Day 15 (30 days, 30 pages, 30 pictures)

Sep 24, 2012 by

Sunday Morning

I’m a self confessed coffee junkie. There I’ve admitted it, now I’m half way to solving the problem. The funny thing is, like most people with substance dependencies, I’m in no rush to give it up. I’m not interested in a twelve step program to caffeine independance, I can quit anytime I want. My addiction happens to be socially acceptable and the infrastructure to support it is very lucrative to many people. It’s a job creator.

        So every morning I wake up to my Cuisinart’s, self programed, perfectly brewed cup of jo. I sit down at 6:30 am (i’m not a morning person) place my hands around my 12 oz mickey mouse coffee mug feel the heat penetrate the palms of my hands, lean forward and inhale. The fragrance of the light roast beans brings a small smile.

About 10 minutes after the first couple of sips I can feel the caffeine lubricating my synapses. My mind begins to churn away kind of like when I start my 1993 mazda 323 hatchback on a cold winter morning. A little sluggish at first but after a couple of minutes purring like a kitten.

I have my addiction firmly under control unlike my co-workers I don’t drink coffee throughout the day, I prefer water. Don’t get me wrong a little arm twisting and I might be talked into getting an iced coffee or a small Americano in the afternoon. I don’t stray from the basic delivery systems, I’m not a big fan of Frappaccino’s or other blended drinks (they’re okay a bit too sweet). I like my junk uncut, I’m a bit of a purist.

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Day 17 (30 days, 30 pages, 30 pictures)

Sep 24, 2012 by

I like meeting new people. There is always that moment of trepidation when meeting someone new. The moment usually comes after the initial greeting when you’re about halfway through the basic generalized chit chat and moving into conversation. That moment when you think to yourself this person doesn’t really  know me or my sense of humor and I don’t know their world view. They could be radical liberal, some form of fundamentalist, Democrat, Republican; all those boxes and label we put on each other to form an opinion that sets the tone for future encounters with this person. This is an interesting time. They say you never get a second chance at a first impression, and they are right but a bad first impression isn’t always a bad thing especially if you don’t fit into one of the many generic categories we all tend to have in our heads.

I met and spent a lot of time with a staunch Republican this weekend. Nice guy. Smart, funny, good sport but when it came to politics he was firmly (R). His republican stance focuses on the financial aspect of the party. He’s doing well but like most republicans suffers from the delusion that he is not doing as well as he could and it’s because of a meddlesome government that wants to have their hands on every aspect of your life and wants to give away hard working American dollars to undeserving people like those on welfare or entities like NPR. The funny thing is he likes NPR but thinks that it shouldn’t receive government funding. His reasoning being that if the people want it they will pay for it.  Interesting considering that we as a country own the public airwaves and as part of the deal allowing private companies to purchase licenses to broadcast within certain spectrum it is clearly stated that the public must always have access.

Okay so lets look at this a bit further. Lets say we move to the model; you want it you pay for it. Where is most of the money these days? Hmm. Wealthy people? Lets say you get good donations from wealthy individuals and you build your network but some of them decide they don’t like what you’re doing and decide to withdraw funding. It doesn’t take much of a stretch of the imagination to see a rollercoaster of cash flow. You can’t make anything of quality without at least a minimum consistency of funding. So one of two things will happen. 1) You will not be able to produce the content without a majority of your time being devoted to keeping the lights on or 2) You start to alter your content to what the big donors want. (just like politics)

The only way to insure people without money or power have a voice within the public airwaves is through a minuscule subsidy from …you know… the government. I think one of the main problems we have is some people forget the “…promote the general Welfare” part of the Preamble maybe because it sounds …I don’t know … a bit Socialist?

We had a couple of great discussions but like you said in an earlier post I’m not changing his mind and he’s not changing mine. I’m not really sure if that was my goal. I think when I engage in these debates it’s really more about putting my ideas to the test to see if maybe I hadn’t thought of something or to see if my view is askew:)

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Day 18 (30 days, 30 pages, 30 pictures)

Sep 24, 2012 by

Officer Morton

My friend Mark and I play a lot of games together. We also enjoy grabbing a beer after work from time to time. He’s a Chicago Cop. Back in the late 80’s maybe early 90’s Chicago put out the call for new police officers. Mark and I were playing backgammon at the local Barnes and Noble sipping espresso and decided, what the heck , lets take the cop test. At the time he was working as a computer analyst and I was working as a cameraman.

                We took the test and I promptly forgot about it. A few weeks later I received a letter from the City of Chicago. (I still have it) When I opened it my jaw hit the floor. It stated I would make an ideal candidate for the police department. I double checked the name on the letter. Yup, it was mine. I can say one thing for certain; I would never have considered myself an ideal candidate for the Chicago Police Department. Mark had also been accepted. Turned out Mark and I scored in the top 3 percent of applicants and they wanted us bad.

Chicago was in the midst of revamping the police force, they wanted educated officers, people that could think on their feet and resolve situations quickly with little of the old school violence that gave our city it’s well deserved reputation. What followed was eight months of written, physical and mental testing. Mark and I were accepted into the academy but we both had to go through one more psychological exam. The Department wanted to know why a computer analyst and an art student decided to be police officers. They were going to invest a lot of money training us and wanted to make sure we wouldn’t leave after a year or two. I’d never actually been to a “Shrink” before and the experience was a bit worrisome at first. My interview went fine. The doctor was very nice and we talked for about 30 minutes and at the end she said she would recommend me for the academy. Mark had a similar experience.

We had a month before we had to make our final decision on whether or not we were going to join. During that time we had many beers and discussed the pro’s and con’s. For Mark it came down to the fact he would regret not having at least attempted to do something completely different. He would forever second guess the decision if he didn’t give it a try. For me it came down to the fact that I didn’t think I would make a good police officer. Mark joined the academy and I didn’t.

 Mark has been on the force for 20 years. He took a few years off to go teach English in Japan. He’s married and has two kids.  He’s a good officer. So, good in fact that he is one of the instructors teaching the new cadets at the Police Academy. I’ve visited him there a couple of times and led Tai Chi sessions. For a moment, as we’re doing Tai Chi with other officers  it’s kind of like I imagine it would have been if I had joined and we were both cops.

 I think I’ll stop by his place for a beer this week.

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Day 20 (30 day, 30 pages, 30 pictures)

Sep 24, 2012 by

Dreamers

I have a question. Why, as a society, do we undervalue the people that actually push our society forward. I’m not talking about the financial industry; money is the current grease that lubricates the system. It’s a fiction and is unimportant.

I’m talking about the dreamers and the makers, the people that envision something in their mind’s eye and through a combination of knowledge, will and ingenuity bring that dream into the world. The people that do this often find themselves on the losing end. Why do we treat them so poorly? The value of our society rests in their imaginations. A large percentage of our country is currently so focused on accumulating dollars that they are losing sight of the mechanisms for making them. The financial system has a good scam working. They’ve convinced people that you can create wealth from not actually doing or making anything. I wasn’t surprised when the financial system collapsed. I just wonder why it took so long.

 Don’t get me wrong I’m not anti-business or a socialist although I do agree with aspects of socialism but that’s a discussion for a different time. I believe in people being able to create businesses and sell the things they create. I’m talking about the systematic undervaluing of the people entire industries rely on. In fact there would not be industries if these people didn’t exist. The creative’s.

I’ve never actually considered myself an artist but I am a maker. I make things everyday. The core group of people I hang out with are artist and makers and we find it odd that CEO’s and execs can get paid 10’s of millions of dollars. What value do they bring? What do they actually do? I know the party line “They steer the ship. They set the vision” B.S. I’ve been in meetings with corporate execs. I’ve seen the system up close and personal.

I’ve had many jobs. I’ve never had a problem making money. I’ll never be rich but I don’t aspire to be rich. I aspire to be happy. Guess which professions were the hardest for me to get paid. If you guessed anything related to film or the arts you would be correct. Guess which professions garnered the most bewildering gazes from the corporate elites and financial wizards I’ve met in my travels. Yup, the arts. I’ve worked on advertising campaigns where the phrase “We’ll let [creative] figure it out” often comes up.  So, in short the entire success of the project rests on the shoulders of the creative’s. Who do you supposed get the slaps on the back and the bonuses when the campaign is a success.  Yup, the execs. People that had nothing to do with the concept or its execution reap the rewards. I don’t know about you but that seems a bit odd to me.

I’m seeing something different lately. I’m seeing something that should be setting off warning bells to the establishment. I’m seeing a renaissance. It’s in its infancy but it’s growing and I’m helping it. The creative’s have had enough and they’re cutting out the middleman.

Louis C.K. developed his own comedy special and put it on the internet and grossed over a million dollars. No network, no execs. Joss Whedon and his team created Dr. Horrible in 2008 for the internet he’s still making money off of it. Felicia Day an actress wrote and developed her own show “The Guild” which is charming and funny. That show lead her to create an entire set of shows for the internet found on YouTube; look for Geek & Sundry. She launched 30 days ago and has had 7 million views. More than some networks. These people are just a few paving the way.

Kickstarter is a wakeup call to all those people that have skimmed, underpaid or stolen from the artist/makers. The creative’s have made their own way of getting funding. The model they are creating has far reaching implications.  They’ve created a growing community and it will take a while but the middleman’s days are numbered.

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Day 24 (30 days, 30 pages, 30 pictures)

Sep 24, 2012 by

 

Lincoln Park

Angry white people scare me. They scare me because they have the capacity to be very, very vindictive. They can make it their life’s mission to make sure you get what’s coming to you. They are often good “Christian folk.” They’ve got the tools, they’ve got the talent.

It’s rare to see actual hatred in someone’s eyes but I see it from time to time in my new neighborhood. The other day two African American gentleman were going from door to door as I was coming home. I saw no less than four sets of neighbors outside watching them intently. Some with a look of disdain some with a fearful look. I will never know what they were thinking but their faces were betraying them. As I approached my house. I could see the two guys ringing doorbells waiting patiently and when no one answered they would move on to the next house. Afew moments later I could see curtains or blinds move in the house they were just at. While I was getting my mail they spotted me and jogged across the street. They were carrying clipboards and pamphlets. (Jehovah Witness?) I waited. As they approached, all smiles, one asked if I was going to vote in the upcoming election. I said yes. They then asked if I was registered. I said yes. They checked my name off of a list, thanked me and moved on. As they started down the street, a couple, that had been watching, suddenly had something very important to do inside their house. They went inside and closed the door behind them. I didn’t wait around to see if they would answer the door when the canvassers arrived.

I couldn’t help thinking, Here are two guys out canvassing the area making sure everyone was registered to vote and they were being treated like paria. How sad to be so scared that you can’t bring yourself to open your door or feel you need to keep an eye on people. Then I caught myself. I was going down the same road but in a different direction. Passing judgement without knowing the facts. I’ve only lived here a year and I really don’t know anyone. I hope I’m wrong about the people that live around me. Time will tell.

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Day 26 (30 days, 30 pages, 30 pictures)

Sep 24, 2012 by

Codex of unified and intergender co-existence

A.K.A – The Man Manual

Preface

I’m sure women have one too but members of my gender are not privy to its content. We must probe blindly trying to fathom its intriguing infinite depths. How well we understand the content we derive, through trial and error as well as common sense, its content is a sign of our level of evolvement and our fitness for companionship.

The Man Manual has many pages that are filled in before we are old enough to understand them. These pages are typically filled in by older members of our gender, fathers, uncles, brothers, ect. To go against the wisdom set forth by those that came before us is to invite disaster.  The Manual has many chapters devoted to manliness. These chapters incorporate many topics ranging from the importance of standing up for oneself, how to derive direction from glancing at ones surrounding, how to sound like you know what you’re talking about when you have absolutely no clue and how to light a fart on fire.

On the subject of women there are many views. The manual has an abundance of opinion on the subject almost all of them, if followed without careful consideration, will land you in trouble.

On the subject of landing in trouble with a woman, the manual has tried and true methods for extricate oneself from the hole one has dug for oneself. These  methods often include: sincerity, groveling and gifts. Keep in mind some deeds are unforgivable (See Appendix F) and you may be on your own.

The makers of the Manual had the forethought to add many blank pages because like the reader The Manual is a work in progress.

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Day 30 (30 days, 30 pages, 30 pictures)

Sep 24, 2012 by

Dear Ellen,

I don’t think I’ve ever written you a letter and I’m not sure this actually counts because of its e-mail-like nature.

I want to thank you for tossing caution to the wind and playing with me for the past 30 days. Your days are full of many other things you could be doing and the fact that you sat down for even a couple of minutes to contribute to this silly project means a lot to me. Your haiku’s and stories have been a welcome window into your life.  You were always smart and funny and it’s nice to see that some things never change.

With everything that goes on in our lives, sometimes it’s hard to stay in touch and after some vague amount of time people tend to drift apart. It’s not because we don’t care. It’s because we do care. We care about the immediate things we have to do for family, for friends for ourselves and there really aren’t enough hours in the day. I just wanted to let you know that I feel fortunate that we’ve had this time to reconnect and I would feel a loss if we drifted apart.

 

A Sincere Thank You,

Dave

P.S. I have some more ideas, let me know if you’re interested…no rush ;-)

 

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