So Tempting

It has been wonderfully crisp and cool around here lately. The leaves are just about ready to put on their autumnal display and my son is pretty certain that he has mowed the lawn for the last time this year. I am so looking forward to the upcoming crunchiness and I will say it again; Autumn is my favorite time of the year.

We slept with the windows cracked open about an inch which brought the bedroom to a fresh sixty degrees or so this morning. I am of the persuasion that these are ideal sleeping conditions, provided there is easy access to a fluffy comforter.

There I was, nested down snug in my pillow with the comforter drawn up tight. Just about that time there was a noise; an unnatural sound that could only come from some hideous, man made device. I hit the snooze button and considered my options…

Change

When faced with change, do you stare right back at it and scowl until it backs down and whimpers? Perhaps you greet it warmly and smother it with conviviality until it no longer recognizes that you are not even paying attention. We are often told that the best defense is a strong offense. That being the case, could a full load of self-induced change be just the ticket to avoiding significant and real change altogether? Then there are those of us who exploit change to avoid any serious commitment or identity perception. The healthiest option perhaps, is to acknowledge change as a fact of life; nay, as life itself.

As for me, my approach to change has, well… changed. Where I once welcomed change as refreshing and broadening, I now avoid eye contact. I refuse to acknowledge the inevitability of change and by doing so am quite blissful, albeit stale, in my ignorance. Where before I would smell change on the horizon, I now simply unwrap another pine scented air freshener and hang it about the rear view mirror that has increasingly become my life.

Do not get me wrong. It is a useful mirror. I try real hard to keep it sparkling clean and the view back is typically realistic and very reliable. Mind you, I am able to flip the switch so that anything back there that may shine a bit too brightly can be dimmed to a level with which I am more comfortable. However, where there used to be a momentary glance every few miles, there is now a level of concentration into the mirror that is not conducive to overall forward motion — certainly not at any great speed.

I am thinking what is needed is my attention diverted from the mirror; my eyes refocused forward. What just may be needed is a fork in the road. A fork in the road requires attention. A fork in the road demands a decision. There is no straight ahead at a fork in the road. At a fork in the road one not only encounters change, one must embrace change. So, when the fork arrives before me, do I bear left or bear right? A question my mirror is not helpful in answering. But hey, what’s the worst that could happen…?

Flocker Works

I had read about Flock a little while ago over on Phil Crissman’s blog but did not get around to trying it out as it is in preRelease and that tends to make me nervous.  Well, Nile got to blogin’ about it and I figured, “what the Flock.”  I mean really, what could go wrong?  Ten minutes later it is installed and running AND I am creating this blog entry by way of Flock’s blogging tool.  Cool!  The jist with Flocker is to provide tools for the community aspect of the web.  More and more applications will be web based or so the ‘experts’ tell us.  Anyhow, I do like what I’ve seen so far.

Mullet Madness

Rodney, recently blogged about the 20th anniversary of Live Aid and the preponderance of mullets in those days. succumbing to pressure, Rodney posted a picture of himself sporting the hairdo of the 80’s. As I remembered that time in my life, when I too was so fashionably coifed, I had to chuckle — can you say rat tail 😀 I figured that I too would search out an old photo and go public. Well, I found one and I figure with it being a wedding photo and all, out of respect, the ribbing should be gentle 😉

The Devastation Is Personal

I’d like to introduce Rasheid. Rasheid is a coworker of mine and a very kind gentleman. I have worked with Rasheid for about seven years and have always enjoyed spending time with him. Rasheid holds dual Pakistani/Canadien citizenships. Most of his immediate family lives in Canada.

Rasheid and his wife are childless. However, I recall how ecstatic I was to hear the news that Rasheid’s wife was finally pregnant. They had been trying for so long. I also recall the afternoon Rasheid received that frantic phone call to inform him that his wife had to be rushed to the hospital. Rashieid’s wife survived. The baby did not. I remember looking into Rasheid’s face and realizing that I was unable to relieve his pain.

I have now re-experienced that very feeling this week. Rasheid was sharing with me that while his relatives live in the more southern portion of Pakistan, the families of many of his friends in Canada were in fact from the area most effected by the recent earthquake. Rasheid says he has talked to most of his friends in Canada and many have received the solemn confirmation that their relatives are now counted among the perished. Rasheid has yet to hear from any who have heard from surviving relatives.

Lee Sr. makes a convicting observation of the response, or lack of, by most of the blogs he frequents. I think there are some very insightful reactions in the comments to his post and I think I tend to agree with the idea that we might be a bit numb from natural disasters and are not as sure anymore exactly how we are to respond. This is even more so when the disaster is in a land so far removed from ours. Yes, we can and should provide monetary support as we are able, but I’d like to suggest that we also have other opportunities. Look around you. Many of our communities have pockets of Pakistani and Indian populations. Perhaps you work with some yourself. Reach out to them. You may be no more able to relieve their pain than I have been for Rasheid, but know this; our Lord’s heart breaks for those experiencing incredible pain from the loss of loved ones. Ours should as well.

Bloggin’ In The Loo

Cool, not only am I able to post to my blog via my PDA, I can now read RSS feeds by way of the device as well. The doubly cool part is that I can listen to downloaded podcasts too.

I would much prefer to use a piece of open source software where possible, but for both of these functions it looks like I will end up using commercial packages. For making blog posts I will likely use HBlogger. It just seems to be more intuitive to set up and use than the others. A close second though was mo:Blog. The open source option I tried was Plogit, but it was clumsy to set up and froze my PDA twice.

The RSS feed reader I will likely settle on is QuickNews. I have not come across any open source package that can even come close to QuickNews as far as ease of use and functionality are concerned. In fact QuickNews also downloads podcast directly to the memory card. The option to date had been to use iPodder Lemon to download the podcasts and then transfer them to my PDA.

I mention all this mobility to ask a favor of you. When you consider what you will be posting to your blogs, please take into account those of us who may be reading your material in the loo. It can be misunderstood to let out a hearty giggle in such facilities with close neighbors about [img]http://smilies.sofrayt.com/%5E/_950/wink.gif[/img]

NaNoWriMoWhoMe?

The 2005 NaNoWriMo is quickly approaching. In case you are not familiar with this endeavor allow me to elaborate a bit. National Novel Writing Month is the brainchild of Chris Baty, who, as it states in his profile, “[w]ith his startlingly mediocre prose style and complete inability to write credible dialogue… has set a reassuringly low bar for budding novelists everywhere.” Chris started NaNoWriMo in 1999 and it has grown considerably. Half of all proceeds go toward building libraries in rural Laos.

As explained on the website: “National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30… In 2004, we had over 42,000 participants. Nearly 6000 of them crossed the 50k finish line by the midnight deadline…”

While I signed up last year as a participant, I did not make it very far. Mind you, I wrote almost 15,000 words in just over a week, but had less than 3,000 words to show for it. The rest were all do-overs. It is very difficult for me to move on and keep writing when the ‘voices’ are telling me to stop and edit. Well, this year I understand this weakness and intend to overcome it. Afterall, when it is all said and done, there is plenty of time to edit.

I don’t know if I will be brave enough to do like Jaki and post my novel along the way as she did with When It All Began. Perhaps I’ll wait till it is finished and then post it all at once. Or maybe I’ll post it after I’ve edited it throughout December. Or maybe…

… Now, all I need is a story.

TV -What’s It Good For?

I used to enjoy watching TV — a lot of TV. I would watch all the new episodes of my favorites. So often my moods and emotions were directly effected by the goings on of these episodes. When there were no new episodes, the reruns fit the bill nicely. There was late night television when I worked second shift and there were old episodes of Perry Mason, The Munsters and McHales Navy between classes at PSU.

Mind you, I would not fancy calculating how much of my life has been spent in front of ‘the tube’ and I certainly don’t enjoy considering what I might have actually been able to do with that time.

I grew up in the generation that saw so many TV firsts. There was the first televised presidential debate. We watched man land on the moon (or so we thought) and there was a whole war that made its way into our living room nightly.

I recall first seeing MTV and thinking “this will never last. They’re bound to run out of video ideas.” I wasn’t entirely wrong. Of course there are some very special TV moments. I can think of two in particular; one in 1969 and another in 1986.

As I get older I find that I watch much less TV. How I wish I could attribute it to more refined tastes or a better appreciation for managing my time. No, the reason is much more narcoleptic than that. More than twenty or thirty minutes in front of the television and I’m out cold.