John Prine was a Mailman

John Prine was a mailman.

He was a mailman when he stepped on stage for an open mic night way back when and sang three of his songs…”Hello in There”, “Paradise”, and “Sam Stone”.

Now, if you’re going to make a break and move from being a mailman to….eventually ….not being a mailman, it’s good to have a ladder to climb up out of the “mailman hole” that’s as good as those three classic songs.

Cream rises…eventually, even if the milk is sloshing around in a pail as dirty as the mail business.

When the club owner offered him a job after that first ever public performance, John Prine went home and wrote what would become his first album…because he didn’t have enough material to sing for the 40 minutes the club owner had told him that he’d need to do at his new gig.

Things are really hitting the fan at my job right now.

I’m a mailman.

Just like John Prine was.

I like that word “was”.

I’m a mailman right now.

Anyway, things are really hitting the fan at work. It’s rough to keep up with the volume. It’s tough times in the mail business. It’s unpleasant.

But, if it makes me feel any better, everybody….UPS….FedEx…that guy on the corner with the old box van who drives around with somebody’s packages all day….all of them are having a crunch time now.

Being in the delivery business at Christmas time doesn’t do much to expand your sense of Holiday Cheer.

But that’s a digression.

This isn’t about me….it’s about John Prine….the ex-mailman.

After that club job, he quit being a mailman.

His talent freed him.

I like that word….”freed”.

Creativity isn’t limited to a gilded studio or perfect conditions.

He wrote his songs out on the mail route.

He wasn’t defined by his job.

He just kept rolling.

Awwwwwwww…..what the heck?

I lied.

This is about me. Everything’s about me. Every single thing….even how acting like it’s about something or someone else is just a thing I do to make myself look like I’m not such a self-absorbed a-hole.

Maybe it’s not that bad….but….it really is all about me….when you get down to brass tacks.

I wouldn’t be hurt by or even care what other people did or thought if I wasn’t my favorite topic.

That’s a secret though….it would make me look pretty bad if the word got out that I must think that I’m the hub of the universe.

I can’t afford to look worse.

I guess that what I’m thinking about with John Prine is how fascinated I am by the people who figure out a way to save themselves.

I love to hear about the escape artists…the people who somehow, through talent or circumstance or bravery or maybe a combination of all of those qualities, “get away” from the thing that they think makes them less than what they could be….or…the thing that they don’t know is keeping them from….something even better.

John Prine was a mailman.

I’m a whiner….and, a mailman.

How do you jump?

And….I lied…again.

I care a lot about the people around me…I love them like crazy.

They’re the only thing that keeps me distracted from my poisonous self-absorption.

Forget creativity….the ones you love are the fuel that drives the train.

Gadddds, though….”escape”?

That sounds pretty darn good.

 

 

Lianne LaHavas NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

I’ve gotten to where I don’t really trust music anymore.

There’s too much Autotune…too much Protools…too many “apps” to believe anything that I hear.

There’s too much correction.

There’s too much “fixing it in the mix”.

I don’t know what “what” is anymore.

That’s why these Tiny Desk Concerts are so great.

Here’s one from an artist named Lianne LaHavas that really shows what music can be created by real musicians in an unadorned setting.

Listen to how much three talented people can do!

Here’s a link to the other Tiny Desk Concerts.

It’s a safe bet that you can trust what you hear.

These days….that’s refreshing.

I’M MARY POPPINS, Y’ALL!!

This is a spoiler.

If you haven’t watched the movie yet….this is a spoiler.

It’s a good scene from Guardians of the Galaxy 2….and it’s a spoiler.

So….SUE ME!!

I watched this movie three times.

The first two times, I was so tired that I fell asleep in the middle section….and woke up for the end each time.

I thought that the end was kind of cool….but….what happens in the middle is important, too.

I shouldn’t skip the middle part of this movie.

I miss important things.

This morning, I watched the middle part for the first time….and it was really good.

That’s a superlative….”really good”.

Why can I fall asleep in the middle of these great movies?

Am I that tired?

I need to RALLY!!

I NEED TO YELL OUT, “I’M MARY POPPINS, Y’ALL!!”

I need to yell out….slap my face….stay awake.

Wake up, Mary Poppins!

Wake up!

 

the “beautiful” exemption…

“Code” is there for a reason.

Things should be safe….and, I suppose, what everybody expects.

We don’t live in a world that values surprises.

We maintain the status quo.

But….wouldn’t it be nice if sometimes we could figure out a “beautiful” exemption?

What if we could just leave people alone occasionally?

What if we could just mind our own business?

What if getting permit fees wasn’t important….and concern wasn’t driven by financial gain?

Would inspectors give a rat’s a** if it didn’t mean a loss of revenue if we didn’t follow their rules?

They don’t care that much about anyone else.

Awwwww….they aren’t the devil.

They’re just doing their jobs.

But, having said that, I do wish that people could be good human beings and work hard at….working with people instead of trying to shut down creativity that doesn’t make sense to an uncreative bureaucracy.

I hope that this woman can work it out with “the man”.

I like her space.

Incredible Mini Earthship Style Cabin – Tiny Off Grid House with Solar Power

Nice video from a YouTube channel called Exploring Alternatives.

Here’s the YouTube description:

In this video, we tour a mini earth ship style cabin at the Terra Perma community (http://terraperma.ca/en) to learn how the building is designed to produce heat, water, and power; all while being 100% off-grid.

The interior design of the tiny house is not only functional, but incredibly beautiful as well: It features relief cob sculptures on the interior walls, a dazzling recycled bottle wall, and floor to ceiling south facing windows.

The tiny home away from home was built using over 200 recycled tires that were filled with earth and stacked in a semi circle to create the main wall of the cabin. This wall was then covered (backfilled) with a mound of earth to create a thermal mass that will store energy from the sun and help keep the home at a stable temperature year-round.

To mitigate temperature fluctuations, there is a wood stove and radiant in-floor heating for cold months, and when it’s warm out, there’s a low-tech air conditioning system that cools indoor air by circulating it through a pipe that is buried under the mound of earth at the back of the house, and bringing it back into the house at a cooler temperature.

The metal roof is built on an angle to optimize rainwater collection (their rainwater ducts had not yet been installed when we were there), and the overhang at the front provides shade to the structure during the summer to avoid overheating.

To power the in-floor heating system, the air pump, the lights, and the electrical outlets, there is a 1000 Watt solar power system installed behind the cabin.

You’ll notice that there is no toilet or shower inside the earthship. To keep things simple they built an outhouse toilet, and a communal shower block for all of the eco-lodges (kind of like what you’d find at a campground).

Terrasol is one of several miniature green building structures at Terra Perma that are rented to the public as vacation rentals. They’re also a great way for people to experience living in different types of sustainable, hand built structures to see what living off grid is like. In addition to the earthship, they have a mini cob and straw bale house, 2 yurts, a tiny house, and a mini cordwood cabin.

Terra Perma has property lots for sale for anyone who wishes to live in the permaculture community, and they also have cooperative business opportunities for eco-entrepreneurs.

Mat and I met Elan from Terra Perma during the tiny house festival in Lantier, Quebec in July 2016 and adjusted our filming schedule to stop by and check out the super cool buildings he was helping to put up in Harrington, Quebec, Canada. We camped in our van at Terra Perma for 2 nights and had fun exploring their mini sustainable buildings, swimming in their private lake, and tasting their homemade maple syrup!

To learn more about the Terra Perma project and their eco-lodge rentals, check out their website here: http://terraperma.ca/en

Seeing creativity in videos like these feels so ….empowering and inspiring.

We can choose to live anywhere, really.

Why not choose someplace beautiful and interesting?

Another Snow…

I was working at a local radio station called WSKY in Asheville when another snow went down….back in 1993.

The morning of the blizzard, I hiked into the station to do the morning shift for the first time….subbing for the regular morning guy who wouldn’t be able to make it in if the weather turned bad.

Hiking in at 5 in the morning, the snow was already up to my calves….and I spent the next two days on the air by myself after getting the station on the air at 6.

The snow we had this weekend was heavier than expected, but it was nothing like the snow we had in 1993.

I spent the night at the Haywood Park Hotel that shared the building that the radio station was located in.

We had power and were warm at the hotel, but other folks in town weren’t that fortunate.

I had a paper cup full of lasagna that they’d fed the hotel guests when I was finally able to get off the air after a 12 hour shift when the power at the transmitter went down ….and another paper cup full of expensive bonbons from the choclatier that had a shop in the building.

Bonbons lose their appeal after you’ve eaten ten of them.

I felt lucky to be able to scrape together something to eat.

What an introduction to doing the morning shift!

Two days later, my friend John hiked in and I got to take a rest from trying to figure out what to talk about.

Being on the radio all day by yourself is harder than I imagined it would be.

That was a crazy snow…back in 1993.

Nice Tiny Home in the Olympic Rainforest

Here’s a small home up in the Olympic rainforest in Washington.

Another nice video from “Living Big In A Tiny House“.

Here’s the YouTube description:

This spectacular cabin is like nothing you have seen before. Hidden amongst the towering trees of the Olympic rainforest, this enchanting and whimsical cabin is guaranteed to take your breath away. Built by Jacob Witzling (Instagram: @jacobwitzling), this cabin is not only a home, it’s also a work of art. Sustainably constructed from reclaimed and salvaged materials, this tiny house fits in perfectly to its forest surroundings, almost as if it’s come to life directly from a storybook.

At the beginning of the video, the builder references a book called “Handmade Houses: A Guide to the Woodbutcher’s Art”.

I wonder how many builders were turned on to funky construction because of this and other books like it?

I’ve had a copy for a bunch of years….and, even way before all the “tiny house” chic-ness kicked in, they’ve been a cool inspiration.

Listen to the part of this video where the builder explains the situation he has with the landowner….it’s kind of unusual.

Basically, he agreed to build the house on the guy’s (or gal’s….he doesn’t reference gender) land and when the house is finished, the builder can live in it for two years.

The landowner contributed some of the money for building materials, but the bulk of the cost of the cabin was covered by the builder.

Anyway…the landowner lets the guy build on his property but owns the cabin when the dude is finished building it.

Hmmmm.

I wonder if I could finagle something like that?

Get folks to build cool things on my land and let me own them when they’re done?

Maybe…..

Nahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…..

What do I need with a bunch of cool cabins?

And….why do I need to OWN EVERYTHING?

WHAT’S THE POINT OF ALL THIS COLLECTING?

DO I REALLY WANT TO HOARD TINY HOUSES?

WHY AM I YELLING?!

(Man….it really snowed like….a real mother last night. Holy Smokes!)

keep it between the fenceposts

Man.

It snowed like a real mother today.

I don’t know what “real mother” really means….but it sounds kind of hip or something.

So….I’ll stick with that.

It snowed hard.

Like a real mother.

When I was going to go out in bad weather, my Dad used to say, “keep it between the fenceposts!”

I love that saying….good advice.

And….today….I did.

Even though I slipped and I slided, I kept it “between the fenceposts”.

Having the responsibility of delivering the mail makes a joyride a little less joyful….but I still like driving around in harsh weather.

When I got home I watched a Troll Holiday special with the little guys….and, for some reason, I thought of Soul Train and the guys dancing down the line….keeping it between the fenceposts.

Man….it’s good to make it home.

That’s the best part of the day….making it back home.

the spices

I love that “you are what you think about all day” idea.

Maybe the quote is “you become what you think about all day”.

Anyway, it’s a good truth.

I woke up thinking about that this morning, and something came through a little clearer than it has in the past.

We don’t become what we focus on….we become what we think about.

The quote never meant that we can struggle to focus on the “right things”….and that through our power of intention, we’d manifest what we concentrated on SO HARD.

We are not that accomplished at manipulating ourselves.

I don’t think that it’s that easy.

I don’t think that it works like that.

I wondered if it wasn’t those things that we let intrude on our thoughts, those things that lurk at the corner of our mind’s stage, that we don’t even pay attention to when we’re giving the thoughts our….inattention, that really set the tone of our lives?

It’s like eating a delicious bowl of beef stew.

The main ingredients are pretty basic.

There’s no real surprises there.

What makes it good are the spices.

When you look into your bowl, you see the meal and understand that you’re eating a bowl of beef stew….but the thing that really sets the tone of the experience are the elements that are harder to see.

You don’t see the spice….you experience it….and that’s what makes the experience either good or bad….depending on the choices we make when we add things to the mix.

I don’t think that it’s necessarily even our core beliefs that set the tone of our lives.

They might steer us towards good decisions.

No….they do steer us towards good decisions.

It’s something else….

I guess that what I’m thinking is that it’s the silly diversions or the things that “just don’t really matter” that we waste time with that really build who we become.

Core beliefs are like a beautiful foundation….but if the house you build on top of that foundation is an awkward glom of a weird situation, it doesn’t mean much when you point out what everything is resting on.

It can be a strong house, but….it could be a wrong house…at the same time.

And…if you live in a weird house long enough….even a house that could stand for centuries because of that strong, strong foundation….someday you might forget what you’re standing on, distracted by all the funk and noise and bad angles you walk around in all day.

I use to run.

When I run, I feel good.

When I don’t run, I don’t necessarily feel bad…I just don’t feel “as good”.

When you stop running, it takes a while to change from a runner to a non-runner….it’s a gradual thing, that lessening.

It’s not jarring….you wouldn’t even notice if you didn’t think about it.

All these things that shape us, good and bad, are like that.

They creep in over a long time….and then….all of a sudden (!), we become who “we are”.

Those spices are hard choices when you don’t know what or how much to add to the meal.

I don’t want to ruin the meal.

I need to learn how to cook.

And….I need some coffee.

It’s pretty early, still.

 

 

Who You Gonna Call? Who You Gonna Call….Anyway?

This was really good….and, even though it mainly addressed the plight of the millenial (which would be a great name for a band….sort of….) is good for all of us to hear.

I don’t know how to text.

I guess that I know….I just don’t do it.

I can’t do it fast enough to be fun to text with.

I am so glad that I don’t know how to do that.

“Not knowing” gives me the best excuse to not do it.

People don’t bother me when they know that I don’t know how to text.

Simon Sinek says that we should put our cellphones down….and get off Facebook.

There’s more to the speech but that is a couple of the main points.

These things…these choices (to “engage” with each other through social media) keep us from really fostering true and genuine relationships.

I don’t “do” Facebook anymore.

It was depressing me to get on there.

So….no social media….and a Tracfone that I occasionally use.

But….I’m no millenial.

I’m too old for that.

What am I?

A “baby boomer”?

I have other issues.

This is a good speech….and worth listening to.

We need to sit around a campfire and visit with each other.

I need to unplug the television.

This is getting out of hand, isn’t it?

Maybe the Devil is hiding in the electricity?

What a Luddite I am.

A Luddite or a Lemming?

Hard to say.

Listen to the speech.