Archive for August, 2007

On Leading

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

When people first learn to dance, the concept of leading and following is a tricky one.  Conceptually, it isn’t hard — the leader (typically the man) decides where he’s going to go, and what’s going to happen next and the follower (typically the lady) goes with him.  Not too bad, right?  Well, the trick is making that happen.


The Meaning of Life

Sunday, August 26th, 2007

Nothing like tackling something light on a Sunday evening, eh?

Well, ok, much as I might like to think I know the meaning of life, I can’t really provide the answer here (at least, I don’t think I can).  But I can share with you my thoughts on the subject.  To me, the most significant thing we can do during our time on this planet is to have a positive connection with another person.  That’s it.

This can be in big things, like supporting a friend going through a crisis or caring for a child.  But those aren’t the only relevant examples.  Small things can make a difference in the world, and can contribute to our purpose on the planet.  A kind word to someone in a service position, turning the other cheek when someone takes their bad day out on you, letting someone into difficult traffic, or even just a smile can make a difference in their day.

But what can a small kindness really do for the universe?


Firefly: A completely biased review

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

Firefly DVD image

As I mentioned in a previous post, I love this show.  This is the best TV show to ever be cancelled.  I am completely enamored of this series.  This is truly one of the best things to have ever been on TV.  The dialogue, the character development, the acting, the directing, the music are all fantastic.  Every time I see it, I get more nuance out of it.

For whatever reason, this show was not successful when it was first run on Fox back in 2002.  It was cancelled after only 11 episodes were aired (and, to help matters, they were aired out of order).  Since its cancellation, Firefly has enjoyed wild success on DVD.  To the best of my knowledge, it’s the only cancelled-after-less-than-one-complete-season show to ever spawn a theatrically released movie (Serenity).  Word about Firefly has been spread mainly through word of mouth and grassroots efforts dubbed guerrilla marketing.  People who have seen this show feel they’ve found something special, and I count myself among them.  I’m not generally a fan of science fiction.  In fact, I’m one of those people who used to roll my eyes at the idea of fan conventions, podcasts about cancelled science fiction TV shows and dressing up like your favorite character to go see a movie or some other gathering.  But this show is special.  It’s a fantastic combination of talented individuals who brought true passion to this project.  I love it.  I think it should be seen by everyone, everywhere, and as often as possible.

I’m going to outline some of what makes me so passionate about the show.  But I will tell you that nothing I say can truly capture it.  It simply has to be experienced.  If you do watch it, I implore you to do yourself the following favors: 1. Please see the episodes in the order in which they were intended to be seen, 2. See the entire DVD set before you see the movie, Serenity, and 3. Watch several episodes before you make a decision.  The order they were intended to be seen in does a lot for the experience, and the movie definitely comes after the series.  Also, the first episode, particularly, has a different feel that the rest of the series.  It was a pilot episode, and as happens in TV shows, things tend to change between the pilot episode and the rest of the series.  So, don’t judge the episode by the pilot (although it’s a fantastic episode).  See the first few.  Wait to get pulled in, because you will.  I have yet to hear of or meet anyone who made it through the second disk without getting completely hooked.  So, give it a shot.  And if I haven’t convinced you yet, I will expand upon some of the reasons to do so.


The Journey of a Chincoteague Pony

Monday, August 20th, 2007

Cricket at 2 months

My Chincoteague Pony, Wish Upon a Star, first came to me as a wild little weanling.  To look at her now, Cricket, as she is known around the barn, you’d never know she started her life as unruly and untrusting as they come.  I first saw her in a pen full of other wild ponies at the 2001 Chincoteague Pony Roundup.  She stood out to me because of the grace with which she moved.  She and her mother were startled and trotted across the pen.  She didn’t move like the rough around the edges critter she appeared to be — she was elegant.


You don’t always get what you wanted . . .

Friday, August 10th, 2007

. . . but you always get what you asked for.

This is a principle I first learned when riding and interacting with horses.  I started riding as a small child (8 years old) and this rule about horses was one I learned to help me deal with my frustrations when I couldn’t get the horse to do what I wanted.  I don’t remember who first said it to me, but it made me realize that the problem wasn’t in the response, but the question. 

Horses don’t speak English (or French, Chinese, Farsi or Gaelic).  That’s not to say they can’t be conditioned to associate certain words with certain items or actions — they can be trained to come when called, to respond to voice commands — but they don’t come to the party with an a priori knowledge of the language.  They are being asked to respond to questions they don’t understand.  We do what we can to imbue certain words with meaning, and a wise horseperson will work with the horse’s own language (mainly physical and spatial) to hedge their bets.

There are still, however, many misunderstandings.  It is the very basis on which we learn to interact together. 


Things I Like

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

These are things I recommend without reservation. Enjoy!