hittingthesweetspot by Bob Skelley

It comes in many forms

Like to save money, upgrade when YOU want to? Try Linux

Using Linux is like doing push-ups.

No one wants to do either and this is something that should change.

In the case of push-ups, if you do them regularly you can avoid having a pirate’s dream–aka a sunken chest.

In the case of Linux, if you use it or at least try using it, you will discover the whole new world existing outside of Microsoft and Apple’s walled gardens.

I’ve been using various flavors of Linux for several years.

For the longest time, I’ve never considered it ready for general consumer use but what I did with it on a 2003 Pentium 4 PC has me singing its praises from the roof top. Specifically…

LINUX IS NOT HARD TO USE!

I hesitate to say “easy” to use, as while it may take some persistence, if you are willing to take the plunge, you can bring new life to old PCs (i.e. you can use up-to-date browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Opera, etc. on the web).

Sound good?

It should.

LINUX RUNS ON OLD PC’s!!

My main daily driver is a USB external drive running a generic Ubuntu Mate installation; I’ve used it on both Intel and AMD processor boxes and it works great.

The 2003 Pentium 4 HP rp5000 POS (Point-Of-Sale) PC with 1 GB of memory that I upgraded to Linux Mint 19 is now nothing short of sublime.

It was a glorified cash register at the time of its release back in ’03 boasting 256 MB of memory and running Microsoft’s then ubiquitous Windows XP.

Now, and after a little bit of time, energy and persistence, it capably runs the just-released and latest version of Linux Mint (19 “Tara”) with all the goodness.

Readers need to understand this machine wasn’t a speed demon to begin with and XP, while still being used across the world, is a nasty nest of security violations waiting to hatch on its unsuspecting users.

The rp5000 presently suffers no such issues. It’s running the latest Linux Mint distribution and features up-to-date and secure browsers.

Did I mention this machine is 15 years old?

This is one of the dirty little secrets of Linux; it can be used on machines considered obsolete and not supported by virtue of their age by their original manufacturers.

Microsoft is not so bad. That’s because Windows 10 can run on really old boxes, too, but it costs money and it’s not always a slam dunk installation, either.

Linux, on the other hand, and while you can make donations to the authors of the flavors you support, is either available for a modest download fee or is completely free of charge (with donations optional where appropriate and applicable).

I would suggest supporting Linux developers with your donations where you can.

Instead of using an old PC as a door stop, why not put it to use again. Or even better yet, keep it out of the landfill. I know we’re supposed to recycle where we can but I bet you dollars to donuts too many PCs still make their way to the dump.

Not having to pay for a new PC or Mac (for that matter, and yes, with some TLC, effort and the appropriate distribution, Linux runs on Macs!) is a big deal.

I hesitate to call Macs junk but they are most definitely overpriced for the power, performance and durability you receive in return.

PC’s need updated virus and malware protection and while you can try getting by with only Microsoft’s built-in Windows Defender solution, the chance still exists for chaos should you click on the wrong link and Defender does not come to your rescue leaving you at risk for a nasty infection and a hefty repair bill from your technician.

Linux doesn’t have iTunes, but it has a reasonable facsimile thereof. In fact, unless you’re a professional designer and/or need certain PC-only commercial application(s), there is a substitute you can find in the Linux world that does the job quite nicely.

This article isn’t about all the programs that can be used in place of all the programs you use on a PC or a Mac.

It’s about doing something for yourself that puts you back in control over how you use a computer.

Apple tends to cut off latest OS support for its hardware at 5 to 7 years max.

Microsoft is better, but there are too many costs with both hardware and software considerations.

So, do yourself some favors.

Start doing push-ups regularly.

And talk to your friendly Linux-knowledgeable guy or gal to see about getting you behind the wheel of a nice new operating system inside a beloved and vintage computer.

Your chest will thank you and so will your wallet.

That sounds like a recipe for serenity if you ask me.

Restful Smile more than a good band name

You know you’re doing vacation right when you find yourself sleeping in later and later until finally on your last day of leisure you’ve slept in at least a couple of hours past your typical pre-vacation waking time.

If you’re a morning person I get it; you need to be buzzing and flying around during the early morning hours. I understand this is not optional but it doesn’t make it any less annoying.

But, if your leanings are more nocturnal, and you force yourself to start work mornings early on, then, like me, you probably function at a sleep deficit a lot of the time.

Like most of us, I understand not getting enough rest is not healthy.

So, while I like to do stuff on vacation, if I’m not feeling restored, recharged, rested and regrouped prior to returning to the keyboard, my brain is telling me to take another vacation. And in order to feel good, I need rest.

I found myself taking afternoon naps while on vacation. This is not something I can do while writing, but if I could, I’m sure I’d feel less drained upon completing a piece.

Finishing a post is the payoff for mangling and entangling your way through it.

Once someone didn’t tell me that if I wasn’t completely exhausted at the end of writing a column, I wasn’t doing it correctly. Read this last sentence again if you need to.

To the contrary, I’d like to be able to have enough left in the tank to go out and mow the lawn in 95 degree temperatures (I don’t need to give you a heat index, as I abhor them).

On this most recent vacation I experienced three different time zones in 10 days. I also exercised, ran, hiked and walked a lot.

The beauty of all this activity is that I increasingly embarked on it after the sun had already risen.

I think all this rest and conditioning actually served me well at a Red Rocks concert, too. A lot of my peer group was sitting down. We sat maybe a few times for a total of about 10 minutes while enjoying David Crosby and Friends and the Avett Brothers.

The biggest lesson I learned on this vacation was the importance of rest.

For me, it’s not a vacation if there isn’t lots of it.

Perhaps I’m slowing down, but I prefer to think of it as maximizing what I have left in the tank of Life.

How you feel is sometimes relative to your age.

Most times, however, I believe age can be negated to the point of it being a non-factor when enjoying recreational activities.

But, you have to get your rest and I know it now more than ever.

In order to get your rest without feeling bad over being called old, you need a certain level of self-confidence.

You might also need to disregard all the young people who think you’re an old person who needs lots of naps.

You also may need to disregard anyone who is uncomfortable with recognizing the importance of rest and napping.

Most importantly, you neither have to be old or young to disregard either of these.

Generally speaking, if you’re comfortable in your own skin, you don’t need to have thick skin.

This is because once you are, you tend not to think about what the intentionally sleep-deprived person sitting next to you on the bus with the miserable expression on their face thinks.

Just turn your head toward them, smile, nod empathetically and subsequently return your gaze to the wide blue yonder.

Travel with a healthy dose of perspective

San Diego was new to me.

When I was in the Navy they said 17% of that branch of service was stationed there. I was told that’s about a good figure for today, too.

I appreciated the zoo, as bittersweet of an experience that is considering the animals are no longer in the wild in favor of humans developing their natural habitats for their own use.

I also liked walking around Seaport Village.

La Jolla was very nice and the Pacific was blue and breathtaking from the heights above.

There were no shortage of good eateries in San Diego. I may have one time eaten to live. But now I most certainly live to eat. Life is too short and good food must be savored and enjoyed.

Old Town San Diego was amazing. Hand made tortillas simply cannot be beat. And tequila? Oh yeah, there was some of that, too.

Lunch near the Coronado Hotel with ocean views to soothe us was quite nice.

When we left for the ride to the airport, we agreed five days was just the right amount of time to enjoy some of what the city has to offer. It also left open the possibilities for a return to visit those places left unfettered this trip.

Boulder

The flight to Denver was delayed a little over an hour. We waited near the gate, did some people watching and marveled there were two bars in front of a couple of the gates–how convenient, we thought!

Having lived in and near Boulder for many years, the first thing I noticed was just how much more dense and developed it has become.

For me, North Boulder was unincorporated when I got there back near the end of 1983.

It was pretty rural and not that much traffic to speak of. In fact, horses were still being ridden down Lee Hill Drive and into the motel apartments’ parking area that boasted the Silver Dollar Lounge featuring “ancing and Cocktails” on the neon marquis sign with the malfunctioning light bulb behind the letter “D”.

When you come down Broadway now and enter the North Boulder area, “NOBO” signs greet you.

I understand it’s progress of sorts but it’s also a reminder that time truly does not wait for any person.

I came across one bedroom, one bath apartments off Violet Avenue going for $1,750+/mo.

I think I was paying $275/month at the Silver Dollar and I could walk to the Lounge to get a bite and a beverage and listen to bands on the weekend with no cover charge.

One thing that is the same is the hiking opportunities. It’s still very nice in Boulder for that, provided you do it during the week and in the morning; trails still fill up on the weekends and if you like to hike in a crowd, then Saturdays and Sundays will most definitely be to your liking.

All the development takes away from the Boulder that I knew. The mountains are still here, but everything else that’s taken up the surrounding real estate can also be found in other cities and towns across the country.

It’s a different world now and I get that.

It’s neither bad or good, I guess.

It’s just that if you visit a new place you have no prior perspective on what the town is like.

Not having known what something was like before you had a chance to visit is one of the reasons we try to choose new travel destinations.

Boulder will always have its mountain charms.

And I’m sure I will return again some day.

But, for me, it’s just not the same. And it feels crowded.

Most everyone I knew is gone.

And something called NOBO is really not a place I would have lived in very long if I would have come across this trendy characterization back in the day.

Nothing ever stays the same for very long.

I want to visit Bisbee, AZ some day. That was the town I was headed for when I stopped in Boulder all those years ago. And I never made it to Bisbee.

What if, right?

Painfully and rarely

The best part of flying is overhearing some great comments.

That is, if your hearing permits it.

I don’t enjoy air travel as much as I used to.

Wow.

That’s an understatement.

I don’t enjoy air travel period.

Ever since seating design encroached on every bit of available space between passengers, I have been disgusted with the airline industry.

It doesn’t make it any easier to enjoy traveling when there are really only four major airlines servicing the country, either.

Lack of competition is never a good thing. That’s why mergers and acquisitions can be spun by CEO’s any which way upside down, but the fact remains the resulting lack of competition leaves less for consumers to choose from–regardless of industry.

When you have less to choose from, the overall experience is almost surely to end up being less pleasant.

In the case of the airline passenger, the seating arrangement is best for short people.

You have to pay extra for leg room.

Really?

Thank lack of competition.

You want something besides sugar-coated or salty peanuts for your free snack?

Thank lack of competition.

You want to not have to squeeze yourself horizontally, pulling your shoulders down and in while you fly in the sky?

Thank lack of competition.

When United, American, Southwest and Delta vanquished the competition, they sold this consolidation on the premise it would mean better service and a better experience for passengers.

I call BS.

Not to say it wasn’t an effective argument when they were trying to close their respective conglomeration mergers and acquisitions.

I remember when Randy Newman had a hit with Short People.

I recall some people being offended.

Now, however, short people are having the last word when it comes to air travel.

They are, or must be, who the engineers design the planes’ interiors for.

I know that when I travel, less than tall people will push their seats all the way back.

Tall people can’t do anything about that; they have to grin and bear it.

Except for me, there is no grinning.

It just makes me not like Randy Newman the artist. It’s not like I was a fan in the first place, but Short People really has come back to bite tall people.

You knew short people would have their comeuppance.

Since we are basically sitting on top of each other when we fly these days, the experience tends to lend itself to conversations at high decibel.

The airlines didn’t really consider any of this nor should they have; we have ear buds we can use to play something so it drowns conversation out we’d rather not be part of.

But, people make friends sometimes as a result of this cramped seating arrangement.

I thought about exchanging business cards one time recently when flying, but I couldn’t reach to my back pocket to get one. So, I said, I didn’t think I had any.

That wasn’t exactly a lie, either, because I didn’t have any business cards (that I could get to).

The best recently overheard comment was when passengers were boarding a plane to Denver that I was on. Most everyone was seated and the last passengers were making their way towards their seats.

The chatter had already started and I overheard two passengers who were becoming fast friends say they did not know how tall people were able to fly anymore.

At about this time, a gentleman that had to be at least 6’5″ tall was making his way carefully up the aisle.

He turned and said to the two passengers in conversation, “painfully and rarely” before moving up the aisle and shoe-horning himself into his seat.

On or off the grid, the ostracized hug and the unexplainable path to now

I remember how scatologically incensed I was when I saw how many hits the words digital rectal thermometer had on amazon.com.

My mind was racing with the realization that digital had finally achieved on- and off-the-grid association and fame.

Sometimes when writing online you never know what you’re going to lead with. Often you write and re-write your lead a gazillion times. Sometimes you edit it out entirely and just begin vomiting. No matter whether you disregard the first two sentences of this piece or not, I’ve chosen to leave them in.

For somehow and some way, this will all make just a little bit of sense before the last word of the missive is absorbed by the vast majority of those not looking for meaning to their existence.

If I were truly off the grid I would use a typewriter instead of a word processor, app or some other contraption that involves software born of the digital world.

Being off the grid is admirable, yet also largely unobtainable.

Many of us have established it as a preferred way of life with respect to living healthily.

My dog is off the grid.

Always has been.

And speaking of always, he has been a constant source of inspiration as to how to live.

Currently he is scratching his rear end. In his case, gnawing is a better word than scratching.

But, I get it. It itches. So you scratch it.

How many of us want to scratch our rear ends but can’t or won’t? And it’s not because we live in a digital world. It’s because of who is around at the time, that we don’t just naturally rear back and gnaw on it like man’s best friend does. Well, maybe we wouldn’t be gnawing, but we would reach it to scratch with our hands.

The dog doesn’t care who is around to watch but we do. The gnawing of the dog’s own butt is an example of his version of living off the grid.

For humans, the presence of mixed company is especially treacherous when considering such behavior. Accordingly, it is the prime reason we choose to wait for an opportunity where less scrutiny from others is prevalent.

This human behavior of doing unsavory things out of the public eye predates the digital world of course. But, depending on when manners actually became a thing, we may have been scratching our rear ends and elsewhere no matter who was around. To me, that is evidence of the beauty of life off the grid.

Like a lot of people say about poor behavior today…if you are offended, don’t look.

But we can’t help it. It’s not a matter of our physically looking at the butt scratching of others. It’s that when we’re online, we’re bombarded with digital images and streaming media. It is often upon us before we are able to look away. And this is what I like to call proof positive of life on the grid.

I’m lucky enough to have experienced an upbringing completely off the grid. Unless you consider the general, electric grid that supported such devices as blenders and television sets a grid. It may be technically a grid, but it most certainly does not resemble the digital one of today.

Getting a like is a byproduct of the digital world.

In the off the grid world I grew up in, you could like something or some one could like you, but you couldn’t actually get a like, unless, of course you considered something or someone liking you as receiving, or getting, a like. We, of course, considered no such thing.

Getting a like can cause many of us to experience happy thoughts and feelings. I think somewhere and by some body or entity, corporation or university, it’s been proven via study that someone liking a photo or social media status update can cause the body to emit feel-good hormones–similar to those that flow upon receiving a hug from someone whom you like.

The only thing more complicated than the whole like phenomenon is the physical act of the hug itself.

If new Seinfeld episodes were still being made I would envision Jerry riffing on hugs.

“Do we just go up and hug someone anymore?”

“Or must we pause before following through on the hug until the person intended to be on the receiving end has given some signal they are receptive to the hug?”

“Can hugs ever be an innocuous display of comfort ever again?”

“Will the hug ever come back in style?”

I think not. Especially, if we’re on the grid.

The gift of written gab

No matter what your job is you should know how to speak well, convincingly and effectively.

This ability is otherwise known as the gift of gab.

The gift of gab also sometimes cohabitates with the written word for those lucky enough to possess the talent in both its forms.

Salespeople with just one form may only find limited success. This is because while you should always be closing, your ability to do so is hindered if you follow up great presentations with ugly email communications to your target audience.

People call me out on technicalities because they know I like to identify them just as much as anyone does.

For instance, it might be argued that “gab” concerns only the spoken word. I can see how one could make this error. The implication for gab on the written word, however, is proven several times over when someone tells (or writes) a good story.

If you consider gab to include the entire communication spectrum of both written and spoken word, I would suggest the sky is the limit regarding your ability to always be closing.

Instead of cold calling all the time, if you’re fortunate enough to have someone’s email address, you could easily be in business if your written gab skills are on a par with your spoken ones.

Another reason to communicate by written word is to avoid having someone hear your voice, especially if you’re what I like to call voice-insecure regarding your spoken gab skills.

Voice-insecure is a much better reference than voice-modest or voice-challenged as neither of those characterizations screams non-braggadocio like voice-insecure.

So, let’s say your voice-insecure.

Why would someone be voice-insecure?

Some reasons for this malady would be if you sound like a “get-off-my-lawn-er” or perish the thought and register on the other end of the aural paradigm as juvenile-adolescent.

No matter how you sound, if you can write, even just a little bit, you might be able to corral that lead into a bona fide client by sending a personable email featuring succinct, tantalizing info with razor-sharp focus–qualities that don’t always come across during phone calls–especially if you sound like Betty Boop.

So, now you understand how the gift of gab can work for you other than conversationally and over the phone.

But, I also hear some of you saying, “Well, Bob, I’m going to have to speak with this entity, consortium or person(s) at some point.”

Maybe yes, maybe no.

But, if you must, what would you rather do? Send an email first and then speak over the phone or vice versa?

Depends on whichever is your strong suit, right?

Again, maybe yes, maybe no.

If you always call or speak in person first, you’re losing out on the promise of what an inviting email could bring. Plus, if you are rejected when speaking over the phone, then you’ll appear awkward resorting to a follow-up email–which may very well blast you out of the water entirely with respect to any chance of salvaging the deal in the future.

And a lot depends on what it is the deal entails.

If it’s a speaking engagement, then duh, yeah, lead with your speaking gab strength.

If it’s trying to get a publisher to take on your latest manuscript, then perhaps sending an email first and following up with a phone call will serve you more richly.

When all is said and done, though, it’s best to be good at both types of gab.

Personally, I find written gab more satisfying and rewarding. That is, unless someone appreciates my unintentional get-off-my-lawn tonality when speaking on the phone.

If you’re like me, however, you try to turn a perceived weakness into an actual strength. Add a dose of humor to what you’re trying to convey and it may become a deeply satisfying experience by the time you complete the call.

As always, your mileage may vary. But, you’ll be well on your way to changing your outlook as well as honing another skill in your communication toolbox. And that’s not so bad, is it.

None of this is common sense.

It may have been common sense 100 years ago or maybe even 50, but it no longer is today.

That’s why I do what I do.

From the not-so-common sense files: The art of the plan

A plan is not a plan unless it includes provisions for the unexpected.

I am not one to throw quotes around, especially those from Mike Tyson, but as the former heavyweight champion once shrewdly commented, “everyone has a plan until they get hit in the mouth.”

And it’s the figurative, unexpected punch in the mouth that typically gets left out of most plans.

Whether making plans at work or at home, you should discuss them with all involved parties.

If it’s only a plan for yourself, well then, it’s still worth bouncing the plan off some part of someone other than their mouth, if only for the valued opinion of a person you respect.

If plans don’t have contingencies built-in for things that might occur in the course of carrying them out, they’re really not plans at all.

For what you are doing in these instances is constantly having either, a) meetings with yourself; or b) the previously mentioned affected parties of the plan.

Either of these meetings is undertaken to introduce courses of corrective action to plans gone sideways.

What’s the plan, Stan?

What a real plan does is take into consideration these scenarios ahead of time.

But how many times do we see in our professional and personal lives plans that do no such thing?

Too often.

The problem is that good plan formulation takes time.

You can’t just come up with a decent plan in a matter of minutes.

That’s why so many of us start things and never finish.

Hardly any of what we do is well thought out.

And it’s no wonder.

We’re busy.

We don’t have much time.

So, we fly by the seat of our pants more often than not.

And sadly, when we do so, we conceal our disappointment in the less-than-expected positive outcomes and move on to the next thing for which we’ll have no plan.

It’s a vicious cycle.

It’s also preventable.

But that prevention takes some attention. Focus. And time.

For me, personally, even when I’ve taken longer to think things through on any given subject or potential course of action I might endeavor to take, I do not regret the time used on such efforts.

After all, even if I’m not as successful as I thought I’d be, I take solace knowing whatever didn’t come out exactly right on the first run, ended up as good as could be expected at the end, all considered, because I had a backup plan.

Backup plans are sometimes referred to as Plan B.

I say why stop at a Plan B? Why not Plan C and Plan D? Or even Plan E or Plan F?

Having a half-dozen plans formulated in advance provides the ability to make the most efficient use of all time during the rollout and carrying out of the objective.

Spending more time thinking, studying and considering all of the potential pitfalls to the plan upfront is tantamount to insurance for the bumps in the road even the best-laid plans will encounter.

Unlike any other form of insurance, however, plan insurance in the form of upfront preparation and contingency courses of action, costs only your time and helps mitigate disaster that might befall you.

Will you wing it or invest in yourself?

I trust it will be the latter.

In the weeds

I weeded an ivy bed yesterday.

That’s not a bed you sleep on.

A long time ago, before I weed whacked the ivy bed into semi oblivion, the ivy was growing, well, everywhere in the bed. It had become about a foot tall in spots and was unruly.

No problem, or so I thought upon setting out to curtail some of the height with the aforementioned weed whacker.

Weed whackers are curious creatures.

They can be unwieldy. But when you can keep the twine feeding properly when you need it, there is no better tool for weed whacking efficiently–read that as weeding in the shortest time possible.

Fast forward a couple of years and the weeds had overrun the bed. There is a tree in the middle of the bed that at one time was being choked out by the ivy.

Now, though, the weeds were choking out the ivy that had lessened its grip on the tree trunk by virtue of it being overrun by the weeds.

I practiced ignorance for a bit.

This was the kind of ignorance where instead of not being in the know, I merely chose to ignore the fact the ivy bed had seen better days and the weeds were taking over.

This worked for about a year until my significant other put me on notice.

“Bob, you’ve got some work to do there.”

These are some of the words no man wants to hear, especially when we’re experiencing mid-July temperatures in May.

To be fair, I had gotten about as much mileage as a body can for someone who’s practiced ignorance in this matter. Actually, I was informed I was practicing avoidance by an entity known as Google.

I am very suspect of any intelligence known as artificial.

That said, however, I knew it would not bode well for my short- and long-term peace of mind if I insisted on putting off weeding the bed any longer. I thought about saying I needed to write instead of weed, but quickly thought better of it.

What really would have been more pressing story-wise for me to portray than performing the task at hand which was weeding?

How about telling the story that is the interminable amount of time it takes to update Windows PC’s and Macs compared to Linux machines?

Nah, I didn’t think that’d fly, either.

What about saying I needed to spend quality time with the dog?

Nah, that would have gotten me the stink eye.

There really wasn’t any excuse I could think of, let alone have it sound legitimate coming out of my trap.

I simply nodded after acknowledging the ivy bed was out of control with weeds. And using the weed whacker on the problem would not be tolerated, nor would it be effective.

No, no, no.

What was required was the scourge of weekend gardeners: hand weeding.

Well, maybe not the scourge of all weekend gardeners, but certainly this one, at the least.

I made sure I was hydrated throughout–taking frequent breaks to drink large quantities of water.

I dug out all the weeds by hand.

I tried to leave the good ivy intact as much as possible.

It was tedious, time-consuming work, taking the entire afternoon.

My knees ached.

My fingers were sore but not as sore as they are today.

I really should be on the 15-day blogging disabled list, and I may yet go on it, but I needed to get another post out or risk this site becoming as fallow as the ivy bed.

The ivy bed is probably better called ivy patches now. At least the ivy outnumbers the weeds–which to my tired eyes means there aren’t any traces of weeds, except maybe just a few clover weeds that I can revisit should they grow.

The thing in the bed that there is the most of now is dirt.

It’s kind of like how the oceans swallow the few land masses that exist on the earth. Now, the ivy is like those land masses and the dirt is like the ocean that surrounds the land.

It’s not quite an ivy bed, but hopefully, in time and with some weeding as necessary, it’ll get there again.

Shinzen Friendship Garden photo essay

When visiting the area, the Shinzen Friendship Garden tucked away in Fresno is not to be missed. Peaceful, serene and conducive to meditative states are but a few of the characterizations that come to mind for this zen-like setting. Accordingly, it is my privilege and distinct pleasure to present to our readers one of the rare posts here at hittingthesweetspot by Bob Skelley featuring almost as many photographs as words.

Every picture tells a story don’t it, indeed. Enjoy.

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‘Searching for Sugar Man’ most definitely not a waste of time

Well, that was a waste of time.

Who can be the judge of time that is wasted? After all, we all waste time to some degree or another.

Sometimes the person who says “that” was a waste of time is including a person involved in the experience they deemed a waste of time. If this is the case, the person(s) involved in the experience were all wasting time with one another doing or not doing whatever it was that was deemed a waste.

We sleep half our lives. Isn’t sleeping a “waste” of time? Sure, we need sleep in order to recharge our bodies. Health nuts and gym rats pore over the amount of sleep they get in order to achieve peak performance in their personal and professional lives. That kind of preoccupation is a waste of time–even more so than the actual sleeping itself. Because it’s not enough to just sleep these days. You have to have quality sleep. Obsession much?

Sometimes reading blogs such as this is a waste of time. I admit it. But, if you’re smart, you’ll read through to completion and surely find it time well spent.

I personally don’t read very many blogs. I can only read so much. I don’t have the time to begin with to be choosy with the reading material I avail myself of. And let’s be clear. I am not catering to any one person, group or audience when it comes to subject matter employed in my writing. That, for me, would be the pinnacle of wasting time.

I used to think meetings were a waste of time. Many times they were and are. But, I can’t seem to eliminate them completely from my life. I’ve been told they’re a necessary evil (whatever that means). If they’re not productive, they’re nothing more than a waste of time. If something is evil to begin with I’d hardly find it necessary.

I like it when I am asked to take a survey after doing something, going somewhere, getting my car fixed, flying in an airplane (as George Carlin used to say, “Let the daredevils get on the plane. I’m going in.”), eating ice cream, buying something in the store, filling my car up, etc. Actually, I don’t like it much at all.

Surveys are a waste of time. But it’ll just take five minutes, right? Wrong. By taking surveys you are participating in the paralysis that is gripping the world regarding decision-making.

Surveys are like interviews. They are conducted mostly by businesses and individuals who without them are unable to accurately predict trends that will help them do business effectively moving forward.

One of the problems with surveys is the limited sample size. Something else resembling surveys and interviews are polls. Remember the commanding lead Hillary had in the polls?

We should have stopped using polls, surveys and interviews right then and there. But, of course, we’re gluttons for punishment and just because we have no replacements for them, we decide to keep using them. Pretty much a huge waste of time all considered.

In retrospect I believe going online with a 33.6K/14.4 Modem was a huge waste of time. I should have been smart enough to just stay off the grid until broadband was common.

Which brings us to something that is not a waste of time no matter how you slice it.

I watched the Oscar-winning documentary, “Searching for Sugar Man” recently. This was most definitely not a waste of time. It was one of the most amazing cinematic experiences I have ever had.

And certainly not for its 3D or movie special effects which there were none of.

Unless, that is, you’re able to consider the magic that is the feel good special effect of discovering an artist (Rodriguez) who remained commercially obscure most of his life until being found “alive” in this country by fans in another. No doubt like me you’ll be glad you did.

Since the movie came out six years ago, though, I must have been wasting time for having not discovered Rodriguez until now. Perhaps I was living under a rock. I don’t know.

But, allow me to disclose one of the best ways not to waste three minutes and 25 seconds by having a listen of “I Think of You” by Rodriguez:

 

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