how connected to past you is present you?

how connected to past you is present you?

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unsplash-logoLuke Chesser

This evening I’ve been listening to a playlist i created on amazon music a couple of months ago – (a lot of people don’t realize that if they already pay for amazon prime that they can get access to a lot of music included with their membership just by downloading the amazon music app.)  The songs roughly a dozen carefully chosen and sorted are by only two artists – sia and rachel platton.  I know listening to the same songs over and over would drive most people crazy but I’m weird like that.  Before dark I fed all the animals – 6 dogs, 1 cat, and 9 chickens while listening to the playlist.  Then i cooked some frozen zipper peas (that I bought from a local farm last summer that me and my family shelled by hand back then) and washed dishes while listening to the playlist.  Then spent some time on the treadmill while umm well you know.  Then to cool down i went outside to the backyard swing (the one that swings fast) in the cool night air – again same playlist.

I chose music to talk about because a lot of people relate to it when tying to memories from their past.  Usually in that context it’s just one song or maybe even one way of listening to a song such as listening to an old album you had on vinyl that had a scratch on one part of the song.  Maybe it’s a song that you and an old friend related to or maybe it’s one that only holds special meaning to you.   It’s pretty undeniable that when a past event or events are tied to specific music that listening to that music helps you recall and experience in more vivid detail those old memories.

I enjoy being a life long learner especially when it comes to the sciences so i’ve always been fascinated by psychology and neuroscience.  Therefore, i’ve noticed something strange about the “strange” way i listen to music.  It took me a long time to utilize playlists on the many music devices i’ve had over time but several years ago i started building special playlists of carefully selected songs.  I used these playlists for weeks or even months at a time.  I had an old one made of celtic music, love and rock songs, instrumental, and even a few country songs that i listened to when i started walking and trying to get in better shape several years ago.   Some of the songs in the collection were from movies that I liked and some i watched with my wife and daughter, and some were instrumentals from documentaries that I liked.  Therefore, a lot of the individual collection were handcrafted from different pieces of my past and some that friends had recommended.  It’s almost like the playlist was a type of tapestry of a timeline from my life.

Back then i listened to that playlist which was roughly 90 minutes long because a lot of my walks were 90 minutes at that time.  I had some custom walking tracks that i cleared through the woods here and I also walked very consistently at a public park in Alabama in the city where I work.  I found that old playlist a while back and listened to the songs again and I remembered specific rainy days where i walked my 90 minutes here at home in the rain refusing to call off my walk due to weather.  I remembered many windy days at the public park in great detail just from listening to the songs in the same sequence that i had listened to over and over.

The playlist is the same concept as you experience from that one song you remembered from high school or your childhood but with the playlist and the additional number of songs, it’s like you have more resolution within your brain to map to those old memories.  That is if you can stand listening to them over and over.  It’s probably not something you should do if you don’t already enjoy listening to playlists but if you do then maybe you should save all those playlists so years from now you can recall them and maybe even get back to some of those old memories.  Assuming you want to get back to those memories.

I’ve done a similar experiment with memory by trying to remember the many books i had as a child and reacquiring them cheaply from thrift stores or from online stores like amazon.  It’s been amazing that when i see certain pages with unique color patterns that i can actually remember seeing those pages as a child and thinking wow that’s a weird choice of colors on that particular page.  It’s neat to re-experience the artwork from those old children’s books too.  A lot of them have beautiful and very unique art styles in addition to the story woven within the book.

The real question that I pondered tonight while swinging high (as in fast not as on drugs b/c drugs are bad mmm-kay) on backyard swing is how is current me connected to past me.  I’ve read in biology articles and books that we as a living organism are really made up of mostly water and bacteria (some symbiotic, some evil, and some in between)  in addition to our many specialized cells and then those are made up of atoms are actually rebuilt nearly in their entirely every so often.  So in some ways your cells (an thus atoms) if you can say that they are you are mostly new and not the same cells and atoms that made up you just a month or two ago.

One common thread at least a little more so, however, is our memory.  But even that is questionable because is the current you really the same you as 10 years ago?  Unfortunately other than sharing experiences prior to that time with old you and having the same genetic material, you can’t ever be that old you again.  You can’t even be the person you were yesterday or last week precisely because you can’t unlearn or unlive all the experiences and memories since whatever point in history you choose to consider.  So in that way each day we are a new person and are never quite that person we used to be.  It doesn’t take a life changing event such as loss of a loved-one or a breakup with someone close to us for that to be true because it’s always true.

The memory experiment with music and playlist is just one i chose to illustrate as a way to recall memories but it doesn’t really change anything.  It’s just an interesting observation and if you enjoy listening to music like me then it can be an entertaining little experiment.   And i always try to include a few nuggets of knowledge that I’ve learned or a quote here are both.  The quote by T.S. Elliot which i suppose the place in the quote may be a physical place like home or it may be a place within our mind meaning that one day we may come full circle back to all our memories before us and truly understand them for once in our life.

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
And what is a talk about memory with mentioning deja vu?  And if you’ve ever wondered if there was an opposite of deja vu then you’d be happy to know there is.  It’s called jamais vu – it means you’ve seen something before and thought it was the first time you’ve seen it but in reality you have seen it before but only forgotten it.  Maybe if the memory of it had only been connected via music that wouldn’t have happened.  🙂  Good night.

 

 

 

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testing my proclivity to write with a writing device called morning pages

testing my proclivity to write with a writing device called morning pages

I’ve purchased two of Julia Cameron’s books – the artists way and the miracle of morning pages.  I’m reading both of them and hope to finish them soon.  It’s nice to read books by people who have so much experience with a certain topic and when someone teaches as many students as Julia Cameron then even more so.

Morning pages are supposed to be done in the morning but I did my first 3 pages of hand-written long hand tonight just before bed.  I got up at 4 AM but being a day after xmas with so much to do I just couldn’t get to it.  I hope to make it into a routine and hopefully finding the time will be more natural but for now I’m still in the trying to make it a habit phase.

The following is a quote from Julia Cameron’s website followed by a link to the website:

“Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing,
done first thing in the morning. *There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages*–
they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about
anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes
only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and
synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put
three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow.”

http://juliacameronlive.com/basic-tools/morning-pages/

I’m recalling from memory the rules to give the author credit without plagiarizing so I hope I didn’t miss anything.  I would highly recommend her books.

Well today I’ve meet two of my writing goals – writing the “morning pages” tonight in my journal and updating my blog.  Yay.

 

the myth, the legend, the beard…

the myth, the legend, the beard…

I’m going to the use today’s word of the day to talk about beards and share some interesting links.

First, an interesting book with amazing artwork.  The Gigantic Beard that Was Evil.

Next, if you like strange myth stories and audio podcasts here is a good one about a dwarf with an uber beard.  The podcast is called Myths and Legends and is teh awesome.

https://www.mythpodcast.com/12863/85a-slavic-folklore-for-the-right-reasons/

And because I like music – here is music from beardyman.  LOL.  Ok.  I know that was quite a reach but it’s a pretty good video.

 

confessions of an ocd neophyte artist and some new experiments in simple upcycling

 

confessions of an ocd neophyte artist and some new experiments in simple upcycling

Lately I’ve been getting more into art again so I thought to myself that I should get more serious about it this time and get more organized (and maybe a bit ocd) in the process.  So I bought some paint and brush organizers.  LOL.  The spinner paint organizer I got from Michael’s and works pretty good so far and was amazingly cheap.  I was thinking I paid 8 or 10 bucks for it so I may have got it on sale but $13 is still not a bad deal.  To the right of it is the plastic shelf organizer and I got it from amazon.  And the brush stand was a little cheaper and also came from amazon.  I’ve hyperlinked them so you can click on them if it’s something you are interested in.  The picture is kind of dark but in front of the paint shelf organizer is a little stamp pad and box of rubber stamps.  I got those from amazon in a lightening sale so I think I got a little cheaper than it’s current listed and I’m not sure if the ink pad still comes with it but here is that link.  If you do a lot of arts and crafts, they are pretty handy to have for projects.

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I keep finding uses for the stamp set for custom birthday cards and such but here is a picture of where I used it recently.  I’ve been doing the rock hiding game a little where you find painted rocks in parks and leave rocks that you painted and I’m in a facebook group called 850 Rocks! – 850 being the area code I live in.  I’m not that good at painting and sketching but I’m even less good at painting on uneven rocks.  LOL.  But the stamp set seemed to work good on the rock.  Before I paint the picture on a rock I normally sketch it with paper and pencil first and I included that below the rock painting.  I was toying around with having ms pacman and pacman together with a ghost sneaking up behind them with it arms out but I dropped that idea and decided to go with just a plain pacman.  I had some extra paint poured out so I painted the balloons and heart too.  It didn’t turn out as well as I wanted it to – I had to redo the balloon strings twice and they still aren’t great.  I posted a picture of the shark in an earlier post and it turned out a little better – I used metallic acrylic paint with it.

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The following pics are a couple related to upcycling.   While upcycling which is reusing glass jars and such to keep them out of landfills isn’t for everyone, I’ve been experimenting with different ways to increase my recycling potential and lower my carbon footprint.  Another side of upcycling is called found art which is creating art from used items.    I plan on doing a blog post about that topic at some point.  But anyway here is the first image:

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They say a picture is worth a 1000 words and while I’ve never though about it much this one may be.  LOL.  You can see where I got my circular saw to the desk the tablet/hybrid is sitting on because it wouldn’t fit into the corner with the dresser.  By it’s rough edge you can see I chose the wrong blade also.  LOL  Since I’ve gone and went tangential (or as I heard someone erroneously say one time – tangenital), I’ll go ahead and say I finally took the time to solve my Rubik’s cubes and the little black case above the mouse is my mugig harmonica which I’m attempting to learn. I’ve never heard of the brand so I took a chance with it but it sounds pretty good compared to a hohner brand harmonica I have.  Ok back to my topic – the former pickle, olive, and tomato containers. LOL.  I used to remove the labels but now I’ve just started washing the used containers real well before I repurpose them.  I figured the labels themselves are a kind of art after all and if they aren’t now they will be someday.  Tostito’s glass salsa jars are also great for reusing when you run out of salsa.  Just make sure you wash the containers really well.  The first picture in this post has one of those jars full of marbles to the left of the paint shelf organizer.  In the last picture, I’ve used one jar for glass rocks and another for rubber bands.  I didn’t have enough rubber bands to fill the jar so I put a couple of unused golf balls in the bottom of the jar.  In the empty and washed tomato can I have pencils, pens, scissors, and such.  I put unused swishy cups (small paper bathroom cups) inside it to keep everything from just falling wherever – I cut the bottom out of the 3 paper cups and turned them upside down and put them in the tomato can.

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The picture above is same angle from further away.  It shows my old tired iPod touch that’s on it’s last leg and an old android tablet I still use.  I’m getting more into digital art or maybe mixed media art is a better description and the reason I showed those 3 devices are they represent apple, android and windows (the hybrid, a laptop looking device is a windows 10 Samsung that I got for roughly half price since it was a prior year model) and I’ve been experimenting with apps in each ecosystem for doing digital art and hopefully animation and music.  I plan on writing some blog posts soon about what I find using free or cheap applications and hardware.  I have 4 wireless headphones because I buy them on amazon’s lightening sales when I can get them for 8 to 15 bucks each.  I also have another even older device not shown that is a 7″ android tab and I use Bluetooth headphones on all of them and I don’t like having to relink them between devices.  And since I got all 4 of those for less than what a single pair of Bluetooth headphones at some other discount retailers would be, I figured why not.  LOL.  You do take a slight risk with sound quality and connection issues and such but every one of them worked out for me.  I listen to a lot of audiobooks and audio blogs in addition to music so I haven’t had any issues although there are slight variations in quality when listening to music.

Ok.  To wrap up this blog entry, I was just going to mention one other thing about the last photo.  While not necessarily an example of reusing potential garbage like the jars, I was experimenting with decorating with odd items such as comics books.  Those three frames to the right of the large starwars poster are normal comics books in a frame designed for standard comic books sizes – you don’t have to damage the comic to put it in the frame.  You can use any standard comic book size you like to decorate with if you pick up or build some frames for comics.  The darth vader and others image to the top left of the large starwars poster is a book bag my daughter got when she was in elementary school some years ago – I just flattened it and used push pins to hang it to the wall.  The little unopened terraria figurine below the large poster is one I got on clearance and sometimes I decorate with opened or unopened toys such as that.  I would have rather have gotten a normal terraria figurine because I’ve never even used that one in the game terraria but I guess that’s why it was on clearance. LOL.

Well that’s all for now.

 

what kind of surreal ethereal scooby snacks does your brain like to eat?

what kind of surreal ethereal scooby snacks does your brain like to eat?

Metaphorically speaking my brain likes all kind of intellectual snacks such as history, tech, science fiction, politics, art, music, film and nearly any other category you can think of. Sometimes I don’t know if it’s a blessing or a curse. I constantly feel like the robot Number 5 on the corny 1986 movie Short Circuit when it says “need more input.”

An interesting quote by an interesting guy named Steve Jobs is “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” As with most quotes they can mean anything to anyone but to me it means keep learning and keep doing the things you enjoy and don’t be afraid to occasionally do something seemingly foolish such as veer off the beaten path. Read or study something you would normally avoid maybe but whatever you do don’t let your mind idle because an idle mind leads to idle hands which are the devil’s workshop.  🙂

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a poem for mother earth on mother’s day 2017

You’ve watched us grow up over many thousands and thousands of years
You’ve watched us get smarter, braver, and to conquer our worst fears

You saw us when we were at our worst and also when we were at our best
You saw us struggle to survive and against all odds to pass each test

You heard us when we laughed and when we sang and even when we cried
You heard us pray to God during our darkest hours when so many of us died

You were patient and kind to us even when we weren’t patient and kind to you
You did us many favors and were very forgiving as we acted like we had no clue

We know one day like all precious living things your life will come to an end
We can only hope that by then we have found our way and maybe made a new friend

We would do well to remember all that you have taught us over each and every  year
And to remember that learned from each other so not to lose everything we hold dear

We know that time will be our ultimate test and no matter the outcome of our mortality
You will always be our mother who nurtured us with just the right amount of hospitality


By Jason Holliday – Mother’s Day 2017

I believe poems should be read and interpreted individually and personally by the reader but here is my take on it.  each paragraph – becoming modern humans, agriculture, war, industrial revolution and nuclear age (hopefully no more major nuclear events), end of Earth for whatever reason – old age or precipitated by humans, colonizing new planet or star ship (maybe), learning from our past as to not lose our future, whether we have a future and are still around to remember where we came from.

the timely refrain from life’s domain

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The Timely Refrain from Life’s Domain

walk, speak, run but don’t no don’t look back
the dry grass high the distance far
the wind soft the trees stretch high

walk, speak, run but don’t no don’t look back
time creeps no sneaks elusive it peaks
from behind every valley atop every hill

walk, speak, run but don’t no don’t look back
you can’t escape fate life bestows
don’t try you’ll fail then weep so deep

time time hide hide not now not now
not ever not ever one more day one more day
old frail silent heart i miss thy song
old frail silent heart i miss thy song


Whew.  Didn’t mean to go all existential and such.  Not sure if it’s grammatically correct and makes sense but decided to play with words today.  I had a hard time coming up with something with the word “timely” geez.  🙂  I started not to add a picture because i wanted everyone to read it in their own way.  Hopefully I’m not plagiarizing any of it because I kept thinking some of it sounded familiar but I googled several parts of it and didn’t find any hits.