My Bucket List – I Hope I Live Long Enough…

I know some of you don’t like the idea of a bucket list, but I am kinda fascinated by them. Some of the things on my bucket list are more symbolic than others. But, I thought I would add my bucket list to this blog via the My Life & Times category here at RJsCorner. Here is the first installment:

I hope I live long enough to see Andy Jackson taken off the $20 bill.

If you do a search for “Andy Jackson” at RJsCorner you will pretty quickly find that he is no hero of mine. Up to the last two years he was in serious contention for the #1 worst president, but of course that quickly changed on January 20, 2017. Now he and Andrew Johnson vie for the number two spot. Two “Andrew”s, humm… interesting…

When Obama was president he put plans in place to take Jackson’s picture off the bill, but when the current Oval Office Occupant (#CO3) came in that plan was quickly squashed. Since then #CO3 has made it his life’s purpose to erase everything President Obama accomplished. Getting back on topic, it seems that #CO3 thinks of himself as the 21century version of Jackson, and he could be right about that. They are both braggarts, narcissists, racists, dividers, and many other like terms.

I don’t know how long it will take to get Jackson off the twenty dollar bill, but I suspect the next president will make it happen pretty quickly. The question is, will I live long enough to actually have one in my hand? 🙂

Cocoons

I managed to get through twenty years of my work life without cubicles. But then it had to happen. When my job was moved from Indiana to New Jersey in 1996 I went with it. I really didn’t have a choice as I needed four more years of a full pension, so off I went.

Our new facilities there used to be a large warehouse previously occupied by the Manhattan Bagel Company, (by the way I ❤️ Manhattan bagels). For us, the empty warehouse was filled with cubicles to make offices for about 250 engineers and all their toys. Before the day I was introduced to this type of office space I had heard quite a bit of negative comments, so I was prepared for the worst.

Oddly enough, I loved the configuration! With just a few feet of moving to make everything within reach of my chair. The cube walls were about five feet high with about 60 square feet of floor space. The lighting about fifteen feet above provided just the right amount of light. Since I was deaf, I was not affected by the noises around me as my hearing friends were. Since my Aspie traits allowed me to totally focus on the job in front of me, the isolation was a big plus.

Before my beloved cube I always shared office/lab with at least a couple of other engineers usually pretty close by. This was a radical change. Hours would go by without any interruptions. I was able to become totally immersed into my work.

When I retired and moved into a 1927 farmhouse, my office / man cave was an 8 x 12 foot room. It wouldn’t be long before it was fashioned into a cubicle like space I had left behind. I gave my wife the larger room for her hobbies and gladly took the smaller one.

I guess there is just something personally comforting to me having my space wrapped around me. If I could talk my wife into it I’m sure I would now be living in a 400 square foot “tiny house” instead of the 2500 square foot one I have inhabited for almost twenty years now.

Since I left the workplace I know the trend now is to just have one large open floorspace and a large table for everyone to work from. I can’t imagine working under those conditions. The distractions would be intolerable to me.

I guess this is just another part of my life where I am pretty different from most others. I feel as-snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug when I am in my cocoon.

I’m A Car Guy

I am sorry to say that some of the most respected creators in the car customization field are in the long run just one of the followers of the latest trends. Being a car guy, I am an avid watcher of custom car creators like Dave Kindig. He makes cars that are above and beyond the quality and uniqueness of most of the field. But in the long run, he is just like most of his competitors, a follower of the latest fad no matter how impractical they might be.

The fad I am talking about is taking a $150,000 car and make its body sit one-inch above the roadway. He likely charges his customers thousands of extra bucks to install custom air-shocks to make that happen. Of course, it is totally unusable in that state, especially on our ever deteriorating American roads.

To me personally, I think the cars really look stupid in that configuration. I know the enthusiast say “rad”, or maybe “bitchin” but I say “stupid”. I personally have a pretty big stable of cars in my collection and none of them are laying down on the ground.

I am especially proud of my 1963 Studebaker Avanti. Its gloss black finish is worth every penny I paid for it. Here are some other vehicles in my collection.

  • 1939 Chevy Sedan Delivery Truck
  • 1937 Plymouth Pickup
  • 1961 Chevy Impala
  • 1963 Stingray
  • 1957 Chevy Belaire
  • 1963 Volkswagon Bus Double Cab Pickup
  • 1953 Chevy Stepside Pickup
  • 1967 Shelby GT-500

I have several more that I am also proud of. It has taken me years to accumulate this collection. I enjoy looking at them every day. But I think my Light Cycle prototype from the movie Tron is my favorite.

Tomorrow I will tell you a little more about my collection and show you a few pictures.

The Ultimate Freedom

This sounds like a pretty grandiose title, I hope the post lives up to it. 🙂 I’m going to clue you in on what I found the ultimate freedom to be. It took me almost seven decades to find it. At first, it seemed more like a prison than freedom but I have found that misconceived view to be the case in more circumstances than I care to remember.

The ultimate freedom was cloaked in darkness when I first came upon it. It just didn’t look like freedom at first glance. Ok, the wait is over I will now tell you what the ultimate freedom is. Ultimate freedom is when you no longer have to do something just to create money.

Now I guess I have to explain my personal circumstances in order to support my dark pre-story.

I left the corporate world at fifty-five. After I got my thirty years in and was eligible for a full pension, my corporate division was sold to a Chinese company. We were told that nothing would change, but of course, within six months massive layoffs started. Within a year 95% were gone, including me.

All my life I had lived pretty frugally so I had enough resources along with the fixed pension and future social security payments to be able to live without any additional income. But, as is often the case, I refused to understand what that freedom could give me. It would be several years later before I fully realized what was in front of me.

When I finally went into the full retirement mode six years after leaving the corporate world, the idea of having total control of my time absolutely scared me. The main reason for that is that I didn’t do the work required to really appreciate what I had. Instead, I languished around as pretty much a couch potato for a couple of years feeling sorry for myself and the self-imposed boredom that followed.

Finally, I got it through my head to actually use this ultimate freedom. I finally started doing some things that I had only dreamed about up to then. One was to be a frequent volunteer at a local soup kitchen. Another was to start a blog about my view of the world. I had always enjoyed writing and now I could do whatever I wanted with that skill. Other things would eventually fall in place, but it was not until a few months ago that I decided to try and take my ultimate freedom to a whole other level.

I actually spent the time thinking and dreaming of what I could now do that wasn’t really possible before. That brought up a lot of hidden, or maybe unrealized goals that need to be further pursued. Finally, when 2019 dawned I decided to bring up yet another blog, this one dedicated to creativity. I am now about forty-seven days into this year-long project of becoming a more creative person. If this sort of thing appeals to you, I would like to invite you to come along on my journey. I think we can both learn if we do this together. Click on the CrackingCreativity logo in the right column here to join the fun.

How about you, what is your definition of Ultimate Freedom?

Free Range Kids…

I am going to tell you a story about when I was growing up in the 1950s and then put a modern twist to it.

I don’t have a lot of memories prior to my eighth year of life. I vaguely remember spots here or there before then. But I do remember when we moved into our brand new $14,000 tract house in the suburbs when I was 8-years-old. There were five of us living in a 900 square foot, three bedroom, one bathroom house. Compared to where we lived prior to that this was a modern mansion.

My new suburban neighborhood was an adventure waiting to happen. We lived 4 blocks away from the Catholic school I attended so I and my two brothers walked that distance every day. There was also a gas station across the street from the school that infatuated me. I spent quite a bit of time watching them gassing up cars, checking the oil, and of course, cleaning the windshield. That gas station proved invaluable a couple of years later when I broke my collarbone trying out for the school football team and as a result, wore a very hot and itchy plaster vest through the summer. With the station hose, I blew a stream of air under the plaster vest to make things at least tolerable.

We lived eight blocks away from the drugstore with a soda fountain. It was on a busy road and we weren’t really supposed to go there but on occasion did so anyway. I always ordered the “suicide” which included squirts of a half-dozen of the flavors available.

Then there was the mushroom factory about four blocks away from home where we loved to climb the freshly delivered piles of dirt which in reality were piles of composted cow manure! We didn’t know that is what they were but that would have made it even cooler. (ha). But, there was that day when I was climbing the trees in front of the factory and fell down on a sharp wrought iron fence due to climbing out on a broken limb. They told my dad in the emergency room that the fence came within an inch of puncturing my lung! But, except for a “bragging” scar no real damage was done. That episode did make me more aware of the dangers around me. That proved to be a valuable lesson I’m sure.

I’m running out of space here but I did want to mention the lumber yard that was about 6 blocks from home. We got much of the material we needed for our adventure projects from the scrap pile there. The owner sometimes gave us small pieces of wood that he cut off customer orders and sometimes we would sneak in on our own to get them. It was kind of like a commando raid for us.

The moral of this story is that I learned to be an adventurous person from my childhood years. I learned what it was like to be out on my own. All those lessons would help shape my adult life.

I was a free range kid…

Finally getting to the point of this story, I saw something recently on the PBS Newshour that the average ten-year-old has likely never been more than two blocks away from his home unaccompanied! There is apparently too much parental fear of abduction and such now. But, the statistics just don’t bear out this fear. In reality, kids are much safer today than they were in my day.

Are we stunting our kids by keeping them homebound and not letting them be free-range as we were in my generation? Are we preventing them from the adventures of discovery? Are we stifling the future inventor and innovators? That, along with the fears should be on the minds of all parents today.

What do you think?

Being Alone…

2018-08-27_08-16-02Even after 32 years of marriage being alone is something I still relish. It seems I must have my alone time. That seems to be especially true now that I am in my senior years.  But, I have always been pretty much a loner. I just never have seemed to know what to do in a group.

I suspect a big part of this is probably due to my self-proclaimed Asperberger’s Syndrome. Interactions with others have always been difficult for me.  It takes a special person to accept my nuances and call me a friend. I have had a few in my life.

Being alone is self-empowering to me. It is when I have my most creative thoughts. My daily routine includes several “alone” times.

After my daily shower, I am alone to digest the latest news via my Internet feeds. I admit that that particular alone time is shrinking by self-choice as I just can’t seem to stomach what is going on in America today.

Another serious alone time is my man-cave otherwise known as the barn. I am fortunate enough to have a 24 x48 ft pole barn where I do all my physical type things.  It is where I spend quite a bit of time working on uRV ( my micro RV). This weeks project is to rubberize the roof to keep out all those pesky leaks during downpours.

Another alone time is “going up to the mountain”. That is the highest point on my property where I have a six-foot glider.  I spend many warm weather hours up there swinging and reading and just plain looking at the sky and thinking.

Being alone is something I can very much handle…

On Vacation Until ??

canstockphoto19651352.jpgI’m taking some time off from RJsCorner to do some yard work and other special projects.

One of those projects is to bring up a new website for my photo portfolios.  Flickr and such just don’t meet my requirements so I am designing a site of my own.  My Information Technology (IT) experience comes in handy even in my retirement years. 🙂

I’ll let you know when that is up and what the URL is.  I expect it to be finished in a couple of weeks. I don’t know how long I will be gone from RJsCorner.  If Congress can take a vacation from their madness, I guess I can too.

Thinking About Life

2018-07-27_08-00-21.pngThe picture here from my Facebook friend The Idealist brought back some rather pleasant memories. In the past and to a much lesser degree even today I have often sat out on a starry night and talked to myself about life. These were often times where I was approaching meltdown due to having so many people around me.  One of the main purposes was to be alone with my thoughts so, no, there was no one with me.

Many of those 2am nights were while I was attending college at Purdue University. It seems I was never along except for these times. I shared a room with Bob for four years and even though I really liked him I needed my alone time.  So, about once a month you could find me at 2am along the railroad track out by the airport looking at the sky and dreaming about life.  I often played a game where I tried to imagine what I would be doing 20, 30, or even 40 years in the future.  On a tangent note, there just doesn’t seem to be as many stars in the sky as there were during those years. 🙂