“Foolish Hearts” and Good Falls

(Note: I’m cheating here a little bit. I had ~~80% of this post written in my head and a few notes on a scrap of paper by about mid-day on the 2nd of September. But I didn’t post it then, and a few other things went through my mind between then and now. And ofc I’ve had more time to mull it all over. So, I finally wrote it up on the 7th of December, and backdated the publication so it appears in the chronology of my thinking on “Life Weirdness”, more-or-less. Work with me here! ;-})

But will my lonely heart
Play the part
Of the fool again, before I begin

Foolish heart, Hear me callin’
Stop before you start fallin’
Foolish heart, Heed my warning
You’ve been wrong before
Don’t be wrong anymore!

Steve Perry, “Foolish Heart”

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“Let’s Do The Time Warp Again!”

This is a testing attempt to back-date a post, or, failing an alteration of the actual posting date, at least posting it out-of-sequence so that it appears chrono-typographically in the place where you want it (in the ordering of all other posts).

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Quis prodest?

You may wonder – why would I want to so firmly place the duncecap on my own head, wear my bleeding heart so far out on my sleeve, say all these things publically that might embarrass an innocent young woman, ???

WAT??!!

Well….. I have pretensions of being a writer someday. So any writing practice is good.

And I’m the kind of guy that does his best thinking ‘out loud’ – usually by writing it down. And exploring why my marriage imitated the Space Shuttle Columbia, and why I made such a botch of things with Eve, just might, possibly, maybe, if I am damned lucky and smart and insightful (and I get a lot of “help from my friends”) – just might keep me from making these same foolish mistakes again.

I spent about a third of my life getting to the point where I got married.

I spent about a third of my life being married.

I figure, if the Goddess is good to me and I don’t abuse my carcass too much, I’ve got about a third of my life left. And I don’t want my “Third Act” to be anything less than the best it could possibly be – whatever that means. And that’s a big piece of what I want to explore here in writing, as I draw down the curtain on Act 2 and take my mark in the wings for the curtain’s rise on Act 3.

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The Naming of the Parts

With apologies to Henry Reed
 
 

But the act of Jane being a ‘pusher’ for this heady cocktail of emotional potions is dangerous to Eve, too. She must feign intimacy at least, and may even offer a circumscribed version of it.

… seen in our last episode….

Hold. that. thought…..
 
 

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Drugs, Side-Effects, and ‘Fourth Walls’

I’m going to have to admit some embarrassing things about myself here. Please pay no attention to the open wounds and loss of precious bodily fluids – The Author has it under control. (He thinks……)

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“And Now For Something Completely Different….”

After a long radio silence, my blog is about to both restart in earnest and take a serious turn to the weird and personal. (Even more than before, hahaha) The reasons for this will become apparent shortly….

Hold on to your hats, or just skip the entire following category of posts (anything “life weirdness”).

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Veterans’ Day 2016

It’s a raw, windy, gray day here in Northwestern Ohio.  I was hanging laundry out, and the dampness of the clothes instantly chilled my fingers numb.  Which matched the numbness of my heart as I contemplated the last week’s events.

So much hate.  So much fear.  The presidential election didn’t go the way I wanted it to, because it couldn’t have – I didn’t want either major candidate to win.  But I will abide by the results, and strive to make this country work the best it can in spite of those results.

But the hate and fear emanating from the losers.  And the hate and bigotry from some that we must suppose consider themselves “the winners”.  The open calls for armed revolution, even from those (my own brother!) who have spent their entire lives selflessly serving others, regardless of color, creed, gender, or any of those tiniest of issues that divide our common humanity.

Which causes me to reflect more on how I can promote joy, and love, and light through my service.  Everyone hear me now – I stand against all hate.  Consider me “safety pinned”, or “White Rosed”, or just an ordinary man who will not allow hate into his life.  This means hate expressed to individuals, to whole groups (of whatever kind) tarred with the widest of brushes – this means hate of my nation (for all its noble aspects and its flaws), threatened to be torn apart by intolerants of every stripe, or by international jackals waiting to catch us wounded and vulnerable.

I remain at Condition Yellow, both tactically in my day-to-day affairs, and strategically for the future of my nation. But I will not succumb to fear and hate.  I will not let the darkness overcome the light.

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A SWRv in my life’s path: Intro

Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Part 5 – Part 6 – Part 7

What did I want?
I wanted a Roc’s egg…. I wanted to get up feeling brisk and go out and break some lances, then pick a likely wench for my droit du seigneur–I wanted to stand up to the Baron and dare him to touch my wench! I wanted to hear the purple water chuckling against the skin of the Nancy Lee in the cool of the morning watch and not another sound, nor any movement save the slow tilting of the wings of the albatross that had been pacing us the last thousand miles….
I wanted to sail with Ulysses and with Tros of Samothrace and eat the lotus in a land that seemed always afternoon. I wanted the feeling of romance and the sense of wonder I had known as a kid. I wanted the world to be what they had promised me it was going to be–instead of the tawdry, lousy, fouled-up mess it is.

― Robert Heinlein, Glory Road

And I may have nearly found it….

 

It’s no secret that for some time I’ve wanted to start learning some martial arts.  I arranged to bring the Polaris Fellowship of Weapons Study to Penguicon back in 2012 to restart the track (formerly called “Mayhem”, now called “Action-Adventure”) of introduction to martial arts and related material.  And when I learned that Polaris offers a week-long summer intensive in their style of knife and sword training, I was bound and determined to attend.

I nearly went last year (and in fact had already registered and paid), but a minor medical procedure at just the wrong time knocked me out of it.  They offered me a 75% refund or 100% credit towards next year.  Guess which one I took.  🙂

Summer Weapons Retreat 2016 (called SWRv, pronounced “swerve”) ran from the 2nd through the 7th of August.  Since it started at 8:00 on that Wednesday, I elected to pay the extra trivial fee and go up the night before, bunking over and being ready to start first thing in the morning.  Then another minor disaster struck!  My car broke down 5 days before I was supposed to leave, stranding me 90 minutes away.  However, my friends Cathy and Eric Raymond were also going (as they had done for the last decade) and graciously agreed to pick me up on their way through Toledo.

So they stopped by our apartment Tuesday evening around 5, I packed my gear into their already overstuffed car, and we drove to Brighton, MI for dinner before checking in.  Eric suggested I “load up on protein”, as I would be doing some significant muscle-building in the next few days.  (A yummy Cajun steak kebob, medium rare, and perfectly broiled sea scallops at The Stillwater Grill – yeah, I think I got enough protein.)  Around 8:00, after a rather convoluted drive through the back roads south of Brighton, we arrived at the camp.  I found Clint M., the lead instructor, and ‘checked in’ – they said, “Yeah, you’ve paid, and signed all the waivers and other paperwork – twice.  You’re good.”  So much for formal organization.  I found my room in the bunkhouse, and met my roommates Eric M. and Steve.  Last one in gets the leftovers – I got my choice of one of the upper bunk beds.

SWRv is held on the grounds of the Emrich Retreat Center, which is run by the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan.  It reminds me of other ‘church camps’ I had been to as a kid – a quiet pastoral blend of mowed lawns, woods, and rustic buildings.  As other attendees arrived (all of them essentially strangers to me, although I recognized some of the instructors from their participation in Penguicon), the greetings were low-key, and it was clear that they were mostly old friends renewing those friendships.  Would I fit in?  Could an old duffer like me, totally inexperienced and not at all part of this company, earn a place in it?

Well, let’s just see what happens tomorrow….

 

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Dinner: Duck bacon, spaetzle, wilted kale and leeks

So, I brag about being a pretty good cook.  Here’s an example – you judge.

We had visited my brother and sister-in-law just north of Cincinnati Ohio last weekend, and as part of the outing went to Jungle Jim’s – a giant destination food emporium.  You can find just about any exotic foodstuff from around the world there.  While looking for some out-of-the-ordinary breakfast meats, I found some duck bacon.

Fast forward to Friday evening, as I stopped at the grocery on the way home from work, and I saw they had fresh kale. Hmmm, I thought, I betcha this would be good wilted with some of the duck bacon on or beside it.

So that became the heart of Saturday’s supper.  I wanted a starchy side dish, and for whatever reason, I thought of spaetzle.  Now mind you, I hadn’t cooked spaetzle before.  I didn’t even know how to make it.  Never fear – I follow Hank Shaw’s “hunter – angler – gardener – chef“, where I found a simple enough recipe for spaetzle.  (He served it under his venison stroganoff.)

OK, I’ve got all the ingredients (well, except the heavy cream for the spaetzle, but I can fake that with some milk, and maybe a little butter if necessary).  I had some left-over tops from last night’s leeks, so I figured I could use them instead of just yellow onions in with the leeks.  Time to get to work.

Now, just ’cause I’m crazy, I thought I would substitute whole-wheat flour for the white flour that Hank’s recipe called for.  This wasn’t my best idea – the dumplings ended up stiff and heavy.  (Next time, a third to a half whole-wheat and the rest all-purpose.)  And I don’t have a spaetzle maker, or even a colander or grater with large enough holes, so I figured that I could just do them by tiny spoon-drops into the boiling water.  Yes, you can make them that way – but they end up way to big, so they don’t cook through well enough.  🙁 (And it’s slow as hell to make them all this way.)

And the duck bacon?  OK, if very salty – it was hard to tell that it was duck and not just pork or even heavily seasoned turkey.  The kale with leeks worked out well, but it needed more seasoning.  (I had put some dill weed and dried basil on them, but you couldn’t taste it very much.)  I drank a good domestic micro-brewery porter with it.

Net score – about 6.5 or 7 out of 10.  Not my best work, but I know how to improve it for next time.  Would you have eaten this?  More importantly, would you have enjoyed it?

 

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Walk The Walk

Here’s a not-fully-expected consequence  —

When I posted my last bit about contributing to the support of the Internet, I was contacted by the Director of the Internet Civil Engineering Institute.  She asked me if I would like to volunteer to be their “Education-Outreach-Training Coordinator”.  I gave it a couple of days serious thought, and emailed her back saying I would take it on.

I’m now going to be responsible for officially promoting the activities of the Institute, fielding questions and concerns raised in email and social media, blogging on their behalf, and (of course) helping with fund raising.  I think it’s the only time I’ve ever been asked to put my mouth where my money is.  🙂

But more importantly, it give me a bit more insight into the work of my late father.  For years he wrote copy for advertising, and I (as a callow youth) would harass him about it – “Why do you have to keep beating the drum for <product XYZ>?  If it’s good, people will recognize it, and buy it!”  But now I realize it’s not nearly that simple.  The marketplace is crowded, the din of others hawking their wares is incessant, and the appeal of any particular item gets lost.  Good, effective promotion is that which focuses the attention of someone who could benefit from your product or idea, makes them appreciate that they need those benefits, and motivates them to act – to buy, to contribute, to further promote.

 

Let’s see if I can be that good, effective promoter.  It’s time to Walk The Walk.

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