The Artist Thirds

I go to a lot of places where artists show their work. Not so much official art galleries, but smaller marketplaces and shows. Festivals and public displays where artists rent small booths and try to sell their paintings or jewelry or other hand made work. I enjoy these events and like the idea that I often get to talk directly to the artist creators in person. I almost never have the money to spare to buy this kind of artwork, and in many cases, even if I did, I probably would not. I don’t wear jewelry, and I don’t use pottery or trinkets much, but I still enjoy the conversation, and respect the artist skills.

One of the things I like to say to an artists, is that I believe they have 50% talent and 50% patience, and I don’t have enough of either to be like them. I offer respect to not only their skill, but the incredible time and dedication it takes to do what they do. I like to let them know I understand the time they put into their art is appreciated. I tell them when their work made me smile, and I understand it’s not all about the cash. I can’t give them money for whatever reason, but I can give them the gift of knowing their work made someone happy, and they are appreciated for the effort spent.

2014-12-14 14.12.01This past weekend, I was at event called; “The bizarre of the bizarre” and it showcased a more unusual or odd side of art. Lots of skulls, and twisted designs with weird styles. Stuffed plush Zombies and other sculptures and paintings that fit the description bizarre. Even if I didn’t like the content, I still wanted the artists to know I respected the work. I tried to compliment everyone on their skill, even if I didn’t especially like the blood and gore of the piece.  For the works that had obvious time consuming obsession, I used my line; “I always say an artist has 50% patience and 50% skill”. I certainly couldn’t sit still long enough to do this sort of thing.”  It often opens them up to talk a bit about how long it did take them.  More often than not, the effort is shocking, and you begin to realize artists need to do it. It is their expression and their passion and their release.  60 hours of work may only sell for $30.

I try to respect the craft, even when a small part of me sees artwork I consider easier. Things the back of my mind says; “I could do that” or even has the nerve to think; “I could do that better”. I know myself well enough to know the truth. Even if I could do the skill, I couldn’t do the patience. I’m, not great at discipline, and although I may be able to start such a project, my attention would wander and it would lay unfinished.

Sometimes art makes me sad in this way. Since I was a child playing mind games, I would often ask myself; if I could have one talent I don’t have, would it be to play music, or to be able to draw. I usually choose drawing. My life would be so different if I could draw. In truth of course, my life would be different either way. The life – and brain of an artist is different than mine. I should not be sad that isn’t me. An artist is a different kind of person, and al to often in the past, I have criticized or belittle it.

Today, this blog was inspired because I clicked a link, and was watching another one of those time lapse – or perhaps they call them hyper-lapse movies about the city I live in. A video set to music that showcases Toronto. There are a lot of them out there, and the first one you see is amazing. You watch it all. After the 5th one, they seem similar, but no less special. Just less watchable for me. I not only lack the patience to be such an artist., I sometimes lack the patience to be a spectator too.

In any case, this time I watched the video with a sadness. In my head, I was thinking that photography is one of the easier art forms. A specialty of seeing, and using technology to capture a mood. I was a photographer. I had training, and an excellent eye. I had equipment. I was good – years ago. As I watched this video, I didn’t see anything spectacular. I just say photos, and video clips set to music. The package was pleasing but (in my head) nothing I could not do. It made me sad I could not be an artist, even when I had the pure skills.  I was missing something.  Not just patience, but the ego. The confidence.

I herby amend my standard artiest breakdown statement.  An artist is more than 50% patience and 50% skill.  I will now split them into thirds, and add the third that is perhaps most key;  1/3 confidence.  A true artist not only has the skill and the ability, but the ego to say their finished product is art. Many people can play the guitar, but only some have the inner confidence to call it art.  Many people can build a sand castle, or turn a pottery wheel, or take a photograph, but some of us – rare special people, call it art – and stick a price tag on it. In some cases, the ego is so powerful, it borders on arrogance, but even bad artists have fans. If you tell me your drawing of a dog is art, I believe you.

No matter how bizarre it may be.

Art is patience, talent and an attitude.  Artists have a mindset.

So now there are three reasons I don’t think of myself as an artist, and that’s ok. I know I’m good at things they may not be. Maybe they can’t remove a virus off their artist computer, or design their own web site. Maybe they even think to themselves late at night; “Gee… I wish I understood Windows 8 like that guy does.” In their eyes, they may even think I have such patience, talent and confidence when they watch me zip my mouse around the screen.

Everyone is different, even when we’re the same.

 

 

 

 

 

Your next new phone.

Apple does a few things really well, but one of the biggest impacts on the cell phone world, is the way they’ve managed to make getting the newest iPhone an obligation of your status.

Of course, not every iPhone user lines up to be first, and many don’t even bother with the new release at all, but we’re all still aware of the concept. New iPhone day is a big deal. It gets more news coverage than almost anything happening outside America.

Even if you don’t own the new iPhone, you’re aware of that fact, and many of you may even talk about it with a hint of shame. I constantly hear people say things like; “its not the newest model or anything, but it gets the job done”.

People who don’t own the newest iPhone still would, if they could afford it without issue. Nobody actually chooses to want the old one… And in time, those iPhone users will upgrade. Not because they have to, but because… Well, because it’s the new iPhone.

Well done Apple.

Now they’ve even made the new ones have a different shape, so you can judge people from a far, without even meeting them.

In the other world of Android, we don’t have that. Android users have a different kind of arrogance, founded by a belief that they have a superior product that the masses just don’t understand. Proud underdogs. The inner battle between iPhone and Android isn’t as pronounced as it once was. As the Android system grows up, it’s polish and style approaches Apple, and each new version of iPhone catches up on features. They each do my things better than the other.

This article isn’t to compare Apples to Lollypops. It is simply an observation that Samsung, HTC and Motorola (among other brands) all have new models each year, but Android masses don’t really know when, and we don’t seem to have the need to care and upgrade.

The article that inspired this blog, was talking about how Samsung was surprised and sad that their S5 flagship sold only 40% as many units as their S4 last year.

I am not surprised at all. The S4 was a great phone and there is no real reason to upgrade. There is no peer pressure to have the newest Samsung. A Samsung phone is to be used more than it is to be seen with. Most people don’t know what is the new model anyway.

Because multiple companies make phones under the Android OS system, we have a bit if an identity crisis to begin with. If you SK me what phone I have, do I say Android or do I say Samsung. For many people, all I need to say is; Not an iPhone. They tune out.
I remember the days when my phone was still a wow factor. I had one before you. I had a smaller one than you did. I owned the first Motorola StarTac and I paid $2000 for that private when everyone else had a 2 pound brick. People would want to see it and touch it.

Those days are gone. He new iPhone have retained a little of that feeling, but only for the few who still bother to be current in release week. Everyone else doesn’t care anymore. Nobody asks me what phone I have. Nobody wants to touch it.

Hey! Have you seen my cool new Smart Watch?

The Gift of No Gifts

One of the issues I’ve had as an obsessive mind that overthinks every scenario of life, is regarding the idea of receiving gifts. I have very few memories of receiving gifts, where I enjoyed the process. That is one serious imaginary memory deficit. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy getting gifts, but I always hate the way I react. It stresses me to receive gifts, because a gift is somebody else’s idea of what I’d like, and seldom live up to hopes and expectation.

My mind pre-imagines all the things I want, but I never tell anyone my preferrences. I don’t like to ask.

Invariably the gifts received don’t live up to my hopes, in many cases, because my expectations were far from reasonable.  Because my sisters were so much older than me, I lived much of my youth almost like an only child with no cousins. My circle of gifts was smaller than almost anyone I knew.  My friends had more siblings, or more wealth, and I always compared my gifts to theirs with disappointment. As an adult remembering back, the reality is that I did quite well. It’s only my memory that retained the negative stories. I’m working on that.

For similar reasons, I don’t like to give gifts wither, and especially hate any situations where we might exchange gifts. The pressure of my obsessions is taxing. I can be in a foul mood for weeks in advance, or even the entire December gift season. As much as I hate the feeling or a bad reaction to a gift given, I don’t like the feeling of passing that on to others. Getting a gift you don’t like — or love, is stressful, because you’re forced to fake happiness and be polite. Giving the wrong gift is a horrible deal for both parties. It’s a failure. I hate failure.

Gift exchanges are even worse, because there is the possible cost differential to add to the uncomfortable feelings. You may have bought a cheap gift, or worse – a gift card or lottery ticket for a few bucks, and the other party spent weeks searching for a perfect present and spent more. When this happens, not only do you have the bad feeling of the wrong gift, but you have to cope with an obvious unbalance of cost. It can effect friendships if I let it. It can cause feelings that linger for years, generating additional obligations to make it up on the next annual birthday or party.

I have somehow managed to work my reputation into that of a guy who doesn’t do gifts. At all. I’m not sure how. It just happened. I don’t give birthday gifts, Christmas gifts or anything. In return, nobody gifts me. I say that I am happier with this arrangement, but I know I’m missing out on the joy and surprise of a good gift. It’s a brain thing. My gift is to not have to worry about gifts.

Now let me be clear; there is a huge part of me that loves getting free stuff. Any gift is at minimum, a surprise, a story, and a memory.  Great gifts are memories all by themselves. I have several ornamental gifts decorating my home, and each time I look at them, I am reminded of the person or event related to that gift. A good gift can be precious.

I suppose I’m not against the idea gifts itself, as much as I am afraid of receiving them in front of the giver. It’s the fact that I have to react live, and show happiness regardless of the gift.  My unhappy and stressful gift memories are of the bad and hurtful reactions. I find it hard to hide my disappointment, or fake it. On the other side of the coin, I can’t stop going on and on with gleeful excitement when I get a good gift. 

I wrote this with my birthday just over two weeks away. I know I will probably not get any gifts on my birthday. I am an adult. Not getting birthday presents is a normal fact of life for single adults. In one way I’ll be relieved, and in another way I’ll be sad.

Maybe it’s time to change my position, and reputation.

 

This Blog is Gluten Free

I went to my favourite Toronto burger place for lunch today, and got a surprise.  Their fabulous Big Guy 7oz juicy burger was now being advertised as Gluten Free. You’d have to be living under a rock these days not to know the term. 

“Gluten Free” seems to be the big new diet fad, with great controversy. Like so many diet options, I have happily remained ignorant to what it all means. I know it means something to do with wheat or grain, but I really don’t know or care. To me, it seems the way the world interprets dietary needs, changes faster than the seasons. First eggs are good for you,  then bad for you,  then good for you again.  One day were told to eat less sugar and then we find out the sugar substitutes cause cancer.

jackpot777I’ve seen online debates about Gluten get mean. One day last year, people started almost randomly declaring they had gluten allergies,  and stores and restaurants were quick to jump on the new bandwagon and offer specialty menu items catering to the elitist diet snobs.  Low fast isn’t good enough for them. Suddenly they can’t tolerate gluten. At the same time, experts chimed in and vocally called them all liars.  Only a very specific few people had real Gluten allergies, and have known about it their whole life. Everyone else just made it up. Maybe they liked the idea that it made them special. Somebody somewhere, must have said Gluten was bad for you, and the world reacted. Blogs and daytime TV can be bad for your health.

Gluten free exploded, like fat free did a decade before. Even Gluten Free chocolate became a thing. I ignored it all. 

I’s already made up my mind, like I do with so many foods before I try them for the first time. Diet food is bland. If you’re taking something out of the food I love, it’s going to taste worse. In my experience, fat free Jell-O is horrible. Sugar free chocolate tastes odd. I fully understand and accept that the things that make my favourite tastes great, are the things that mean scientists keep telling me to avoid, or less experts on the Internet tell me. I wish everybody on Facebook would stop telling me the things I love are horrid – or worse, how they’re made. I don’t need to know.

When Fat Phills decided to go Gluten Free, I was afraid. They were not offering it as an option, like they did with their buns. It was the only way I could order lunch. The sign was clear; all our Burgers are now Gluten Free.

I asked Phill. He’s a great guy and sincerely loves talking to his customers. I trust what he tells me.  Phill says that he removed the breadcrumbs from his Burgers. You may remember about breadcrumbs in burgers. Our moms used to do it too. Not so much as a filer, but as a binding agent to keep the raw beef from falling apart, which is especially important when grilling over an open flame like Fat Phills does. Without a binding agent, the burgers crumble.

What he was surprised to discover, was the happy side effect that they actually tasted better. By changing his binding to use a Gluten Free binding agent, the flavour of the juicy fat actually improved the burger. It seems obvious, but bread also absorbs the juicy juicy grease,  making the burger a little dryer and less tasty.  As I mentioned above, the grease is one of those deliciously evil things that add the flavour. Gluten free burgers were not bland, but actually an improvement. 

Who knew.

So I suspect “Gluten Free” isn’t as bad as fat free after all. It might even make other things better too. I’m curious to see.  I still believe sugar free is horrid, but maybe this is a bandwagon I’ll jump on too.

I will not however claim to be allergic. 

http://fatphills.com

 



http://www.buzzworthy.com/science-proves-gluten-sensitivity-isnt-real-people-are-just-whiners/


People of the Yard Sale

I found myself at a charity yard sale this weekend with time to spare.

10612538_10154521237690018_8068816020085399440_n[1]Usually I don’t pay too much attention to weekend sales in yards and driveways. They’ve never held much interest for me although I do know, for many people, they’re a weekend highlight. I can breeze through a yard sale in under 3 minutes usually. I I just don’t need to spend money on other people’s giveaways.

I take a quick overview walk around, similar to how I browse an antique store.  It can be fun to rekindle vintage home memories, but I rarely find anything to spend a dollar or 50 cents on. I like new stuff.

For a different reason today however, I stayed. I sat on the concrete stairs outside a home in a sub division miles from my home, and watched the people who come and go.  A huge variety of amusement, as each new eager treasure hunter arrived with the excitement of the search.  Each showing me a story, and occasionally I get to overhear just enough to fill in the blanks. A good yard sale truly is a cross section of assorted weirdness, both on the ground, and in the patrons.

I had a fun time watching and listening, as people struggle with tough purchase decisions, and bicker over whether to spend 50 cents for that plastic catsup bottle or not.

“Uncle Jack would like this”, and “oh look mom, a Golfer mug! Daddy would love this!”

10646999_10154521245060018_6691004129598573179_n[1]It occurs to me that even fans of the yard sale are shopping for somebody else half the time. I understand that the joy is in the search, rather than the find. People are not here looking for anything specific, they’re looking to find anything they like, or can gift, and pay only $3… or talk them down to $1. Kids especially seem to love digging looking for lost wonders, especially when anything could be cool. You never know. Like treasure hunting without knowing what is in the vault.

I discover from conversations with the yard owners, that early on the yard is filled with a different type of shopper. Before 8am we see mostly the professional yard scavengers.  The shop owners and Ebayers. They’re here when it opens to rummage through everything and find the good deals.  Anything that could sell in a store or online for a price, is worth buying for $1.  Occasionally they may even find things worth hundreds or thousands.  Inside our head, we all think; just maybe we’ll find something wonderful that nobody noticed.

Another distinct group of yard sale fan, coming at any time of day, often passing from one yard sale to another through the whole neighbourhood. I call them the Questers. These experienced yard salers are looking for more specific things. It may be the last piece to a doll collection or perhaps they need that last missing fork.  I’ve witnessed them arrive in small family packs, with a determination to find that game piece they’re missing, or the a Robin Hood mug. It clear they know what they need, and have been to many sales. They wisk through the whole yard faster than anybody else, overturning boxes and sifting through trunks. They come and go almost as quickly as I used to.

10676331_10154519631980018_8360461054883322463_n[1]“I FOUND ANOTHER PIG” shouts one child across the driveway. It’s clear they’re looking for pigs like a pig looks for truffles.  I know a lot of people who have animal collections and I can imagine that their friends and family would always be on the lookout for a pig ornament, or an owl statue, or whatever the specialty.  When I go to a sale like this, I’ll be on the look out for any My Little Ponies, because a friend of mine has instructed me to do so. I’ve never found one yet, but I always look. For such a specific find however, I suspect the EBayers bought it at 8:14am.

I’m learning it’s a fun family adventure, much like hunting for Easter eggs, except these finds are all just laying there on the lawn. The hardest hiding spot is under the flap of an open box.  The real challenge is to search and find what you need or perhaps, need what you find. You may have a lot of possible wins at a good yard sale. A coffee mug with a sports team Daddy likes, anything pink for Sarah, a cow for Jennifer.

Jennifer likes cows. She is a school teacher friend of mine who one day somehow let her Grade 2 students know that she liked cows. From that moment on, Jennifer received something cow related on every holiday for the next several years.  Her house was literally overflowing with cow related trinkets, curtains, pictures and dolls. 

It is clear however, that the most popular exclamation I hear by far is; “oh wow, we used to have one of these!”

 10703773_10154521241465018_8852326529936009810_n[1]The recognition of a product or article from our your youth. Yard sales are filled more with memories than any other item. People come to them and have fun. They get excited over refreshed memories, opportunities to relive the past, and buy cool stuff for less than a dollar. It’s a culture I never really knew about.  I’d been entertained watching young kids get super excited in a Dollar Store when their parent would say they could have any three items from the whole store. The kids go crazy… but discounts are only part of the enjoyment. It’s the whole thing. Even people watching is part of the fun. I almost laughed out loud when people ask questions about one dollar items. 

When one lady asked; “Do you know if this cordless phone works?”, the answer she received was very polite. I would have said; “Lady… it’s a Dollar”.

The funniest thing I watched, was a woman get so excited to have found an only slightly dusty empty wedding guestbook. I had to wonder to myself, how sad it was that somebody threw a wedding, and nobody signed the book.  Or perhaps a wedding in this family was planned and paid for, but didn’t go though. An empty wedding book at a yard sale is a sad thing.

The lady cheered;  Woo Woo. This’ll save me $40.

10687103_10154521246050018_6709268384177127951_n[1]I think to myself, someboidy will object to using a wedding book that looks used, she’ll agree, and it’ll find it’s way into somebody elses’s yard sale. If this has happened before, that wedding book could be 200 years old. The Ebayers missed it.

You can find all kinds at the yard sale. 


P.S. I bought two scrabble sets for a friend that makes crafts and a rainbow plastic slinky, which I’ve never owned. I saw the slinky in a photo of the yard sale posted to Facebook and rushed to get it. I paid $3.

Photo Credit by Elisa Applebaum… Charity: Urban Cat Relief.

 http://www.ucrcats.com/

 

Bully Laughs

Sometimes, I feel guilty over laughing at comedy. A lot of it is mean.

The mean stuff often makes me laugh, despite the understanding that a real person is the butt of the joke. Comedy often attacks real people. I believe there is a law that lets them rip apart politicians with comedy, and celebrities have always been fair game it seems. Late night talk shows just crack jokes freely at other people’s expense.

I was watching an episode of Chelsea Lately just now, and the panel was all ripping Whitney Houston’s daughter apart, comparing her to a back woods Southern hillbilly, and then made 3 mean jokes about the gap in her teeth.

Now all I know about Whitney Houston’s daughter now, is that she has a gap in her teeth.

It seems much of the comedy on late night television is all about attacking somebody. In order to stay topical and appeal to a mass audience, they pick on people we all know. Sometimes it’s somebody famous like a politician, but thanks to the Internet and YouTube, often it’s a regular person who appears in a photo or video clip that has gone viral. Regular people are becoming the nightly punch line for millions of strangers to laugh at.

TV often gets its biggest laughs by putting somebody else down. By being a bully. A mean bully.

If we saw this sort of thing in a schoolyard, we’d protest. You’re not supposed to make fun of the weird kid, or the accidental banana peel slip, but on stage it seems fine. In front of friends it’s bad to point and laugh – but in front of strangers, we’re allowed to applaud at you falling into a fountain, or down a hole while checking your phone.

All the late night shows do it. They pick clips from the media of the day and present them with a punch line. Some innocent people have become famous overnight while we all giggle at them. We don’t think about how it may have changed their life. Imagine going to work the next day and Jimmy Kimmel has just made you a laughing stalk. Suddenly everyone knows you’re an idiot.

I confess I often laugh. I like to laugh and somebody slipping off stage or running into a tree can be funny. America’s Funniest Videos has been on the TV for years letting us laugh at mistakes. I’m talking more about the mean jokes that punctuate these videos. Personal comments and jokes that cut deeper needlessly. These days I often divert my thoughts to the victim. A visual image if how they might feel hearing this and possibly experience related behaviour change from everyone.

One joke can literally be life changing.

Bullying is bullying.

Good at Everything Guys

You go first.
No, YOU go first.

I think one of the greatest rules of success, is to be second.

Smart people let somebody else go first.
Leaders must be followers first.

This week, Apple made their newsworthy announcement for the new Apple iPhones, finally giving in to the public demand, and releasing a bigger version of the iPhone. Immediately, people started posting jabs at them welcoming them to 2012 and other attacks that they’re not quite cutting edge, coming late to the big “phablet” craze.

Sometimes Apple does lead, but more often, they follow, and then make it better.  At least Apple’s version of better, which true Apple fans crave and love and drool over. It occurred to me, that a great leader stays alive because they don’t always go first. They send somebody else into the cave, or over the hill first. They learn from the early adopters spending their money, and then innovate with improvements.

It is much easier to improve on a product than it is to invent one.

Some people – or companies lead with invention, and are first. Sometimes they are a success and they take the market by storm, making competitors scrambling far behind. Whenever possible, I like to support the people I believe were first to market, rather than the imitations. Sometimes it’s hard to tell. We use brand names of some products as if they were the product itself. At least in my country, we call use words like Kleenex, Rollerblades and Coke as if they are the item names, not product brands. I’m not sure these guys were first, but they certainly are the famous leader. You may be surprised to learn that windbreaker, escalator and elevator are also brand names.

Many people try and fail, even with great ideas because they’re not ready for business. I personally was part of an Internet startup company that could have been huge. I might have been one of those millionaires you read about if luck and management had gone differently, but instead – I failed, and somebody else made a fortune off my ideas.

Only lucky bustard are a success the first try.

Some people are no doubt are great success all through life, at everything they try. I hate those guys. I knew a few in high school. People who were good at every sport they tried, even first try. They were magical creatures, actually fascinating to observe. The good at everything guys.

We’ve all known a few
None I knew are prime minister yet. Maybe that magic fades after high school.

 

 

+1 Pleasure Points

A new idea is exciting. It actually feels good. +1 Pleasure points.

As I was thinking new thoughts the other day, I was able to actually feel the good feeling and sensation that comes with a new idea. Learning something new – at any age is good, and figuring it out on your own is even better. I can actually feel it.

When I learn a new fact, I am pleased. It happened this weekend, and I was with somebody. I actually said; Pleasure +1

That made me smile even more, and I felt the joy of a new idea. A new slogan.

This little slogan has two meanings I can think of. The idea of “+1” is a gaming term meaning a point, or add to your health or some other accomplishment of some sort. In games, we also refer to points of battle or skills. +1 Armour makes us better equipped in the game. +1 Experience makes us wider. I assume +1 Pleasure makes us very happy.

When reversed, as I said it originally, “Pleasure +1” can also mean more pleasure – up to 11. Maximum plus a bit… infinity +1.

A lot of pleasure. We’re adding to it.

We’re not always able to detect the feeling of pleasure when we succeed, but sometimes we do. An actual feeling of well being and happiness floods over our brains and we smile. Getting praise, doing well at something, winning are all things we can feel good about and actually FEEL pleasure.

Or at least I do. I may even sigh a little bit. A happy sigh. MmMmMmmm

I am even more pleased when I see happiness and pleasure in others. The pleasure I experience when I have made another smile – or laugh is the best. It almost warms me up. When I see happiness in others, I feel it so much, I unconsciously mimic it.

I only noticed I do this recently. When you smile, my lips mimic a smile. When you laugh, I laugh. This may be true of you as well, and you didn’t think about this way. Smiles and laughter are often shared and spread contagiously. I noticed the mimicry factor perhaps unique to me, when I detected I also seem to mimic kisses. I pucker my lips when I see others kiss, every single time. It’s an instinct reaction. Whatever you do with your face to show joy, I mimic, and feel joy too.

+1 Pleasure point.

I can’t help but smile when you do. My face just does it, and I feel it.

Justin Beaber had it right when he sang; “You smile, I smile”.

Profound lyrics from the Canadian son.*

* The above is to be italicized or written in the Sarcastic font when it is finally invented.

Punch Line Warfare

The other day on Facebook, I was reading a thread on the news feed of one of my American friends from youth. We’ve known each other since our teens, but I’ve never been super close. He posts a fair number of political messages, and I am never whether he is posting in full seriousness, or in jest. I don’t know many people in my life who are far on the other side of the spectrum from me. Some of his posts seem absurdly conservative, almost like Stephen Colbert mockery. I try my best to continue to have respect for him, but his Facebook posts paste him as a conservative straight line believer. He loves his guns and less government, and hates Obama… or I’m just not getting the joke, and he’s toying with us.

I have always had a hard time taking conservatives seriously. I somehow feel they’re all mocking themselves. I feel better if I believe nobody can really believe the shit they come up with. It must be a joke. Maybe they feel the same way about me.

This particular post is just like so many of his messages. It quickly gathers a lot of comments from both sites of the story, re-hashing the exact same arguments they did in the last 6 posts. One side says blah blah blah, and the other side says LA LA LA I can’t hear you. They’re just talking at each other, unwilling to listen – or believe. Neither can believe the other side can actually believe what they’re saying. It seems absurd.

The media seems to be the same. It shows us that the United States has two sides. Red vs Blue or right vs left. We are lead to believe it’s almost binary. The country is either one or the other. Crazy on one side and crazy on the other. The extremes are what they show us. My friend seems to be one of them, at least in Facebook world.

I’ll admit it. I like to play. I don’t mock so much, as throw in some humour. I am punch line guy.

I enter my reply: I don’t trust any white people.

A non sequitur punch line I throw into the mix without setup or follow up. A blanket statement added between a reply about how we’re all evil gun stealing regulation happy, and they’re all hicks with pickups or nutcases who have become addicted to the feeling of guns.

Oddly, I wasn’t expecting it, but the punch line ended the debate. People stopped. It was a thread killer. Nobody replied after that. They didn’t even rebut my remark with more ramble. It just stopped. Perhaps everyone realized they were being silly, and calmed down, retreating to their oposite corners awaiting the next fishing lure post by the same guy next time.

Sometimes a punch line can stop a war.

Adult Nap Time

For many of you, the last time you took a daytime nap may have been in kindergarten, when nap time was enforced. That’s too bad.

Once we hit grade 1, we are encouraged to make it through the day in one continuous state of awake. In fact, napping at school is not acceptable behaviour at all, for students or teachers. You can actually be fired for napping at work especially if you drive for a living, or operate heavy machinery.

One of the greatest ticks in the PRO column about self employment, is that I get to schedule nap time as frequently as I want. I have no rules to follow,  and no boss to catch me.  I often wake up before 6am and start working instead of going back to sleep for another hour like many people would.  I’ll rise and shine till 10am or so, being very productive in the hours before many people start their jobs, and then go back to sleep for a short nap.  Right around the time some of my office job buddies are mentally fading and needing a caffeine pick me up,  I get to take a lay me down.  It’s glorious.

If I miss my 10am “second sleep”, I may have one after lunch, or mid afternoon. Unlike kindergarten, my naps are not on a set schedule. Sometimes I’ll have two in one day, or three – even as late as 630pm.

The Spanish had it right. Nothing refreshes a body and mind like a middle of the day Siesta. If you’ve read my blog before, you may know how much I like fresh starts. Monday is my favourite weekday, and the first day of the month is like a mini January 12 times a year. Any excuse to start over is welcome, and a nap can do that for me. A new day resolution to do it right this time.

My brain often drains it’s excitement quickly, and when you live and work alone, lost motivation can be a problem. I won’t say I need a nap and an excuse to return to work, but I won’t deny that often, it works wonders. I lay down, and 35 minutes later,  I re-emerge with a new outlook and clear mind.

I’m lucky enough to be able to nap well. No matter what stresses or depressions or concerns may be on my mind, they fall away quite easily in my rest. I fall asleep faster for a nap than I do in the evening. Insomnia doesn’t really effect napping for some reason.

For a few years, I was amazed at how often my naps ended up being exactly the same length. Like magic I was consistently taking 39 minute naps with no alarm except my internal clock. These days, it’s not as regular, but each nap is usually between 30 and 50 minutes. Rarely do I sleep for longer, unless the nap is from exhaustion.

I can nap with the light on, with the TV on, or even with people in the room talking, although it may take me longer to fall. Music or silence is preferred. It’s like a special power I have. The power to sleep.

I recently got a wrist band that can detect my sleep patterns and figured out a nap is one sleep cycle, which for me, during the day, is less than an hour. At night, when I fall asleep, I really am just performing 3 to 5 consecutive naps.  I fall asleep and wake up all night, but because my brain knows it’s not yet morning, they happen back to back, and eventually some of the sleep cycles last 90 minutes or so, but seldom much longer. My wristband records it on a nice little chart. Nap, wake, nap, wake.

I’ve never really had a problem with sleep. I enjoy it, and really enjoy my dreams, many of which I remember and journalize when I wake. Remembering dreams is a skill you can learn with practice. Nap dreams and night dreams seem different, at least for me, and weather and food influence them greatly. Nap dreams are my favourite.

NAPS RULE, and don’t let anybody tell you different.

It’s one of the luxuries I get that I use to gauge myself as a success.