Civic Duty Time!

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Dun dun DUUUUUUUUN!

Huzzah! Lol

Seems it’s time for Fyre to perform some civic duties again. The last time I was called for jury duty, I actually was able to sit on a case. We were there an entire day waiting, waiting, ever waiting… Then finally at 3 pm, much to the chagrin of my comrades in boredom, jury selection began!

This was prior to my growing collection of animal hats, but I still apparently stood out enough that the other potential jurors started telling me to enjoy my time in deliberation because they knew I’d be picked. I was, and it was an interesting experience trying to get a room with a dozen people to agree on one answer. Watching the dynamics in the deliberation room, you can quickly spot varying personality types from the bully, to the gentle soul, to the parent, all thrown together for the sake of deciding justice. It took us an hour to come to a decision, I’m not sure that it was everyone agreed or there were a couple that simply did not want to fight anymore.

My role wound up being that of the advocate. I tried to make sure everyone’s voice was heard before we made a decision. The last thing I wanted was to wrongly convict someone because we didn’t fully pay attention to every aspect of the case. We found a guilty verdict and were led back into the courtroom for one of the most awkward silences I’d ever experienced. It felt like we had just condemned a man to die, when at most, he would have 6 months in jail for a crime we all believed he committed.

Have you ever sat on a jury? What role did you take?

Babies are among us!

In the past 2 years, my department of 10-15 people has produced 6 babies, 5 of which were to first time mothers. In addition to that, my Facebook feed has at least 3 expectant mothers of my close friends (sorry, not counting FB acquaintances). All this baby talk has given me plenty of moments to think about what is special to me about babies. When I say babies, I’m primarily referring to those who have yet learned to communicate. There are some things that apply to older children as well, but the focus is on newborns.

1) They are new to the world and everything is new to them.

Whether or not I believe in reincarnation, when a baby is born, it has never encountered anything like the world it is born into. If I expounded on that thought a little, I suppose technically, none of us have seen this moment prior to experiencing it, unless you happen to be clairvoyant. The difference to me is that with a baby there are no points of reference in their history that they can use to explain what is happening in the world around them. Think of the first time a baby feels wind. The wind cannot be seen and can range from a cool breeze to a hurricane. There is no way to quantify that experience the first time you have it. Watch a baby’s face as it tries to understand what is going on and you can see the learning process at work.

2) Everything is fascinating to them.
At birth, the word “nonplussed” is not part of a baby’s vocabulary. Or rather, the child typically will not know the definition nor the appropriate body language to display that they are not impressed by whatever is happening. Children are able to take wonder at things like “I have toes!” or “Does this fit in my mouth?” and yet I’m upset when my video call to a person halfway across the globe drops instead of still being amazed that just by manipulating series of electrical currents (and some other sciency stuff) mankind is able to perform feats that would have been considered magic 300 years ago.

3) They haven’t learned how to hide their emotions or any of the other 101 stupid human tricks.
When a newborn cries, it is because it needs or wants something. This can often be frustrating to adults because we do not always understand what the cry means. The cry itself is honest. The child has yet to learn things like “if I save this cry until later, I’d be more likely to get what I want” nor will the child laugh when it feels like crying just because other people would think poorly of tears in that situation.

4) They haven’t learned how to give up.
Ever watched a baby try to stand unaided for the first time? If you’re the type that hates watching others make mistakes, it can sometimes be excruciating to observe and not provide assistance. The baby, on the other hand, keeps trying, falling, rinse, repeat until finally something clicks and they are able to figure out what muscles to move to obtain the desired results. How many people retain that tenacity? How many times have I given up on something because it was hard, completely forgetting that one of the hardest things I would ever have done was figure out how to move my own body.

5) They are made of infinite potential.
Children have all the hopes and dreams of the ones before them on their tiny, fragile shoulders. We talk about the future and the world of tomorrow, but truly it is the children of today who will shape it. That little girl born yesterday could be the first one to leave our solar system, she could be mother to a nation, she could be the one that leads the children of her generation into a bold new future of prosperity.

6) Children are born without hatred
Without the interference of adult opinions, I’ve watched children play with anyone regardless of color, wealth or status. They look at things that are different from themself with curiosity, but seem to accept that 1) it is and 2) it is different. I’ve held babies of all different races, creeds and backgrounds and not one has rejected me because I was a different skin color than the mother. I’ve been brought to tears a time or two by the myriad of viral videos where children are shown a “controversial” video and then asked to comment on what was wrong. Invariably, the children will see people, not gays, interracial couples or the like.

I admire the innocence of infants. If only we could all retain more of that as we grow up.

Personal accountability

There is a line between advice and instruction.  

Advice can come from anyone at any time on any topic. It can be followed, taken under consideration, modified or ignored. It is not the final word on a topic. It is a suggestion. Granted the person giving the advice most likely would prefer that it was followed, but in the long run, it is still just a suggestion.

Instruction are orders. They are issued from a person who has a perceived level of power over another and are expected to be followed, typically without question. The level of power can be anything, including “this person has something I want, and the only way to get it is through them” to “this person has some level of control over my actions”.  Instructions, though they have the ability to be changed by the issuer, are not expected to be modified or ignored and if they are, there may be consequences, such as not they reaching the desired result.

If given advice, it is the responsibility of the person receiving the advice to decide what is best for them. The intentions of the adviser may lie in the best interests of the recipient, but ultimately, the recipient needs to be able to judge on their own the appropriate course of action. Otherwise, that person winds up a lemming who blindly follows others.

When given an instruction, the consequences of ignoring the instructions lie solely on the recipient of the instructions. That is one of the reasons why we have things like EULA clauses, to protect the party that has given the instruction from liability should something go awry from their instructions not being followed to the letter. Yet again though, the level of personal responsibility exists. 

No matter what is said to me, I am responsible for my own actions. If I make a bad decision, whether it was due to instructions or advice is immaterial. I am the one who chose to do it, either because I wanted to, because I thought it was a good idea at the time, or maybe because I was short-sighted and did not see long-term consequences. Though it would be nice to say that someone else told me to do it, that person does not necessarily have to live with the aftermath.

The adviser or instructor has a responsibility too, but it is for their own actions, products, instructions and advice. When driving a car, if the passenger shouts “turn right now!” and I turn immediately and crash into a brick wall, the passenger can ask “why did you turn into a wall? Didn’t you see it?” My response of “You told me to turn right now” will probably be met with “Common sense should have told you to turn where it was safe”. The same principle applies for me whether I am given advice or instructions. I have to be able to determine if what I am told is detrimental or beneficial to me.

Ultimately, responsibility for myself and my actions lie with me. I am accountable for all the decisions I have made, be they good, bad or indifferent. I have listened to advice, I have taken orders, but when it comes down to it, at the end of the day, all of the choices were mine. I have made plenty of mistakes, I have followed bad advice/instruction, I have ignored good advice/instruction. I do not blame the advisers or instructors for the consequences, I feel that responsibility for my actions is all mine.

What is it with me and bees?

Here’s a tale from Fyre’s past…

I have a strange relationship with bees. I’m not particularly afraid of them, though I like to believe I have a healthy respect for the dangers they present, especially in large numbers. Also, while an aficionado of honey, I have neither plans nor desire to either raid honeycombs nor raise and train bees. That being said, I’m also neither a bee hunter, nor do I seek out bee infested areas. The instances mentioned below are neither pro- nor anti- bee propaganda and if given the choice, I’d coexist peacefully in a world with bees and wish them no harm.

Ok, disclaimers are finished… on with the story!

My first, real-life encounter with a bee happened when I was a kid. We lived in Germany near the military base and I would go to the pool at the rec center there. On one of my many trips to the pool, I happened to have colorful beads at the end of my braids. The thing about beads, they don’t always stay put, especially when you’re an active tween doing things like swimming. That’s why I wasn’t alarmed when my friend shouted what I thought was “bead” and pointed at my hair. I reached to grab what I expected to be a fallen piece of plastic and instead received a sharp sting! I threw the bee into the water as my shock response and then finally registered that my friend was saying “bee”.

Fast forward a few years to a time when I’m living in Florida. I have an early meeting with my boss, but it’s a good morning, so I figure it wouldn’t hurt to drive in with the top down. I arrive at the office, do a couple of things and go into my meeting. Halfway through the hour long meeting, I feel something itch the side of my head. I pat my head gently, because nobody really wants to look like the paragon of poor hygiene by setting dandruff aflutter in front of their boss, and the itching stops. It restarts moments later as a more insistent itch. I adjust my braids again and out flies a bee! I swear it was the fastest I’d seen a person move when my boss, lightning quick, grabs a notepad and swats the errant bee from the air. I was teased about that for weeks…

A few years later, also in Orlando, late fall, I had my third encounter of the buzzing kind. It had been a long day at work. The kind of day where it would have been a miracle to escape my desk long enough to go outside, what says stopping to smell the roses. You can then imagine my surprise when I arrive home, take off my jacket only to have a bee fly out from right below my collar! I couldn’t begin to tell how long he had been there, but he hadn’t so much as scratched me. I guess he just came along for the ride.

What relevance has all this to current events?

Nothing!!

Except that I’ve recently had my fourth bee event! It started with a buzzing sound. I was out on the porch, my second favorite place when at home, when I heard it. As the noise was close to my head, I did a quick hair check, shaking my head to ensure there wasn’t a bee in there. I brushed my hands through my braids a few more times while I was outside. I returned to my favorite place (my room), fiddled around online, then finally went out for a drive. Periodically I would think I heard a faint noise, which I couldn’t distinguish, so I continued onwards only after shaking my hair again. I reach my destination and hear the sound, but loud enough to recognize it as a buzz. Once outside the car, I must have looked mad as I began furiously shaking out my hair. Finally, a shaken-up bee falls to the ground dazed.

I haven’t discovered the common denominator aside from my hair. The products I’ve used in my hair are vast and never consistent from one time to another. The most recent occurrences have had the involvement of a car; however, the last encounter I believe I picked up my winged friend without vehicular assistance.

I am appreciative that my bee passengers do not sting me, though I’m not entirely certain why I wind up their host. As 50% of my bee companions were slain and the remaining were jostled around to within an inch of their short, pollinated lives, I’d like to put out a bee warning that adventuring with me may shorten their lives, but nobody I know speaks bee. Since I’m unable to ward them away, I pass the tale along to you.

What are your thoughts on bees?

The best medicine

Yesterday I laughed and smiled so much that my cheeks are sore. That’s probably the best ailment I could ever have.

Let’s see a show!

When my DamEnt sibling invited us to see a show, my immediate thought was, “I’m gonna see a band I’ve never heard of, in a venue I’ve never been to… Sounds like an adventure! Let’s do it!” I spent the next week eagerly anticipating the show, while doing my best to maintain my ignorance of the band and their music. All that I knew was that it was an indie band. Named Ra Ra Riot. That’s all.

The Summit Music Hall is located near to Coors baseball field and I’d walked past it tons of times, saw bands were performing there, but never paid much attention to the venue as a whole. With this plethora of information in my noggin, we set off to see the show, one true fan and one clueless adventurer.

The Summit felt something like a TARDIS to me. It really seemed bigger on the inside (Sorry, I’ve been watching a lot of the Doctor lately). It is by no means the largest concert venue in Denver, but it was a decent sized space and this didn’t seem like it would be an at capacity night (I’m partially blaming the wet and dreary weather). I’d certainly been to more cramped concert halls. Also, our tickets came with a bonus! We each received 2 free drink tickets! The tickets were only $15 for the show, so 2 drinks were like getting the show for free.

Another positive is the cute little diner in the corner. They had burgers, pizza, even salad O.o?

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The fries were yummy, but I had way too much for just me

And walls adorned with awesome beaver art.

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These paintings just made me happy

So… the opening band hasn’t even played their first note and I’m already counting the night a success because I have a new venue to keep on the list. Things can only get better from here, right?

Right!

The opening band was Cave Man, another in the “band I’ve never heard of” category. I may not have known them before, but they certainly made an impression on me!

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It was a pleasure listening to them perform!

Emo shoe gaze music, yes, but beautiful melodies and harmonies. Besides, what’s not to love about watching the lead singer wail on the drums even though there are 2 drummers right behind him?

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I was sorely disappointed that I couldn’t find their album on Spotify, but their YouTube page works just fine :-D I’ll warn you, their videos are not happy shiny people holding hands.

Ok! Half the night over and it’s been nothing but win! On to the main event!

Ra Ra Riot took the stage and I was reminded of one of the things I love about concerts: the way the crowd seems to swell with excitement when the band we’ve all been waiting for takes the stage. The joyous energy in the air just made me want to dance, which I did a bit.

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They rocked the house! Their songs ranged from happy and energetic to sugary sweet. All of their songs had me bopping my head and tapping my feet when I wasn’t dancing. I also spent a good deal of time watching the electric cellist.

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That's right. Electric cellist. Doesn't get better than that!

It’s not every day you hear an electric cello in a rock band. I would love to hear more!

Two great bands + one cool venue = very happy Fyre. This was certainly a great introduction to the music of Cave Man and Ra Ra Riot!

My happy moment for the day

I tried on my winter coat that fit well last year to find that I’m going to need to buy a new coat. Huzzah for weightloss!

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