Even my dreams aren’t sexy anymore

I woke early this morning. Tossed and turned for a bit then went back to sleep. I had a dream. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a dream, especially one this detailed. It’s early afternoon when I’m writing this, and I still remember most of it. That’s unusual.

My dream was about one of my favorite Blue’s artists, Samantha Fish. Ms. Fish is a talented singer and guitarist. She has four or five albums out now. I think that’s impressive for someone in her late 20s or early 30s.

I listen to her music on Spotify. She has some great live performances on Youtube. I’ve seen her live at the Winthrop Blues Festival. She was a hit at Winthrop. She’s talented and good looking. Blond shoulder length hair. Legs up to her neck. That phrase is still used, isn’t it?

Anyway, back to the dream. I was on a cruise ship. Don’t know how I got there or where I was going. My cell phone rings. It’s Ms. Fish. We have a long conversation. The kind new old friends have. We talked and talked but eventually ran out of things to say. The conversation became awkward. It went from an intense discussion on interesting ideas to whada think of this weather?

She suggested we meet up. Or maybe I did. Or maybe no one did. My brain just cut to the next scene.

She’s on the same cruise? Oh, brain, what are the odds?!? And she has my cell number. And used it. Score.

We were at a bar or lounge, a public place. We talked. And then . . . I know, but wait for it . . . we kissed. We kiss for a few minutes then go back to talking. Kissing then talking. I could tell she enjoyed it as much as I did.

“Wanna go somewhere and make out?” I asked her.

“Yes. Oh, I can’t. I have a performance.”

“A performance? When? How long?”

“Right now. I’ll be back in a couple of hours,” she said.

Samantha Fish walked out.

I walked out. Some dude walked out with me. I identified him as a friend, although I have no face for a connection.

“We’re going to meet after her performance and make out,” I told him.

My faceless friend was surprised. A pang of guilt. He knows I’m married and now I remember. How convenient that I forgot a small but important detail like that.

I decided it wasn’t going to stop me.

I woke.

What. The. Fuck.

First off, I would know if Samantha Fish were performing on the cruise. She’s probably one of the reasons I’m on the cruise. And I doubt she’s the only performer on a Blues cruise.

The kissing. That’s the best my 48 going on 49 year old brain can conjure? Ya wanna make out? I know how this dream would play if I were 28 again. Sure, kissing would be involved, but we would be naked and doing a lot more than kissing.

All right, brain. If you’re going to dream, then make it a good one. I don’t want to go through the rest of my life asking hot chicks if they want to make out and then watching them walk off. In my dreams, I mean.

Just in case you’re reading this: Diane, I wouldn’t act this way awake. I hope you know that.

No wonder guys go through a mid life crisis.

2017 reading challenge

I tried writing a post about the presidential election. I can’t. I write and I sound like I’m rambling. I’m interested in a detached sort of way (I couldn’t stand either candidate). Maybe that’s why I can’t write about it.

Plus, City Council took the wind out of my political sails.

Let’s write about something else.

I’m reading Stephen King’s On Writing. Wonderful read. The first half of the book is an abridged autobiography. Kind of a snapshot of how a writer got interested in writing when he was a kid. A journey from writing a few short stories at a young age to helping his older brother write a neighborhood news paper to working (not much work got done) for the high school news paper. Then college and meeting his wife. Then struggling to make a living as a high school English teacher. Then his new found riches when Carrie is published. Along the way he battles alcoholism and a cocaine habit.

King has a great sense of humor.

You know, I don’t recall ever reading a King book. Maybe I have and don’t remember. I’ll have to fix that.

The second part of the book is the on writing part. If you want to be a writer, you have to be a reader, King says.

I’m a reader, but I need to read more. I tend to read in fits and starts. I read nothing for awhile – maybe even months – and then I read a lot all at once.

I’ve finished many books and have many books only partly finished. Some non-fiction is that way. I read half to three-quarters and then think to myself “Okay, point made. Why go on?” Authors mostly go on when they should stop because of publishers. A publisher thinks that a book on American economic history, for example, should be 800 pages. The author is forced to write 800 pages, even if he could say it in 400.

I digress.

I’m a big sci fi fan. Not much of a fantasy fan. I haven’t read much fantasy, so I shouldn’t say that. I should give it a try. I found NPR’s Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books. The list is more than 100 in reality. The Foundation Trilogy is three books. Duh. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy is, too. I’ve read some of the books on the list (like Foundation) and some I’ve tried to read but could never make it through (Rings. I’ve tried Rings. Can’t do it.)

But I’m going to try. Want to write some sci fi? Then read a lot of sci fi.

Can I make it through all 100 before year’s end. Let’s find out. Here are some ground rules. I’ll read every book even if I’ve read it before. Take notes on what I like and don’t like about the characters, the story and the style. I don’t have to read every book in the trilogy if I don’t want to. The first book will do.

I should add a page to my web site to track this. That sounds like fun.

I’m also allowed to read outside this list.

That’s a lot of books.

Way more interesting than politics.

 

Bias

Global warming is one of Scott Adams’s favorite topics. Experts on both sides – those who believe global warming is an immediate threat and those who think it’s a hoax – have excellent arguments, he says. A non-scientist like Adams has no way to tell which side is right.

Even scientists can’t tell who’s right.

Adams creates a thought experiment. The perfect global warming expert. She works in the field, has all the current information on global warming and  is a great communicator. She can explain the most recent theories so even a dolt (probably like me) can understand.

Let’s say you know nothing about global warming. Never even heard of the term. You would be convinced by a scientist like her. She works in the field. She knows all the up to date information. She explains it well. Of course, you’ll believe her.

But you shouldn’t, Adams says.

What isn’t she telling you? There wouldn’t be an opposing view if the proof for global warming were that strong. There is opposition. Don’t tell me that the scientists who question global warming are all nut jobs. Sure, some of them may be. But there are also legitimate scientists who have legitimate arguments against global warming.

She knows these arguments. She doesn’t want you to know about them.

And what about her biases? Sure, she’s a scientist. Sure, her work is peer reviewed. But so what? Scientists are humans. They have biases.

It doesn’t mater if your an expert or an interested amateur. No one has the definitive answer. About global warming or anything else.

People get worked up about all sorts of issues. Global warming. Affordable health care. Illegal immigration. Terrorism. The national debt. What ever. Just name a subject.

There is no way the average citizen can gather all the information needed to have an informed opinion. We choose our side and then search for the information that supports it.

Remember that the next time you’re mad at your neighbor. He may be ignorant, but so are you.

It’s okay to have your opinion. Opinions are like ass holes. Everyone has one.

Is an either or option better than no option at all?

I submitted my online hunting report to the Washington Department of Fish and Game. The State requires a hunter to report whether he or she hunted and whether or not the hunt was successful. If you don’t report, you get a ten dollar fine added to next year’s license.

Fair enough. Ten bucks isn’t a bank breaker. And it’s just high enough to help me remember to submit my report. I forgot on year and the extra ten bucks pissed me off.

And I understand why the State wants the info.

The report was easy for me this year. I didn’t hunt in 2016. Only one check box for me to complete.

Actually, two.

The second box asks if the reporting tool is satisfactory or unsatisfactory. That’s the choice and you can’t skip out. My report isn’t complete until I answer the question.

But how do I answer?

Should I choose unsatisfactory? The website is kinda clunky in my opinion. The State changed the site since I lasted reported, so I had to redo my user name and password. Then I couldn’t get signed in. LastPass, for some reason, saved my computer generated password incorrectly. I had to go through the motions of saying I forgot my password and get a new password. You know. I’m sure I’m not alone with the password struggles.

Were my password struggles part of the States clunky site? Maybe. More than likely it was user error.

So I chose satisfactory. But what does satisfactory mean? What does it mean to the State? Does satisfactory mean the site kinda sucks but doesn’t suck enough to be unsatisfactory? How does the State know what needs to be improved if it gets a lot of unsatisfactories? (Did I just make up a word?) If the State gets a lot of satisfactories, does it assume all is well? The site works like a champ?

No, there isn’t any way to comment.

As far as I can tell, the question is bullshit. Unsatisfactory doesn’t explain what needs fixing. Satisfactory doesn’t mean much at all.

So why ask the question?

Artists and additction

I finished Marky Ramone’s autobiography Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone. Marky Ramone is an alcoholic. His rock bottom wasn’t getting fired from the band. It wasn’t blacking out and crashing his car into a furniture store. His rock bottom came not long after his first stint in rehab. He was drinking at a friends house and had to crash on the couch. When he made it home the next afternoon, his wife, Marion, told him he couldn’t live with her any more.

You’re outta here, punk.

He checked himself into a tougher rehab. His Psychiatrist told him to take a break from music – at least a year – so he could fully rehab. He did. His wife let him back in. He worked as a bike messenger and in construction. Four years later, the Romones asked him back. He even helped his fellow Romones with their addictions.

Markie Ramone is in his 60s now. Sober for over 30 years.

I’m reading Stephen King’s On Writing. King was also an alcoholic. Alcohol wasn’t enough, I guess, so he took up cocaine. Must be an overachiever. Stephen’s wife, Tab, told him to go into rehab or move out. She and their children didn’t want to see Stephen slowly commit suicide.

Stephen King is clean and sober now.

King had some interesting comments on addiction. Creative types with addictions think the addiction is the source of creation.

Just an excuse, King says. An alki is an alki regardless of profession. Maybe creative types or more prone to addiction, he said, but saying your work is dependent on addiction is hiding.

That got me to thinking. Are creative people more prone to addiction? My first instinct is to say no (and I don’t think King was convinced either).

Sure, you can find plenty of examples of addictive artists if you look. You can find plenty of examples of artists without addictions if you look. We tend to find what we look for.

There are non-creative people who have addictions and non-creative people who don’t.

Steven Pressfield has weighed in on this. So has Seth Godin.

There is a tension between needing to do the work and not doing the work. The tension drives us nuts. We want to do the work. Desperately want to do the work. But we are afraid to start. We don’t know where to start. How to start. And what if we start and fail?

We become drunks and addicts because of the tension. We take on all sorts of bad habits in an attempt to relieve the tension. So just start the work and the tension goes away, right? No, it doesn’t.

The tension is there before we start and when we start and while we work. It’s there when we finish, because now we have to start again.

The tension never goes away. It’s never silenced.

So learn to live with it.

Tension is a guide. No tension in your work? Then you probably don’t care that much about it. It’s not that important.

The tension means your on to something. Something important.

No excuses left for learning something new

I bought an acoustic guitar as a Christmas present to myself. Nothing fancy. It’s a decent one.

A coupon came with the guitar. Jamplay, on-line guitar lessons. The coupon gave me free access, so why not give it a whirl?

So far, I love it. There are more than 50 teachers. Lessons include all different styles. Blues, Bluegrass, Rock, Folk, you name it. I chose beginner lessons, of course.

It use to be hard to learn a new skill. You had to find an instructor to learn an instrument. Tough to do in a small town. No instructor? Your only option was to pick up a book at the library or buy a book. Books can certainly help. It’s not easy, though, to pick up a new skill on your own with only a book as a guide.

Woodworking, leather working, welding, cooking, knitting. Find a teach, find a mentor or find a book.

Mentors and teachers are everywhere now with access to the Internet. Sites like Jamplay, Instructables, Craftsy, Skillshare and other sites I don’t even know about offer high quality video instruction. You can watch the videos over and over. Progress at your own pace.

Can’t really hide now. Our excuses are gone.

Go learn something new.