Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Life's Funny....if you let it

I had finished up my morning slavery to the maniacal mechanical machinery which are molding my mass into a molecular marvel (OK...I was at the gym). My buddy was telling me about some great old songs that he had heard recently. He menitioned an old Allman Brothers song...he asked me if I knew it.

I said, "of course."

This is a lifelong friend and we will regularly "call each other out" when we have questions about whether one of us really knows what we are talking about.

He asked, "how does it go then?"

"Do you want me to sing it?" I inquired.

"Yeah, go ahead."

I proceeded to bust it out as loud as I possibly could in the middle of the gym. You have to understand that, while I have worked on my singing a bit to accompany my music, I am by no means a singer. Plus, I had never tried to sing the song so, much like many of you who THINK you can't sing, I was way off key during this outburst that was clear for everyone to hear.

After his look of shock dissipated, he couldn't help but bust up.

"Anything else you want me to do, smart guy?" I couldn't help but ask.

He emphatically stated, "No! Definitely...NO!" and continued to laugh.

On I went to meet another friend at coffee. I was standing in line when he walked in the door...all the way at the other side of the coffee place. I looked at him, waved emphatically.

"Hi Traver!" I exclaimed.

"I think you have had an outburst of childom."

Indeed I had. While we meet regularly to discuss the "oh so important" topics of the life, on this day we gravitated into telling each other a couple of our oldest, favorite, "go to" jokes. You know the ones. They are the ones that you absolutely know that if you had to make someone laugh, these would be the ones. I realized that I hadn't told one of my favorites in far too long. How did I know? Even though I have told the joke many, many times, I couldn't help but crack myself up.....while I was telling the joke. I barely got to the punch line. It was like it was brand new to me. He had a funny quip for me as well that had me laughing hysterically.....hysterically....out loud. Did I say out loud? I mean OUT LOUD!! Yes, other people were looking.

This led to a discussion. People turned their heads to look at us during the outbreak. What were they thinking? Did they consider us rude? Were we invading their aural space? Should "grown men" behave that way? I often tell people not to worry about what others think about you because.....well....uh...they don't. You're really not as important to some people as you think that you are. In this case, I actually was curious what was going on in other people's opposed to being fearful about what was going on in other's minds.

It was around that point that I started wondering about how much our perception of "appropriate" or "acceptable" behavior costs us. there that many of us that can honestly say, "no more of that....I have too much of those in my life." It seems quite the opposite. My observations show me that people attempt to buy all of the above or to participate in forums that only allow that kind of behavior. I was at a Sacramento Kings game last night. Where else can you go and suuuuuuhhhhhcccrrrreeeeaaaam at the top of your lungs and not be considered a lunatic? Not many. Yet, there were obviously a lot of people, about 17,000 of them there last night, that had that pent up desire. They didn't come to merely watch the athletic prowess. They came to be interactive.

...and what were the activities that I was engaged in this morning all about? The exact same thing. My life is not all fun and games right now (an entirely seperate topic), I can assure you. While not a goal setter myself, if I was one, I think that would be a heck of a goal.

"What are your goals in life, Mr Nutter?"

"It's to be about all fun and games," would be an excellent answer.

If you were the inquisitor in that dialogue, how would you reply?

"You have to get serious. You have to be serious. You have to take life seriously."

WHO MADE UP THAT RULE??? Yes, we all have to put the bread on the table and pay the mortgage so that means something called work. Let's change that today. "Honey, I'm off to fun," has a nice ring to it. With that outlook, is there the possibility for more fun even while you are doing something that pays your bills? I am not talking about a career change....nor am I advocating staying where you are.

"I get off fun at 5:30 over at the office and I'll go straight to play after that." It sounds like a pretty good schedule to me.

I can hear you already, "but what about that bread and that mortgage that I have to pay for that we were talking about a paragraph or two back?" My question: do you need as much bread (stuff) and as much mortgage (how much of the house is for impressing people or feeding the delusion that living in nice trappings makes you happier)? Keep on striving. Let me know what the Joneses look like when (if) you catch up with them. (Sidenote: if you are the Joneses, who do you have to keep up with?.....just wondering).

( you just can't part with the posh palaces where you place and protect your prized possessions. How would you like the secret to cut your mortgage payment in half? I have the secret....and I will disclose it in a blog to follow. )

Laugh.....out loud....with people and not at them. If it's not fun, make it fun....or funner. Did I just say "funner"?

"You can't say 'funner.' It's not a word. You need to say 'more fun.'"

OK, Mr Grammarian, here is the deal. YOU are no fun. You know what I meant when I said, "funner," and as long as you got the point, that made it a word!!! Contrary to popular belief, no one went down to the patent office and bought the trademark on creating words. (Besides, if such an item existed, you would only go to one office and it would probably be the copyright office. The patent office is for patents and is seperate from the trademark office so I created and caught my own slip up before you even realized it).

....and, one other thing, Mr Grammarian. I actually did go to Webster's. "Funner" is a word. there.

........pllllllllleeb! (<---is that how you spell that sound that you make when you stick out your tongue, close your lips around it and blow? Well, yes it is because THAT is not in the dictionary which gives me even more creative license for making stuff up!)

I've gone on much too long today.....I have had all the fun that my fingers will allow me. They are tired from laughing. Yet, I think they'll be recovered enough to go out and tickle some of my fellow travellers on this orb today.


Sunday, March 26, 2006

Sunday....after the storm

Sitting here in Sacramento on this most golorious of mornings, you can't help but make the connection between what has occurred here in the last 24 hours and our own lives.

The sun is out in all of it's splendor. There is a bit of a chill in slight breeze. The barren trees have yet to begin to reclothe themselves from their winter's sleep but you can feel the life that is beginning to abound within them.

Just yesterday morning, the rains were here. This was more than rain. It was "the rains." The ferocity of the falling liquid was such that we rarely see. We are no foreigners to the liquid from heaven here in the valley. Yesterday was nothing short of a miracle. It was as if the Lord was showing off just what He can do if He wants to. Most of the people that live in the east think that it is earthquakes that Californian's fear. In the River City, we are more consumed by the devastation that flooding can bring. The only thing that our levee system has going for it over our brothers in New Orleans is that our levees only hold back rivers. We don't contend with oceans and hurricaines. The trouble with that is that hurricaines announce themselves. Rivers just gradually wear the levees down. It is the difference between a boxer with a knockout blow and one who keeps throwing little body shots. While the body shot artist's big blow may not have the velocity of the knockout king, his ultimate punch can deliver the same effect after having had enough time to perform his other art.

There are no thoughts of floods today. There will be more rain later this week. We can prepare for the days to come but we mustn't lose sight of what sits outside of our doorstep today. It is not a day that has to be consumed with the activities so carefully planned to enjoy the day. The day passes too quickly for that. It must be enjoyed as it is...simply. A walk down the street. A leisurely cutting of the grass. A bike ride that leaves time to pull over at the sight of the fresh vegetation that endured the pain of yesterday so it can soak in the nurturing of the sun today. This is the day to be alive. We will worry about the rain when it comes later....if it even comes at all.

Rainy days and sunny days. Days of joy and days of pain. The weather seperates it's days. Do you?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Las Vegas............Viva?

Just in from a couple of days in Las Vegas. Had to be at a meeting on Friday so I went down Thursday....thought that I would give the town another chance to impress me. Been there once before on another work related trip. It hadn't left much of an seemed like it was just like a Hollywood set that someone made up. The only difference was that Vegas was more interactive....and cost you a heck of a lot more than the $7-9 a movie ticket costs.

Took in a couple of shows. Dazzling. Mesmerizing. How do they do that? Why do they do that? I can't believe they just did that! All fully clothed and family appropriate shows....of course. Was there for Friday night....and St Paddy's Day...and the kickoff of the March Madness Basketball tournament. My guess is that it was a busy Friday night for the City in the Sand. Nascar had just been in town the weekend before...I don't know if the city had even had time to change the sheets. I was pretty much in bed by 11 both nights....not a drop of booze crossed the lips or strip club ladies crossing the lap...or eyeballs....though I think I did see a couple of gals who might be performing there...or somewhere...a little later in the evening. I can't say that I was the total choir boy in Vegas. I pulled on a few arms of those one armed bandits and folded up a few hands of blackjack. What can I say? I had to see if gambling gave me the same thrill...or depression after a hard night at the it did "back in the day." While I dropped about as much as a real bad night would have been a few years back, I can't say that it affected me much one way or the other. It was fun hitting that $500 jackpot on the slots....being ahead....walking over to the blackjack table "playin on the houses money" with reckless abandon....seeing if we could take a jackpot and convert it into a real story. No luck.....they took back their "loss"...and a bit they usually do. They don't build those places by letting you out of town with more money than you came in on. Sure, they let a few escape with some ill gotten gains....just enough to keep them coming back...and doing a lot of free advertising for them in the meantime. I guess I wasn't chosen to be their Madison Avenue this time around.

Vegas.....I don't know. Fun or an excuse to behave poorly? I guess that's really not for me to say.

One Voice

Tell me the weight of a snowflake,” a coalmouse asked a wild dove.

“Nothing more than nothing,” the dove answered.

“In that case I must tell you a marvelous story,” the coalmouse said. “I sat on a fir branch close to the trunk when it began to snow. Not heavily, not in a raging blizzard. No, just like in a dream, without any violence at all. Since I didn’t have anything better to do, I counted the snowflakes settling on the twigs and needles of my branch. Their number was exactly 3,471,952. When the next snowflake dropped onto the branch–nothing more than nothing — as you say — the branch broke off.”

Having said that, the coalmouse ran away.

The dove, since Noah’s time an authority on peace, thought about the story for a while. Finally, she said to herself, “Perhaps there is only one person’s voice lacking for peace to come to the world.”

This is from Joseph Jaworski's book, Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership. I revisit this book on a regular basis since first reading it almost a decade ago.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Another trip....

I'm not much of a business traveller. Tomorrow, I have to leave the rain of the Sacramento area and endure the tortures of Palm Springs. I know....I know...the things I do to keep the electricity flowing into the house. It's 9:30 on Monday night and I haven't packed for the three days I will be gone to attend one day of meetings. "Huh?" you ask? If I am going to be at the all day Wednesday meeting followed by the reception and dinner and want a direct flight, it's one flight a day for a choice. It leaves at 10 in the morning from here and it comes back at 12 from there. So, dear reader, be with me in my suffering.

The big question: why am I not packed yet? Why did I decide to do this rather meaningless blog entry rather than start gathering my stuff up and get it ready for transport? Do I really work better under pressure?

When it comes to packing, the answer to the latter question is, "yes." Answering that one also answers the previous two questions. I wonder if there is a name for that. You know, when answering one question answers others......"brevity"? Anyway, if there isn't a name for it, there should be.

In the meantime, I gotta get to packing. Packing.......I think a better term for what I will be doing is called "stuffing." ...I can't wait to get to Palm I can find out what I forgot to stuff.....and get to kick myself for stuffing and not packing.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Planting for Growth

There is an interesting article in this week's Time magazine about a new yet old phenomenon. It is the concept of people getting together in each other's homes on a weekly basis as community and discussing life, sharing life, and...well....for lack of a better term....DO-ing life. Much of the discussion after a meal is shared centers around God and how He fits into everyone's life. Some of the people that come are believers....some come just to learn more. Some come just to be part of the social environment.,9171,1167737,00.html

As I have done research on this, this whole thing goes back in time to how people once lived. Rather than put on facades (and spend a lot of money) to SHOW the outside world what you are, you get to actually go into a place and be accepted for who you ACTUALLY are. After spending years in the credit industry and seeing the amount of debt that people have racked up to impress others, stay even with what society thinks, or just cure boredom with acquiring "stuff", I find the concept of spending time in fellowship with others and just being who you are and see other people for who they are to be fascinating.

The concept is called Home Church but I think that can be a bit misleading because of preconceived notions about what "Church" is. It is kind of the same thing as calling oneself a Christian. If someone tells someone, "I am a Christian," that can mean a lot of things to a lot of people....not all of it good. One could even make the argument that most of it is not good. I, for one, am not a Christian. I believe in Christ's philosophies and I try to follow His teachings as best that I can but I don't profess to have it down. The label "Christian" almost automatically invites "non-Christians" to attack or dismiss the Christian because of preconceived notions of what has happened in the name of Christ. The sadness of that is that it almost gives the "non-Christian" a free ticket to ignore and not even look into Christ's teachings.

From someone that sees behind the facades (remember, I have looked at your credit report), I see the struggle that many people live under every day....debt. While not all debt is incurred as a means to fill a hole much like an alcoholic or drug addicted person does, a lot of it is....whether or not the credit user wants to admit it or not.

Simple church, Home Church, organic doesn't matter what the label is. It is people coming together and enjoying each other's company and discussing life. And, while this concept will totally blow many people away, after some time spent in this environment, you find that these people that you spend this time with actually can become family....good family. For those unfortunate enough not to have good family, it's a taste of fresh water. For those with good family, it's a tremendous enhancement to their lives.

It is amazing to me what is happening in other countries around this concept. In many of these countries, meeting like this is prohibited by the government. Yet, despite the risk of terrible consequences, people still do it. Man's yearning for community is so strong that it circumvents his need for security....WOW! It makes sense, though. The people are saying, "it is better to be dead than to be alone." In Western culture, we have total freedom to assemble...the problem is that, in many cases, the things that we assemble about aren't that life sustaining or really worth assembling over. "Let's go to the mall," or "I'll meet you at the bar," will get you through the day or night....but what happens later?....and if a price has to be paid for it?

So, if you run across someone talking about Home Church or something like that, be curious. Go visit one you really have anything better to do than expand your circle of friends? Who knows...the person that invited you might someday become that brother or sister that you always wished that you had.

It's amazing. Life does keep getting better.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Opening Shot

OK...after prodding from the masses and mooching off the vast blogs of others, it's time for me to give back and share my outlook and observations. We'll see how good I am at keeping it up. Check back from time to time