Thursday, September 23, 2010

Blue skies and hot air

The blue sky looks inviting today. While yesterday I woke up to a canopy of grey clouds above, today it is a canvas of light blue. I think about random things sometimes. My blogs just veer in whichever direction I'm going that morning. Today it is about possibility. The blue sky is an optimistic one. I think about being in the air. I think about hot air balloons.

I grew up in central California and I remember as a child that there was a weekend every year where there was a hot air balloon event. The colors illuminated the sky as they rose higher and higher into the clouds. Sometimes there would be upwards to ten of these balloons in the sky at once floating above the earth. As a child I wasn't sure which part impressed me the most. Was it the balloon in the sky or the early dawn before when they lit up the balloons in the darkness. Each balloon looking like some large exotic lamp from a foreign land in the purple glow of the morning light. I wanted to jump in that basket and ride away to wherever the balloon took me.

The first hot air balloon took flight in 1783 in Paris:

This is my favorite clip from John Adams. It shows the optimism of a new country being born tied into the beauty and wonder of man's first flight. Who'd have thought it was the French leading the way huh? Actually one of the coolest parts of my European trip was this out of the way museum we found outside of Paris. We were supposed to go to the Louvre but heard the line was too long. The weather and skies in Paris were not optimistic. We had a day to spare before our plane to sunny southern Spain. We stumbled into this "international museum" according to our French cab driver. It was an air museum and not the art work we anticipated. We laughed as we viewed the prowess of the mighty French air force units. The Concorde was a cool thing to see and that was definitely made in France. Yet the most inspiring and surprising part of the museum was the hot air balloons and I found the balloon from my favorite scene.

This is what life does sometimes. We go to Paris by accident, and a middle of nowhere "international museum" by another accident, and then I find what I really wanted to see. This was far more impressive to me than the Mona Lisa. This was man's ridiculous belief that we could have a balloon whisk us into the heavens. They probably wanted to lock them up before they showed it was possible. Yet it wasn't the grey clouds above that inspired this journey into the sky, it was the blue. Just as the ocean has attracted sailors and adventurers for centuries upon centuries, the blue sky called out to two French men and two Americans in 1903 in North Carolina.

I remember this when things are not where I want them to be. I remember that life can change in a minute. That what we thought we wanted can shift in the wind like a balloon and lead us somewhere even better than we imagined.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Letting go

For the first time in a long time I let go of the guilt. It started last night in anger. I've been mad about a lot of things. I've felt that the world was against me, that God was against me. So we had a little conversation. Lately I've had my doubts and my questions about life, existence, and purpose. There are millions of doubters out there if you want to research the stuff. Youtube clips, websites, and even blogs that specialize in debunking their so-called myths and enlightening us with their so-called truths. All I know is what I feel. Last night I felt a huge weight lifted off of me. The guilt and pain I carried around on my back lifted. I crumbled to the floor in tears. There was a lot of anger and guilt inside.

A girl online the other day called me emo...whatever that means. I think I'm a generation past emo, but if it means I've been especially melodramatic then fine. I agree. I have been way too concerned over things that I'm discovering were not worth being concerned over. Emotions and feelings I was expressing were not being matched, or maybe even felt by the one I thought shared them. I blamed myself for the way my last relationship ended. I wasn't open enough. I didn't express myself. So I created a blog and wrote all my expressions. I wasn't committed. However ridiculous that argument was, afterall I had just taken her to Europe. If that doesn't show commitment in a year and a half together then I guess I'm hopeless. I was opposed to marriage. I never said that. I only said that it was too soon to discuss seriously. Maybe that was my downfall. I always wanted a wife and children, I just thought being single so long it wasn't really an option for me anymore. I've seen the light on this one. I know it is possible and I do aspire for that when it's time.

I made the mistake to keep reaching out when there was no longer anything to grab on to. I still felt it. I thought it still existed. Instead of the response I had hoped for I once again got the door slammed in my face. I've made my last reach. I realize that it was probably one too many. There won't be a fourth. I'm done.

I'm not upset though. That is the craziest thing. I'm over it. I feel like the guilt has been cleared from my conscience. I no longer hold that sole responsibility I was carrying on why things didn't work. Sometimes things just don't work. It is not necessarily anyone's fault. People just don't mesh. What we felt was true isn't anymore, maybe it was once, and maybe it wasn't at all. I think the lack of answers always bothered me. But, maybe the answer is there are no answers. It just is. I've had to accept the just is answer a lot lately. I want to dig deeper and fight it but in the end the only one who suffers for that effort is me. I'm letting go. I can't hold onto to something if there is nothing to grab on to. I can't dig for something that doesn't exist. I accept that life just throws us curveballs. We can swing away and knock them out of the park or we can fall over flailing in the attempt. I'm just going to take the pitch. Next time I'll hope life throws it down the middle.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The phantom post

One of my favorite movies is The Illusionist with Edward Norton. In fact right after watching that movie I went out and bought a book about Houdini. There is something mysterious about magicians and escape artists in the late 1800's, early 1900's. Before the movies, before the Internet, we looked to these performers to captivate us from their creativity and imagination.

Houdini lived a very fascinating life and travelled the world. He had to keep his act top secret because there were many copy cat performers in those days. It was very difficult to keep track of them because of the flow of information in that time. A performer could view your act in New York and set up shop across country and perform the same act to an audience that had not witnessed the original. They would not know the difference until the original performer appeared in their city. Usually an artist of Houdini's caliber had already improved upon his original act and expanded his performance so by the time they witnessed him there was no comparison to the copy cat performer. That was one of the brilliant traits of Houdini, he never settled on a successful act, he was constantly improving upon it.

I'm going to revamp this blog into a few things I love: history and how it pertains to the world we live in today. From other amazing blogs I have viewed on the Blogspot I realize my musings about daily life are not quite the draw. I need to revamp my act. This will share some things you may not have known about our past and also relate them to the way we are living now. Life in the late 19th century and early 20th was very difficult. The disposable income was very meager and even star performers of Houdini's magnitude had to struggle to maintain their lifestyle. It wasn't a world where semi-talented people became instant celebrities and made millions. They had to work for everything and even then they were not guaranteed rewards. In fact Houdini may not have enjoyed Eisenheim's performance in The Illusionist because a lot of it related to the supernatural and spirits. Houdini did not appreciate magicians who performed that act. He was an escape artist and not an illusionist. Everything he did, he did for real in his eyes, where as an illusionist simply fooled us. He spent much of his life before his death uncovering psychics and mediums that had become so popular with the masses during that time. What people believed had to be real Houdini showed how it was done with illusion.

Now we are are fooled by business projections, stock returns, and life gurus. There is the promise of instant and never-ending wealth that never appears and television producers who make average, everyday people television stars only to make them magically disappear a few years later. The greatest magic acts today were sold to us by politicians, Wall Street and Madison Avenue. They dazzled us with words and graphs. They flashed images of immense beauty before our eyes and fed us reassuring words on how everything before us could be ours. But they were selling their wealth, not ours. We didn't get the true value, we got the packaged item behind the product and it was not a "Houdini act" because Harry Houdini was the real deal. It was an imitation Houdini and we are still buying it.

The reason I titled this the phantom post is yesterday I posted a revealing post about myself. I realize that while it is important to be open and honest with myself, this blog doesn't need to burden others with that. My personal growth is my own. I am making the necessary changes but need to do that in a private secret "Jon blog" hidden somewhere in a vault with extra locks that even Houdini couldn't pick. There is enough information of me already swirling through these magic machines we type on everyday. They won't get everything! I still need a job. I refuse to let my blog disqualify me when they have access to so much to do so already. So in honor of Eisenheim and Houdini, I simply made it vanish....