Category: Life

Being Overshadowed By A Cloud

My wife and I had the chance to be in Nashville for the solar eclipse to witness the totality, something I’ve never experienced before. Though a cloud obscured the sky above downtown during the totality, I still stood in wonder as the sky darkened to twilight, then dusk in the matter of seconds. The streetlights blinked on and birds began flying erratically in the air. The world seemed to quiet as the city held its breath, trying to capture the magic of the moment.

The last time I witnessed an eclipse was in second grade, and I had to work for it. With the eclipse coming, my teacher Mrs. Wallace made us all craft pinhole viewers out of shoeboxes. Each took their shoebox and angled it so the the light of the sun shone onto the back of the closed box, allowing us to safely view the “picture” it made from one side. It was explained that while it wasn’t safe to stare directly at the sun (you’ll go blind, kids!), you could safely look at its image the little pinhole created.

That lesson always stuck with me. When something big happens, I tend to look around to see what effect the event is having on the environment and the people around me. That’s why I don’t think I was cheated by having a cloud in the way during the totality. I still got to see how it affected the people and things around me.

Imagine the eclipse from the perspective of the moon. Many things had to go right for it to fully eclipse the sun to the Earth, and there were years of preparations for conditions to be just right for the perfect performance.

And then a cloud got in the way for the people in Nashville.

When you prepare and plan for an event and try to control everything so that people can see your brilliance, all too often something that cannot be controlled will “ruin” your moment or steal your thunder. Do not be discouraged and take the disruption in stride. You cannot see the full extent of your influence and do not get to see all the fruits of your labors immediately. When starting a new marketing campaign, it can take months or even years to see the full effect of the new advertisements. But you will see them. The audience may not laugh at the right time, or they may not have an earth shattering revelation that transforms their lives in a flash of glorious light radiating from their face. But they will still have listened. Your art or craft may never be more than a hobby to express yourself. But you’re still better for having shared it with existence.

Do not let the uncontrollable stop you, or even slow you down.

Even the shadow will be an experience to behold.

Shaving My Head For A Cause… A Year From Now

My father always encouraged me to be involved in supporting charitable organizations. Even if you can only give a dollar there is value in supporting events and causes you believe in. My most recent organization I’ve desired to support is Locks of Love, but I want to give them something more than just money. To this end, I will donate my hair.

This will take about a year to grow, as they require a minimum of ten inches of hair in order to create a viable wig. They also request that you do not stay out in the sun for extended periods because of the damage to your hair, as well as not perming or dyeing it, again because of the damage it does to your hair. My hair is already wavy, and I’m a computer geek so sun damage isn’t going to be a problem either.

The Beginning Of The Rest Of My Life

I was given two major pieces of advice from a very good friend and mentor of mine last year, and I’m happy to say that I followed the first bit of his advice to the letter.

Last weekend I married my best friend.

She is the one person who I can laugh with, can spend time with doing nothing and everything, and the one person who I am glad to see every day. It is Wonderland to have her by my side, and for the two of us to go on every life adventure from here on out. If we are judged by our choices, I know that this will be weighed one of the good ones for me.

I love you, Lacy Lynn Jabas, my bride.

Thank you for the excellent advice, Roy. I look forward to sharing your wisdom with others, now that I’m on the other side of the looking glass.

A Sudden Spurt Of Maturity

I’ve been asked to be a godfather and, Marlon Brando jokes aside, holy cannoli.

When the heck did I grow up?  Even the shadow of that kind of responsibility shifts your perspective of the world.  I care for the kid a great deal and want nothing more than to see him grow into a man and keep the wonder of the world that he has intact.  But to be responsible for him if the worst should happen?

I have no hesitation about my decision, but now I have one more reason I shouldn’t ride a bike into the grand canyon.  I guess that means becoming one of the first astronauts on Mars is out too.


Life Uninterrupted

Now that I am back in the States, it stands in even greater relief how I have no free time.  No time to explore any crazy ideas, pursue interests or hobbies, or even write a few lines in this blog.  I feel stretched even thinner than when I left for Italy.

We all choose what we give up to grab hold of something new.

One Of The First Crazies

Who in the world was the first person crazy enough to look at that horizon, that endless blue barrier, and say “I am willing to risk my life and the lives of others to see if there’s something past that?” Standing here, where the water is large enough to not see the end of it, I can understand why people in ancient times thought the world was flat. It seems like such an insurmountable thing to sail into that great blue with not but a hope that you won’t die.

My question to you is, what is your great blue barrier? What is the one thing that you look at as something that cannot be crossed, cannot be changed, cannot be challenged?

And what if there’s something past it?

Are you crazy enough to risk your life to cross that barrier? Because if you are, your life will never be the same. Italy has been one of my big blue barriers. What’s yours?


First Bit of Bad Luck

I unfortunately did not get to see the Last Supper fresco up close as they are closed on Mondays.


However, this was far from a wasted day.  Not only did I stay in a small apartment for less than what the hotel cost in Venice and take some fantastic photos of more modern buildings and interiors, I also had a chance to do some much needed laundry.  The only problem is that the drier didn’t work very well, so even after an hour and a half, my clothes were still damp.  However, this allowed me to meet this nice couple.

Meet Tim and Carissa, who had just come in from France on part of their whirlwind tour of Europe, and needed to do laundry as well.

I hadn’t noticed I was missing having long conversations on multiple subjects with people until I tried to entertain these folks while they were waiting for me to finish using the washer.  Being from Australia they spoke English and I was able to socialize with them, something I won’t be able to do in Italian until long after this trip is over.

We talked about their trip, about my trip, what each of us recommends to see — since they were going to visit Venice for only a day next week — , life, what we do for work, how they met, and the meaning of life, the universe and everything (which of course is 42).

It was fun to chat with them for what ended up being a couple of hours while our clothes were STILL drying, and was a welcome reprieve from being a foreigner.

When Carissa told me about her research into the effects on brain development in prematurely born babies  and I asked if they took the myelinization of neurons into account, she was floored that I understood anything about the brain at all.

Because of this I was able to share with them about the Wizard Academy, Leonardo Da Vinci, TRIZ, divergent thinking and many other things.  They both seemed intrigued about the Wizard Academy, and may someday become alumni.  That would add to an already incredible story.


On Being A Wanderer

Not all those who wander are lost.

-J.R.R. Tolkein

I’m off to Milan today to see if I can get in to see the Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci, not to mention it will be good to get into a more modern city for a day.

There’s a certain charm to being a vagabond.  The excitement of not knowing what will happen next, a change of scenery whenever you like, and little care in the world for such menial things that someone who demands roots be put down would be fretting over every minute of every day if they were with me.  Having very little to care for except to see what lies beyond the next hill, wondering how it will change you forever is an incredible way to live.

What drives a person to such an existence?

Staying in one place too long, perhaps?  Being tired of the daily toil, the never ending weekly clock that slowly ticks to laying in one’s grave would certainly drive a man to escape the clock even for a little while.  Perchance it is the safety of a home waiting at the end of a journey?  The little hobbit hole with a warm fire and hearty meal that happily welcomes a wanderer back from his travels.  Maybe that dark and shamed desire to see what is over the next hill?  To not be satisfied with what you have seen, what you have at hand that you are meant to be content with that drives a man to wander.

For me, it was meeting many a man who had wandered, and had brought back the sun.  Yarns spun of the darkest nights and the brightest of days, of missed planes and unexpected adventures, of dangerous encounters and newfound friends.  Tales that enthralled the spirit within me begging for its own wandering.

And so I finally had the chance to wander on my own, and I seized it with both hands and will not let go of the dragon I so foolishly chose to ride until we have soared to the stars and bring back a sun of my own.