Some say reality is broken because we lack a unifying goal to which all of our decisions and actions play towards. Once upon a time (and for a shrinking few) the ultimate goal was/is to get into Heaven or (if you’re an away from person) to avoid going to Hell.

Back then, when people believed in a Heaven and Hell, the stakes were high. Make the right choices in life and get rewarded with eternal life and heavenly bliss. Make the wrong choices in life and get banished to Hell and tortured for eternity.

Think about it, if you really believed in a Heaven and Hell (eternal bliss or eternal damnation) would you still make the same choices you do now? Would you change the way you live?

And now that the stakes aren’t that high, what’s to be gained by living a virtuous life versus a life of debauchery?

from Book I, Paradise Lost:
So Satan spake, and him Beelzebub
Thus answer’d.   Leader of those Armies bright,
Which but th’ Omnipotent none could have foyld,
If once they hear that voyce, thir liveliest pledge
Of hope in fears and dangers, heard so oft
In worst extreams, and on the perilous edge
Of battel when it rag’d, in all assaults
Thir surest signal, they will soon resume
New courage and revive, though now they lye
Groveling and prostrate on yon Lake of Fire,
As we erewhile, astounded and amaz’d,
No wonder, fall’n such a pernicious highth.

Yesterday, I was wondering what it would be like to return to a state of innocence like before I was aware of the wicked ways of the world.

Remember Supertramp’s Logical Song, kind of like that before they sent him away!

I was ruminating about this over a turkey sandwich in Starbucks and this poem poured out:

Before you became aware of your sexuality,
Before you became aware of sex,
Before you became aware of good and evil,
Before you became aware of violence,
Before you became aware of deceit,
Before you became aware of betrayal,
Before you became aware of hate,
Before you became aware of work,
Before you became aware of money,
Before you became aware of death,
Before you became aware of sin,
Before you became aware of ‘I’
Before you became aware of limits,
Before you became aware of heartbreak,

There was bliss.

There it is. 30 days of blogging, old school style!

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What’s old school style? Well, it’s when you turn up to the keyboard, stare at a blank screen and think, what am I going to write about today? What’s on my mind? What’s eating me upside that if I don’t get it out on the page, it’ll devour me. There’s no motive to sell. No SEO friendly posts. No editorial blogging calendar. There’s just showing up and bleeding onto the page.

Yeah, some days you write something halfway decent. Other days it’s total crap. And then there’s all the stuff in-between. You may only have one or 2 readers, but you don’t give a shit because it’s your blog, your means of self-expression, your truth. And if other people want to read it great, if not, well there are a million other blogs out there for them to read. Move along!

As I wrote the other day, it hasn’t always been easy to sit down and crank out something on the blog every day. On some days, my tank was just plain empty or I didn’t feel like having a conversation, not even an imaginary one (I like to imagine I’m talking with a friend when I write my posts).

There was only three us in the challenge (we lost four the day before the challenge started, which is a shame because I think they would have really benefitted from it) because if blogging every day helped me with one thing, it helped me to steal back my time from social media to apply to my own thing instead of being all cozy behind the walled gardens of Facebook and only being served up what FaceBook wants me to see.

I’ve been enjoying being a part of the IndieWeb Movement and making new friends through my micro.blog as well as on Mastodon (which largely came about because of my micro.blog syndicates there (as well as to Twitter (but Twitter is a different animal))).

Will I continue to blog every day? Probably not exclusively here. I suspect I’ll bounce between my three blogs – this one, my micro.blog, and my revived learning-oriented blog. So yeah I guess I will still be blogging every day, just not exclusively in one place. On the days I don’t feel like talking, I suspect I’ll only be on the micro.blog.

Now I need to finish up and get packing for my business trip to Munich tomorrow morning.

My hat’s off to my blogging buddy, Cathy, from way back in the day. We actually met online (and I’ve only seen her in real life once) and Dave, another Internet friend (whom I am yet to meet in person). This was his first time as a blogger. He doesn’t live a million miles away so perhaps will get together in real life and drink a beer of two together. And maybe Cathy will stop off in London when she hits Ireland (next year?) and we can spend the day together. Or since she likes mountains, we can maybe climb Snowdon together!

Until next year, this is me signing off from #BlogPals19

Peace!

You know, I’m not overly political. I have an inherent distrust of all politicians and largely see the left and the right as two-sides of the same flawed coin. For me, governments are a necessary evil. If I were to peg myself on the political spectrum, I’d be an anarchist for sure (bring on the zombie apocalypse!). Toning it down just a little, then I can just about see myself as a libertarian.

George Washington was right to warn against a two-party system in his farewell address to the nation he’d served for 20 years. The Union is a mess these days (barely worthy of the title union) with all the polarised partisan politics that has divided the nation along sharp lines. I’m riding on faith that things will sort themselves out eventually. I have to admit though, this is the first time in my life that I’ve had doubts about our ability to recover and that perhaps we have reached the beginning of the end and most go the way all other once-great nations have gone…the rise and fall…

But then someone like Tulsi Gabbard comes along and my faith is restored. I know she doesn’t stand much of chance of getting a seat at the table, but one can hope, and if not this time maybe next time.

Oh and did I mention, she and two of my other favourite people were on a podcast together?

Blogging for 28 days straight has been a little tough. There have been days that if I was not doing this challenge, I would not have created a post. I would have let myself get by with the excuse that I was too busy or too tired to blog.

But there is another reason. Sometimes you simply have nothing to say. Or like in real life, somedays you just don’t feel like talking to people. And to me, personal blogging is a conversation with others. So the days that I really struggled are the days where I just wanted to be inside my own head and not have to extend myself to talk to anyone one. When I blog, I imagine I’m speaking to someone. So if I’m not in the mood to “talk” it makes it hard for me to blog.

It’s like not wanting to go to the party that your friend is throwing but you feel like you have to go out of obligation to your friend!

The other thing is this: blogging or to blog is generally associated with writing. And in the current climate usually involves writing on a narrow topic or niche and generally to solve a particular problem unless it’s a news-oriented site then the point is to report the news. Whereas for me, I see blogging as a medium for self-expression and a vehicle for documenting your life. To me, a blog is like a public journal or diary where you capture your thoughts and observations about life in general and your own life in particular and share it with others. Personal blogs are like the watercoolers of the Internet – a place to gather to share stories about what you’ve been up to.

Stylistically, I’m partial to stream of consciousness, juxtapositions, and lyrical flow. And I’m also partial to using whichever medium feels best at the time, whether it’s writing, audio, video, drawing or photos and any combination thereof.

I like the idea of and the fluidity of microblogging with platforms like Twitter, micro.blog, Mastodon, or Tumblr. The IndieWeb Movement, of course, is encouraging people to use their blogs in the same way as you would Twitter or Tumblr. If you’re using WordPress I’d recommend the indieAuth plugin which enable your blog with up 20 different post formats.

This creates a real sense of using your blog as a documentary tool.

I guess the best tip I can offer is to understand why you blog? Your ‘why’ will dictate the format most appropriate to use to achieve your why. I suspect it’s also about your perception of blogging, whether it’s a formal tool, or informal tool and whether you believe people will fnd what you have to say interesting or not. As a blogger, these are things you’ll have to recocile with yourself.

I just bought one of Hugh Macleod’s old books, Blogging in Your Underwear. It’s not his best work, but he makes some good motivational points about blogging and what it stands for or could stand for. He tells a little story about an interview he watched of Henry Rollins, the punk rocker and performance artist:

I was wtaching Henry Rollins being interviewed on TV by some clever media twinkie. Twinkie was criticising Rollins about his new work, saying something like, why did you do it this way, why didn’t you do it your old, normal way, will your fans approve of this new direction, yada yada, yada…Rollins just looked at Twinkie and said, ‘I thought rock ‘n’ roll was about Freedom…?

And that’s exactly what the Internet and blogging in about – Freedom, and using your computer instead of a guitar to share your truth!

 

It’s been a while since I’ve done any drawing. Feeling that call again and this is what came out. Actually, it was the research I was doing on learning experience design and it’s intersection with design thinking and visual thinking that got me in the mood again. And all of that put me back in touch with cartoonist, Hugh Macloed, and the work he does over at gapingvoid that really inspired me to pick up my pen again.

One of the things i like about drawing digitally is that I can show you the evolution of the drawing. I mainly use Procreate when I make these, which gives you the option to record your pen strokes and export your process as a time lapsed video.

Pretty neat.

 

I’m not sure what possessed me to Google Map search my childhood home (one of them anyway, and probably the most formative one). From the map, it looks like the place is abandoned now. It is an old army base where the enlisted families lived. There are no cars in the parking lots which why I’m saying in must be abandoned now. I had some really great times in this small patch of Earth (Eatontown, New Jersey).

Had this Bruce Springsteen track playing in my head the whole time:

Ah and, Happy Thanksgiving Day to my countrymen.

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