"Yeah, well, you know, that's just like, uh, your opinion, man."

Time to Make Some Changes

10:47 Saturday, 31 December 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 70.72°F Pressure: 1015hPa Humidity: 88% Wind: 11.5mph

Over at the Command Cave, I shared something that has crossed my mind from time to time. Today I'm going to offer something of the converse.

Heraclitus spoke of "the harmony of binding opposites," the tension that exists between faith and fear. This is the space we inhabit, if not always harmoniously, with ourselves and with others.

While the darkness sometimes intrudes, it also offers a new perspective on the light. I experience a genuine feeling of gratitude for ordinary things we take for granted. Each time I take a glass of safe, clean water from the refrigerator, I know that it wasn't always like this and for many people in the world, it's still not. And I'm grateful for it, and humbled by the inexplicable good fortune afforded to me to have it. None of us chose our parents.

Clean water, abundant, convenient and safe food. Electricity, a sturdy house, a warm bed. We are rich beyond measure in many ways we seldom appreciate. My appreciation has grown, and I think that's a good thing. Maybe even "woke."

But it reminds me that it's important to pay attention to what you're paying attention to, and for too long I've been paying attention to things that perhaps I shouldn't be.

I think we live in a responsive universe. I don't know what that means, but I know that we are a part of the universe, not something separate from it. And my experience suggests that it offers clues to getting along in it more harmoniously in the tension of binding opposites.

When we watched Hallelujah earlier this month, the closing clip of Leonard Cohen speaking to the camera resonated in me in a way that I've learned to pay attention to. I watched to learn more about Leonard Cohen and the history of that song, not take away some life lesson. But I know it when I hear it.

"You look around and you see a world that is impenetrable, that, uh, cannot be made sense of. You either raise your fist, or you say 'Hallelujah.' I try to do both."

My interior experience of late, the past several years, has been mostly one of raising my fist. I haven't been hearing the "secret chord," that from my lips might draw the hallelujah!, if I may be forgiven.

I have given my attention too much to Twitter. Although I follow many fine people there, and have made many online friends, I think we share a few too many things in common. Most of the time it's a steady stream of injustice and outrage. An ongoing chronicle of bad faith, incompetence, petty selfishness and blind ambition. All worthy of raising one's fist to.

But it's exhausting. It distorts our perspective. "That which you feed, grows." I'm not sure I'm helping anyone by being there, and I'm pretty sure it's not helping me.

So it's time to stop giving my attention to Twitter. I'm not deleting my account, I'm just not giving "the timeline" my attention. Things I post here or from the underground will make their way to my micro.blog, which will automatically post links to these words on Twitter and Mastodon.

I subscribe to an RSS feed of replies to my tweets, so if someone cares to comment on Twitter, I'm pretty sure I'll see them unless or until Elon disables that feature. And I receive DMs by email, so I can still be reached via Twitter if someone wishes.

The marmot isn't a frictionless environment. It demands a more deliberate approach, which hopefully means a more thoughtful, more mindful approach; and I think I'll welcome more of that in my interior experience.

A greater opportunity to inhabit a wider space between stimulus and response. Something I once worked hard to achieve. We all get a little lost along the way. The trick is finding our way back.

To that end, with all the resolve this rather arbitrary cultural tradition can imbue, I will strive to do more of something a wise woman once taught me, "David, just be still."

I shall be still, at least some part of every day.

I'll listen carefully for a secret chord, and be grateful when I get the chance to utter hallelujah.

Merry Christmas

07:52 Sunday, 25 December 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 26.55°F Pressure: 1026hPa Humidity: 62% Wind: 8.05mph

Yours truly as an 18-month-old, sitting on a spring mounted rocking horse in front of a Christmast tree in 1959

Wishing you and yours a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Holidays

08:09 Friday, 23 December 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 60.39°F Pressure: 1008hPa Humidity: 86% Wind: 12.66mph

We have a houseful here at Saul Hall. Mitzi's daughter, son-in-law, 6-month-old son and their dog are staying with us. Because her ex lives in Tampa, and it's tough to pack up everything for a several hour drive to the other coast of Florida, Mitzi's ex, his wife and their dog are coming here to visit his daughter. They're staying at a hotel, naturally. But visiting here tonight.

Consequently, I'm not getting as much done here as I might have hoped. Things should quiet down after Christmas.

It's unfortunate that the weather has been so unfavorable.

I am having a nice time though.

Test Sat

09:30 Tuesday, 20 December 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 61.3°F Pressure: 1019hPa Humidity: 93% Wind: 6.91mph

It worked.

So what's shaping up right now is that I can use micro.blog as a service to cross post to Mastodon and Twitter.

(Why Twitter if I'm leaving? Because it is a source for discoverability, and some of the people I follow/who follow me aren't leaving Twitter. On the off chance there's a reply, I can see that in NetNewsWire from the notifications RSS feed.)

Micro.blog also has a social media dimension, so there's the possibility of some interaction there as well. How that evolves, time will tell.

Template Test

09:16 Tuesday, 20 December 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 60.85°F Pressure: 1019hPa Humidity: 93% Wind: 6.91mph

Trying a new template for the RSS feed. If this works, there will be a link to the original post in the body, which should make it into the micro.blog post.

BlogNote Dec 19, 2022 at 06:46

06:47 Monday, 19 December 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 41.7°F Pressure: 1025hPa Humidity: 70% Wind: 8.05mph

BlogNote Dec 19, 2022 at 06:46

🌎 The Good of the World Depends On Unhistoric Acts.

Author: John P. Weiss

Date Retrieved: 12/19/22, 06:46

Excerpt: Fame is less important than the good we put out in the world.

Number of Words: 498

One of the delightful things about blogs is hearing the voices of others and finding their thoughts resonating with yours.

Yesterday, I linked to a post from John Weiss about habits to cultivate to "get what you want in life." They're all useful tips, albeit with a couple of tweaks that I mentioned.

Last night I read this post, the one I'm linking to today, the one that immediately followed the one I linked to yesterday.

Almost a week ago, I posted about the end of the year being a time of reflection. In that, I mentioned that I knew I wasn't here to be effective, I wasn't here to get things done. And today, I think I'll add that I don't think I'm here to get what I want.

I wrote, "I think I'm here to 'make meaning.'"

Which is what John's, The Good of the World Depends On Unhistoric Acts is about. Which is why it was such a delight to read. I learned long ago that if you pay attention, the universe gives you clues as to whether you're on the right path, doing the right things. Of course, there's the risk of self-delusion, selection bias, etc. But there is the "still, small voice," that kind of, for me at least, helps navigate those rocks and shoals.

Making meaning is a collaborative act, as meaning is a contingent thing. There may not be agreement on what the meaning is, because it doesn't exist apart from each of us and we're all different. But it can give us something to explore collaboratively. And those "unhistoric acts" may mean nothing to most people, even to the person who makes them, but may mean everything to the person receiving them, as the obituary John writes about makes clear.

I'll try something here, because I'm reminded of a Patty Griffin lyric, and this is what popped up near the top of the search (this may not work, as it's not showing up in the preview):

Most everything means nothing, except some things that mean everything. - Patty Griffin

Anyway, better than snark, no?

BlogNote Dec 18, 2022 at 07:33

07:34 Sunday, 18 December 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 47.1°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 61% Wind: 17.27mph

BlogNote Dec 18, 2022 at 07:33

🌎 5 Little Habits to Get What You Want in Life.

Author: John P. Weiss

Date Retrieved: 12/18/22, 07:33

Excerpt: People will spend your time for you if you let them by John P. Weiss

Number of Words: 1115

Agree with all of this except disparaging the use of the acceleration couch in habit 3. Point is well taken; but unless your goal is to become an ascetic, don't deprive yourself of modest luxuries.

In habit 1, I would also caution against rejecting something out of hand because it appears "too complicated."

It's perhaps the converse of pursuing ever newer technology to achieve some result that is forever lost in the effort of chasing new technology.

A new camera won't make you a better photographer. Mastering a new camera will help you achieve your photographic goals, and may help you expand them.

It's simple to go online in some venture capitalist's social media silo, where your attention is aggregated and sold to the highest bidder. It's a little bit complicated to learn how to register a domain name, rent some server space and create some static html.

But, overall, Mr. Weiss is spot-on.

(This blog post originally appeared at Nice Marmot.)

Network

06:50 Saturday, 17 December 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 45.1°F Pressure: 1018hPa Humidity: 79% Wind: 5.75mph

I've been exploring various alternatives and innovations in social media platforms, primarily Mastodon and micro.blog. What I've found so far is encouraging, but there are some caveats and pain points.

The marmot is kind of an old-school blog. There were debates in the early days about the requirement to offer comments. I had comments on an early version of Groundhog Day (the marmot's immediate predecessor, I've been doing this for a long time). The comment feature worked, it just required adding some javascript to the export template, and all the commenting took place at an external site embedded in my page. I think there were ads, I know I didn't pay for it.

But I didn't really enjoy it. Some people (one person in particular) took it as an invitation to debate (he would probably call it "discuss"). I eventually stopped offering comments.

What I did enjoy was seeing people comment about what I'd written in their blogs, even if they didn't agree with me.

If twitter is the "public square" (it's not), then your blog is kind of the cyberspace metaphorical equivalent of your house. It's not a public space, even though it's public-facing. I wouldn't invite someone into my home to argue with me. You may find my choice of decor awful, you might think I'm an untidy housekeeper (you wouldn't be wrong), but you probably wouldn't point those things out to me in my home. It's too immediate. It's my castle, it's my house, my rules.

You want to go to your house and spend time there complaining about my house, or criticizing me, that's fine. If people come to your house to read criticism of other people, then I guess you've got to please them. I don't have to read it, and even if I do, it's not in my house. I can just leave. Go bitch about you at my place.

I'd often criticize high attention-earners back in the day. Doc Searls, Dave Weinberger, Robert Scoble, the internet triumphalists always proclaiming "This changes everything!" That got old, even for me.

Anyway, I digress.

So I created a micro.blog, and I've been playing with it a bit. There are at least two very interesting features. The first is that it will post content from an RSS feed. In the setup they tell you this should be your content, but I don't see any way that they have validated that. I suspect that feature will evolve in some way, or be removed. It's kind of an honor system thing right now, and the internet isn't known for placing a high value on honor. (What they could do is what Mastodon does, and have you place a link to your micro.blog on the site offering the feed to prove that you control it. They should probably implement that fairly quickly.)

My micro blog will also, simultaneously, post links to that content on Twitter and Mastodon, so that's a useful automation feature. For the moment, unless or until Elon changes it, I can subscribe to an RSS feed of my mentions on Twitter, or at least the replies to my tweets. So if someone replies to a post on Twitter, I can see the reply in NetNewsWire without ever visiting Twitter.

This accomplishes a couple of things. First, at least for now, my micro blog doesn't feel like my house. The marmot is my house. This is where I "live" on the web. So whatever activity takes place there, again, for now, is at some remove from my personal feelings. So if I acquire some "followers" on micro blog and they comment on the post, I think I'll feel somewhat detached from those comments. I could be wrong about that, we'll see.

Second, it is a useful means of discovery. Now, I'll need to tweak the RSS feed template to include a link back to the original piece in the body of the text. As currently configured, the content just appears on the micro blog with no indication that it originated here, at the marmot. I don't know how important it is to me that readers at micro blog know about the marmot. I need to think about that.

But, for instance, this post will make little sense at my micro blog unless I include this link, back to nice-marmot.

One pain point seems to be that it picks up the RSS feed item exactly once. I'm a terrible proof-reader, so I'll post something, read it on the web or in NNW and notice a typo or some bad construction. I'll go back to Tinderbox, make the corrections and republish. Those changes, naturally, appear on the web site immediately, and it seems that NNW will pick up the changed feed as well. Micro.blog does not. Once it's posted, I have to edit it within micro.blog to make the changes. So do it twice, basically.

The other pain point is that it seems that you can't edit your replies in your timeline. It looks like about the best you can do is copy the text to the clipboard, delete the reply, start a new reply and paste the old content into the new one and edit it there.

If you look at Twitter as a model, where you can't edit your tweets, I suppose that's not a bug or a feature, it's just the way the model works. But it can be a pain point if you use replies a lot.

Anyway, I'm learning a lot. It's interesting. It's rewarding from a novel experience standpoint. It's a relatively low barrier to getting online and blogging, and I highly recommend it if you want to get started blogging, so kudos to Manton Reece and his team. I'll be subscribing for at least a year while I explore this further.

It won't replace my own hosted site, but it seems like a powerful lever.

Speaking of Cameras

04:56 Saturday, 17 December 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 46.15°F Pressure: 1017hPa Humidity: 79% Wind: 8.05mph

OM Digital Solutions released a firmware update to the flagship OM-1. One of the reasons I know about what DP Review's micro four-thirds forum is like is because I still visit there. I don't interact much, but it is where I learn about things like firmware updates.

People sometimes have firmware updates go awry, "bricking" their camera. They then get on the forum and bitch about it, which I suppose is understandable. Of course, it then causes some anxiety before you do your own.

I performed the update yesterday with no problems. Supposedly improves the performance of continuous autofocus in still shooting. I don't shoot a lot of "action" so I may not notice an improvement, but it's good to keep the camera up to date.

It's the second firmware update I've performed on the OM-1, with no problems at all. Read the instructions carefully, follow them. Should be fine. My experience anyway.

Old Habits

03:53 Saturday, 17 December 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 47.05°F Pressure: 1017hPa Humidity: 75% Wind: 4.61mph

One of the best things Twitter has going for it right now is inertia, the tendency of human beings to repeat habituated behaviors, even when those behaviors are no longer advantageous for them.

Indeed, even when they're decidedly disadvantageous.

I think it's partly a consequence of our evolution. While there's a natural, novelty-seeking tendency that exists in many of us, the greater tendency seems to be to repeat learned behaviors that provide some known reward. With Twitter and other forms of "social" media, it's the social rewards that come from interacting with fellow human beings. Those interactions don't necessarily have to be positive to yield positive rewards. Trolls experience rewards in negative interactions. Or it could be receiving "likes" and "re-tweets" of critical or snarky reactions or takes on current events. That "positive" feedback to expressing negative views, biases you to perceiving events in a negative light.

Then there's the interior experience of arousal, which comes to feel "normal" so we seek stimuli that provoke that state. Outrage, titillation, some exaggerated interior feeling in response to exterior events, or reports of such events.

There's also the illusion that engaging in all this interaction is actually doing something. Yeah, I suppose it helps establish the zeitgeist, which may or may not help influence the people who actually, you know, do something. But mostly it's just hot air. Electrons. Bits.

One of the most powerful tools a therapist has to help a client, is to turn their attention inward. "David, whats going on inside you?" Introspection.

Of course, you only ever see a therapist when things have gotten so off-balance in your life that you realize you need help. This inability to look inward often makes that realization difficult, if not impossible. Even when you realize it, you must overcome the feeling that it makes you somehow less. And that's to say nothing of being able to actually find help. We don't have enough mental health resources. Anyway, another topic.

I like the social interactions I experience on Twitter. I know I don't like the fact that much of that comes from being critical. And I know that I'm part of others' "problem" in that regard as well.

What I recall learning when I left Facebook and Instagram, because I don't think I wrote any of this down in the marmot or anywhere else (which is why it's good to make notes, keep a journal, write a blog, whatever), is that I didn't spend more time offline. Rather, I just moved to other sites that offered some social interaction.

I seem to recall spending a lot more time on Digital Photography Review's micro four-thirds forum. (No link because why would I do that to you?) But that wasn't a very positive experience.

There's nothing more tedious than people who are absolutely certain they know everything about cameras, photography or business, and who have very strong opinions about the same.

And then there were, and still are, the needy people whose desire for social interaction provokes the endless "Please help me decide which body, lens, bag, tripod, filter, post-processing software, whatever, to take on my trip, photograph my grandkids, shoot this concert, race, sporting event, dance recital, wedding, funeral, cosplay adventure, whatever."

Jesus people! Just go do it and learn from experience! But there are many more people who get their reward experience from offering free advice. Of course, it has nothing to do with any of that. It's mostly just experiencing the interaction with another human being that isn't happening in "real" life.

That kind of sucked, so Twitter became my drug of choice.

And COVID just amplified that by an order of magnitude or more. Much safer to stay online than go to physical third places and risk being infected. But online interactions don't have the same social cues that help make us, hopefully, more decent people in real life.

(Same thing in cars. People are great. Drivers are assholes.)

Anyway, you see this playing out on Twitter as people decide whether to stay or go; and those who want to go, seem to be looking to try to replicate their experience on Twitter, without necessarily examining exactly what that experience is really like for them. They just know that's what they want.

Which is part of what I'm struggling with right now. I know I want the social interactions, especially the local ones, or the ones I find genuinely rewarding, regardless of location. I know I want there to be more friction, less volume, so that I'm not just like a rat that can't stop hitting the cocaine water. I want it to be somewhat more deliberative, less of the "hot take."

But that's my problem to solve. Which takes effort, and habituated behaviors are so useful because they require less effort.

I think blogs are a better answer, but we'll see. Something to blog about anyway!

Ornamental Fog

10:21 Wednesday, 14 December 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 68.32°F Pressure: 1015hPa Humidity: 93% Wind: 11.5mph

Picture of some large Christmas tree ornaments hung from a tree alongside a suburban street

Kind of a test post to see what happens over a micro.blog. More about that later...

It's That Time Again

07:08 Tuesday, 13 December 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 62.78°F Pressure: 1016hPa Humidity: 81% Wind: 18.41mph

It's "that" time again.

The end of another year, when we seem to try to pause and reflect on the past year and consider what our plans or aspirations for the "new" year might be.

Reflecting on it this time, I'm kind of kicking myself. Why should we only do this sort of thing once a year? Isn't this the sort of thing one should be doing with some greater periodicity than once a year?

And of course what comes to mind is the whole 7 Habits™ or GTD™ shtick, where you build that sort of thing into your personal workflow. Always "sharpening the saw" and what-not. So that you can, you know, "get things done" or be "highly effective." Whatever that means.

It's all a matter of attention, and where we choose to place it, which is in large measure governed by our interior experience, which is a product of our habituated behaviors.

Basically, Twitter's business model.

I think I've learned that if you pay attention, life, the universe or everything, kind of give you clues about the course you're on, hints or suggestions for corrections.

There is more here than meets the eye. What that is, I can't say.

Anyway, I've been kind of unhappy lately. Which is odd, because I have nothing to be unhappy about. In the back of my mind, where that "still, small voice" exists that I should pay attention to, I know that it's because of where I've been placing my attention, and too much of that has been on Twitter.

I like the interactive part of it, the dopamine hits from likes and replies and retweets. But I don't like the endless stream of outrage. Who can be outraged that much of the time? It's exhausting. And it doesn't facilitate being the best sort of person I'd like to be. Snark is pretty easy, and I like to think I'm pretty good at it. But what does it do? Maybe a laugh at the absurdity now and then is healthy; but as a point of view, I think it leaves much to be desired.

I know that my interior experience got better when I got off Facebook. I got off Instagram at the same time because it was becoming more like Facebook. Of course, I just turned my attention to Twitter. In many ways, Twitter was a better experience than FB. I didn't have to be exposed to supposed friends' odious political views or willful ignorance. (I'm sure they would say the same about me.)

With Twitter, it was more of an echo-chamber. Certainly, a constant source of validation. It wasn't completely benign, misunderstandings and disagreements are inevitable in any sort of social discourse, and those were sometimes unpleasant.

So here we are, approaching the end of the year. Twitter appears to be run by an irresponsible egotist. I'm feeling a little unhappy. I get a good laugh from the toaster oven thing, and it seems to remind me that "there are no coincidences." (Don't @ me.)

We watched Hallelujah after the toaster oven singularity; and I listened to Leonard Cohen and the people who knew him, and I felt this metaphorical tap on my shoulder. "May I have your attention, please."

See, the thing is, once you give that still, small voice any of your attention, once you make its acquaintance, well, it never goes away. Not that there was ever an "away" it could have gone to. It's just that most of us have never been formally introduced, and so we're comfortable just ignoring it. Rather, we don't recognize that we're uncomfortable because we're ignoring it.

So I'm going to slide out of everyone's DMs at the end of the year. Try and figure out a more productive place to direct my attention, and I think I know where at least part of that is.

I don't know what that means overall. Habituated behavior is a powerful thing. Been there, done that. Over and over and over again.

I do know I'm not here to "get things done," or be a "highly effective person." I think I'm here to "make meaning."

So I'm going to try to work on that.

I'll be here in the 'chuck hole too. Perhaps that's part of it. I'll keep you posted.

A Tale of Two Toasters

10:21 Monday, 5 December 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 69.48°F Pressure: 1017hPa Humidity: 75% Wind: 1.01mph

"There are no coincidences..."

As many of you know, it's just the two of us, Mitzi and I, in this over-55 retirement community. She loves to cook, but from time to time we just want the convenience of taking something from the freezer, and not everything can be microwaved.

So for as long as we've lived here, over three years now, we've been using the range oven to heat up frozen entrées or snacks or what-have-you. Which is a lot of electricity for two people. Takes a long time to pre-heat too.

She's been kind of mentioning a toaster-oven lately. She's the chef around here, she bought the induction range because she wanted induction cooking since she couldn't have gas. That necessitated buying a whole new set of cookware. I figured if she wanted a toaster-oven, she'd just go buy one.

Well, it's "the holidays," and we don't strictly observe the calendar for this gift-giving thing. She gave me a nice set of slippers for Hanukkah, because we have hard floors and the tile in the kitchen is slippery when it's wet and I mostly go barefoot around here. Lately I've been noticing numbness in my toes at night, and ruling out neuropathy of some kind, it's probably because I'm walking around in bare feet on hard surfaces all day. And hopefully the slippers will have a little more grip than my calloused feet when the kitchen floor is wet, and I won't crack my skull on a granite counter. We've had more than a few close calls with disaster averted only by my cat-like reflexes. (Or dumb luck. Could be both, right?)

Anyway, now I gotta figure out what to get Mitzi for Christmas. Or Hanukkah. I'm never certain.

Well, I follow John Siracusa on Twitter and a couple of years back he did this kind of authoritative deep-dive into which toaster oven actually makes good toast. Because it's really too much clutter to have a toaster oven and a toaster.

I see this tweet from John that the toaster oven he recommends, the Breville 650XL, was 34% off at Amazon on Black Friday. The little light bulb goes off over my head, and I just switched over to Amazon and bought it! Hanukkah/Christmas present solved!

I opted for the slow delivery option because Mitzi wasn't going to be home until more than a week later. Amazon notified me it would be delivered today, though, as it happened, it arrived Saturday.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to moi, Mitzi took advantage of Black Friday savings on Amazon and ordered a Hamilton Beach toaster oven! It was scheduled to arrive yesterday, but now is scheduled to arrive today! She never mentioned anything to me about it because she thought that I objected to having another appliance on the counter!

So Mitzi got home yesterday and I surprised her with her new toaster oven! And what a surprise it was, because, well, Hamilton Beach! We both had a really good laugh over it.

Last night we used it to reheat a quiche she had made and frozen before she left. I'd been thawing it in the fridge. Worked pretty well, but I don't think the "reheat" setting is calibrated for something like a quiche, which I probably could have guessed. Had to keep it in there longer, and it probably could have been a little hotter too.

I bought some bread and bagels yesterday before she got home, because I wanted to make sure it worked well as a toaster after she opened it. Tests performed this morning indicate that it is an excellent toaster. I had my Seek thermal imaging camera and Fluke 62 max IR thermometer on hand for further confirmation after yesterday's experience with the quiche.

Now she has to figure out if she wants to send back the Hamilton Beach or gift it to her daughter, who may not want it since their built-in microwave is also a convection oven. I'm guessing it's going back, unopened.

I guess we're each right for the other. It's been eight years now, and we're still laughing. Good sign, I think.

Hallelujah

06:06 Monday, 5 December 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 61.57°F Pressure: 1015hPa Humidity: 93% Wind: 3.44mph

Mitzi came home yesterday and after we'd had dinner and she'd taken a look at her new screened enclosure in the dark, we sat down to watch something on TV.

Earlier in the week, as I was looking for something to watch, I saw that a new documentary about Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah had just been released. I think I saw something about it before, but I don't recall. In any event, I'm a fan of Cohen and the song, so I bought it. I didn't watch it right then because I thought Mitzi would enjoy it too.

It's a two-hour film, and she'd had a long day and I seldom stay up past 2130 anymore, so I figured we'd watch the first hour and then finish it tonight. And let me add that Mitzi often falls asleep on the couch watching documentaries. Like, all the time.

Well, we watched the whole thing and it was wonderful. Just wonderful.

I became a Leonard Cohen fan late in life, certainly after I'd bought my condo in 2006. I was aware of him, even as a teenager. As a young adolescent, Neil Diamond was my emo balladeer of choice, with his Stones album on constant replay, overtaken eventually by Moods and finally by Hot August Night, with much of the rest of his discography in heavy rotation as well. (The soundtrack to Jonathon Livingston Seagull and Tap Root Manuscript being two other albums I probably wore out.)

Anyway Suzanne is on Stones, and this was when I was learning about singer/songwriters, and artists performing covers. So I recall reading something about Leonard Cohen and deciding he was a little too out of reach for me. Too cerebral or something. A poet? I want a rock star.

And then I bought Greetings From Asbury Park, and the rest is history. I'd found my rock star.

Anyway, finding myself in a much different place four decades later, after a failed marriage and a disappointing career, years of therapy, a seemingly fruitless search for love and desperate longing, well, Cohen didn't seem so out of reach anymore.

If you have the impression that the documentary is just about Hallelujah, you've been misled. The first half or two-thirds is about Leonard Cohen's life as an artist. There's a tiny bit about his life before he decided to become a musician/singer, though in the documentary he kind of dismisses the boundaries between poetry and song, which is convincingly manifested in his work.

I won't recapitulate the entire documentary, suffice to say that it's very much worth your time and you will be richly rewarded. Is it hagiography? Perhaps, nobody's perfect, and the film doesn't dwell on Cohen's imperfections.

It's been in recent years, certainly since 2016, that I've found myself listening to Leonard Cohen more often. I'll offer a modest spoiler here. At the end of the film, there's a brief clip of Cohen seated in a chair in some funky coat, looking at the camera.

He says, "You look around and you see a world that is impenetrable, that, uh, cannot be made sense of. You either raise your fist, or you say 'Halleluhah.' I try to do both."

And that hit me. I've been, metaphorically, raising my fist a lot since 2016. I haven't been saying "Hallelujah." And I think that's what I've been looking for in listening to Leonard.

Now I need to try to do both.

(I suppose I should give you a link. Here it is.)

BlogNote Dec 3, 2022 at 13:42

🌎 iPhone Photography and the Puppy.

Author: Author James Vornov

Date Retrieved: 12/3/22, 13:42

Excerpt: Expect lots of puppy photos here. I have not had such a willing model in many years.

Number of Words: 171

Dr. James Vornov has a new puppy!

Holiday Decorations

13:29 Saturday, 3 December 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 78.82°F Pressure: 1021hPa Humidity: 62% Wind: 3.44mph

Large Christmas tree ornaments hung by red ribbons on a tree next to a suburban street.

New Month

13:25 Saturday, 3 December 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 78.82°F Pressure: 1021hPa Humidity: 62% Wind: 3.44mph

Yep, it's December 3rd and it's 79°F outside. I am not complaining, after feeling cold all the time in DC. I have clearly over-adapted to the Florida climate.

Now to test the photo post script and see what I didn't think about regarding page changes when the month changes.