Friday, January 24, 2014

Kick off and expectation management

OK, I’m still not entirely convinced I should be allowed to have a blog like this, but here goes anyway. We’ll see if anybody out there is even remotely interested in anything I have to say about my projects and occasional thoughts.

About the blog title:

I collect lines. No, you won’t find me out there in the dark scrapping paint off the road, or skulking around a junior-high geometry classroom pocketing objects that are straight, infinitely long and infinitely thin, because - well - contrary to popular opinion, I'm not quite that nuts. I’m talking about the written line. I’m talking about words put together into a phrase that makes me stop and think, or cry, or smile, or instantly paints a picture in my head, lines that reach out and grab me unexpectedly in one way or another. Lines like Rod McKuen’s ‘For one slow moment it was you – Christmas in a black print dress’ or Mark Maron’s ‘For me, it’s not over until someone cries and I apologize’, or Ed Gorman’s ‘I opened the door and the muggy dark rushed in like a pet that’s supposed to stay outside at night’.

And I have more; no seriously; I keep a file of them and when I find a new one I add it to my list, the latest being from Elizabeth Lowell, ‘Ian watched the smooth locomotion of Dana’s hips with a male appreciation that didn’t need to fondle in order to enjoy. ‘

But of all the entries in the file only one was penned by me, and it’s only there because the author knows someone who knows someone, it’s certainly not there on its merits. I’d love to produce little gems like so many others have but the best I’ve managed so far is something I wrote many, many – many – years ago; ‘She drives a trailer park pickup, she’s got a kitchen table perm, she wears a truck stop t-shirt and she’s got Alabama thighs.’ See? My best effort and it just sort of lays there. Even I don’t know what to do with it. On top of that I have this nagging suspicion that I heard that ‘Alabama Thighs’ part vary late one dark and lonely night on the road when I was trying to coax some distant radio station to ride along with me.

So anyway, though ‘The Random Rants of a Rambling Man’ doesn’t make much sense and only vaguely indicates what might be found in this blog, its almost a line and I like the sound and rhythm of it ,so to hell with logic.

Rambling is stolen from my travel blog, 'Travels of a Rambling Van', because I think it provides a nice continuity, a lot like some authors that use a common word in all the titles of their series novels, such as Robin Page’s ‘death’ and Charlaine Harris’ ‘grave’. . . . Not that I am equating myself with writers such as that, but I’m not above stealing – I mean borrowing – a trick or two from them.

It’s a word with several definitions and the first that comes to mind, my mind anyway, is wandering from place to place. Well I am a traveler but, since I already have a travel blog where I ramble on (Get it!? Ramble on?. . .) about my various trips, hikes, and such; that definition doesn’t count here.

The second definition; going from subject to subject without any clear purpose or direction; is a little less flattering, but since I have many and varied interests beyond traveling this blog is probably going to do exactly that, ramble around without a clear direction; I just can’t help it.

Rants. Now there’s a word with nothing but negative connotations! But I’m not a ranter; really!; OK, OK, I do have the occasional opinion, and I might be tempted to rant – I mean air – one of them once in a while so, I guess if you want to get technical about it, a rant or two just might slip past the filter of common sense. But I mostly put it there because if you start with rambling then turn around and throw in random, which I admit is a little redundant but helps get the point across, how can you not add rant to the title? It just makes the whole thing ring with rhyme, not to mention (But, just like every single person that’s ever said that, I’m obviously going to anyway so what’s that phrase all about in the first place?? It’s right up there with ‘no offence but. . .’) the rhythm of iambic quadrameter! OK, OK, for those syllable counters out there, it’s not actually an iambic anything unless you cheat and slur the ‘of a’ into a single unstressed syllable; but it’s pretty dang close and it just feels right coming off the tongue; at least my tongue. So, after due consideration and a show of hands, my hand, rants stays; no matter how many of my tens of potential readers it scares off.

I guess this is as good a time to go into a very brief bio as I’m going to manage to come up with, a bio that just might show there is some purpose to the madness, or at least explain it, so; at various times I have been and/or am:

Hiker     Camper                                Home Builder                    Electronic repairman     Marine Electrician Normal Electrician            Designer              RV builder           Computer Engineer         Manager of geeks           Lost        Data Center Architect              Furniture maker               Son        Artist     Opinionated     Father        Model Railroader             Right                Retired                 Woodworker     Wrong      Environmentalist          Wood turner      Mechanic (Though recent events have reminded me I suck at carburetors)               Scientist               Husband              Plumber                Maintenance man Writer                             Bicyclist                      Voracious reader   Gardner               Philosopher (In my own mind anyway)                  And probably a few others I’ve missed

Perusing that list it might look like I can’t hold a job, but I only actually drew a paycheck for the activities listed in italics and four of those all for the same employer. In fact, between 1972ish and 2012 I worked for a grand total of 4 different employers; kind of a low number in this day and age where career strategy often relies on job-hopping. I admit that I didn’t stick with any of the first three jobs for more than three years or so, but I spent the last 31 years of my working life with a single employer, though on days of exceptional clarity of mind I suspect I was just too damn lazy to go looking for another job.

So, the key point here is that I retired from my last employer. . . OK, more like quit since they didn’t offer a pension, insurance or any other ‘retirement’ benefits other than a going away cupcake and the promise of never having to go back there again, and have now found my condition, visa-a-vi the boss thingy, namely lack of, has given me a lot more freedom to do all sorts of things and, since I like to keep my life varied; Jack of many trades, master of none; this is likely to be a somewhat eclectic blog. So, if you like that sort of thing, you’re welcome to come on along; but you’ve been warned.

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