Saturday, December 9, 2017

Georgia Snow World

I think I heard of a one-inch prediction of snow to close out the fall season in Northwest Georgia?

By comparison, what we got was epic!
For one, actually watching it snow is a tranquil delight. It's practically never enough to be huge danger...just enough to make things pretty.
I caught the early snowfall:
My first pic holds a special place in my memories, how it captures the occasion. Plus, hey I wasnt cold yet, and how cool to catch a view from the front door I'll always remember?
Then I roamed a bit:
And of course, Captain Fantastic, an avid window watcher, got an eyefull of what went drifting by.

I will have so many more pictures for you once my wife figures out how to send them from her tablet (tech difficulties tonight)-ah, here comes a few right now!

And here's her shots and mine of our neighborhood, with more to come:

I'm taping some childrens' music. Would you believe I wrote two Frosty-lyric parodies the day before all that snow came east to dump over half a foot more powder than expected? You can't waste an opportunity like that. Sychronicity! I watched it snow while working on an interview for BAck Issue magazine, regarding Marvel Con '75. Harold Parker and I had a good time; this was my fourth call related to the article and the 3rd to yield many paragraphs of memories, including bumping right into Marvel geniuses Stan Lee and Roy Thomas. Then my wife and I watched it snow 'til dark, with occasional glimpses out into the night air to watch the persistent precipitation.

Next day, 8 am:

Wendy at FRed's playfully asked me to build them a snow man, so on that same morning walk, I did the best I could by hand:
So there's FRed the Snowman, complete with a Monster drink can Crystal F. found for him. Too bad he was facing East...he was a Slushee by noon!
Since I'd caught the mood, though, I decided to provide our household with a badminton player to stand by our front yard net.

He ends up with a cowboy hat, as featured in the "Midnight Rider" snowman remix. You'll see.

I've had such serious subjects in mind for the blog this week, things that required thorough thought to achieve fairness. But you know? This is so much more universal in its own way. I'm kinda glad this became my next post instead.

All the best. Be Chill...very chill!
Cease ill

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

It's the music of Creating Marvels, by Integr8d Soul!

All right! In the better late-than-never dept., I managed to overlook loading this up for Angela's birthday, which I did at least celebrate with her in fun fashion. AT the time I wanted to make good use of my podcast space while I was waiting to hear from more guests, so I put together a way you could hear the songs I use for my drops. My Pro Tools set-up, long-promised, should be ready this month, and then you'll get to hear everything in higher fidelity. Then wait til we take it into the studio early next year...
HEre's the direct download code:

Anyway, enjoy the songs.

Be Chill, Cease ill

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Cecil Louis Disharoon, Rest In Peace

Cecil Louis Disharoon, Rest In Peace

Two hours from now will mark 10 years my Dad died. I am sure he was flawed even in ways that didn’t directly affect my life, but I can’t help thinking what a good man he was- what a good man he tried to be. He may well have voted for...shall we say, someone who's never staffed a full State Department-but I can well see Dad and I go around on this one: me explaining how hard it’d be to strike North Korea’s nuclear capacity before Seoul’s an ancient city-turned-vapor, how I hope, if nothing else, the desire to live and at least be greedy would prevent everyone with a nuclear button from instigating annihilation that might prevent these and all other humble words from finding another generation of humanity to read them. We may already have done so and be way past talking much about it, too.

Meanwhile, we purchase another laptop, hoping we’ll be running animation soft ware that helps us create cartoons to bring smiles to children not yet even born. Ordering a Pro Tools dongle that will help us record the songs that wake me at such hours as these. Drawing pictures I hope reach those who appreciate them. Writing stories that thrill young people who take a break from Instagram to also think and imagine and dream. It’s either the activities of a visionary busily distracting himself from the end of the world. Perhaps simply put, I’ve just chosen to be an optimist.

My dad had trouble pronouncing a very similar word. It was a new abstraction to him, to claim being “opkimistic.” He pronounced it like our beloved Popeye might. But he did grow to know what it is to feel the end is near, or even have hope despite the very real fears. He learned first hand how short life can turn out to be: you work for a nice home and save for golden years, then get the barest poise above them before a diagnosis literally takes your breath away. He had long since made his efforts to know Jesus. If anything, he poured it on with his lungs deteriorating and his sleep demolished and his body tired and racked with pains. As if to make up for some unpardonable offense for which pulmonary fibrosis was set upon him. As if he’d ever made a mistake or lived a life that deserved a painful, scary death- as if one’s soul might not have averted torment, after all, by sincerely asking Christ’s forgiveness. As if you can seek a bargain to live more before living forever.

It’s strange, how the optimism of eternal life can be couched in a belief system promising, but for grace, eternal torment. It is a wonder anyone with that sincere belief can ever think of anything but profoundly witnessing to every stranger with three minutes that you meet. But it also provided a grace he felt so deeply as to tear up, testifying in the second pew of an old time church, many times over.
So while NASA’s creating no-flat-tires, the man who went back to his job making steel-belted radial tires wire became a glow in my consciousness- never to leave me, but often missed-ten years ago. I felt a glorious light within, a calm, an abiding love, and more happiness than you’d expect.

I was telling my new pal, Sam Maronie- friends I never expected to lose fall away, but new, kind, creative people tell me more and more often now to call anytime- a man needn’t have more than an eighth grade education to get most any job he could imagine, in my Dad’s world. One might grow to be ashamed of that over time, but is there shame in trying to fight your way out of a miserable existence to gain a claim to be your own person? To marry and support a family? To give to one set of friends after another, be a kindly volunteer grandfather, a loving husband? He really cared about teaching me right from wrong. I don’t hold him forth as some paradigm, but he was a true father. He was a kind uncle, providing toys and fruit baskets and candy, helping out sisters and brother with tough love and sometimes, kindness and support of others even when they time and again struggle to show why. That’s grace. I literally don’t know how many people he helped. He never bragged about it.
He wasn’t instilled early on with much belief in himself, but even with the end looming, he improved his skill at reading. There was a proud younger day when he took his namesake to see a campus offering opportunities he didn’t dream possible. An education, at the very least, should be a way to refine yourself, to open your offerings. His daughter discovered herself through art, cooking, even became one of the four percent of all professional welders who are women. So many things he believed in for others, he may not have believed in for himself. That was his capacity to love. Hope.

I want to tell story after story. I could sprinkle in some hilarious mistakes, some lapses in judgment, and tell a lot of quiet moments he might see little point in depicting. Time and again, I would be telling about something he taught me: driving. Shaving. Mowing a lawn. Buying a car. Working out at the gym- enjoying a sit in a sauna. Helping a family member. Denying yourself frivolous things. Consistency. Dreaming of new ways to be answerable to yourself, doing what you like best. Consideration for your mother. Play games with your kids. Take time to be together- go on a vacation if you can. Keep your own counsel. Have a silly laugh. Get up and do things you don’t think you feel like doing if they really need done.

Say what you must to yourself about religion, but he took the whole family to church every week. Until he didn’t, when their pious scapegoating and snobbery seems to have released him from the obligation- and as I understand the story, maybe it was just a little more deeply embarrassing and probably, unnecessarily damaging to someone who didn’t get more respect even after joining their brotherhood as thoroughly as possible. But he found a way to forgive, anyway. He believed there could one day be enough water under the bridge. He showed me you might not think too much of yourself, your values could be based around machismo and accepting norms without question...but you could better yourself with determined work. You could, at least, try a dream. You could build a business that honors time with your family and bonds with your community, even if you weren’t from there. You may hardly fit into a traditionalist society when you’ve relatively drifted into it by wayward fortune and marriage. But it’s admirable to let another man teach you practical things you need, like carpentry from my grand dad, or mechanics from his friend Billy. I could go on and on with details of the biography and tell it all lovingly like a story, even if it’s one more of personal significance. It’s context, after all, that makes all our stories global symbols, pieces of ways of life. But he also taught me to get to the point. To maybe consider I might be simply using more words than necessary.

A fatalistic road to a world without proper attention to diplomacy and even personally painful sanctions looms in the background of what we do, living lives like my Dad’s, every day. But those lives require hope. They need the practicality of resolving the task in front of you for its own sake. But they need the vision of something bigger than one’s self, a higher ideal with which to engage.

I think, when I’m in the nicest Earthly home he ever had, I sometimes miss having him sitting there to talk, to shake his hand, to help him with some household task as best as we could figure out how to do it. I miss him in a way I never had to in San Diego, where I could picture him warmly smiling over my shoulder as I drew or wrote. I miss him because he visited us there and had to agree, I’d found some place pretty breath-taking for a kid growing up in a trailer on an acre in the country- but this is where he should be. He awoke, this final hour, before peacefully breathing his last beside Mom.

But when I take some flowers today to the place they laid a wrecked body he no longer needed, he won’t really be there anymore than he’s on a recliner in that suburban home he finally earned. He’ll be right there in my heart, where he’s never left.

Rest in peace, Dad. Rest, too, please, in the peace within me.