Tag Archives: Planning

Driving on Observation and Instinct

Driving without navigational aids (i.e. GPS, Google maps, etc.) is rewarding to me. Understanding that interstates with three numbers are a beltway and two are a stretch of road brings so much more to the travel experience. Other bits of information like odd numbered interstates generally run north and south, while evens run east to west fit smartly in the library of my mind. It’s like I’ve taken control of my activities and wield them in powerful ways.

The biggest lessons of all aren’t presented by any department of transportation, however, and come with experience. First and foremost is the emotional conditioning a driver needs to shrug off things like panic. I’d assert that panic is just as deadly as drinking/texting while driving. You make poor decisions out of fear.

One big fear as a rural kid was the fear of getting lost. As directions would have it, there is an impression of one true way to get to your destination. After phrasing it like this, we all know that’s not the case. We never think of it in terms of that though. Do we? “[expletive removed] I missed my exit. What the [expletive removed] am I going to do now?” Well, there are a number of things and all of them do not involve slamming on the breaks and trying to cross eight feet (~2.5m) of asphalt at 75 mph (~120 kmh) with ten feet (~3m) of clearance.

After five minutes of working on the planning efforts (timeline, webbing, etc.), I decided I had taken a wrong turn with My City by the Bay. What do I do next? It certainly wasn’t panic, as that would be pointless. The fortunate part for me is this story is only in draft format, has not been to an editor or any publisher, and certainly hasn’t been purchased by a reader expecting to be entertained. That’s the good news. The bad news is there’s about 4,000 words I’ve spent quite a bit of energy on which have no identifiable use as of right now. That’s not to say they could be recycled later on, but for right now I see them as a square peg in a round hole.

This is a time where I should see the situation as good thing, a chance to reflect and change things for the better. On the other hand, it’s also going to be a time spent throwing a metaphorical ball at a whiteboard like Dr. Gregory House.

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Forced Post

I slipped up earlier this week by not keeping consistent with my 48-hour rule on making a post. There are a couple of excuses for that. One, I had a conference in Xenia on Monday and was too exhausted to think afterward. The changes to the Higher Education Act (HEA), otherwise known as Title IV, can give me such a headache. It’s not that I don’t understand what they’re doing. Rather, it’s that I disagree completely with what they’re doing.

I also happened to pick up a three year-old game (Fallout: New Vegas) for $5. I game quite often, and know it can be a genuine addiction. The symptoms of video game withdrawal and other mentally addictive topics are quite similar. The best thing I could have ever done for myself was cancel my World of Warcraft subscription back in 2006. I would go through whole weekends without doing a thing.

I now would like you to notice I said “excuses” instead of “reasons.” Why? Because there are never any good excuses, only good reasons. Excuses are internal exceptions, reasons are for external situations. Therefore, I shall weave in a post during daytime hours. To quote Yoda, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

I haven’t written creatively for at least a week and a half. That’s terrible! While I do enjoy getting down on myself, that’s still a problem. I’m not a huge schedule-enjoying person, as the stress just makes me cranky. Therefore, making one will ultimately be abandoned. People like me just need to start headlong and do.

Contrary to what the above might suggest, I’m not adverse to planning. It just can’t deal with routine. For example, I have a loose plan in what order the house repairs will go, but there’s no time limit set to any of it. With this in mind, I was musing at lunch what planning techniques would be beneficial to me.

I’ve ended up deciding a timeline and a web chart might improve the ideas I have for my stories. I’ve got bits and pieces of them in my computer, but as a few screws and some planks do not a chair make neither does a few paragraphs and good intentions.

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If I Were a Rich Man

Most of us are familiar with Chaim Topol’s performance as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. This is the famous tune, “If I Were a Rich Man” where Tevye daydreams about the personal comforts he would enjoy if wealthy. Most of us have had similar thoughts, even if we weren’t singing and dancing in a barn.

I’ll admit to having the frequent fancy in my mind, but don’t fully find it analogous to myself. You see, Tevye wanted money for personal possessions. He wanted the house and the servants and all the accouterments of the well-to-do. I can’t say I’m that type of person. I enjoy the finer things in life like most people do, however the frequency and volume of which is different. If I had vast amounts of money, I’d only buy sturdy, well-made goods. I’m not a flashy guy. The car I would drive would be a practical, commonplace sedan. My clothes would be well made but plain. I wouldn’t be the type of person to have a suit of armor collection or private art galleries. 

The real daydream would be what I would I do with the money.  To me, that’s a distinction that can be made. For example, my first stop would be downtown Hooterville to buy it. Yes, the whole downtown. That takes serious money, and a lot of power. People are not easily swayed from property, and thinking it would require anything less than a battalion of representatives is sheer foolishness.

Once purchased, I’d raze the irreparable. There are plenty of building so deeply neglected, they’re a danger to the community. There has been such turmoil with this due to nostalgic residents. They don’t want to see their memories destroyed, much like a hoarder will cry if you pitch a mottled towel in the trash. I have no qualms in being that “villain” as I have a vision of the replacements.

I like truth in materials: brick is brick, wood is wood, etc. I also think the architecture of the Industrial revolution is quite comely and would go on several trips here and abroad to capture the essence of this time period. They would all come with modern conveniences, of course, but the soul of the designs would be left untouched. I don’t mind modern architecture; I simply think it doesn’t fit the area well. What’s needed is a smaller, more comfortable, and more familiar feel to the town.

The infrastructure would have an overhaul and I’d throw in wonderful little curve balls, like roundabouts. What’s life without a little viewing pleasure? By viewing pleasure, I mean watching flustered motorists trying to figure out what “yield” means. They only know “stop” and “go” around here. There is one last thing I would do, but won’t go into detail. If any of this came to life, I’d want it to be a real special surprise. It’s a good surprise, too.

As with most daydreams, this is all fantasy. Many people laugh when I make mention of the reconstruction and say it’s impossible. They’re obviously more comfortable living in decay and memories.

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