Thursday Thoughts: Internet Gratification

[Beep. Hiss. Bleep. Shhht. Bloing]

Remember that?

No? Well, you are lucky because that meant you had to wait. For everything. For information, pictures, email, and videos (Hamster Dance took forever). Maybe not forever, but you had time to go make a sandwich.

We take not waiting for granted. Entertainment is on-demand, we can get in touch with each other whenever we want, and find out who that girl was who acted in that show. No matter where you are, there is a pretty good chance that you have access to all this.

When things take too long, it’s easy to get frustrated. But wait. Yes, wait. Relax there, buckaroo. Sip that coffee. Sit back. Make a sandwich.

I’m currently experiencing slow connection. Not 5G, or 4G. More like…it’s… kinda nice. It’s quiet out there, there are no neighbours for miles, the sun is rising over the lake, and I have nowhere to go.

Another coffee? Don’t mind if I do.

-Leon

Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.
www.linesbyleon.com

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Thursday Thoughts: These Dreams.

I haven’t had a flying dream for quite a while.

I remember the first one (that I remember). I was walking along the gravel driveway of our house. I felt my feet leave the ground and I flew/floated over the tree-lined drive.

I had more, but I can mostly remember the feeling, not the setting or the circumstance. The sensation of floating and thinking “I’m not supposed to be able to do this” and being on the verge of falling, yet still having some control was…exhilarating? nerve-wracking?

Maybe I have been flying but just don’t recall.

I went through a phase of writing down my dreams as soon as I awoke. I don’t anymore, and I don’t know why. Sometimes, a dream will come back to me in a flash and I’ll remember the whole segment, other times, just one snippet.

I don’t read into the meaning of dreams as some do, but sometimes they are fun to remember. Some leave you with a good feeling, some are heart-pounding adventures, some are just bizarre, and a few are just scary*.

Hey. Kind of like life, don’t ya think?

-Leon

*Ever watch your pet dream? It’s pretty funny went their legs twitch and they make little noises. You know they’re chasing something.

Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.
www.linesbyleon.com

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Thursday Thoughts: Animal Thoughts

Ever wonder what animals are thinking?

Reasoning?

  • Some animals can figure out puzzles or get themselves out of a jam.

Cause and effect?

  • Most animal learn to recognize words or signals and the actions or results of those. They know went they have to go to the bathroom or when they are hungry.

What about the passage of time? If you leave pet, do they know if you have been gone for a short or long time?

  • I know that most cats don’t care regardless, but dogs are pretty happy when you return and there is not much difference in excitement level between five minutes and five hours.

What causes a pet to get up and play with one of its toys?

  • I’ve seen a dog root through a pile of toys, obviously searching for a specific one.

No answers here. Just more questions.

-Leon

Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.
www.linesbyleon.com

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Thursday Thoughts: Drawing a Blank

If you are a witer (of anything) do you ever just have a complete loss for words or ideas? Ever sit with pen in hand stating at that blank piece of paper (Pen? Paper? What are these items you speak of?) wondering what to write about?

I’m doing it right now…well, I was. Now I’m writing about not writing.

I try to write things down when ideas come to me. Usually it’s a line that eventually becomes a poem. Sometimes I forget and that greatly clever poem/story is denied the gift of creation. I’m sure I have been on the cusp of a best seller.

I was walking in the rain one time and the water on my glasses prompted me to write this poem:

Freeze Frame

I snapped my fingers
And stopped the rain in mid-plummet
A million tiny lenses
Magnified the world
I saw
Suffering, perseverance
Kindness, sorrow
Misery, compassion
Tolerance, agony
Pain, sympathy
Unity, divisions
Grief, generosity
Peace, war
Purpose, despair
I blinked, and the rain continued to fall
I continued to walk
And let the world cry
And cry it did

I have to make an effort to remember to remember to write things down because sometimes the best ideas are fleeting and if we don’t grab hold of then right away we risk losing something of worth.

—Leon

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post: A Conversation With Author/Poet Nicole Pierman. And for all you non-poetry/non-sci-fi readers, I break out of my comfort zone to showcase a fiction author.

Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.
www.linesbyleon.com

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Thursday Thoughts: Here we go again!

File:Paralympic Agitos Flag (7844521694).jpg - Wikimedia Commons

On Tuesday, the opening ceremonies for the Paralympics took place. Like the other ceremonies, I flicked back and forth until eventually I saw my countries athletes enter. One of the highlights of the Olympic games for me was always how the torch was going to be lit. The most memorable ones were, Mohamed Ali in Atlanta, the ski jumper (Lillehammer?), and there was an archer who shot a flaming arrow (don’t remember where that was). I don’t tend to watch the ceremonies in their entirety.

There is not much live coverage of the Paralympics. With the Olympics, there was at least 5-7 stations covering events, so you could always find a sport you were interested in. Now, there are just a few hours of highlights with the occasional live event.

Broadcasting sports is all about money. There is a reason that the ACL, The American Cornhole League (I’m not joking, it’s a “sport”), is on ESPN 8—not ESPN 2, or 3, or 4…

There is big money in the Olympics. Not as much for the Paralympics. Why? Because less people watch it. Which is too bad because athletes are athletes no matter what the sport (except maybe Cornhole) and no matter what the ability.

I admit, I’m guilty of watching the Paralympics less that the Olympics—if the coverage was better, I’d watch more—but for the most part it is because there are less sports I am interested in. I do enjoy the track and field events, although more track than field. Triathelon is always fun to watch along with swimming and rowing.

It is always interesting to see how athletes adapt to their abilities and how the sports—and equipment—are modified to allow for the greatest inclusion and participation.  Some of the sports, in my opinion, are harder than some of the Olympic ones. The seated volleyball comes to mind.

Each year, the Paralympics gets a little bigger and receives more exposure. Hear that corporate sponsors?

—Leon

Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.
www.linesbyleon.com

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Thursday Thoughts: Food for Thought

People have asked me, “Leon, where do you get your ideas for Thursday Thoughts?” Not really. That’s a lie. The most common question I get is “Leon, what do you like to eat for a snack?” Seriously, really. No that’s a lie too.

But now you are wondering, “Leon, what do you like to eat for a snack?”

I have a weakness for chips (crisps for the Brits). My favorite flavour (flavor for the Americans) is ripple. Now, before you start jumping up, waving your arms, and screaming, “Ripple is not a flavor! Ripple is not a flavor!” hold your horses. I know it isn’t, but it’s funny to say*, and I know that next time you are with a bunch of friends (freinds for the people who can never figure out the “i” before “e” rule), you are going to take the opportunity to say, “Pass the ripple flavor, please.” and get that round of laughter we all want from time to time.

My second favorite is Sour Cream and Onion. All the salty flavor and none of the dipping hassle (I do like chips and dip though). But, more often than not, I’ll go for a bowl of cereal.

Cereal?” you ask.

“Yes. Cereal,” he answers aloofly.

Aloofly?” you ask in a puzzled fashion.

“Well, maybe not aloofly, but I don’t think that I have used that word in any of my writings, so I seized the opportunity,” he replies smugly.

“Smu—” No. we are not going to do this anymore. Moving on.

Favorite cereal? Let’s digress, shall we? Remember those 4-packs of little cereal boxes that mom used to buy on special occasions? I’m pretty sure you can still get them because I’ve seen the little boxes at hotel breakfast buffets when the hotel hasn’t sprung for the convenience of the large silo dispensers. You’ve seen them. They are strategically placed above the cereal crumbs and bits on the floor.

What do we remember about that 4-pack? Anyone? Anyone?**

That’s right. It comes with three delicious sugar coated varieties and the one that kids won’t touch until they are older. Much older. I know that “All Bran” was one, and they would also include “Corn Flakes” which kinda look like “Frosted Flakes”*** and with enough sugar will suffice if that is all that remains. No amount of sugar will magically transform “All Bran” to “Frosted All Bran”. (Note: I like “All Bran” now. Not all the time, but it’s a keeper)

So, when I am grocery shopping, I’ll always pick up a box if the price isn’t stupid (have you noticed that cereal prices have got up a lot?) or a few boxes (sometimes four) if they are on sale. I’m not that picky if the price is right. I do tend to avoid the overly sweet varieties, though. I’m happy with good ol’ Cheerios or Corn Flakes.

I did, on a whim, buy a box of Captain Crunch recently. I thought that by this time he should be an admiral, but there he was, still a captain. After solving the maze (and the word jumble) on the back of the box—in record time I might add—I proceeded to have myself a bowl.

Did they change the recipe? Oh, it was still sweet, but the famous “crunch” that used to last through the thorough soaking of milk seemed…well, less brutal-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth than I remembered. I’m not complaining. It was delightfully crunchy, just different. The leftover milk tasted the same, though.

Cereal is often my desert when I need that little extra filler.

Do you have any cereal stories?

-Leon

*Just like calling sandwiches “sammiches”. We all know someone who does.

**Name that movie reference..

*** If I am using quotes improperly to denote name brands, let me know.

Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.
www.linesbyleon.com

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Thursday Thoughts: Fires, Floods, and Droughts. Oh My.

The International Climate Committee (or whatever they are called) came out with a dire report that said climate change is definitely caused by human activity. Really…

The industrial revolution started this situation, fueled by coal, oil, greed, and consumerism, blackening the skies and blocking out sunlight for days at a time. Didn’t anyone look up and say, “Umm, I don’t think that’s right…”

There have been climate accords over the last 30 years trying to address this issue. Some countries set lofty goals, others try to ratify, some even drop out. So, “we” are trying, right?

The fires, floods, droughts, and above-average tropical storms all point to the lack of progress in trying to reverse what “we” started. Where do we go from here?

Government, unfortunately, does have to have a significant role in mandating change. Big industry needs to change how they produce products. The average citizen has to limit the impact they have on the environment. Grassroots movements are great for awareness, but it is a steep hill to climb to affect chance.

Car companies are slowly moving to more fuel-efficient electric vehicles, which is the right direction, seeing the number of vehicles on the road. Battery technology does have to improve in power and capacity before more drivers will make that change. Solar and wind is part of the solution as well.

The younger generation has inherited a nasty situation. Greta Thunberg took the world by storm by raising awareness of the impact that climate change will have on her generation’s lives before being derailed by the pandemic.

There is no one simple solution, but abandoning the “It’s not my problem” attitude has to be a start, doesn’t it?

-Leon


Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.
www.linesbyleon.com

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Thursday Thoughts: The Return – A Poem (and The Olympics – Part 10)

Last night, I was inspired to write a poem which I scrawled in the margins of the crossword puzzle I was doing.

The Return

I thought I caught a glimpse
Of you from afar
I don’t know how long it’s been
Since you graced my presence

Hoping for a visit
But hopes dashed
In a flash

I almost forgot your smell
And the sound of your voice
It may sound strange
But I miss how your coldness
Caresses my face

Did you remember?
Do you have a better place to be? 

I heard you outside
Your voice echoing off the trees
I would have come out to meet you 
I had just gone to bed
So instead

I stood on the balcony
Watching your tears paint the ground
The thirsty earth taking your essence away
As fast as you give
It’s not enough
I’ve missed you

Rain

Can’t forget the Olympics…

In the “That’s just mean” category, I was watching some of the 4X400m relay heats, and I noticed that once the front runners hand of the baton, some just stand on the track, forcing the slower runners to weave around them. C’mon people, really? Get out of the way. (I could have said that with profanity…)

-Leon


Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.
www.linesbyleon.com

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Thursday Thoughts: The Olympics – Part 4: Tired of them yet?

If you are not a sports fan, then the answer is yes. For these people, their favorite shows have been preempted, and every channel seems to have somebody racing or competing. If you are a casual sports fan, then you are probably getting a chance to watch some interesting sports.

In an earlier post, I mentioned that there are some sports that I enjoy watching during the Olympics that I don’t get to see any other time.

  • Weightlifting – The strength it these athletes is just incredible.
  • Men’s Gymnastics – I don’t go out of my way to watch, but if I happen to catch the rings, I’ll finish watching. Again, the strength is what is amazing.
  • Mountain Biking – Yeah. You kinda watch for the crashes.
  • Triathalon

There are always demonstration sports each year, some that make it, others that don’t. These are included to reach new audiences, usually younger, many crossing over from the X-Games. Some people may not think of them as sports (Ballroom dancing), but each discipline requires skill and strength in some form or another.

  • Surfing – I watched a surfer waiting for the right wave that didn’t come. They lost.
  • Skateboarding – Didn’t I just see these kids in the parking lot? No different from when snowboarding was introduced, and it’s still around.
  • Rockclimbing – This is a challenging sport, I admit. When do they free climb?
  • Ballroom Dancing – I think they tried this in the 90s. It’s Ice Dancing without the ice (and skates).

In the future, we may see gold medal winners in the sports Ninja Warrior and Wipeout.

Maybe not.

-Leon


Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.
www.linesbyleon.com

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Thursday Thoughts: Recipes – Just a serving suggestion?

I like to cook and bake. I try to make bread once a week, usually a baguette of a french loaf, but I got some rye flour, so I’m into rye bread for a while.

My grandmother would make rye bread in her own way. My sister and I asked her for that recipe once, and she pointed to her head and said “watch”. So, she poured and dashed the ingredient into the bowl—no measuring implements required unless you consider a handful as a measurement—as we looked on and guesstimated the amounts. Even with her arthritic hands, she could kneed better than anyone.

The result? Same as always – Best rye bread ever.

My mom has the “recipe”, and it’s good, but it’s not the same. My sister makes it, and it’s good, but it’s not the same. I make it, and it’s good, but—well you get the idea.

I usually follow a recipe once, then make my own variation. My entrees never taste exactly the same, because I often add different ingredients based on what I have in my fridge. Baking is somewhat unforgiving to artistic license I have learned, so I have experience some failures. Oh, I eat them…usually.

I’ve been chastised when asked to prepare on of those meal prep boxes*, where everything is all ready to go, and includes a step-by-step picture map with the first instruction being: “Read the entire recipe card before starting.” Yeah, whatever…

-Leon

*In one of the commercials, they say these meals are great for preparing dinners “on a budget.” Really? Maybe if you include the 4 or 5 free meals they send, but after that— I could eat for a week on the price of one box.


Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.
www.linesbyleon.com

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