Geocache

Geokarma

While on a business trip to CA, I introduced several people to Geocaching. At one point I headed out to Geocache with some free time we had. I had only prepared for finding microcaches. Microcaches are generally small containers that hide in the landscape and contain only a small slip of paper to sign. In this case, however, I happened across an actual cache box. Cache boxes give geocachers the added bonus of trading an item. The item you put in the box should be of equal or greater value of the trinket you take out. As a bonus, it should represent something about your character and/or augment the theme of the geocache. I pulled out a trinket then looked over the possessions in my arsenal to trade. Other than my ID, credit card and pen I had a Scooby-Doo band-aid. “Cool enough” I thought (trying to convince myself that this was an even trade… which is wasn’t).

Coworkers teased, and I kept saying “but it was a cool bandaid” (again trying to rationalize the bad trade).

A week later, while I was home working, my wife and kids went geocaching in Angelfire, NM and came across what promised to be a big cache. When they opened the box it was filled with business cards and bandages! They were all so disappointed. I then told my kids about what I did in CA to which my eldest said (without any prompting) “at least you left a cool bandaid. These weren’t like that. They were boring.”

Nevertheless, I vowed never to leave something like a bandaid in a Geocache again. And certainly wouldn’t leave a business card. (What type of person does that?! If I find your business card in a cache, I’ll call you to find out!!!)

Happy Morning

In 2006, Folgers made what I consider to be one of the best commercials of all time. It was originally going to be featured during the Superbowl but rumor has it that upper management felt the commercial too annoyingly happy to do well. After all, the point of the commercial was that joyous morning sunshine is so intolerable that only through the consumption of Folgers coffee might someone bear it. Hence the campaign slogan “Tolerate Mornings.”

The commercial was met with mixed criticism from viewers. Some found the happy golden dancing people and their intentionally obnoxious singing so annoying that they associated the Folgers brand with that annoyance rather than the intended way to get around it. Others met the commercial with optimism and found the song humorous and memorable. Each chorus was met with an increase of volume and the commercial song even featured a bridge with a rising key-change: both musical qualities emphasize the rising sun rays getting stronger and more invasive. It’s a beautiful example of music-psychology.

As for the video, imagine Ned Flanders dancing around, playing the kazoo in a blond wig, basking in morning sunlight as the Sun’s rays force through the curtains of Homer’s window. It’s quite frankly what every parent with young children have to face on a daily basis.

Sadly, the http://toleratemornings.com/ website and all its goodness is no more, and it doesn’t ever last on YouTube for more than a few months before being removed. I think Folgers insistence of wiping the commercial from existence on all the video boards shows some backward thinking. After all, this is a commercial that they payed television stations to air and these fans are posting it up on the internet for people to watch without Folgers having to pay another dime. It’s a good commercial and they should have made more. Maybe showing the ramifications of a dry dessert that can be overcome by the dark brown richness from a hot cup of Folgers coffee.

Well… here are the lyrics to the best of my knowledge:

[Think Jimmy Durante]
Hah cha cha chahhh
Hah cha cha chahhh

Hello World, we’re shining so bright.
A new day’s here, it’s really dynamite.
Feel the love. Savor the door.
There’s a rainbow for each girl and boy.

On this [clap clap] happy morning! (Rise and shine!)
[clap clap] happy morning! (We’re doin’ fine!)
Get up, get out of bed. You can sleep when you are dead.

Partied hard; stayed up real late.
It’s time for work and you can hardly wait.
Scrub-a-dub-dub. Doodily-doo.
Spread the sunshine inside of you.

‘Cause it’s a [clap clap] happy morning! (Happy day!)
[clap clap] happy morning! (It’s nice today!)
Wake up you sleepy head. You can sleep when you are dead …

You can sleep when you are … [very bad Yamaha recorder instrumental]

La la la laaa
La la la laaa

[key change – rises like the sun]

Chahhhhh! Happy morning. (Rise and shine!)
Happy morning. (It’s wake-up time!)
Wake up you sleepy head, you can sleep when you are …
[clap clap]
Happy morning. (Happy day!)
Happy morning. (Feel right today!)
Wake up you sleepy head … [fade]


I enjoyed the song so much that I made it into a ringtone (or more appropriately, a wake-up alarm on my iPhone). The audio had to be stripped out of the commercial then carefully amplified and cut to produce the result. Audacity was used for the editing. I can’t remember what was used to pull the audio out of the video file.

Happy Morning Short Edit.m4r for the iPhone.

happy_morning_short_edit.mp3 for other devices.

Runaway

A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have. – Thomas Jefferson

Lately my life has been an emotional roller coaster. Is this what people refer to as mid life crisis? Maybe I’m just finally getting back in touch with my feelings. I could get seriously mature at this point and talk about politics and religion because that’s what adults are supposed to do… but I’m going to take a chance and run with my emotions here for a moment.

I’d have to thank my wife for helping me along that road. Sixteen years ago we met over a poetry group that I founded and moderated at the U. Emotions were fierce and wonderfully inescapable.

These emotions are what drove my creativity … I think by the time we’re adults we’ve learned to suppress our emotions so much that we forget we have them … the life that used to be so brilliant and colorful when we were kids has become a sea of lackluster and that dreary adultness points a finger at “responsibility” when being more responsible has nothing to do with losing that edge.

It was that emotion that drove the creativity into writing music, poetry, art and photography. A good friend of mine, Jorge, who had more creative genius in his left foot than I had in both my hands found a girlfriend and was spending most of his time with her. That left me with only geeky buddies to hang out with and visit. Then I found a girlfriend and she was the hottest girl in the CS lab to be sure! Now she’s the hottest girl in my house!

So when it comes to emotions, adults are conditioned to forget about them, and that’s easy to do with television and computer games. Since I’ve cut those out I started to see life normal again.

Last night I read a book to my son. It has a picture of a playground and a boy at the top of the slide, looking out. I remember that moment – the first big slide I climbed. I was so high! It was amazing. Then I thought to myself … all those moments in life that followed where I got used to being taller off the ground made being as high as that slide not so exciting anymore: The first tall tower, the first flight, the first time falling in love… but each of those highs were different. They had different mindsets and observations. And each one is so wonderful they shouldn’t be forgotten or compared with the rest.

So why did I suppress my creativity? I was trained into it for one thing. It’s the politics, the corporate, the expectation to be proper and civilized. Go ask James Thurber about being civilized! … but more than that it’s childhood fears in an adult form that I haven’t faced and shook off.

I can’t run away from who God made me, but I’m so paranoid! I’m afraid of people watching me and calling me a failure face just like they did for years in school! Ugh! It still feels like they’re watching me and waiting for that chance to laugh at me all over again.

Like the daft Captain Hook – always looking for a chance to choke the life out of Peter Pan just to sneer at Pan’s failure. The adult psyche is always trying to kill the child psyche. In more modern terms, it’s like the dreaded Count Olaf – always watching … always near and just waiting to snatch up the little orphans’ souls (after all, that’s the most enormous fortune anyone’s got).