Gye Greene's Thoughts

Gye Greene's Thoughts (w/ apologies to The Smithereens and their similarly-titled album!)

Friday, May 12, 2017

Spreading the sunshine

As I've mentioned, I'm reading a book on tidying.  Inspired by that book, I've started to go through my closet -- particularly things that I haven't worn for a while.  If I don't like the article of clothing, I should get rid of it if I do like the article of clothing, I ought to wear it more!


During the process, Wednesday night, I came across a pair of green tie-dyed pants that my late sister gave me about 1994:  I think she found it in the thrift store that she worked at.  It's been a few years since I've worn it -- but I like it.  So, I decided to wear it on Friday, because:


1) It's Friday, so I can get away with being casual.

2) We've been having a lot of grey days (it's winter) -- and the greyest of days is when one must wear the brightest of colors. 

3) I'm happy to amuse people.


So, Wednesday night I picked out a vest that went with the pants -- and a necktie that went with the vest.  And then I picked a black shirt, just to serve as a frame for the outfit.



And, here's the outfit (selfie in the men's room at work):



I made a **lot** of people smile -- or even burst out laughing.  So, mission accomplished!


--GG

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Monday, May 08, 2017

Nearly normal

I wasn't sure if I should go in to work today, or stay home and take care of my bad back.  But then I hobbled around and sorted laundry and did other useful things this morning -- and I figured, if I was doing that now, I'd continue being active and foolish during the rest of the day -- in which case, I really ought to be at work.

I made the right call:  I had to walk around fairly carefully -- and use great focus to get in and out of my desk chair -- but due to sitting with unnaturally proper posture, my back was actually less sore by the end of the day than when I started.

So, I'm maybe 90% normal.  My back, I mean -- not my personality.


--GG

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Sunday, May 07, 2017

Back is vaguely better

As I noted in yesterday's blog entry, I somehow messed up my back yesterday afternoon -- by picking up a tiny packet of doggie treats off the floor!  I messed up my back about two years ago, by using poor lifting technique on a surprisingly heavy potted plant -- so this is probably a re-injury in the same vein.

Unlike yesterday, where I soldiered on and kept doing a bunch of tasks that I felt needed to be done -- today I (mostly!) took it easy:  I spent a lot of time in bed, reading and/or napping.  Although I did sort some laundry.  As much as I could, I had the kids carry things for me.

As long as I keep my torso upright, I'm okay:  it's more sore than painful.  But I can't bend over at all:  I have to squat or kneel to get things off the ground.  And I can't sit in a slouchy position.


I dislike being not physically able.  A precursor to old age, perhaps?  But hopefully not.

I just gotta remember to maintain good lifting technique -- even for tiny items!


--GG

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Saturday, May 06, 2017

Blew out my back

As I mentioned, I've been inspired by the Marie Kondo book The Joy of Tidying, so I've being going through the easy, and self-contained portions of our messy, messy house.

One insight that she shares in her book is that people in disorganized homes tend to buy multiples of things that they already have, because they don't have a sense of what they already own.  Yep.

In our instance, I went though the "doggy shelf" in the laundry room, and we had about 15 packets of various sorts of doggie treats -- some "best used by" 2016, some for 2017, and some for 2018.  About two-thirds of the packets were already opened -- indicating that the surplus packages were purchased (without regard for what was already in the cupboard), one or two items were given to the dogs, and then the new package was added to the pile.

Note that I already went through the doggy cupboard a year ago, and got rid of the truly old stuff:  so most of this is recent.


But, I digress:  the intended point of this blog entry is to note that at around 3pm,  as I bent down to pick up a small packet of dog treats off the floor, my lower back abruptly went into spasm and I had to drop to my hands and knees.  Weird.  And since, then, my lower back has been sore, and I've been walking like an old man.

Luckily it's muscular -- I presume -- rather than a pinched nerve or bad disk.  Still a nuisance, though.

Because I hadn't yet fed and watered the chickens yet, and it had to be done, I carried on -- slowly and carefully, and maintaining a regal posture.  (I was the only one home:  everyone else was out with The Lady, running errands.)  And I vacuumed the bedroom, too -- because I said I would, and it would've already been done if I'd done that first, instead of prioritizing doing "fun" things.

Stupid, probably -- but I don't think I made the injury any worse...


On the bright side:  I have a bottle of mysterious Chinese heat rub, which I rarely get to use.  So!  I'll get to use some of it tonight.


--GG

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Friday, May 05, 2017

I miss the band

I'm reading a book called The Joy of Tidying, by Marie Kondo.  Among other things, she points out that (I'm paraphrasing) everything in your home should be something you enjoy, or something that's functional (e.g. the toaster):  if its neither enjoyable nor functional -- why do you have it?  And once you strip away all of the things from your home that you're indifferent to, you typically discover -- as a byproduct -- what is most important to you.

Inspired by this, I've been slowly going through our clutter-filled house and determining which things we actually like, and which things we've just kind of "held on to".  For example, I'm finally at a place where I'm willing to get rid of most of my old Criminology textbooks, left over from graduate school:  I'm never going back to academia (I enjoy working for the state government and being a data-cruncher!), and now that Criminology isn't my job -- I'm really not interested in the books.  But I already knew that.

Last weekend I also went through all of our DVDs -- and had the kids go through "their" DVDs -- and we probably divested of a quarter of each of our stashes:  DVDs that either we didn't like in the first place, or movies that we'd watched once, but really, will never watch again.  I ran the extras past my in-laws, and they took most of them; the rest they'll but on the breakroom table for their co-workers.


As a byproduct of that process, I re-discovered a concert DVD of The Who (The Who at Kilburn 1977) that I've had for a while but never got around to watching.  So I sat down and watched it. 

The Who isn't my favorite-ist band -- but at one point they were in my top 20.


And, as I sat there and watched the concert footage, I realized:  Dang, I miss being in a band.  I don't know about the "being on stage and performing" aspect -- because I've only played live in a band three(?) times, which isn't enough to give me a sense of things.  But I miss making music in collaboration with other people; and I miss coming up with original songs within a group context.

Unfortunately, there's nothing at the moment that I can do about this:  or rather, I would have to drop something else from my life (exercising; woodworking) in order to spend time in a band.  And, at various points since moving to Australia I have made some attempts to start a band -- and nothing ever came of it.

Ah well. 

One thing that has kind of filled that gap is that the wife and kids do their piano practice, I've played along on the drums:  that's pretty enjoyable.  :)

And I need to play guitar more often.


--GG

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Review of the documentary The Beatles - Eight Days a Week

The Beatles – Eight Days a Week was good: if you enjoy the Beatles – or are from that era – you ought to see it.

It explores their earlier years, through perhaps three-fourths of the way through their career: the story ends substantially before their breakup. It's based on archival footage of concerts, interviews, and t.v. appearances – plus interviews with a few famous folks (e.g. Whoopi Goldberg) who discuss what The Beatles meant to them growing up.

Ron Howard directed it – and since it's a documentary, I'm inferring that he did the editing as well. As usual, he did a commendable job.

It does sanitize a lot of their lives, such as minimizing their drug use and omitting their extra-marital affairs. The main focus was that it was a wild ride, which they eventually got sick of – and that the four boys banded together like brothers.


I recommend.


--GG

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Choose your own adventure

Some of you might not be old enough to remember this, but there used to be a series of books called Choose Your Own Adventure.  You would be in a role ("You are an Arctic explorer..."; "You are an astronaut..."), the book would describe a situation, and every page or so you'd have to decide on a course of action.

Based on the course of action, you'd turn to a certain page in the book:  "If you stop to ask for directions, turn to page 55.  But if you choose to keep walking around the neighborhood, hoping you'll find the cafe, turn to page 91."

I was thinking today -- as a middle-aged guy might think -- about all the decisions I've made in my life, and how they've sent me down different paths.

Just as a quick example:  I could've gone to a less-expensive state university, lived at home with my parents, and just commuted to campus.  But if I'd done that, I wouldn't have met Old Roommate -- who I then wouldn't have roomed with when I finally graduated.  And I wouldn't have ran out of money partway through college, had to drop out, then got the job at the movie theatre, where I met Crash Adams, the drummer, who started the band with me and Guitar Cousin.

And if I had gone to the state university, I probably would've gone straight to graduate school -- and either gone to the same one I went to, but been five years earlier (meaning that I wouldn't have had classes with the woman who became my wife!) -- or else gone to another school altogether.  So:  spooky.


Basically, everyone's life is a series of decisions.  Each decision has consequences -- some predictable (e.g. Decide to start selling drugs; end up getting shot in the leg and having your money stolen); and some not so predictable ("right place, right time" situations). 


On the one hand, I think the trick is to make decisions that maximize the chances for the outcomes you want:  try to get whatever sort of education or work experience that prepares you for the job you want; avoid drugs; spend time with good, supportive people, not bad or negative people.

But!  Sometimes the bad choices -- as well as the negative things that happen to you -- can place you well for opportunities that you never would've expected.  As above:  I was really disappointed when I ran out of money and had to leave college.  But it turned out that that two-year(-ish) period was one of the best times of my life. 


So -- you don't know.  Do what you can; think long-term; but if things go bad, maybe it's just setting you up for something good.

Life is a long, interesting story -- and (from your perspective) you're the main character.

Take good notes:  maybe it can become a screenplay.


--GG

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