The Tweets
The Tweets

Nature vs. Nurture vs. Emulation vs. Self Fulfilling Prophecy: Work or Shoot?

Yesterday I spent a good chunk of the day doing something I had been putting off for no clear reason. I digitally archived a bunch of my father's things: old family photos, postcards, curling patches, his obituaries.

Other than the actual work of the archiving itself, the only thing I could think of is that I didn't want to immerse myself in memories of my father, including memories that aren't even mine. I've seen all of these things before, but I don't know if I've actually SEEN them.

The main takeaway from yesterday is just how many weird and random ways I am like my dad, or at the very least how many weird tangents there are. I've already written about the whole wardrobe thing, and looking at old pictures just really brings to light how similar our fashion sense is--if not in actual looks, at least the "level" of casual to formal--but there are even little things here and there that would only catch my eye. The most surprising of which is one of the last real hidden "guilty pleasures" I have: Professional Wrestling.

To this day I still have this fascination with professional wrestling. See, even here I try to carefully word it. I'm a fan. There, I said it. Not of everything, mind you. Just as with any entertainment medium, I like what's good; and cringe at what's bad. The only difference is that this particular form of entertainment comes pre loaded with a ton of judgement and ridicule before you finish the word "wrestling". Think of explaining South Park to people who have only seen the first two episodes--or have only heard the horrible people who quote it ad nauseum--but ten times worse. 

But this is not the place for my defence of Pro Wrestling. That comes in another post, and only when I'm mentally prepared for taunts not heard since high school. What exactly does this have to do with my continuing struggle to understand if I'm emulating my father as some sort of tribute; if these personality traits are genetically passed down; if I have some forgotten memory of spending time bonding over these things; or if I'm just grasping at straws that aren't even there to try to force a connection with a man I can't create new connections with anymore?

(It's not the last one, but I needed to put it there to cover the entire spectrum of possibility; also sorry for the run on sentence to end all run on sentences)

I can't really be sure, and at the end of the day it's probably not even important why or even if these connections exist; just that I know that they do.

Oh, and here's the photo that caused this much longer than anticipated ramble:

For anyone who shares my secret fandom, that kind of says it all, and for those who don't, just trust me on this one (shout out to the top button being buttoned this side of the Pond... that's definitely the insidiest of references).



We've all been that umbrella before

About halfway through my commute home on this rainy Thursday, I noticed a lone umbrella hooked onto one of the horizontal bars of the bus, right near the rear door. Nobody was around it and I started to wonder if it was a forgotten umbrella, but mostly I was curious if anyone else would notice it. A young mother had it pointed out to her by her daughter, but that seemed to be about it. During the next twenty minutes maybe five or six people either stood beside the solitary umbrella, or passed it as they exited the bus at their stop.

Usually I try to be one of the first to get off the bus so I can make the next transfer, but I had become intrigued by the story of this lost umbrella so I decided to hang back to see if anyone else would take notice, and if so, what they would do. As the last of the people got off the bus, headed to their next stop, not one single person gave it more than a cursory glance. It was nice to see that nobody stole the lonely umbrella but nobody really did anything about it at all, either.

I admit it; normally, I would be one of them. I always tell myself that I do the right thing, and hopefully that's true in most cases, but I know that sometimes I'm just so "internal" that I ignore--or rather, choose to ignore--dropped change, abandoned bags and solitary umbrellas. As I got off the bus, rather than rushing to the stop where my transfer was probably just pulling up, I picked up the still damp umbrella and brought it to the driver who was stepping off the bus into the rain to stretch his legs. I actually had to repeat "I think someone left this on the bus" twice before he took the umbrella and thanked me with a bemused, but genuinely grateful look on his face. 

As I made my way downstairs to wait for the next bus, I was reminded of the jacket I left on a bus maybe 6 years ago when I was in too much of a hurry to get home to make sure I had everything with me. I never did check the lost and found; did someone else take the time out of their day to try to return my jacket or did it make its way to the end of the line untouched, or worse (for me) to someone else's home?

Maybe I'm just feeling overly sentimental today, but knowing that not only have I had my own "lost umbrella" but I've actually been the umbrella before too, wonder why it's so hard to break out of your own personal bubble even it it's just to pass something along into somebody else's... especially when I got a warm fuzzy from "doing the right thing."

Oh, and I still made my original transfer, so thanks karma (or something).



Apple (Music) is making me love it (music) again… a love letter from a lazy technophile that's really about something else

While this is incredibly late to be relevant anymore, I'm hoping this is far enough removed from relevance to avoid most of the "fanboy" tags from being thrown my way.

I love Apple Music, and it's really because I've become lazy in my old age. Oh, and because podcasts.

Let me explain. The main reason I realized that some kind of music service was for me happened on the day I realized that I was a) listening to podcasts exclusively and b) it was turning into a bit of a chore. The whole reason I love podcasts--yes,still in the present tense--was that it was an enjoyable way to get informed, be entertained or just spend an hour (or two, if you're listening to Never Not Funny or the Todd Glass Show). When it got to the point that I was slogging through things just to get through them, I knew that there was a problem. Part of it is my "completest" disease, but that's another story.

The other thing that came to mind is that I couldn't remember the last time I heard a song that wasn't playing in my own head. That really hit me hard because music was the podcasts of my youth. I wouldn't leave my house without a walkman, discman--later MP3 player, iPod and iPhone--in my bag or clipped to my belt. Yeah, I was that cool. So many of my memories, both good and bad are forever and inexorably linked to songs and albums.

Ironically, it was a podcast (TOAP) that really reminded me that I needed to find some way to fit music back into my life. I started to institute a rule for my weekday listening experience: Podcasts on the morning commute; whatever you want to listen to during the day; music on the afternoon/evening commute. Because there is a never ending rabbit hole of both podcasts and music, this has worked out well for me, and to my surprise, I've rarely broken the rule except when I feel the onset of podcast fatigue or alternatively if there's an amazing episode I can't wait to listen to coming up that only shows up in my feed at 2:00PM.

But I'm getting slightly off track; this was supposed to be a fanboy gushfest about Apple Music. So to undercut everything from here on out, if I wasn't all in on the Apple Ecosystem, this would probably be about Spotify or something. But I am, so it's not.

While incredibly easy, the biggest selling feature isn't the fact that I can search for any song that comes into my head, and there's a 95% chance that I can find it and add it to my library. Nor is it that everything is remembered/saved in the cloud so I don't have to physically (digitally) have the song to have access to it. What I love are the playlists: Playlists created by real people that actually make sense and take me back to 1997 or 2003. Playlists that I can trust will take me back to 1956 if I want.

Not that I'm incredibly important or anything, but I honestly don't have the time to recreate a skate punk mix that will remind me of the times I would sit on the asphalt of a skating rink turned basketball court in July listening to "The Bag," waiting for my friends to show up for a pick up game, but a quick scan of the plethora of playlists available to me, I can come pretty close to finding one in a few clicks and swipes. Curation is a wholly undervalued skill; something that I would love to do if I could make a living off of it, mostly because I wouldn't have time to do anything else.

In a (read: my) post radio world, I'm just very happy to have a place where I can still discover both old and new music, listen on my terms and not sacrifice some of my other audio based forms of entertainment after which I can easily share with friends and jumpstart a dialogue with another real human being in the real world?

And isn't that one of the best ways to use our innate selfishness for good?


The quickest of hits

Ideas come fast and quick in the welcoming light of day. If I'm smart enough to digitally write them down, they have a hard time pasing the harsh judgement of the setting sun. Fair? Probably not, but so it goes.

Until I have the courage to push through it.


Procrastination is funny

...because it actually procrastinates on its way to getting to you. I was more motivated than I have been in a while to actually get back to "code school." That is right up until the hour I was supposed to start and (not so) surprisingly I found something else to do.

This is going to be harder than I thought.

And I have no idea if it will be worth it or not, but it beats sitting around at home doing nothing except consuming stuff.