Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mr. Blue Jay

Yesterday afternoon something outside started making a lot of racket;
when I investigated I discovered it was this Blue Jay that was making all the noise.

Blue Jay, December 29, 2009, Denver CO

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Learning to take things in stride

I must be mellowing out as I get older or maybe my perspective is changing. I use to see things in terms of absolutes when I was younger. I was certain I was absolutely right and everyone else was absolutely wrong. This way of being was the cause of a lot of frustration and unpleasant exchanges over the years. To be fair, I wasn't a king sized butt all of the time nor am I a perfect angle now.

Not long ago I saw a vivid demonstration of how differently people can perceive even simple things. I was in a room with 30 other people. We were asked to write down our answers to questions about the room: was the room the right size, too small, too big, too bright, not bright enough, too hot, too cold, etc. Then we were asked to go around the room and find others who had exactly the same answers as our own. Out of 30 people only 2 people had exactly the same answers to all of the questions! Imagine if we were talking about global warming, health care, poverty, war, or the "G" word.

Change has not come easily. Some change has come from the school of hard knocks, some has come from trying new things, and some has followed periods of deep introspection. Gradually with time I am developing a better sense of perspective and a state of mindfulness. These qualities are tenuous at best and require continuos practice on my part.

I still get annoyed when people engage in petty bickering or someone tries passing the buck. Its gotten a little easier to take things the way they come and I'm a little more comfortable with ambiguities than I use to be. It's not a case of not caring, it's a case of being a little more aware of what's important. It's more important we get to where we need to be and less important who gets to ride up front.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Psychedelic Tunnel

I thought the video the camera got when I went under the bridge was kind of cool and wanted to do something more with it. I was playing around in Final Cut and this is what I came up with. Note: the "Go Ask Alice" at the end was sampled from Jefferson Airplane "White Rabbit".

I've never done drugs; I use my mind instead.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

I hope you had a wonderful time

It is difficult to carry out sociological research in a crowded bar while they're having a T-Dance (Beer Bust). The bar is so dark I can't see 3 feet in front of my face. That's a good thing because I really don't want to know what it is I'm stepping on. In spite of this problem I have made some interesting observations. I've noticed a predictable behavioral pattern that is directly proportional to the amount of beer consumed.

During the first round of beer people begin to enter the Polite Phase. This is signaled with plenty of "Please" and "Thank you" or "You're such a dear". Trust me, this doesn't last very long. It's good for one beer and one beer only.

By the second round of beer people enter into the Chatty Phase. They want to strike up a conversation with you. "Who's the Beer Bust for this afternoon?" "What are all the pins on your vest?" "Aren't you my old High School Chemistry Professor?" "Oh! You have such beautiful eyes!" WARNING: Do Not Engage with these people. They are not your new best buddies; they are starting to get drunk. A complex hydrocarbon is interfering with their cardiovascular systems ability to transport oxygen. The chatty phase lasts for about twice as long as the polite phase. It's good for about two beers.

The Mr. Sophisticated Phase can be identified by its loud rapid-fire speech and the sudden mysterious increase of worldly knowledge. It can also be signified by people tapping you on the shoulder, tugging at your vest, or stalking you through the bar. They are no longer getting drunk, they are drunk, and the rate of consummation is increasing rapidly. The bar is now packed to the rafters and almost impossible to navigate. This phase will last for about an hour or three more beers.

Some people appear to skip over the In The Groove Phase and go directly to the Oops Sorry Phase, but that may only be because the In The Groove Phase doesn't last very long. The salient features of the In The Groove Phase are loud insane laughter, yelling and exaggerated gesturing; some may develop delusions that they can dance (usually they just look like they're churning butter.) Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your perspective, this phase doesn't last very long - one, maybe two, beers. The smart ones leave before reaching this phase.

The smart ones don't want to reach the Oops Sorry Phase. This is where they drop their cup, knock the pitcher out of your hand, trip over their feet or trip over the person next to them. Two more hours to go. Those who enter the Oops Sorry Phase will, without exception, enter the next phase.

The F... .U. and Your Little Dog Too Phase is marked by a general aggression against the world and everything in it. People who have entered the F-U Phase request a refill by cursing at you and calling you names and demanding your service. This is also when fights break out. We haven't seen Mr. Sophisticated for over an hour - this guy is very unpleasant.

You might not notice the Spaced Out Phase at first but if you pass someone several times and they are sitting perfectly still, staring across the room, holding the same cup and they haven't moved then they are probably in the Spaced Out Phase. I dare you to go over and give them a little nudge.

If the bouncers have been paying attention only a few people will actually achieve the Passed Out Phase in the bar. Those who were unfortunate enough to be advanced beyond the Passed Out Phase and went directly to the Tossed Out Phase will have to sleep it off outside or at home.

Anyone who has successfully gone through all of the phases knows what a glorious celebration the Blowing Chunks Phase can be. The soothing cold hard feel of the toilet and the pungent aroma of beer and ...

Congratulations! You got your $8 worth. I hope you had a wonderful time.

[Notice: I very rarely drink; during the past year I have consumed at most 4 beers (not all at the same time.) When helping to pour beer at these beer busts I don't drink at all. I am not anti-drink I simply choose not to imbibe.]