Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Happy Birthday to The Great Bird

 

 

It can’t be a surprise to anyone at this point that my love for television is a life-long affair.  Obviously, I can’t remember the very first program I ever watched as a child, or maybe even the first one I loved.  But I can remember the first one that really spoke to me and stayed with me long after the final credits rolled.

There was a time in my life before Star Trek, but not much time, and once the show took hold of my heart, it never let go.  And I have Gene Roddenberry to thank for that.

Like most people, Roddenberry had weaknesses, and parts of his life that shouldn’t be celebrated, but none of that can change the fact that he created a part of our culture that moved beyond mere entertainment and actually managed to change the world.

There are scientists practicing today because they were inspired by Star Trek.  Artists who followed their passion to write, direct, or design graphics because they hoped to work on something as lasting as Star Trek.  And there are everyday people—like me—who believe that the future that awaits us is a good one, because our world view has been formed in a very foundational way by Star Trek and the way it can be.

Today (well, as so often, I’m writing past the midnight hour, so technically yesterday), Gene Roddenberry would have been 93 years old.  In his early Trek days, he had picked up the nickname of “Great Bird of the Galaxy”.  According to the Trek mythology, the coming of the Great Bird was a wonderful event, signifying great prosperity and blessings for the planet he chose.  I’m pretty sure Roddenberry actually brought that kind of blessing to this planet, but I’m certain that, at the very least, he and his vision were blessings to me. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Just Thinking

 

Just a couple of random thoughts tonight . . .

The first thing on my mind is that sometimes it’s hard to know if all the extra time both before and after a day(s) off is worth it.  So far, I’m still saying yes, but it’s only Monday!

Secondly, to revisit Robin Williams for a moment, I’ve seen a lot of video tributes this past week (as has anyone who has not been living in some sort of electronic black-out zone), but this one is so simple and sweet, it seems it should be shared.

Lastly, with every passing day, I wish more and more that I was not tied to a 9-5 office job.  I really need to win the lottery!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Snapshot Sunday, August 17

 

The makings of a good birthday?  (Or a good any day, really.)  Good times with the one you love, and surrounded by the beauty of nature.  Couldn’t ask for more.

P1080024A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                       PicMonkey Collage

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Blessed Moment

 

As I’ve said before, August 16 is always a melancholy day for me.  As the anniversary of my mom’s passing, I always have a lot of things on my mind, and on my heart.  The past couple of years, I’ve tried to busy myself with fun times and then only have the date to deal with after the fact.  And it was working pretty well today .  . .until it wasn’t.

Brian and I spent a couple of days in Eureka Springs, AR this weekend, and one of the things on my “visit” list was Thorncrown Chapel.  It looked really pretty in the pictures, and I wanted to see for myself.

P1080267

Turns out, it is really pretty.  And more than that, it’s one of those places that I think Mama would’ve really enjoyed.  Those are the kind of fleeting thoughts that come to me more days than not—“Mama would like that”, or “I wish Mama could see this”. 

Like me, my mother was more spiritual than truly religious, but I know she would’ve appreciated the artistry of a church that would allow you to commune with nature while worshipping. But in that place, it seemed I was hit with that idea more strongly than usual, and it was almost like I could feel her there with me.   Of course, when the moment passed, I missed her all over again, but I wouldn’t trade that moment of connection.  And, besides, I know she’s always here with me, no matter where I am.

P1080269

Friday, August 15, 2014

Feel Good Friday, August 15

 

You know what this Friday’s feel good is all about?  I started my three day weekend!  It’s such a simple thing, you would not think that would bring me such a feeling of euphoria, but it really, really does. 

So, Brian and I made a short road trip, had a nice dinner, and then strolled around a quaint little town.  Perfect way to spend a day.  Tomorrow we’ll explore a little more and see what there is to see.  I have to say, I do not miss work at all!

In Search of Why

 

There’s something about death, especially tragic, unexpected death.  People always want to find, if not a reason, then some sort of lesson.  We don’t want to let someone go without feeling that they contributed one last thing to this world.

In the wake of Robin Williams’ death, you can see this played out over and over in social media.  Depression. Anxiety.  Addiction.  And now, I suppose, we will add Parkinson’s.  The cries are out there: Don’t let his death be in vain.  And perhaps an awareness of some of these diseases will come, and that will be a good thing.  Will it prevent his death from being in vain?  I don’t know.  If lives are saved because conversations have begun this week that will slowly illuminate the dark secrets of depression, will that somehow make his death meaningful?  I don’t know how you determine that it was acceptable for one person to die so that others may live. 

What I do know is that depression scares me.  I’ve seen those stories—some are saying that as many as 25% of people in the world could suffer from depression in some form or another.  That’s a lot of people.  Personally, I’ve had a couple of bouts of situational depression, and I can remember how absolutely terrifying those days were. I can’t imagine living with that sort of anguish day in and day out for my entire life.

But the real reason depression scares me is not some concern that I might be dragged back into an abyss at some point, but because one of the most important people in the world to me suffers from it, and refuses to get help.  I think maybe that’s why Williams’ death has hit me so hard, because it’s all too easy to extrapolate the horrific possibilities.  I mean, if this wildly talented, hugely successful man—someone who arguably “had it all”—could not overcome his demons and saw no solution but death, then what does that say about the chances of the average guy fighting this battle?  It seems bleak.

And I’ve seen the arguments back and forth about whether depression should really be blamed as the “cause” of suicide, with one side saying that it’s a dangerous argument to make, because it sends the message to the deeply depressed that they have no say in the matter, that one day they are just doomed to lose the ultimate battle to their disease.  And I can see the logic of that argument, and it just sends another twinge of fear down my spine.  But the truth is, I land in the opposite camp.  I do think depression is to blame.  That while Williams technically had a choice, the state of his mind on that final day was such that he believed the little voice that whispered about hopelessness.  In that moment, I don’t know if he believed there was no other choice, but he obviously believed there was no better choice, and it’s one of those situations where the very action proves that something was wrong in the deepest parts of his mind.  And if your mind is betraying you, are you really making a choice at all?

I don’t know the answers.  Like so many, I’m still reeling from losing this amazing talent in this most tragic of circumstances.  And it might be that it hits harder because we all knew about his long-time fight with his various demons, and as much as we admired him for his talent, we admired him even more for his honesty and resiliency. 

And of all the terrifying parts of depression, maybe that’s the most terrifying part of all: that regardless of your strength, sometimes the demons still win.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Weight Loss Wednesday, August 13

 

Still very slow; another half a pound down this week, but inches held steady.  Overall I’m satisfied, though, so just gotta keep doing what I’m doing—except maybe a few more steps.  Going to be out of town this weekend, so the challenge will be not only to get in some activity, but also to keep from groing food crazy, which is one of the hardest things about traveling.

 

STEPS

ACTIVITIES

Wednesday

5,824

Thursday

6,649

Friday

6,320

 

Saturday

8,318

27 minute treadmill; 2.4 miles

Sunday

9,959

48 minutes treadmill, 3.4 miles

Monday

6,243

Tuesday

8,435