Lost in Translation

We woke up today, tired but energized. There are few things in life that are better than a new life. In this life I no longer type these emails. I think them and they are relayed to this blog. I no longer do web production. I no longer do technology. How this came to pass, I will leave to your imagination.

Life on the road has been easy so far. I mean we’re only one day in. All we’ve had to deal with is some fits from the little ones. They have been quickly removed from their grandmother’s home and taken on the road. All of their belongings left behind. This behavior was to be expected. We are eating vegan now too. That’s a change but one that was definitely needed. We exist now on nuts, multi-grain bread, fruits, veggies. Raw, cooked or however. As expected I’m continually hungry but I know soon my stomach will shrink and I will have more energy.

We are closing in on New York state. The plans are to visit family in Suffern, NY and then to go camping in Bear Mountain State Park. It is a wonderful site. I feel the mountain has healing qualities. At the top of it you can look out and see Manhattan down the Hudson. It’s out there. It’s all out there. From that mountaintop you can see the world. I can imagine the horror of seeing Manhattan from that vantage point during 9/11. It must have been as if the world was ending. The world did not end. The Indians must have seen the white man coming from there as well. The world did not end. Bear Mountain is still here. It always will be.

I hope to visit Akbar if he will have us. We haven’t seen each other for so long it seems as if we truly are just avatars. I recently found out the meaning of the word avatar in Hindu Mythology. An Avatar is the descent of a deity to the earth in an incarnate form or some manifest shape; the incarnation of a god. I don’t feel like a god. It would be nice to talk to my friends in person one day. There is so much lost in translation.

Road Warriors

I’m out of here. That’s it. I put in my notice today. Today I am no longer a web designer. I am a human. And my wife supports my decision. We are going on a trip. A long trip together as a family. Broke and poor. We are hitting the road.

I was just sitting there today thinking, is this it? Am I to live like this? As the time ticks away the seconds of my life. The days and weeks fly by as I prepare to die. And I have a timeline. It has been explained and stretched out before me on paper. Dotted. Signed. Re-signed. This paper has a pie chart and a bar graph showing where my median age for death will be. I have five years they say but when did the clock start? Nobody knows. Will I beat brain cancer? No one seems to beat it? There are few who outlive the median age and they are still wondering when their tumors will start growing again because nobody beats it. They just make it off the chart.

I live with this every day. This, what am I going to do with my life anxiety?  This, why was I put here anxiety? How will I make my mark? What is my calling? And could I pursue it, if I really knew what the answers were? So today I reclaim my life or what is left of it.

My wife, the kids and I are hitting the road. Where it will take us nobody knows. First things first, we are keeping our stuff in storage here in Melbourne, Florida. That stuff could burn to the ground for all I care. I’ve never been more free without it. I have slept on an air mattress for the past five months in the living room. I welcome it. If I could sleep standing up I would, just as long as I’m alive. As far as web design goes, I think I’ll try something different this time around. Something where I use my body. Work with my hands. Maybe even learn how to grow my own food.

Tonight we are packing because tomorrow morning the road awaits. I hope to gun it up to New York first, while the weather is nice. Maybe stay up long enough to see the leaves change, then possibly head over to Colorado. We are taking only what we need. Just a handful of clothes each. Just enough of everything to make it easy. We will teach our children to make do with little and to learn to find happiness in nature. No more television. No more Tivo. No more. More. More. More.

f*cking coffee

Tonight at 11pm a man approached a counter at Starbucks with an empty coffe cup. He asked the man if they did refills. He then preceded to ask how much it would cost to get just a little. The man behind the counter graciously gave him nearly a full cup of coffee without charging a penny. Starbucks is reportedly looking into the matter and said they would take actions to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again. The CEO of Starbucks stated when interviewed that he wants his coffee back. When interviewed the worker said, “he’d do it again and that it’s just f*cking coffee.”

Today at noon a young man’s office space was turned into a pizza party. There was no warning at all. Several of his coworkers decided to bring the “pizza” into his office as he continued to work. Five co-workers talked about everything from the BP oil spill to the true nature of the white man. Why are they so vicious? The co-workers also used his garbage can without asking. The slices were reported to be large and New York style and the pizza could be smelled all the way down the hallway.

This afternoon a middled aged woman drove her nephew to the dry cleaners. Five pieces of clothing were dropped off. They can be picked up tomorrow after 4pm. The man at the counter demanded to be paid before pick up. There was no shouting and the transaction took place without anyone noticing the credit card being surrendered.

Yesterday at 12pm two unsupervised young girls (ages 2 and 4) were found out front of their grandmother’s yard spraying themselves with a water hose. The neighbors reported it and the eldest was scolded. When asked if she would do it again she said, “she wanted to go swimming. Can we go swimming tomorrow?”

Adams to Jefferson #1

I think of our friendship and how we have grown.
How we have fought side by side together in past
New York subways. Sang our songs of Amazing Grace
for not a penny we would take to own.

We were young men back then and we wanted
so much change. You were always able to hold
your tongue as I grew more than one.
Because I wanted all to know that all we have is now.

That the truths are not self evident that you proclaimed.
That freedoms are won by the blood of man’s destiny.
And yet we sit here, our revolution seemingly won.
Grown gray we have and yet we stay on.

In the fight for what we know to be true
That we should wake each day and be in tune.
With our right to care and want better for our grandchildren.
To seek the truths from which the lot seem to be immune.

I write to you, dearest of Friends so that we might
amend the legacy before our pens. We were blessed
to have met through this challenge again. It would have been
a fallacy not to continue to seek truth after all our strife.

So as I sit here writing you today. I want you to know
that if it was all for this friendship then it was enough for me.
We might not see liberty or justice in our short lifetimes.
But we have sought it and to me that is fine.

As I think of you and all you have achieved
I remember the young man I met when we were learning to see.
For the rights of our citizenry. For the rights of humanity.
May we cherish the truth seeking yet to be.

Screen shot 2009-10-27 at 5.43.31 PM

Adams to Jefferson #1

I think of our friendship and how we have grown.
How we have fought side by side together in past
New York subways. Sang our songs of Amazing Grace
for not a penny we would take to own.

We were young men back then and we wanted
so much change. You were always able to hold
your tongue as I grew more than one.
Because I wanted all to know that all we have is now.

That the truths are not self evident that you proclaimed.
That freedoms are won by the blood of man’s destiny.
And yet we sit here, our revolution seemingly won.
Grown gray we have and yet we stay on.

In the fight for what we know to be true
That we should wake each day and be in tune.
With our right to care and want better for our grandchildren.
To seek the truths from which the lot seem to be immune.

I write to you, dearest of Friends so that we might
amend the legacy before our pens. We were blessed
to have met through this challenge again. It would have been
a fallacy not to continue to seek truth after all our strife.

So as I sit here writing you today. I want you to know
that if it was all for this friendship then it was enough for me.
We might not see liberty or justice in our short lifetimes.
But we have sought it and to me that is fine.

As I think of you and all you have achieved
I remember the young man I met when we were learning to see.
For the rights of our citizenry. For the rights of humanity.
May we cherish the truth seeking yet to be.

Screen shot 2009-10-27 at 5.43.31 PM

Road Trip

Baltimore is cool. It has history. Real history. It goes back hundreds of years. Has great universities. Has world class hospitals. And it’s convenient. And it’s not nearly as hot there with four seasons! Affordable too. Compared to New York and such that is. The architecture there is wonderful. Old and new. The harbor is great. Actually the inner harbor shares the some of the architecture of the Jacksonville landing. People are everywhere. Federal Hill is great. I have family that lived there decades ago. Their old brownstone is now worth over a million I’m sure. Really, Baltimore is a cool town. And it’s smack dab in the middle of the northeast. You’re a stones throw from DC, Philly, New York, and Richmond. If art is your thing that’s a good place to be.

And then we meandered down to Lynchburg, Virginia. A small little town. 65 thousand souls. It has a couple of universities. Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University is huge there. And everyone
loves and misses him dearly, liberal and conservative. Seems he did a lot for Lynchburg.
The only thing I could compare it to is how Tallahassee would react if Bobby Bowden died. It would be a sad day in our states capital. Anyways. I really thought Lynchburg was going to
be lame but it snuck up and bit me. It’s affordable and historic. They’ve done a great job restoring their downtown. It’s thriving. Loft apartments and little cool restaurants. We ate Indian for lunch. A really great children’s museum called the Amazing Square. Also, I saw
a really great artists coop building across the street. Ten stories tall with contemporary art galleries and 25 artist’s studios. Also housing an art store. Really, really cool. Right on the water. And there are hills, and it’s really just a great little town. Liberals are thriving there. It’s a miracle.

And then we stopped through Asheville. I want you to know I’ve heard chatter about Asheville
for close to ten years now and have never had the chance to visit. I expected a lot out of Asheville after all of this talk, and it delivered. It’s just an amazing little town sitting right at
the foot of the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains. You can see wonderful scenes with billowing
mountains right from downtown. Breath taking really. Not to sound giddy. But it’s really
awe inspiring for someone like me who’s from Jacksonville to see mountains. And the architecture is great downtown. The very contemporary right next to the very old. People walking around all over downtown. All over. Musicians playing on corners. Jazz, blue grass, folk. Right there. Like waiting for a subway in Times Square. All free. All culture. We ate at a vegetarian restaurant that had an entire menu of wonder. Everything could be ordered vegan also if so wished. They even brewed 6 organic beers.

I mean if Jacksonville had a place like this it would be a landmark. And in Asheville it’s just another restaurant. The parking was affordable and easy to get to also. To sum it up I was so impressed with Asheville that it took me a day or two for it to register. They even have a really cool arts district in a warehouse area down by the river. The only thing negative about Asheville I might have to say would be that it’s too cool. One could easily feel uncool. I did feel a bit old.
But it really is made up of all types. Sort of like Atlanta, San Fran, or New York. A microcosm of culture at the foot of the Blue Ridge mountains.

And then we had a little visit in Greeneville, South Carolina which was an absolute surprise. I had no idea that Greeneville was as frickin cool as it is. I mean for Pete’s sake they have a waterfall creek running smack dab through downtown. Kids and such playing all over swimming and screwing around. The river park goes for like half a mile! Along the stream are several band shells shaded by trees. The downtown is really developed. I mean many many blocks. Enough developed blocks that we were tired as hell after walking for three hours. There’s a trolley car that goes all the way down Main street. There’s even an arts district right on the river where several artists have rented studio spaces. I mean it’s developed. Big money. Great restaurants. Great hotels. Very historic. Historic markers all over with associated statues. And while looking at the real estate for the city I found houses for 150K. New construction. Really amazing to find deals like that in a city with that much culture.

And if that wasn’t cool enough after messing around in Greeneville for a few hours we drove only about a half hour or so and we were up in the Blue Ridge Mountains to watch the sunset. I want you to know those mountains are amazing. They aren’t as impressive as the Rocky Mountains, but they are gorgeous in their own right. Not a bad batch of mountains to have in your backyard. The mountain biking there must be out of this world.

So anyways. That’s it. A little road trip. Several cities with bustling downtowns. What are they doing that Jacksonville isn’t? How long will it take before we can catch up? Are we playing catch up? If so, why? Hope you all get to get out of Jax for a bit when you have a chance. Check out the other cities. Get an idea of what works there, and bring that idea back here and implement it. Our Southern neighbors are doing it. Let’s use them as examples of how it can be done here.

Cheers….

Went for a walk today

with my little girl. We have one of those backpacks for strapping your little ones in and just going. It is a sunny day in Riverside. I absolutely love the architecture here. It makes me feel like I’m in another city. That’s a good feeling because Jacksonville can be a bit depressing at times. Especially when you know friends of yours are out and about in great cities like New York, Seattle, and San Fransisco.

We went to Memorial park after a stop by our neighborhood Starbucks. There isn’t a mom and pop coffee shop in the area. I don’t think folks would go there if there was anyways. Starbucks is so accepted by everyone. All types. Folks were there who just got out of Sunday school. Folks were there who were just waking up from a Saturday night binge drinking session. Piercings, tattoos, and Sunday school. All in one happy environment curated by the all knowing Starbucks cultural committee.

The park was interesting. My little girl Claire had a blast trying to get as far away from me as possible when I put her down. Walking fifty meters away then she was returned by the invisible leash she has for her parents, she has yet to understand. Security being something she needs. Something we all need.

Homeless folks were gathered in a little secret corner of the park. Picking flowers it seemed. I heard one mention a caterpillar. They were rough looking with beards, and such, but were picking flowers in the park. What a great scene it was. I wondered about the homeless situation in Jacksonville. I wondered about art making and how it fits into social issues such as homelessness. To be honest I feel a bit stingy directing my creative energy towards a canvas that folks will judge and talk about, and eventually put above their couch. I feel it is possible that artists owe it to themselves to use their creative energy for the good of mankind. Possibly?

My mind began to drift towards the issue of low pay for school teachers for some reason. That’s an issue that everyone understands. Knows about. Talks about. Yet nothing is done. Folks have decided that that’s just it. The reality is that if you decide to serve your community as a teacher you will struggle to make a living the rest of your life. I really don’t understand why everyone accepts it as a reality and doesn’t try to do anything about it?

I have decided that if we really want to make change on issues then we must act individually. Since our government will not make change on the issues that we care about then we must act publicly as a whole. Or not? What do you think? Can we make a change? Do you want to make a change? How should we begin?