NOP KING

When I was a wee lad my family lived out in the sticks.  To be specific, it was around here.  My folks bought a chunk of land, built a house, decided it was too big and sold it, only to build another one.  That first house, well there lived our next door neighbors.  And they were pretty much the only people we lived near. For a couple years we went to the (very very rural) public school down the road.  My older brother was a butthead and didn’t do his work, so by fourth grade he was two grade levels behind in reading.  By first grade I was reading well above my grade level.  My parents tried talking to the teachers to see if they could get my older brother some help, some guidance, SOMETHING, and maybe find some opportunities for me as well.  When they were met with an apathetic response, my dad started referring to the school as “Moron-Stagnate Elementary,” which cleverly sounds like the real name of the school.  And then they took action. By the time I was ready for second grade my folks had enrolled us all in a private Lutheran school in town.  It was a bit of a change, but really for the better.  The academics were at the very least more strict, and my brother got back on track.  But my mom had to pick up a job (she became a lunch lady! NOT COOL) to help pay tuition, and the commute was longer. On our way into school every morning we passed this old car repair shop.  I don’t remember...

Epitaph

As moving boxes fill with all my nothing I look at my string of half empty glasses turned half full by forced perspective and I can’t help but wonder about water The water that stings my face as I ride the mud in my fingers as the potting wheel spins and the blood in my veins as I run forward into the smiling face of all this waiting The patience of a lake would serve me well resting cradled in the arms of the land but not really resting at all and no longer just water I finished this thing that became something it wasn’t and now after all my patience and peace and resting in arms that never really held me I’m drifting downriver beyond the horizon The journey is more important than the destination or so I’ve heard said looking back on the wandering path I miss the many shores I’ve...

The Ocean is Big. Duh.

Yesterday I was out riding my motorcycle to do some errands.  I went to the pottery studio and threw a couple pieces, went to the post office, practiced, hit the grocery… It was nice to be able to catch up on things that have been backing up. But standing on the corner near the post office was a homeless man with a cardboard sign.  I hit the light red and was right next to him.  I try to respect everyone for who they are, look them in the eye and all that, but I was kind of shocked by his sign, so I stared and read the whole thing.  First, it was written very neatly and entirely too small for anyone to read who isn’t sitting still through a red light.  And second, the sign said he was an out of work archeologist and professor and he would work for food or anything else he could do for money. I’ve had some conversations with other people who finished their doctoral degrees this year, and I’ve recommended a book to them titled, “So What Are You Going to Do With That?”  It’s about finding work after the terminal degree, and not limiting yourself to what you know. For me, working in another field is about work, not about another field.  The things I do at school are things that are valuable to almost any company: communicate, plan, organize, read, write.  Those are the things that good professors and researchers do.  Those are the things good students do.  Those are the things good workers in almost any profession do.  So the...

Back to the Future. Ish.

With school behind me* I’ve been able to enjoy my free time, but it’s taken some adjustment.  For one, I’m not used to having free time.  I’m used to having on and off.  And for second, I had stopped doing so many things that I really liked to do, and now I get to do them again. I got my motorcycle up and running again last Thursday with the help of my friend Mark.  It rained the next day of course.  In fact, it has rained everyday since then.  Oh, and my roommate’s dog ate my motorcycle riding boots on Friday.  But I looked for dry spells on the weather radar and wore my hiking boots because I just HAD to ride. I went back into the pottery studio last Friday as well, and got my paperwork taken care of.  I went in on Monday afternoon after a gig and threw two mugs.  To be honest, that was one of the weirdest experiences I’ve had in a long time.  I went in, set up my stuff, and started going.  I realized at one point that I had no idea what I was doing.  If I had to tell someone ahead of time what I was going to do I wouldn’t have been able to do it.  But my hands seemed to know exactly what to do, and I made 2 really nice looking mugs.  My brain just sort of sat back and watched in amazement as my hands went. That was a trip. Finally, I brewed beer last night.  I picked up ingredients on my way home from my...

Training Day II

The day after I graduated with my doctorate I reverted to my childhood.  I have to thank my parents for facilitating the event, and I have to give a nod to fate or luck or whatever, because it was better than we could have planned. The day after I graduated, I got to ride a train. We went to the NC Transportation Museum, and man was it cool.  For those of you who read my blog and live somewhere near the central Piedmont, go to the museum.  It’s free, and is staggering in its size.  And the stuff they have is amazing; snapshots of history the size of buildings, glimpses of lives we would never know about or think about. Most exciting to me, there was a whole roundhouse full of historic and interesting diesel and steam train engines, cars, cabooses, and stories. Yeah, there was other stuff there too, like classic cars, but that’s not what kept me interested.  I’m a train nerd.  But even for those who don’t care about trains, the displays were compelling, and told interesting stories. And here is where luck kicks in; there was a classic motorcycle show going on that day.  So my dad and I wandered around looking at bikes and pointing out interesting things.  He mentioned the motorcycle he used to drive (My dad drove a motorcycle?) and we talked about the woes I’m having with my bike.  My mom decided to ride the train again while we gawked at bikes and we call got a good bit of sun. It was a contrast to my mindset of the previous...