Grape Cheyenne

Burning beauty, outlook cloudy
Thick red lips, ever so pouty
Quivering confidence cowers

Search the haze for clarity
Possibility giving way to maybe
Overcome by her physical flowers

Run, fall, crawl
Door, floor, wall
Emotions introduced to gravity

Tired, sleepy and weary
Lackadaisical and dreary
Inaction implodes the cavity

Bits, pieces, and scraps remain
Nothing resembling anything humane
Burnt out grape Cheyenne

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Early morning ramblings

Checking in after some time. It’s been a whirlwind of a year and instead of capturing my thoughts in some fashion, I coasted and blew most of the time on the couch waiting for the ride to slow down.

Where to start…

My kids continue to grow at rampant weed speeds and I do my best to keep up. G is 15, going on 25 and I fight a constant urge to relate to his ever present maturity as a friend while remaining a diligent parent. He’s a sponge that can’t learn enough and has quickly morphed from silly kid to young man, seemingly in between lunch and dinner. I encourage his independence and while this presents the occasional battle of wills, its refreshing and educational to hear his opinions and see the world from his eyes.

M has hit adulthood running and I’ve finally got a chance to catch my breath, only because he’s at boot camp till the EOY and I don’t think any other drastic news can come till then. In the span of a few months, he’s brought up the idea of joining the National Guard and proceeded to sprint on through to marriage, enlistment, and departure.

And to cap off the events, our yearlong wait regarding restructuring at work culminated in me learning my position is being eliminated. While I’ve got a few months to figure out next steps, its another twist in an eventful year. I’m a bit torn over how I feel about the situation. On one hand, the waiting is over and I have my answer, but I felt I was just getting started on a promising career path, only to have a detour thrown in and a heavy task of deciding which way to go.

In the shadows of all this is my ever present demon, eager to pounce and derail me, as I look for a quick fix. I feel my recent slip had some bearing on the employment situation and while I’ll probably never have a definitive answer, I certainly feel responsible for part of the outcome.

So as I lie in bed, letting racing thoughts speak through my fingers, I’m making conscious efforts to spill and avoid past mistakes where I swallow emotions, only to vomit them at inappropriate times and in inappropriate ways.

In closing, I want to share some 3am ramblings and see if they shed any light or generate any feedback:

The eventual has become the actual
And now I’m dealing with the factual
Yester years would end in chemicals
Quick fixes addressing the topical
The real problem far like tropical
Only to be facing another eventual
Dirty truths with buried roots
Have me digging with nail and tooth

Icy veins chill my capillaries
Ignorant of the ancillaries
I need a slow incendiary
To warm me thoroughly
Traversing systematically
Completely, if only momentarily
The candle’s wick burning slow
Molten wax and flickering glow

Dreamlog: 20141011

The granules are evaporating, so details are going to be fuzzy, but here goes…

Roaming around the parts bin in a normal factory and I run into a co-worker who’s got some contraption in his hands and proceeds to explain it’s purpose: drone lawn mower. Coolest Idea Ever.

The rest of my dream is talking to other people who have thought of this and tried their hand, with mixed results.

One fella is slightly hellbent on perfecting lawnmowers in general. One iteration is a moving dolly with mower attached. Poor ergonomics are to be it’s downfall, as the first lawn lump causes the operator to fall head over mower.

After reading this post, it’s seems rather mundane, until one sees a lawn mower drone in action (in a dream)… Then it’s the stuff dreams are made of.

30 Day Blog Challenge – Day 2

2 posts in 3 days… I’m on a roll, LOL! No flim-flam here, so let’s get to the meat and potatoes of the matter.

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Number 2: Share your Myers Briggs type.

First of all, what is a “Myers-Briggs Type”? According to Wikipedia, it’s a questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions, based upon the work of Carl Jung. Jung theorized that there are four principal psychological functions by which we experience the world: sensation, intuition, feeling, and thinking.

A quick Google search of Myers-Briggs Type will bring you a variety of options to find your type, but here’s a couple to save you the trip:

After taking one of the tests (or all of them to see if there any variations in the results), you’ll wind up with a 4-letter type that should summarize your tendencies and how you generally see the world:

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I fall into the INFJ type or Introversion (I), Intuition (N), Feeling (F), Judging (J) if you break it up. The first time you take one of these tests, you’ll likely be surprises and possibly even creeped out at how well it describes you. How well do I fit my MBT shoes? I’m certainly more comfortable in the background and while I can be expressive, especially for topics that I’m passionate about and invested in, I will need a bit more recharging time by myself than most. As for those topics and people I’m passionate about, there are fewer, rather than more, but again, I’m invested in those around me and if I call you a friend, then it’s not something that’s being said in passing. I know I make many decisions based more on feelings than on facts and while I’m not living like a teenage girl, I have certainly screwed myself in my weekly football pick’em pool because I felt the Packers and Brown would pull it out over a clearly better opponent. I will also typically put others ahead of myself to ensure harmony in a group (friendships included), unless something triggers one of those principles, in which case the gloves may come off to get my point across (friends not excluded). Finally, I value creativity over absolutes, yet understand that everything needs a framework, because all ideas have the potential for change, but we have to ask if is that change good?

With that all said, it by no means is meant to define me or you or preordain our futures. I value it because it may help explain why we tend to behave and react in various situations. Since it’s meant to expose the surface of our personalities, it can also possibly help with your current and future relationships by teaching you to be more open-minded about how those around you behave and react, if you know their types.

My employer has been offering a training session that covers a similar topic, using a tool called the “Color Wheel”, that aims to help employees determine their personality type. Their justification is based on the argument that the better you know your co-workers and vice versa, the better you deal with personalities other than yours and that will ultimately result in increased productivity and workplace harmony.  And while you’re not going to walk out of training as BFFs with all your team mates, you do walk out with a better appreciation for personalities and how you can better work with them, instead of avoiding them.

Hopefully this prompts you to look in the mirror and at those around you in a different light and realize that there really is a method to everyone’s madness.

30 Day Blog Challenge – Day 1

New blog, same procrastination. I registered for a Blogging 101 assignment starting back on Sept 15 in hopes of kickstarting the site and instead haven’t posted one yet. So while reviewing some of the posts of those who are doing their homework, I found the following and decided that while I may not achieve 30 in 30, I will accept the challenge and get all topics covered:

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So without further ado… Here’s Number 1:

Put your iPod on shuffle and list the first 10 songs, then how you feel about them.

  1. Ghostface Killah – Sun

I think my first exposure to the Wu-Tang Clan (Ghostface’s origin) was back in 1994 via Method Man’s appearance on Biggie’s Life After Death, as well as reading about them in various magazines.  After a couple listens, I thought I’d give these guys a shot.  Checking out a group back then was kind of a big deal for the following reasons:

  1. I lived in Neenah, WI, which wasn’t exactly a hotbed of urban music, so my hip hop window consisted of “Yo MTV Raps” and “The Source” magazine and as mentioned above, whoever happened to guest on another artists track.
  2. I was living in a world without internet, so downloading, YouTube, and easy access to anything wasn’t an option.
  3. I was making spare change as a student, so each gamble on a cassette was a pricey risk.

However once I listened to “Enter the 36 Chambers”, I was tempted to break the eject button, so I couldn’t listen to anything else.  Over the years, I’ve had numerous “favorite” Clan members, but Ghostface and Rza have seem to age the best. They both blend so many facets into their music that it’s often a cerebral journey when they perform… Their blend of slang, storytelling, intellect, and subject matter is without equal and they always layer it over choice tracks.

  1. Mike Jackson – I Can’t Stop Loving You

It’s M.J.  Dave Chappelle summed it up best in a skit when asked if MJ was guilty of the charges against him. He simply replies “No, he made Thriller.” – LOL!  All jokes aside, say what you want about the man and his lifestyle, but put him on stage or behind a microphone and the man was nothing short of genius.  I was one of the millions that wore out their “Thriller” tape back in the 80’s and even rocked a pleather Thriller jacket, just to show my appreciation. As I got older and the tabloid fodder started to overshadow the music, I admit it got a bit more difficult to claim fan status (and more importantly – teenage peer pressures turned me into a bit of a closet fan). Once the fear of teenage ridicule passed, I happened upon a listen to “Off The Wall” and the passion was re-ignited.  It was possibly better than “Thriller” in that it was less gimmicky, as I’ve come to know MJ’s later songs/videos. He was young and wide-eyed and it came out in each song. There are other gems in earlier years and certainly plenty of hits after Thriller, but this was his high point in my opinion and is always what I reference when I justify why I’m still a fan.

  1. Weezer – Possibilities

It’s hard to deny that Weezer hasn’t slipped some over the years, but their ability to create rockin’ pop songs that get stuck in your head is what grants them a free parking pass in any music collection of mine.  I have a tendency to go on binges of fave groups and Weezer almost always finds their way into those rotations, mainly due to their ability to tap into emotions and help you realize you’re not the only one feeling that way.  While Pinkerton and the Blue Album will never go out of style, there are songs on each album that I can sing along with as a result of heavy rotation upon initial listen.

  1. The Streets – Dry Your Eyes

I loved hearing how hip hop was interpreted from across the pond. Rap always seemed like a genre that was strictly American and any foreigners always seemed to sound like everyone else I’ve heard before.  When I heard Mike Skinner’s unabashed British accent rap about everything from his broken TV to his broken heart and lay it all over wonderfully crafted tracks, I was hooked.  If you’re curious, check out “Original Pirate Material” and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

  1. George Jones – Nothing’s Ever Hurt Me (Half As Bad As Losing You)

I’m sure I heard some George as a kid at my Grandma’s house and she never hid the fact that he was her favorite artist.  So when he started getting sick and eventually passed, I got curious and gave a listen, if nothing more than to pay some respect to Grandma. The funny thing is that I ended up really digging him and he’s stayed on my ipod/phone ever since.  My brother started to get me to open up to some country music (Blueheels – a local country/rock hybrid, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash) in our 20’s and after I learned about the sub-genre of “Renegade Country” that these types fit in, I started broadening my listening scope.  Most of my interest again boils down to their storytelling and subject matter, but it’s also something about the ‘twang of old country that takes me to a place of my youth and a feeling of unexplainable comfort.

  1. N.E.R.D. – You Know What

By now I think everyone knows who Pharrell Williams is (“Happy” and the guy w/ the Smokey the Bear hat), but he started out as a producer (w/ partner Chad Hugo) as a team calling themselves “The Neptunes”.  They made the music for a number of my favorite artists (NORE, Old Dirty Bastard, Snoop Dogg, etc) and had a really unique sound, along the same lines as Timbaland.  So when I read that they were going to be putting out  their own music as N.E.R.D., I had to check it out and wasn’t disappointed.  Same inventive sound, but with Pharrell’s unmistakable falsetto voice that carries well over spoken raps and when singing.

  1. Beck – Broken Drum

I’m sure many have heard Beck’s song “Loser”, but he’s so much more.  He’s one of the most diverse artists I’ve heard and every new album is a surprise upon release.  While I prefer his crazy electrical/hip-hop that he started out with, I’ve certainly come to appreciate his mellow side and love how he tends to blend the two with amazing ease.  I think what sets him apart from many is the fact that he’s kind of a one man band and that’s what keeps me interested.  While he tours and performs w/ a band, he writes and produces most of his own music and when you hear it, you tend to either hate it or love it.  I’m sure many will complain about the bulk of his lyrics seeming to be nothing much more than silly non-sequiturs, but the playful way he uses words paints a vivid picture to go along with the sonic landscapes he creates to make for aural playgrounds that can be enjoyed at any time you have a pair of headphones.

  1. Mariah Carey – Heat

Like MJ before, I think you’re either a fan of Mariah or not.  There’s not much in between.  I think what intrigues me most about her was her redefinition to more of an urban, R & B songstress from her earlier pop days.  While she “dabbled” a bit from time to time with a remix (see “Honey” with ODB), she kind of went all in and I bit hook, line and sinker, starting with the “Emancipation of Mimi” album.  When you see so many artists get stuck in what got them popular and fade because of their lack of change, there’s something to be said about any artist that can take a chance and risk their career to grow and evolve with the times.

  1. Hank Williams – A Tramp On The Street

Much of what was said about George Jones applies here; however if it weren’t for opening up to Hank, Mr. Jones wouldn’t be on this list.  While my kids and some friends wonder what can possibly be good about the scratchy recordings and undeniable twang that you get with Hank, there’s something about him that remains timeless.  The ups and downs of relationships and the general trials and tribulations of many Americans are captured in his unique sing-songy voice and lyrics that define easy-listening.

  1. John Mayer – Queen of California

Like so many others on this list, John Mayer is a bit of a musical chameleon.  He started off with a blues background and modified it to work on top 40 radio.  Then when he really broke out, he decided to go his own way and develop his sound vs. repeating what got him famous.  My older son recently asked what he sounded like and I had a hard time comparing him to anyone.  He’s John Mayer and you have to take a song from each of his albums to decide for yourself.  I’m sure some prefer certain “versions” of him/his music, but as you’ve come to find, I love the way that each album has exposed a different side of him and his growth as a musician and person.

I hope you’ll take the time to check out some of the artists and share your thoughts on them or suggest someone I should check out, based on them.

Dreamlog: 20140907

I started a fun activity a couple months ago of writing a dream log. I had read that jotting down notes about dreams right after waking was the best way to remember details, before the dream foam dissipates and you’re left with with that half finished thought feeling.

I had sloughed off for awhile, but had a doozy of a dream this morning, so I dusted off the log to capture it and figured it was the perfect story to share… Enjoy.

——————-

The horrific sequel to 9/11. A normal weekday spiraled into chaos as word spread that we were under attack and it was widespread, across the US. Reports of movie theater bombings turned into wild speculation that fueled the anxiety.

For some strange reason, I had taken a train to get to another facility for work. There was work being done where people exit the trains, so we had to literally step over workers and unfinished work areas. As I was leaving the platform, people were huddled around monitors and smartphones to get news. As reports and rumors of various attacks flooded in, people were recalling 9/11 and discussing current events, as well as fearing the worst and showing obvious concern for loved ones in the areas on the news.

In the blur of activity and emotions, someone noticed a train travelling very fast outside and before many of us could act, it began to derail and send train cars crashing in all directions and hurtling towards the train terminal, which is where I still was.

While I tried to decide where to run, I felt as though I was restrained by an imaginary seatbelt and couldn’t move, so I unwillingly stood there and watched the disaster unfold.

The last part I recall was sensing impending doom and turning to run as a derailed train car was smashing through the glass windows of the train terminal.

Odd events:

– News anchor Robin Roberts was present. Not as a TV celebrity, but as another person, in the terminal. The one thing that really stuck out about her was that in the hubbub of events, she was comforting people with tears streaming down her face… Somewhat like an angel.

For the love of the game

I’m going to keep this post simple, as a result of my attention being diverted by a new, eagerly awaited football season. Our Green Bay Packers took one on the chin Thursday night, compliments of the reigning champs, which made for mixed emotions… On one hand, they demonstrated why they are the reigning champs by clearly out playing us in most aspects of the game and there’s little to be ashamed of when you’re second best in the company of greatness. On the other hand, we didn’t seem to play up to what our collective pieces seem to indicate we’re capable of and that stings… Regardless of the opponent.

The insane part of me has accepted my share of the blame, due to my faulty cheesehead and lackadaisical armchair support. The sane portion knows that 15-1 is still respectable and reason enough to do it all again in a week.

Closer to home, I was able to cheer on my hometown Neenah Rockets as they continued on a different trajectory and ran their record to 3-0 with an impressive win tonight over Oshkosh West.

And the best part of all this is that it’s only Saturday morning and there’s still 2 full days of madness to go, until the Monday morning pigskin hangover hits.

So, maybe “simple” was the wrong word to introduce this post, but it sums up this poem I ran across in one of my son’s grade school journals and puts a smile on my face every time I read it for all the same reasons I shared above:

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