A Different Approach

“Good Will Hunting” movie fans will remember the bar scene where the campus know-it-all is confronted about his knowledge of the evolution of the market economy in Massachusetts’s southern colonies. Though the guy speaks confidently, Will reminds him he’s quoting passages from a book.

“You got that from Vickers ‘Work in Essex County,’ page 98, right? Yeah, I read that too. Were you gonna plagiarize the whole thing for us? [Do you have any thoughts of your own on this matter?]”

If you’re reading what everyone else is reading or working on an unoriginal idea to bring up in conversation or even in the office, who would you prefer to work with? Someone who can regurgitate back to you the work that has been done before or somebody who brings a novel approach to research and development?

In my experience, the person who spends their time reading the same works as others or practices the same method of working is replaceable in a conversation. I’d rather talk to someone with a unique perspective.

My approach is different. I follow my curiosity unconditionally and read topics of my interest, no one else’s.

As a suggestion, try to read or speak or act differently so you can have more to contribute.

How I Learn and Think

Way back when I was in school and university, I had to read quite a bit of material prescribed by teachers and professors.

Today, I still read many books and white papers but these are determined solely by my curiosity or even fun. I am permitted to be autodidactic and read about what I think is interesting.

When I allow myself to learn unconditionally, I allow myself certain behaviors such as:

There has to be a benefit either in the immediate or in the near future. I think of it as a knowledge repository. I don’t know when I will use it, but it will be there when I need it.

It does not have to stand alone, but it could be a piece of the puzzle that helps work out something in my comprehension of the topic.

My curiosity overrules obligation. Therefore I am more interested and can appreciate it.

If I learn what feels obligated (everyone else is reading, you should too, Chris) then that means I have learned what everyone else has. This will help me blend in with groupthink and mindsets. Boring.

Oops

11:30am- While searching for a way to export this blog to plain and markdown text files (future-proofing), I installed a script that my webserver did not like. The memory usage spiked real high real fast. I logged into the back end, removed the offensive script, and hoped for the best. This may be the last post for a few days in hopes that things get restored properly.

7:35pm **Update** I’m back!

Bad Apple

Overall I am enjoying the full conversion to the Apple ecosystem but have been noticing some frustrations lately. These are minor issues, certainly not deal breakers but I do wish they played nice with others.

Apple Music

The ability to stream and control music on all my devices is fantastic but what if I wanted to share a mixtape (playlist) here on my website? No, Apple does not permit this. Why then, do they give me the option to share via embed or link? (see below)

Apple Books

There may be a hint of regret at deleting the Amazon Kindle account. Amazon plays nice with public libraries, allows highlighted text, bookmarks and notes to be exported to various sources for further research. Apple’s tight grip disallows any of these options. Yes, there are some work arounds but they are not convenient and are close to being rendered moot by Apple.

Example 1- If I want to export multiple notes and highlights, then my only option is to email them to myself. Not practical.

Example 2- If I choose just one note or highlight then the options open up…but only to the stock Apple apps. Which is fine I suppose but that is not where I want them. Fail.

The fact that Apple is protecting the copyright holders and their Digital Rights is not lost on me. But then again, how am I able to do embed music on my website with Spotify? Why does Amazon have a more open system and plays well with others?

Your move, Apple.

7/7 Check-In

On 2/2 I began my year-long journey to create life long habits for myself and throw in some fun intentions as well. The plan is to check in every month to monitor my progress. How did I do since my last check-in on 6/6?

Nutrition & Training

Major updates and improvements here. Almost two weeks ago I decided to try the keto diet and am pleased with the results so far. As of 7/6, I am down 10 pounds in 10 days! I feel better and thanks to a compliment from Mom, look better too (less puffy.)

I also joined the YMCA downtown. The idea being pure conveneince and limited excuses. Looking forward to the planned schedule of 5 am workouts and then walk to the office but of course, Mr. COVID wants to shit on that plan. So now I will go after work instead.

Yoga & Meditation

Sworkit and Headspace are my go-to trainers for now. Looking forward to attending some yoga classes at the Y but haven’t mustered up the courage for it yet (and why not??)

Photography & Writing

Photography- I haven’t touched the archives in two months. I think I burned myself out more than halfway through the project. Must get back on track.

Writing- Other than the blog and personal journal? Nothing. I have been doing a lot of reading and research, however, as well as invested in new (to me) software tools called IA Writer and Scrivener. IA Writer is a minimal, distraction-free word processor. Scrivener is a writer’s organizer that has a lot of tools needed to organize my research, mind-mapping, and writing. More time needs to be had to explore the features before I am able to use it properly, but that is always one of the best parts of discovering new tools.

IA Writer screenshot


The work-from-home situation could go on until at least September and this affects my creativity more than I thought. I am seeking ways to get through this but it isn’t ideal. I am looking for a new desk and bookcase. Simple, minimal, elegant. Like so:

8/8

As always, I see some progress, see some room to do better, and hope that next month’s check-in will be better than the last!

Mischief Managed

Recently, the Misadventures decided to hit the road for some exploring and of course, shenanigans. Thanks to Atlas Obscura, “the definitive guide to the world’s hidden wonders,” there are more than a few odd places to discover along the way. During this excursion, we came across the remnants of an abandoned circus camp in Edmond, Oklahoma that dates back to the early 1940s

The secluded acreage was a home for the winter to the traveling circus. The property contained housing for the animals and trainers both. The area was overgrown with vegetation and some areas were cut off. We missed out on viewing the animal cages and more as a result of that growth but did manage to spot quite a few abandoned relics!

Breathe App- Apple Watch

Included with the Apple Watch is the Breathe app. As Apple itself describes it:

The Breathe app guides you through a series of deep breaths, and it reminds you to take time to breathe every day. Choose how long you want to breathe, then let the animation and gentle taps help you focus.
The Watch app on the iPhone lets you set the length of your sessions, and how many times throughout the day you want to be reminded to pause and breathe, and minutes are totaled in the health app.

Meditation and focused breathing for relaxation is more difficult than you think it would be. Every hour the app prompts me to take a moment and relax. I can do it at the desk, in traffic (where it is most needed!) or anywhere else.

An Apple Watch app won’t cure everything but it can help you get through the day. And these days are getting crazier.

Where Did That Idea Go?

A fellow photographer asked me recently recently if I have ever run out of concepts to capture because my photo stream implied I didn’t.

Also, a reader recently commented on a blog post asking a) how do I keep the articles flowing and b) do I ever run out of topics to talk about?

It happens. Ideas come and ideas go. There are multiple ideas and concepts going through my head but there are also times when I have none. Now what?

Remember recently when the grocery stores had empty shelves and consumers panicked during the pandemic? Same thing with your bare idea shelf. Ever get anxious when you realize that fuel gauge is closer to “Empty” than you thought? Same. Your idea tank is running low. Fear and emptiness can stop us from thinking clearly and can prevent us from coming up with an alternative solution.

I like to calm these feelings with small doses of relaxation, meditation and quiet. This moment is all right. This moment is perfect as is.

Only then can we adjust our focus and start thinking clearly again. Then I check my saved articles in my favorite read-it-later app. Anything inspiring there? How about the morgue file, epigraph or commonplace book full of notes, quotes and ideas? Tried discovering new sources of inspiration yet?

There are times when I reach out to other writers and photographers to see what they are working on or what questions they have that needs answers. Perhaps we can find an answer together and generate new ideas from those discoveries.

And again, I will turn inward to reflect on what hasn’t worked, or what was something I set aside because my mind was focused somewhere else and not ready to receive it yet. Now the ideas are flowing again.

If we take the time to stop, relax and breathe, we’ll find that the answers are usually inside of us all along.

6/6 Check In

On 2/2 I began my year long journey to create life long habits for myself and throw in some fun intentions as well. The plan is to check in every month to monitor my progress. How did I do since my last check in on 5/5?

Nutrition & Training

The gym has been closed for some time due to the global pandemic and is now re-open in stages. Limited facilities and full billing of course. I put the account on pause and am looking elsewhere, hopefully closer to home and the office so I can utilize it more frequently. Stay tuned.
Nutrition goals met are all over the place. Some good days, mostly bad days. What is it about me that can’t commit to healthier eating? On the bright side, Whataburger is no longer an issue for me. Woohoo.

Yoga & Meditation

I have really been enjoying this time to myself. I am focused on both stretching and breathing while enhancing my calm. With the Sworkit and Headspace apps I am utilizing, they offer guided practices which is a huge benefit because my brain is easily distracted.

Photography & Writing

After years of ignoring the archives, I am about 65% done with the organization. Again, the only writing I have been doing is here and in my journal. Nothing contributed to the novel or short stories. Not even micro fiction.
I blame the work from home situation. My personal space here at home has been overtaken by the work setup. I sit in the chair for 8-9 hrs for the day job. I have little desire to sit here another couple of hours to look at photos or conjure up words for the pages. Frustration.

7/7

As always, I see some progress, see some room to do better and hope that next month’s check in will be better than the last.