www.geoffmitchell.com

A Relatively Routine News Story Hits Home

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I still try to maintain some degree of “connection” to the events of the world around me. That’s not an easy task. I have more than my share of demands on my time, as do we all, so taking time to contemplate the daily news and all the things that happen to all the other people in all the other places around the world is not my natural inclination. I usually have to make an effort to do so.

For example, take an event from this week week in Salem, Oregon. If you’re not a part of that community, or if you don’t know anybody living there, the discovery of a woman’s body on an early morning by a dog walker in a neighborhood park, would not ring a bell. I’m certain that, every month in every city in every state of our country, things like this happen, they’re news for a day or two, they impact the locals momentarily, and things move forward with little or no consequences. This stuff seems common place enough that it doesn’t make the ‘mainstream’ media. Why would it? It happens all the time. Right?

But sometimes, one can make a connection if they stop long enough, regardless of whether or not they’re personally involved, and consider the incident with less detachment. The broader and more dramatic the events, such as school shootings, famine related deaths and systematic genocide clearly strike harder and louder than say, in comparison, the discovery a a lone body as in this story. But ultimately, there’s something to be learned about our own lives, our humanity, and our how we’re all somehow connected, through such a circumstance.

I’ve had a personal recollection about a trip I made to this very area of Salem outlined in my ‘drafts to polish and publish‘ collection of website entries for some time. I’m now completing it, prompted by this particular story and the whole theme of connections. I’m actually staying up all night if that’s what it takes. This is that important to me. I have to act on this now. It’s a long one, one that took place over 15 years ago. And it’s all true.

It’s brought to it’s completion now by the simple observation, if not the hope, that the otherwise “routine events” such as the one mentioned above can give us all a reason to reflect a bit more on them when they happen, and how directly or indirectly, they might impact our lives.

I hope you’ll read on.
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Written by gsm

08/16/2007 at 2:07 pm

Posted in  Journal 

Two Poorly Executed Decisions

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Sometimes I just feel like there’s a bit of “George Costanza” in my daily life. I have these obscure and ironic little experiences that you’d naturally expect that Seinfeld character to get into and have to weasel out of. Case in point, the events of this afternoon in the Men’s room at work. While heading out at the end of the day, computer bag in hand, I decided to stop at the mens room before driving home. As I’ve mentioned before I’m a “stall” focused restroom user, preferring the handicapped stall over others, as it’s always easier to have the space to set down a brief case or other belongings out of “Harms Way”.

Having completed my brief visit, I started to buckle my belt, but I found it difficult to do so with my shirt, the type that hangs out un-tucked, in my way. So I placed the tip of the bottom of the shirt lightly between my teeth and quickly buckled and zipped.

Only to find that the shirt was terribly absorbent and/or I have a serious saliva issue. In either event, there i stood, ready to exit, with a big dark wet stain positioned at a point that would clearly indicate some rather roughshod and haphazard use of the facilities on my part. It looked like I pissed on my shirt.

I rolled my eyes at the situation, figured I’d just have to conceal it on the way out, and envisioned writing this post about the whole thing and making light of it. In fact, I figured what better way to illustrated the situation then snapping a photo with my iPhone of my freshly stained shirt.

And i did just that. I took the iPhone, turned on the camera, made my best guess alignment and pushed the shutter button.

“CLICK” went the audible shutter sound of the iPhone.

Did I mention I was not the only person in the restroom?

There was a guy seated in the stall next to me. A guy oblivious to any of the humor behind the events transpiring in the stall to his left. A guy who’s only point of reference was the sound and vision of shuffling feet, a modest snorting of irony, and then the sound of a camera shutter being triggered.

I left as quickly as possible.

Written by gsm

08/16/2007 at 7:00 am

Posted in  Humor 

A Point of No Removal

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When I saw the diamond wedding ring on the finger of my female boss, My jaw dropped. It was spectacular. And that’s saying something, coming from me, because I’m about as far from a “jewelry person” as you’ll find. But for one of the very few times in my life, I was actually impressed, if not floored, by the beauty of a diamond wedding ring.

The ring was a simple one, likely a big part of the attraction. It had a smooth platinum band, held a small rectangular diamond on each side, and in the center was set an elegant and sparkling 1.72 carat diamond. Clear. Crisp. Near flawless. And the whole piece of work was only the second I’d seen to date that made me imagine that, if I ever gave a woman a wedding ring, it’d be that one.

What was also odd, too, was that my boss was unmarried at the time, and the ring was, if I recall correctly, on her right hand, not her left.
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Written by gsm

08/16/2007 at 12:52 am

Posted in  Journal 

Hitting My Pace Again

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As prior posts indicate, it’s been a busy time at work. Well, there’s still a full day’s work to tackle daily, but it’s refreshingly reasonable again. It feels like the unexpected hills, uneven terrain, twists, turns, and occasional drive-by shooting are all behind me now. The road ahead looks manageable for the time being, and I feel like I’m getting ‘into the zone’ and tackling things in a more thoughtful and organized way again.

Whew!

Written by gsm

08/15/2007 at 7:00 pm

Posted in  Journal 

WWW : When Websites Work

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I have my own desires and agenda for this website, as detailed in my ‘About’ page. And I have friends, both close and distant, that have their own sites as well. I’ve had a number of things happen in the past week that help illustrate why I think having personal websites like this are very useful, and actually help some people stay connected/involved when they might otherwise not be.

  • I regularly read a distant friend’s website but have little/no routine contact with them. They wrote about contemplating a personal decision about a situation I went through myself, and I was able to write, share my thoughts, and contribute my experience for their consideration in making their choice.
  • That same friend was writing about the advice he was getting from myself and others, one of which, it turns out, is a good friend of mine, and we had no idea we were both giving him input.
  • The author of a site I read regularly asked me a question related to Apple hardware and I was able to help dig into the issues and provide some recommendations.
  • While helping port my friend Jess’s website to wordpress, I stumbled across a very funny “LOST” reference that still leaves me chuckling.
  • Revisting a former colleague’s website gave me insight into an easier way to fix a ‘sticky mouse’ issue then the one I’d suggested to him some time back.
  • After writing about my anger management issues, A good friend related their own similar feelings, which gave me a sense of support.

In the end having the references, rants, and exchanges documented and accessible means that we’re able to use these sites to stay connected and in touch. I know there’s a good deal about the internet that can lead to people being removed and isolated, but the things that come out of reading and browsing personal websites of friends and family are far more enabling in retaining and building those relations then they are able becoming isolated and detached. In addition, the friends I have locally are ones I continue to have ‘real time’ interactions with over lunch or on weekends. And now I’ll be having lunch soon with the friend wrestling with a personal decision. Something I’d not be doing had he not posted his thoughts.

If you don’t already have a website, go set one up for free at WordPress.com. That’s where this one lives, and it’s a breeze to setup and maintain. Start writing your own thoughts and experiences, and let me know when you do so I can add you to my list of sites to watch for updates. If you want some help or pointers drop me a line.

Written by gsm

08/15/2007 at 8:08 am

Posted in  Journal 

Greendimes

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I’m sick of junk mail. Not the ’email’ kind, but the crap that gets crammed into my home mail box every day by the post office. This is not stuff I asked for, nor do I have any interest in, but for obvious financial reasons its not in the Post Office’s best interest to curtail junk mail. Unlike email, there’s no simple ‘filtering’ options to be found, and getting the ‘Occupant” and “Bulk Mail Rate” flyers and coupons to stop coming requires far more time and diligence then I have to devote to doing so. I’ve tried and I’ve tired….

But now, for $15, there’s a company that’s finally come around with a simple solution. And that’s not $15 a month, or even a year; it’s a one-time charge. That’s right, for the price of a good lunch or an average dinner, you’re on your way to reducing the junk mail at your home by up to 90%. GreenDimes reduces the credit card offers, insurance offers, sweepstakes offers, coupon mailers, solicitations and catalogs that your household receives. In their first ten months alone they have stopped over 1 million pounds of junk mail and planted over 250,000 trees.

Your membership puts your name on “Do-Not-Mail” listings, with complete control on your end as to what you do or don’t want to be sent. And not only do they manage it all online, you are also routinely confirmed to be off lists by their service. In addition, they’ll plant 10 trees when you join! AND they’re lobbying for a national “Do-not-mail list” just like the existing “Do-not-call list”. Let’s cross our fingers for that one!

Did you know….

  • 100 million trees are cut down each year to create the approximately 4.5 million tons of junk mail in the United States
  • 28 billion gallons of water go into the production of American junk mail annually
  • 5 percent of the waste sent to landfills is junk mail.

You can take part in putting and end to that and make opening the mailbox something you look forward to again.

Written by gsm

08/15/2007 at 8:08 am

Posted in  Miscellaneous 

Stranger than Fiction (4 stars)

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Stranger than Fiction image“As a novelist (Emma Thompson) struggles with how to kill off her main character, IRS auditor Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) begins hearing her narration in his head and realizes he must prevent his own death. Crick’s world turns upside down, and it’s a life-or-death situation as he tries to persuade best-selling author Kay Eiffel to change the ending of her novel. Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman and Queen Latifah lead the fine supporting cast.”

Geoff’s Comments: I greatly enjoyed this movie. The acting was wonderful; Emma Thompson, Dustin Hoffman and Will Ferrell gave standout performances. And the story, well, it’s in a vein I always appreciate; putting the value of our daily life into perspective, and recognizing that breaking from routines and awaking from a ‘sleepwalking’ existence can breathe the most amazing color and breath into one’s life, no matter what the outcome.

[ rent Stranger than Fiction via netflix.com]

Written by gsm

08/14/2007 at 10:22 pm

Posted in  Video