Year of Celebration—April

So I’ve sucked at Blogging for March, but it’s been a busy month, particularly with a family vacation to Cuba. Perhaps April will be better.

We’ll start with the days of the month for Year of Celebration.

April starts with Foolishness Day. Yes, I’m not celebrating April Fools’ Day. The ethics of pranking your friends and family are dubious at the best of times, so I don’t see the point in taking a day (or half a day, depending on your tradition) to celebrate something I disagree with.

However, I can certainly do something foolish today, something silly. I may even share what it is. I encourage everyone else to bypass the practical jokes and just engage in something mindlessly fun and possibly publicly embarrassing if anyone notices.

For the rest of the month, there are lots of things to celebrate. If you don’t like mine, make up some of your own.

  • 1-Apr-13         Foolishness Day
  • 2-Apr-13         International Children’s Book Day
  • 3-Apr-13         1st of of Dark Sky Week
  • 4-Apr-13         Vitamin C Day
  • 5-Apr-13         One Day Without Shoes Day
  • 6-Apr-13         Plan Your Epitaph Day
  • 7-Apr-13         World Health Day
  • 8-Apr-13         Cherish an Antique Day
  • 9-Apr-13         Name Yourself Day
  • 10-Apr-13       National Sibling Day
  • 11-Apr-13       Eight Track Tape Day
  • 12-Apr-13       Yuri’s Night
  • 13-Apr-13       James Bond Day
  • 14-Apr-13       Look Up at the Sky Day
  • 15-Apr-13       Rubber Eraser Day
  • 16-Apr-13       National Stress Awareness Day
  • 17-Apr-13       Pet Owners Independence Day
  • 18-Apr-13       High Five Day
  • 19-Apr-13       Day of Silence, Garlic Day
  • 20-Apr-13       Astronomy Day
  • 21-Apr-13       Kindergarten Day
  • 22-Apr-13       Earth Day
  • 23-Apr-13       Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day
  • 24-Apr-13       Hug Your Kids Day
  • 25-Apr-13       Take Your Daughter to Work Day
  • 26-Apr-13       Richter Scale Day
  • 27-Apr-13       Morse Code Day
  • 28-Apr-13       Great Poetry Reading Day
  • 29-Apr-13       Greenery Day
  • 30-Apr-13       Honesty Day

 Be well, everyone.

Year of Celebration—March

February had lots of neat days in it, though I spent quite a few of them ignoring the internet. A couple of small internet vacations helped me be more productive and active in other areas of my life. There’ll be one a week long in March, too, for a family vacation.

But that doesn’t mean the Year of Celebration ends or gets put on hold.

March begins with Harry Belafonte Day. Musician, actor, activist, Harry Belafonte sticks out in my mind first for an episode of the Muppet Show, the finale for which he sang “Turn the World Around” which, aside from being one of my favourite songs in any genre, eventually served as the inspiration for a story that almost qualifies as a novel. Mr. Belafonte turns 86 today, and he still speaks in public, arguing for a better, brighter future. Here’s a recent sample: http://www.democracynow.org/2013/2/18/we_must_unleash_radical_thought_harry.

There’s other stuff coming up, too. Have a look at what I’m celebrating and join me, or pick some of your own.

01-Mar-13       Harry Belafonte Day
02-Mar-13       Dr. Suess Day
03-Mar-13       Namesake Day
04-Mar-13       Grammar Day
05-Mar-13       Multiple Personality Day
06-Mar-13       Frozen Food Day
07-Mar-13       Alexander Graham Bell Day
08-Mar-13       International Women’s Day
09-Mar-13       Barbie Day
10-Mar-13       Day Of Awesomeness
11-Mar-13       Plumbing Day
12-Mar-13       Plant a Flower Day
13-Mar-13       Earmuffs Day
14-Mar-13       Pi Day
15-Mar-13       Ides of March
16-Mar-13       Lips Appreciation Day
17-Mar-13       Submarine Sandwich Day
18-Mar-13       Goddess of Fertility Day
19-Mar-13       Farscape Day
20-Mar-13       Spring Equinox
21-Mar-13       Common Courtesy Day
22-Mar-13       Goof Off Day
23-Mar-13       National Chip and Dip Day
24-Mar-13       Ada Lovelace Day
25-Mar-13       Tolkien Reading Day
26-Mar-13       Make Up Your Own Holiday Day
27-Mar-13       Quirky Country Music Song Titles Day
28-Mar-13       Something on a Stick Day
29-Mar-13       Festival of Smoke and Mirrors
30-Mar-13       Something on a Stick Day
31-Mar-13       World Backup Day

Be well, everyone.

Year of Celebration—February

Well January was pretty fun and had lots of great little moments in it. February is a new month and that brings new celebrations. We’re going to start off with Serpent Day. Yup, celebrate the snake. Snakes are cool, and I don’t just say that because my oldest daughter keeps one as a pet.

Serpent apparently comes from Latin, meaning roughly “something that creeps”. Sometimes guardians, sometimes evil, often reviled or misunderstood, snakes are pretty neat animals, from how they move to how they eat to the wicked and scary poisons some of them have access to.

Oh and don’t forget dragons and sea serpents in today’s celebration, either. If you can’t find it in your heart to cuddle with a snake, spend a moment in reflection on the wise and massive serpents of legend. Or, if you like, your local lake monster, who’s probably a fresh water sea serpent.

For the rest of February, there’s a lot of stuff coming up. Pick your favourite or make up your own. Can you guess which of the below celebrations sprang from my slightly odd imagination?

01        Serpent Day
02        Groundhog Day
03        The Day the Music Died
04        World Cancer Day
05        Disaster Day
06        International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation
07        Ballet Day
08        Boy Scout Day
09        Read in the Bathtub Day
10        Umbrella Day
11        Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day
12        Darwin Day
13        Get a Different Name Day
14        Valentine’s Day
15        Gumdrop Day
16        Do a Grouch a Favor Day
17        Random Acts of Kindness Day
18        Battery Day
19        Set some new Writing Goals Day
20        Love Your Pet Day
21        Pancake Day
22        International World Thinking Day
23        Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day
24        Epic Poetry Day
25        Chilli Day
26        Tell a Fairy Tale Day
27        Polar Bear Day
28        Rare Disease Day

Be well, everyone.

To Resolve or Not

Not.

I only do one New Year’s resolution, and it’s the same one every year.

But in the spirit of the New Year, I do tend to set a variety of goals, enough that they need to be broken into categories. Leaving aside my writing goals for the year (you can see those over on my author’s site if you like), martial arts goals (which are very specific and look mainly for benchmarks I’d like to hit in my training), and other physical goals (e.g. getting back into real running condition this year), there are a handful that fit into the general category of ‘personal goals’.

Lose 20 Pounds

I actually did this last year, although December holiday eating cost me a couple of pounds. If I can manage it again, I’ll be down into the “ideal weight range” for my height. A little diet control and a little exercise. Well, and a little perseverance. And a few less chocolate chip cookies.

Return the House to Baseline

In late December of 2002, we moved into our house with two small children and one more on the way. Ten years later with three not so small children, we’ve got a lot of stuff hanging around. And kids are always messier than you think they are. We need to de-clutter. If I count bathrooms, hallways, the laundry room, and the garage twice, we need to completely reclaim one area every three weeks to get things back in line. Some of them will be quick and easy. The laundry room won’t be. Neither will the garage. Or any of the kids’ rooms, especially the one that needs redecorating. It’s a major task, but will make everyone feel better, I hope. It’ll make me feel better, anyway.

Get Better at the Telephone

Okay, I admit it, I suck at telephone. I blame the internet and texting and just plain laziness. Personal contact doesn’t mean what it used to, exactly, although it still can if you’re willing to put in a little time and effort. There are people in my life who I’m willing to put in that time and effort and this year I’m going to get off my a$$ and actually do it. On a certain day each month, I’m going to call someone I don’t talk to enough just to say hi. And I know who this week is going to be, because I owe him a phone call.

The Bucket List

My bucket list grows all the time. The target this year is to actually cross some stuff off of it, and the deal I’m trying to make with myself is that to put something on, I have to cross something off. Sounds easy enough, but there’s going to be some picking and choosing involved. Probably a half of my list involves either traveling somewhere or doing something when I’ve travelled somewhere. There are a lot of things I want to see while I have the physical capacity to do so. TV doesn’t count.

And that’s plenty

So there’s this year’s group of goals. I emphasize goals, not resolutions. These are things to strive for, to get better at, not necessarily to check off a list. Well, there is the bucket list. And the list of rooms to reclaim. But you get the idea.

Be well, everyone.

Year of Celebration—January

So, I blogged last month that 2013 would be a year of celebration, that I’d find something to celebrate every single day this year. While I still have a few days to figure out (including several in February), I’m pretty set up for the year, so the Year of Celebration™ begins today.

Not everything is an official holiday, of course, or even necessarily related to anything that actually happens on that day, but that’s fine. The idea is more about finding a little extra joy or meaning in life this year. And, while not every day is an excuse to party, there may be a couple of those mixed in with the joy. Who knows?

January 1st is pretty obvious. It’s New Years Day, the day the calendar turns over and we get that brief feeling of ‘this year can be anything’ before life settles back down onto us and reminds us that nothing has changed. (I’ll take an aside here that this year can be anything if you want it to be, but you also don’t have to take my word for it. Make the new year whatever you want and find as much joy in it as you can.)

But what about the rest of the month? Well, here’s what else I’ve got outlined:

 2         Run it Up the Flagpole and See if Anyone Salutes Day
3         Festival of Sleep
4         Trivia Day
5         12th Day of Christmas
6         Cuddle Up Day
7         Old Rock Day
8         Bubble Bath Day
9         Mermaid Day
10       Houseplant Appreciation Day
11       1st day of Carmentalia
12       Feast of Fabulous Wild Men Day
13       International Skeptics Day
14       Huygens Day
15       Youngest’s Birthday
16       Religious Freedom Day
17       Universe Expansion Day
18       Thesaurus Day
19       Edgar Allen Poe’s birthday
20       X-Ray Day
21       National Hug Day
22       The Sky is Falling Day
23       Pie Day
24       Compliment Day
25       Opposite Day
26       Spouses Day
27       Chocolate Cake Day
28       Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day
29       Puzzle Day
30       School Day of Non-violence and Peace
31       Chimps in Space Day

I’ll probably tweet and post to Facebook for each one, along the lines of “Happy {blank} day, everyone!” and maybe with a link to the source of the holiday. If I’ve made it up, it’s more than likely I’ll do a quick blog entry about it.

Happy New Year, everyone, and be well.

Damn, I Feel Old

I’m not, but typing this, I feel it.

This will be set to post at 1:42 a.m. on December 19th, 2012. This is a noteworthy date and time in my life as it’s the exact 14th anniversary of my son’s birth, according to the watch I had on at the time.

Yup, if you’re reading this my oldest child is now 14.

So yes, I feel old. Other upcoming events will help reinforce that feeling, but this is the one highest in my mind: my first baby is 14.

14!

When I get up, and he gets home from school, we’ll totally celebrate. Tonight, I’m letting myself feel old.

Be well, everyone.

When Did I Become That Guy?

It Just Took Some Time

Gradually, so gradually I didn’t really notice, I’ve made an interesting mental shift.

You know all of those silly chain letters and urban legends masquerading as status updates on Facebook or, less frequently, links on Twitter? Well, more than chain letters: anecdotes with not at all veiled You-see-Timmies, missing children, fake news stories designed to create an indignant emotional reaction in the audience. You know, the ones you roll your eyes at and ignore or, if someone has actually posted enough of them that they’re really cluttering up your stream, you start to hide that person’s updates.

That was me. I stress ‘was’.

Sometime in the last couple of years, I’ve gone from rolling my eyes to thinking, ‘how could you possibly believe the hoax you’ve just helped perpetuate?’ to actively pointing out the ones that sadden or annoy me.

I’m not a jerk about it; at least I don’t think I am. I’ve never called someone out or called someone a name or busted their chops for not thinking before they posted. I’m not sure I’ve ever actually wanted to do any of those things.

“This seemed a little weird to me, so I gave it a quick Google…”

“I remember hearing about this in the news last year…”

“Sorry dude, but as nice as the sentiment is, I first got this one in e-mail sometime in 1999…”

“Um, sorry. This showed up in my stream a couple of months bag along with a warning…”

And I take a few seconds to research the hoax or fraud so I can provide a link or two. Or three or four in some extreme cases.

I get a few acknowledgements here and there, but most pass by uncommented and, probably, unnoticed. That’s okay.

It’s not a big part of my day, or even a part of every day, but I feel like it’s important, even if only to me, and I’ve been thinking about that a little bit.

As a parent, it’s part of my job to teach my kids to think. Not what to think, and I believe quite a few people make that mistake (a discussion for another time), but to think, as in how to use their brains.

Extending that to the rest of the world seems a little unkind, at least without a bit of explanation to go with it.

To Steal From Douglas Adams

“Anything invented before your fifteenth birthday is the order of nature. That’s how it should be. Anything invented between your 15th and 35th birthday is new and exciting, and you might get a career there. Anything invented after that day, however, is against nature and should be prohibited.”

I don’t know that 35 is the appropriate cut off anymore—we are getting more flexible just due to the pace of change we have to deal with—but that’s beside the point at the moment. Fifteen is probably still pretty good for the low end.

The generally accepted date for the creation of the World Wide Web, what most people refer to as the Internet (but that takes in more), is the 6th of August, 1991. Yup, the Internet as we know it is only 21 at the moment. But really, it’s younger than that to most of us. Google was born in 1998, the same year as my oldest child. That’s probably a good benchmark for the “modern” internet, and makes for a nice convergence as they’ll both be 15 next year (which makes me feel old, but what else is new).

Add those together and if you’re under 30 right now, the way things are is the way they’ve always been, more or less.

But don’t forget that includes people.

Those of us on the far side of 30 tend to have to think about things a little more and, sometimes, work to keep up. A different problem, but sometimes amounting to the same thing: we’re a little rushed.

Search Your Feelings

A hoax used to be really hard to pull off. It was hard to get the word out, to find people willing to believe because the evidence you presented looked convincing.

Not so in the Internet Age.

Make it emotionally convincing and post it in half a dozen places. If it hits the right emotional buttons, a few people will pick it up and repost it without checking. A few of those reposts will get a few reposts, and so on. If you’re lucky, your hoax will go viral and you can sit back and laugh about what a clever douchebag you are.

Better still, pick something you know has worked before and recycle it.

Wait, let’s make a few little changes to make it seem a little more relevant or target a specific audience. Now you’re not just being a jerk, but you’re marketing a particular worldview, pushing a position for or against something.

How can you best play on my feelings so I won’t take the time to think about it? It’s all about the spin, baby.

And now, your moment of Kolinahr

Being passionate about things is great, as long as that passion is directed by reason.

Lately, I’ve started seeing more people pointing out the hoaxes and fallacies and cruel jokes that get perpetuated by the ease of communication we have these days, and the time crunch we all seem to live our lives in. Some people are gentle about it, like I try to be. Some people aren’t. Some people just type the word hoax and attach a link.

Maybe some of those people were always there and I’m just seeing them now. Maybe some of them are recent converts, sad or angry about how much stupidity has been thrown at them or has even caught them.

Someday soon, there might be enough of them to start making a difference in everyone’s time stream, and wouldn’t that be an awesome thing?

Be well, everyone.