Sunday, April 24, 2016

CARPE FUN MOMENTUM ... BUT THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER



TRAV FOLLOWING HIS HEART--HIKING, SMOKING, AND DRINKING
Crappy weather!  No busking -- just woolgathering.

In the ODES (23 BC), the Roman poet, Horace states that the future is unforeseen and that one should not leave to chance future happenings. Horace suggests that RIGHT NOW is the time to take action for your future.

CARPE DIEM, from the Odes, is Horace’s Latin aphorism usually translated as seize the day, and sometimes in university English classes as grasp the day.   Actually, carpe means to pick or pluck, and so the best literal translation ought to be PLUCK THE DAY (as it is ripe).

From this tag of Horace, I’d like to introduce my latest maxim, CARPE MOMENTUM, to be translated as PLUCK THE MOMENT.  In order, though, to pluck the moment, you first have to make a moment, and it is so important to make that a moment to remember (pun intended).

To make such a moment you must accept yourself as you are, not as how you might be or should be if this or that could or would happen.  Self-acceptance means learning to live with your flaws.  Self-acceptance is a must to keep you in a positive mental state (of peace and mind), and in a positive physical state (of matter and body).  Learning to appreciate oneself,  both mentally and physically, is the major key to fulfilling life of song and dance.  This, however, is easier said than done.

 Let us endeavor to live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry” (Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson). 

Factoid:  All of us, eventually, are going to meet that sorry or not undertaker.

In the meantime, it is probably best to experience bursts of immortality, which we’ve all done on occasion.  In my memory bank I’ve a few examples immediately come to mind.  


  • One time when I was playing in the NHL (Notekeu Hockey League), I scored four goals in a hockey win against Neville, and in the Neville rink!
  • Another time in a student-teacher hockey game I scored seven goals.  I was an English teacher and over 500 students and parents were in the rink stands to witness such adroitness.
  • Running my first marathon was a burst of immortality .  I ran it with my long-time running mate, Burt, who is now 86 years old and has stopped running.  I am still running.  I love running. 

Factoid:  Today I’ve just changed my running regimen.  I’m currently reading BORN TO RUN (Christopher McDougall), given to me by my very good and fun friend, Chris.  I love running and … I love hiking.  Inspired by this read, I’ve decided now to run hills and nature trails on the rugged east sanctuary side of Wascana Lake, rather than my two decade perfunctory static run around the pollarded west side of  Wascana.   I’ve decide this change in toughness so that I am in better mental and physical condition to hike the exotic trails when I travel Europe and elsewhere.

  • Another burst of immortality exploded when I finally pressed my first set of pies (a 45 pound plate on each side of the 45 pound bar) on an Olympic bench press. That was HUGE. That was an early 80’s burst, and I’m still pressing that and more pounds these days.

  • And getting published … WOW! A WISHBONE EPISTOLARY (1985), ONE HUNDRED DAYS AT THE HOUSE OF CONCORD (1994), THE CREEK (2012), all out there in print!  Before that I’d had a few magazine articles published for bits of pay but … Wishbone was the real burst of immortality for me.

  • And my last example of a burst of immortality is … a first kiss … hmmm … one sweet, sweet moment in deed … it started with a short walk … a couple hugs … and then … a quick and delicious kiss … really, an example of the most significant and primal burst of immortality that oftentimes leads to continuing the species.  And if not, so what … the theme of this particular essay is that such a delicious moment, an example of a moment made to remember, can prompt my planned adventure to forever seek bursts of immortality, those glorious moments of feeling very much alive, until even the undertaker will be sorry when I die.

 “Everyone thinks they need to get wealth first, and wisdom will come.  So they concern themselves with chasing money.  But they have it backwards.  You have to give your heart to the Goddess of Wisdom, give her all your love and attention, and the Goddess of Wealth will become jealous and follow you” (Dr. Joe Vigil, elite running coach, in BORN TO RUN).

Bursts of immortality will certainly occur if you go with your heart to follow your passion, whatever that passion may be.  I do believe that if I ever can muster the inner strength and rid my compunction to follow my passion, I’ll get way more than I can ever imagine in return.

Hmmm … passion!  Over the years I’ve had a few.  My fitness passions have included swimming (NLS and Red Cross Instructor and Lifeguard), a long-distance runner (marathons), a scuba diver (certified through the National Association of Underwater Instructors), and skier (purely Rockies recreation). 

And, of course, there has always been writing.  Writing, indeed, has provided me with bursts of immortality, as mentioned a couple paragraphs ago.  I’m always revising novella manuscripts and do try to contribute weekly to my blog, this blog. 

My passion these last years has been busking.  Anyone following this blog knows that I love summertime BUSKATIONS, mostly to the Canadian Pacific Coast, sometimes to Europe.

As adolescent as this presents, my latest passion is simply to FILL THE REST OF MY LIFE WITH FUN so much that even the undertaker will be sorry when I die, what this particular blog entry is really all about.

I’m going to be 65 years old next month.  Getting older I am slowly getting smarter.  At 65 years of age I know that LIFE IS SHORT.  I know this because whenever I’ve the urge of replicating any adolescent behaviors, as setting up FUN for my latest passion, it seems a self-mockery at times, especially when I’m unwilling to reckon with certain intimate mementos, ever signaled by my diminishing abilities and physical attractiveness.  Yes, LIFE IS SHORT!

At 65 years of age I am learning to SAY IT NOW and DO IT NOW.  If I’ve something on my mind, be it to confess or confront, I tend to vent it ASAP because … LIFE IS SHORT.   And then the matter is done, I can move on, and my future plans can be made.

At 65 years of age I really know that FITNESS IS EVERYTHING.  I’ve only one body and I’d better take care of it.  Fitness is the fountainhead of accomplishing anything FUN in life.

At 65 years of age I’m fortunate to have found WORK THAT I LOVE.  And I will do the work that I love until the day I retire, and that will be on the same day as my funeral. 

I know, I know.  The very connotation of work usually represents some hackneyed moiling in some middle class misadventure with benefits and a pension.  I know, I know, I know that finding work that you love is like never really having to go to WORK.  I’ve had jobs in my youth that involved work, work, and more work.  Swamping on transports was WORK.  Working telephone construction lines was WORK.  Working on pipelines was WORK.  Teaching in high school was WORK.  Even being a swimming instructor in summertime, after years and years transformed into WORK.  However, saying thus, teaching over twenty years at the university has NEVER been work.  And even better, being a counselor for over twenty-five years has NEVER been work.  

At 65 years of age I know that if dancing is the vertical expression of horizontal desire, then TRAVELING is certainly the perfect synonym for that same expression, provided, of course, one has the proper companion to the globe trot.

At 65 years of age I know that I need to continue to MAKE SOME MEMORIES.  And in Zen fashion and while I’m still able, I need to create and savour those micro-moment memories. 

AT 65 YEARS OF AGE IT IS TIME … TO FOLLOW MY PASSION WITH ALL OF MY HEART … BUT AT 65 YEARS OF AGE … I ALSO KNOW … THAT THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER.

Those marching in my CHAUCERIAN PARADE this week:

 
FATHER BASIL SHOWING OFF HIS WINNINGS
 
$18,400
 Accompanying NHL scout, BRAD HORNUNG, and self to the game, retired Catholic priest and friend, FATHER BASIL CHOMOS, wins 18,400 dollars on a 50/50 at this last REGINA PATS hockey game played at the Brandt Centre for this season. 

COLBY MEETS THE PRESS
 
My best friend, COLBY WILLIAMS, is holding a press conference.  His beloved REGINA PATS are now out of the playoffs and so … he’s heading for Hershey today, to join the HERSHEY BEARS (AHL), affiliate of the WASHINGTON CAPITALS (NHL), in their playoff run.

GOOD LUCK, COLBY!  CARPE FUN MOMENTUM!


Sunday, April 10, 2016

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN: THE LONELY AUTHORITATIVE HEPTAD ON GUITAR BUSKING



BEING A BUSKER MEANS NOT BEING IN THE METAPHORICAL PARADE
It is minus 8 degrees and blowing snow.  I am not going busking.  Rather, I am woolgathering.

I, alone, am responsible for creating a meaningful life (SOREN KIERKEGAARD, Danish existentialist).  I am a temporal being, born into an already existing world. To make sense of my world I indulge in my pastimes (MARTIN HEIDEGGER, German phenomenologist and existentialist). One of my pastimes, not by chance, is busking.

My life is existential, as is life for everyone else.  My life is really moments of minims.  Whenever I am busking, my busking minims are significant.  This essay is about buskers, or anyone thinking of being a busker, making the most of those busking minims.  As a certified BUSKOLOGIST, I feel compelled to share my seven notions on achieving guitar busking success:
  1. GET SET READY GO!  Once you’ve decided to be a busker you need to get your set list ready (this is not-so-dangerously assuming you can adequately strum a guitar).  Personally, I like to thrum original tunes, even make them up at my buskspot.  However, if you’re a beginning busker it’s not likely you’ll have the temerity or skills to do this.  And so, (reluctantly) I urge you to get at least a half an hour’s worth of cover tunes ready for public playing.  Play your entire set list three times, then change the scenery, move on down the block, set-up, and repeat this playing process.  I've been asked to turn down the volume (I only play unplugged), and I've been kicked out of buskspots (because of not having a license).  But so what ... it's both always and never a good time to move along.
  2. SEEK PERMISSION!  If you are planning to busk anywhere near vendors, ethically you ought to get permission.  Having music being played on their front entrance may seem a tad intrusive from a vendor point of view.  Simply, just seek permission to do, and once permission is granted, take heed to notion #1.  If you plan to busk on swards or in park areas, nobody really cares if you’ve permission or not.  Your mise -en-scene choice most certainly determines whether or not you decide to seek permission or not to busk.  Most vendors like buskers and wherefore most vendors will give permission for you to busk near their establishment.
  3. HIT THE GROUND RUNNING STRUMMING!  Once you’ve decided on your buskspot, get strumming.  Not many people will toss coins your way if you’re not playing your guitar.  Rarely do I sing but I do strum with vigor.  I strum with vigor because I want to give notice that someone is playing a guitar, maybe draw some consumer attention from a hundred feet away, giving my potential customers time to consider, and time to reach for the right amount of money to toss into my guitar case.  I'm noted for my loud strumming.  I rarely plug in, no matter the gig venue.
  4. FIRST IMPRESSIONS are important.  By the time you’re within your customers’ range of vision, you need to look presentable.  And the closer they get, the more winsome you must become.  Being physically adorkable is okay -- exuding trumpery, rather than quality is not okay.   Readers of this blog know that I prefer the white t's and faded blue jeans Bobby Dylanesque style of the early 70's, complete with a C harmonica.
  5. CAP-A-PIE APPEAL is a must.   Busking is a visceral, rather than intellectual experience.  Any appeal you present will be to the consumer’s heart rather than head.  Being a vanilla looking busker is easy.  Guitar buskers ought to exude certain character traits, windswept and wayfaring.  Your physical presentation need not be a transmogrification, and nor should it be a Mrs. Grundy.  As stated in #4, I channel early 70's Bobby Dylan, save for the hats.
  6. SMILE.  You must appeal to the critical mass, so to speak, not just to the shiny people.  Smile at everyone.  After you’ve been down the busking road, you’ll realize that any passer-by, no matter what you’ve imagined about that person, is a potential consumer.   Everyone likes a smile.
  7. BRUTTO TEMPO buskers are the real buskers.  If busking for you is just a side-quest (for pocket money) or a stalking-horse (for picking up girls), then being only a sunny-time busker not a big deal.  If, however, you want to thrum out a livelihood being a busker, you must be brutto tempo, even if it's drizzmal, and even if it is minus 8 degrees and blowing snow (like today). I know lots of brutto tempo buskers and ... I'm not among them.
As a busker, I can stand alone on the sidewalk in the midst of infinite possibilities and responsibilities.  Really, I’ve no other purpose than the one I set for myself; no other destiny than the one I forge (JEAN-PAUL SARTRE French phenomenologist and existentialist).

WITH CERTAIN GRIT YOU, TOO, CAN BE A GUITAR BUSKER …

YOUR LIFE IS YOUR CHOICE.

Those happen-chance marchers in my CHAUCERIAN PARADE this week:
 
PH.D STUDENTS, MARIO FROM AUSTRIA AND TRAVERS FROM CANADA
ERIN (WHEELS): AWESOME SOUND GUY

CORBY MAGNUSSON OF THE HANDSOME STRANGERS

You can see Corby on stage at the Regina BUSHWAKKER BREW PUB in Regina ... April 20th.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

WINK WINK NUDGE NUDGE (SAY NO MORE SAY NO MORE): HYPNOSIS, HOCKEY, HOOPLA, AND HARRY



CHRIS (HYPNO-GIRL) AND SELF

WINK WINK NUDGE NUDGE, SAY NO MORE, SAY NO MORE” is a statement popularized by Eric Idle in his MONTY PYTHON’S FLYING CIRCUS days of the early 70’s.  This idiom, wink wink nudge nudge, is often added to the end of a sentence to hint that the speaker is really referring to something else, something else that is sexual in nature.  Wink wink nudge nudge is the verbal explication of gestures people make when they want to pass on something sly, instead of an actual winking of the eye or the actual nudge of an elbow.

I quite like wink wink nudge nudge because … I do find it particularly funny; though, please keep in mind I was a consumer of Monty Python television series!

I quite like wink wink nudge nudge, too, because NUDGE also refers to a psychological manipulation which is tolerable, along the lines of Love Bombing, Praise, Good Cop Bad Cop, and Carrot and Stick.

Love Bombing was the psychological tactic employed by the Moonies, followers of Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church of the United States.  In its heyday during the 70’s, the Moonie method of recruiting emerging adults, literally luring newbies into their cult, was through smiles and smiles and more smiles.

Praise, as a psychological tactic (yes, a tactic), was especially important to B. F. Skinner’s Operant Conditioning.  In order to effect positive behaviors, for example as those ideally between parent and child, or coach and player, or teacher and student, Skinner academically declared that offering praise was the way to go to achieve any positive ends.  (Whoda thunk it, huh?)

Good Cop Bad Cop is that stereotypical television police routine of joint questioning used in negotiation and interrogation … hmmm …

Carrot and Stick is in literal reference to a cart driver dangling a carrot in front of a mule, whilst holding stick near its rear end, to pull the cart.  (I want you to note that the obvious ASS pun would have been most appropriate here, but being the disciplined writer that I am …)  Metaphorically, Carrot and Stick is often referenced to the Christian tactic of Heaven or Hell, as a means of saving one’s soul from eternal fire and brimstone.

For my best example of the Nudge as a psychological manipulation, is the imprint of a fly in men’s urinals.  Apparently men don’t pee straight, so in order not to have males peeing all over the wall and floor in the pub washroom, images of flies are imprinted smack in the middle of the urinals and … men being men (I suppose) … aim their spray to hit the fly.

Media manipulation through advertising, mind games for seduction, especially religious recruitment (as in my first and last example), and straight shooting into urinals, are all, part and parcel, parts of the psychological NUDGE.

Whenever I go busking, my buskspot begins with a nudge.  Here is what it looks like:

SOMEONE ADDED THE CARROTS (A CHRISTIAN PERHAPS?)

I never start strumming without seed money in my guitar case.  Out of ritual or superstition, I allows toss in two five dollar bills weighted down with four toonies and two loonies, twenty dollars in total.  I have this notion that potential consumers do not like to feel like they want to be the first sucker to toss money into my case.  I have this notion that potential consumers like to feel included in the mainstream, and specifically in my busking case (pun intended), people like to toss coins to causes that have been noted and appreciated by others.  People love to follow suit, so to speak.

In my usual self-aggrandizement style of writing, my snappy title suggests that today I am going to scribble about HYPNOSIS, HOCKEY, HOOPLA, and HARRY.  And, indeed, I am going to do just that with a Shaggy-dog essay filled with pointless wink wink nudge nudge tales of yesterweek, each of which having unexpected change (pun, again, intended).

  • HYPNOSIS
I am really hoping to up my game of Guitar Busking to that of Street Hypnosis.  Guitar Busking is rather commonplace, and Street Hypnosis, in bigger cities, is rather commonplace and pedestrian in summer.  But … Street Hypnosis having Guitar Busking as a prop … well … I think this combo to be a rather Promethean busking adventure … a much needed personal sea change.

I fancy myself as a bit of a shill, the perfect pitchman who represents the wander lusting wayfarer.  Because I much prefer vis-à-vis over texting, busking has been the ideal Walter Mitty escape from my day-to-day realities, and because of my face-to-face preference, I am hoping to inch-meal my daydreams into my behaviors.

I need to have a HYPNO-GIRL for a NUDGE.  Pictured above in my header is my friend, CHRIS FRANK.  A girl like CHRIS would be the perfect hypno-nudge.  Her bright and extroverted nature, never mind her knock-out looks, would for sure be a crowd-getter.  In my Walter Mitty moments, I am the wordy humorist and someone like Chris could very well be the gorgeous hypno-girl plant.  (This picture above in the header, sadly, is the reality.  Look at her ... the perfect nudge girl.  Then look at me ... an addelpated, aged busker ... only one decade away from decrepitude.)

  • HOCKEY
Of course anyone who reads this blog knows one of my best friends is BRAD HORNUNG, NHL Scout, (GOOGLE him), and that my very best friend is COLBY WILLIAMS, CAPTAIN OF THE REGINA PATS (GOOGLE him, too).  Hanging with Brad over the last twenty years I've watched close to a thousand WESTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE games and … have listened to the professional insights of Brad and his ilk.  (Did you know that NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE scouts are always present at WESTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE games?  Did you know that oftentimes I’ve met these professional hockey analysts and as a result … am oftentimes delusional into thinking that I actually know stuff about hockey?)

BRAD SURROUNDED BY EX-NHL'ERS

COLBY WILLIAMS, DRAFT PICK OF THE WASHINGTON CAPITALS is my VERY BEST FRIEND.  When Colby is not in his skates at any given home game ( he was on the injury list for most of this season), he often stops by for a quick chat.  Also … Colby gave to me … his very first set of PATS Skates … CCM CL’S (CRAZY LIGHTS) … worth $850 without tax.  I mean, really, this is the behavior of best friends … not?

COLBY WITH THE WASHINGTON CAPITALS

THESE ARE SOME OF COLBY'S FANS -- BUT I'M HIS BEST FRIEND!

  • HOOPLA
My work partner, NATALIE AGECOUTAY-SWEET, sent me some great pictures of the FIRST NATIONS UNIVERSITY SPRING POW WOW.

WOW
 
TERRANCE LITTLETENT -- WORLD RENOWN HOOP DANCER

RICK STECIUK, SUPERINTENDENT OF REGINA PUBLIC SCHOOLS

  •  HARRY
And, dear reader, if you follow my blog, you also know that I am a portrait street artist/busker.  Summer is coming fast and I need to hone my pencil skills.  My consumers know that my pencil never lies.  But until I get my eyes and fingers in sync, my pencil will fib a bit.  My first consumer for Spring portrait busking is my nephew, HARRY BARRETT (aka Hollywood Harry by me; Mister Vancouver by his mom and dad).  HARRY is a future movie maker/editor/producer/actor.  HARRY has the gift.  Harry is a cinema savant.

Here is the making of Harry, as drawn by moi:









 
MISTER VANCOUVER (IN THE FLESH)
 I do believe I captured the quiddity of Harry.

To conclude, please be aware, dear reader ... that ... 
I AM THE QUINTESSENTIAL BUSKER …

I WILL ALWAYS GET MORE OUT OF YOU … 
THAN YOU WILL GET OUT OF ME …

(WINK WINK NUDGE NUDGE … 
SAY NO MORE, SAY NO MORE!)