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There are a few things I was blessed to get right early in life. Declaring some habitual personal yardsticks for the rest of my life is one of them. These allow me to keep from fooling myself so bad, and more objectively calibrate where I really am.

  • Body health = During my massage training at The Acupressure Institute in Berkeley when I was 21, I was exposed to the “Eight Essential Exercises”. These are a series of Tai Chi warm up movements that are said to stimulate all the right meridians in all the right ways. I’d done Tai Chi before this, and Aikido, so they were familiar. Now I’ve done these exercises more days than not ever since. They are how I calibrate my body nearly every day, and help me notice how my body has changed over time and the true current state of my health — separate from whatever I may think it should be.
  • Vocal health = My Dad played “Moody’s Mood for Love” for me on vinyl when I was 16 and thinking of joining Jazz Choir. Recorded in 1949 by King Pleasure and transcribed/lyricized by Eddie Jefferson some time before, it has been called The First Vocalese Song ever. I’ve since been told that’s not true, but at the time I believed it and learned it. It was hard. It’s a lotta words, a lotta notes, and requires a lotta range (especially to sing both parts of the duet, as I do). Before most every concert or recording I’ve ever done, this is my warm-up. I recorded it on my first solo album. Singing this song is what tells me where the edges of my voice are, and the available power beneath my breath. Stuff like this changes constantly, and this song has helped me hear it so I can use what I have well.
  • Mental health = I taught myself a new way of writing so I could take notes faster when I was about 15. People tell me it is very small and blocky and difficult to read, but I can almost always read it myself later. I started writing in those fancy Moleskine journal notebooks around the same time, and over the years I’ve filled about a hundred of them with my writing and scribbles. Sometimes it’s personal reflections, sometimes song lyrics, but mostly it’s lists and me sketching stuff up to try and figure things out. I can literally see the quality of my thinking by looking at the quality & quantity of pages I’ve filled over time. Writing has always been a calibrating activity for me, that and music help me make sense of a senseless world.

What do you use to calibrate how you are feeling, thinking, doing? I’d love to know, so comment below :)

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Today is a great day for a media blackout.

Tomorrow too. Probably all the tomorrows this month.

We’re not going to know anything. No matter which side you’re on, the news is only going to make you mad.

At this point, the only opinions that matter are the legal ones.

This is a great time to mind your mind!

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This is my Now page and here’s what’s up for me these days (as posted on 11/01/2020)

The new gig I stepped into back in July as Global Learning Technology & Analytics Manager for ConvaTec is getting real now. I’m building out the team, creating integrations, defining visions, making new processes, and generally throwing everything I’ve got at it. Good things are happening as a result, and I’m certainly flexing my professional muscles in the role. I’m grateful every day to have this opportunity, especially with all that’s going down in 2020.

As I posted about last month, my Snap Synapse LLC is closing up. I considered trying to sell it, but…sadly there’s really nothing to sell. I’m the one that made it all work, and I’m not doing that anymore. I’m getting closer to the official shut down by the end of the year, as well as Clear Mind Products (currently a subsidiary). I’m keeping Clear Mind Products and (for the moment) Doable Change, another mostly dormant business shell that I ended up with as part of my application for permanent residency in Panama. Though I’m looking seriously at the best structures going forward, and pulling out of the entrepreneurial game altogether. The truth is that I’ve been successful only ever through my personal and direct hard work, and have yet to count any passive income efforts as successes. What if I let it all go for now? Spinning it up again if I need it?

My Data Analytics & Visualization Bootcamp program is getting good now! Last week we started with Tableau, which is blowing my mind! I plan to put these skills to good use with some epic end-of-year reporting for ConvaTec. I’m also thinking about modeling more generally useful visualizations that others in the L&D field can put to good use.

The greenhouse is done, I’m happy to report! Well, not done done, but done enough for winter. It’s solid and there are plants in it now. I won’t heat it or try to keep anything alive through the coming subzero months, though I hope to start planting as early as February. We’ll see how that goes. So far I’m very happy to have put in the time and money to get it going this year.

It’s beautiful here in Utah right now. Oh and Denise and I had a fantastic getaway to Yellowstone National Park for her birthday last month! It was our first time going anywhere since February. Stunning scenery at the most colorful time of year, and a great time to cash in on all those hotel points I’ve not been using at all in 2020.

I’ve not really been in touch with many people lately, family included. And I haven’t been making much music either. This year has been full of upheaval for everyone, I think. And honestly I don’t think anyone wants to hear my raw thoughts on it all as they tend to get scared and depressed. Though I did share some of my political predictions recently here. For the record, I am neither scared or depressed, I’m simply cautious about creating any more such sentiment in the world. So I’ve focused inward and on work more…and faded from view.

Here is where I would usually list out the personal projects I’m working on for the month. This month, between the upcoming chaos of the country and the economy and the pandemic, and some more local family issues that will take a lot of my time, I doubt I’ll get to much else.

My partner and her mother are both getting surgeries this month, which adds a lot to my plate in terms of caretaking and coordination. I’ve also got a dear family friend moving to Utah soon, and will try to steal away to go help them move in to their new place. So this probably won’t be a very productively focused month for me. Family is important, and worth it! Personally, I’ll be lucky to keep up and catch up on the boring stuff. If I can introduce more indoor/winter exercise to keep myself healthy and strong amidst it all, I’ll call that success :)

So that’s me! How about YOU? Hit me up or leave me a comment below.

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This weekend the time changes.

Well, here in the US.

Well, most of it.

Well, time doesn’t actually change at all, but our agreement about clocks do.

Spring Forward and Fall Back are the things we say around now. Which one is this again? Right, Fall Back. So what is 8am today will be 7am on Sunday. …For some reason that no one can ever suitably explain to me.

I once wrote about moving to UTC for everyone, or Stardate or something. Because that’s really the only thing that makes any sense at all when you think about it. And with this virus and disaster-ridden 2020 year, who cares what time it is where we are locally? What matters is if we show up on time in Zoom or Facetime or Skype. It is actually the same time everywhere on Earth, but we humans do so love to overcomplicate things.

Anyway, what I’d like to use this clockwise occasion for is neither springing forward or falling back, but ratcheting forward. I invite you to join me.

Want to get up earlier and get more done? Here’s your big chance!
  • quiet writing time to reflect or generate content
  • morning exercise time to work off that quarantine fifteen
  • adding or expanding that meditation practice that can help keep you sane in this insane world

Your phone will reset automatically, but you don’t have to reset your alarm clock. You can leave it right where it is and get up at the same time this week as you did last week. You’ll just have more time in your day for the healthy habits that never seem to squeeze in on the back end of your day.

This is the painless option. Just because everyone else is falling back doesn’t mean you have to join them. The rest of the world is screwed anyway, probably best to focus on what works for you this time.

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I’m writing these things down because I can’t say them out loud to anyone without scaring or depressing them. I used to post thoughts like this to the socials, but I’ve finally learned better and pulled my support for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all that (I do still have automated posts going to LinkedIn for my business connections, but have severely restricted the time I spend there too).

Here’s what I think is going to happen next Tuesday here in the USA:
  • Confusion will reign supreme. This is where our fearful leader is at his most powerful, so that is the environment he will create. And so far his opposition has proven entirely incapable of standing up to this tactic by making sense and fighting back creatively.
  • Victory will be declared by the obvious loser. He’s paid for his victory party on Election Night, and so he’ll have one. By not conceding the challenger to the incumbent is automatically put in the “Sore Loser” position.
  • Fighting will break out in the streets. First in isolated urban pockets, then more and more across the country. Polarized and fearful people fueled by the media dumpsterfire will do nasty things to each other. One side has a reputation for being much nastier than the other, but each incident will draw more people into the fight on both sides.

Over the next few weeks to months, the agreements the Administration has made with state legislatures (like in Wisconsin) will be used to override the popular vote AND the Electoral College. Enough uncertainty will be introduced that several states are taken off the board. As in 2000, the US President will be Selected by the Supreme Court, not Elected in the usual way. And with our newly ramrodded 6-3 situation, we can clearly see which way that’s gonna go.

There is a slim chance that the Trumpublicans will see this as their final moment to bail, taking their party back from the man they hitched their wagons to in 2016. But if that was going to happen, it would have happened already. He’s been pruning their spines for this moment for some time.

There is an even slimmer chance that the man himself can call it, declaring “I won but I don’t want to play with these meanies anymore” and pillaging what’s left of our government for a few months before pardoning himself for all past and future misdeeds, and then committing his full-time attention to his new media channel. But he probably doesn’t know this is his best long term play.

There is ZERO chance for a free and fair election. That option was destroyed long ago. On purpose, and as the world watched.

None of this is unexpected. Anyone who steps back from the media for a minute and looks at the structure of what’s been happening around here for a long time can see it. The drama and theater of it all are easy to get caught up in, I get it. But please don’t. Your life will not be any better for the high-speed adrenaline ride, quite the opposite.

Yes, I still vote every chance I get, and encourage everyone to do so as well. But I know better than to expect that it will matter. I voted (by mail, the only way I can ever do it here where I live!), and I do so as a personal affirmation, and on the off chance it will count. Every once in a while it does.

This time, at the national level at least, I’m quite sure it won’t.

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