Living - and already savoring - the Adventures across the backroads of western Idaho and eastern Oregon!

31 May 2011

Pigs, Dogs & Sheep … all on the Wing

(this is late - should have come out Friday...)

Harkening back to 1977 (for me, the carefree glory days of 9th grade), today’s Pink Floyd theme really captures the essence of what’s strange about the world in which we toil about. For such a long time now, I thought high school was such a tough time when in fact it probably was my lack of life skills that made it so damned tough at times. My toolkit now is armed with so much more experience, hard-gained wisdom and a good amount of humor – enough so that maybe my road is tougher than before, but I just don’t notice it.

Hey, that’s a positive observation – the hard road can be the best! It’s not to cast a negative tint on my life or anyone else’s travels through the years. I keep time on the songs of life and can dance the tunes pretty well. At least, my family and friends keep on coming back to talk to me. Or pat me on the head. Now, if only I could stop acting like a drooling brain-dead zombie…

Back to the subject at hand/in the hand – the goofiness of our life paradigm. Were I to reflect on my life by my career accomplishments, or how 'well' I coped with life events, my life might be seen as successful. As might yours. And we probably are just rich with successes! So why do I, and I know some of you, feel less than fulfilled? I think it’s simply about the expectations, ones we usually set too high. I look back sometimes and realize I’ve nailed a lot on a crazy long list ~ maybe that list review should be a mini-celebration of a great long weekend? It’s all good.

Enjoy the long weekend upcoming, one whose symbolism as the Start of Summer isn’t lost on me. I’ve taken a new approach to annual resolutions; this year, it’s to enjoy summer instead of dreading the Hot 100. Let’s see where that gets fleece vest-loving me this summer…

12 May 2011

2,952 Thoughts in the Ether

I may bore you to tears today but I thought it insightful to review for myself what Henri (my iPod) had for me today in shuffle play mode.

Does music drive emotions or reflect them? I think it’s a bit of both. And what would your Emoticon look like based on your music tastes? Mine likely would be kind of manic, changing a lot each week.

Enough inner monologue -- play the music!

1. Magnum opus … Kansas

2. It’s only money … Concrete Blondes

3. Hard to handle … Black Crowes

4. Hurricane … Laura Tsaggaris

5. The Marshall plan … Blue Öyster Cult

6. The ballad of John and Yoko … The Beatles

7. All the king’s horses … Robert Plant and the Strange Sensation

8. Double agent … Rush

9. Now more than ever … John Mellencamp

10. In your honor … Foo Fighters

Analysis begun. Analysis complete. I am weird. Irrevocably. Yes, Czarina, 2,952 shuffle-played songs would mathematically prove my hypothesis (that I'm weird) when validated to some decimal place.

Me, I can figure out just ten songs into it that music does drive feelings so I’ll continue to fast-forward when I come across downer tunes. The next and last song this morning was Hard Road by Black Sabbath. Kind of upbeat, actually, so off to the sweatshop go I …

11 May 2011

It’s OK to be a Guy

I guess I’m pretty well suited to be a guy, although I'm an odd one. C’mon, let’s call a spade a spade! Folks sometimes think on the phone they’re talking to a woman and my friend A. calls me, “Talks like Girl.’ Not that I’d be a good woman. I mean, makeup? When most people look better being who they really are? It wouldn't help me much anyway. Now, a new hairdo & we're ready to rock 'n roll.

And worrying about being thinner – I'd really fail as a woman in that regard. 'Ampleness' should be celebrated as a sign of good taste and comfort within one’s skin. I sure ain’t the skinniest fellow so I can talk. Ever see me trundle across an intersection against the light, squealing like I’m an oversized porker about to be put onto a spit?

And raising children? We all know where a kid is need will go first, and it’s not the curmudgeon of a father. Unless the powerful scent of a throbbing wallet is in the air [editor’s note: refer to previous post’s discussion of “jackals”]. Shopping? Not this amigo. Guys go buying, for guy stuff we convince ourselves we really need, esp. as involves hardware, sweat and cursing. Bring on that leaky faucet.

Maybe the difficulty in playing our gender roles isn’t doing what comes naturally. It’s in Holding On to what we think we do best, without stretching ourselves too much. But that’s a whole different blog post that I actually would need to ponder.

Now it's time to scratch something or other, criticize everyone’s driving, and be a rock star in my own head! (yes, I've reverted back to Full Guy Mode again!)

10 May 2011

The Color of the Beast is … Yellow

“Days drift slowly on the page.” That song quote is more suited to the Mississippi river delta, not the bustling suburbs of DC. But it works for me. We’re in our slow season, one when we can do deeper dives into our customers’ portfolios. In plainer English, that means I get to ask questions and help them write performance measures that make sense to Joe Public ("we spent $x on something to achieve x result").

Not exotic work and actually not hard – if you need a career in performance measurement, ring me! Hey, at least I get to have a slow season; this aspect of my career definitey is a selling point. Take farming: cows don’t take a day off, unless they’re the main course.

So, you want to understand the subject line? ‘Traffic Light Yellow’ is the color of choice to many of our commuter bus drivers. It’s the color of personal challenge or a slapped affront. When that traffic light goes yellow, the drivers’ mettle is tested. Nostrils flare, spittle flies, pupils flame open and pedal to the metal! To heck with the windows – they’re really plexiglass anyway, easily replaceable. Passengers – heck, more innocents will get on after this sorry lot staggers along their way.

Some drivers are like jackals, stalking the lines of traffic while spying for an opening to pounce into. Some are just mental cases, obliviously plowing their way into an imaginary gap because, well, they’re bigger than you. A couple of our drivers are extreme opposites – they simply get into the flow and we all go comastose during our long commute (my preference). My absolute highest citation for Stupidity in the Face of Reason goes to those drivers who dare to go where no bus ought’a go – daredevil-ishlly careening down back roads.

Stopping is out of the question, which perhaps is why newer buses have seat belts and on-demand air masks. You think I’m exaggerating? Then where do all those scrapes and car parts hanging off the bus fenders come from?! Bring on Smoky & The Bandit - I'm rarin' to go!

06 May 2011

Love All People but Cook Thoroughly before Consumption

Why is it that cannibalism is so sick, twisted, warped and unhealthy for teeth and gums? “Here comes the sun and a pickled femur – yee, hah!” OK, we’re devolving into gross-ness here but that’s what may happen when one starts looking at bumper stickers on the homeward ride. But that’s not all bad – can you imagine how dreary anyone's blog would be if the windows were blacked-over? I’d be a captive of my own bad taste and warped imagination.

[Editor’s note: four silver cars at the intersection – boor-iiing. That’s why we have bumper stickers, eh? Mine are Keep It Wild (tree hugging); I love Rivers, No Farms No Food, & Park Service Trailblazer]

Speaking of intersections, what’s with DC’s latest initiative – human beings as Traffic Controllers? Aka Intersection Chum? You think some orange-clad woman and no weapon other than her naturally bad attitude is gonna stop Joe Meathead from doing an illegal U-turn or partially blocking an intersection? Maybe they figure yelling at the guys will do the trick. Or they become anonymous orange striping when overstepping their bounds (OK, more marginally bad humor!).

It all about mothers this weekend. With apologies to NASCAR/WWE/day-traders, nothing else comes close. Love, cherish, respect, adore, serve & remember ... do one or more on this list All Weekend ...

02 May 2011

The Prop Wash of City Life

I’m watching today’s clouds race across my periphery like streamers in some mad hatter’s party. Brings me of a mind to reflect that there’s a haze over too many of our lives, both physical and emotional.

[Editor’s note – the reason for New Age music, and its applications, become ever more obvious to me, such Adrain Legg]

We at work have noticed the national discourse and its business diverge into two ludicrously self-absorbed camps, each diametrically opposed on some pretense of morality or strategic vision. "I'm right so you must be wrong..." Thsi creates a haze of loud opinions, bobble-heads on the Tele and distractions from the nuts and bolts of government business.

I don’t think most folks I know fall into these camps, which is probably why I hang out with some of you. There’s so much middle ground to plow so let’s get back to the plowshare – while clearing this virtual haze with basics like love songs by Laura Tsaggaris or The Black Crowes, and putting life before work. Yes, I phrased that as intended – too much work and no play make Johnny a dull boy!