Sunday, July 27, 2014

Photo-of-the-Week #169 – Alert: Don't Waste Your Time! Antique Wireless Museum, Bloomfield, New York, July 6, 2014

I don't usually use pictures of places like this as Photos-of-the-Week, but for the Antique Wireless Museum, I'm making an exception. This place REALLY ticked me off. I discovered the place on my way through New York State to a new location. I checked it out and found out it was not open the day I was passing through the area. That annoyed me, but didn't really make me angry. There was a similar museum in Connecticut near Bradley International Airport that wasn't open very many hours, either. Basically, the place pictured above was only open for a couple hours on Tuesdays and for three hours each on Saturdays and Sundays. Now, THAT is NOT convenient for the public. It should have been my first hint. . . READ MORE

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Information Overload, Brain Drain & Writers Block

As regular readers of this blog, I'm sure you have noticed that I haven't been publishing much in the way of new articles for the past few months. I regret that. I have actually written several posts, however, after spending considerable time writing and contemplating each article, I just wasn't satisfied that I was delivering thoughts and ideas I felt would be useful for you. So, they sit in my draft file and may surface sometime in the future after I look them over again and possibly edit or rewrite them.

So, What Is My Problem?

I am back at my base camp in West Virginia. I arrived here about 9:30 PM this past Tuesday evening, July 22nd after six weeks of travel. I realized that I just haven't been producing the way I normally do or the way I like to. Since I returned I actually wrote, yet, another article the other day. I wasn't happy with it either.

So, I realize that I'm in some kind of funk, phase or mode that I'm not very pleased with, after all, my life and philosophy are all about living free, yet, I don't seem to be able to write anything about it. Am I actually living free? Is my mind and creativity free? Or, am I trapped in some kind of black hole of my own creation.

I believe I've identified three causes for my writing malaise. The first is “Information Overload” or as some call it, “TMI” or “too much information.” It's basically mental clutter. The second is “Brain Drain.” The third is “Writer's Block.” Let me explore each of these a bit with the intent of helping emerge from my personal state of the literary doldrums and, perhaps, assisting you in climbing out of some kind of personal “black hole” you may be dealing with.

I might also mention that this kind of lethargy or mild despondency may actually be the manifestation of some (hopefully) mild form of depression. I'm not sure what specifically triggers various manifestations of depression, but I know that I have a genetic predisposition. So, while I don't feel particularly depressed, it may have nothing to do with how I'm actually reacting.

Information Overload

Let me first examine the idea of “TMI.” I am, by my very nature and as a 50 year veteran of the recording industry, an information “sponge.” While I was drawn into the recording industry by the music part of the business, I actually spent the vast majority of my life creating thousands of hours of information content. I guess I could almost say my middle name is Information. People often comment to me that I'm a fount of information. This can be very good, but it can also be a curse.

I am a voracious reader (though I really never classified myself as such), but not so much in book form as in articles, blog posts, newsletters and a variety of other forms. There has been so much going on in our country and our world, both recently and currently. My mind seems to never quit grabbing at and attempting to comprehend and order continuous sound bites both aural and printed. I have also shared time with an amazing array of very interesting people over the past six weeks on my just completed trek to New Jersey, Connecticut, New York (state) and Pennsylvania. By the way, if you aren't aware, I find just about everyone amazing and interesting since each person is so unique.

I learned so much on the trek. I took more than a thousand photos. I have about 150 hours (maybe more) of video I've captured with my dash cam. I explored old “stomping grounds” and witnessed the changes. I met, spoke with and learned from the numerous people I interacted with along the way. All this while traveling about 3,300 miles mainly in just one of the four states I visited. My mind may be having some issues with sorting, categorizing and analyzing this “data” to put to some tangible use. So, as I said, TMI!

Brain Drain

What I mean by “Brain Drain” might be considered by some to be numb or “brain dead” (not in the clinical sense, but psychologically and, maybe, emotionally). There is so much going on inside my head that I simply have needed to shut down for a while to take some time to sort, analyze and categorize all the accumulated new data. I need to discern that which is useful and valuable enough to to relate it to you and which is the chaff that I simply need to discard.

There is a blog I read by Randy, titled Mobile Kodgers. Randy seems to have his act together, but he uses pictures to speak thousands of words. He has found his voice. I haven't met Randy, yet, but intend to when I get out west later this year. Another interesting blog is Waterfall Road by TJ Worthington. I've met TJ down in his territory in the mountains of northwestern North Carolina. I was down there this past New Years Eve and passed a brief pleasantry with TJ, but it was at a celebration of one of my closest and longest friend's wedding (on New Year's Eve – that's a way to start a new year). So, I didn't have the opportunity to get aside with TJ and really chat about – well, lots of things. TJ also seems to have his thoughts in order.

So, not only am I dealing with Information Overload, but I've allowed this overload condition to drain my brain, leading to . . .

Writer's Block

I'm sure, if you've been reading my blog for any length of time, being at a loss for words has not been a problem for me. Actually, if anything, I need to get a copy of the AP Style Guide used by journalists and learn how to curb my words to make my posts faster, easier to read and comprehend and more interesting. (Maybe I'll order a copy for my Kindle library after I complete this post.).

Writer's Block is a real psychological problem, first described by a psychoanalyst in 1947. Many, if not all, writers including best selling, award winning authors have suffered the malady at some level at one or more times during their careers. So, while not exactly reassuring, at least I know I'm in good company and I can “recover.” I also read another article that enumerated ten types of writer's block and I can identify with at least four, if not five, of those.

I am going to post this article because it may assist you in overcoming some form of writer's block or even just some other challenge or even procrastination you may be dealing with. I know there are numerous other bloggers and writers who read this blog and, perhaps, you may also be going through some periods when writer's block sets you back a bit.

Ready! Set! Write!

I have a lot of things I want to write about. And, actually, writing this article has been educational and motivating for me. It has helped me focus my attention on the issue and recognize the things that may be blocking my creativity and productivity. So, be ready for some new articles with, what I hope will be, valuable and useful information. It's welled up inside this living free, location independent, nomadic blogger. It's about time, isn't it?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Photo-of-the-Week #168 – You Meet The Nicest People, Albion, New York, July 2014

Meet Steven and Lindsey from Portland, Oregon. This cute, young couple shared the Walmart parking lot with me in the small, upstate town of Albion, New York one evening. I'd guess they might be in their mid 20's, but they seemed to have the “living free” idea figured out already. Good for them. . . READ MORE 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Photo-of-the-Week #167 - On The Brink, Niagara Falls, New York, July 2014

Here is one of the great "levelers" of the world. I took this photo right at the edge of where the American Falls of the Niagara Falls formation goes over the edge for more than a 150-foot drop to the lower Niagara River. The water flows from Lake Erie with an elevation of about 570' above sea level through the upper Niagara River over the three waterfalls that make up Niagara Falls - the American Falls, the Bridal Veil Falls and the Canadian (Horseshoe) Falls. The water from Lake Erie continues down the lower Niagara River into Lake Ontario with an elevation of about 245 feet above sea level. . . READ MORE

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

New York or Bust - Trek #2 Recap (to date)

An historic and iconic part of the development of New York

I admit I've been somewhat remiss in posting while I've been on this current trek. I left you at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut when I dropped my son off to fly back to Los Angeles. So, following is a quick recap of this trip until tonight. . . READ MORE

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Photo-of-the-Week #166, Taughannock Falls, Cayuga Lake, New York, July 2014

I love serendipity and the last few days have just been one serendipity after another. I took this photo on the way north from Ithaca, New York to Seneca Falls, New York along the western shore of Cayuga Lake, one of the larger of the Finger Lake series. As I drove I saw a sign for an overlook for Taughannock Falls. Well, since I didn't have any deadline to be anywhere in particular at this time, I couldn't pass up the chance for a shot of another waterfall. I found two interesting waterfalls the day before on my trip south to Watkins Glen. . . READ MORE

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Thankful Independence Day

I composed this letter last night on July 4th and sent it to a long list of friends. I share my thoughts with you here on the blog since you are also a long list of friends. 

My Letter

Dear Friends, 

On this Independence Day evening, I've been reflecting on the meaning of this national holiday, so I thought I'd compose this short epistle to wish you, not a Happy Independence Day, but a Thankful Independence Day. Sure, we should be happy for our Independence, but even more, we should be thankful for it. 

Exactly 238 years ago a group of people gathered in Philadelphia, put their lives and fortunes on the line and agreed upon and signed a document informing the King of England that we, as a people, were declaring our independence from the tyranny and taxation imposed upon those who braved the challenges of coming to a new world and carving out a new life and society based on liberty, personal freedom and certain inalienable rights. 

Nearly six years ago I chose to change my lifestyle to live free, on my own terms, replacing a more traditional, mainstream lifestyle embraced by the vast majority of U.S. citizens. Living free simply means I chose to live simply, minimally and economically. I am thriving and living a comfortable, fulfilling, happy life while not needing and using most of my resources and those assets I have retained.

I am traveling this country in a "tiny house" of my own design and construction built into a 17-foot van providing approximately 50 sq. ft. to live in. You might say it's my own version of a modern Conestoga wagon. One of the best features is that I have no mortgage or payments for "My McVansion." It is my "magic carpet" that is taking me from sea to shining sea, gulf to great lakes, over mountains and across great plains. I travel the "Blue Highways," those roads that were once our national road infrastructure, but have been mostly abandoned and replaced by high-speed interstate highways where everyone always seems to be in a hurry to get somewhere. I drive the speed limit, take my time, and enjoy discovering nature's beauty that I've never taken the time to experience before. I travel through small towns, villages and hamlets and meet the hard working, patriotic people who live in these places and learn about them, their families, their lives and what's important to them. 

Yesterday I was in the town of Bedford Falls. Remember George Bailey from the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life?" Well, the real name of the town that Bedford Falls was modeled after is Seneca Falls, New York. In the past week I went to an American League AAA minor league baseball game, was a guest on a legacy radio station in Syracuse, New York, revisited my alma mater, Syracuse University and toured the two Newhouse School of Public communications buildings that have been added since I attended 46 years ago. I enjoyed all kinds of great food and visited with a fellow grad school classmate and his wife, John and Pat Hottenstein, who also was the minister who married my former wife, Cynthia and me. I even had the great pleasure and privilege of seeing their daughter, Kirsten, who I bounced on my knee 46 years ago. Then I met Kirsten's daughter and three month old granddaughter who I bounced on my knee. I took a wonderful photo of the four generations. How time has flown. 

This is just a small part of why I'm having a Thankful Independence Day as I sit in my tiny house on wheels in Ithaca, New York tonight. Earlier. I enjoyed the day driving down along the western side of Seneca Lake (one of the beautiful Finger Lakes). I drove around Watkins Glen, New York and went over to the Watkins Glen Speedway where I shot pictures and a little video of Grand Prix cars doing time trials at 150 to 200 miles per hour. Oh, and while I've been enjoying my version of the American Dream and living free, I accomplished some audio production projects for a long time friend and client. All this because of those men in 1776, all the men and women who paved the way since then and those brave men and women who sacrificed their lives and limbs to secure the independence and freedom of this great nation

I do have some concerns about the future of our country and what we're leaving behind for our grandchildren and great grandchildren. I'm including a link to an article that spells out where The American Dream may be in some trouble. 

I hope your day with family and friends was much more meaningful than just a day off from work, hot dogs, hamburgers and fireworks. I also hope you are living free and independently, as you define this for yourself, and are happy and fulfilled. God Bless You and God Bless America. 

Ed Helvey


But, just because we celebrate Independence Day on July 4th doesn't mean that we shouldn't celebrate a Thankful Independence Day every day of the year. For all our problems in this country, I still consider myself singularly lucky to have been born here rather than in most other parts of the world. Think about it.