Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Music of Sound

The secret lies within...


  Don't you agree that hearing is an incredible sensory perception?  Besides the obvious applications such as conversation and music, there are so many discreet portrayals of audio waves that can have a profound affect on our minds. 



 Imagine examples of individual sounds:

-  Wind rustling through the leaves of a tree.
-  Hearing the old clock on the mantle chime.
-  A babbling brook.
-  The satisfying sound of playing cards clipped with a clothes pin to the wheels of your bicycle.
-  Popping bubble wrap with your fingers.
-  Crickets in the night.
-  The pleading sounds of a dog.
-  A squirrel eating a nut.
-  The clinking of milk bottles being left on the door step in the early morning.
-  The gentle breathing of your mate in the quiet of night.
-  A purring cat.
-  Hearing the end of period bell ring in school.
-  The uniqueness of hearing someone speak with an accent.
-  Snow crunching underfoot.
-  Waves lapping on the shore.
-  The rapture of a child's laughter.
-  The footsteps of a loved one approaching.
-  Hearing my grandmother cooking in the kitchen.
-  The sound of whales.
-  Thunder
-  A baby's first cry.
-  The crackling of a fire.
-  A woodpecker.
-  The sounds of delight at the arrival gate of an airport.
-  The cracking of ice on a frozen lake.
-  The sound of the mail box closing on a new treasure of mail.

  That is just a fraction of everyday sounds.  Interestingly, the absence of sound can affect you as well.  I moved from living near a busy road to a house at the end of a street in the countryside.  It was so quiet in my new home that I had to get use to the lack of sound.  I tell people that the silence was deafening!  But once I got use to not hearing the din of the old home, I was soon able to pick out individual sounds at the new home.
  Never take hearing for granted.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Innocence Lost

  Human frailties are a given as we all have them to one degree or another.  Controlling them, now there is the problem.  That is a human frailty in itself, somewhat of a quandary.  The human frailty under the microscope, today is innocence.  We are all born innocent and learn what is contrary to innocence.  That can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it.  For example, when you are young, you are innocent, therefore gullible.  As you get older, you become wiser and learn the ways of people and then become less likely to be 'taken in'.  On the other hand, you may become the one that learns how to 'con' people.  I think the gift of innocence is one of the saddest things to lose as we grow.  It is part of the magic that you see in children's faces that, unfortunately, dims with age.       
  However, sometimes the flame isn't always completely extinguished.  Occasionally you will see it shine through in the form of humanitarian aid or comfort.  Or it may strike a chord when you are reading or watching a touching story.  That human trait should be fostered not buried away as an embarrassing human emotion.  It is sometimes a driving force for people professionally, too.  Often times, people in political office have high ideals and every intention to 'make a difference'.  Nothing wrong with that, except they get beaten down by the system, make compromises, and give in, leading to mundane representation or worse, corruption.
  My recommendation is to be 'responsibly innocent'.  OK, don't roll your eyes, one can still get along in Society and not come off as a 'Pollyanna'!  What I mean is, conduct your daily activities with a proper attitude by looking for positive attributes.  Be genuinely interested in what you are doing and who you are dealing with.  I doesn't mean that you should be a phony.  It is like getting stronger by exercising.  You have to exercise your mental attitudes to really want to change them into a more 'innocent' posture or any other attitude or posture, for that matter.
  Or to put it simply, just try being a kid again!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

It's The Little Things......

  I think it is the simple pleasures that makes it all worth while.  Have you ever stopped to think about what they are?  I can think of a few:

- When I first climb into bed and rest my face on the cool softness of my pillow, and if I want to have an encore, I flip my pillow over and do it again
- The refreshment of gulping down ice cold water when I am very hot and thirsty.
- The rejuvenation of a shower when I am tired.
- Finding Crème Brûlée on the menu.
- This one is corny but I like how snow crunches when you walk on it on a very cold and early winter morning.
- Finding a parking space near the shop's door.
- A free upgrade to business class or first class when flying.
- Hearing from an old friend you haven't heard from in years.
- A call from a son or daughter for no reason.
- My favourite dish or dessert made for me.
- Finding something that I have lost and thought I would never see again.
- Waking up and thinking "ugh, it's morning" then realizing it is Saturday and going back to sleep.
- How dogs are always happy to see you, no matter what.
- A five payday month.
- Brown paper packages tied up in string, no, wait, that is someone else......
- Needing something at the store and finding it is on sale.
- Having someone to talk to about anything.
- Having a favourite book or TV show to look forward to.
- Going to bed one night in the fall, knowing I am going to get an extra hour of sleep because of Daylight Savings Time.
- Pictures of grandchildren and the art they create.  Better still, their company.

  Wow, I didn't realize there were so many, I could even keep on going, but don't worry, I won't.  So taking stock of what you have that is not-so-tangible is a good thing.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

And Now A Word From Our Sponsor....

Pears Soap  Having a blog is kinda like being a radio DJ, you don't really know who is listening, unless they 'call in'.
I occasionally will chat with someone and learn that they, indeed, read my blog which I appreciate hearing.
Soooooo, it would mean a great deal to me, dear 'listeners', if you would occasionally leave a post below the blog entries where it says comments and/or go to the right side of the page and become a 'follower' by clicking on Follow.  That way, you will get my pearls of wisdom (or rocks in your shoe) automatically, if you are lucky enough to have the correct brand of email.
  This blog serves two purposes, one; it is an outlet for my brain so it doesn't get backed up and then I would have to call Roto-Rooter, and two; maybe I will come out with something that might be helpful to you in some way, or at least give you a chuckle.
  Thanks for listening, folks, and tune in again, soon! (cue the music)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Random Info

  Here is a collection of info that may be interesting to you or draw a response like "Are you kidding me?"

√  If you are thinking about buying a copy of Windows 7, you better check to see if your PC can handle it by going here.
√  If you received a scandalous email about a prominent person and want to know if it is true, go here.
√  If you want to get almost perfect information about ANYTHING, check this out.
√  Did you miss your favourite TV show?  Here you go.
√  Want to buy or sell (for free) something locally?  This is the spot.
√  A handy free utility from Windows called Windows Defender.
√  Want to know where a word came from?  Right here.
√  Want to know where a phrase comes from?  Easy.
√  OK, here is an obscure one, what if somebody asks something about a particular satellite?  OK!
√  Need the lyrics or chords of a song?  Tada!
√  And every body's favourite, math calculations!
√  A good site for free and low cost computer tests.
√  You never know when you might need those trig tables!
√  Want to read one of the classics?
√  Watching TV and you gotta know where you have seen that actor before!  Click here
√  A free but not perfect language translator.
√  The time anywhere in the world.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Reality TV

  Here we go, again, another admission.  I will occasionally watch a 'chick flick'. I sometimes even get teary eyed.  I think we are all guilty of that once in a while.  However, there is one thing I don't understand;  how we can be empathetic of people when watching fictitious stories in movies or on the 'goggle box' (that is what my wife sometimes calls the TV) but be so cold hearted when out in the real world?  We are always ready to find fault with people, especially when we are driving.  I am often guilty of that.  Or you might have to deal with a rude sales clerk.  Of course personal problems are no excuse for unprofessional behaviour, but we are human, after all, and coping can be a bit challenging at times.  We worry about how busy we are and how stressed out we are about a myriad of things, it never occurs to us that just about everyone out there is in the same boat.  Probably almost everyone we encounter might have a true to life story that could make anyone shed a tear, but they soldier on.  The struggle might be a little easier for them if we share a smile, show some compassion, or lend a hand.  Of course it is great to be the receiver when we struggle, as well as the giver.

Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation. - Henry Ward Beecher

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Inquiring Minds Want To Know.....

    I am a confessed addict, but I am not a cured addict.  Don't plan to be either.  From a small child, I have always wanted to know how things work.  To accomplish that, I would have to disassemble it.  I got into trouble countless times with many relatives because I would take things apart.  Unfortunately, the ability to put them back together came later.  Anything in the house was in peril, if it had screws in it, it was doomed.  As I got older, I would try and satisfy my curiosity by simply watching other people work on things, TV repairmen, plumbers, carpenters, telephone repairmen, etc.  (to be PC, you can substitute 'person' anywhere it says 'men').  Eventually when I hit my teens, I had my own little workshop in the basement.  A couple years ago, I visited that basement and the workbench is still there.  In my little haven, I tinkered away on radios and TVs and other gadgets I could get my hands on.  I could even fix them, so I started doing little jobs for folks in the neighbourhood.   Back then, the radios and TVs were the old 'tube' types that had to 'warm up' when you turned them on.  I still work on those radios but now they are called antiques, how did that happen?
  I enjoy my profession very much, one reason is that I get to take things apart, but what makes it even better is that I can put them back together and I rarely have pieces left over!  Speaking of which, I have learned that if you take something apart and put it back together often enough, you will have enough parts left over each time to put together a second one!
  So, as you might guess, most of my toys, while growing up, were the kind you put together and take apart.  Now that I am grown up, the toys come from places like Radio Shack and Home Depot.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Cold War (no not the battle against winter)

  My first experience with the Cold War was in 1955.  At the time it was surreal, because I was a little kid and all I knew was; when the air raid alarm went off in school, we were suppose to take cover.  Other then that, I was oblivious, which is the way it should be when you are a little kid.  So the alarm goes off, and we all file out of the class room and line up facing the walls in the hall way on our knees with our heads on the floor covered with our hands and our little butts up in the air.  I was clueless as to what this was all about.  I imagined in my little head that monsters were sauntering down the hall way, passing us by.
  Except for the news on TV, the Cold War seemed very far removed from me.  It didn't localise itself again until 1962 and we had the Cuban Missile Crisis.  There was a great interest in building bomb shelters as the idea that there were Russian missiles in nearby Cuba was very unsettling.
  From 1968 until 1972, I was particularly aware of the Cold War while I was in the Air Force.  During my three years overseas, there was always a constant reminder of enemy threats that reflected in our training and day to day routine.  Especially in Turkey where we were so close to the Soviet border.
  I considered myself fortunate that my time in the military during the Vietnam war never included a tour in SEA (South East Asia), though it came very close to happening, but that is another story.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Bill Gates' Kid

Image result for windows  Okay, something from left field....  I was reading a book about Windows 7, in an attempt to stay on the top of my game.  The thought occurred to me that we have all been witnessing the evolution of a child.  "What?" you say?  Follow this, essentially Windows started as version 3.1, a baby, if you will, barely able to get around.  It continued to a toddler with v. 3.11 and now quite mobile.  When we get to Windows 95 and 98, we have reached adolescence and it is really feeling its oats.  Then the teenager comes along in the form of Millennium and getting into all kinds of trouble.  It finally becomes a young adult with XP and settles in.  But wait, Vista comes along and we have mid-life crisis.  I am hoping with Windows 7, we have reached the point of the OS becoming a mature adult and settling into a nice smooth ride.

It is only when they go wrong that machines remind you how powerful they are. - Clive James

Mark On Society

  To me, one of the greatest compliments that anyone could have, is to create something and have it accepted worldwide.  For example, I would be hard pressed to go anywhere in the civilized world and find someone who has not heard of Windows®, or Coca-Cola®, or even Jello®.  My wife often tells me, in jest of course (I think), that I should invent something so we could be well off.  I have sometimes taken that idea seriously, but have not been creative enough to come up with anything, yet.  But the secret to success is proper marketing.  For example, we all know that Thomas Edison was a genius and came up with many inventions (colour me envious).  More importantly, Edison was a good businessman.  That is what made him famous because his business sense knew what was needed and his skills accomplished his goals.  Nikola Tesla was also a genius but he did not gain the fame and notoriety that Edison did, although some of his inventions were more innovative then Edison's.  It is because he didn't have the business and people skills Edison had.
  I was talking to a son, today, about creativity.  He gets a bit frustrated because he has a lot of creativity to unleash and can't really do that where he works.  An inherent problem for an artist of any trade trying to fit himself into the 'system'.  I can't imagine what it is like to have a profession like a writer, or a painter, where you have to tap into those creative juices on demand.  Hence the dilemma of 'writer's block' I guess.  I wonder how an inventor gets his or her ideas?  Do they walk around looking for needs to be filled or do they get a lightening bolt idea?  I am still waiting for my inspiration.  Either it will come when I least expect it, or the realization will come that it isn't going to happen.
  So I don't think I am asking for too much.  All I want is to come up with one idea, the business sense to develop it, let it gain international fame,  and let the royalties pour in!

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. - Thomas Edison

I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain. - Nikola Tesla

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I'm All Shook Up.....

 

surprise.jpgWhether you are a Darwinist or a Creationist, there is no doubt that human physiology is remarkable.  More specifically, human emotions.  I was thinking, today, how we physically react to emotional response.  For example, if we are scared, our eyes are wide open, we breathe faster and our pulse increases.  Some responses are really intriguing. Depending on the event, such as fear, euphoria, heart break, being caught in the act, despair, etc., we get different physical reactions.  It might be a pain in the pit of our stomach, a cold sweat, a warm rush, a shot of pain through the brain, tenseness, among others.  I suspect there are medical reasons for all of these cause and effects, nevertheless, the human psyche is fascinating.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

What If?.......

  Many of us have deeply buried ambitions that may or may not come to fruition.  Either they are impossible or impractical or beyond our means or ability or what have you.  Who knows?  Maybe we will accomplish one someday!
  Here are the ones that come to my strange little mind:

1.  What if I wrote a book about time travel?  The main premise of the book would be to solve historical mysteries.  I would have to physically place my time machine in the location of the historical event and then simply go back into time.  Easy enough.  At which point, I would find all the facts necessary to figure out what exactly happened, say, for example, the Kennedy assassination.

2.  What if I found a winning lottery ticket and came into a lot of money?  To be more concise, the amount would be $89,628,409.73  No problem.  Find a different home (brick), buy a truck, save a portion, invest a portion and share with family.  Would I still keep my job?  I dunno.

3.  What if I invented something that would be practical and provide me annuity income for the rest of my life?  A little fame wouldn't hurt either.  I would tell you what the invention would be if I knew.  And if I knew, I would go ahead and invent it and this blog wouldn't be necessary!

4.  What if I could recover all those little treasures that I had growing up from the time I was born?  They would be very interesting to see now, not to mention collectibles!  I really loved my Remco Crystal Radio and Erector sets.

5.  What if I could email family members and friends that have passed on?  I would tell them all the things I should have said while they were still with us.

There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were, and ask why not? - Robert Kennedy

Friday, August 20, 2010

On The Clock

 
File:Time clock at wookey hole cave museum.JPGWhen I was a kid, I always kept an eagle eye out for empty bottles (cans weren't returnable in the olden days!), then I would cash them in.  Now I can't find a kid in the neighbourhood who will take my empties for free, it just doesn't seem to be worth their while.  When I was fourteen, I couldn't wait for summer.  When it finally arrived, boom, I was out looking for a summer job.  And I did so every summer before college.  The idea of doing something and getting paid for it, gave me a sense of independence.  Since then, work ethics in society has gone into a decline.  It amazes me to hear about people that take their lunch break and never come back to work.  I was on a service call to download video from a closed circuit camera system today, because the business owner suspected that an employee was stealing.  In the first place, it is too bad that businesses have to put in camera systems.  However, since there are opportunities for lawsuits by customers and theft by employees, businesses don't have any choice.  Having to get this evidence reminded my how much the workplace has changed over the years.  A few years back, a former employer was approached by an individual looking for work.  He was told that there weren't any openings available.  Much to my boss's surprise, the man offered to work for one week for nothing and his efforts can be judged.  The man was taken up on his offer, my boss was very impressed and hired him.  My favourite expression about the methods of employment by prospective employees is 'they want to start at the top and work up!'  Whether you are applying for a job at a fast food restaurant, or an executive at a Fortune 500 company, you should properly prepare.  I have actually seen people apply for a job wearing jeans and a distasteful t-shirt with no resume, no reference, and no proper introduction.
  If you want to get the most out of your job, which equates to getting the most out of your life, take pride in what you do, no matter how mundane it is.  Be a professional and your efforts will not go unnoticed and, in time, your situation will improve.  And when the time comes to change jobs, glowing recommendations can be a big help. 
  Your work ethics are an integral part of your character, let it work for you.

Be true to your work, your word, and your friend. - Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, August 19, 2010

In The Recesses Of Your Mind

brain-763982-1
  Okay, time for some mental exercising!  Get those synapses firing!  Here is the challenge; how far back can you remember?  What is the earliest memory you have?  Where were you and how old were you?  It has been suggested that the average age of the first memories is three years, six months, with the vast majority of subjects dating their first recollection somewhere between ages 2 and 5 years.  I think I am on the average mark.  My earliest memories are being in a crib in a hospital with pneumonia.  My greatest fear was getting a shot in my butt while I was asleep so I made every effort to sleep on my back.  After release from the hospital, my mom and dad brought me home.  I remember standing on the back seat of the car and my arms hanging over the back of the front seat between my parents.  I announced that when I get home I am going to give my sister a big kiss.  I was dismayed to hear that wasn't going to happen because my sister had chicken pox.  I also remember living in Camp Le Jeune in the base housing.  I passed the time undermining the front door sidewalk with a spoon and figuring out how to build an enclosure over the porch like some of the other homes had.  The best I could come up with was nailing a couple bits of board to the side of the porch.  That might have been my very first handy man project.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Times They Are A Changin'

The Mego Giant Robot  I just finished watching a film called Surrogates where everyone stays at home and lives remotely through a humanoid robot that does all there work and play for them.  A far fetched concept but one that we are working toward.  We are always plugged in somehow, whether it be a cell phone, a computer, texting, television, virtual reality, or other gadgets.  'Virtual Reality', now there is a misnomer for you.  You step out of reality and step into a machine to simulate reality, makes sense.  Nowadays, you cannot be without your cell phone for a minute.  How did we ever survive before?  In the past, a household typically had one telephone that you would see in the morning and then not see again until you got home from work or school.  How did we ever manage!?!?!  Texting and emails have dispensed with civilized communication.  You use to write on a piece of paper a letter that would be mailed.  There actually were classes in school on how to write a letter, or a thank you note.  Now, if you get a communique, it is an email or a text message.  If you are lucky, you will get a birthday card in the mail, but more likely it will be a canned greeting from a website that will email it to you.  Even books are being replaced by an electronic tablet called a reading device.  If that isn't enough, chips can be placed in our bodies so that our location can be known or if our medical history is needed.  At this point, I could go into another whole discussion about the dawning of George Orwell's 1984.  But lucky for you I won't!
  Okay, this old fossil is finished ranting and raving about Things To Come.  Oops, there I go again.
All I am saying is, it is okay to grasp onto new things, but let's not let go of the things that make living alive.  Let us keep some of the charm and mystery and keep some questions unanswered.  Do we really need to know the answer to everything, have everything done faster, and be multiplexed into every form of communication simultaneously?  I guess that is human nature.

"It has become appallingly clear that our technology has surpassed our humanity." Albert Einstein

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Roses & Thorns

  I guess I am on a roll with self-enlightenment,  I can always use it. There is something that I always need to work on and that is keeping a positive attitude.  We always find it superficially satisfying to find fault in something or someone.  It is a normal defense mechanism to make us feel better about ourselves at the expense of others.  The challenge is to sincerely look for positive attributes and reinforce them verbally.  In the long run, it will be deeply satisfying for all concerned.

Contempt is the weapon of the weak and a defense against one's own despised and unwanted feelings. - Alice Duer Miller

Monday, August 16, 2010

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

  When I see the behaviour of some people, it gives me a refresher course on a very simple concept.  If you can't respect yourself, you cannot respect others.  If you have a low opinion of yourself and degrade yourself, your morals and demeanor are like water and seek its own level.  Love yourself so that you will be empowered to love others.

"To thine own self be true" - William Shakespeare

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Paying Forward

pay it forward  There is a film that came out in 2000 called Pay It Forward, that you may have seen.  Most people would probably categorize it as too Utopian.  It wasn't a big hit but it certainly had a good message in it.  The basic theme of the film was if someone does something for you, you should do the favour to three other people.
  There have been numerous things that have been done for me, both large and small.  I couldn't even begin to try and 'catch up' by 'paying forward' all the kindnesses to me.  Here are some examples:

1.  My grandparents took me in and raised me until I was on my own.  I recognised too late how much they sacrificed for me.  Instead I was an immature teenager with no expression of gratitude.

2.  When one of my children was stricken with an eye disease, it was tough going because we had no insurance.  The eye surgeon was sympathetic and did not bill us for any of his services.

3.  When I went cross country to start and new job, friends let me stay with them for an extended period of time and treated me like family until I could get my family moved out to join me and get situated.

I imagine that the givers of kindnesses might think of the concept of paying forward for kindnesses they received.  In spite of all the turmoil in the world, there is always a shining example of good.

Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you." - Princess Diana

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Gourmet Corner

Image result for comfort foods  Do you have 'comfort foods'?  I do.  My older sister has similar tastes with a few variations.  My comfort foods originate from my childhood:

1.  Crushed saltine crackers and milk in a bowl with sugar.
2.  Bread and milk in a bowl with sugar.
3.  Baked bean sandwich.
4.  Fluffernutter.
5.  Cain's sandwich spread sandwich (nothing else).
6.  Peanut butter on saltine crackers.
7.  Eating frozen lemonade concentrate out of the can with a spoon (pucker up!).
8.  Cinnamon and sugar on buttered toast.

  I suspect this is why no one has encouraged me to open a restaurant.