Like they’re pulling back a curtain to allow, and perhaps provide a bit of fanfare for, my passage – lizards rush from one side of the sidewalk to the next just in front of my bike tires as I ride to and from work each day. It’s like they’re revealing the path for me; opening the way.
So bold, too, darting across with a second to spare before getting crushed under me. Not indecisive like squirrels, they never hesitate they just go for it. So many, too. Like tens at a time for miles of ride.
I wonder what it is about an oncoming vehicle that makes them bolt across? Why not just stay put and avoid the risk? Is the side you’re running to “home?” Are you just across the way sunning or looking for food? Am I really that scary?
Yesterday evening Sharaun was gone to bunco, so the kids and I went out for Mexican. When we got home, Keaton suggested we play the multiplayer Mario Bros. that came out for the Wii in 2009. I’d never played it before, but I’ve watched the kids play.
I so love all Mario games. I’ve certainly not played all the games that have been released since I stopped keeping up back in the late 80s, but every time I see one I get excited. Same with Zelda, those classic NES anchor brands remind me of 5th grade and all the excitement of playing them for the first time.
Anyway we all played for over an hour and not only was the game fantastic but we had the best time. I haven’t played a video game in forever, but doing it with the kids instead of watching TV or all being separately scrolling devices was really great.
We laughed, made fun of each other, coordinated as a team, celebrated joint victory… it was awesome. And, unlike a lot of the newest games, like the amazing open world ones on the Switch, I didn’t think it was too complicated to control or play. Old-person approved.
So I guess this is all about Mario. Maybe I should throw something random in to make it not all about Mario…
Social media is actually a cancer, rotting away our humanity and intelligence and curiosity. I used to think we could never go back, never unopen that box. But now I think that the one thing that might slow or reverse the addiction is the industry’s own greed. With Facebook and Instagram and X all now looking to charge users monthly, they might actually help fight the very cancer they created. Let’s hope.
I wonder how big public safety campaigns of the past would’ve fared in today’s post-truth, social media as news, opinions are facts society? I think about things like the push for seatbelts as a standard or “smoking kills” or get this shot to not get polio.
I guess some, or maybe all, of these things did experience pushback – with seatbelts in particular I can remember the news about legislating them in the 1980s. But I feel like the commitment of today’s do-your-own-research crowd seems much stronger than the resistance of the past.
If the smoking-causes-cancer education campaigns would’ve happened today, would people doubt the science, or motivation, or find/create “alternate facts” to refute it? You’d think that maybe the undeniable specter of actually dying would be persuasive enough, but apparently not to the anti-mask anti-cupcake crowd of these past few years.
I can just see the image macros saying smoking is fine as long as you eat manuka honey and colloidal silver and rub lavender behind your knees at night. You can even soak the filters in breast milk for an immune-boosting smoke! You didn’t know that?! Yeah that’s because they don’t want us to know that.
Anyway, I don’t even wear a seatbelt. I just mix a little MMS & ACV into my homeopathic kombucha (made with alkaline water) each morning and wear my magnet bracelets and crystals so I’m good.
Humans. Doing everything we can to just barely stumble through it.
I enjoy cooking. I don’t think I’m particularly good at it, but I do definitely enjoy it, and most of the time what I turn out ends up decent. It’s a fun activity that allows creativity & personalization, and it’s a service in that I’m doing a job that’s helpful to my family.
Lately I’ve been trying to be intentional about handling the family evening meal at least once a week. It makes me feel helpful & I like the praise I get when family and guests enjoy a meal. Plus, Sharaun takes dishwashing duty on evenings when in charge of the meal, and getting a break from that normal chore of mine is also nice.
The point of this writing, though, is this next sentence. Sometimes I just wish I could invite my parents over for a meal I’ve cooked. It’s a thought that’s hit me a few times lately, most recently when I tried (and motherfucking succeeded) smoking a tri-tip. It turned out incredible and served it with salsa and pinquitos and garlic bread, just like grandpa used to do.
I know they would’ve gushed about it, and I would’ve loved that. My dad would’ve asked how long I smoked it, what I rubbed it with, what wood I used, what temperature. He’d have geeked out over the fancy thermometer that connects to my phone and all the nerdy statistics it shows about a cook. Mom would’ve probably offered to make the garlic bread – a simple specialty of hers, where she’d melt the better and rough-chopped garlic together first then paint it liberally on the bread – I do the same but it’s never quite as good as hers.
At least I have good memories of meals like that, I just wasn’t as good as cooking then as I am now.
I’ve never been a big consumer of YouTube. My preferred way to consume information on the internet is still reading, I’d choose a long-form article over a set of image macros or a YouTube/TikTok video any day. A preference that probably betrays my age.
Lately, though, I’ve discovered just how many old classic rock & roll live performances are available on YouTube. Right now, I’m watching a crystal clear 1973 performance of (Sometimes I Feel So) Uninspired by one of my favorite bands of all time, Traffic. With three percussionists and Steve leading the way with a mean guitar, I find it super engaging to watch.
The algorithm learns fast, too. Watch Mahogany Rush perform on Midnight Special, Traffic on a German live music show, and, man, you’ll get served up an endless series of amazing performances you’ve never seen before. For a music nut, watching a performance is an entirely different animal than even owning a bootleg of the same show.
I love looking at the sets, the wardrobe, the haircuts, the instruments – all of it. I like trying to spot what gear my favorite performers are using, which guitars and which keyboards and even which amps and speakers. I love looking at the custom drum kits and wondering what mics they’re using. Even though I really don’t know much about music gear at all, it’s fascinating to me.
OK sorry gotta go, they just started into Low Spark. Night.
With Keaton a few months away from graduation, and Cohen heading into eighth grade, I sometimes catch myself grading how well I think we’ve done as parents during these “nested” years; how well we’ve taught and equipped them for adulthood.
Sure, there’s still the rest of our lives for us to influence and impart wisdom, for both of them even, but I think Keaton being where she is makes it feel short. Which is how, the other night in bed, I laid and thought about what I wished we’d done better on.
I wish we’d done a better job fostering open communication between us and the kids, especially around subjects that aren’t easy parent/child topics. As adults I think Sharaun and I tend to discuss the hard and the messy stuff in private, and we probably didn’t set the example or establish the trust and openness required for the kind of radically candid parent/child communication dynamic I wish we had.
I wish we had given more and more useful advice on managing stress and disappointment. I wish we had sought to learn about and offer more tools than limiting ourselves to what we had to offer, which is limited to what we’ve personally developed through our own experiences.
I wish we had established a less-forgiving set of expectations around household participation and sense of ownership regarding household chores/upkeep. We’ve always been pretty lax with chores and the children’s overall role as contributing members of the family unit. We haven’t asked enough of the kids, haven’t held their household work to the same standards as we hold ourselves, and we aren’t consistent with consequences when the little we do ask isn’t done or isn’t done well. I worry that leads to laziness and entitlement when we could have taught teamwork and pride in well-done work.
Like I said, we’ve still got a lot (hopefully) of living left in this world, us and the kids both, with His favor – so these things aren’t yet missed opportunities we’ll go to the grave regretting, and it’s never too late to start working.
To work, then.
Having been away from the first phase of my career for four years now, there are certain things I realize were positive about that environment which I didn’t really recognize or appreciate at the time.
For instance, having such easy access to an incredibly deep and wide diversity of thought. A huge pool of wisdom and opinion which I could tap to test ideas, both work and personal.
When it comes to most decisions, I really appreciate consensus, or at least the luxury of assimilating a varied set of thoughts from others. I feel like my best decisions have been made with the help of a crowdsourced set of input gathered from folks I respect and trust.
Here, I still do the same thing, but I feel like my pool of consultants is just a little less diverse, and gathering it takes more time since I’m not in the same building with literally hundreds of thought leaders on a daily basis.
Maybe a reminder that I need to be more intentional about it.