This Experiment is Over

In November, 2014, my wife surprised me with three years of a web domain and host platform.  I’d been talking for years about blogging and podcasting and either I was so severely on her nerves that she relinquished money she didn’t really have to shut me up, or, as she indicated and continues to communicate even though I can Humpty dance on a last nerve, she loves me so much and wanted me to have the opportunity to explore self-publishing.

I promised her that I’d figure out a way to monetize the endeavor, find a consistent stream of revenue that would allow us some breathing room or debt relief.  And it made a few bucks over the past three years.

Literally, a few bucks.

(You can laugh.)

That’s not entirely true.  There is one special benefactor.  Aunt Penny gifted us an amazing recording equipment upgrade and the ability to get the Libsyn account to better host the podcast.

Across these nearly 36 months, I’ve gained countless insights.

Insight, which bolsters enlightenment, is invaluable.

I processed the events leading up to and continuing past the election of Donald J. Trump as the forty-fifth President of the United States of America.*

*If you’re about my age…say 40 – 50…and you’ve moved through every iteration of Trump back to his NYC slum-lord days, his Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous ascent, the Howard Stern call-ins, and eventually the Apprentice…you might still be recovering from the whiplash of shaking your damn head.  Hell, if this gave you a new concussion, I’m sorry.  Really.  Late trigger warning and whatnot.

I hosted the Driven2Drink podcast here until just a few weeks back and I loved every minute of it.  And over on the Libsyn site we’ll continue to podcast.

But…I just got the notice from this site’s host that the rent is soon due, and I had a decision to make.

Continue forward with this, or let it do what it seems destined to do.

Conclude.

That’s not me being dramatically fatalist, either.  I’ve had an idea to create an inclusion forum which would require a new domain, site, host, etc.

This might be the time.

Of course, I could attempt to maintain Driven2Drink and also the new platform.  But that just doesn’t seem to be in the cards right now.  We’ve had a precious few loyal readers, who are appreciated entirely…but a few is no reason to continue forward when continuing forward is unfeasible.

I’ve considered fund-raising, but that, to me (…honest to universe, I judge nobody else in this respect…) doesn’t feel right.  There are so many people (…hell, all of Puerto Rico at this very moment…) who need almost everything.  Me?  I’m a guy who has everything.  Really.  I’m in fantastic health.  I have a roof and a reliable means of transportation.  My wife is the most perfect life partner on this planet and my step-daughter is a shining light in this world.  I’m a much better human having met her.  Them.  I’ve a tight family unit, plenty of friends, an amazing professional gig that fulfills me and provides a living, and so much love that my heart can barely contain it.  So yeah…no kickstarter here.

I wrote and emoted and will continue to write and fight…but this experiment is over.

The podcast?  Still good to go.

An upcoming endeavor that explores philosophical, practical, and narrative applications of inclusion as a value system?

Universe willing.

So, thanks for hanging out.  I’ll keep things up and running through October, but after Halloween…no more treats.  (Or, for some of you regarding perhaps many of my soapboxes, tricks.)

May you acheive peace, love, and clarity.

-G

 

What Would I Do Without Social Media? (Politics)

Please note that these are all my opinions.  I understand and accept the implicit “I believe…” that precedes every phrase below.   Please also know that I am open for dialogue.  It doesn’t always seem this way, particularly when I’m feeling passionate…and there are precious few moments in which I’m not feeling passionate, but I strive to be both a teacher and a student at all times.  I aspire to the Bodhisattva vow, which is an intention found in all spiritual endeavors.  Namely, my drive is ever toward enlightenment (e.g. wokeness, liberation, communion with the holy spirit, an understanding of ultimate Truth) but with the desire that all sentient beings also achieve enlightenment.  Those further on the path shine a light for me and I, in turn, share the light for those with or behind me.  Though even that directionality is an illusion, because so often people younger or seemingly less-sophisticated or enlightened than me illuminate insights that allow me to inch forward on the path toward liberation.

Anyway, all of this is both mine and is offered in the spirit of awakening.

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Donald Trump isn’t ruining everything.

He’s admitting and exposing everything.

Donald Trump isn’t running anything.

It’s not about Trump.

Nothing…is about one insecure, emotionally stunted, entitled wealthy man.

It’s about everything that is now obvious AND (finally) uncomfortable for a large enough group of white people to “matter.”

It has always mattered to black people, native populations, people of color, and so many intersectionally impacted “others.”

Again, Donald Trump isn’t ruining everything.

He is only ruining it for the tens of millions of white people, including me, who had been skating along, performing progressivism but participating in and benefitting from a pervasive cult of capitalism that can only, by design and in practice, commodify, enslave, and otherwise dehumanize people with less historical and/or systemic power.

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Any person holds precisely zero moral or ethical authority if he owned human beings.

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Our ethics, as a philosophical species, have always found ways to incorporate, accept, and justify slavery, genocide, state-sanctioned violence, oppression, and war…even though those endeavors are clearly unethical.

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Fully understanding I’m making a prediction based upon my understanding of history and experiences with a sample, and just as likely not a representative sample of Trump supporters, I’m convinced they (…meaning current Trumpeters.  People who are STILL on the Trump train, so to speak…) would either:

  1. Participate in,
  2. Offer monetary and/or non-participatory support of, or
  3. Stand by complicity…

…during a contemporary ethnic cleansing/holocaust incident.

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I’m also convinced that such an event will not happen in the United States because of the strength, maturity, and leadership within the targeted communities of such violence.  But also, those of us who have “skated along,” as indicated above, must find our conviction of deeper moral foundations…and then stride through the world guided by actual human ethics detached from the capitalistic, classist, racist, sexist systems that strongly influence group and individual behavior.

==========

Thanks for your time!

-G

A quick note on this picture.  It’s an entirely unaltered shot taken with my phone.  Really.  No photoshop, no filters, no editing beyond reshaping the larger shot so that the sign was well centered.

The Poop Emoji Storm (Del Norris 4.4)

Today, there be curveballs.

Here you are on a Thursday night and…what’s this?  A new D2D Podcast!?

Yes.  I’ll be unable to get anything together for the weekend so…here I sit with a lovely tulip of bourbon preparing this little gem for you.

And looking at the podcast…it’s over an hour?  WHAT?!

Indeed.  Now that we’re all caught up with the iTunes and the WordPress and the Libsyn and the Driven2Drink funding (…more like defunding.  I kid. […I don’t kid…]…) I can, for the most part, release the podcasts just about how long I want them to be.

Which is somewhere in the vicinity of an hour.

Maybe you’re thinking, “Are there outtakes again?  I sure like them!”

There are.

Or, “What bumper music is he going to use?”

Rostam.  The guy is amazing.  I heard him first on the Song Exploder podcast.  Also amazing.

Don’t let anyone tell you, “They don’t make good music anymore.”

This is a lie.  Lots of theys are making incredible aural art, particularly in 2017.  So go find it, and consume it, and expand your brain.  Which is a necessary thing, particularly in 2017.

Here you go, “The Poop Emoji Storm (Del Norris 4.4).”

*Remember, that’s a link up there ^^, click on it to get to the podcast if you’re not already using iTunes.  Or the Libsyn site.

 

BTW, this is my goddaughter, Eden’s, work.  Here’s what she had to say about it during an epic text conversation:

anyway for this piece i wanted to mesh like a japanese traditional koi fish paining with a kind of 70s psychedelic vibe so i thought it would b funny if he was talking so i used google translate (which i knew going into this was an unreliable source)

so the top one was supposed to say “help i have fallen” like the life alert commercial bc i was working with the idea that he was in a waterfall

but of course google translate jacked that up so now it says “help me collapse” which is almost haunting but i think it’s like 10x funnier

the whole point of adding the words was to look poetic and make ppl think like wow i wonder what that fish is saying but rly the whole thing is a big beautiful shitpost

the bottom left one was supposed to say “the water burns” and it surprising still does

and the bottom right one was supposed to say “i will die a hero” but the translation from google took a dark turn and now it says “i hope the hero will die”

i also have to add the text and speech bubbles were all done in cheap glitter gel pens from 5 below

i tried to make it identifiable to my brand

Found In Translation

I am not a poet.

Generally, I’ve envied those who are able to capture such depth of Truth with so few, carefully chosen, pristinely placed words.  Evoking sensory memories so strong it’s as if we are seeing, smelling, tasting, hearing, touching, absolutely experiencing a thing.

A poet…I am not.

But a story-teller?  I accept that title.

A teacher? Assuredly, and I think a damn good one.

A weaver of tales taken from life then intentionally embellished to highlight the most salient insights, details, and emotions?  Well, I hope.

See, I don’t only want to tell you truth as facts.  I want to communicate, as precisely and entertainingly as possible, truth as experience.

On a related note, I take close-up photographs of the world around me using my phone.  I generally call these collections, “Along the way.”  The camera is very good, but no camera, not even the most exquisitely hand-made optics connected to a fine-tuned mechanical masterpiece in the hands of a master developer can capture the experience of taking in, with one’s eyes, an actual bit of beauty.

So…I tweak the saturation, the contrast, perhaps the brightness, chop off a little bit here and enhance a little bit there.  Why?  So you have the thing…not as the device recorded it and certainly NOT as my nervous system processed it, but as close as I can manage to make the thing, 1. appear as it appeared to me, and 2. feel as it felt to me, in the moment.

Here are a few from today:

 

I want you, cognitively and emotionally, to experience what I experienced.

In photos, podcasts, essays, and stories.

I run the experience through whatever filters and enhancers are at my disposal and I give you…my truth.

When you read a quoted person, I want you to “hear” a voice.

When you process a description, I want you to “see” a thing.

When you take in a paragraph, I want you to almost experience what I experienced.

I want you to FEEL something.

I like to think that an interested consumer (that’s you) of my output experiences very similar brain activity to MY brain activity while I’m both experiencing the thing and then preparing it for your eyes, ears, and/or fingers.  This means I need to be quite good at translating the experience.

Maybe that’s what I fancy myself.  What I strive to be.

A translator…of insight, of wonder, of emotion, and when I’m at my very best, of transcendental everyday human experience.

No, I’m not a poet.

I’m not a lot of things I previously envisioned for myself.

But maybe it’s time to let go of my insecurities, my attachments to what I’m not and what I might become…and just be what I am.

Thanks for hanging out.

I hope you felt something positive, as I did.

-G

The Calm Before the Poop Emoji Storm (Del Norris 4.3)

Today, D2Dreeps, there be layers.

Every aspect of today’s podcast has been deliberately chosen and placed.

Perhaps you give a poop emoji.

Perhaps you have no additional poop emojis to give.  I’ve run out of them at least every day this month.

Every single goddam day.

But lo and behold there are always additional poop emojis in the recesses of my limitless neurological supply of anxiety and self-doubt.

In either case, the podcast is quite purposeful today, particularly as you prepare for next week’s show, the poop emoji storm.

But for today, we give you, “The Calm Before the Poop Emoji Storm (Del Norris 4.3).”*

*Hey, you need only click on the linked title there and you will be magically redirected to the libsyn site where you can stream or download.**

**Or if you’re doing the iTunes thing, just go get it there.***

***If you only do Audible or some shit like that, I’m not sure what to tell you.  Sorry.****

****Thanks, though.

What Would I Do Without Social Media? (Humor)

Welcome to my personal social experiment.

I’m trying to keep my social media interactions to just one self-generated post per platform per day.

So far, so okay.

But…what would I do without a constant, unending mainline of social media?

I would, it turns out, utilize my notebook more, write down all of the insightful, philosophical, and/or amusing thoughts that occur, then occasionally consolidate them here.

(So is that what you’re doing?)

Yes.

  1. My current fame ceiling is: Scott Adams blocked me on Twitter.
  2. On many levels this fact, and the fact that I care about this fact enough to share it, brings me pervasive existential sadness.
  3. What’s a college Republican’s favorite Flock of Seagull’s Song?
  4. And Ayn Ra-aa-aand.  Ayn Rand so far a-way-ay-ay.
  5. What’s the word describing a person so single mindedly contemplating the number between 3 and 5 that they become the number?
  6. Metaphor.
  7. Claus is a Freudian slip come to life.
  8. (If you follow me on Facebook, you’ll likely understand #7.  However, just replace “Claus” with whomever you believe to be a human Freudian slip come to life.  Believe me, you know a few.  You might be one.  Shit.  Maybe we all are.)
  9. I would love to perform the Chicago song, “25 or 6 to 4” interpreted as a dark, acoustic song.  Like a Trent Reznor vibe, a la Johnny Cash singing, “Hurt.”  Like minor as fuck.  Raw.  And on the line, “Twen-ty-five-or-six-to-foh-oh-ohhhhh,” I’d sing a falling run rather than the bright, cheery rising run from the original.  It would scare the shit out of someone.
  10. I would also love to perform the Chicago song, “25 or 6 to 4” like an 80’s emo tune, a la The Smiths or The Cure.  Actually, I’ve got the tune, “Under the Milky Way Tonight” by The Church very clearly in the forefront of my mind thinking about THIS cover.  It would, like the dark, raw, acoustic version, be sung down an octave.  Moody.  Synths, a heavy atmospheric guitar wah-wah vibe, and the stench of clove cigarettes hovering about like a ghost of my undergraduate years.
  11. Instagram should do mammogram filters.  Like, make your tits into fun things.  Mess with the shape and size.  Razzle dazzle areola and whatnot.  I think it should happen.
  12. What happens when you mate Joe Cocker with Bob Dylan and play doo-wop for the incubating baby?
  13. Bruce Springsteen happens.

I anticipate the following additional “What Would I Do Without Social Media?” sub-genres: Philosophy, Politics, Professional.

Stay tuned.

-G

There Is No Great and Powerful Oz

Do you approach your patients, clients, students, and/or children primarily from a perspective of rigid expertise…or empathetic relationship?  Are you willing to expose your vulnerabilities, hopes, dreams, mistakes, and insecurities or do you strive to present a picture of professional omnipotence?

Are you attempting to be the Great and Powerful Oz?

Because, and I realize I’m both flaunting my biases and deflecting attention from the thing I fear most in myself here, nobody is Oz.

Those of us who present as experts are all, to some extent, the man behind the curtain.  We’re all conflating ourselves, projecting our personalities, standing firmly on a foundation of pedagogical intimidation and bluster.  We are trained to show an infallible face, to know it all or at least present it as such.

By the way, those of us we serve…they are generally fine-tuned to our bullshit.  You know that, right?  They see through us and know if we’re listening, or not; if we genuinely care and like them, or not; if we want to support and serve them, or judge and fix them.

Nobody wants, or needs, to be fixed.  Not really.  Many, though, seek peace and healing.

In relationship.

As communion.

With mutual understanding.

Not as an object, medical curiosity, or human behavioral atypicality.

This is not to imply that I don’t have unique and specific knowledge, training, and experience that can support and serve others in healing ways even as they provide me with lessons and insights in return.

I do.

However, I chose very specific verbs to describe that expertise.

Support.  And serve.

Not fix.

Not even help.

(Not help?!)

Not help.

Even a helping relationship, which seems otherwise humane and desirable, sets up an uneven power dynamic.  It creates the scenario where I am the Great and Powerful Oz and you believe I can fix you, or vice versa.

No…the key is service.

Service relationships place individuals on an even human plane because each of us is fully and equally human.  Again, I may have a skill set or knowledge base that you want or need so that I may serve you.  But assuredly you have insights and access to behaviors which will boost and support yourself…AND me.  A service relationship allows for natural bi-directionality (or multi-directionality) in a relationship between two (or more) people.

Empathy is critical, the mutual understanding which allows for deeper connection so that I can utilize and share, not force, expertise while at the same time opening myself to grow from your expertise and experience.

Remember, at the end of The Wizard of Oz, when the man behind the curtain is exposed, his Great and Powerful Oz revealed as an actually amplified and projected sham?  Only then can he face the people seeking his support.  And there, in relationship, having empathy for each of the pilgrim’s plights, the artist formerly known as Oz is able to reveal that each of them has the potential to heal.  And Dorothy, in return, illuminates for the man that he, too, has the power to grow and find happiness and healing.

So I’ll ask again, do you approach your patients, clients, students, and/or children primarily from a perspective of rigid expertise…or empathetic relationship?  Are you willing to expose your vulnerabilities, hopes, dreams, mistakes, and insecurities or do you strive to present a picture of professional omnipotence?

Are you attempting to be the Great and Powerful Oz?

Because, nobody is Oz.

There is only the person behind the curtain.

And the only pilgrimage worth the toil and time is one of service, community, and relationship.

The journey, not the destination.

The means, not the ends.

-G

In the Bell Curve Weeds (Del Norris 4.2)

You may have noticed there was no D2D post this past week.

Actually, if feedback is any indicator, you didn’t notice.

In fact, I’d put money on you, just then, thinking, “Oh yeah.  There wasn’t a post this week.”

And if the stats programs attached to this are accurate and valid, countably few people even care.

I would argue that if we looked at the population of humans who’ve laid eyes on the site, not a representative sample but the actual full population, and considered, as a theoretically quantifiable and measurable emotional variable, “giving a shit,” they would fall WAYYY left. Left being giving fewer shits than theoretically average if all behaviors actually fell on a nice & tidy symmetrical bell curve, right being giving greater shits than average.

See, here’s what that theoretical bell curve is supposed to look like:

And, here’s the population of people who’ve been exposed to Driven2Drink and how much of a shit they give about the actual content:

It’s called “positive skewness,” counter-intuitively enough if you’re just thinking about how it appears.  But skew direction doesn’t match with…

No,  I will not dive too deeply into the bell curve weeds again.

You’ll be there shortly enough as you listen to this second of the four point Del Norris series.

I actually had a point here.

Yessirma’m I did.

You may have noticed there was no D2D post this week.

I’ve decided that I’m just going to post the most polished pieces I can manage whenever they are complete.  If that’s once per week, great.  Once per month, fine.  Three on a singularly epic Monday, sure.  It’s the internet, and you know where they’ll be when you want them.

Podcasts I’ll try to keep on a consistent schedule.  At the very least continuing forward with once per week.  And now that I’m very close to having the Libsyn/iTunes site synced with this, I’ll be able to release episodes that are as long as I want them to be.  Here, I’m limited to 50MB for any upload.  There, the only thing getting in the way of a Truman Showesque Driven2Drink Pod is the amount of money we have in the coffers (…currently precisely zero…) to pay for storage.

Don’t worry, I’ll never do that.  My life, and wife, wouldn’t permit it.

Have fun with this.

“In the Bell Curve Weeds (Del Norris 4.2)”

Oh, and I feel compelled to shine a bright spotlight on the musicians that you’ll hear at the beginning and end.  They’re called, “Band Geeks.”

I’m using this video.  And I’m using this video.  And really, you should just travel on down the Band Geeks rabbit hole.  Kazoo hole.  Whatever.

-G&J

Tangents (Del Norris 4.1)

I have a distinct memory of the very first time I placed a pair of prescription glasses on my face.

I was about 10 years old, and had needed glasses for some time.  With the prompting of a decent and observant educator, my Mom took me to Sears optical. (“Sears’s,” as my grandmother used to call it.  We Pittsburghers tend to make possessive any store name, as if there is an actual Giant Eagle at the helm of the grocery store, or a dude named K-Mart at the ready when one cannot find whatever cheap shit needs to be found.)

I needed glasses.

After the requisite time for creating said glasses, we returned and I put the glasses on my face in the dimmed, tranquil office of the optometrist.  Sure, there was a difference, but nothing amazing.

We walked out of the office and into a fluorescent, light drenched, color-saturated, maximally contrasted retail maze filled with other active humans with shiny, four-wheeled carts full of distractingly diverse items.

I know I tend toward hyperbole, but this is was the first moment in my life that I experienced hyperbole as an actual thing.  People of a certain age will remember the first time they watched “The Wizard of Oz,” and the scene where Dorothy, along with the entire freaking world, saw Technicolor for the first time.  People of a younger generation might recall watching “The Matrix,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” or perhaps “Inception,” which blasted open some untouched portion of the visual cortex and delivered a thing never before seen or even conceptually possible.

Imagine that…but like YOU actually are Dorothy or Neo, like a dream in which you become that character experiencing the thing that is currently cracking open brains on the other side of the screen…and you can then understand my first moments with those prescription glasses staring at richness, depth, and clarity like I had NEVER experienced.

I ran into things.  I over-reached with my right hand for my left hand. My heart rate rose, pupils dilated…which didn’t help, sweat formed in cracks and crevices.  My brain, in the process of acclimating, was awash with whatever neuro-chemicals cause panic, astonishment, worry, and epiphany.

What does that have to do with this podcast?

Quite a bit actually.

Have a listen.

Of tangents and venn diagrams