This week I’m trying something new by taking a page from Juls the Indecisive Eejit and writing a newsletter-style format. If it works out, I may make it a weekly feature using material that I aggregate throughout the week – effortless sharing at its best. If you want to be part of the process, feel free to drop some feedback in the comment stream so I know . . . you know – whether you care, what works, what doesn’t, etc.
The Week in Review
You may remember that I took Tuesday off to interview for a job; it was for a position as a railroad carman for BNSF railroad, who runs all the rails in the United States west of the Mississippi. In fact, I felt like I bombed that interview and I must have been on to something, because the very next day I received an email saying that I was not selected to go forward with the hiring process.
I always felt that it was cold and impersonal to replace a face-to-face interview with the personality tests that you see a lot of employers using nowadays; the moment they started doing this (I remember as far back as the late 90’s, when Blockbuster video started using computer kiosks for hiring,) the chance that I would be able to choose my employer began to slide downward. They emphasize teamwork and minimize risk, which sounds like a good thing on the face of it; but they also shut out introverts and individualistic workers who are able to work on their own at a faster pace than in a team, where they tend to get a lot less done and must rely on others for success. I’m pretty flexible, though, and I’ve learned how to answer these tests. In fact, I just laid out the secret for you.
How much colder is it, then, to have prospective employees sit in front of three people; two of them asking the very same questions that were already answered on the test I took online, while the third one typed away at a laptop. The pace was fairly easy, but my mind was blank. It may be the first time I’ve ever suffered from test anxiety. They asked me the same questions I had already answered, and I experienced the most epic fail.
So say goodbye to face-to-face interviews! Because where I thought I was being given a chance to talk about my experiences at my current job and my expectations for the job for which I was applying, all I got was an online test streamed directly through analog devices; and in the face of this ironic and anachronistic melding of paradigms old and new, I floundered for purchase and was washed out to sea.
For a moment I felt like I was being rained on. Again. I felt like my whole life was this same story of rejection. (See Daily Tanka 2014.05.21)
I realized that these hiring practices, and this specific incident, were closing doors to me forever. (See Oh, The Places I’d Go!)
Then I realized the next day that a great weight had lifted; this was one less complication in my life, one less thing to manage – one loose end tied up for good. Not having any tension between the job I held and the job I desired, I was free to realize that in spite of the few (albeit strong) reservations I have about remaining at my current place of employment I am rather quite happy (See Daily Tanka 2014.05.22) and now my most immediate concern is something quite exciting indeed: Clan Ross’ Summer Surf Adventure. Two weeks driving to the Pacific coast. Seattle. Portland. Surfing in Seaside, Oregon!
I’ll gladly take my time doing that, and then I’ll find my footing and forge a new path forward. (See Daily Tanka 2014.05.23)
Current Conditions –>
You may have noticed that I’ve switched from haiku to tanka for my daily “status update”. I indicated earlier that I burned out on haiku, and I think it’s because I can’t force myself to write in so short a form without inspiration – that “haiku moment”. When the right image comes along, that helps; and when something just strikes you, that’s perfect; but the tiniest inspirations are like motes of dust and can be a little tough to catch on a daily basis, so the tanka format gives me a little more room to breathe, and presents a new challenge: the turning phrase of the third line, much as the human body’s core muscles links the upper and lower body, serves as a link between the upper lines and lower lines, creating two complementary yet contrasting poetic statements that when worked correctly will provide a clever sort of juxtaposition. In fact, the original creation of haiku was an exercise that focused on the first portion of tanka, the kaminoku. If you’re interested, you can read more about Tanka on Wikipedia or take a look at A Quick Start Guide to Writing Tanka @ Tanka Online.
Recently the site has taken on a new theme and a new look, and I’m still trying to find time to get all the little knobs and dials set right. Since I’m no longer using the ubiquitous Twenty Fourteen theme, the featured image barely comes into play, and it’s possible that those are generated for the thumbnails from images in the respective posts. If this bears out then I might stop using single images to serve as a visual cue to what type of post I’m writing. As always, if you experience any thoughts or feelings about the site’s look, feel, and utility, you are more than welcome to chime in; I will take all input into consideration – I create the site, but you actually use it!
Also, I’m planning to change up the surfboard social media icons as soon as I have a chance; While the Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest ones work for me, I have to wonder whether Spotify is a good choice for the fourth. I’m going to take that one out for the time being because I haven’t been able to figure out if people can access a playlist without an account, let alone single tracks; plus there’s some controversy surrounding Spotify and I haven’t been curating much content through Spotify. In fact, I just got around to pinning more stuff in the past week. I’m seriously considering doing a Youtube surfboard and making some playlists of different surf videos and muppet videos; just some different stuff to build a presence and start curating interesting content in that area. For the moment, I think that might be a little more useful. In terms of music, I think Soundcloud might be a better option.
What do you think, would you consider Soundcloud as a viable option for curating audio content? Is there something better that doesn’t cost money? Something that’s more accessible? Can you think of any other services that might be of interest to us? Let us know about that in the comments.
I’m looking forward to reviewing a CD of surf music that was recently recorded by a local garage band in Spokane, Washington. When I get my hands on the tunes I’m going to give it a listen (or ten) and then do a full write-up, so stay tuned for that – I have a feeling it’s going to be awesome!
Favorited Tweets of the Week –>
I’m not knocking anyone who favorites all the retweets they get, but I tend to reserve my own retweets for things that I find really interesting for one reason or another, and I do that for one reason: you can list it. On Twitter, we have this link on our profile page that shows how many tweets we have favorited all time; the @robssurfreport count currently stands at 101. I have a few from the recent past, and this goes back more than a week, but moving forward I’ll find more favorites to share. At any rate, most of these tweets speak for themselves, so I’ll keep the commentary to a minimum:
Click through the Instagram link to see a cool Star Wars surfing photo!
(The Empire has a trooper for everything, don’t they?)
The Week in Pins –>
Like I said, I’ve started curating content on Pinterest in a fandangled process the kids are calling “pinning”. I’ve started doing this in fits and bursts, and I really need to clean up my pinboard selection. A lot of my recent pins have been in the category of fitness because of my drive to be as fit as possible for surfing, but here’s an overall selection of recent pins. If you’re doing the Pinterest, follow my boards to get my pins in your feed!
For the fitness-conscious: I found the site neilarey.com a while back with this Jedi workout, but upon further exploration it turns out that there are tons of unique workouts there that can be filtered by workout type and body area focus; as well as challenges, programs, tips, recipes, and more.
Featured Blog –>
This week’s featured blog is a new addition to my must-read list. TK from Chapter TK was the guest on the premier episode of The Kenny & Kylie Show podcast, and so I jaunted over to check it out. She writes mostly long-form posts about “the ins and outs of society”. According to TK’s About page:
Society is always evolving and we can choose to help guide it or just roll with the punches. No good change just happens. It requires the thought and action of the masses. TK aims to foster healthy, civil discussion on some of today’s most controversial topics as well as issues that people rarely consider.
The most striking thing about Chapter TK, in contrast to many blogs that I follow, is that her posts tend to inspire me to write inordinately long comments that could probably stand as posts of their own; this is a testament to the thought-provoking power of TK’s musings. This blog is most definitely an enriching addition to anyone’s reader feed; this blog comes highly recommended.
For a truly informative post on introverts and the unfair way that society treats them, check out TK’s post The Plight of Introverts in an Extroverted World.
Song of the Week –>
This week’s song was one I discovered on this post @ The Indecisive Eejit. Fireflies by Owl City is a really pleasant song that speaks of me the magic of nature at night. I’d never heard of either group or song before, but my wife has; “It’s a little poppy,” Mme. Ross says, uncritically; to which I respond, “well isn’t everything nowadays?” There’s nothing wrong with pop in general, especially since there’s no accounting for taste in music and oh yeah — pop is the new rock. Any way you look at it, you’re still picking your battles. This is a great song.
The video, however, is the cake; or maybe I just say that because I am such a visual person. Standing here, watching it again while dancing with my daughter, I note that the imagery consists largely of Toys of Great Distinction — oldies but goodies, that multiple generations can appreciate as toys from their own youth. There’s tube televisions, a globe of the Earth, and he’s even playing the song on an older electric organ. It’s a throwback to days of our youth, when everything seemed so magical and life moved at a snail’s pace.
I’d like to make myself believe
that Planet Earth turns slowly
As we get older and the world develops apace, that pace seems to get faster and faster. A year goes by in a heartbeat, it would seem, and the things that were of great importance to us lie in the dust of memory, a thing we find remarkable when we notice it.
Put together, the song and video are a brilliant fusion of contrasted yet complementary ideas; so full of brilliance and motion, yet imparting a sense of peace and thoughtfulness. Together, they are haiku.
There, I said it; now watch:
Video of the Week –>
Last night while Mme. Ross was at some sort of high-falutin’ jewelry party, Little Miss and I were sitting at the dinner table enjoying a wonderful repast of cheddar cheese, cherry tomatoes, summer sausage, lunch meat, quinoa, and the not-to-be-missed Daily Show with John Stewart. We watch it on Hulu Plus, so we are always a day behind, and this was Thursday’s episode. What really blew me away is the history behind the government’s treatment of miltary veterans, which has — as you will learn — not always to the benefit of those who gave up much to serve our country, leaving us with this very appropriate quote:
“On this Memorial Day weekend eve, we can finally admit that America has had for over 200 years a great bipartisan tradition of honoring those who have fought for our freedom by f***ing them over once they give their guns back”
I can’t embed this video, so click the link below to watch it:
That’s it! I hope you enjoyed this Surf Report as much as I enjoyed putting it together. I hope also that you have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend, with barbecues and family fun or just rest — you deserve it. May you find peace in your life as well as your own path forward. If you would kindly help me out by answering the poll below, that would be awesome.
Thanks for reading — now go live your adventure!