Thursday, November 7, 2019

And Here We Go...

I have been plagued for awhile with failing and aging technology when it comes to writing in this blog. And also with writer's block and a few other issues, but lets focus on the tech problems for the moment.
The computer I have is over a decade old, and a far-geekier-than-I friend up and installed Linux on it which was not remotely user friendly imhop, although as I understand it, it is a far more stable platform than other operating systems out there - the Linux kernel is actually the underneath basis for Android phones! Mind blown.
Anyhow...I found the Linux less intuitive and cumbersome, but I was able to work around in it - the growing failures mechanically mounted up, as ports failed one by one, and - ahem - the, um, keyboard wound up staying attached to the screen by duct tape as the hinges let go.
Financially, getting a computer that actually ran well was problematic.
We have several times been seduced by incomparable LOW prices, only to discover that you actually can have a computer that doesn't have enough memory to support its own operating systems.
Not too mention you can grow mold and die of old age waiting for it to do anything.
Heck, the last one I'm pretty sure I was on my way to fossilization.
The old saw "You get what you pay for." remains true to this very day.
So at some point I do hope to get a computer that doesn't sing "If I only had a brain...", meanwhile a dear friend has come to my rescue with a Surface Notebook that she had grown out of.
It has its own quirks, evidently, and I'm sure I'll eventually find them all, heh.
But it runs up to speed, its NOT Linux empowered, glory hallelujah, and it's not held together with duct tape!
In fact at the moment the only real issue I'm having - and it's hilarious - is that this being a little notebook, the keyboard is likewise smaller than I'm used to, so I'm occasionally hitting the wood grain of the table, rather than, oh say, Tab or Enter or Shift. Pretty sure that knot in the wood grain up there isn't going to function as the backspace! The cats are looking at me rather funny!
However, a few days of typing on this will cure that as I get used to the new dimensions. I'm actually already doing much better than when I started this post. Nice!
Meanwhile, I actually am writing a blog post on this thing and it's actually working! I'm very happy with this!
So, tomorrow, my goal is to write another blog post. Well, okay, yes, its after midnight, so in the morning or maybe afternoon of today. The main point is to keep it going, and let the occasional missed days become the rarity rather than the norm.
I like my blog. I've missed it.
Its good to be back!

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Turnips, Pumpkins and Jack'o'lanterns...

For this year's Jack'o'lantern, I carved...

A turnip. 

I know.
Say WHAT!?!?

Of course, jack'o'lanterns abound at this time of year, carved from the extremely versatile pumpkin. 

Pumpkins originated in the southern and central Americas, and their wonderful orange glow and often elaborately carved faces are synonymous with Halloween or Samhain here at this time of year.

But Halloween has roots in Samhain, the Celtic turning of the year in Ireland and they carved other root vegetables, primarily turnips.

It is believed that the custom of making jack-o'-lanterns at Hallowe'en time began in Ireland.
And turnips, hollowed out to act as lanterns and often carved with grotesque faces, were used on Halloween in parts of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands.

In these Gaelic-speaking regions, Halloween was also the festival of Samhain and was seen as a time when supernatural beings and the souls of the dead, walked the earth. Jack-o'-lanterns were also made at Halloween time in Somerset.

The lanterns were could represent either spirits or supernatural beings, or were used to ward off evil spirits; sometimes they were used by Halloween participants to frighten people.
Sometimes they were set on windowsills to keep harmful spirits out of one's home. 

So I am carving my little guardians from turnips as ancestors of mine likely did. 
So here is the Turnip Jack'o'lantern! 
We did not have trick-or-treaters 
this Halloween.  We very, rarely do. 
Most of them go out of the neighbhood to other venues, like trunk-or-treat at local churches. However, we always have some treats and a jack'o'lantern up and are prepared.
But hopefully everyone
had a wonderful, safe Halloween or Samhain, and Blessed Be!
And dang, but I think that unlit black and white photograph below of the little jack'o'lantern turned out spooky!

Friday, November 1, 2019

A tree is a living being...
In Autumn, it does not die. 
Rather, it goes through a cycle of change, that includes resting. To rest, it must step back from the heightened energy expense of storing its food over the summer, and let extraneous things go, like the leaves.  If the tree tried to maintain it's leaves through its downtime, it would exhaust the tree and weaken it, using up more energy and food than it can store. 
We are blessed by the fact that as the trees go through this cycle, we see such colors as cannot be imagined. These are actually the real true colors of the leaves. When the leaves are doing their busy summer job of collecting food and energy for the tree, they are green because they are full of chlorophyll, which gathers nutirents from the sunlight. When the tree seeks out its dormant rest and renewal time, the chlorophyll is drawn back into the tree as the sap drops, leaving the actual scarlet and gold and orange colors of the leaves.
The leaves then are shed, so that the living being of the tree does not have to maintain them while it dreams and restores itself though winter.
I think that one of the greatest tragedies of our busy, artificially lit, insanely paced, madcap culture, is that we have lost totally the idea of introspection and rest, letting go and renewal. 
And unfortunately, the speed of modern day life so often will not allow us to slow down and take the time for ourselves that is so desperately needed.
No wonder we are so often strained and exhausted. We don't follow the natural path of the seasons, we don't slow down, we don't contemplate, rest, let go, meditate, renew, like the great trees around us.
What are things we could do, driven by time clocks and electric lighting and commercialization though we are, to create time for self care, for rest, for the deep needed introspection to recreate ourselves whole again?
Food for thought.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Okay...Trial Run

Well, the over confidence of the last post was laughable.
Turns out the spare computer scenario didn't work out after all, so once again, this blog stalled out, particularly as the ancient lap top I was attempting to work from grew worse.
Today, we try a new workaround - a Kindle with a wireless keyboard riding along. Its very cute! I will say that the tinier size of the keyboard had me overshooting the keys a bit initially - well, still, actually! But I'm getting acclimated fast, so YAY!
I think this is going to work. 
Now, going to take the next step and post...

Monday, June 11, 2018

Back in Business!

I've been limping along on a battered almost ten year old computer - not wireless - that the hinges were literally being held together with duct tape and a very helpful friend loaded Linex on it.
It reached the point that I was using it as little as possible due to its fragility and barely doing anything  - no blog writing, no social media, no research for painting. Nothing.
Was totally holding my breath every time I opened it.
Today my dear wife upgraded her computer - necessary for work - and I inherited her "old" computer. Mainly it doesn't have the memory and speed to keep up with her usage, but it's perfect for me! I don't need all the bells and whistles she does and this works just fine for me.
It feels a little weird...I've been running around the internet for months on a cell phone with a touch screen...I keep almost reaching for the computer screen to move things around (I know some computers have touch screens; this one does not.), LOL!
I'll eventually get used to it again.
I'm going to get this blog back up off the ground now that I can dare to type a post without the computer potentially falling apart! Literally!
It's a good feeling!
I'm glad to be back!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Public Service Announcement or "I'm whining, don't mind me."

A small, don't mind me, pass on, whiny post.

Drive's me nuts when all of a sudden every app, platform and web-whatever decides "YES, WE ARE UPDATING! NEW, NEW, NEW! BETTER, BETTER, BETTER! YOU WILL - *must* - LOVE IT! CHANGE OVER NOW! (or we will change it for you X days) HIT THIS BUTTON ***NOW***"
(Yes, I'm looking at you, Blogger.)
Me: (grumble grouch %$@&) hit's button

"CHOOSE THIS, THIS, THIS, THIS, THIS OR THIS, RESET EVERY PASS WORD (must contain 45 letters, 15 of which must be caps, 20 numbers, five emoticons and a live chicken)
me: 2 and half hours later: hit's last button.
Internet explodes, the chicken escapes, the computer begins spinning and vomiting green pea soup, the cats go into hiding, and the password is not accepted - again.

Thus ends today's whining fit.

We now return you to your happy internet!
Have a nice day!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

An Excellent Evening!

My church had a St. Patrick's Celebration last night! And it was incredibly awesome. Excellent Irish music, excellent corned beef dinner, wonderful fellowship with friends and a particularly unexpected lovely moment for me...
I took my bodhran with me, on the off chance that I might get to play it. (Wore my Utilikilt too!) 
It turns out that my church had a professional music duo, Lucy Allen and Marshall Goers, there to play. They, to my utter surprised delight, invited me up to play with them, were extremely forgiving of my being somewhat rusty, as I am out of practice, and all in all, made me feel most welcome and accepted! What a joy!
Lucy Allen and Marshal Goers
Years ago, while I was never a "professional" musician, or "well known" even, I did reach the level of doing some hometown performances and "playing out" in local venues. I loved it, and it is perhaps not inconceivable that it might have led eventually to at least maybe a small career move in doing it semi-professionally, though I would have never been able to quit my day job, I assure you! But as the poet says, "...way leads on to way..." and I wound up taking different journeys in my life.

Sitting in with Lisa and Marshall
Due to those different choices and directions over the years, I haven't exactly let music pass out of life by any means, but playing my instruments, drum and guitar, has slipped away to take a back seat to other things. Art for one, since that did become a career choice. And the fact that a number of events over the past few years especially have been difficult and even devastating. And this has affected many things in my life. Writing in my blog now is an attempt to work my way quite a few things.

Hence the woefully out of practice part of playing my bodhrán this evening. I will say, that I don't think I actually disgraced myself, but yes, it was obvious I was out of practice for anyone experienced in playing one.

Dreamweaver, by the way, took the pictures!
I do have to say, over the past few years, despite some of the...what is the word I want? Let's just stick to "changes", shall we? Despite the unexpected changes that have jerked me in completely unexpected directions, the impulse to renew my time spent with making music has been growing. Perhaps not in spite of, but because of these changes, even! It has been very hard, however, to break out of years of stasis and neglect of practice; paralysis I'd call it. Meanwhile, the urge to pick up my drum or guitar has kept growing. It's felt a bit like being ground between two exceptionally large mill stones. 
Some serious concentration
going on here! 

So perhaps tonight was a blessed opportunity to break that stasis, get my feet wet again, unlimber those rusty skills and rediscover the joy of making music. Feels good that perhaps it has not slipped away altogether after all! And maybe, just maybe, I can use this wonderful moment as that stepping stone forward to playing more, and letting music back into my life in the way it used to be years ago!

Meanwhile, it was a wonderful St. Patrick's Day moment, 
with the Irish music I love, and I had a blast! 
Tá dea-Lá Fhéile Pádraig go léir! 
Beannaithe Bí !