clouds and clouds of white smoke pour from your fingertips

Amaze your friends!
So sorry guys, I’ve been off on a tangent lately and writing about religion a bit. I hope this hasn’t turned away the God-phobic of my readership, but I can promise you a Lord-free entry today. Stick with me, I’m going all one-track on ya, I promise. Oh, and… I’m still writing… which makes me happy.

You know, when this baby comes, I’m taking time off. No, refining that, I’m taking a state-paid “leave of absence.” That’s right, an extended vacation. Sure, it’s at less than half my pay… but it’s some awesome time I’ll get to spend with Sharaun and our daughter. It seems so far off now, February… but I know it’ll be on me in an instant. It will no doubt seem even speedier with all the travel we have planned for December; the month will be a blur – with not a single week at home the entire thirty-one days. For me, the 1st week spent in India, then directly to Oregon for my birthday with the folks. Then the very next weekend we’re off to Florida for Christmas with her family, only to return a few days before 2006. A short two months after that, and we’re parents. Honestly, I still can’t believe it. I think about it and just can’t comprehend it; the change coming, the new stuff. I guess I really won’t be able to “understand” it until we live through it. Maybe then I’ll know a little better what to expect when number two comes around. We’ll see.

I’ll talk about work a little bit now.

I want to share with you what I think is one huge aspect of my path to success, at least at work. You ready? This is some serious tactical information I’m about to give away. Here it is: be a data hog. Horde, packrat (as a verb), stash things away for future reference. I am convinced that “knowledge” as we normally think of it is about a 50/50 mix of wisdom and resources. What I mean by that is, you have to have some “wisdom,” or common sense, acumen, not-dumbassness, whatever you wanna call it, to even begin to execute. If you’re a drooling retard who consistently makes piss-poor decisions, you’re not gonna succeed even if you save the entire internet to your cellphone for handy reference. But, if you’ve got that basic ability to think… you’re halfway to being perceived as a genius. The other half is simple: store what you can in your brain, but, even more important, keep everything on-hand for quick consultation. When I say everything, I mean everything from a documented history of the past, to reference materials, to a well-maintained a personal network of other “smart” people. It’s that simple folks. What you’ll realize is, people respect someone who can react knowledgeably nearly as much as the do someone who’s truly knowledgeable – if the results are the same. So, strive to know where knowledge is – even if it’s not in your own head.

I’ll talk about magic a little bit now.

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with magic. My brother and I used to put on magic shows in our garage, performing tricks I’d learned from the many books I had, most of them bought at garage sales or used book outlets, written for children decades before my time, and given to me as well-read, coverless, dog-eared gifts. My favorite place at Disneyland was the magic store on Main Street, where I bought my first tube of “Mystic Smoke.” For my 5th grade birthday party, my parents hired a magician who came and entertained my friends and I; I was never happier. By the time I was twelve years old, I knew how to “blow eggs” and stuff them with confetti, pour milk into a rolled newspaper, and pull a card off the bottom of a deck.

Back then, there was one of those costume/magic stores about an hour from our house – in the city where my mom grew up. I would was thrilled every time we had the chance to be in town, and would beg my dad to make a stop. I remember the place having all sorts of expensive masks hanging on the wall, and racks of costumes. What I was interested in though, was under the glass display case and in on display shelves behind it: the magic tricks. The man behind the counter would demonstrate the newest tricks; a knot that seemed to pass through a wooden block, sticks that changed color when you said the magic word, all the latest and greatest. I used to save up my allowance, adding a new trick to my canon with each visit. When we moved to Florida, my obsession waned, but didn’t fade. After all, middle-school makes it hard to concentrate on the latest sleight-of-hand illusion when girls all around you are sprouting boobs and wearing Malibu Musk.

As a surprise one year, my folks got the family tickets to see David Copperfield at the local performing arts place. As a kid, Copperfield was my favorite magician, his illusions seemed amazing, and I was thrilled to see him perform live. As I grew up, however, I learned to resent him. His tricks were so grandiose and his stage presence was repulsive, he was all that was wrong with modern magic. Anyway, even a trip to see Copperfield in person wasn’t enough. Soon enough, I found other things to care about, and my thumb-tip and secret-pocket handkerchief went into a box with my other tricks and up into the closet. I still got my Abbotts catalogs throughout highschool, but I usually only like it for the smell of paper and the kitschy illustrations. In college, I saw David Blaine’s Street Magic, which stirred the love deep within me again and sent me running to the local store for a Svengali deck, Scotch & Soda, and all the staples of Blaine-style closeup magic. After college, I bought some books on “true” card magic, or card manipulation… but could never master the moves.

Yeah, that ended up being boring and void of any meaningful point – but I’m unwilling to delete all that writing. Live with it.

Dishes are washed and put up, Sharaun’s asleep on the couch, the cat’s got food, and now the evening’s chores are done and there’s nothing left to do but sleep. Did I tell you we bought some furniture? Wait, who is “you?” Anyway… we bought some furniture for the front room. We’re dropping dough like live-in girlfriends drop marriage hints… hemorrhaging money, as I like to say. The big outpouring to get the place worthy of our new family member. We’ll be ready for you, Lil’ Chino, we’ll be ready.

Love ya, goodnight.

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