Omega-3 fatty acids [the reason I suffered as a child] are now found in many other yummy sources, like the blueberry salad dressing I drizzled lovingly over my romaine lettuce earlier tonight. They can also be found in eggs, and I make killer omeletes. I don't know how something that's found naturally in fish gets into eggs, and I probably don't want to know. What's important is that I, nor my child, no longer need suffer slimy sludge to keep our hearts healthy.

I think this post sets the record for connecting unrelated topics...it's a gift.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

When It Rains...

My last post was brimming with optimism and positivity...well as positive as I can muster. It took all of five days for most of that to spiral down the crapper and land in the sewage pit of post-holiday depression. I blame the following:

One. On Monday the rest of the world , for better or worse [leaning towards worse], returned to itself. The holidays ground to a halt. Decorations are disappearing. Trees are being abandoned on curbs. Jobs are being returned to. What am I doing? Still taking things out of boxes. Not that I want a job to go to. Being a full-time student is the kind of blissful unemployment to be envied. But since I don't have a class til February, I'm not returning to anything like everyone else. Except more boxes.

Two. The Weblog Awards. When you see people doing something so much better than you [or at least being noticed much more for doing the same crappy job you're doing] it's like coming to a fork in the road. One path leads to being inspired by their efforts and cracking your knuckles and saying, "one day...." The other path goes off the side of a cliff and you fall into a smelly funk of despair that your blog is like the 739th comma in 600 page novel that only a handful of people read in the first place [woah...outdid myself on that one!]. But as Yogi Berra says, when you come to a fork in the road...take it. I've been down both roads, and today happens to be an over-the-cliff-day. But I believe I can only acheive what I advocate, so head over to the polls and vote. There's some damn great blogs I never heard of til I went to vote myself.

Three. The rain. This is what I get for bitching too much about the snow and ice in the mid-west. It's been raining five out of seven days here in Raleigh and it's depressing me to no end. I'm convinced I got that seasonal mood thing which was never a problem when I lived in Barbados [I was depressed for many other reasons]. It's still winter, so now I'm cold and wet instead of just cold. But as my friend Tony from Minnesota reminded me, at 45 degrees he puts on shorts and plays golf, so it's all relative. Crazy bastard. Can't wait to go visit.

Four. The clouds. Still blocking the sun when it's not raining as if to say, "thought you'd get your hopes up today? tsk, tsk, tsk."

Five. Did I mention the rain?

Six. Ministerial School. Yes, the very thing that brings my blissful unemployment and is the stepping stone to what I am [fairly] positive I was put on this planet to do is doing a number on my psyche. Take a gander at my Reverend Agnostic post and you'll have some idea. Things aren't getting any better. I'm questioning myself more and more and doubting myself more and more. Naturally, I'm being told I'm exactly where I need to be. Really?! I'm ready for a freakin' GPS right about now.

Seven. World chaos. From the you-know-what hitting the fan in the middle-east to the four-year-old shooting his babysitter [I said Coco-Puffs already!]. Holy Crap! It's not been a week yet! I've already said my piece on kids and guns but just to be clear, let's put the parents away instead.

In keeping with my true half-glass-full nature I'll tell you what's getting me out of bed these days. I'm teaching myself to play bass-picked up a gorgeous 5-string on craig's list and I've been slapping along to Alanis Morrisette and some other more severe head-banging songs. I've been downloading new music like crazy with my Zune pass-unlimited downloads for $15/month. I can't share or burn the songs, just listen on the Zune [thumbs down to DRM-like itunes got rid today], but it's like crack. I'm drumming at church too-nothing like hitting stuff to get adrenaline in your veins. Even though my limbs are protesting mightily, working out is a good thing because male model is still slightly lower on my intention list than top 5.

So how's your year turning out so far? Or is it too early to ask?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

I Resolve NOT to Resolve

So we survived 2008 and New Year's Eve [even the bricked-up zune owners] and now we encounter the awkwardness of New Year's Resolutions. Every year some of us find a part of ourselves we want to better [loathe] and we  confidently make a declaration of change. Unfortunately many of us just set ourselves up for failure and thus add one more thing to loathe [want to better]. Wikipedia, the foremost authority on factual information, reports that NYR's have a success rate of 12%. That means 88% of us suck! Even Dubya has a higher approval rating, which should tell you something.

Since I am firmly embedded in the 88%, I am choosing this year to forego Resolutions and set INTENTIONS instead. You say: What's the difference? I say: Thanks for asking. It's a subtle difference but enough to not make me feel like the under-acheiver I don't want to be. Resolution comes from Resolve which means to "come to a definite or earnest decision." [plug: Dictionary.com] And therein lies the problem: "definite" has such a ring of finality to it; it's so black and white; pass or fail; no room for grading on the curve.

Intention [sweet flexible Intention] comes from Intend which means to "have in mind as something to be done or brought about; a plan." Now here we find room for success! I can have plenty in mind; I can draw up plans til the break of dawn; no pass or fail, but 'A' for effort-my kind of grading. Allow me to be metaphysical on you for a moment and share a fundamental idea held by many: whatever we hold in our consciousness (i.e. our mind) are the things we will experience. If you think about it that way, intentions should offer a better success rate than resolutions [no Wiki stats on that]. 

I know what you're thinking: What are my intentions for 2009? Thought you'd never ask. Here are the top 5 [only five because my mind can hold a lot more (maybe seven) but frankly the rest are none of your business-feel the luv]:
5. I intend to cultivate and sustain meaningful friendships [held over from last year-it worked so well I figured I'd keep it going-shout out to all new 2008 friends...and previous friends too].
4. I intend to buy drums and join a band [a once forgotten dream come back to haunt me-remember, just a plan].
3. I intend to devote more time to my spiritual life [figured since I'm a minister in training it couldn't hurt].
2. I intend to be a better husband and father [I'm fairly awesome as it is (shhh...just read, don't argue), but always room for improvement I think]
1. I intend to do more things that nurture me as an individual [and as a result I can do 2. thru 5. a whole lot better].

So free yourself of the shackles and pressures of Resolutions and find true liberation on the Isle of Intention. What will your intentions for the new year be?