the value of a moment.

13145a99f1db93827395b3771f6dec89The “value” of something these days is too often taken as monetary.  There is such a thing as becoming too sentimental about something, but I see too much of the opposite.  I hear kids whine about how “stupid” a learning activity is or how “lame” going to grandma’s is when they were just about to pass level 50 on their video game and were interrupted.  (Won’t they see the value in those moments when they’re gone?)  No one seems to enjoy “doing it by hand” anymore and, if they do, it’s because it’s trendy.  They don’t see a gain in putting their time in.  Time is money.  Everything’s about money, about attaining that “easy life”.  (Again, I think of Miranda Lambert’s song Automatic.)  And because everything is made automatically by machines and with cheaper, lighter materials, we see more affordable items of lesser quality more readily available to, well, everyone.

There’s not as much value in something just because everyone needs to have it, and so a cheap solution is made up so that everyone can.  Even iPhones and Instagram seem to make my photography less enjoyable when I feel like I could shoot a pretty good picture with just a phone, and everyone has an iPhone.  It’s kind of like sugar, once a rare thing of high demand that suddenly was cheapened so it was available to everyone – and now we can’t get away from the damned stuff.  I look back on the things stashed away in our barn that came from my grandparents’ house and I just see so many things that were actually authentic, metal, wood, not cheap plastic that just gets thrown out when it breaks.

Yesterday, I went to go look at a Starr upright piano that came with the house a lady bought and she doesn’t want it anymore.  She’s had offers to scrap it, but she didn’t think that was the right thing to do – and I’m glad.  The piano is absolutely beautiful, although it could use a little work – which I am definitely willing to do.  It’s about 110 years old, completely original, and only one key doesn’t work well.  I asked her why no one wants it.  She just doesn’t play piano; everyone else, well it’s way too heavy and it’s not a Steinway.  Starr only produced pianos between 1849 and 1949 out of Indianapolis.  At it’s best times, 18,000 pianos were being made per year.  Starr won some pretty prestigious awards in the 1890s which are displayed on painted decals across the piano.  In my research, I’ve found that this piano has the potential of a $70,000 value – or at least it should.  However, people struggle to get $10,000 for it considering how heavy it is.  I see most sold for even less than that.  This one?  Free.  But that’s because the cursed thing is made out of wood, wood, wood, metal, ropes, and wood.  Lots of good quality wood.  Much heavier than plastic and aluminum, and that’s why no one wants an old, not-Steinway, obsolete piano made of wood.

When I mentioned the piano to a friend, all he could see was the money value in it.  Well, I see more value in giving it a life and letting it age further.  It’s a piano, and I want it to be used as such – not scrapped for parts and fuel.  This thing has some serious character.  But so many people fail to appreciate character.  They just see money, trendy, glamorous,… and they turn their noses up at the idea of having to put time in to move something like this piano, especially when it’s not already in mint condition.  They don’t see the value and pride in time spent doing something with your hands.  But what will they say in 100 years, when the Starr pianos have all been chopped up and burned away??  They’ll lament the “good ole days”, probably the same way they would have lamented a nice slab of buffalo meat had they actually pushed the buffaloes into extinction.

Ironically, I had these thoughts on the same day that I watched a movie with a similar theme.  My friend had mentioned Creator, a 1985 film that I had never heard of but decided to check out anyway.  It’s about this research professor who can’t get over the loss of his wife 30 years prior, so he’s hired a student to help him regrow her through a cloning process.  During the course of the movie, the professor becomes transfixed with his project despite having a new woman around.  The student, hoping to understand “The Big Picture”, falls in love with a girl who nearly dies.  The professor sees this all play out and finally comes to term with the hard parts of life and how moments that are fleeting have value because they are fleeting, so sometimes you just have to let go of the ones that are gone.  The juxtaposition of his dead love, possible future love, and the student’s fragile love really makes you see how you must identify and indulge in good things when they’re there because they won’t be for nearly as long as you’d hope.

And finally, it also occurred to me how frightening it would be if we really kept cheapening and devaluing everything in life.  Machines are already replacing human labor.  In some aspects, I want to see this as efficient and effective.  In other aspects, it scares me.  What is the need of a workforce at all if it can just be replaced?  If, in the future, people are able to do what the professor tried to do and can grow whatever person they want…well then what is the value of a life anymore?  Oh, sorry, I accidentally shot your friend…we’ll just grow a new one.  ….It kind of reminds me of what I was saying before, when something breaks these days because it’s cheap and you can just replace it with another cheap thing.  Maybe the “good ole” days are already gone, and now I’m just starting to see the value because it’s all just memories…

I feel like this has been a classic scatterbrain entry, so I will attempt to redeem myself with some photos from my Pinterest feed of little thoughts and little things that make up a happy life if you’re little enough to see them – so enjoy:

43a249ae646861d34833a4a72c5ce26f 577d081575388f3990b9ddb13efcbe24 817a3bc367776306b48b2e01a1445fbd b7446679f35a464626e20bbc139397fe ba2da5073ba6c19c217199564fbe082b bfb554566e4f802bc05f7121620b9aec c3187b379d48d0d277d9394a549af800 c56478ece7801f97c6090881079742bb ca7e541df8b0ff91d1809df012e8eb11 cad267ce9c20b1aaaca16b7f11606526 ce0d9984a6f833d588e946c3afff064e f534a8cc562f4d06160110577cb0e911 fa463d2b715205bc14bb7a07d134c35b

 

Radiant Orchid: Pantone Color of 2014

Today’s news is all over the board.  Nelson Mandela has died, Obama has been called out on a lie that rekindles my beliefs that he’s not really American, and Rachida Jones surprisingly has to defend herself against comments she made previously which disapprove of women trying to sell an image that they shouldn’t be selling.  Yet I am brought back again to a silly obsession that is plastered all over Pinterest, image searches, and the dolt-filled fashion world this morning: the announcement of the Pantone color of 2014.
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Last year, I wrote a satirical article about the Pantone color of 2013: Emerald.  This year, it’s a less startling and even more feminine “Radiant Orchid”.  I’m not sure what everyone’s obsessions with orchids, but I guess it stems from their long-lastingness and their original symbolism of rarity, beauty, and strength.  However, orchids come in so many different colors, and I certainly do not find a pink-purple to be the representative sample of a “radiant orchid” – but that’s beside the point.
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So amidst the countless women striving to succeed in the business world of men, we will now have cartloads of bimbos raving over this ultra-feminine shade of Barney, buying make-up sets that are way to over-priced and made with questionable materials and restocking their already grotesquely over-loaded closets and clothes racks with styles that hopefully aren’t as horrific as the ones on fashion show catwalks.  (Do they SERIOUSLY think those outfits look good??)  And, as always for your pleasure, enjoy some photos of what you KNOW you’ve got love for a whole other year now:
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American Pride or Unconstitutional Selfishness?

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Every year that the 4th of July rolls around, I become more and more disgusted by this country. Here are my biggest concerns with this holiday:
1. It’s all about the barbecues.
2. It’s the only day we give a sh*t.
3. We desecrate the American flag.

1. What does this holiday stand for anyway? It should represent freedom, remember those who fought for us, and remember those who still do fight. It should remind us of our strength and why we work towards a better tomorrow every day. What’s sad is that we are forced to remember a day that meant victory for the European immigrants, but which marked the beginning of the end for a lot of native cultures. Something is lost in translation when we root for “America” and I’m not sure what the real answer is. All I know is that, more and more, we see advertisements for picnics and food and events, not for moments of silence or any of those things that really matter. What has become of this country?

2. Just because it’s the 4th of July doesn’t mean we aren’t patriotic on the 3rd, the 5th, or three months later. What is it with national disasters and national holidays that spark pride for a moment and die when the excitement becomes passé? Are we really that easily bored or distracted? Do we not know how to be patriotic when we are continually spoon-fed by the government and each other? When we can sue anyone who mildly offends us? Every action should be done with an intention of bettering the community, the country, and the planet.

3. Patriotic colors are wonderful and hanging the flag is even better. But what in the world ever happened to RESPECTING the flag?? Do you even know how to hang a flag properly? How to fold it so it doesn’t touch the ground? How to burn it if it falls? Did you know it is unconstitutional to wear the flag in any way? To DESECRATE it?? I see all of these girls bubbling over pins of American-flag skimpy tops and bathings suits on Pinterest and I just want to GAG. What has become of this nation? When these girls are our elderly, we might as well sell our souls to the Middle East and live in Oz. There’s no hope for this future if we don’t pull our act together, respect our country, grow up, and realize we don’t live in a bubble that will keep us safe and protected from all of the bad things in this meanie of a planet.

And that is my rant that I rant every year come the 4th of July. Thanks for your time.

Emerald: Color of the Year

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(Pinterest) Emerald, Peacock, whatever…

I know you have all been holding your breath… but it’s old news now.  Of course you’ve heard.  Pantone has declared Emerald 17-5641 as the Color of the Year for 2013.  (Don’t mess up the numbers!  You wouldn’t want to have the wrong shade of Emerald Green!  The Wizard of Oz might come after you if you offend him…)

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(Pinterest)

REALITY, people.

So I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a “Color of the Year” until I walked into Beachwood Mall yesterday and saw it plastered all over the makeup advertisements.  I guess I don’t use makeup as a crutch, so I wouldn’t know.  Pardon my cynicism, but this whole thing truly irks me.  I don’t post on this blog often, but I’m sure you might guess by now (if you follow) that I’m not exactly partial to the fashion industry.  In other words, I think it’s a crock of baloney.  I’m a naturalist… since when does the planet become controlled by the fashion industry?  By a silly human past-time in a world of creatures with more glamor in their natural decor than we could ever replicate without wearing their very furs themselves?

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(Pinterest)

Who the hell is Pantone anyway?  Oh, a printing company.  That makes sense.  I remember reading on some prehistoric stone plaques defining the creation of this planet that Pantone was declared the ambassador of artificial color trends for each human-observed cycle of that big Sun star around our little rock.  Naturally, I panicked and stocked my closet full of the color.  I couldn’t imagine looking out of style!!!

No, but really… the shit was on sale, and green is one of my favorite colors.  H&M and CVS stocked me as far as I plan to stock:

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Don’t forget your ruby slippers!  Pretty sure that’s a requirement this year as well.