Archive for the ‘About Me’ Category

Band of Brothers

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

Together Again

Together Again

(From left, William, David, Matthew, James, Andrew.)

Our far-flung family makes it difficult to get group pictures like this, but for special occasions it becomes possible. In this case a rare grand harmonic convergence occurred when my younger brother Dave married his Wendy. He’s the happiest-looking one in the light shirt.

I often reflect on how lucky I am to be a part of this family. Not everything in my life has gone the way I wanted, but the five of us are still here, still relatively healthy, and even on speaking terms with each other.

We have all taken different paths in life, but we are all still going. I love you guys.

— MRK

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It’s My Turn To Talk

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

me((the following is a satire inspired by a dear friend)).

Welcome back to My Turn to Talk, a hard-hitting talk show that asks hard questions and gives even harder answers but absolutely does not accept guest speakers nor answer callers.

Please! I have to remind you again, DO NOT CALL IN. It’s my turn to talk, not yours. If you want to talk, get your own radio show. This one is mine. We’ll talk more about that later (or at least I will), but first a word from the sponsor: me. I write and produce My Turn To Talk out of my own pocket, and I do not accept advertising, because then I’d have to waste valuable air time letting them or their spokespeople talk.

Thanks for listening. The key word in that sentence is listening, not speaking. It’s my turn to talk. On this show, it’s always my turn. John Richards from Indiana writes, “I think…” blah blah blah. Somehow I don’t think he’s really getting into the spirit of this, because if I read his letter it would be just like he was talking, not me, and it’s not his turn.

I’ve been told by some ladies that I don’t listen when they’re speaking to me, and I’d like to correct that impression right now. It’s not about you, ladies. I don’t listen to anyone when they’re speaking to me. Not just ladies. Doesn’t matter whether you’re young, old, male, female, famous, obscure, or whatever. If you’re speaking, then I’m not listening. I’m planning how I’ll interrupt you to get the floor back, because you’re hogging the bandwidth, you’re stepping on my airtime. And besides, it’s my turn to talk. Always.

Now you might think I’m overdoing it a little, but that would be impossible. I’m a white male, so obviously I know everything and every word from my lips is another pearl of wisdom. I think in paragraphs, sometimes in entire pages at a time, and if I seem to speak in long sentences then I can assure you that they aren’t nearly long enough to encode every nuance, every reflection, every priceless observation from my one-of-a-kind brain whose inner workings you are sometimes fortunate enough to eavesdrop on. Once I start another golden thought, it doesn’t matter how bored or uninterested you are; I am going to finish the thought at all costs, and no interruption, counter-quote, interjection, expostulation, tirade, divorce, restraining order or impending lawsuit is going to silence me or in any way cut short the flow of verbal treasure from my overactive and incessantly churning cerebral cortex — I cannot afford to waste such perfect gems of thought no matter how unappreciative or selfish you or any other listeners might choose to be when I am verbalizing. Because it’s my turn to talk.

I don’t watch TV because the people on it insist on talking and I have to shout very loud to speak over them. I don’t listen to the radio, not even my own previously-recorded shows, because what I’m thinking right now obviously takes precedence over what any idiot (including me) has ever said in the past. I’m all about now, and particularly what I’m saying right now, and it always amazes me that others don’t seem to understand that they are supposed to be listening. It’s my turn to talk. Can I put it any simpler than that? Maybe I can, but what would be the point of that? It might give you the impression that I am done and you can talk now. But you can’t. Do you remember why? Do I have to keep reminding you? Because I can, and I will.

That reminds me of a funny story. The other day I was at a restaurant and the waiter seemed to have the mistaken impression that he was allowed to ask me what I wanted to eat. A rookie mistake, but I forgave him because I was in a good mood, having spent the previous half hour explaining to him my take on postmodern deconstructionism and its roots in the diatribal ruminations of Johnathan Swift and Upton Sinclair. After forgiving him for his interruption and restating my conclusions in elaborate and unnecessary detail, I further speculated that if he was patient enough to stand there for another three hours I might be inclined to work my way around to the subject of what I had originally come to the restaurant to consume on this occasion. As the customer, of course I am always right no matter how long-winded or pedantic I might appear to those with shorter attention spans, and the fact that he might be earning numerous tips from other patrons during the same time he received enlightenment from me was hardly my concern. After all, it was my turn to talk.

— MRK

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Living a Second Life

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

meOften I escape into the virtual world of Second Life where anyone can be beautiful. It is not an actual game like World of Warcraft — in SL there are no quests or missions. It doesn’t keep people from role playing, of course. It just means that the objectives are user-generated rather than imposed by the system.

The genius of SL is that unlike WoW most of the stuff in it is made by the users — not the founders. SL provides an extensive graphic tool set for creating your own clothing, hair, skins, building, vehicles, etc. if you don’t want to use the defaults. And there is an entire virtual economy there. Designers and builders sell their creations in virtual stores. Sometimes it seems as if most of the sims in SL exist only so someone can build stores on them.

The difference between these virtual stores and Internet websites is that you can “walk around” in the virtual stores as an avatar instead of paging or scrolling through them as you do on the Web. Since the in-world currency of “Linden Dollars” or just “lindens” can be exchanged for real money both ways, it is theoretically possible to make enough money in SL to support yourself in the Real world. Many try to do this, but the ones that actually succeed are usually the talented designers who make the best skins and hair and clothing, and the people who buy and sell virtual real estate.

Can’t afford the great new faces? Don’t panic. Just like cars, last year’s models (or even earlier ones) are cheaper.  Many designers give away older creations to lure customers into the stores. O brave new virtual world, that has such imaginary people in it!

— MRK

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And Not To Yield

Friday, March 7th, 2014

me“We are not now that strength which in old days
moved earth and heaven;
that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
made weak by time and fate,
but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find,
and not to yield.”
— Alfred Lord Tennyson

I know the feeling.
.
.
.

The Way Ahead
.
The way ahead is dim, like that behind,
the future is not here; all that I have,
will ever have, is is just this moment now,
a grain of sand inside the endless flow
from top to bottom of life’s hourglass
all that I hope, and all that I regret
mere figments; and, eroding in the wind,
I stand, unwilling ever to give up,
a relic of my folly, unashamed,
I made my choices and I paid the cost.

Does anyone care? It really does not count
if I’m remembered; I will always be
in time embedded, will have always been
when all these atoms go their separate ways
and all the echoes of my words unheard.
My life had meaning, and it always shall,
though words unread upon a cosmic page.

And if you also stand upon the rock
and feel the wind caress you, as I do,
if you have tasted joy with the despair
and smiled through pain when no one felt the sting
then we are kindred; brethren, take my hand
and know that in this moment all are loved
no Author hates His characters; though small,
we have our lives; we’ve woven in the cloth
of this great tapestry; no thread unblessed.
I gladly take my place with all the rest.

— MRK 8:33 Am EST, 2/7/2014 Crystal River, FL

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And Miles To Go Before I sleep

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

meOkay I’m sleep-deprived, by no fault but my own, and I will just soldier on until I reach a place where I can fall asleep. After going so emo last night I wrote a poem and of course the solution was my previous post — the healing power of music. EPIC music ought perhaps to be called Heroic music because it seems to speak to the potential hero in all of us. Its the kind of music online games use in their videos and commercials; it is the kind of music distribution companies use for film trailers and movie commercials on TV.

It is music that sings a secular anthem to the potential nobility of spirit of all sentient beings. Music that sings of the sorrows and sadness of life and all the pain and misery that is courageously faced down by us mortals every day and yet we DO go on. As I will go on. It matters not that these slings and arrows we face are often from our own imaginations and insecurities. It makes no difference ultimately whether they arise from early trauma engrams or unresolved parental issues or consciously remembered pain that has not been fully processed and relegated to the scrap heap of mined data in our memories. Wherever pain comes from, it is real but need not define who we are or who we must become.

In other words, I am healing my self-inflicted wounds. And the music IS a great help. It reminds me of the person I want to be, the nobility and generosity of spirit that the worlds needs. And that I need.

—MRK

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Astounded!

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

meHold the presses!

Something just happened to me that was unexpected. I recently met a person who understands me. That person is taken, but it is good to know her.

But today I received another gift from the Universe. And this one is not taken.

I am swooning, literally swooning over her. I will not name names or give particulars, save to say that I think she likes me.

Sorry, but it is time for a poem.  It is clawing its way out of my chest and the best thing in such circumstances is to let the rascal out before it does any more damage.  Ahem!  *clears throat*

And Then She Blew My Mind

I wandered, as I have, and often do
in vast electric gardens of the Web
to see what fragrant blossoms I could find
inside web-spinning circuits. Bits and bytes
flew though the optic cables, and the hum
of motherboards and cooling fans aligned
as I typed greetings to a lonely soul
who answered back — and then she blew my mind

Such sweet succor! Such softness undeserved
assaulted me with undreamt happenstance
such happy chance! And so began the dance
as circling singers met, and joined to grind
their essence to each other; how I groaned
to worry that I soon would end this dream
and sad awaken — then she blew my mind

Alert, astounded, as my spirit soared
I swooned to hear such kindred thought
no dark coercion necessary here
no pain, no worries, and no fear
a blessed merging for which I have pined
in solitude, and from no planning found
her sweetness, oh! And then she blew my mind.

— MRK 2/15/2014 Crystal River, FL

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