I had such fun with yesterday’s list post, and I learned so more about my friend Cathy and her hopes, that I thought I’d do another. This time list the movies you watch over and over again and why.

Here’s my list, in no particular order:

It’s a Wonderful Life – i totally relate to George Bailey – big dreams of doing great things only to find that I’m an average guy, with an average life, doing average things – when Jimmy Stewart’s characters says “I’m shaking the dust of this crummy little town off my shoes and I’m gonna see the world. Then, I’ll go to college, see what they know, then I’m going to build things, big things…that was me at 17 when i left home to seek my fame and fortune! On the positive side, It’s a Wonderful Life helps me remember that everything touches everything else and I wouldn’t be who i am today without all of the interactions I’ve had with people who have come in and out of my life…however briefly.

 

 

 

Trading Places – on top of being a very funny movie with Eddie Murphy at his best, it’s also a reminder to me that one day your Billy Ray (down on your luck, bum) the next day you’re William. Or vice versa, one day you’re Louis Winthrop the 3rd (everything is going for you – you have the killer job, hotwife, plenty of money) the next day your Louie (flat broke, homeless, a hooker for a girlfriend).

 

 

 

 

Last of the Mohicans – makes me run faster and train harder whenever i play the soundtrack of this movie in my head. It inspires me to live with purpose and intent, and to be intense in pursuit of what i want, no matter the cost.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crossroads – i love the blues, i love the lines, and Joe Seneca’s character, Willie Brown is the king of verbal aphorisms like ‘a man ain’t no man ain’t got no car’ or ‘blues ain’t nothing but a good man feeling bad thinking about the woman he left behind.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Last Samurai – I’m always a sucker for a good warrior movie that emphasizes true warriorship and the deep connection to spirit the true warrior has to have to be a fully realised human being. I love the samurai and the Bushido Code – do everything as if it is the last time you’ll ever get to do it…kiss partner like its the last time you’ll ever kiss them (because one day it will be) that’s intense!

 

 

 

 

 

Point Break – not Kenau Reeves finest acting hour, but it’s one Patrick Swayze’s best in my opinion. I love the who surfing as a spiritual quest motif and the whole adrenaline junkie live free or die mentality, as Brodie, original Bodhvitsta says, “it’s not a tragedy dying doing something you love.” Conjures up that longing inside of me to be that passionate about something.

 

 

 

 

 

 

American Pie – When I’m feeling overly nostalgic for the good old days when the world was my oyster and me and my homies were masters of the universe and obsessed with getting wasted and getting laid.

 

 

 

 

 

American Beauty – There have been huge stretches in time in my life, particularly my early 40s where I was Lester Burnham – There are so many great lines in this movie:

Look at me, jerking off in the shower — this will be the high point of my day. It’s all downhill from here.

It’s a great thing when you realize you still have the ability to surprise yourself.

Our marriage is just for show. A commercial for how normal we are when we’re anything but.

And my absolute favorite line:

Both my wife and daughter think I’m this gigantic loser and they’re right, I have lost something. I’m not exactly sure what it is but I know I didn’t always feel this… sedated. But you know what? It’s never too late to get it back.

When I watch this movie, I feel like Lester, desperate to be passionate about life, to really, truly feel alive in the moment. The rhythm of eat, work, sleep – rinse and repeat, where every day is pretty much the same as the day before. Even now, my day today was no different from yesterday, and I suspect tomorrow will be the same as today on the whole. It’s beyond mundane and repetitive.

So which movies to you watch and over and over again? Write a post and tag me in it or leave your thoughts in the comments.

Write 10 lines, each starting with the words, I hope…

I hope the Zombie Apocalypse starts soon; humanity needs saving.
I hope tomorrow is a better day than today.
I hope my knee gets better.
I hope someday to see my name 10 feet high and luminous green.
I hope the political arena on both sides of the pond settles down again to something of some semblance of order.
I hope I’m not stuck in a Glory Days scenario.
I hope (and I know I probably shouldn’t say this) I die before I get too old.
I hope someday I get what I truly want (which is what, I hear you ask).
I hope I never run out of good coffee.
I hope one day this will all make sense.

Your turn. Write an ‘I hope…’ post on your blog and tag me in it.

I’ve been in all out geek mode since about 5AM. I watched a load of Youtube videos on code editors. I’m on a mission to increase my HTML 5 and CSS coding knowledge and skills. I know some basic HTML already, but not nearly enough to be dangerous. I wanted to know which code editor would be best to use. The field of choice included: Dreamweaver, Microsoft Visual Studio Code, Sublime Text, Brackets, and Dreamweaver. I know that you can use any plain text editor if you want to hard, hard code, but most of the ones i listed above offer some sort of assistance to make coding faster.

I narrowed it down to Bracket and Visual Studio Code, and chose the latter as a place to start my coding journey this time around (thousands of years ago, when I first got into the web and was building websites, I used to use Dreamweaver and Flash (remember when the web was dominated by whiz bang sites made in Flash?). I went with Visual Studio Code because I didn’t want to be distracted by the visual coding element of Dreamweaver, plus Dreamweaver is a subscription service under the Adobe suite. Whereas Microsoft’s product is open source and free. You can’t beat free. lol.

If you have any experience of these, or have a different recommendation for an editor, drop me a note in the comments.

Then after refreshing my coffee and cramming a couple of hot crossed buns down my belly, I was immediately onto setting up my Raspberry Pi to replace my kaput iMac. I got a cheap monitor and found an old keyboard up in the attic to play with. (Note: if you’re not familiar with the Raspberry Pi, they’re really tiny, cheap computers that you can actually a lot of things with. A lot of people use them for coding. I was going to use my to set up a pirate radio station. The device itself is about half the height of an iphone 8+ and about the same width.)

The monitor doesn’t have speakers so it was another trip back up into the attic to get my recently retired computer speaker setup that I used to lug around with me as a trainer.

Of course, nothing is ever completely straight forward in Linux (in my experience anyway. I’m so used to the point and click of the Mac that having to use command lines to do simple tasks like change the screen resolution or download the latest version of Firefox for Linux, is a little distracting for a dude who is easily distracted (I’m writing this post while my Raspberry Pi is updating and upgrading so I can hopefully install the Firefox browser. I wasn’t much enjoying the experience of the Epiphany browser that came bundled in with Debian.

Still, I’m looking forward to upgrading my coding skills. And messing around with the terminal inside of Linux has made for an interesting afternoon.

I must confess though, I do feel guilty having spent the last 12 hours geeking instead getting outside and doing something more physical. But then again, I would never get the concentrated time to do this during the week.

I have to take a quick break shortly to cook up some grub (gammon, eggs, and chips) and then most likely I’ll be right back in the office for some more quality geeking. Although my friend Zoltan just passed by my window and tried to lore me away with the promise of whiskey. I might not be able to resist that siren’s call.

Dave wrote a post about his musical journey. He shared some of the tunes (genres of tunes) he’s been into over the years. It reminded me of the show I used to do for Radio Warwickshire called the Musical Journey Show

I have about 30 of my old shows on there you can still listen to. I keep meaning to make some one off shows on occasion, but Spotify has got me being lazy. It’s too easy to just share a playlist, much more time is consumed recording a show.

Perhaps , I’ll make a show for one of my posts during the challenge.

We’ll see.

C

I’ve been threatening to publish another poetry chapbook for at least a year now. I have a completed manuscript, just haven’t gotten around to editing it. I think what has been holding me back, is that I want to do something different with it in terms of format and form. I played around with releasing it as a graphic novel:

And i’ve played around with rewriting it as a series as a flash fiction collection. Or even a series of experimental videos. Not sure yet. But, anyway, here a few of the poems I’m tinkering with.

Something Different

I came to a road that
Looked familiar to me
I asked a bird where
the road led. She said
‘to a place you’ve already
been.’ But I yearn for something
different.’ That’s what all the boys say,
She said and flew away.

**

She rubbed her thumb
across my palm, rewrote
my past and my future

She put her bookmark
in my heart, then walked away

That was All Saints Day

It’s November now, a pale
cold night. I walk the streets
no passion in my heart

I can’t admit these thoughts
to her, she has her own
demons to chase. I turn my
coat against the cold and walk
into the night

alone

**

She Could Only

My sorrowed eyes looked
beyond her vintage lips.

I could have wandered on,
lived my life half wake, a
broken wing, crushed by
your ignorance.

I never really understood
why she said she could only
hate what she should love.

Old Maid

Rimbaud looked over
my left shoulder as I
read A Season in Hell.

He pointed to a line in his book.
I read it and wept. I knew the meaning.

“What an old maid I am getting to be,
lacking the courage to be in love with death.”

The only remedy I could
think of was to spit back
the words of Dylan Thomas

and promise to myself to
rage, rage against the dying of the light.

(for a few seconds anyway)

I don’t have that kind of stamina.

 

Blogging is cool, isn’t it? I’ve enjoyed reading your blog posts each day, and getting a glimpse into your inner worlds and getting to see the world through your eyes. I’ve traveled to different parts of the world through your blogs and pictures. I’ve seen the past. Got glimpses of the future. And we’re just 11 days into the project.

Blogging is a whole different animal when you step outside of the commercial or stylised norm and use the medium, instead, as a means of self-expression and exploration. And it’s yours. Facebook doesn’t own it. Twitter doesn’t own it. You don’t grovel at the feet of the almighty algorithms or the whims of some benevolent tech god. It’s your platform to publish whatever you want, however, you want. It’s your platform.

 

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Perspective, always!

A post shared by Clay Lowe (@soulcruzer) on

I don’t know if you take advantage of the WordPress syndication tools or not, but you should if you don’t. The goal is to publish everything from your blog and then syndicate out to all of these other platforms. At present, I’m only automatically syndicating out to Twitter. Facebook (at their whim) turned off the API to allow you to automatically syndicate to profile, but you can still auto-syndicate out to your page if you have one.

I still need to fix the IndieAuth plugin so I can then start tweeting from the blog as well. There are a few other apps I need to tweak as well so that I’m totally pushing out from the blog.

I know that this sort of self-publishing isn’t necessarily a suitable setup for people who’s blogs are a commercial marketing tool. That’s a whole other animal with a different set of rules and structures and measures. If commerce is your aim, then my suggestion would be to have two blogs – a personal blog and a commercial blog. Ha. I know those taking part in this 30-Day challenge are probably thinking it’s hard enough finding the time to post to one blog, let alone two!

But your commercial blog will have a different purpose and therefore a different rhythm. I’m about to start another blog to support my digital learning aspirations and my current workplace learning practice. On there I will niche. On there I will be much more focused.

Anyway, I hope you all are enjoying #BlogPals19

C

I was born as the counterculture revolution of the 1960s was peaking. Although I was too young to be an active participant in the revolution, I was old enough to remember and be shaped by the ideas and principles people like my parents held. I can remember my mom and her friends smoking pot and masking the smell with incense. I can remember the sounds of “free love” happening behind the closed door of my mom’s bedroom where she and her friends used to go and hang out.

The counterculture revolution sounded like fun, but what was it all about?

In its loosest sense, the 1960s counterculture grew from a number of converging events, issues, circumstances, and technological developments, which served as intellectual and social catalysts for rapid change. At the grassroots level, the young people coming out of the beat generation were beginning to get restless with suffocating ways of life and wanted to rebel. Inspired by Ginsberg, and his colleagues’ work, those actively pushing the counterculture agenda were trying to achieve a higher state of consciousness.

Several factors distinguished the counterculture of the 1960s from the authority-opposition movements of previous eras. The post-war “baby boom” resulted in an unprecedented number of young, affluent, and potentially disaffected young people as prospective participants in a rethinking of the direction of American and other democratic societies. As the 1960s progressed, widespread tensions developed in society that tended to flow along generational lines regarding the war in Vietnam, race relations, human sexuality, women’s rights, traditional modes of authority, experimentation with psychoactive drugs, and differing interpretations of the American Dream. New cultural forms emerged, including the pop music of the British band the Beatles and the concurrent rise of hippie culture. As the era unfolded, a dynamic youth subculture which emphasized creativity, experimentation and new incarnations of bohemian lifestyles emerged. In addition to the trendsetting Beatles, many other creative artists, and thinkers, within and across many disciplines, contributed to the counterculture movement.

All high ideals that seemed worthy of pursuit, but what happened to that idealism and did the countercultural revolutionaries win or did they sell out to The Man? This the question Gary Trudeau was trying to answer in A Doonebury Special that aired in 1977. I watched it for the first time today and it made me think what did happen to the counterculture revolution and what, if any, is the modern-day version of the counterculture revolution? Am I a part of it? Or am I a card-carrying member of the establishment content with conforming to whims of the herd?

Thinking about it now, mainstream culture is dominated by consumerism, reality tv, and celebrity worship, and on the political front, those fighting for a better society seem mostly preoccupied with being “green,” neutralising the sexes and demonizing the rich. I don’t fit the mainstream. I’m not even an outsider. I’m a casual observer, content to exist inside my self-contained bubble of reality on a planet called Clay.

Maybe it’s time to leave my fortress of solitude and rejoin the fray. But who will I be fighting for and against?

1
Getting into the world of work in a career you want is a hard slog. We churn kids out of education as if it was still the days of the industrial revolution where they graduated and then went to take their place next to their parents in the factory. Now they step out into a torrential current with no life jacket hoping someone will lend them a helping hand to at least get on them on the bottom rung of the ladder. The trouble is, we release hundreds of thousands of these kids into the workforce at the same time all across the country. It’s like the Hunger Games. Those that have the will and the strength win. Those who don’t, fall behind and their souls die a little every day.

2
What i can’t understand about American politics right now is why are supposedly smart folks like Steven Calabresi doing everything they can to twist the law to justify the president’s misdeeds? Like why would you twist the 6th Amendment and try and apply it to impeachment proceedings which are a whole other animal. Why are they grasping at straws?

Hey, look, I am not a political dude. Politics is a dirty business, I get that. But there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed. And if you do cross them, do the honourable thing and resign, don’t make a mockery of our constitutional government.

And here I am, getting all political again. Sorry about that.

3
All of the members of the original Alice Cooper band were on the same cross country team in high school.

4
Dolphins give themselves individual names.

5
I’m sitting here floating on this rock. There are a lot of people out there floating on this rock. Mostly we bumped into each other politely and no more is said. Occasionally we collide into each other hard enough to leave an imprint that scorches each other’s soul. The flame consumes us until it burns out and we are left to ashes hoping like the phoenix to rise again. Rise again you say. But some times I don’t feel like rising again. I want to lay down in the ashes until my body grows cold. And then something happens. A light. A spark. A flame. And out of the flame, I rise again.

6
In 1938 L.A. Kindergarten teacher Helen Hulick went to jail for wearing pants in a courtroom. When I read shit like that, it reminds me of just how ignorant we can be. She was 28 and was meant to be in court to testify against a couple of dudes. The judge ordered her to leave and come back to court in a dress. She refused. So the judge threw her in jail. Crazy isn’t it?! Goes to show you what it means to have no power and that no matter how rational we think we are, we’re nothing more than a bunch of smart apes!

But we are making process though, and for that, I am grateful.

Rolling into week 2 of #BlogPals19. Happy Veterans to all those who have served and are serving. My family has a long tradition of serving. It was nice to pull this image together of the Lowe’s in uniform:

Also, we’re closing in on the end of the year. I suspect a lot of folks are taking quick stock of where they are now in relation to the goals that set back in January. Have to finish the year up strong and start setting sight on what’s to come in 2020.

Hoo-rah!

I have a lot of mixed emotions right now. It’s Remembrance Sunday in the UK. The Nation turns out “to commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts.” At 11:00, the Nation goes quiet for 2 minutes.

Tomorrow, in the States, it is Veteran’s Day which honors all who have served in the military. The reason for the mixed emotions is the state of play in the U.S. with the current President who seems bent on destroying the very values and principles of the Nation for which me and my fellow brothers in arms fought and died for throughout the history of America. In fact, he seems bent on undoing the very Constitution that has been our guiding light for 243 years.

Andrew Sullivan’s piece in New York Magazine, “This Is No Ordinary Impeachment” is disturbing. His opening gambit:

“This is not just an impeachment. It’s the endgame for Trump’s relentless assault on the institutions, norms, and practices of America’s liberal democracy for the past three years. It’s also a deeper reckoning. It’s about whether the legitimacy of our entire system can last much longer without this man being removed from office.”

The really disturbing thing for me is the current President’s followers who openly say that he can do no wrong, that he is above the law and that they would choose to defend him over the Constitution. My oath as a U.S. Army officer required me to:

…support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and DOMESTIC; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…

While I was obliged to follow the LAWFUL orders of the President, where my allegiance lay was clear and unequivocal.

I really hope Congress steps up and does its duty, otherwise, we’re headed for even darker times.

2
I finally feel settled back into my home routine, well not quite yet because I haven’t been to the gym in a week. Once I get some iron in my hands, I’ll feel right as rain again.

3
Don’t try to cage your inner beast. I wrote that in my notebook a while back. I feel like I have to suppress it though, otherwise, people might misunderstand me. I followed up the note with a warning to myself. ‘If you lock the beast up it will become angrier and more fierce and eventually break free and wreak havoc. The remedy: offer the beast kindness and learn to understand its ways. Let it be your ally and add to your strength.

As Maslow said: “The thing to do is to find out what you are really like inside, deep down, as a member of the human species and as a particular individual.”

It is easy to forget who you are.

I must continually remind myself that pleasure and pain are instruments of control. And if I let these instruments disturb my psychic energy, then I’m fucked.

Flow follows focus.

I know that I can’t grow until I use my full capacity. Otherwise, stagnation is my only other option.

I think I’m up for the task, even though sometimes I stumble and fall, I tend to get back up, dust myself off, and carry on. I guess I’ll keep doing that until I can’t.

4
And here we are, Day 7 of 30 for #BlogPals19