All posts filed under: Essentials

Manual Transmission

I’ve been driving a vehicle with a manual transmission for more than a decade. Having said that, I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t know what that is. These days they’re increasingly rare. Put simply: Most cars are considered “automatic” because they change gears… well, automatically. And a manual transmission requires that the gears are shifted manually by the driver. If you didn’t already know this, then it may sound complicated but it really isn’t. To be honest, I don’t know a great deal more about cars than how to check the oil or change a tire. And I can still drive a stick. Speaking of the gear stick, that’s precisely what makes driving a manual so fun. It puts you in tune with the car (no pun intended). You learn to hear or, better yet, feel when it’s time to shift gears. This can be especially exhilirating amidst rapid acceleration and/ or on curvy mountain roads. However, there is a problem with loving manuals. I purchased my last sedan in 2016 and the vehicle …

Vinyl

I’m not sure why but a good deal of the music I enjoy was written and performed in the late 60’s and early 70’s. I’ve heard it said that people are most nostalgic for the period right before they were born, so that explains it, right? I’m not sure but I enjoy Bowie, Young, the Stones, and various other acts that were active around the same time. The music during this time period just strikes me as a little more authentic, for some reason. Don’t get me wrong, there are musicians that I enjoy that were making music outside of that time period. Luna comes to mind. And Radiohead. That might sound cliché but they are responsible for my favorite album, Amnesiac. I’ve read that it was inspired by Dante’s Inferno. I can definitely see the connection and further believe that that album is the sole reason I want to own a record player. I don’t yet, but I have a dream in which I’m sitting in my office chair working while the turntable is …

Coffee

I drink coffee to stimulate, inspire, or to soothe. On occasion, I use it like many others–while socializing in coffee shops. What might be different about my use of coffee is that I see it as a tool. It’s not just a routine Starbucks order. I try to consume it thoughtfully. When I drink cold coffee right before a workout, it’s a stimulant. It acts to decreases muscle pain and increases my performance. This is especially beneficial for early morning workouts. Coffee is my constant companion when I write. I find that it helps focus when I’m creating. I frequently write early so I’ll prepare my coffee maker the night before. In the morning, I just flip the switch and brew. I use coffee to soothe when I need to warm up or relax. I drink a hot cup of decaf on evenings when I want to do some reading or to set the mood for a little downtime. Black coffee is fine by me. In fact, I prefer it that way when it’s cold …

Gin

I can recall having a really good time with a few gin and tonics at a reception after a beach wedding. That event may be the reason I associate gin with the summer. But it could also be just because it’s a clear liquor, and I tend to think of bourbon as my go-to winter beverage. More recently, I had a few gin and tonics over the 4th of July weekend. I mixed the drinks, cut some lime wedges, and added a slice as a garnish. I had a number of mixed drinks that night, but I never became inebriated and enjoyed little more than what I’d refer to as a smooth flush. I’d been looking forward to having that drink for a few weeks before the holiday. So much so that I may have snuck a gin and tonic into a Sunday a few weeks before, which wound up being fine because July 4th wasn’t much different than any day for us. It was rainy and the fireworks were cancelled. There are other times …

Español

I feel like learning Spanish is my responsibility. Where I live there is a significant Hispanic population, and I’ve encountered at least a few occasions in which being able to converse would have been beneficial–not so much for communication as hospitality. I took a few semesters of the foreign language in college and high school. I’ve been to Guatemala and Peru but my grasp of Spanish is still pretty minimal. Of course, some people say the only real way to learn a language is immersion. But I’ve seen someone living in-country using flash cards. We share a hemisphere with South America, and Mexico is one of our closest neighbors. Español should be taught in every elementary school. After five years old, language acquisition can be difficult. I’ve tried apps and websites as well as a CD that I sometimes play on the way to work. I probably need to start using flashcards (digital or physical). However, I believe in limiting how much I take on at once, so my lessons in Español are currently on …

Black T-Shirts

try to keep my style fairly simple. Solid colors, mostly. I don’t have a problem with stripes or primary colors but I typically try to cull my wardrobe down to what is absolutely necessary. …

Whiskey

It was Ernest Hemingway who said, “Write drunk, edit sober.” I suppose that’s why I felt I could drink while I was writing this. The only problem is that you may know that this quote has been widely debunked. …