When you’re standing at the edge of the abyss, you have to jump or back away. You can’t just stand there forever.
Hunter S. Thompson
I want to make a point at the outset.
This site isn’t about me. I just happen to be the guy doing all the stuff that it IS about. But because of that, I must explain me. I happen to be someone who, even in my forties, likes to learn, research, and attempt new things.
Except for carpentry. I HATE carpentry. Hanging doors is for people that do NOT bear the intolerant underpinnings I have for tangible, pro-ratable failure. By the time I’ve made the 35th trip to Home Depot because I’ve stripped out a bolt, my driving acumen goes down dramatically. If I’m killed enroute to buying a tap and die kit right then—well . . . let’s just say one’s soul hangs over a precipice . . .
But beyond that, I’ve got a toe-hold in a myriad of things, some of which I’ve gained sufficient skill, others, I’ve simply had skill attributed to me—mainly because I took the step of doing what others in my circles have not.
“How in the WORLD did you build a cigar-box guitar? You are so talented!” says one friend.
“I bought a cigar-box, a poplar stick and some tuning pegs and put them together,” I say.
And thus, my point. It’s the chasm between wanting to do and doing that makes all the difference. To that end, this site does have to do with me. Because while I am one of those mid-level “renaissance guys,” I have a host of things I want to accomplish. And I plan to use this arena as a catalyst—a wedge—an inspirational Molotov cocktail to the recalcitrant, fence-sitting, procrastinatory refusenik I’ve become in other areas. These usually involve tangible responsibilities—not artistic digression. Sure, I can furl a fishing leader from horse hair, but a few pushups and edging my lawn might be an improvement as well. Changing my employment arena might augment my affability index, too.
Personal maintenance is part of it. But I also intend to make a few cognitive challenges this year—like memorizing the entire Gospel of John in the English Standard version. Actually, I “think” I can do it in about forty weeks without blowing up my cerebellum, but we’ll see. I’ll be covering that journey as it goes.
Now, if you are wanting to be inspired learn the Ukulele, you’re also in luck, because I’m playing one now. I’m watching James Hill and Jake Shimabukuro do it better than me. That’s goes for the guitar, harmonica, and the tin whistle. My inspiration for playing the Irish whistle came from me watching Jeff Coffin play one at a Bela Fleck and the Flecktones concert. I asked him about it, and he wrote down a bunch of cool stuff for me—a microcosm of what I’m wanting to do here.
Then, of course, we have to discuss the prodigious abilities of one Victor Wooten—bassist of the aforementioned. His book, The Music Lesson, could possibly be the best friend a burgeoning music teacher could ever have. It WILL be reviewed here. And soon. And not once does he get caught up in a discussion of theory, or mathematical algorithms ala Allan Holdsworth.
If you want to tie flies, or understand the nuances of fly fishing—cool. That goes double for a subsidiary of fly-fishing for me—Tenkara. If you want to know what THAT is, well, stick around. Speaking of Tenkara, I made a film about it:
So perhaps we’ll talk about film making. The film itself is really less about the techniques and more about the journey of making the film anyway. So my theme was already born. Along with the ridiculous cinematic alter-ego of Chuck Waders. And with all of that comes the discussion of how I built my own jib, stabilizer, and cable runner for my cameras.
And yes. The discussion of Converse tennis shoe IS possible. And encouraged.
Book reviews? You bet, but only stuff that inspired me outright. I could care less if the book is 300 years old, or 300 seconds. Sleight of hand? Yep. Take a look, peeps:
And no, I’m not explaining it. While were on that subject, I published a booklet chronicling a trick very close to this one, but I used a book that inspired me to create the rationale for the trick in the first place.
I’ve a ton of things not listed. I don’t need to list them all. Some will come here because of music. Some will come because of Tenkara. I’m hoping that all will find something encouraging. And even those of you that like satire and ridiculous comparisons: step in, the water’s boiling.
And so it goes, I keep doing stuff, because I happen to like the journeys associated with them. Fly fishing was as magical as it gets—especially the first few years. My overstuffed fly-tying kit sits in the corner to this day like a cumulative Pandora’s Box waiting for trout season. Or if you ask my family—a malignant Jumanji Game that got played one too many times.
And yes, I DO realize I’m darting all over the cognitive field. I promise— it all settles down after this.
Speaking of reflexive and knee-jerk topical shark-jumping: I’m a huge CS Lewis fan. He gets his own category here. His insights into mystery and splendor are unparalleled. Along with Mark Twain, GK Chesterton and Mary Higgins Clark.
Okay. I might be kidding on that last one. In fact, I should be subpoenaed for the juxtaposition.
Lastly, I’m hoping that the writing here also carries the day. If there IS one area that my family would tell you gives the lie to the above title, it might be that one. Writing, for me, is the one effortless undertaking . And since that is the skill most required to carry this endeavor, for that I am truly thankful. Keep coming back. The content will be lively—and diverse.