- I am thankful for the $20 hand cart we bought at least 12 years ago. It's a little one, the original red paint faded to a girlish pink, the tires now worn from use, it began to rust and I plasti-dipped the handle, but it has always been there for the heavy hauling. Besides moving, it's helped us set up at Boatnik, the swap meet, and other affairs and events, is always around to lend a hand moving heavy items from the truck to wherever they need to go, and even has dolly wheels on the back so you can lay it down, slide the handle in perpendicular, and roll a taller stack wherever it needs to go.
"Dang 'at was lucky! Doggone near lost a $400 hand cart!"
- I am thankful for that feeling of completion, when something is done and done to the best of your ability: a script, a painting, a lawn trim, even the most mundane task can provide a healthy shot of accomplishment. In my younger years I left many tasks incomplete, and over the years there was a bit of mourning for them. Completed tasks give a little redemption for the ones I left hanging.
"Plans that either come to naught, or half a page of scribbled lines."
- I am thankful for the 1970's troupe, Firesign Theatre and the connection they made to many things important in my life. They were a cult comedy group out of Los Angeles, and did many skits that stood well on their own by auditory input only, even more impressive on stage. In one Seinfeld episode there is a Firesign Theatre poster behind the bar, a symbol of both their obscurity and their fame. Their corny and intricate skits ranged from parody to bawdy, chock full of references one would only "get" living in L.A. in the 70's. Long live the Tirebiters. :-)
"Hiya friends! Ralph Spoilsport here from Ralph Spoilsport Motors, the world's largest new used and used new automobile dealership: Ralph Spoilsport Motors here in the city o-o-o-of Emphysema. Let's just look at the extras on this fabulous car! Wire-wheel spoke fenders and two-way sneeze through wind vents, star-studded mud guard, sponge-coated edible steering column, chrome fender dents, and factory air conditioned air from our fully factory-equipped ... air conditioned factory! It's a beautiful car friends, with doors to match! Birch's Blacklist says this car was stolen but for you friends a complete price: only two-ninety-five hundred dollars in easy monthly payments of twenty dollars a week twice a week and never on Sunday!"
- There are 86,400 seconds in a day, and outside of sleeping, I am thankful I have learned to assume conscious responsibility for how I spend each and every one of them. None wasted on things I can't change, annoyances, or insecure thoughts that get in my way, and allowance for spending some of them to coast and take in the wonder.
"For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind."
- Though it relies on a lot of effort to put things in place that aren't free so you can experience a lot of them, I am thankful for the fact that the greatest things in life really are free, especially the consciousness we've been given to experience them all.
"The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart."
- I am thankful for the millions of Bott's Dots on our freeways, the raised bumps dividing freeway lanes, invented by Dr. Elbert Botts in 1953. I'm sure these have spared many accidents, especially in the oh-I-never-text-while-driving age. :-\
"The middle of the road is where the white line is - and that's the worst place to drive."
- Everyone has been asked the question, "where do you see yourself in five years?" I am thankful for my authentic response that fires off without hesitation, without a thought that who is asking is expecting a response that will pigeonhole a person and place everything into neat little rows, color coded and psychoanalyzed according to The Kinsean Theory or some other bullshit. My response is always "I don't have an answer to that question, and I hope I never do. It would mean everything from this point forward is predetermined and that is not the path I choose to walk."
"Care about people's approval and you will be their prisoner."
- I am thankful that wrinkles don't hurt, and that most of them are the footprints of many laughs and smiles.
"With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come."
- I am thankful for that unfaltering constant feeling that no matter how hard the world falls around me, I can still find many places, in my mind and in the physical world, where everything is going to be just fine.
"Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it's always your choice."
- I am, in the work I do daily, thankful for complete and searchable documentation. Give me adequate documentation and a text editor and the project is done.
"We do not want our end user documentation to be too clear. We make a lot of money doing training."
- I am thankful for the constant of time, from the millisecond of an engine's spark in the compression stroke to the eons of time in the creation of the world as we know it, time is the scale by which we measure out our lives and mark it in memory. It seems to pass so quickly as we age but is the second most valuable asset of our lives, and somehow I always seem to find a piece of it for things that matter.
"Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you."
- I grew up thinking I was poor, and over the years realized how childish and selfish this was. I am thankful that I've never really known true poverty. As we type on our connected computers from our warm homes and bustling coffee shops, a child in Ethiopia journeys miles by foot to draw water the color of rust for his family, and people give thanks to their creators for the smallest crust of bread. Today I drew a glass of water from the tap and watched the clear bubbles float through the glass and was thankful that my life is so plentiful.
"Poverty is the worst form of violence."
- I'm thankful for that part of me that isn't always creating art but is always churning and broiling over thoughts and ideas that would make no sense if spoken aloud, absurd if put to reality. He's always picking over the silliest things, mentally deconstructing and rearranging objects that chance into his field of view, forces me to stare at an inch of paper until my vision goes blurry to get it just right, wanders off to ponder the universes that exist in a molecule in the fold of a speck of dust in the corner of a room when I should really be focused on the moment. Sometimes I hate his demands, and the way he broods like a three year old at times, but I am thankful he is there; he is what makes me do without thinking, act without deliberation, the heart of every leap of faith. Without him I would be the mindless worker bee the world told me I was.
"Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties."
- I've avoided computer and Internet technology in my list because it's something I have mixed feelings about, at times I feel like it's taken so much away from our lives while enabling the obvious. One of the things I'm most thankful for with computers are shortcut keys - CTRL+C, CTRL+V, CTRL+F (Or that silly apple icon key for you Mac-heads) that all save that important nanosecond wandering from keyboard to the pointing device, the mouse. My favorite of all - ALT-F4. Try it now if you never have, it's magic, hold down the ALT key and press F4 on your keyboard. Bazinga!
"A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick boxing."
- I am thankful for magic. It really does exist, but not in the illusion of floating magic wands, doves disappearing in hats, or coins pulled from the ears of a wondrous child, it exists in every face brightened by something wonderful, every laugh of joy, every idea that cannot be extinguished by common sense. Make some magic today!
"Imagination is the true magic carpet."
- I am thankful for (most) San Diego drivers. (WHAT?) Yes, I've driven in many cities, and there are still nuts on the road, but for the most part, it's a lot better here. When the freeway gets crowded, we hang back, 4 or 5 car lengths, knowing it isn't going to move any faster by crawling on everyone's bumper, and just enjoy the music. Besides, we need to leave room for those Mario Andretti wannabees threading in and out to arrive 2 minutes earlier. :-)
"Natives who beat drums to drive off evil spirits are objects of scorn to smart Americans who blow horns to break up traffic jams."
- Today I am really thankful for so many things that are not a pain in the ass, that don't turn into a chain reaction of calamity. A simple drink of water, you knock your wife's favorite glass off the counter, sweep the shards up, miss a sliver, cut your foot anyway, spend 20 minutes digging it out with an X-Acto knife (see #193,) now it's really bleeding, there's no band-aids, you bleed all over the carpet, try to shampoo it, the shampooer is out of soap, go to the store to buy soap, stain the socks with your bleeding foot, put the soap in the shampooer . . . to find the motor is burned out. And your wife hasn't even found out about her favorite glass yet. When simple things go wrong, I just give thanks for how much worse they could have been. :-)
"When any calamity has been suffered the first thing to be remembered is, how much has been escaped."
- I am thankful for our morning star, Venus, which hangs in the east (our San Diego east,) every morning at around 4:45 AM. I crawl out of bed, step outside and look up to it, a bright shining member of our universe standing in the sky, and know it is going to be another epic day.
"Venus favors the bold."
- I am thankful for the lengthening days of approaching Summer. More daylight after work to play under the sun, shirtless nights by the barbeque, some days with the heat so thick you can see it, spending more time outdoors, it always makes me feel like a kid. Winter's not really bad, it has it's own qualities, but too many clothes. Summer is just better.
"Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability."
- I am thankful for one of the most simple reorganizations of my thought patterns. I don't "have" to, I "get" to. I don't have to go to work, I get to build new programming with a team of seasoned developers, who are both willing to teach me and learn from me. I don't have to rise in the morning, I get to create more magic today. I don't have to deal with problems, I get to apply creative solutions.
"Leap, and the net will appear."
- Today I am thankful for manufacturers that still make stuff that can be repaired or parted out. Autos are obvious, but around my house I'd always had working items and salvage items, sunglasses are a perfect example. I still have a can of frames, screws, arms and lenses that from time to time I pull out to revive a scratched pair. Most people would just throw them away and buy a new set, I don't do it because I'm cheap. I do it because what we leave behind in our landfills and trash is going to haunt us, as well as the next generation. If I can't fix it, I take the time to recycle it (#44.)
"Where I start - is the idea of use. It is not recycling, it's reuse."
- I am thankful for the Alvin Spin-O-Tray, of which I have two. The only thing about these organizers that has changed in 30 years or so is the color, because when something works, don't fix it. Web site designers should take heed of this simple truth.
"Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up."
- Today I am thankful for the people who really don't care about me outside of the things that they want from me, in my work or of what generosity I share. I often see people posting memes about what a terrible tragedy it is to be "used," but a person can only be "used" if you allow it and one has to take a hard look at why you allow that to happen. This is the doorway to revealing the good things about those you think are abusing you. There is good in almost everything.
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
- I am thankful for those messy times after a project when you look around and it's time to sweep, pick up, re-shelf, recharge, and put things away. It's almost sad to erase the story of creating a thing, but it's as much a part of the process as the actual doing of it.
"All those clean, fresh starts had made me forget what it was like, until now, to be messy and honest and out of control. To be real."
- I am thankful for the opportunity to rent rather than own a home. That may sound strange, but I've owned property several times, and though I resisted the reality of it, I finally realized I didn't own the property, it owned me, in so many ways, costing so many hours, so much energy, and for what? A piece of ground, a collection of wood and concrete and materials to which I was chained. Not owning a home is more liberating than I could ever imagine.
"The model of ownership, in a society organized round mass consumption, is addiction."
- I am thankful science finally produced sunscreen, and it actually works. As a child the only protection we had against too much fun under the sun was . . . clothes! I spent far too many sleepless nights feeling like a burger on a grill, followed by agonizing weeks peeling off itchy layers of skin. Bonus thanks for making it waterproof. :-)
"I never expected to see the day when girls would get sunburned in the places they now do."
- Men have an innate need to fix things, and out of this need I've always said yes to things that consumed far too many hours of my life and generally sent me off the path. I am thankful I have finally learned to say no. No to the things and actions that get in the way. It's cleared out so much space for all the "yes" things to rush in. Sometimes it's really difficult, a part of me wants to hang on, be the crusader, save the day, but when I ask myself what's important, I can say "no."
"Say no to everything, so you can say yes to the one thing."
- I am not a wealthy man, drive an old truck, am not a part of the cool kids club, I don't go to fancy restaurants or disco joints, I live rather humble, but am thankful for deciding my life is awesome. Freedom of choice begins within, not in congress or the voting booth.
"I woke up and realized life is great and people are awesome and life is worth living."
- I am thankful I can measure many of life's accomplishments by the stains under my fingernails; soil, auto grime from wrenching on an auto, the stains you get from handling plumbing and other encounters with raw metals, green grass stains, sand, wood stain, fruit dyes, and watercolor pigment.
"Jump into the middle of things, get your hands dirty, fall flat on your face, and then reach for the stars."
- I am thankful for sand. From sand we get abrasives that finish and polish beautiful creations to a fine luster, when fired to 1700 degrees or so it bonds into glass, provides drainage for our flower pots, and from a single grain pearls are born. Sand gives you a feeling like no other terrain when walked on. Every grain of sand carries the signature of the history of our planet's highest mountains, if only they could tell their story.
"In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth."
Categories: About the Art