Last month I attended a conference of information professionals in New Orleans. It was exciting reconnecting with colleagues and talking about what they were doing to move their businesses forward. As you can probably tell I have not posted to my blog for a while. I want to let you know why.
I have been beating myself up a little bit for not posting. It's important to remain consistent in any practice. You need to make a habit of it. I realize that it's important to do the things you are passionate about to help make your life fulfilling.
Over the last month I have helped my dad with a major life transition. I absolutely loved the chance to spend time with him. He really is a great guy. I hope that he's pleased with his new digs. I feel much better because I am sure he's it's a much better environment.
I have had some time to breathe and relax . I think I'm about ready to get back at it.
I did this is a drawing at the conference about a month ago. The microphone seemed emblematic of the presentations. I don't know why - It just felt that way to me.
I will keep it simple going forward till I get back in the swing of things. I love to draw and I hope it shows.
Headed out to New Orleans today.
Looking forward to my stay.
This is today's drawing. I hope you enjoy.
Was just thinking about my time in the Corps.
One of the things that I am so grateful for is the can do attitude and discipline the experience instilled in me.
I am grateful for so many things about that time in my life.
But, for now - I haven't got much to say, except - I'm glad I was there.
Creativity comes in drips and drabs sometimes. I have read that if you want to be creative you need to continually create. Which I do here. I try to create something daily.
Necessity is the mother of invention. This red coffee cup is mine. The saying is not mine. I think it reflects how I feel today. Each day there is so much to do or so much that can be done. The trick is prioritizing some things above others.
Creating these drawings requires discipline. I also try to say a bit of something that's going on. Today there has been lots. Today the drawing was the least of my worries. I'm preparing for a conference, doing some content analytics, published some website pages and went through old files to shred documents I hope I no longer need. I don't like carting things from place to place. Most of what I have is online anyway so that isn't too big a problem.
Going through paperwork has got to be one of my least favorite chores. I'd prefer to be drug over broken glass. But we have to do what we have to do and broken glass doesn't sound too appealing to me.
One of the good things about doing the shredding and filing today is that I feel quite a sense of accomplishment about my day. I do feel better after doing something I didn't want to do. If feels good to have the discipline to accomplish things that are onerous.
When I was in the Marines we said "We have done so much with so little for so long we are now prepared to do the impossible with nothing."
Getting things done is appealing. Doing them - sometimes not so appealing.
Today, with many priorities, I again made a drawing and I like it. Not because it's great but because it's mine.
Most of you know I was born in Montreal. When I was nine our family moved to California. We came to the United States as immigrants in November 1967.
Dad got a job in Redwood City at a place called Ampex. We drove across country with the clothes on our back and a trailer towed by an old Pontiac. I have no clue what model the car was. All I was aware of is it was a Pontiac. I think I still have some old photos of that car someplace. I had little interest in cars when I was nine. When we got there we stayed in an old motel on the El Camino Real for the first month or so before moving in to an apartment on Woodside Road.
Growing up in California was fabulous. I made great friends and my family was relatively sane. Though, I think some might define sane a bit differently than I do. Redwood City is, or was, a quiet suburb of either San Jose or San Francisco. I guess it just depends on where you want to say your closer too. Before Oracle and tons of other tech companies grew up or moved to the peninsula people didn't know much about Redwood City. You had to reference something people would recognize so they would know what you were talking about.
I eventually joined the Marines and then became an American citizen.
I still feel a strong connection with Canada.
I was really pleased to find out since I was born in Canada I am entitled to have a Canadian passport. So I recently applied for a Canadian Passport. Something which I am pleased to say came in the mail yesterday.
I'm a happy camper. I'll be floating on that one for a few days.
I remember some things from my childhood better than others. One of the things I remember really well is Batman. I know, it was a really corny television series but I liked it. I really did.
I don't remember thinking Batman would save the world but Batman represented something. Batman was a good guy. Like Superman and The Lone Ranger he was on the side of good against evil. The forces they fought clearly needed to be defeated.
The world is much more nuanced. But for me, as a child, the world was quite simple. Good guys, bad guys, and then there was everybody else.
Today, I remember Batman fondly. My son also loved Batman and I think he still does. It is, and was, one way we made a connection.
Having kids is tough work and relating is sometimes difficult. Batman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and others helped us connect and I like to think it still keeps us connected in a way even though we are separated by thousands of miles.
I remember sitting around the table one evening with my daughter and when asked what she wanted to do when she grew up she said, "I want to fight evil doers". I loved that.
I believe both my kids want to be a force for good and kindness. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, She Ra, and Hercules were all kind of role models. Each had their own paths but they're symbols of good against evil. That's not a bad thing in my book.
I love that my kids have their own lives but at least we have this in common. We can still connect - at least I see it that way.
When I saw this sandal on the beach all of those thoughts came to me. It's difficult to articulate sometimes. So I thought I would write it down.
I want to remember all those people who fight evil every single day. The people who put their lives on the line so we can maintain a civil society.
Thank you very much.
I should've called this the SS Minnow. It just sits there. Nobody wants it.
Several postings from the Environment Agency, the Beaches Agency, the Boats on a Beach Agency and the Who Owns This Boat Agency have been left stuck to the boat.
I heard "they" (government folk) have found the owner and the owner simply doesn't want the boat anymore. Whoever it is isn't prepared to do anything to take care of the wreck. So there it sits.
This boat, (which has become an eyesore on the beach) has been sitting there since the beginning of January (nearly four months). It's leaked fuel and who knows what else into the bay. Someone tried to put a container float around the boat to keep the fuel from getting into the water. But like everything here it was done halfheartedly. It was just left and now it's just a pile of rubber scrunched up against the boat that needs to be removed as well. That little countermeasure did absolutely no good.
It has been ransacked for parts, metals, and other bits and pieces. Apparently there is a salvage law that allows the boat to be scavenged for parts and things (flotsam and jetsam).
Do you know the difference between flotsam and jetsam?
Flotsam - items unintentionally discarded from a vessel.
Jetsam - stuff that is intentionally discarded from a vessel.
It doesn't really matter - I just had to look it up though.
The windows are broken. The boat's been all but ... all but removed from the beach. I don't know what the fine for littering is but this guy should be stacking up a bill.
Who is responsible for moving this monstrosity? I have seen other boats that are sunk in Red Hook harbor that have been submerged there since I got here five years ago. I'm convinced that nobody really cares. Those boats are still there. Who's to say that this boat won't still be there five years from today.
I guess I feel a bit guilty for not trying to organize some way to dispose of this wreck. I don't have the contacts or resources to move it though. I heard a rumor that people were trying to get a team together to break the boat apart and take it away. I wouldn't mind participating but I'm not holding my breath.
When you don't mow your lawn in Ohio the city comes by and fines you for your grass getting too long. If it doesn't get attended to the city will send a crew out to mow the grass. Then they fine and bill the pants off of the homeowner. Clearly there is no such ordinance or department like that on this island. We just have the department of leaving flyers stuck on a boat, the department of ineffectual environmental countermeasures and the department of I really couldn't give a damn.
Ain't island life grand.
On the weekend we like to go to Magen's Bay. I think I've said that before. For me, one of the biggest attractions at Magen's Bay are the Pelicans. They're wonderful to watch.
You can learn something from a pelican. Pelicans are relentless. They never seem to tire of hunting for food.
You can see it when they dive in the water. Sometimes they come up with a fish and sometimes they don't. If they miss, they don't slam their fist down in disgust. They don't tell themselves they're terrible creatures with no talent. They just get on with it.
They try different tactics all the time. When the fish are scarce they soar high looking for silvery flashes of light glistening off the backs of fish. Then they dive bomb. They fold their wings back and lung head-first into the water. They open wide and scoop up whatever they can take in. Sometime its a fish and sometimes it's just water.
Sometimes, when fish are plentiful, they'll just fly a few feet and crash their faces into the water again. Smack!
No matter what they don't get discouraged and they never give up.
Sometimes we see things we like to call blooper birds. You see, pelicans dive head-first into the water but their bodies seldom, if ever, submerge. They kind of crash land face first into the water. When a blooper, actually called the Brown Booby, dives it goes under water and disappears for a bit. Then, all of a sudden, bloop! It pops up to flit away and catch another fish. They are a lot of fun to watch.
You have to find ways to entertain yourself - don't you. I don't know if this qualifies me as a bird watcher. I'm more of a dive bomber watcher. The Audubon Society doesn't have to worry about me joining any time soon.
Watching pelicans though - one of life's little pleasures.
When I was trying to think of something to draw today I thought about Lake Kezar.
I just finished reading a Richard Bachman book called "The Long Walk". In case you don't know, Richard Bachman is a deceased alter ego of Stephen King.
The book made me think of Maine. Most of the book takes place in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Then, there is the fact that Stephen King lives in Maine.
The book was a grueling tale of - well - I'll let you read it. I thought it was interesting. If you asked me, I'm glad I read it, and I'm glad I finished it. I don't think it's one I'll be picking up to read a second time but it kept me till the end - which is something.
Today's little drawing is a pic of Lake Kezar and a bird box outside my brother's house. The birds that live in these little houses have a great view. Kezar is a beautiful lake. A real place to chill.
"Be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on ... Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them." (Matthew 6:25-26)
I read a book a while back by Jon Kabat-Zinn. It's called "Wherever You Go, There You Are". I thought it was a bit of a quirky title and I thought it was very interesting as well. The book is about mindfulness. I guess everything Jon Kabat-Zinn writes is about mindfulness. This one really caught my attention. I'd recommend it.
People have often asked me what it's like to live on a Caribbean island and my answer is usually something like. "Of course, it's fantastic", or "it's a lot different to visit than it is to live here", or "everyplace has it's hangups.". It's not all swimming, drinking and sunshine.
"John McVie (of Fleetwood Mac) spent two years drinking his boredom away on the Caribbean island of St. Thomas."
I like it here but there are the necessities of life: the eating, daily chores, work etc. None of that changes. Don't get me wrong, I'm extremely grateful I get to work from home and from a fairly exotic location.
I just want to warn someone that thinks, "If I move to a tropical island in the middle of nowhere with a beach and sand and water and warm weather all my dreams will have come true and I will be happy forever."
I'm a pretty happy guy. Things haven't really changed except location. I guess what I'm saying is you have to be happy with yourself first.
The location is then just a bonus. Because, wherever you go, there you are.