Saturday, August 27, 2011

On Wisconsin

While eating my midday meal, I flipped through my few channels for something to entertain or inform me. Not much besides children's shows and infomercials at 11:00 AM. So I listened to James Crow, Professor Emeritus of Genetics at the University of Wisconsin, give a graduate level presentation on population genetics. I didn't really follow his ideas, but I did like the idea that in Wisconsin, we have a wealth of knowledge, and we share it.

Meanwhile I read from my monthly Wisconsin Lion newspaper. Young people come from around the world, hosted by, and lives changed by Wisconsin Lions and their families, friends, and communities.

(Click on the picture to read the article.)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Find the reef

I read Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson earlier this year.

At one point, Johnson talked about the amazing abundance of different lifeforms that are present only at the reef in an ocean. The vastness of the ocean notwithstanding, and the beach being a virtual desert - but at the particular position that we refer to as the reef is where the magic happens.

I just listened to The Creative Mind (TTBOOK).

A section included an interview with a writer who described parts of the scientific understanding of the manifestation of the universe. To paraphrase: he said that for hundreds of thousands of years, the universe was a soup of subatomic particles. Then, with amazement, he said, some of these particles coalesced into the simplest atoms, H, He, Li. And then my mind made connections: these changes were made possible by a change in temperature - the universe cooled at a certain distance as these particles streamed away from the central heat source of the infant universe. And I envisioned an imperfect spherical explosion shockwave, and my mind labeled this as a reef. Then the apparently perfect position of the Earth which gives rise to life, stood out in my mind as a reef. And possibly a beltline around a city, with it's exits hosting a ring of significant economic and socially significant areas.

So this I say unto you: if you wish to find the position in a system where significant change takes place, find the reef - it's where the magic happens.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


The Tempest - Giorgione
I have just read A Soldier of The Great War by Mark Helprin.

A story of life, love, sadness, beauty, loss and resurrection.

You should read it.

I was inspired a few weeks ago, by the creations of Derek Sivers.

I found this quote on his website (randomly generated), "The best chance you have, if you want to rise, is to give yourself up to loneliness, fear nothing, and work hard." I was compelled to learn more about the source. So I read the book. And it has now become a part of my being. As I read the book these past few weeks, I believe it has already begun to manifest itself in my own art - this almost living thing, this idea, that is this book, is pushing though the filter that is me, and is coloring my creations. I am a sensitive critic to my own existence - a perception I refer to as, "living meta." Last weekend the beginnings of a song exuded from me - a mode, or scale, new to me.. a rhythm new to me.. first a melody which inspired the chordal structure of what I feel will be the chorus, then the walk of the verse - the plaintive climb to that high point. A pounding beat that waits on the edge of the finishing chorus - wondering, hoping for what is to come next, then back to the trudge.. the bridge, where we find the realization, we notice that something special is happening, has been happening all along, and it is expressed within the context of this song.. this life. The theme of the lyrics is building in me now, but I haven't yet expressed it through my voice or pen.. it is still a feeling. But I am quite confident it is connected to this story.

I watched a locally (LA) televised book review from the early 90's on YouTube this morning. Do not watch these videos if you haven't read the book - too many spoilers. Just take it from me: read the book.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Peaceful Easy Feeling

I am having a nice relaxing weekend.

I suppose the most pressing task I have is gathering together some videos (of her singing) to send my friend, Andi.

On Friday night, I picked up Jamie from his week with the von Oepens. Phil and I met in Wittenberg for the switch, as Phil was heading to work in Plover. Jamie played his new 007 video game for a few hours on Saturday. (Shelly's taking the kids to The Dells - he'll get plenty of exercise there.)

My wardrobe in this mildly air-conditioned apartment has been light-blue denim shorts and navy blue t-shirts (South Pole, Tommy Hilfiger, and Rasmussen College.) And for a good portion of each morning - pajama pants.

I haven't been outside* much. I did help Shelly fix a tire on her SUV when she came to get Jamie yesterday. And I stood outside to watch the rain blow in yesterday evening. The Packers Family Night Scrimmage was supposed to be on TV, but when I checked in, Fox 11 showed pouring rain at Lambeau. The streets in Green Bay are laid out in relation to the Fox River - which flows SW to NE through town. I live just off Verlin Road, perpendicular to the Fox, a straight-shot four miles from Lambeau. After an appropriate amount of time, I walked out to watch the clouds spill forth. It was a soft feeling.

*I believe I'm having my second recurrence of shingles.

I was drained in the evenings two weeks ago, then rebounded to have a great, energetic weekend with my family in Rhinelander. Then again drained this past week. Also, my right eye was slightly swollen this week, the eyelid was red, and it was gunked and crusty - but somehow different than conjunctivitis (pink-eye). I didn't make my diagnosis until I started working on my goof-off troll-quotes picture. I stumbled upon a picture of St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa with a swollen eye. Many links to stories, and his diagnosis, from The Mayo Clinic, was shingles. Then I remembered my doctor in Rhinelander five years ago - when I first had the classic "red spots on one side of your body and a lot of pain" shingles - tell me that this "chicken pox in your nerves" syndrome sometimes manifested itself in the eye. I remembered thinking back then, "that would be odd."

Furthermore, this past winter (I think February), my right eye was very swollen, but not crusty or gunky - (also these two eye events haven't been painful.) I noticed it first on a Sunday, but since there weren't any other symptoms, I ignored it - and it did subside somewhat through the day. When I awakened for work Monday morning it was very swollen, so I called in sick, and went to the Aurora Clinic. I saw a Physician's Assistant (who happened to be a doppelganger for my friend Suzanne and had Suzanne's sister Jennifer's name - I don't recall the PA's last name.) She was stumped, gave me some oral antibiotics, and an antibiotic gel to apply to the eyelid, and in less than a week, the swelling was gone. And I didn't think much more about it - until I saw Tony La Russa's face a couple of days ago.

Shingles is caused by a virus. We know of no medicine to cure it. A drug company says they have a drug that may lessen the symptoms if you take their medicine within the first few days of diagnosis, but that time, for me, has come and gone already. And it seems that Western medicine is only recently documenting shingles as recurring - my doctor in Rhinelander did mention the possibility.

So I haven't been too physically active this weekend. I've been reading A Soldier of The Great War by Mark Helprin - very good. Communicating with my college buddies on our Badger game weekend - looking like Oregon State. Checking up on the Brewers, Packers, watching a little golf. And following my mind through music.

Some songs I try to play and sing - and they fit me pretty well, sometimes I get stuck (that's learning.) But I bookmark tabs, and keep notes for myself, until I feel I'm ready to add it to my repertoire, when I organize and print a chord/lyrics sheet. This week's eclectic mix includes

I think I'll go have a snack now.