Sunday, May 18, 2014

Closings and Endings

R.a.n.t. of week 05/18/14
Life is about continual change, so life is always changing. Much like a kaleidoscope. A poet once wrote;

Colours shifting, changing.
For a moment here.
In a moment gone.'

There are two aspects of change. One is when something new begins, but the other is when something ends. Sometimes the change (or end) is drastic, like the loss of a loved one. But usually, the change is something small or mundane (to most people). If you are like me, even the ending of a TV show or departure of a favourite character can be sad. I'll admit, I used to watch ER quite regularly, and when Dr. Green left the series I had something in my eye which caused it to tear. Seriously, THAT'S what it was. Just something in my eye. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Of course at the time I had no idea his 'wife' was going to become River Song or I wouldn't have minded his departure, just so she could move on.

Other times, a location you love comes to a close. Years ago, there was a 24 hour coffee shop on Milwaukee's North/East side. My friends and I went there quite often. A few of my friends would frequent the place and play chess till the wee hours of the night. We all loved that place, but it eventually went out of business. So I had to find a new place for coffee. I tried a few till I found one on Highland called, Highland Park Pies & Cafe. It was owned by an older lady but she informed me she had just sold the place to a lovely young coffee barista. So 'Birdies' (as it was renamed) then became my new place. I'd go quite often before work and do a little writing, or just chill out listening to the smooth jazz they played. In the Winter, they had a fireplace and Sarah (the owner) would ask if I'd like to have it lit. Always I'd agree. Usually I'd be there by myself but a few times I convinced someone to stop by. My sister, my dad, my friend Ray or my friend Mike would show up from time to time. I'd also see Terry, a family friend, there quite frequently. Then things began to change. The place didn't play jazzy music any more and I started to bring my own music. Gradually, I was there less and less. When Sarah remarried, she too was there less and less. Just a few short months ago, another friend of mine, Sandi, visited the place and told me how much she despised it because the service was slow. Stopping in with another friend they simply ordered coffee and sandwiches and waited a half hour. They were very upset and that was disappointing for me to hear. The place that had once been one of my favourite places to visit now had people complaining about it. The speculation is perhaps the family that owned it was just getting tired of running it. That may be true, because shortly after the place was closed. I've had to add Birdie's to that list of places I now miss.

 In other words: Sorry for the inconvenience, but Birdie's is closed. PERMANENTLY!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Take Me Out To The Ball Game

R.a.n.t. of week 05/11/14
I could sit at home and watch a baseball game on TV. Sit in the comfort of my own recliner with perhaps Taco Bell nachos, a bag of peanuts purchased from the local store and an ice cold Guinness, what could be finer? But what about seeing the game live? That would be finer. Being in the crowd when a home-run is hit! That would be finer. The fresh air, the excitement, going with a group of friends, a chance to sing 'Roll Out the Barrel', these are all great reasons to go to a game. So why don't I go more often? Typically I go to one or two games a year and that's about it. The biggest reason is I simply can't afford it.

Prices - At the Game:
Ticket - $ 25.00
Parking - $ 10.00
2 Mediocre Beers - $ 16.00
2 Hot Dogs - $ 9.00
Nachos - $ 5.50
Total - $ 65.50

That's a pricey trip to the ball field! Sure, the price may fluctuate depending on whatever professional park you go to, and assuming during the course of three hours you consume the food listed. But remember, these prices are for one person alone. Add children, add more money. Even if you cut back by what you take into the park, kids may hound you for mementos of the day. Key chains, mascot figurines, T-shirts, jerseys, whatever. So yes, the price may change drastically. But the point is......
Adjusted price - $ 50.00 to $150.00

Prices - At home:
Ticket - Free
Parking - Free
2 Quality Beers - $ 4.50 (average price)
2 Hot Dogs - $ 2.00
Nachos - $ 3.50 (from Taco Bell)
Total - $ 10.00

And if you are like me, you are not watching the game alone. I tend to invite my friends over when I want to watch a game. If you have friends like my friends, one may bring over a couple six packs for everyone to share, another may bring a large bag of peanuts and just about everyone chips in for beer. Sometimes I end up with more beer in my fridge than what I began with, and left over pizza or chips. I almost make money hosting my own ball game.
Adjusted price - $ Free to free with more beer in my fridge.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Throwing In The Towel

R.a.n.t. for week of 05/04/14
There are many times I believe what I'm doing, may be pointless. If something is pointless, why continue with it? The problem is, many people feel the same way, and not only because they feel it's pointless. What I mean is, some people give up quickly on something others may fight for. Me? I'm not a person that gives up easily. I'm stubborn and I believe in the adage, 'if at first you don't succeed, try and try again. I've discussed before how I'm learning a new language. It's a daunting task, and at times I feel like giving up. But so far, I have not. Nor do I believe I shall in the foreseeable future. Then there is my writing. In some ways, maybe I've given up a little. When I was younger, I had the dream of becoming a published author or a magazine columnist. I've never really pursued that, so it seems I may have given up on that aspect of my writing. I've just come to think, for the most part, my writing won't be appreciated by the masses. Even when it comes to something as simple as a poem or a r.a.n.t., I can't even get most of my friends to stop and take a look. If something isn't handed out on a silver platter, (some random, anonymous, inspiration saying) it's not worth looking into. But I do have a few loyal people who read, and for that I'm grateful. But I'm not ranting about readership today. You see, that has never affected my writing. A crazy person, is a person who does the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. Well, I'm not expecting to suddenly be a well known writer. I write because I 'AM' a writer, whether people like it or not. So I'm not expecting a different result. I write for fun, and my own enjoyment. And if I motivate, encourage or entertain others along the way, fantastic.

So what am I writing about? Back to the people described above, it's always annoyed me some people give up way to easily. Try one thing, doesn't turn out the way expected, and suddenly the project, interest or task is placed on the back-burner. Suppose you prized a valuable gem (be that a hobby, a friend, even a belief). But others didn't like it or thought it was worthless. You still KNOW the value of what you have, but because others are telling you it's worthless, you decide to give it up. No, they have not convinced you it's garbage, but you give it up because it's easier to do so. That's what I find annoying. Sometimes, you have to do something for you and you alone. It may be convenient or easy to give in to peer pressure or to stop doing what you enjoy, but some times you have to fight for what you want. You can't give in just because someone tells you to. You really have to look at what you have and decide for yourself. Is what you have truly valuable? Is it really precious and worthwhile? If so, why give up on it then? Because when you give up and give in just for the sake of other people, you are selling yourself short. How sad and pointless is that?