>are we there yet?


PilgrimAkimbo has been unfocused for quite some time, nearly as unfocused as it author. When I started this blog in late 2006 I meant to focus my writing on cinema, along with some forays into other arts. Very quickly my focus expanded, but for the most part I blogged a lot about film. Then I got tired of that. Cinema is only one of many interests that grab my attention. I also have a family with young and very young kids. I can’t seem to get myself out to the theaters anymore (it’s actually been a long time). Many of the films I want to see my kids can’t yet see, so that makes it hard to see much at home other than family-friendly movies (many of which I do like). And then I fall asleep anyway reading to my kids when I put them to bed. Plus, years have passed since I relied on film references to define my life. I have become less and less interested in following trends or keeping up on the latest films. Bla, bla bla. So that’s that.

Well, it’s been a long time since I focused on writing anything about cinema, film, movies, or whatnot. But now I plan on changing that somewhat. However, the last thing I want to be is another one of those bloggers who announce their intentions on their blog and then take no further action toward those ends. So I am not announcing that I will now refocus PilgrimAkimbo and make it a film blog again. But maybe, just maybe, you will find me writing my thoughts on cinema and art here more often once more.

So that’s that. Any questions? Don’t forget your reading for next week.

>finishing that walk


A couple of years ago my wife packed up our almost two year old daughter in the stroller and took a walk down the sidewalk to pick up our then eight year old daughter from ballet. The day was a nice day.
Before my wife could get to the ballet class a driver in an SUV crossed several lanes of traffic and struck my wife and daughter. That nice day turn ugly real quick. Broken pelvis and foot, two weeks in the hospital, several more weeks in a hospital bed at home, constant pain.
The other day we took a walk down the same road to pick up our eldest daughter from ballet. You could say this was the day that walk from two years ago was finally finished. Though pain still lingers for my wife, I cannot thank God enough these two are still alive and with us.
Two years after. Finishing the walk.

>a new year’s changes

>This blog is just over three year’s old. Since starting it I had also joined FaceBook, and then Twitter. Life continues, of course, in its typically unpredictable way and I have become drawn towards unplugging myself somewhat from the online life. I have deactivated my FB account and deleted my Twitter account. I also plan on posting less here, though I won’t quit entirely.

The reasons are many and have been just below the surface for some time. In short it is just the need to de-clutter my life and get on with other things. There are many things I would rather do than fritter and waste my life looking for distractions. I can’t predict that by unplugging more from the Internet (and other things) I will finally write that book I’ve always wanted to write, or get in shape and climb a mountain, but I can say that maybe, just maybe I will spend more time with my wife and kids. Maybe I will find more and more little ways to be productive rather than merely receptive.

The fact is, when I look at my life, and I look at those things I most am proud of, they always seem to be things I’ve very consciously done, things that took effort, commitment, even a little obsession. I have a list of things I want to do, or characteristics/talents I want to develop, and I know that to do so means simplifying my life and removing distractions. I am tired of constantly wishing to do things and then finding instead I’ve wasted a couple of hours online (or a couple of years!).

There is so much more value in talking over beers with a friend at a local pub than there is in “connecting” via any social networking site yet created. There is far more value in taking my kids camping or skiing than checking Google Reader for updates. And, of course, spending more time with my wife doing the hard work of living “as one” rather than just two hard working people moving along parallel paths is invaluable. Each of us sitting at our own screens surfing or blogging or updating our profiles just doesn’t quite cut it anymore (it never really did).

Fortunately I am not the only person seeing these things or choosing to declutter. Now, this doesn’t mean I’m giving up my online life entirely, but I hope to be more focused elsewhere.

>Ring those bells: 350 in Eugene


This morning I did something new for me. I attended an environmental rally.

Now don’t get me wrong, this was a little affair, just a few people for a few minutes. But it was good. After it was over I walked away glad that I had attended. The purpose of the rally was to highlight the number 350 as it relates to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

The big deal about 350 is that it is the critical number for CO2 in terms of parts per million in our atmosphere. 350 ppm is the upper limit that scientists have determined is safe for life on the planet. Presently the number is near 390 and rising. The goal is to bring it down to at least 350, or lower. 350 is also the name of a non-profit (350.org) started by Bill McKibben. This was a 350.org event.

I had my wife’s Flip camera with me and took a few shots. Here’s the gang doing their thing:

What was great for me, in a very small way, was just to have gone to such an event. I often tend to not do things I want to do merely because of unfamiliarity. Now that I have gone I hope to feel more freedom to attend future events and possibly get more involved in local/global issues. For the time being, however, I am happy to just try to apply good principles of living to my life, and read, think, and write about these things.

>a day of celebration

>Today is a day of celebration for me and my little family. I celebrate my beautiful wife’s LIFE. On this day one year ago she was struck by an SUV while walking on the sidewalk near our home. I wrote about it then. From that moment on our lives (and especially her’s) have not been the same. Weeks in the hospital, then hospital bed at home, then months of physical therapy, continuing pains, and all the rest of life (wife, mother, homeschool teacher, and pregnant again) have been her existence. For the rest of our lives November 17th will continue to bring back the memories of near tragedy and great pain. But this day is also a day of great thanks. I am so thankful that Maricel is still with us and thriving. I am so blessed to have her as my wife, and our daughters are so blessed to have her as their mother. That she is with us, that our family is whole and growing, makes this season that much more joyful.

>The Crisis Now: Harman & Harvey on our (re)current economic troubles

>Given our current economic crisis (haven’t we been here before?) maybe this would be a good time to see what the communists have to say.

Here is Chris Harman speaking on how we got into this stinking mess:

Harman references several times the talk given by David Harvey. Here is Harvey:

I have to say I like a lot of what they say (in fact I think they are often spot on), but at times they come across a little too simplistic and a little too much like they are preaching to the choir (but Harman is a hoot, ain’t he). This is where some good reading will help. This last weekend I spent about ten hours on American Airlines reading Das Capital. It’s both great and a slog. Many pages left to get through that beast. Then on to other books and more perspectives. Bye for now comrades.