Finding balance in a chaotic world

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December 2017
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Improvement

Standup

In college, I heard that a friend of mine from high school had started participating in the local comedy club’s amateur night. This surprised me since I didn’t think that would be something he was interested in, but there he was. I talked to him about it and it was interesting. This wasn’t a burning desire in his life but seemed like a fun thing to do, so he did it. I’m not sure I could get in front of people and tell jokes like that so the mere fact that he did it impressed me. The fact that he continued to do it impressed me even more. He started carrying around a notebook and jotted down any funny thought that he encountered during the day. It actually go to the point where his mother grew concerned that anything she said or did would become fodder for his routine. Read more »

Face Your Fear

When I started dating Amy, we often would rent movies and watch them together. She is a big fan of suspense movies, especially older ones, like Hitchcock’s films. So one night we rented Wait Until Dark. In the film, Audrey Hepburn is a recently blinded young woman who is basically terrorized by these three thugs who think she has a teddy bear full of heroin. The movie is extremely well done and you can imagine the suspense of a blind woman in an apartment with people there who want to do her harm. At one point, the tension increases greatly and suddenly a cat jumps out. Amy had seen the movie before and when that happened, she grabbed me and yelled to startle me. She succeeded…admirably. I actually leapt out of my seat. Read more »

The Magnetic Attraction of an Empty Table

Yesterday I mentioned that I needed to break the habit of putting things on the dining room table, or any flat space really. It has been true in my life that any flat open space will become cluttered within the week. I thought it was just the nature of flat open spaces, but I realize know how ridiculous that is. The clutter must be placed on the table by someone, it doesn’t magically appear. There is some kind of habit going on where I move something from one flat surface to another flat surface, only days later to move it either to the trash or to a permanent solution. Can you see the wasted effort here? Read more »

The Arcade Cabinet

Growing up in the 70s and 80s, my fertile young brain became exposed to one of the greatest inventions of all time: the video game. From playing Space Invaders at the local arcade to playing Space Invaders on my Atari 2600, I loved playing video games. To be honest, I loved them too much and played far more often than I should. I remember playing Asteroids on my 2600 one Saturday and wanting to roll my score over, meaning that after I scored 99,999 points, the score would roll over to 0. I did it after I don’t know how many hours and actually had a blister on my palm as a reward. Growing up, I thought the coolest thing in the world would be to have an arcade cabinet in the house. Think of it, you could play all you want and it wouldn’t take any quarters. A few years back, I decided to live my dream, only I wouldn’t buy an arcade cabinet… I’d build one. Read more »

Drumming

I’ve always liked drums. I remember being seven or eight years old in Rhode Island. Down the street from us was a family with a lot of kids, five at least. Some of the older ones used to baby sit my sister and I. We were over at there house one Saturday morning and they had a drum kit in the basement. I really wanted to play it: to hit the cymbals, thump the bass drum, bang on the snare. Unfortunately someone in the house was asleep so I never got to do it. Apparently my desire to play drums continued to manifest itself to the point where even Amy noticed. One year for Valentine’s Day, she bought me drum lessons, something I’d never have done for myself. I nervously met my drum instructor, Scott Musick from the band The Call, and we sat down and had a basic lesson. It was everything I hoped it would be and I continued on for a few years. Amy even took lessons and had fun with it. Later I started drumming for the church in the worship service, marking my transition as a real drummer. Read more »