Goofs and Gadflies

Monday, May 30, 2005


If there is one notion to cling to, and only one, it is that life is precious. "Don't Panic" comes a close second. (tm Douglas Adams) While it's true that Life is Beautiful (tm Benigni)Holding forth the primacy that life is precious instills a greater sense of personal responsibility to look both ways before crossing the street.

The feet move quickly, with purpose, almost possessed by the quickening pace they have undertaken. The air passes swiftly around the legs as they press forward, lunging and stabbing at the concrete below. The light spring air provides little resistance and allows for a quick egress. The sunglasses provide respite from the bright sun, and hides blurry eyes from perfect strangers. The feet are flying now, passing strolling couples and gauntly sloped seniors. But to where? Destination unknown. This is a walking away from and not a walking towards. There is no rainbow of knowledge at the end of the day. There is only sweat and a beating heart. A heart that beats only to let you know that its still alive. It is not like the winter, where the act of walking is almost in rebellion to the elements. These days were made for brisk walks and it is obviously so by the number of people out there tonight. When I walk in the winter, I walk alone. The whistling of the wind and snow my only companion. I walk for knowledge (a weapon in the fight against fear). Now when I walk, all I see is hope, and hope springs eternal. I cannot deny the nature of change. The water of time that washes away the stings of living. I could take solace in a glass of Jack and Coke (tm Esther) But I have always been more of a merlot fan (especially Pomerol).

The seasons change and yet the song remains the same. I have to stay true to the notion that everything I endure will make me a stronger person. Who needs contentment when you can have adventure? I have to regain my composure and remind myself that my struggles are of relative inconsequence to the rest of the world. I do not have the ability to launch nuclear weapons, corrupt the local water supply, or eat ice cream without getting a brain freeze. If I have a momentary lapse of purpose, life goes on and we all have cake.

I've never understood why people say "I need to change" when we are all in a perpetual state of growth. Is growth not change? I think that all things work out over time. The trick is, they just might not work out in your favour. The best part about experience is that it provides a solution set for the future. The mind is a library of knowledge and every day I am writing the books of my life. It's time to go back into my own private library and check out a few oldie-but-goodies.

So here I sit, crouched with my hands over my head, waiting for the bombs to stop falling. I smile privately, because I know they will. I will survive, and flourish. I know this because I always look both ways before crossing the street.

And love
Is not the easy thing
The only baggage
That you can bring
Not the easy thing
The only baggage you can bring
Is all that you can't leave behind
And I know it aches
How your heart it breaks
You can only take so much

Walk on
Walk on

-U2 "Walk On"

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Seasonal Tidings

I think it's a little late for spring cleaning, considering that summer has officially arrived with the May 2-4 long weekend. It is maybe one last attempt to put behind us the coming and going of another season. Spring, I mean you no disrespect, but you are the most difficult season to emerge from. How do we really know when we are through with you? The summer gives away gracefully into fall, and winter strides in confidently with its blustery sleeping grace. Spring settles in like a mist and gives a respite from the bitter cold. It sprouts the leaves and brings in the green. It teases cloyingly with heat, only to lash back with a frosty glare. Spring holds the secret of life. The moment of unstoppable evolution that, when put into a fast forward montage, resembles every sex-ed video ever shown around the world.

Patio time. Last night I spent time on a S-Bux patio in Uptown T-Dot. Sucking back a mint mocha, non-fat, light whip, nutmeg sprinkled latte with a few friends. Contagious laughter and sophomoric antics ensued. Nothing better to make a person feel younger than to do the things we did when we *were* young. It wouldn't be inaccurate to say that I am definitely taking a holiday from life these days. I have stopped worrying about the future and started to roll with each day as it comes. I think that happens when you have something in your life that makes you so happy that you can't think about the future. When the days are filled with such passion and calm that thinking about the future becomes a frivolous act. This is what defines contentment. Living in today with no sense of "I should be doing something else". Being in the only place I would want to be at that moment. I can enjoy a lost night in the city where nothing really happens.

So, I will spend the better part of a day cleaning out my personal closet. No, most of what comes out heads straight into the emotional receptacle and will not be seen here. Physically I will prepare myself for a summer of action and accomplishment. I will create an environment conducive to productivity. I will continue to shape into a mold of myself. A mold not of tangible value, but of psychic cohesion. I will be organized and nothing cyclical will surprise me. I will be prepared. I will be foot loose and fancy free.

I will continue to keep this blog devoid of actual content or commentary. This blog is my puppy. I will be content to let him lap at my face and lick his nuts. Hopefully in that order.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

When they say "It isn't about the money", you better believe it's about the money.

A friend from High School sent out an email today, announcing that he and his wife are expecting a baby. Along with the note came an ultrasound picture attachment. Such a peaceful looking fetus. That kid looked like it was holding a spliff in one hand, while grooving to some Portishead being piped intra-uterine. This couple I have known since they met. Two creative, driven, and sociable persons; have just moved into their first house. So much nachas (fortune) for two people who I think deserve all of it and more.

I have friends who were lucky enough to pursue their passions and curiosities unencumbered from the same sorts of financial restrictions that most people live with. That they are successful people is not owed completely to the helping hands and support they have enjoyed. They still work very hard, tirelessly and with great personal stress, to achieve their goals in life. What is notable is that they were able to fail and learn from their failures. Sometimes you can do everything right and still fail. Its easy to learn from your mistakes, harder to learn from your circumstantial failures.

So it can be said that I have friends who succeeded through personal development and their intrinsic belief in success, and friends who have been molded and shaped into a successful life. First let me state that for the purpose of this discussion I am going to define success as the "obtaining the ability to progress through the natural steps of adulthood and citizenry". Having seen both types of success I note some contrasting points of definition between "old" and "new" money. The following isn't based on am analysis of any one person, but it is rather a conglomeration of trends I have noticed.

New money might not have a university degree or a college designation, but has a proven track record of dependable and reliable employment. Becoming a workhorse to compensate for feelings of inferiority to the MBA'ed of the company. Their contributions to the office are technically sound and double checked for accuracy. Their output is dependable and their eagerness to accept extra-responsibility in the company is welcomed (although not compensated for). By doing this "free" work, the under-educated employee gains experience and knowledge. The only downside to the excessive work habits of the earnest employee, is a nagging feeling that they are underpaid and unappreciated. There is also a tendency to have a work "personality" that is cordial and polite, and a "social" personality that reflects their friend choices. This is often less refined and churlish. So while one might see this employee talking "white-collar" at the office, if you heard them on a personal call or saw them outside the work environment, they might display more "blue-collar" tendencies. It seems that every one at the office knows their various maladies and they have no trouble sharing personal stories to coworkers.

Old money has at least an undergraduate degree, and most often has completed some post-graduate work in either business or law. They often seek to start their own businesses, or work at an executive level for a company. The conflicts with old money are centered around finding the balance between work and life. The desire to maintain the existing social position causes an external strain on these people. It's not enough to work hard and make money. There should be an altruistic element to their careers. Through volunteering on community boards or by actively mentoring younger employees or students, old money believes that giving back to the community is expected of them. They don't like to share personal information with coworkers, but might have one person in the company as a confidante. Work is done for the sake of work, recognition is internal and it is not necessary to receive praise from others. If you hear them talking on the phone, they are most likely planning a social event or discussing a future trip. They are shrouded with secrecy and not flashy with their money.

Money. It's not the only motivator around. It's just a convenient currency in which to measure worth. There is no value in money, just need and want. People are raised with certain attitudes towards money. They don't realize how instilled these values are until they are much older and have either made more money than they need, or have exhausted every reasonable line of credit available to them. Money can cause tension and strain among friends and family. Death and inheritance divide families at a time where they need each other most. It's wrong to say money is the root of all evil. It's equally wrong to say money makes the world go round. The truth is that there is no one root of all evil, and gravity is what makes the world go around. Money doesn't lie, and its a fairly good arbiter of authority. Money talks. Money can't buy you love, but it can get you whatever you need to get you through the night.

If its all the same to you, I'd rather be sitting under a big oak tree reading a book and eating an apple. Jill Binder (Stop Smoking Coach) once told me: "Do what you love and the money will follow." Good advice for all, and to all a good night.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Reasons Why I Will Die Alone and Single

I've got another post in the pipes that I am really enjoying laying out and I hope to have that done for tomorrow. But as I was putting it together, I was interrupted by the following MSN conversation.

C- says:
are you the child psychologist

Just Rye:
nope, I sell souvenirs
C- says:

C- says:
thougth you were someone else

Just Rye:
It's something I often do myself, talk to enough people and they all start to look and sound alike,
C- says:

Just Rye:
I think there has to be a happy medium between not dating at all, and being on jdate....
C- says:

Just Rye:
I'm trying to find it.
C- says:
i would prefer not dating

Just Rye:
true, but when I go for walks, and I see the ducks swimming together, I get winsome
C- says:
what is winsome

Just Rye:
winsome: generally pleasing and engaging often because of a childlike charm and innocence
C- says:

C- says:
listen, i am not in the mood for chatting now. maybe we could talk another day


Woe is me.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Taking a Mental Holiday

Usually at this point in the day I would sit and reflect upon the week in my life. Try and make some meaning of the various interactions I've had over the previous seven days. Originally I had set out to write about respect today. It's such a powerfully laden word, a very heavy word with multiple uses. Respect is a mixture of consideration for past performance, a casual politness to people and property, and a solemn obligation to honor the past. Respect is related to perspective, how it is I'm not so sure, not having studied the eytomology of either word. But I get the feeling that respect is about how you consider or look at things in the world. You can show respect for property, people, places, conventions, and posted signs.

But that is for another week.

Perhaps its because the weather outside is delightful. Perhaps its because I had an amazing week personally. For whatever the reason, I am taking a mental holiday today. I'm very proud of what I have accomplised with this blog. It has helped me collect and organize some very disparate thoughts that clunk around in my noggin. It has allowed me to meet some very strange and lovely bedfellows. It is my channel to the world. I can't force myself to be thoughtful and urbane because I want to keep some self imposed schedule. I'll be back later this week when the mood strikes me. I really am having way too much fun with my life right now to even attempt to deconstruct a topical event or subject.


Sunday, May 01, 2005


There I am, breathing deep breaths in a sea of lulu lemmings and stupidly flexible women at Yoga on Monday. I decided to start with yoga again because it adds a certain kwan to my exercise routine. I get enough cardio and weights in, but I was missing the balance that Yoga brought to my core strength. There we are at the beginning of class doing simple meditation exercises. Releasing our bodies to the earth, and finding the release valves to our spiritual nozzles. I enter this dream like state, fully consumed by the calm washing over my physical body. I am now in a vision.

The air is cool and crisp, gentle waves of a consistent breeze swirl around my body. The sky is a bright blue, with puffy white clouds billowing high atop the atmosphere. I am in a desert valley, perhaps in Arizona or New Mexico. There is not a soul for miles, just deep canyons and valley peaks with rivers streaming hundreds of feet below. Oh, I should point out that I am also an eagle. I have the vision and perspective of an eagle, as I perch on the ledge of the cliff's peak. Gazing all around, my eyes see the panorama of the valley. The bright red hues of the clay soil on the ground contrast with the sky blue on top. The only noise is the swirling of the wind. I am alone. As I walk about, I puff out my chest and extend my wing span in a massive display that no one will see. As my wings once again clip under my chest, I settle at the peak of the canyon. Looking for something to change or move, I am fully aware of the prescience of everything in my field of vision.

The Yoga instructor has something different in mind. She wants us to imagine we are in a dark cave. Empty, with no light or sounds, but with the gentle cascade of water and life moving all about us. I try to fade my eagle vision and get into the cave, but it doesn't work. To me, knowing everything is the state of calm. For others, they can only achieve relaxation by removing themselves from existence. For me, I can only achieve relaxation from accepting and understanding all that is around me. Later on in the class we were doing a quad stretch that required a partner, so I joined with the instructor. I told her about the difference in my visions from what she was trying to visualize. She was fascinated, and she told me that everyone seeks peace in a different way. It got me thinking about flexibility, specifically about emotional flexibility.

I don't have opinions. They weigh me down. They strangle me with the absoluteness of thought. I have values and ethics to guide me. I trust myself to be flexible like a marsh reed and not rigid like a sturdy oak tree. The person I am doesn't change because of where I am. I don't buy into situational ethics. I will not plunder in a riot, or engage in hooliganism after a soccer game. I carry a little ethos biosphere around me wherever I may roam. I bring my vision, my perspective, to every adventure I find. I am home where I am.

I was at Century Lounge on Friday. Grooving and moving with a drink in my hand and fire in my feet. People were packing the Lounge tight, it seems there was a lot of getting the stink of the week out going on. Loud music, bongo players, ridiculously priced Malibu and pineapple, and more groping then a group of blind people square dancing. I had my drink in my hand when a woman approached me and asked me if I was having fun tonight. I answered in the affirmative. I told her that everybody here tonight was here to have fun and soak up the energy of the music and vibes. She told me that this "wasn't her scene", and that she was just here for the birthday of a friend. She wasn't there to groove, and she rather wanted to talk to me pub style. She was making all sorts of datelike smalltalk when I realized that her aura was out of synch from the room. I had engaged her in a little "so, what do you do?" type repartee. She was right, this literally was not her scene. She had pulled herself out of the collective energy of the room out of protest. As I realized she was uncomfortable, I told her this:

"Here we are, in a room full of people that came here to have fun. To look at people and be looked at. To have a drink, and soak up the energy and music and blow off a little steam. It may not be your scene, but for me, I am going to just roll with it. I'm gonna find the fun."

And with that, I took my drink to the dance floor and got my groove on till what felt like the break of dawn.

The lesson is that emotional flexibility is as important as physical flexibility. We live in an insane world. The only way to keep our heads from exploding is to bring your vision wherever you go. Bring your sanity with you. Carry a little sanity backpack if you have to. Because there is nothing worse than being out of your element. As the line goes from that Crowded House song, "everywhere you go, always take the weather with you".