As a creative person, I will often get struck with ideas or projects and even solutions to existing work-blocks without notice. (this is a good thing lol) If I can’t preserve the thoughts at the time there is a good probability I might lose them forever. So I try to get to the computer, writing pad, recorder quickly.

Invariably, I find myself in a creative mood with a great thought…….. ready to capture what will be my greatest work…….. only to have to wait for the computer to do a software download and update. Then comes the mandatory restart and my idea is totally gone. I go to record in my home studio and face load times, cables not connected for this project, something decides not to work for no reason other than it knows I am in a hurry and other events that would be funny in other situations. I can’t find a pen and the pencil point breaks and the notebook is downstairs.

When I get a cup of tea and a block of time to get things done I like to power up my computer or studio and start working. I don’t want to wait for the updates. I am on a mission.

I feel the same way about other areas. If I need to vacuum the floor, I don’t want to empty the container first. When I am ready to paint, I don’t want to stop and clean all the brushes first.

It might seem to others that I waste a lot of time on preventive maintenance and cataloging, but I know the frustration of losing something that could be wonderful.

I am a Before person. How do you look at the day?

Image  —  Posted: May 16, 2019 in Opinions and Observations
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In February of last year I had bi-lateral carpel tunnel surgery. I wrote about this in an earlier article. The surgeon slices a wide muscle apart to make room for everything else in your hand that slides underneath. The muscle bands grow back together when you heal.

Some people thought I was crazy for doing both at the same time. I was working and had insurance and could have strung out the surgeries over the majority of a year. I had a couple thoughts on the process. If I strung it out I would not be able to play guitar, keyboards or drums for a long time. I know from past experience it takes a while to get your ‘chops’ back when you have not played your instrument for a while. I also knew I would need up build up strength and flexibility after surgery.

I also did not want to have one ‘bad’ hand while my right hand was healing. I would be unable to do a lot of daily stuff anyway, so I might as well do them at the same time.

I have lived with a number of left-handed people all my life. I often tried to mimic them by trying to use my left hand for simple tasks. It also gave me a different perspective on a lot of seemingly unrelated things. After allowing my hands to heal and stitches removed I thought this would be a good opportunity to ‘train’ both hands during physical therapy exercises. So I treated both hands the same. I did the exercises but I also used both hands as evenly as possible to get dressed, eat, and stay alive while my hands were healing and getting stronger.

So as a little challenge, try using your non-dominant hand for everything you can for one week.

Brush your teeth. Write a letter. Comb your hair. Carry a full cup of tea or coffee. Tie your shoes. As much as possible. I really got much better with my left hand during recovery. I did not try to imitate my right hand movements; that just gave me a headache. Rather I looked at my left hand and back at the task and let my hand decide how to move. Give it a try.

Image  —  Posted: May 7, 2019 in Opinions and Observations
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                                                                                                   (C) MSK 4-28-2019
I listen to your words
Over and over as if I had not heard.
Why am I hypnotized?
What holds me finally realized.
Your voice gives them meaning
Half way through the day I realize I’m dreaming.
Can’t say I understand
Things don’t usually end the way they’re planned.
Listening to your words
In the dark of silence it all sounds absurd.
Lost without the story?
Turns so clear so deep so true to me.
There’s no other way to say it.
It is in the sound
In the melody
The voice as it carries.
There’s no other way to say it.
Opens the heart
Pounds the soul
The heart as it buries.
There is no denying the power
As it overwhelms and begins to devour.
The dreams I’ve known forever
Lie in the softness of light and strength of a feather
There’s no other way to say it.
It is in the sound
In the melody
The voice as it carries.
There’s no other way to say it.
Opens the heart
Pounds the soul
The heart as it buries.

Image  —  Posted: April 29, 2019 in Poetry
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Maybe everyone is like this but when a creative idea comes to me I can’t help but get distracted by thinking about related inventions or projects. I go from one tangent to another so fast that I can lose track of the original idea. I start off with a great theme for a song or a life-lived revelation – or maybe an invention or tool I have not seen before – or maybe the topic to a post on my blog, only to see it become a mist and impossible to grab again!

When using extreme examples you can see the danger in any system. I played the game chess much more when I was younger but I still like to think ahead to as many moves in the game as I can. The combinations can get staggering for each move in advance you try to predict. But you also have to predict your opponent’s moves as well. That is the only way to win the game. You cannot win by chance or luck. You cannot “hide” your pieces or position. You cannot out last your opponent to win.

I try to do the same thing at work or in life. If you look at ‘what happens next‘ BEFORE you make your move your chances of making a good move increase dramatically. But what if you get a creative idea and start analyzing tangents and looking into minor side-projects or paths? What if everything you do has to be checked first by looking steps ahead in the game?

Some chess players would almost get paralyzed by the astronomical possibilities in the mid-game and not be able to make a move. I am sure this is why they invented timed chess rules! Anyway, you can see the player freeze as each possibility opens up a dozen others. While looking ahead is a great skill to have, applying this system to everything is a black hole that will freeze you in your tracks.

All roads have detours. Every species has variations. Each process tried and tested. No failure moves forward. One size does not fill all.

I love tangents. I dream of possibilities. Remembering all is impossible for me so I make a point to appreciate each idea as it is revealed, embellished and sometimes lost. It is all good. Take the detour; sometimes the sign posts are misleading.

Image  —  Posted: April 26, 2019 in Opinions and Observations
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Today is a Nothing Day. I’m gonna do nothing.

Image  —  Posted: April 24, 2019 in Opinions and Observations
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My wife and I have always subscribed to the pay-it-forward plan. We do a lot of things for others without payment or promise. We have always been that way. As a result, we enjoy things others do for us – either to repay our past efforts or to pay-it-forward on their plan, so to speak.

Last week as a result of a repay, we got to go to a cabin in the Red River Gorge area in Kentucky. We were a bit early in the season as neither of us likes big crowds and our schedules keep us tied down during normal ‘peak’ times for traveling events. You can see blooming trees just starting to take off. Once on the peaks we could look down on the tree-tops for an eagle’s view of early Spring.

Many of you liked my earlier pictures of Spring near my home. I wanted to share a few more pictures knowing spring does not happen on a single date everywhere. Some of you are still looking forward to green and blooms and others are looking to summer already.

Image  —  Posted: April 18, 2019 in Photography
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                                                                      MSK 4-15-2019

Metaphors and analogies
Comic plays and tragedies
Miracle cures and man-made disease
Sealed with handshakes and apologies.

You couldn’t tell an ancient shaman
From a clown selling snake oil remedies
Observing you see much in common
Debating the pain as you burn or freeze.

     You chose the wrong path long before today
     Fame and fortune have gotten you this far
     Felt you deserved the status and glory somehow
     But no amount of luck is going to help you now.

     Family and friends give you all you ask
     Generations of wealth demand compliance
     Doors opened easily for a wink and a bow
     But no amount of luck is going to help you now.

Miracle cures and man-made disease
Debating the pain as you burn or freeze
Sealed with handshakes and apologies
From a clown selling snake oil remedies.

     You chose the wrong path long before today
     Fame and fortune have gotten you this far
     Felt you deserved the status and glory somehow
     But no amount of luck is going to help you now.

     Doors opened easily with a wink and a bow
     But no amount of luck is going to help you now.
     You took all that your power would allow
     But no amount of luck is going to help you now.

Metaphors and analogies
Comic plays and tragedies
Miracle cures and man-made disease
Sealed with handshakes and apologies.

Image  —  Posted: April 16, 2019 in Poetry
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Usually in Southern Ohio we get Spring-like weather fairly early. Too early, in fact, for most of the flowers and flowering trees. Once the trees and flowers start to bloom we usually get hit by a cold blast and all the blooms freeze. The flowers wilt over and lay on the ground in frozen colors to die. The branches of fruit or flowering trees turn dead and brown.

This year was perfect. The late winter cold blasts did not last long and were not cold enough to do real damage. I would like to share some of the pictures I took yesterday in a favorite local park in my area but every highway and street in thee city is just bursting with color and shouting “SPRING”!

My camera at home, I took out my phone (like everybody else!) and took these pictures of the day. I hope you enjoy a few of these.

Image  —  Posted: April 9, 2019 in Photography
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This Tuesday I wanted to feature a song by a good friend of mine. “Denham Street” was written by Bob Enderle. Bob Enderle died too many years ago. He wrote a number of songs that I really like. I am not a fan of most popular music. I don’t need to hear one more song about boy loves and loses girl, or how the singer wants to party and have sex all night.

Denham Street and many other songs he wrote are about social injustices we so easily overlook and ignore. This song points out how unfair, uncaring and mean our social policies are. He makes the song sound sweet while the dark lyrics dig into our consciousness.

I did a simple recording of this song. I started with some drum tracks and I played my 12 string Ovation guitar for the main instrument track. I added strings to reinforce the guitar. Once I sang the melody I thought it would be a good song for harmony. I added the harmony vocals and listened to the rough mix a few times.

After a few times through the song I turned off the drum track and liked it better without them. I worked on it for days. I wanted to ‘do the song justice’ and make it fit the image I have from Bob’s version. Sweet tragedy.

Here are the lyrics and my version of Denham Street. I hope you enjoy.


            “Denham Street”                                                     Bob Enderle
 
Car alarms squeal on Denham Street     
Like coyotes howling at the moon.
Tattered grey men look for some place to eat
Teen age mothers search for her womb.
Street lights shattered near the playground;
Darkness hides an old routine.
Cracks in the family, crack in the hall.
 
There’s an overpass over Dehnam Street
Supporting Highway 95.
There are no exits for Denham Street
But it’s only a twenty minute drive.
To the shops with plywood windows
Through the alleys of despair
Just another wrong turn and you’re almost there.
 
To every city there is a Denham Street
And to everyone who grows up there
There are few exits from Denham Street
Fewer thoughts behind an empty stare.
Social programs lack the funding
Social consciousness has died.    
Solutions on the shelf have never been tried.     

Image  —  Posted: April 2, 2019 in Cover Tune Tuesdays
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To be honest I do not have a bucket list though there are things that I expected to be able to do before I died. One of those items I really have not achieved, but I did get to take a first step.

Last year I was approved and certified for medical marijuana in the state of Ohio. There are only a small handful of dispensaries open in the state……. they are still way behind schedule. (this reminds me of a saying attributed to Mark Twain that I heard as a young adult. It is reported that he was asked what he would do if he knew the end of the world was coming. He quickly stated that he would move to Ohio. When asked why, he said that everything happens 20 years later there).

True still today, we are usually behind the rest of the country if not the world. So even though I had to drive hundreds of miles out of my way, for the first time in my life I purchased marijuana legally in Ohio. I figured by the time I was 30 years old politicians and citizens alike would wake up and remove the lies surrounding marijuana use and it would be legal for all.

I am not sure when or if this will happen, but I am not willing to take the risk in waiting. So I took the first step until recreational use is a reality. The experience was a bit bizarre, but I will get into that in a later post. Right now it is time for me to take my medicine.

Image  —  Posted: March 27, 2019 in Opinions and Observations
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