Saturday, July 25, 2020

Some Haiku Friday




You can check out more at HaikuFriday.com. Or you you can check out more overall Spokanarama shenanigans at Spokanarama.com

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Making a face mask comfortable and more usable...

Before I retired from the fire department, I came up with a hack which I think made wearing a face mask a little bit less of a hassle.

Most face masks have ear loops. I wearing hearing aids. Whenever I had to switch from a surgical mask to a respirator because of patient contact, the procedure would pop my hearing aids out. And these suckers had cost me some serious Costco cash. The N95 respirator had the more traditional elastic straps in the back. They never interfered with my hearing aids, so I transformed my surgical mask into the same setup. I used some office supplies at the station. Namely, a paperclip and two rubber bands. Now that I am retired, I don't have access to paperclips. Well, I do, but I didn't want to walk all the way downstairs to get one. So, here is my hack using a safety pin instead of a paperclip. 

The finished product:

 How you get there:

How it looks:


I don't believe there is much more explaining to do. But, here is the cool thing about having a mask transformed. When you go to the park, or are otherwise outside, you can quickly just pull the mask up from around your neck and up over your nose and mouth when you encounter others. It is also more comfortable and it won't pop out your hearing aids.


I have to admit that most of the time, instead of a mask, I use a buff, or a buff knockoff. You can wear it fashionably around your neck and when you need a mask, just pull it over your nose and mouth, like so:


You can find the knockoffs really cheap here. I really like the face masks that friends have made for me. They look very cool. But I do like the buffs better. I wonder how hard they would be to sew. They are basically a tube made from stretchy material. Hmmmmmmmmmm.......

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Hey, she was right. This idea is a bit of a letdown...


Some years ago, I had an idea, which had lied dormant until recently sparking another idea in my mouldering brain wires.

Those Little Free Libraries were popping up in the neighborhood back then. There was something so moving about them and novel.  I had never seen such a beautiful public invitation: “ Please open this door and enjoy something to hold in your hands, something which may change your perspective on life, or, at the very least, entertain you. FOR FREE!”

Whether anyone ever really took them up on the offer didn’t matter to me. What did matter was that someone had built this little library, stocked it with books and waited to see what would happen. That they looked like little shrines didn’t hurt either. 

Right after these Little Free Libraries popped up, I had an idea to do something similar. What I wanted to do was to build an information board, one with a little roof like you see at state parks. On it would be works of art or poetry or whatever that people wanted to create and share with others. I would take a picture of everything that went up, catalog it and put it on the blog. Not long after, I started my weekly broadcasts of Haiku Friday. So, this idea was mothballed. 

OK here is my mundane proposal…

What if I put together a zine that came out once a month? It would feature all that month’s poems that were submitted to me for Haiku Friday. Also people could send in their artwork, musings, whatever and I would print those in this zine. I would put copies by our block wall. Maybe I could have a dropbox for those who wanted to leave their creations right there too. I could share the zine in a digital form on the blog. The physical dispenser of the zine may be a Little Free Zine single-wide? 

I wouldn’t  want it to make any money. None of my ideas do. The zine would be free. Maybe if people wanted a hard copy mailed to them they could pay for postage. So many pedestrians pass by our house, I think they would get distributed quickly. 

When I started this blog so long ago, my main focus was on visiting people in Spokane who I liked, and have them tell their stories either via audio, video or written copy. I got lazy and dropped the ball. Shifting the focus to creative works and giving neighbors a way to have something tangible to show them the wonderful spirits who live around them would be a worthwhile thing to do. 

I will probably be retiring sometime this year, or early next year. I would have the time to do this right. 

This book is what made me think about doing this:




Would this be a worthwhile thing? Are zines dead? Should I censor language or anything else that may be too PG-13? Let me know what you think, please! 

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

A proposal postponed...





So, it’s been really long time. Is anyone still reading this? Is anyone still reading blogs?

Life has gotten kind of weird for me. I am home from work. I am not sure for how long.

What have I been up to? You might be (but probably aren’t) asking yourself this question. 

I’ve been whipping out about a painting a month. I have a shared photo album here if you are interested in seeing any of them. I still do Haiku Friday every Friday (well almost every Friday) live on Facebook. The videos wind up on my YouTube channel. 

I have such a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I really don’t feel like I have much to say that adds to the conversation, anymore. I alternate between being angry at what is going on in our country, proud of what is going on in our state and sad to see many of my old friends succumb to a worldview so different than the one we once shared. I would ditch Facebook in a minute if it wasn’t for my needing it to do Haiku Friday live. HF has been a discipline of sorts and an actual lifeline for me. Through hard times at work and at home, a transition which was scary, sad and happy, and through sickness, I have plugged away at Haiku Friday. At first, I did it on Twitter with a live video function. When I started broadcasting it on Facebook, I saved the videos to YouTube and then put them up on my HaikuFriday site.

Like a lot of you these days, my day subsists of doing some art, going on long walks to nowhere, working in the garden, reading, playing some games, Zoom visiting with family and friends, installing bidets, weighing in on social media (sigh), watching TV, listening to podcasts, eating and drinking. Lately, we’ve been playing the game Morels and actually growing shiitakes and blue oyster mushrooms.





We’ve been watching What we do in the Shadows and Killing Eve. We’ve eaten takeout pizza from Benniditos and burgers with a cocktail kit from Nyne. I have to say, if anyone was cut out for quarantine, it’s me. I might come off as an extrovert, but that was something I learned how to do as a bullied kid. My natural inclination is toward solitary pursuits. 

I made this shirt. I have only wore it once in public and the results were satisfactory, in that people avoided me:




OK.

I really think the only way left to save our world is through art. When I say “art,” I mean music, storytelling, painting, singing, poetry, dancing, theater, cooking, baking, photography, humor, etc. Art is anything that we do as a gift for others (and ourselves) to bolster our humanity and the overall cause of not-feeling-dead-inside. We have seen where, on social media, arguing, presenting facts, pointing out hypocrisy, sounding the alarm bell at  for our friends’ sinking ship of credibility has resulted in nothing but hurt feelings. Throwing fact-rocks at someone who pictures himself as “one man against a world of socialism,” and rallying against those who fantasize about being armed combatants at war with the conspiracy of The Invisible Illuminati does nothing to change the way they see the world.

Would art?

I know I have been transformed by beautiful words on paper, actors on the stage who risk all to give all and with paint smeared in the most correct way. The right song at the right time can pull my heart into my stomach. A warm piece of crusty sourdough might reverse the process. Pondering the stars, a sunset, my first cup of coffee in the morning, my grandkids, my kids can make me, well, swoon. 

I fully realize, that in order to fully experience life, love and the beauty of all these things, I need to be open too. I need to realize that maybe I am wrong in the way I see the world. However, I am pretty sure that experiencing the intentional gift of someone else’s creativity will probably not push me into violence, into fascism, into totalitarianism, into xenophobia, suspicion or hatred. In fact, I would think that  encounters with art will push me further into the opposite direction -  but I am open to being wrong on this. 



I  was writing all of this in order to propose something to you, something rather mundane. I wanted to hear your opinion on my proposal, but I think I will let it sit for a while longer. Because, well, I need to shut up  now. Thanks for reading this….