The game is afoot.

  • I collect Magic Cards, but I haven’t really played since college.  Mostly I just put decks together.  I’ll buy a booster pack or holiday box or whatever and start seeing what cards go together.  I’m not even really up to speed on a lot of the new abilities–energy counters, etc.–that have been added in recent years.  I might try to sell a few decks at some point.  I really don’t need the two dozen or so decks I’m working on.  I mean, I might like to play a few of them (the Chandra one, the Elf Deck, the Vampire Deck, Red/White Angel Deck) but most of them are ones I don’t really need.
  • Going to start working on a series of Magic the Gathering drawings soon.  Already did a Chandra sketch card, planning to do some some of those.  Maybe something more complex.  Going to try to get back to page work in the near future.  Problem is I always want to do ten pages when I should do one.  And burn myself out.  I have no pacing whatsoever.  Working on that.
  • Officially done bulking.  Got up to 180 pounds.  Pretty pleased about that, although I did briefly hope to get up to 200 pounds.  Combination of factors got in the way, but 180 was the goal along.  My general plan is to cut down to 170 or so.  The biggest thing has just been trying to learn to work with my body, not against it.  The big issue is still sleep, but not much to be done about that for now.  Kind of a body and mind thing.
  • Tried a new pre-workout that somebody gave me a sample of.  Stuff called 5150.  I think I read that it has 8 different types of caffeine.  Very powerful stuff.  If anybody wants to try it, be warned: it is very intense.
  • Thinking about trying to make Meatballs or something different than I’ve been making.
  • I wrote the other day about my experiences growing up on the family farm and been pondering that a bit more.  Basically I’ve gained more insight into a lot of what unfolded regarded my family’s history in farming and it has given me some new avenues of thought.  I don’t deny those experiences did give me a more pessimistic view of farming–and also of opportunities I was presented with, but that’s a story for another year.  Trying not to get into what ifs, but I do believe there were opportunities I could have done a lot with.  And maybe new options will present themselves.  I’m always keeping an eye open.
  • I find myself pondering options and opportunities.  The average person will change careers seven times.  I have to wonder if in trying to create a stable workplace, do employers limit the ability of workers to find better options and opportunities.  I get paid $22 and some change an hour with good benefits where I work, but does that pay rate keep me from seriously considering a job where I might be happier?  Where I might have better opportunities for advancement and more flexibility to pursue other endeavors?  And does the effort to maintain a stable workplace keep employers from finding people who are potentially better fits?  Stability and comfort can be as much a hindrance as a help.

Scions of History

February 4, 2017

Couldn’t really think of a snazzy title, so I just swiped a line from “Ballad of the Comeback Kid” by the New Pornographers.

It can be weird how much we don’t really notice during our childhood.  Like all those things that you learn about years later and make you go, “That makes so much more sense now.”  Generally as I’ve gotten older, there has been a steady reeducation about any number of things that unfolded when I was younger.  A lot of it related to my family’s history with farming.  With the recent foray into solar panels that has begun, I have gotten a few more details I missed.

I recall a conversation with my ex’s parents where they were asking about how my family has farmers on both sides.  I believe the point I made was that “We aren’t really good at it.”  Which partly me giving a bullshit, asshole response and partly truth.

My mother’s parents have a farm that my uncle has since taken over.  Before I was born, my mother worked on farms in various capacities–milking, inspection work, etc.  I’ve touched on some of the events that unfolded there at one point or another, but there have been a number of struggles.

On my father’s side, my dad and one of my uncles on that side had been running a farm–where the solar panels are planned to go–from before I was born to when I was about twelve.  My uncle continued to farm, but at that point my father left and eventually settled into his current job.  My uncle has scaled back the farm considerably, but continues to work it while planning on the solar panels.

Now, here’s what I mean by how “We aren’t really good at” farming.  With my mother’s side, there have been a number of issues related to finances, business and other things.  There were a few events I didn’t find out about until a decade or more after the event.

On my father’s side, it was always relatively small operation.  My father leaving the farm was something at the time I was under the impression that had more to do with him wanting to spend more time with me and my sister.  Which I suppose has some truth to it.  But as I said, the reeducation has enlightened me to a few details that bring the picture into a bit more focus.

My mother has opened up to me about a few details having to do my father leaving the farm and the general dynamic that was going on when I was a child.  The uncle that worked with my dad generally seemed fairly gruff with me and my sister when we were younger.  It kind of made us… not necessarily feeling welcome out in the barn.  At least to me anyway.  As a kid, I was aware of it, but not really capable of comprehending exactly what it meant.  My mother acknowledged that the uncle didn’t really want us on the farm, which I had figured out on some level.  There could be a lot of reasons for it, but suffice to say I was discouraged from doing too much with the farming as a child and that discouragement made me a lot more… wary of farming.  Still does, on some level.

More recently though, I was discussing the solar panels with my mother and she made a comment about something the uncle said recently.  Something about he could have made some changes to the farm after my father left.  The way my mother was talking, I think my father had some frustrations with my uncle’s methodology.  Or that she did.  Nothing I’m really going to ask about, ancient history really.  But it does… raise some questions in my mind.

Point is, the more recent revelations about my family’s farm make me realize how little I really understood about what was unfolding at the age of twelve.  How little we comprehend a lot of events that unfold when we’re kids.  And how those events came to influence me later on.

Resolution Post?

December 31, 2016

I suppose this could the “New Year, New Me” post, if the meteor doesn’t wipe us all out before midnight tonight–this year has really softened us up for it, so I wouldn’t be surprised.  So yeah, I really question the validity of a post detailing any real resolution for the coming 2017.  I mean it really shouldn’t take the arbitrary determination of the passage of a rotation around the sun to get your shit together.

I do have some ongoing goals for the coming year.  Some of which are more realistic than others.

  • Get to more family gatherings.  Strangely enough, I miss going to family gatherings on a regular basis.  Working nights disrupts most human interactions on a variety of levels and I’m feeling like that’s been one of my biggest issues is the lack of person to person connection.  Family gatherings in specific, I’ve come to like those more than I used to.  I would like to make sure I get to more of them in the future.
  • Somewhat related, try a new vocation.  While I am ramping up the job hunt in recent weeks, I’m also tempted to… inquire about some part time opportunities.  Farming is one that sticks out to me.  One of the bigger eye rolls I had about my ex and the farm was that she never took the hint that if her parents had made a real offer on a job with the farm, I would have taken it.  Kind of a ridiculous thing, but I took that whole dynamic seriously and did not feel right initiating that process.  So I’ll see if there’s potential for some kind of part time gig.
  • Continue to get into better shape.  I’ve accomplished a lot of goals in the last few months, but I’ve no intention of stopping.  Kayak more too.  I still have an interest in archery that I would like to explore a bit more.  I have a coworker who keeps trying to talk me into shooting guns, but firearms don’t really hold that much interest to me.  I acknowledge my politics might influence that, but I honestly think guns are overrated.  If I’m messing around with weaponry, I’d rather it was something I was putting more effort into than a flick of a finger.
  • Do more art.  I’ve made a lot progress and I’d like to continue with that.  On me to keep that going in the right direction though.

I got a few points bouncing around my head I wanted to touch on.  A bit on work/home separation, human nature… might tie some of this into a NaNoWriMo thing… Not sure yet…

The struggle of balancing work time and personal time has been something on my mind lately.  I saw something not that long ago about how Google has set up a gym and laundromat at their corporate offices, and I believe other places have implemented similar benefits.  Not necessarily a huge fan of this.

I actually have begun to turn down overtime if only because I feel work is trying too hard to take over more of my time.  I’ve been getting more concerned about how this impacts any number of things I wish to accomplish outside of work.  Our culture expects us to “get the job done” at whatever the cost, but that cost is ever growing.

An interesting  thought occurs to me in thinking about how I was considering a venture into farming over the last couple of years.  Mostly in that the separation is very difficult to consistently maintain in that industry.  That was one of my bigger concerns in that particular aspect if only because farming tends to be more of a lifestyle than a job.  Not impossible to find balance, but I would at least acknowledge the challenge.

I think it is an American thing, and not necessarily a healthy one.  We should have the people to make it easier to disconnect and live.  Just a thought.



First Statement:  People are silly.  I find myself thinking this due to a comment somebody made at work about how “men should use the men’s room and women should use the women’s room”.  There might have been a cheap shot about Hermaphrodites in there.  But what occurred to me is this:  Isn’t the whole premise kind of silly in the first place?  Isn’t it kind of sad we’re still at a point where we require separate bathrooms?  I totally understand the reasons why and they are legit.  As a culture, we’ve still got a lot of work to do in regards to respect and equality.  Really just stating the obvious there.

Second Statement:  Humans are not binary.  Lumping everybody into male or female, straight or gay just doesn’t work.  It never really has.  I was reading something not that long ago about how the percentage of women who have at least considered being with another woman is something in the neighborhood of sixty or seventy percent.  Guys are probably less inclined to take such a question serious enough to get real information on that, but I would admit to having given thought to what such things might be like at one point or another.  No intention of following through, but I would at least acknowledge the consideration.  Point is, we’re beyond the point where the binary designation apply.

Continuing to ponder the nature of ideas and beliefs a bit, a brief thought on gun control, some random workout stuff, a drawing and work update.

  • I revisited the Ideas theme I last week and I was thinking about that again.  The process of thoughts and ideas have been something I’m thinking about a lot.  I quoted Obi-Wan Kenobi, which I should do more often.  Anyway, I was thinking the quote I used.  It’s a line from Return of the Jedi where he’s talking to Luke about Vader and he’s explaining how how truth is dependent on point of view.  That’s a bit of a key point that I’ve been circling around.  Beliefs can solidify a point of view too much.  I am trying to emphasize ideas over beliefs if only because a belief limits and don’t necessarily work when new information does not fit those beliefs.  Ideas expand consciousness and perspective.  Create more possibilities and opportunities.
  • I was thinking about Gun Control and this idea of MAD popped into my head–when there’s a shooting every day, it can be hard not to think about guns and gun control.  By MAD, I mean Mutually Assured Destruction.  I’m applying the basic concept of the nuclear arms race to gun control.  We had nukes, so Russia needed them.  India had them, so Pakistan got them–or maybe it was the other way around.  Israel has them, so the entire Middle East thinks they need them–maybe it was the other way around and unconfirmed, but the point is still there.  That’s a bit of what I think we’re crossing into, where gun ownership has moved beyond self-defense and into a territory of an arms race.  “The criminals might have bigger and better guns, so I need them.” I can’t help but think that we’re just playing out the Cold War mentality with the escalation and increase in firearm circulation.  I think it is important to remember how close the Cold War came to ending the world and how that mentality could play out in our society today.
  • Enough serious talk for today.  Cranking on some pages.  Hoping to have a firm rotation and start date to be posting Order of the Dragon again.  I’m a bit angry with myself for letting work side-track me so much.  Also about the dragging out of the process of me changing jobs.  One day back at work and all the momentum from the weekend vanishes.  Mostly I haven’t made Stroganoff in almost a year and a half and I really want to.  Anyway, I’m going to start posting pages on a new Tumblr page I have going.  Did some testing already, not much happening with it right now though.  Going to slowly upload some pages over the next few days.
  • I got TimeHop on my phone and it occasionally pops up with some flexing selfies I took years ago.  Mostly ones I sent to my girlfriend at the time.  I just look at them and think, “Wow.  I look so much better now.”  And it is true.  Despite the general increase in my susceptibility to illness, I am pushing 160 lbs right now and I generally look and feel better than I have in a long time.  Definitely more definition.
  • Kind of amused by the whole Crossfit vs. bodybuilding back and forth.  I do look at Crossfit and see a few things that make me cringe.  As much as I try not to discourage people from exercising or getting in shape, there are things in Crossfit that just seem like a good way to hurt yourself.  Just throwing that out there.  Mostly I just feel a bit whiny because I didn’t kayak this last week.  Combination of work and storms.
  • Good idea I had for a post workout meal, Tuna Salad.  I basically make a big batch of it and have it ready to go for the next week.  My usual mix involves carrots, celery, cheddar cheese, minced onions, relish, mustard and garlic powder.  Lately I’ve been using an olive oil based mayonnaise, which has not been bad.
  • My parents have bit of field land they don’t use for much of anything.  They’ve rented it out for crop land, but there are spots they don’t do much with.  It is a bit swampy at places and a lot of hillside, so my mother has been wanting to pasture it off.  I’ve thought that would be a cool project to get into at some point.  I was thinking about it a bit more, and I would like to raise some goats.  I think it would be a really good area for goats and in general I think they would be fun to have around.
  • Quick add-on.  This afternoon, I got phone call.  It was from a relative, who worked with a state agriculture agency.  She does work with my ex’s farm.  She wanted to know the ex’s cellphone number.  I deleted it from my phone after a couple of months of us making fools of ourselves every time we exchanged words.  Now that I think about it, I think I could find it if I had to–not going to, but I think I could.  My question would be, after a year of us generally making asses of ourselves every time we exchange words, should I have her phone number readily available?

Same deal as ever, just rambling about whatever catches my interest.

  • Chugging along on some art, planning to do some special projects later this week.  Order of the Dragon stuff, plus some a drawing or two I have put off for way too long.  There are/have been certain subjects I have been very reluctant to try drawing.  Some of it is that it might be too difficult of a challenge to pull off, but at times I’ve tried to avoid getting into areas of too much emotion.  That’s a mistake.  Pushing through and getting this shit done only makes me better.
  • I don’t know if I succeeded or not in explaining American politics with the analogy of computer coding.  I think I was close though.
  • The economic reforms Bernie Sanders wants to implement are not so ridiculous as people like to believe.  Socialism has and can work here.  In fact, it is probably responsible for the most prosperous time in our country’s history.  A lot of the New Deal was socialist policy and that did succeed in keeping the country going until World War II got us out of the Depression.  But I’m thinking more after WWII though.  Programs like the GI Bill actually enabled more people than ever to receive an education or buy a house or start a business.  Socialist programs like that helped build the economic success of the fifties and sixties while also educating the people that would bring about the cultural shifts people remember that period for.  The wealthy paid a higher tax percentage in this time as well.  The thing people don’t realize is that Bernie Sanders is actually trying to get back to what has worked and take it a step further.  It is only part of the process, but a step in the direction we need to go.  Or at least that’s my thought and why I support Bernie.
  • Enough politics, onto food.  Made Ranch Chicken for the time in over a year last Saturday.  It was sooooo goooood.  I am lucky no one was around to see me eating it.  Lesson learned about trying to make out with a piece of chicken.  Baked up some potatoes in Parsley, Oregano and Black Pepper as well.  That came out a little bland, but it was still good.  Got plenty of leftover chicken, might make some garlic bread to go with that later this week.  Partly an excuse to use my new garlic press.
  • Might get the kayak shopping done next weekend.  I’ve been wanting to do that for awhile now, if it looks good like good weather I might get that done.  Mostly I just don’t want to be in the rain or snow trying to put together a rack on top of the Jeep.  Or not if we get this “arctic vortex” or whatever in the next few days.
  • Resisting the temptation to email about the job on my ex’s farm.  If I did, it would be more to say hi to her parents than anything.  Would probably have the added effect of pissing her off, but I have other ways to do that.  And I’m doing good not to engage in those.  At least not intentionally.  The job did fit right with my interests though.  Grazing rotations… maybe looking into reseeding some of the fields with a heartier grass with the idea of reducing some dependency on grain and corn… I could have had fun with it.  Which reminds me, I should look and see if NOFA has any events coming up this spring.  The pasture walk thing I did last summer was actually a lot of fun.

Just going to make lists of things I’ve learned and things I’d like to learn.  Bit of rambling I just wanted to share.

Things Learned:

  • The way to a person’s heart being through their stomach isn’t necessarily exclusive to the male of the species.  I suspect that at times there was a correlation between the amount of real cooking people do for each other the quality in other areas of the relationship.  At least that’s been my experience.
  • I find sometimes that the list of questions you can come up with about people will paint a more accurate picture of the person than any answers you might get.  Why did they do this?  Why haven’t they done that yet?  How did they come to that conclusion?  The more questions you find yourself asking about someone, the more complete picture you can get of their internal conflicts.
  • I’m a good artist, but not anywhere near as I could be.  And I want to be that good.  Maybe I need a muse, but I need to win the soul wars first.
  • I find that I generally get more resistance when I try to do the right thing.  More encouragement to do the wrong thing.  I spent so long atoning for mistakes or doing penance.  I’m done with that.  I have been for awhile.
  • I’ve seen what I might become if I pursue a certain path and I chose not to take that chance.  I will keep my soul, thank you.

Things I would like to learn:

  • Musical Instruments.  I have a guitar I goof off with, but have yet to sit down and learn to properly play the thing.  There’s a local music shop in Bristol where I could potentially get a drum, ukulele, or another guitar.  So many choices.
  • Farming.  I know the fundamentals, but would like to learn more.  Despite how much pressure usually came with it, the best times I had with my ex were probably on the farm.  I would like to try again in a situation where I can just learn and enjoy without the expectations.  Funny story actually, I was looking on Craiglist, and my ex’s farm has a listing for an opening.  And one more fitting with the land use aspects I was more interested in.  Oh well, good for a laugh I suppose.
  • Get caught up on a lot of the newer Magic The Gathering rules that have come up in the last few years.  Every year they seem to come up with new rules and gimmicks.
  • Get better with Web Design and Photoshop.  I know a lot of tricks, but I want to learn more.
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