4.18.2017

Morning Meditationals


I've been regularly and diligently meditating every morning for about 15 minutes. I rarely skip it, although I missed a few during the intensive rock-n-roll road trip to SXSW with Sunspot in mid-March.

I find meditation to be remarkably beneficial and a great way to start the day. It's kind of a zen disciplinary exercise that simultaneously achieves a small daily goal and readies my mind for the day. I think it helps me handle stress better too.

When I first started daily meditation, I used to find guided meditation soundtracks on Youtube to listen to while I did it. Now I just select music from my archival CD collection, which accomplishes two things. It improves my focus, because I tune in on the music rather than extraneous thoughts, and I revisit music from my collection that I have not listened to for a while.

This morning, I withdrew a quasi-bootlegged Grateful Dead CD, "Dick's Picks Volume 9," from my CD rack. Some guy named Dick used to go to pantloads of Grateful Dead shows and record them, then make CDs and sell them. I am not sure if these can be called true bootlegs, because the Grateful Dead fully endorsed people like Dick taping shows and sharing them around. Conversely, I think the intent was that such recordings should be shared for free amongst fans of the band and I am pretty sure the many volumes of Dick's Picks that were made were sold for profit. Nonetheless, I believe Dick had special permission from the band to do what he did, so I still don't think his "picks" were bootlegs in the truest sense, but it seems like a good topic for me to look into and write about for a subsequent post.*


In any case, I did a full 30 minutes of meditation this morning because these jams that the Grateful Dead perform live tend to go on for quite some time and I might only hear about a song and a half if I limited my meditation to 15 minutes. The GD are an OK band, even if their songs tend to be a bit languid. They weren't too obsessive about tuning all their instruments perfectly or singing on key, but the song structures and chord progressions are pretty interesting. I'd like to have a band that covers Dead songs with a bit more energy and edge, maybe in a grunge or punk rock style.

*Quick and Dirty Note: Dick was an audio archivist for the band and worked with the band's studio recording engineer to master the live recordings for commercial publication. When Dick died, a dude named Dave took over the role (Dave's Picks).

4.17.2017

We Tied the Knot

Deborah and I got married on Saturday. It was a small and awesome "courthouse" affair, but since the courthouse was closed on Saturday, the judge (aka, justice of the peace), one Paul Higginbotham, came to us instead. We sealed the deal a little after 3 PM at Deborah's parents' house on Lake Mendota. We wanted to do it outside on the deck or in the backyard, but it was too windy and everyone's hair and dresses would have blown all over the place. The living room worked just fine for the short and sweet proceedings. We didn't want a big, expensive, conventional wedding and so we didn't have one, something that many people couldn't seem to get their heads around at first, although all eventually did. We didn't want a lot of gifts or glam. Definitely no churchy stuff, both of us being dirty atheists. We kept it very modest and it was perfect in every way, exactly what we were hoping for. We didn't send out any invitations and told our immediate family that in-person attendance was totally optional, so with the exception of my parents, who flew out from Ohio, attendees were mainly all family that lived nearby in Madison WI. I ran video of the parsimonious ceremony using my smart phone so Deborah's and my siblings, living in Florida and Colorado, respectively, and Deborah's parents, on an Asian cruise, could watch it if they wanted to at their convenience. The wonders of modern technology...

After the paperwork was signed, the eight people in attendance (me, Deborah, Devon, Gretchen, Julie, Josh, and my mom and pops) all went out for a fantastic dinner at a fancy Italian restaurant called Naples 15, downtown. I highly recommend this place. Great food, fun staff. The chef had called Deborah ahead of time to arrange a special five course meal for our group, not even aware that it was a wedding party. There was a pantload of food, all of it amazing. We couldn't eat it all, and we gave the leftovers to the kids, Josh, Devon, and Gretchen, so that Deborah and I would not be tempted by it on Sunday (Side Note: I gained six pounds between the Saturday night feast and Sunday morning, most of it just actual food weight that should dissipate soon.).

Deborah and I have been living together as domestic partners for over a year now, so the wedding was, for us, frosting on the cake, figuratively speaking (there was no actual wedding cake, though the dinner at Naples 15 included a dessert of angel food cake, with pear sauce, not frosting...).

On Sunday, Deborah and I were pretty wiped out, notwithstanding the relatively low stress wedding on Saturday. We lazed about for most of the morning and in the early afternoon, we took my parents out to lunch at Ha Long Bay, a fabulous Thai resturant on the east side of Madison. Then we went over to the Memorial Union Terrace on the campus of the University of Wisconsin - Madison and chillaxed overlooking the lake. My mom and pops got a couple cones of the infamous Babcock ice cream, made from milk from cows at the UW's Research Dairy Barn.*

Right now, I'm free writing at the Mezz, a little common area with a bar on the second floor of the Festival Foods grocery store downtown. This morning, I had breakfast with my parents at their hotel before taking them to the airport. After they left, I drove over to the airport cell phone lot and turned on the Uber and Lyft driver apps. In short order, I got pinged for a ride from an arriving air passenger. He was a university professor from Austin TX, in Madison for the day to attend a meeting. After I dropped him off at his destination, the Fluno Center on campus, I decided to head over to the Mezz to do a few hours of writing. I left the Uber and Lyft apps on as I drove in that direction. I got pinged again for a ride on my way there and, fortuitously, this passenger was going to Festival Foods also. It could not have worked out more perfectly. I dropped her off, parked, and came up here to the Mezz with my writing utensils (Android tablet, bluetooth keyboard, notebook, pens, and my phone to use as a wireless hotspot for wifi so I don't have to trust the Mezz's public free wifi).

This concludes today's free write. Time to go write something useful. Bye now. 

*Note: I can't back this up.








4.14.2017

Zombie Worship

Sunday is Easter, but I don't worship zombies. So it will mostly just be a regular Sunday for me of enjoying life to the fullest possible extent. The weather is supposed to be nice, so I am wishfully thinking I'd like to get out for a bike ride on what will be my first official full day of wedded bliss to my soulmate Deborah. This may be overly optimistic though. My folks will be in town this weekend (for Deborah's and my small and intimate Saturday wedding) and I want to maximize my time with them during their short stay. They leave Monday. There may be a parsimonious way to make the bike riding correspond to the maximum socialization quotient, but I doubt it. So I will probably just sneak away to the gym for a short workout when it is most convenient for everyone else, and then we'll probably just spend most of the rest of the time enjoying the good weather from sedentary positions on the back porch of our house.