For best results…

“A morning without coffee is like sleep.” – Author unknown

What makes us creative? Myers Briggs personality types will dictate which demographic will be most creative, but what makes humans, we as a species, creative?

Some forms of creativity can be identified in the brain. Towards the occipital lobe (on the backside) we find most of the imagery part of the brain, but things we visualize make some important stops along the way. For instance, we know that from the moment we see something, that image begins making it’s way towards the visual cortex, located at the back of the brain. Much like a road, once you leave “A” you do not simply teleport to “E”, you must make stops at “B”, “C”, and “D” first. One of these stops is at the Amygdala, where we find an emotional connection to what we are seeing. It is also responsible for Memory Consolidation.

Lets take a second to look at that. Memory *and* an emotional response are collected, stored, gathered, what have you, in the same place. Logically, it makes sense once you think about it. We tend to remember things better when we have some emotion tied with it. That or other sensory connection, like smell. So how do we draw on such memories to form great works of art?

The brain must be doing something different at specific points in the day. That’s why we find we are more creative at certain times. The brain actually functions at it’s highest capacity when sleeping. It almost literally, recharges. It gathers up everything from the day and continues working without the daunting tasks of movement, identification, vocalization and other things. This is why sometimes you have that “dream epiphany” and wake up with the answer. You no longer are separating your brain to different functions.

We can’t always rely on sleeping to make us creative though, can we? That still leaves us with the question, when are we most creative? Most studies have narrowed down creative times to be most promising in the morning and late at night. Which may show why artists usually appear sleep deprived. It’s ’cause we are.

Also, before I continue, I wanted to share an interesting fact. Solitude does not warrant itself to be, creatively, the most beneficial. Although maybe feeding the beast of self-aggrandizement that artists usually carry in their satchels, being around people whilst writing, playing music, drawing, etc. is where they thrive! Why is that? Because the brain will specifically put up walls to try to help you find that word you are looking for, or that shape you want, blocking out anything that does not relate to the thing you are trying to find. It, a lot of the time, will accidentally block out the very thing you are trying to find. This phenomenon is called “Presque Vu”. With minor distractions, like with the noise level you find when you frequent coffee shops, your brain can get focused on different things and then relieve itself of the walls it put up, thus giving the subject the ability to find that creative spark.

All this being said, I stayed up wayyyyy to late last night learning a new song on the piano and doing some creative drawing. I woke up kinda late for me, 9. I want to utilize all the strong creative times and so I’ve been writing this morning and drinking pound after pound of coffee. Image

When I woke up, I wanted to watch “Battlestar Galactica” (I never finished that series and so now I’m going through it), but I knew since I awoke late, my time for creativity decreased. So I forsook mindless entertainment for the much more fulfilling practice of my music and writing skills. Progress. I can watch a show anytime I want, what with wifi everywhere and Netflix on our phones. But my piano, my guitar, time needed to spend practicing writing, I have those only when I make time for them. Make time to better your skill set.

Now that the morning is almost done, I must get back to reality. Daily chores like walking the dogs, ironing my clothes for work, showering. You know, daily chores. Then off to work. Hope this was informative. I enjoyed writing it, it allowed me to be “creative”.

Ciao

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Pen

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” – Ernest Hemingway

At times in my life, painful times, times of rejoicing, times to dwell, times to move on, I can write, express myself in ways that only words can describe. Just like the keys on a piano, the words can be “played” with more emotion than just following proper grammar. The pen, the paper, become my haven. My place of refuge, even in a world where to say what you feel is to make your own grave.

It is the home away from the police who murder humans who have heart.

Hearts turn chaotic expressions into a straight and paved road, with side streets such as, “imagination”, “creativity” and “love”. Those many heartless only desire control, comfort and command. Disturbing their ‘perfect’ world is just enough trouble to justify the cleansing of truth. Without truth, we are nothing. Our truth, our words, carries generations into further inspiration and love. Their rules and regulations only limit the change that is in our very nature.

But the pen, she always calls me back. She wants more. I can’t ever fill the gap with ink, I can only cover it up. A wave of emotion will wash out that stain and I must return to my pad and pen. Her hunger once set me free, now captures me.

The thought of creation, some new door to unlock within metaphors and allegories, yet it all has been done. There is nothing new under the sun. Humbling, the pen pursues me. Chasing what she knows has already been put to pad, but finding satisfaction within the tides and waves of emotion transferred through my fingers. In a world full of people, only some choose to fly.

Our words and thoughts conveyed through artistic nature – rhyme, rhythm, prose, poetry. Anthems of glory prevail when our bodies deteriorate. Our songs of hope bring laughter and joy to the hurt, our songs of agony empathizes with the world. Languages matter not, for the pen speaks truth, not words.

Upon a piece of parchment we presume powerful prayers. The pen is mightier than the sword. History is written, re-written and forged through the view of one writer. Will the next author write the last chapter to our lives? Turn the page.

We write our stories, our tales of sorrow and woe through her, calculated scribbles of ink and our very soul is released. Must we fight…or write? Greed? Or conceded to her gripping calls and minute scribbles. Powerful she is, but if she have not love…what is she?

DSC_2076

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Check list – week 3

“Only put off tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.” – Pablo Picasso

Ok! Welcome! I, indeed, live!

Though its been a difficult start, I have managed to do more than I would have done if I had never made the list. So that’s something I guess (I think that phrase might be a meme).

Ok so first order of business – cooking! I finally sat my extroverted self down to gather supplies, prepare the meal and finally, cook it. Was it anything spectacular? No. Was it something delicious? You bet your sweet hiney it was. I made…

dun daaa
STIR FRY!

DSC_7771

With steamed broccoli! Grilled onions, red bell peppers, water chestnuts, baby corn, sliced carrots, and chicken marinated in a red wine sauce with garlic, I give you…food envy.

I have indeed made this on a regular basis with mi madre at the family’s house when I lived there, but it was always a pre-packaged meal with everything basically prepared before hand. This time…*I* went and bought all the ingredients (and a Totinos pizza because I will get hungry at a later date).

If any ladies read this, know this – do not, do not ever, unless I have a detailed list, send me grocery shopping. Even then (!) there needs to be an hour grace period for me. I’m pretty sure I went back to the produce section 4 times for different things (and I still forgot mushrooms and sugar snap peas!).

My ADD usually kicks in after I grab the first item, I then spend the next ten minutes people watching, drifting my cart around aisles, and looking at items I do not even want. By then, I’m halfway around the store, away from ANYTHING I could possible need and must traverse through the professional shoppers on a mission back to an item from a list I came up with on the way to HEB. (HEB’s are Texas only, they are the super power of super markets here. You may have ‘Krogers’, ‘King Supers’, or ‘Piggly-wiggly’ and even that last one might be true to Texans only.)

Close to an hour and a half later, my meal is almost done. If it were not for the classical music I had playing in my kitchen, I am pretty sure I would have pulled my hair out. Being a bachelor for several years will take it’s toll, and it is my personal opinion that the invention of the microwave ruined my chances at maintaining a legitimate cooking atmosphere. -_-

But, the food making process, was all worth it. Of course creating the perfect lighting and the stage for my meal, plus arranging it like it was when I snapped my shot left me a little warmer than luke warm food, but I have proof! So my cooking trek has begun.

In other news I have as well learned a new word in the third week of January. Ready?

Octogenarian” -’A person who is 80-89 years of age.’

“Octogenarian” is derived from the Latin roots “Octo” (meaning Eight), “Octogeni” (meaning Of Eighty).

There, a quick vocabulary lesson with a ranting and raving anecdote about simple food.

I also spent a good three hours last week cleaning my grandmas carpets, kitchen and floors. I also pruned all of her plants in the backyard. The front yard is next weeks mission.

I look at this list and smile. I’m on my way.

 

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

My Check List

“When was the last time you did something for the first time?” – Author Unknown

Today has been a day of busyness. I had to first meet with a a guardian of sorts in the morning. I brought a cross word to try and complete (which I have never done, so that might just make my list of things to do this year =P) while I waited for her. After our meeting I had a doctors appointment for an injury I sustained over the christmas break. Having X-rays previously taken, he knew that my knee was indeed not broken, but he believed I may have torn my PCL. 

Most people hear of athletes tearing their ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament). The PCL is the same thing, just Posterior and rather than planting your feet and twisting to injure it, like the ACL, you hurt it by forcing the Patella (knee cap) up the thigh. Fun times. 

Anway, once he determined I may have sustained ligament damage, he scheduled me to see a specialist the next day to be sure. So here’s to hoping it’s not torn.

Immediately after my appointment, I had to rush over to another hospital to have my annual check up on a car accident I lived through when I was eighteen. No, it is not overly dramatic to say I “lived through” the accident, by all accounts I should have perished. I may go into more detail when it is not past my bedtime. =P

So once I got there, I had to have MORE X-rays done. I swear, with all the X-rays I’ve had in my pelvic region over the past six years, I am more than likely sterile. Yay radiation. =\

Ok, recap. Guardian, doctor one (gave bad news), doctor two, x-rays, little guys swim upstream. Up to speed? Great, because I am now at the point of this anecdote I wanted to talk about.

After all of that, I met up with an old high school friend of mine. A strong, driven and focused man, who over the last several years has been very successful in building a business from his Typography or “lettering”. We caught up, shared laughs, reminisced and drank coffee. Some of the greatest things to share with old buddies if you ask me.

While talking about how his business was doing, he told me all the new things he had put together over the last year and the things he was making priorities to do to grow his business. I marvelled at his tenacity to not let needless things like distractions or sleep get in his way of completing, no, achieving these goals. And it was incredibly inspiring! He has daily goals to meet, which help him achieve his weekly goals, which in turn assist in completing long term goals. It’s a very practical way of life, if you ask me. But I’m an extrovert and can occasionally allow external distractions into my life (occasionally).

After we both departed I had the opportunity to take a hard look at my life. Sure, I have a full time job doing what I love, money enough to pay bills and pay off debt, family, friends and a working car, but what am I doing to grow myself? Not just have a check list that creates stories, but build upon the actual story of my life?

So, with that being said, I’ve thought about some things I want to add to my “superaweomenoteworthyfunfindingadventurousallencompassingtodolist of 2014″! Things that will hopefully build character into my daily life style and future.

-Have my own personalized photography cards to give people

-practice Spanish 3 times a week

-spend 30 min, 5 days a week doing basic workouts (push ups, hand stands, sit ups etc.)

-Put away enough money to save up for two new camera lenses

-use Mint on a weekly basis (check it on Sundays)

-Have all my budgets set (savings, quick spend savings, just in case fund etc.)

-Spend at least 1 hour a week cleaning my grandma’s house (interior)

-Thirty min on Sat mornings doing outside yard work for grandma

-Take a semester of speed reading classes

-Build a photography portfolio

-Go to bed before 9, 4 times a week, to wake up by 5:30 the next day

That’s all I can really think of right now. I more than likely will be coming up with more as I continue through the year, as some of these become habits.

 

Oh yes! My word for the week is…

“Clinomania”. It’s meaning? “A very strong desire to stay in bed.”

I know my cat suffers from Clinomania. Oh Pancake, why do you have to be so bloody cute…Image

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Do not look back, you are not going that way.” – Author unknown.

Huzzah! I believe I have finally stumbled upon (through much brainstorming in this ENFJ/ENFP mind of mine) a theme that can keep my busy fingers typing this year! May I present to you…

*Trumpet blasts*

A list of super awesome, note worthy, fun finding, adventurous, all encompassing to-do list of 2014! (haaahh, wooo, yeeaaah!)

Personally, this list is personal. (duh). Yes, I may be typing (or keyboarding, as is the PC word. Shoot me, please) about my accomplishments and crossing off sections of this list throughout the year for, hopefully, the viewings of interested individuals, BUT I mostly will be completing this list for my own self-fulfilment.

-Eat lunch with a complete stranger.
-Have my poetry published.
-Get a house.
-Put wood floors in said house.
-Sky-dive.
-Fly in a hot air balloon.
-Learn Spanish.
-Learn the Periodic table of Elements.
-Have a romantic candle lit dinner with someone I deeply care for.
-Every Monday morning, look myself in the mirror and say these words – “Time for some thrilling heroics.”
-Find out more about my family lineage.
-Start an overseas project to help those less fortunate.
-Climb a 14′r with my father.
-Write a letter to someone at least twice a month
-Begin lessons in playing the Cello.
-Purchase a 2,000$ suit.
-Fly a kite by myself (I’m an extrovert).
-Do a “Daniel fast” for 21 days.
-Hit a bulls-eye in Archery.
-Go 48 hours without sleep.
-Get back into School.
-Learn a new Vocabulary word every week.
-Spend one night a week preparing a fantastic meal just for myself.
-Read the book of Titus every week for this year.

That’s more or less the things I’d like to accomplish this year. Knowing I might not complete them all, I would be happy even doing some. If you set the bar high, and spend most of your time trying to reach it, you are completing more than those who do not set one at all.

I am excited for this new year. I cannot wait to begin scratching off things on this list.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The new American Dream – Part waayyy later

“Do not pray for an easy life. Instead, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.” – Bruce Lee

Wow. Hello. Greetings. So many ways to greet an invisible crowd who never batted an eye at my sudden entrance to the blogging world and just as soon fled it. Blogging has been fun in the past, like journalling, only your terrible, monkey foot hand writing doesn’t have to ruin a perfectly useful 11×17 inch piece of parchment.

I was told, years past, that when blogging, having a theme was a way to inspire people to place your humble domain in their bookmarked address bars. And it’s true! The only bloggers I ever followed (other than my personal friends) had very focused themes. Hopelessly single, TheGreatBurgerCrusade, travel pics, were all themes of bloggers I followed. So I thought – “if I want to document my days AND capture my community, I need entries to follow. Something that will warrant that feeling of ‘i can’t wait till the next chapter’ amongst my peers.” And what did I come up with? Something not only very real in my life, but very authentic in many groups of individuals – Dead end jobs. Hating your work. The inability to leave a foot print of pride on the world around us, other than the mud and dog crap on my shoes after a day working at my last job.

The first two entries went off without a hitch! Finding inspiration in my own misery, torment and struggles I successfully “blogged”!

If you could not tell, I giddily jumped. It was pretty classic. I even lifted one leg at the joint of the knee. Picture perfect if you ask me.

aaannddd we’re back. After those entries I spent time off the net to devote to family and frantically scrounging for last minute present ideas for said family. If you look, my last entry was during the Christmas season. I think if I remember last year correctly, I did push a young woman out of the way (into a rack of clothes if I’m not mistaken) to grab the last lego star wars X-wing set on the shelf for my little cousin. It was like a movie. I even ran in slow motion all the way there, which did make pushing the girl out of the way more awkward; my daring escape from her rage meandered around her for about thirty seconds while I made my way (epicly slowly) to the Lego set.

In conclusion to that thought, I took a sabbatical from blogging, and in early January I was offered a job of my dreams. A man who went to school, got his degree in a specific study, one of which he loves, yet working lawns for the past three years can take it out of anyone. Thats why when my friend John called me and said a former member of our church was looking for a photographer for his business – Architectural Photography, I did everything within my tiny Puerto Rican power to make this job mine. I think my exact words were something eloquent and well thought out like – “I am so happy I could poo.” I don’t remember, something professional like that.

John gave me his number and the rest is history really. I was a man who found his dream job, and had absolutely no more inspiration for my very well thought out and perfectly themed blog. It would be like Pinky and Brain deciding to spend their nights volunteering at Haven for Hope. Or finding Bill Nye behind a Starbucks counter asking you if you want room for cream. My blog, my life’s work (if you equate life to this blog. Nigel’s Blog = life. That’s how to write out that equation) had become…pointless.

Daunting as it was finding true satisfaction in your job and being very well paid (hard, I know) I have found I miss writing. So from hence forth, there shall be a new theme!

When I can think of something I’ll let you know. Peace, love and happiness. <><

Maybe *I* should do a forever single blog?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The new american dream – Day 2

“Get action. Seize the moment. Man was never intended to become an oyster.”
–Theodore Roosevelt

So begins another day on the ever elusive job hunt. I had work all day, which actually came with a relief. An old co-worker, who’s spirits are always joyful and hands are always ready for labor, who moved away several months back, came in to visit family and friends and decided to use this day and the next to work and earn extra cash. It was good times from the start, seeing him and receiving his joy throughout the day. Work mixed with play filled the day, rather than hunting for that million dollar job that I know is right around the corner. As the great George Costanza said – “The first million dollars is always the hardest”. Huzzah! Little did I realize that while I had taken a break from hunting, I became the hunted.

From the moment I stepped out of the car at the shop where I work at, till just an hour ago, I have been bombarded by overly pushy phone calls, well articulated text messages and overall the completion of my phone’s voice mail memory of “job opportunities”. I had no idea I was such a desired worker. It must be my body, employers like my body.

At first I welcomed the calls as if it were a gift on Christmas morning, one too many to count I would take five and hear out these one dimensional, monotone, they’reontheothersideofthephonelinereadytopullthetrigger sales associates pitches at making a part time, minimum wage, “you’re investing in something bigger” jobs out to be a dream come true. Seriously, you could have passed off purchasing 2,000 easy bake ovens as a good investment to Martha Stuart before selling me on their crack pot scams. Yes. That’s right. We’re back to calling them scams.

With the overwhelming amount of phone calls, you’d think I would have began yelling like a howler monkey into the phone as my greeting, but I remained calm, which made it all the more bothersome when they would lose their composure at me for not taking their bat crazy, “imperative that you take this job now”…job. Honest, that was one of the line’s a lady used. “It is imperative you take this job now while we have an open position”…imPERAtive. Really? I think it would be IMPERATIVE for me to leave the house if it’s on fire. It might be IMPERATIVE for me to gather up all the coffee I can find when the world ends sometime within the next two weeks. It is probably IMPERATIVE I *do not* put fully cooked T-bones in my pants when taking a stroll through the local zoo’s lion’s den.

*ahem*

You may or may not have just read one of my infamous, “people are stupid” rants.

Anyway, back to my point; I remained calm, they did not. I would say I have another opportunity I’m looking into and they would get mad at me. I would think “How could you possibly NOT think I would be looking elsewhere? Why would I have put out so many online applications unless…”, and that’s when it hit me. I did this. To myself.

I.

Did.

This.

In some subconscious, masochistic parallel mindset I must have flipped a switch that did not think things through! I jumped to the island of conclusions without even bothering to take out my captain’s extendable telescope (my mind might sometimes be a ship…I’m the captain) and have a look-see. Has having internet since windows 95 taught me nothing? Was this foretold within some prophesy book and was therefore beyond my complete control? Was I always doomed to make such a fatal error in judgement? If you do not know, sending out online applications with YOUR PHONE NUMBER is never a good idea. E-mails you can unsubscribe from, it’s a technological response to your clicking you mouse (do people still have those?). Overly caffeinated, vindictive sales associates are like the Mcdonalds slave workers of the phone service. Spit in your burger = lifetime of “keep calling this guy”. Drop food on the nasty floor = “share his number with all your ‘trolling’ friends”.

That’s it. I have to change my number. There is no going back from this. Sad, I’ve had this number since my first cell phone. It doesn’t spell anything with t9 or any other letters you can pull from the single buttons, believe me, I’ve tried, but it was still a cool number. Good bye contacts who I’ve had for years but have not talked with since forever ago. I’ll miss you guys.

Oh, and the quote at the top? Yeah, feel free to miss an opportunity every now and then and do not put your number up on the internet for grabs. Caio

Posted in Looking for work | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment