Resolutions Revisited

On December 28th I posted about resolutions, and since it's January 15, I thought it was a good time to revisit what I had hoped to achieve.

The only real resolution that I mentioned was lessening my social media presence and blogging more. I think I've succeeded pretty well. I haven't logged into Facebook since January 1, and I've Tweeted and Instagrammed way less. 

Other than that, I'm not sure where I'm gone with regard to resolutions. I'm currently sitting and waiting for beef stew to be ready for vegetables to be added. Truthfully, at the age of 33, this is my first attempt at beef stew. One thing I've already learned about cooking is you should probably read all of the directions through right before you start, so you can time everything appropriately. I also learned that bullion cubes can be used to make beef broth. That is a great thing!

Store Window Encouragement

Store Window Encouragement

Resolutions, to me, are for me, and they're for my family and friends. Cooking dinner, cleaning the dishes, making the bed, those are easy ways to be a good husband. Calling a friend after weeks or months without actually speaking is another way. Same goes for calling family. Since I live away from family, and I've disconnected from Facebook for the time being, finding other ways to communicate is pretty important. I'm still finding my way through it.

I'm onto my fourth book on the year. I'm not sure if I've ever read 3 books in January, in my entire life. I say 3, because I'm not sure if I'll keep this pace and don't want to jinx Stephen King's Revival. Not using social media has its perks in that arena as well, I guess.

That's all I got for ya, today. 

All of The Presidents

I'm in the midst of Richard Brookhiser's biography of James Madison, the fourth president of the United States. I've taken on the task of reading a biography about every president, in order of their presidency. I was originally inspired by a few friends who are doing the same thing, though one of them is already up to Truman, and the other isn't doing them in order. I've decided to include a few books of the eras, and I'm starting the era books likely after Madison. I may start on James Monroe's biography, but I'm very intrigued by other founding fathers like Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. 

So far, it's amazing how George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and the rest of the founding fathers worked together to build the fragile beginnings of the United States, despite increasing differences of opinion. To me, I'm constantly reading about these men in terms of how would they live if they were leaders in today's world? Would George Washington have an Instagram account? Would Thomas Jefferson be a prolific user of Twitter? Is John Adams more of a Facebook guy or would he be the kind of guy who generates internet memes without trying? 

There's a writer out there, Steve, who is reading through every president in order, but he's reading all of the most relevant biographies. I thought 1 book for each president was a huge undertaking, he's reading numerous biographies on each president. Check out his website at Best Presidential Bios. I plan on referring to it for several presidents moving forward. 

While on the subject of presidents, did you know that on this day in 1890, Alice Sanger was appointed to the White House staff? She was the first female White House staffer. The History Channel covers it a bit more here

James Madison
By Richard Brookhiser

To Selfie or Not To Selfie

About a week before Christmas I got on a rush hour Queens bound F train, heading home after work. The train wasn't too busy, and there were plenty of seats. It was great!

As soon as I got on, I saw a man sitting, covered head to toe in silver. His hat, coat, pants, face, hands, everything. This was a first. I sat down next to a human statue. Except he wasn't performing. He was holding his box, and moving his hands(adjusting his jacket, etc.).

(Several months ago, the NYPD had a campaign that told tourists tipping is optional for street performers*)

So, having never experienced a silver man street performer(or any street performer) not performing but just riding the train, I thought to myself..should I snag a selfie with this guy? I thought about how I could sneakily capture the moment. Perhaps subtly take a weird angle selfie for Instagram. I thought maybe I'd ask him, and see if it'd be OK. 

I decided not to, reasoning this guy was going to work just like I was going home from work. Sure enough he got off at Herald Square. 

It was really funny, though. In the train window across from us, I could see the two of us reflecting back. This sort of thing might happen in other cities, but it's gotta be as rare as my encounter with the silver guy. 

* I don't think tipping is optional, if you take a photo with, or of, someone dressed as a character, you should give them something. You can give a dollar, or whatever change is in your pocket, but you shouldn't take a selfie and not tip the street performer. That's why they're there, for you to have a NYC selfie with the Silver Man/Elmo/Naked Cowboy. If you don't have money, don't take a selfie.

New Year's Resolutions

I think New Year's Resolutions are kind of like voting. A huge bloc of people have an opinion on it, and the opinions vary greatly. Over the next few days I suspect Facebook will feature my network sharing their 2015 New Year's Resolutions. I picked voting as a comparison, because the opinions are kind of similar. Here they are:

It(voting, making resolutions) is so dumb, nobody should waste their time.

It's something I'll do if everybody else I know is doing it, but not every year. (This is loosely translated to voting during presidential election years, but not midterms.).

It's something I'll try, and give up, and it'll be OK because everybody else gives up and laughs about not doing it anymore.

It's something you can do any time, and there's no set date you have to do it. If you fail(or miss an election time), you can always participate the next time, or get back on the horse the next day. (This one really fails the voting comparison. Sorry, I tried!)

I am firmly in the fourth opinion. I've started new year's resolutions in June. I don't call them that, but it's when I'm resolving to do something better for myself. I've used my birthday, the beginning of Lent, first of a month, and random Tuesdays. I've resolved to make changes, and I've failed at it repeatedly. It's not great to admit it, but I don't believe it's worth just giving up on making a change that improves your life.

So, why am I making a post about resolutions? Well, I'm hoping to get back on my blogging horse. 

I'm also going to see, to what extent, I can greatly reduce my social media presence without sacrificing my connections to friends and family. The primary reason I'm going to try this, is because I feel a bit disconnected, despite being connected through my phone and laptop all day, every day. 

It's interesting to note that I was a heavy blogger between 2003 and 2007. I jumped on MySpace and Facebook as soon as it became available, and instead of blogging I was essentially microblogging through Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. I like the idea of people reading my blog posts, and obviously I had more immediate responses when blasting 1 or 2 liners out to Facebook. 

I haven't decided if I will send out a link via Twitter, or if I'll just blog away and see how it shakes out organically. I doubt it will grow without the social media presence, but my original blog was just for shits and giggles, so maybe I'll try that again?

Of course, I might change my mind and delete this tomorrow, but perhaps this is a real thing that will happen. I guess I'll find out soon enough!

My other resolutions align pretty much with what everybody in America hopes to achieve, according to USA.gov. Healthy, wealthy, and happy.

New Season, New World Series Run

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013 was easily the greatest day of my entire life as a fan of the Boston Red Sox. I attended Game 6 of the World Series.  Today the Sox kick off the 2014 season, and I'm just as giddy as I was when I watched history at Fenway Park. 

Baseball is pretty much a counting game, and the game has been re-set. 2013 will always be there, but the Red Sox are 0-0 on the season and face off against the Baltimore Orioles, a team that actually had a winning record against the defending World Champs. You have to go back to 2011 before you find a season where the Red Sox won more often than they lost against the O's. Despite the odds, I expect great things today, and for the rest of the season.

Anytime I'm not feeling confident about the Red Sox nowadays, I just look at the roster of the Los Angeles Dodgers and thank God that they're taking on the cost of several players that won't be worth their salaries in a few years.

...

Fourteen Red Sox players have won three titles as members of the Boston Red Sox. Babe Ruth,Everett ScottHarry HooperDick HoblitzellHeinie WagnerCarl MaysDutch Leonard Pinch Thomas Larry Gardner Duffy Lewis, Hick CadyOlaf Henriksen and Bill Carrigan are thirteen..and Big Papi makes fourteen. 
 
Heinie Wagner and Harry Hooper have 4 titles, however you can argue that Hall of Famer Harry Hooper is a true 4 time Red Sox World Series Champion because he actually played in 4 Red Sox World Series. Wagner only played in 1 World Series, but was on the roster of 4 championship teams. 
 
What does this mean? Big Papi has a chance to become just the third Red Sox player with 4 World Series titles as a member of the Red Sox. That's pretty amazing. 

...

A few Red Sox & MLB predictions, which I'll come back to later this year and laugh at:

Big Papi has almost exactly the same season as last year. In fact, I think he'll have nearly identical numbers every year until he retires.

Will Middlebrooks will be traded by All Star Break

Clay Buchholz will content for the Cy Young Award. Overall, there's potential for 4 starters w/ 12-+ wins. 

Bogaerts is going to elevate to the next level and everybody will be wearing his t-shirt

A.J. Pierzynski will have better numbers than Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but A.J. might be traded by the All Star Break as well.

The Red Sox should acquire Dan Haren down the stretch when Jake Peavy turns into Ryan Dempster.

John Adams Was A Wise Man

“The more Adams thought about the future of his country, the more convinced he became that it rested on education. Before any great things are accomplished, he wrote to a correspondent, a memorable change must be made in the system of education and knowledge must become so general as to raise the lower ranks of society nearer to the higher. The education of a nation instead of being confined to a few schools and universities for the instruction of the few, must become the national care and expense for the formation of the many.” 
― David McCulloughJohn Adams

I've been reading David McCullough's John Adams for approximately 647 days, according to GoodReads.com. Truth is, I've read a few books while I've trudged through this beast of a book. The thing is, it's not a bad book. It's just a massive book. I've rededicated myself to finishing it (see a trend here?), and with it, I've noticed that John Adams and Abigail Adams and Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin, and all the rest of the people that were living in the early days of the revolution were incredibly interesting. I can't help but wonder if books written 300 years from now will show the current residents of Earth in such an interesting light.

The quote above is timeless, and can be used to suggest John Adams supports everything from Universal Pre-K to free higher education. Both might be true if the second President of the United States of America were around today for a quick Q&A to confirm. It opens up a huge can of worms. What would John Adams think about charter schools? Where would he stand on standardized testing? How about teacher tenure?

The best answer to these questions can be found simply by googling John Adams quotes. Googling gives millions of results, all claiming quotes by Adams, and then there are even more websites claiming misquotes. 

I wanted to share the quote above because it created a reaction from me when I read it. Like a "Heck Yeah!" reaction, where I wished I could shout it out loud, like it'd make a difference. I ended up posting a photo of the paragraph to Instagram. I didn't post to Facebook because I thought it'd create a discussion that either paints me as a liberal hippy or cause a comment by one friend to offend another who might work in academia. 

I thought about how quotes inspire us to share them, because they create that reaction, and then I thought how rarely do people try to attribute quotes to sources? I guess it doesn't really matter, right? It's the one or two lines of inspiration, who cares if it wasn't really spoken or written by the person you attribute it to?

I'm too lazy to research it and add it here, but John Wayne has been the unfortunate subject of a lot of misquotes that are shared on social media. Poor guy. 

I've kind of lost my point, which is addressing the importance of making sure a quote is actually tied to the person you're referencing. So let's wrap it up.

John Adams was an incredibly bright individual, and he likely would have supported whatever things I support, because he famously might've once said, “Let us tenderly and kindly cherish therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write.” 

 

A New Blogging Home!

So I've moved from Wordpress to Squarespace, and I'm not certain why, considering I haven't been blogging at all recently...but here we are. In a new space.

Part of the reason for the move is I'm hoping to reinvent myself as a blogger, and to rededicate myself as a writer.  I've used Wordpress, Blogger, and Livejournal, and I've blogged with various shades of anonymity. (I'm wicked pumped that I spelled anonymity correctly the first time as well. I definitely googled it afterward to be sure Squarespace just didn't lack the red underlining when a word is misspelled.)  Like I said, I'm not even certain why I'm here, but I am, so pardon the out loud conversation I'm having in my head.

So what will this blog have? I have no idea yet. I hope to get back into baseball, as well as photoblogging while cycling around New York City and beyond. When I first blogged, back in 2002, I blogged about daily adventures and current events. I'm not sure if I'll get that in depth, but I might try. 

Twitter has served as a microblogging feature for me, and a lot of times a 500 word story can be shortened to 140 characters of hashtags. I think I need to get away from microblogging, and back into using more words to flesh out a story.

From 2009-2012 I wrote extensively about baseball, regularly pumping out 300-1000 words a day. Then it dropped off, to the point where this is the longest blog post I've written in more than a year. 

I've downloaded the Squarespace app and I'm hoping that that will encourage me to keep this up. I've downloaded the Wordpress app and did nothing with it, so this might be a big challenge. However, why not? Why not accept the challenge of writing? I recently have started to get back into reading regularly, because Stephen King once said, "If you don't have time to read, you don't have time to write."

So this is my intro, to a new space. I won't be linking my own content because it feels really old. What happens here is the next episode. 

p.s. I love the ease of Squarespace's layout. So awesome.