Posted in about me, ebb & flow, follow-up, gifts, meandering, motivation, vulnerability

Hello? Is this thing on?

I like to been seen. So do you. Might be in totally different ways or contexts or audiences, but we all want to be seen, understood.

As a kid, I was introverted and socially anxious, good academically, and eager to please. In elementary school, I more or less spoke when spoken to. I remember clearly getting in trouble for blurting out an answer once in fourth grade, and while I can’t say for sure that’s the only time it happened, it was rare enough that that once sticks out.

I was “seen” by doing my work well on time. A sticker or a pat on the back. Because that’s good enough at that level and that was enough.

As school got harder, I found a niche and a family in performing arts. I was never great at any of it, but I was dependable, and for what we were, that was enough.

And then we all grew up and life went in planned and unplanned ways, and some combination of social struggles (in part because of childhood emotional trauma, in part because we societally don’t value introverts), and “good enough” and “dependable” not being enough to be seen, and choosing a career path (teaching) that’s considered “less than,” and within that choosing a specialization (band) that is constantly fighting for time, students, space, validation, I’ve spent a lot of time feeling … invisible.

All this to say that this is why I have a stormy swirl of emotions regarding birthdays (and now also Mother’s Day).

Because I want to be seen. And if the anniversary of being born is a socially acceptable day to get positive attention, I’ll take it.

But we’re adults and I’ve certainly heard enough times to grow up, that birthdays are for kids (with the possible exception of milestone birthdays, though their importance is pretty random unless you’re becoming eligible or ineligible for something legally).

Birthdays always runs into gifts, and I’ve written about gifts before.

I don’t like obligatory, “I have to have something to give you” gifts. But I love gifts that are thoughtful. A couple of years ago, The Climbing Daddy threw a surprise party. A few people brought gifts: a stainless steel water bottle; a bag for dance shoes; a vegetarian cookbook for backpacking (or camping) and a gift card for REI; a pair of earrings from a friend who always picks out the best earrings. (Others, but that’s enough to make the point.) They are really different things, and they all say HEAT all over them. Having the party in the first place was amazing enough. Gifts that say “I see you, I know you” were icing on the proverbial cake.



Posted in follow-up, mindset, motivation

Another take on stealing creative work

I posted a bit about photographers wanting to use the Grinch for their holiday shoots and was schooled in copyright law in return. With permission, here’s what I was told. (Everything beyond this paragraph is not my writing, but most of it makes sense to me. Also, I learned a lot.) After you read it, let me know what you think.

The main issue I have with copyright is that the protection term is FAR too long.

The original copyright term in the US was 14 years.

After that, things went into the public domain and became part of our culture, free for anyone to use as they wish.

The term length crept up over the years, but even until the 1970s it was 28 years, with a 28-year renewal term if requested.

Then we signed a treaty that bumped it up to life-plus-50-years for individual creators, and 75 years for corporations.

Then, we bumped it up again to life+70 / 95 years.

This past January, works from *1923* entered the public domain.

It was the first time anything had entered the public domain in over 20 years.

Most of the massive expansion of the copyright term was driven by corporate interests, Disney in particular.

Which is even more ironic because Disney has made tens, possibly hundreds of billions of dollars by mining the public domain.

They create very few original characters.

They take from our shared culture, but refuse to give back.

Should I really feel bad about drawing a Disney character without compensation? How much did they compensate the Grimm brothers, or Victor Hugo, or de Villeneuve?

They’ve taken something that originated as part of our culture, popularized their specific version of it, and then charge us for it. They’ve basically monopolized our culture from us and act as gatekeepers to it.

Your specific example was the Grinch.

Dr. Seuss created the Grinch in 1957.

He’s been dead for what, 30 years?

The Grinch is part of our culture now and there’s compelling reason for his estate to continue to be able to profit from it, other than greed.

Lord of the Rings, the same. Tolkien’s been dead longer than I’ve been alive. Why is his 90-year old son still able to tell people they can’t make films of any of Tolkien’s work (aside from The Hobbit and LotR, to which Tolkien sold the film rights when he was alive and his son couldn’t claw them back)?

Copyright is not a law of nature.

It’s a bargain.

In order to promote the progress of science and useful arts, we grant creators a monopoly on their creative work for a limited time, so they can earn a living from it.

This is supposed to incentivize creators to create new work.

We’ve gone well past the balance point between incentive and greed, though.

Nobody is incentivized by receiving royalties from work created by their dead ancestors.

Patents and trademarks, the other main forms of intellectual property protection, are a great contrast, because they haven’t been distorted the same way (although drug companies are working hard on patents).

Patents last for 20 years.

Trademarks don’t have a defined term, but they can be “genericized” and lost.

This is why you can use kleenexes and the xerox.

There’s a balance there.

Which copyright has utterly lost.

I think that mostly ends my rant.

Posted in ebb & flow, education, follow-up, mental health, mindset, parenting, vulnerability

Follow up to ‘Take what you need’

(If you missed the original post/project details, you can find it here.)

Kids have been off and on with the sticky notes. I have needed to replenish them a time or two, but most seem to have chosen a couple, stuck them in their music binder, and not messed with them again.

Earlier this week, one of my classes was playing a (very short, very repetitive) song from memory during the school assembly. The lead photo was taken in the hallway on the way to the cafeteria.

I’m considering putting something like this up at home.


Posted in follow-up, know better do better, podcasts, tips

“I don’t know how to interact with women any more.”

In blog writing, I have a few rules I’ve set for myself. Always proofread at least twice (once immediately and once after walking away, ideally for a day, but an hour will do in a pinch). Don’t share identifying information about people or share other people’s stories that aren’t mine to tell (unless I have permission). And listen to the whole podcast (or read the whole book, or whatever) before sharing pieces of it.

I broke the last rule yesterday. I had 20 or so minutes left of Michael Gervais’s interview with Abby Wambach when yesterday’s post went live. Because I listen a lot less in the summer than during the school year (less time in the car; more time with The Kid in the car), I didn’t get to finishing it until later.

While the quote I picked out was indeed a good one, if I was going to choose one bit of that interview to focus on, it wouldn’t have been that one … if I had listened to the whole thing.

What might I have focused on instead?

They talked about the plight of men right now, and how so many are lamenting that they don’t know how to interact with women any more since the rules are changing. (To be honest, they had a lot more empathy in that than I do.)

Her advice?

“Mind your own body.”

Simple. Largely effective. Keep your hands, eyes, and body-based comments to yourself. Doesn’t address systemic issues or things of that sort, but for your basic, daily interactions? It should get the job done.

She also talked about inequalities between men’s and women’s sports. If your argument is “men’s sports make more money!” this would be a good clip for you to listen to. (I believe Freakonomics also addressed that a bit, but I couldn’t tell you what episode … or even what season…)

So if these pique your interest, listen to maybe the last half hour. Or just listen to the whole thing. It was interesting.

(And I will stick to my rules in the future!)

Posted in about me, ebb & flow, follow-up, meandering

Sometimes, things work out

Yesterday, The Kid had his last track meet of the season.

Because it’s hot here now, the meet started at 7 instead of 8. Call time remains an hour before the meet starts. Yesterday’s meet was just over half an hour’s drive from here. I was up at 4:30.

Early morning temps were nice, but it didn’t take long before we were baking. All of the stadiums we’ve been in, the fields run north-south and the home bleachers are on the west side (facing east). Which means that even with our handy oversized umbrella, we’re in the sun for much of the morning.

Once the sun was high enough, we had shade (hooray!) but it was a little stuffy under there.

Anyway. The point is, we were up early, and it was toasty.

His events (two track and one field) were clustered, so the down time was almost all front-loaded. For the first time ever, we were done before 1:00.

Once the meet was done, we came home and had late lunch. I took a nap; The Climbing Daddy and The Kid did other things. I woke up feeling better than when I laid down but still wiped out.

This is the point in the story that connects with the second piece.

A year ago, I volunteered at a competition at my local climbing gym.

I decided that I wanted to climb in it this year. (Upcoming links are all to previous posts with more detail about this journey.)

I learned how to boulder (though I was not at all good at it).

This year’s comp, we had to do three mini-comps to be eligible.

I did two before finding out sad news, and didn’t pursue the third.

It turns out, the final competition—the main event—was yesterday. Climbers reported to the gym at 3, I think (might have been 4).

If I had decided to continue I would have had a bouldering competition late yesterday afternoon. At nap time.

So while I was really disappointed in February when I found out the comp wasn’t what I wanted, I was really happy yesterday not to have to go attempt to climb competitively.

(And the four of us ended up splashing around in the pool for an hour, then The Climbing Daddy and I went for a tired-but-necessary run, and those were better than bouldering any day.)

Oh! And the photo? A giant dust devil we saw on the way home from the track meet.