Robert (gurdonark) wrote,
Robert
gurdonark

20 Stray Notions



1. I'd like to see an oceanic program undertaken with the high seriousness of the space program. I think that few things are more cool than the discovery of new species and the acquisition of new information. I'm convinced there are things undersea of which we barely even dream, from living marvels to fascinating sunken cities.

2. So many times lately I read of violent acts by hopeless people. Hope is such a precious commodity.

3. I won an eBay auction yesterday for a little TASCAM 4-track. I followed my precept about only making low ball bids, until I scored a victory. I hope I can figure out how to use it. I certainly am the least technically proficient person ever to hold a degree in physics.

4. I wish my singing voice were more childlike. Why didn't someone tell me that an abiding affection for art rock would introduce that histrionic color to my voice? I want to sound like a kid on romper room, not like a rather flat refugee from Bryan Ferry karaoke night.

5. I like that parable in the Bible about the fellows who were given the talents. One invested his, and was amply rewarded. One put his at interest, and got a reward. One put his under a rock, and got his taken away. But I keep wondering if I'm the one who, meaning well, runs mine through one of those machines that presses animal shapes on the coins. I do not know what reward I seek for this endeavor. I wish animal crackers did not have calories.

6. Today a court hearing marks the end of a large case for me. The case was long ago tried, the result reached, and now, after years, the final approval of the final resolution is on tap. I won't discuss the case, partly because it's just not good weblog material, partly to observe a veil of confidentiality, and partly because the nature of the case is not the point. The point is the way that one can finally reach resolutions sometimes. My work involves a lot of delayed gratification. Although most cases are over within a year, some take literally years to complete. Most of them end without fireworks, but some involve a bang or a whimper.

7. When I started law school, twenty three years ago, I took only a few books to read, made my apartment nearly bare, and, for the first time in my academic career, forced myself to take detailed notes in class, and spent my evenings retyping my notes and typing up the "case outlines" which are similar to law school homework.
I do best when I apply this kind of focus to the tasks at hand.

8. I like to go to rural places, but I notice lately that the time I spend driving about to get there is time I might spend on a walk much nearer home, and on getting more things done.

9. At work I use a "to do" list to great effect to stay on top of my cases lately.
This supplements the all-important calendar and my memory as a device to keep on top of what I call my "docket". I'm beginning to feel the need to set up a home "to do" list again. I feel as though I have a lot of things I wish to do but somehow never get done. It's so easy to lose focus, and yet focus centers and redeems me.

10. I find myself most often reading novels written between 1870 and 1940. I wonder why that particular selection of years appeals to me.

11. I sometimes pause to note that I am a much better lawyer than I am a creator of
creative material. I don't mind that, really, because it makes me feel practical, like a carpenter of words. But it's important to me to express myself anyway, even if it all reduces to chapbooks of chess poems and inventing music with superball mallets knocked against potato chip cans full of beans.

12. I like the way that autoharp and mountain dulcimer songbooks are filled with old public-domain songs. I think that there should be more new public domain songs. I think that this is something I can address. I think it would be fun to write songs, and then set up a LiveJournal community about public domain songs. Perhaps then people who can really write songs would want to play.

It's not, of course, that there's anything wrong with copyrighted songs. The song copyright essentially made it possible for musicians and songwriters to earn an enhanced independent living. But I like what I think of as a "folk" tradition of music that can be readily appropriated and transmogrified by others.

I want to write things on my Omnichord which are very simple, which anyone can sing. I like songs like Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land", which are open to all, easy to "touch".

But I know that my gifts are not musical, but instead are more about lawyering.
Perhaps I'd be better off hunting old songs not in the songbooks but in the public domain, and simply printing them up. In particular, I know that a song publishing company worked in McKinney, near me, in the late 19th Century. Its songs would now all be public domain. That would an interesting local history search.

13. Monday's hike exposed me to that woodland friend, the chigger. It's been years since I've had such a proper ankle of little itchy red chigger welts. It reminds me of my boyhood. Chiggers, ticks, seed ticks, and horseflies--they're not a big part of my more sedentary adulthood.

14. My kindergarten teacher, Ms. Nelson, ran a private kindergarten in a literal little red kindergarten school (about the size of a good-sized thimble, I'd guess). She never really left the little town of 2,000 in which I did most of my growing up.
But she always had all her hobbies going. She was a great gardener, with a deep knowledge of local plants. She studied local history, and had a storehouse of wisdom on all sorts of things. I regret that she is not still living, because she probably had much to teach, which I did not fully appreciate as a kid and teen.
I learn a lot, though, from the way that she worked an ordinary job and never really travelled or explored, and yet treated her own backyard as a universe unto itself.

15. I imagine what it must be to be in Florida, and to find one's possessions ruined by storms. It's an indirect reminder not to become too attached, in a way.

16. I have a butterfly kite that sits in a package, unopened, waiting for the right wind. The weather has been much more kite-friendly lately, but I've not yet flown it. It's a curious kind of anticipation, a bit like an unopened ice cream sandwich.

17. Google is wonderful, but lately I wonder about so many people whose lives briefly touched mine, the ships in the night. I have just enough vanity to wonder if anyone ever wonders about me.

18. Did you ever spend time parsing out the difference between eccentricity and delusion?

19. I could get addicted to the four day work week.

20. I amuse myself that I fantasize about someday saving my money for building/bying a cabin on a lake, but in fact, I find it too much trouble to
rent a thirty dollar cabin on a lake, much less enter into a purchase and construction transaction. By the way, I am all for this "ownership culture", but I personally have found that with the exception of homes and cars, I much prefer to rent. Boats, vacation stops, roller skates. You can rent almost anything that doesn't matter.
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