June 30, 2009

I Will Follow You Into The Dark

Filed under: Music — Robert John Ed @ 1:29 am

A good song off of Plans:


Burn the Ships

Filed under: Personal Branding, Philosophy — Robert John Ed @ 1:27 am

Cortez did it.  You should too.  Some of my sage (or saggy?) advice to many people over the last year has been to not give up, to persevere despite how difficult the economy and apparent lack of interest for students there is.  The reason is that if you are truly committed to working in the career you aspire to, if you continue to progress and hold steadfast resolve toward achieving your goals, over the long term you can’t fail.  You simply won’t let it happen.

It’s easy advice to dole out.  It’s not always easy to follow.  Everyone on the planet experiences the feelings of inadequacy and cognitive dissonance that accompany uncertain outcomes.  It’s part of being human.  Just as being confident and appreciative of your own skills is.  The people that can embrace the latter fore the former are bound good things.

When there is more on the line, you don’t think about it.  When you have children or fall in love, there aren’t any easy ways out.  You stop looking for them.  You start looking at realistic alternatives in order to build and keep what you originally planned on, despite adversity, despite it all.  The levity of those situations far outweighs that of finding or keeping a job, starting a business or learning a new skill such as language or music.  For some people, the approach changes with those things.  They realize that there is an easy way out, just quit.  Turn around, get back on the boats and head back home.

Burn the ships.  Leave no recourse.

June 29, 2009

Sunday Summary

Filed under: Blog Explanations, Random — Robert John Ed @ 2:25 am

It seems like the last few weeks the only time I’ve had to write is later on Sundays, when a great deal has already transpired.  I cook a bunch of meals for the upcoming work week (usually chicken and veggies), do dishes, try to get some writing in and read before sleeping.  There’s never enough time.  Keeping some cadence to thought process and writing is important, and this last month was the lowest in terms of output since I started this blog over a year ago.  I’ll work on that.

I’m listening to Plans by Death Cab right now, I’ve been wanting some new music for a time.  Went to Cheapo and everything is incredibly expensive, all of the CDs I want are $16 and I’m just not OK with that when I can order them online for a solid discount off of that pricing.  I went in expecting to buy Solid Gold, Yeasayer and a few other things but instead walked out with DCFC and a New Pornographers disc, Twin Cinema. Oh and a Saddle Creek sampler.  So instead of getting to listen to new artists, I’m filling in the backdrop of some older favorites.  The good thing about Death Cab is that you always know what you’re getting and it’s usually quite good.

This weekend was spent in Cross Lake, MN.  Once per year all of my friends from high school get together out of town for a weekend of debauchery and high jinx.  As always, it was a really good time.  It’s fun to see everybody doing their own thing and building their lives.  We all have different paths, but it’s great that we can catch up once a year; hopefully it continues on even when people are having families and additional responsibilities.  Lately the long term keeps jumping into my head, and it seems like a transformative stage.  I can’t quite put a finger on it at this point, and struggle to devise a moniker for much ado about nothing, but perspectives and importance weighting are altering, for the better methinks.

Finally, the I watched this documentary on the division in America due to politics.  It was a good documentary, although there isn’t a poignant ending, much like the political discussions we have today.  I’d recommend it.  The inability for people to have lively and diplomatic discourse on topic matters regarding the government is really disappointing to me.  We need to discuss everything, and we have to have rational thought processes behind our reasoning in those discussions…with open minds yet behind those.  In upcoming posts, I’ll try to have more cogent information on topical pieces and not such a mish mash of random things.  Sorry.  Hope everyone had fun this weekend.

June 24, 2009

Supersize Me! (No Thanks.)

Filed under: Random — Robert John Ed @ 3:30 am

So last night I watched Supersize Me on Hulu.  If you don’t use Hulu, you should consider it.  It’s a free television service provided by large networks in efforts to combat Youtube and other net video services that don’t allow the networks to monetize their content.  It’s well done and easy to use.

The movie really seemed to develop groundswell a few years ago five years ago!  Time flies, wow.  I haven’t eaten fast food regularly since being in high school, though I do have a Chipotle fetish.  When your young, bullets bounce of you and ten feet is average height.  But something funny happens in college, you realize that you are getting fat.  I ate the equivalent of fast food by subsisting on frozen pizza and fried foods for 80% of meals.  I couldn’t even pronounce “vegetable.”  My food pyramid consisted of cheese, cereals, grilled and fried meats, with a solid base of bacon.  Not to mention beer.  As a sidenote, I usually spent a total of $25 per weekend.  $18 on a case of Labatt Blue and the rest spent on a burrito Sunday during football or baseball games.  Rad.

During junior year it was starting to dawn on me that this lifestyle wasn’t fit (nor were my grades) and I changed.  I started running again.  I worked my butt off to get better grades and really began networking and searching out marketing jobs.  It wasn’t easy, but nothing worthwhile is.  My grades picked up, my eating habits improved.  Yet it took another five years before my bad eating habits were really altered.  This movie really points out the hazards of eating such horrible foods high in saturated fats.  The protagonist begins a thirty day binge on nothing but McDonalds with  clean bill of health and after three weeks is very much under duress as phsyicians are seeing his liver begin to fail and unable to adapt.

It’s not a long film and although I didn’t become disgusted with the corporation as I’d heard from others, it was disturbing.  That year, a few girls attempted to sue McDonald’s for allowing or pursuading them to eat the food every day.  I’m sorry, but at some point it can’t be someone elses fault.  You have to take responsibility for your own body, no matter how hard it may be.

Eating a months worth of fast food breakfast, lunch and morning is quite a feet.  My body would not handle that well and the protagonists didn’t either.  He gained over 20 pounds in 30 days!  His overall health dissipated vastly and the only variable was the food.  A good point was made about how smokers can be berated for their behavior as it’s socially acceptable, but larger people who continually eat poor foods and fail to exercise are off the meat hook.  I wonder when that will change?  Should it?

Either way, it was a decent movie.  Hardly great, but I can see why it hit critical mass and altered some perspectives.  Worth seeing, but only once.  The funny thing about all this?  Fast food generally sucks.  Yet we keep hurding to the trough.

June 23, 2009

The Shining

Filed under: Book Reviews — Robert John Ed @ 2:56 am

Never had I read a Stephen King novel.  The movie was and is one of my favorites, it was impeccably shot and truly haunting when watched alone or in complete dark.  My favorite Nicholson performance, bar none.  It just set a standard for me in terms of films.  Horror films are often cheap and poorly done, despite the amount of money poured into them.  Kubrick really had a way of making things jump.  I still don’t like watching 2001 on my own, it’s freaky as hell.  I still do though.  :-)  The real issue for most horror films is the lack of intensity.  I’m not sure if it’s the story that drives that, the director or the actors.  Maybe some mix of all three.

Something there is that keeps me away from King, Koontz and other contemporary writers with the ability to shell out novels endlessly.  Maybe it’s my obvious counterculture mentality, I don’t know.  Either way, I steadily look for the obscure and introspective.  The reflective words and sentences that stick with you for days and months and years.

Why “The Shining” then?  I failed miserably in trying to read my last book; I’m finding that dry historical detailing is not my bag.  A friend recommended it to me after a discussion of the movie, which was elegantly detailed as such:  “Fuck the movie, read the book.”  This may be a paraphrase, I can’t recall for sure, but this person has read all of King’s novels and was adamant toward the book.  I’ve owned it for some time, picked it up at an antique shop before moving to Minneapolis, four years ago.  In fact, my next books (Pilgrim At Tinker Creek and a biographical Rembrandt Time Life volume) were purchased the same day!  It’s news to me that Dillard wrote her thesis on my favorite book, Walden.  I’m going off on tangents again.

Let me say this.  This was the scariest book I’ve ever read.  Horror certainly isn’t my forte, but I can see how it would become addictive if one allowed oneself.  I read it in about 6 sittings.  The first two were in my apartment alone with one light on.  The slow creeping dread at what is to come clutches you so tightly that it’s hard to keep reading, yet incredibly difficult to stop as well.  The story is quite gripping, the impending doom and deliberate misunderstanding are decidedly satisfying.  There is also quite a difference between what happens in the film and what happens between these pages.  One thing, I read a lot of the book while in public on flights to Denver and Atlanta.  This was  bad idea.  It hardly ruined anything, but the ominous silence that accompanies one light and an unoccupied space can’t be converted at a proper currency.  Read it alone.  Read it at night.  But above all else, read it.

Here is the copy I have, I dig the cover:


June 22, 2009

“When I Get Out Of School”

Filed under: Blog Explanations, Projects, School — Robert John Ed @ 2:41 am

It seems that I’m always thinking or saying that statement lately.  Part of it is my penchant to plan things out in the long term, part of it the time and resource constraints held on you over attending a full time program.  Plans are always going on in my head.  Business plans, life plans, etc.

Working in the real world suits me far more than school.  I enjoy school and learning, but I can do it on my own for most subject matter applicable to my life and career.  It certainly isn’t recognized like a major institution, but realistically anyone with an internet connection, time and drive to do so could disintermediate the traditional educational system.  I’m not necessarily advocating that, I think there is a happy medium where a system can grow and alter as the needs of new generations bloom like flowers to the sun.  So I’m not particularly looking forward to my last two semesters, though I do plan to make the most out of them and work diligently, I’m eager to return to a “normal” life as precocious that may sound, even to my own ears.

Minneapolis makes me think long term.  It’s the kind of city that breathes and I can certainly see living here for a long time.  The idea of buying a house somewhere around South Minneapolis and building things over the long haul sounds really good right now.  What kind of things?  Well there are many.  I’d like to start a business, I’d like to finish a book, I’d like to have a family, I’d like to advance a career, I’d like to have a dog!  All these things seem so far out of reach, at least until I’m done with school.  Other small things are starting to bug me too.  I miss having TV so I could watch the Masters or the History channel.  The normalcy associated with a weekly job is easy to sink back into and the idea of having all hours taken up with school, the enterprise and a part time job is not exactly making me jump for joy.  But I did sign up for it and I’ll go on ahead and take my medicine (sidenote, I’m trying to catch up on blogging, but won’t have time for a proper write up on “The Shining” which I finished last week…stay tuned).  There are just so many things that have to be on hold during this point.  It really is trying, but most things worthwhile are, aren’t they?

I’d like to get more down on this, but I need to get some Z’s.  Hopefully I’ll do a better job of writing over this next week.  No promises though.  :-)

Playing Catch Up

Filed under: Random — Robert John Ed @ 2:21 am

I really have no idea why, but writing has been very low on my to do list lately and it shows on this blog.  So I’m trying to catch up now.

Just yesterday I saw an AMAZING concert called Rock The Garden at one of my favorite art venues (maybe my favorite) the Walker (cool website btw) in uptown MPLS.  This is a great organization, I’ll likely become a member once I’m out of school again.  One of the best parts about this city is the arts.  Although I haven’t explicitly met them, Minneapolis is filled with people who obviously love art of all kinds and make it a point to offer it throughout our lovely landscape.  Beyond the beauty of the parks and lakes here, there exists a vibrant, breathing art community filled with compassion and transcendence for upcoming generations.  It makes me smile often.

Today I visited the Minneapolis Art Institute and was absolutely blown away by it.  It’s huge and there are rooms, corridors and wings dedicated to multiple types of art from all areas of the world and dating from ancient history to present day.  There was a community learning and education center downstairs.  There was a clay sculpture presentation where a model was being cast.  I walked around for at least an hour and there is still a great deal to see; I’ll certainly be back, hopefully twice a year or so to catch differing displays.

Rock The Garden was spectacular.  Yeasayer, Solid Gold and The Decemberists (my favorite without a doubt) were all great.  The latter played all the way through Hazards of Love, which is an epic rock opera and sets a precedent for me for an ongoing song.  The album is quirky, there are wonderful parts and songs, but seeing it performed live really emphasizes the work.  Frankly I doubt it will be touched in terms of how enjoyable it was.  Above all, being outside under the sun with an energetic crowd felt ridiculously good.  Summer in MN is truly a blast, you have to soak it in while it’s here.  Here’s a video excerpt of a similar concert:

UPDATE:  Here’s an actual video from last night, Colin was very witty.  This is Engine Driver, one of my favorite Decemberists songs.  Seeing them throughout dusk and hearing so many good songs from albums past was assuredly the highlight of my summer.  Plus, the closed with a cover of “Crazy On You” from the 80’s that rocked the shit out of that place.  Rock.  The.  Shit.  Duders.

Community Service

Filed under: Projects — Robert John Ed @ 2:01 am

The idea of giving back and helping out the communities you live in has interested me for some time, mostly since getting out of undergrad.  Building small things into big things is the whole idea behind my career, and many ways my life.  At least that’s what I aspire toward.  It’s not always easy, but sticking to something and creating something worthwhile with hard work is very satisfying in multiple areas.

Additionally, a program exists in school called the Leadership Fellows which I’m enrolled in.  It is comprised of speaker sessions from local companies (Target has especially been involved) and a few other programs, one of which is to do some work in community service and explain why it makes you a better leader.

Finding the time during school is hard, but not impossible.  More so, for me, is getting involved in an organization that really keeps me engaged and shows tangible results is the more difficult aspect.  There are many great organizations that achieve this, but I’ve been less than aggressive in my search.

This last Saturday, I went to Lilydale National Park and worked for my organization in a volunteer opportunity.  About 25 of us were there, half pulling invasive plants and the rest of us dragging cut down buckthorn into large piles to be taken.  It was pretty fun and a great crowd of people who wanted to make a difference.  Everyone was from my employer and although I didn’t know them, it went off without a hitch.  Finding a regular means to give back to the city and community that provides for me so often will definitely be a goal of mine in the future.  If you are part of an organization and feel it offers those opportunities, feel free to ping me.

June 13, 2009

Summer Time & Marriage

Filed under: Random — Robert John Ed @ 3:58 pm

I’m back in MPLS, Uptown is gorgeous.  Just ran down and around Calhoun, which is the norm, and it’s beautiful.  Side note, Calhoun is too busy and it’s like people go to be seen exercising.  I like Isles and Harriet more, but I don’t want to run more than an hour and both would require an extra half hour.  C ‘est la vie.

This time of the year is so amazing.  Every weekend something new and exciting is happening.  This weekend I’m going to see two good friends get married that I’ve known since college.  It’s only a few hours away!  This is the first time TWO friends are getting married and it makes me smile.  It seems like a lot of folks are getting married now and some are even starting to have kids.  Weird, growing up.

I’m traveling extensively this summer and it makes me want a weekend to just rest.  Maybe when it gets cold again.  Have a great weekend everyone.

June 11, 2009

Hello Denver: Traveling & Maintenance

Filed under: Random — Robert John Ed @ 1:19 am

I’ve always found travel to be somewhat difficult.  It’s not that being gone is more work persay, it’s just harder to keep up with people and with regimens. 

Tuesday I left for Denver, and I’ve been here since (despite a slight holding pattern due to thunderstorms).  It’s a new city to me and of anywhere my travels have taken me over the last twenty six years and two months, this is definitely the most likely place I’d move.  There is so much to do here it boggles the mind.  Skiing, road biking, mountain biking, wakeboarding, rock climbing, four major sports teams, a huge MSA with all kinds of nightlife and much more.  The people have all been very kind and the laid back attitude of the region fits my steelo.

The idea of having a cabin somewhere away from MN has always intrigued me.  Maine, Northen California and Oregon always seemed the most likely areas.  Maybe some day I’ll set something like that up.

Regardless, travel is difficult.  The reason being that you can’t maintain a normal lifestyle.  Issue numero uno is attempting to stay in shape.  For starters, you eat out every day.  Continental breakfast in the morning sure, but every midday you’re running to a local quick stop (Einstein’s today) and at night you HAVE to go to the recommended spots around the city (good sushi last night and TAG tonight).  So the usual cuisine of protein, veggies and fruit is tougher procurement.

Additionally, exercise is low on the totem pole as well.  Most hotels have a very limited amount of equipment, the Hilton has three cardio machines; better than nothing but hardly a buffet.  There isn’t as much time because you kick it with coworkers.

There are additional gripes.  Overall, it’s not a horrible experience but it’s a learning curve for me.  Not overeating because you go out, squeeking in quick exercise sets and finding time to write and think beyond just answering emails and field work all add up. 

OK, I’m done complaining about something that’s actually pretty cool.  I get back on Friday night, but leave for a wedding most of the weekend.  Then it’s Atlanta next week and a trip with the HS homies in two weeks.  Maintainin’.

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