7.31.2010

“Ain’t no hippie - just a New York Boy”

Got a pew in my apartment now – it’s orange – 70’s orange – very very 70’s orange. I borrowed Tony’s big diesel truck to drive it home. It’s a MANual if there ever was one. It was hot out, but on the way home I ignored the AC and drove with the windows down just so I could drive with one elbow hanging out.

I have not driven stick in an age – and had forgotten just how much I love driving stick. For the last five years I’ve been driving automatics. The last 4 months I’ve been driving an old red Mercedes, a turbo diesel with a slow, very slow rate of acceleration. I can get her hauling – she can really move, it’s just that gap between 0-25 which tends to stymie her. And I’ve gotten so much better at handling this slow boat, learning how to apply the gas just right, learning when to let up and when to place her in a lower gear. She’s now she seems to have zip and responds so much quicker than she used to. Where she used to crawl – she flies. Put in (rather watched a friend put in) new shocks, cleaned a few filters – and it’s a whole new ride.

Or so I thought.

Last Friday I headed to Pullman to teach my little sister some of the finer points of vehicle handling. We used Katie’s little under powered Kia. Have you ever drive a car with a sticky brake, that sends your head snapping forward? Or used a shower where even an 1/8 of an inch turn changed the water from ice to fire, causing you to tear down the show curtain as you flail about trying correct the current state of things?

The sudden and unexpected shock, you get when what you thought was milk turns out to be orange juice.

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That what it was like driving Katie’s Kia.

I’d got it all wrong – I had not improved the Mercedes speed and handling, rather my standards for speed and handling had dropped. And standards are funny things – they tend to creep, without our awareness of it. And even now after driving Katie’s car, the standard is still there. It’s her car that feels fast, not mine that feels slow. I’ve noticed this standard creep in my life before – but usually it has to be pointed out to me, or stand out in stark relief for me to see it.

Creep – it happens to metals exposed to continual stress at elevated temperatures, it happens to people who are alive. It’s not the result of a sudden load, or a rapid temperature change – creep is a failure that occurs well below the yield strength of a metal – it should hold – it is the steady constant load and the heat that causes dislocations to slip and eventually materials to fail.

So what do you do if you have a bolt holding something in a furnace – two things. First you look at the loads and temperatures involved and then you design a bolt which will perform in these conditions – then you inspect it at regular intervals.

So how do I work this into my life?

“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

1st Corinthians 10:12-13

He know what I can take – He has designed this bolt.

But finding that way – even when I don’t want to . . . . how’s that work . . . . well here is where Tony’s diesel comes back into the story.

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I have not driven stick in years, and I only drove about 20 miles round trip last night – so why have I all morning been pushing in a clutch that is not there? Why have I been trying to shift into neutral at every stop light, and been wanting to downshift on every hill and corner?

Habit.

Pure and simple.

Habit. It’s a force. It’s mindless. The car slows and my left foot starts pushing against the floorboards.

Habit . . . it’s dangerous, because so often it is mindless, or rather it can be mindless. And that is were discipline differs from habit I think – discipline purses a goal.

Habits are like kids – sometimes you did not mean to have them.

So use discipline to create habit, habits which will help and aid you when it comes time to seek that way out.

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And Tony had a Neil Diamond tape in his truck – so I’m on a little Neil Diamond kick today – and by the way - stick to early Neil Diamond (trust me on this - his newer stuff not so good) .



Neil Diamond on the Jonny Cash Show





7.28.2010

Mixed and Muddled



I got a phone call a few weeks ago from a friend - I was asked if I was back.



"I think I am"

"I think you are too"




I'm back.


- I think.

In some ways I feel I'm the worst judge of this - and in some ways I feel as if I alone can judge this.

To be back. It's scary and odd and exciting and fun and sad. Some story's you read over and over. You read them to learn, to escape, to remember - to forget. Some story's change you - some story's shake you. Some story's - for some story's once is enough.











And without your planning it, the scenery changes. The players change. New characters, new challenges, new costumes. The stage is set. And you wait, not sure of anything.

It's so disconcerting.

The newness of everything - mixed and muddled with an odd sort of sameness, which confronts and confounds you senses. You've forgotten so much - you head swims and you feel sick.





Have you ever spent a sunny summer afternoon on a dock? Only to have the ground feel as if it is surging and swelling under your feet when you came in?


Pick a point that you know is not moving, don't look at the ground, ignore the wobbly turf. Walk it off, given time the ground will steady out.

Given time the ground will steady out anyway. Even if you over correct, trip and fall on your face - the ground will steady out - it always steady's out.



I remember once walking to the car with a friend who had the habit of folding his arms behind his back and grabbing his elbows. Jared stepped in a hole and fell - with his arms folded behind his back, grabbing his elbows. The earth was soft - I laughed, I am still laughing. The startled look on that accountant's face . . . priceless.


I had planed to right a post on how I'm learning the importance of purpose, of goals, in feeding - in creating growth.

Maturity - it's something I'm finding I need to strive for, to seek with diligence, to pursue with a plan. It's not something you step in and find on the bottom of your shoe. It takes effort. Lot's of effort.



Lot's of effort.







We - rather I - I forget that.


An effort that does not slacken. And effort when practiced grows into diligence. Diligence - one of many quiet testimonies to a man's character.






Growth takes diligence, skill takes diligence, mastery takes diligence, patience takes diligence, love takes diligence, discipline takes diligence.


~ ~ ~
On a totally unrelated note - I did some shooting which was new to me - an more of a challenge than I thought it would be - the early evening/night concert shots. Take poor and drastically changing lighting, thick crowds, and bad angles - it's hard to get shots you like.



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Bonus points if you can tell me the name
of the 300 dollar scotch in the linked video


7.20.2010

“Many's the long night I've dreamed of cheese - toasted, mostly.”

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Ben Gunn had the right idea.

Take above cheese – three thicker slices of tomato, and two pieces of Dave’s Good Seed bread.

Place into a cold toaster oven – it must be cold, if you preheat the oven, the cheese will melt faster than the bread can toast. Toast till you can just smell it across the room – the cheese will be bubbly and the toast will have that perfect crunch.

Don’t let it cool too much – you’ve got a juicy slice of tomato in there which will make the bread soggy.

Enjoy while planning trips abroad, or studying for the EIT, or thinking out your week. Enjoy while listening to Mumford and Son’s, or Laura Marling, or Camera Obscura. It’s great thinking provender, it helps you sort photos, or write blogs. It will help you choose Half Marathons like this one.

I am able to get four toasts out of a tomato. And three tomato's seem to last me about a week.

7.11.2010

7.09.2010

An Unexpected Trio – Down the Road

 

Tonight finds me in the basement of a coffeehouse in downtown Yakima.  Little did I know that tonight was the first night of Yakima’s Folklife Festival.  Bluegrass in a coffeehouse in Yakima.  Old love songs, sung by a husband and wife.  Two guitars and a mandolin gathered round a large mike, each shuffling closer as their solos approach.  What a thing – to sing duets with your wife of 30+years – to sing them and sound – amazing.

Gathering flowers for the masters bouquet – beautiful flowers that will never decay . . . I’ve never watched a bluegrass band before, listened to many – but never sat down and watched and watched, sat down and listened.

Skill is such a beautiful encouraging thing.  I don’t know if the skilled people I’ve met are aware of this.  I watch you bake, I observe you lead, I listen to you parent.  So often it’s the little things that you don’t find impressive.  The way you handle the tools of your trade.  Practiced hands – fingers which act of their own volition. 

 

 

 

“Bury me in bluegrass when I die”