Thursday, July 26, 2012

Life is Not Like a Box of Chocolates!

In "Forrest Gump" Forrest says to the lady 'My mama always told me that life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get." I submit that is pure poppycock. If there is one thing that is certain in life, if you have a box of chocolates you're going to get two things: Chocolates, and the little paper holders for each one.

That said, I've been waxing philosophical lately, and after that first thought came to mind, I wondered, 'So what is life like?' A bowl of cherries? By that do you mean it either rots slowly or gets eaten? Is Life a game? And if it is, which game should it be? Some people would have you think it's like 'Monopoly' but that's not true either. In Monopoly everyone starts with the same amount of money. Boy that ain't true to life.

I've played a lot of games in my life, from Age of Conan to Yahtzee! Sometimes I don't have a Clue what I'm doing until I've played the game for a while. Given my personality, Solitaire is as good a game as any, whether played on a computer or with cards. But my life and my personality, though intertwined, are not the same thing.

Recently, I've been playing a computer-based version of Solitaire called 'Spider Solitaire.' I'm not going to get into the details, if you're interested, it's on most versions of Windows. But the gist of it is, you put cards together to make stacks of the same suit. While learning the ropes of this game, I have found that much of it correlates to my life. Here's how:

I've had to type this section several times to get the words right. My computer keyboard with its backspace button allows me to start from scratch and try another way of writing what I'm feeling. Spider Solitaire is like that. You can follow the flow of the cards for a while, realize you made a mistake, and then undo it and start where you made the mistake. The path to victory is filled with redos.

It's all about the path you take. I'm not a believer in destiny, but I am a believer that we make our own way through life. We make mistakes. We can't always correct them like in the game, but when one path doesn't work, we can always try another path. And life has taught me that there is no one right path to a happy life.

Some people find it easy to get on a train with hundreds of others who all follow the same path. Others, like me, see a path before them, see others finding an easy way along the path, but struggle to follow the same path. I had that experience while on the Appalacian Trail. While I struggled to take the path before me, or sometimes to even find the path, others would pass me as if I were standing still, and I often was.

In Spider Solitaire there is no one solution. But if you are patient, and can see where you made the mistakes, you can slowly make your way to victory.

I will continue to scout out a path, sometimes diving in head first, only to come out of the bushes battered and bruised. Sometimes I'll come off the path to find I've gone in a completely different direction than I wanted to, and then I find that the new direction feels better that the old one. Sometimes, I have to backtrack.

The only finality in life is death. Until then, I will take the paths that are offered, or, if none are there, I will make my own path.

Monday, July 23, 2012

I'm a Loner - Fear Not

First, my condolences to those affected by the killing spree in Aurora Colorado. I use to live in that area long ago.

It seems every time one of these shootings happens, the press like to make it very clear that the perpetrator is a loner.

As if it were impossible for someone who is socially astute to commit such crimes.

I am a loner. I have been all my life. I prefer to sit by myself somewhere, reading, writing, shooting videos in the background. I am about as passive as they come.

I am also as peaceful as they come. Yes, I sometimes stand up to make my voice heard, but I will never do it in a violent way. Even in my writing I try very hard to keep the violence to a minimum, or at the very least show the consequences of violence.

So what are we to do with these loners? It's obvious they are the ones committing atrocious acts. Shall we lock up all those that do not have someone else with them at all times? Shall we make it a crime to sit under a tree reading a book? Shall we give every loner a psychological evaluation and then use drugs to transform them into society's picture of perfection? The kind of people who make friends easily? The life of the party - every party?

Honestly, we just want to be left alone to do the things we like to do. In very rare instances that includes plotting to kill people. But then, you'll find that outgoing, personable people go crazy too. Those that need mental health treatment are hard to recognize - until it's too late. Even the crazy ones aren't likely to think of themselves that way.

The truth is, there is no easy answer to prevent outbreaks like what happened in Aurora. Thankfully, such outbreaks are so rare that even in this gun-totin', game playin' society, it shocks people.

Where's Batman when you need him?

Friday, July 20, 2012

I'm going to miss that car

Today, I turn my rental car in for the first time in 60 days. We've had some good times in that interval, that Ford Focus and I. Long hours driving (over 6K miles, most in the first 30 days) Long hours sleeping in it, at first in the back scrunched in, then laying in the driver's seat, reclined back. Playing with my computer, watching TV on it, listening to the radio and hearing songs that I've never heard before because I didn't have access to a radio before. Some of the songs I would rather not hear again, as they were not that good to begin with and ALL the radio stations played them over and over again.

I had a similar attachment to  my previous car. I didn't live out of it, (not all the time anyway) but I still felt a connection to it. I miss that car most, because it was all mine. I totaled it in 2005 when I rear-ended a truck in a dangerous intersection. I didn't know it was dangerous until it was too late. The tow truck driver told me as he was hauling my car away, the front end smashed.


Now I've gone and made myself cry. I'll be crying again in a couple of hours when I turn the car in.

Seriously, anyone have a old car or van they want to give away? I promise it will make a good home!

In the meantime, enjoy this bicycle ad!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Kickstarter, Part Deux.

Earlier this year, I attempted to get some funding for Mike's News Hangout using Kickstarter, which helps fund creative concepts. Apparently my attempt fell short of their expectations, largely because it was not time sensitive, and really, had no set goal other than to shoot video.

Yet I went on my trip anyway, with the money I had. Now that the money has run dry, I'm trying Kickstarter again, only this time, I'm narrowing the focus to  what I really had wanted to do in the first place, create a documentary on why baseball fans are so, well, fanatical.

The process was different this time, they've streamlined things considerably. And since I'm more focused, they approved it after a few days of waiting. So here is the link to the project:

This project has 59 days to find $5,000 in funding for me to continue my journey. There are some incentives, such as if you donate $20 or more, you get a DVD copy of the documentary once it's done. If you donate $1,000 or more, I'll treat you and 4 of your friends to a baseball game in your area and even interview you for the documentary.

If I don't make the goal, but it does make some money, I don't get any money. Which is one reason why the goal is so low. I could use more money than that, but $5,000 will go a long way.

So if you want to donate toward it, please click on the link!