Sunday, February 22, 2015

Up Series

Previously I posted about the joy of reading or watching a series with your spouse in which you discuss each installment or episode before going on to the next.  With regard to the last series that I enjoyed this way, I wondered afterwards whether I could recommend it.  The final conclusion to this fictional story about intertwined lives left me wondering what the writers were trying to say.

Authors of fables can make the circumstances, events, and outcomes fit whatever moral they want to project.  Writers of historical fiction revise the reality to accommodate the lesson.  Historians, biographers, and documentary filmmakers, on the other hand, do not have as much discretion.

The documentary film series that my wife Shannon and I are currently watching together on Netflix streaming is the Up Series.  The films in this series were made in a span of forty-nine years.  This strobe light biography interviews children at age seven and then again every seven years up to where they are helping to raise the children of their children.

The first film in the series starts with a premise that predicts outcomes for each actor.  The subsequent films, however, document the personal histories of individuals living in a world without a script where bad things do happen to good people.  The only lessons to be found in these stories are the universal themes common to all mortals:  birth and death, love and grief, pride and regret.

After I finished watching each film, I enjoyed making predictions to my wife about what would happen to the people next.  The directors laid out their own predictions by choosing which interview edits to use as foreshadowing.  Unlike the directors, however, I only had to wait days, not years, to see if my guesses were correct.

The later films in the series focus less on future outcomes and more on retrospection.  The subjects of this experiment are bluntly asked to self-assess.  As a viewer comparing one life to another, I benefited from this series in that it helped me refine my personal definition of what it means to live a successful life.

I look forward to watching the next film in the series.  The release will be seven years after the last which is now just four years from today.  This might seem like a long time to those accustomed to binge-watching but I have been made to learn patience by enduring the periods between releases in the Star Wars franchise.


Saturday, January 31, 2015

Dallas Boat Show

My wife Shannon and I went to the Dallas & Fort Worth Winter Boat Exposition this morning with our sons Abe, Ted, and Jim. While we were there, the children were given Junior Firefighter Dallas Fire-Rescue badges. My brother Steven and I are going to scout out Lake Limestone soon.





Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Persevere

As part of my annual update to my Optihumanist Principles a year ago, I added the following recommendation to the "We Choose" section:

When you are feeling trapped or stuck,
Then make a change and trust your luck

To clarify that I mean changing your strategies rather than giving up on your goals, this year I am prefacing it with the following:

When your endeavors fail to go,
Persevere though it be slow

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Family Day

In Nevada, the Friday after Thanksgiving is Family Day, a day to eat supper with your children.  This official state holiday was promoted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.  They note that "frequent family dining is associated with lower rates of teen smoking, drinking, illegal drug use and prescription drug abuse".  I have added Family Day to my list of Optihumanist Holidays.


Monday, October 06, 2014

Just Rest


Just rest, baby, just rest
You know you’ve done your best

Your loving children near
Please tell them not to fear

Come back, baby, come back
Without you I will crack

This husband by your side
Will seek to join his bride

Just hush, baby, just hush
Don’t fret about that mush

You know I’ll carry on
To wait for your new dawn

Creative Commons License
Just Rest © 2014 David Wallace Croft.
This song is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Yesterday my children participated in a presentation by the Children of the American Revolution honoring veterans at the Texas Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Fair Park, Dallas, Texas.  I am proud to state that two of my relatives are Vietnam Veterans:  my father Major Joseph Wallace Croft, Jr., United States Air Force (USAF), retired; and my great uncle Colonel Walter Morris Stischer, USAF, retired.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Calico

Yesterday morning I dreamt that I was in the backyard of my childhood home petting the family calico cat.  In my dream, I was thinking that I might have to bury our pet in that backyard someday when she died of old age.  It was puzzling to me how she had managed to live so long since she had been with us since I was a small boy.  Then as I awoke from the dream, I recalled that she was interred there over two decades ago.

Last night I saw the California Life Company (Calico) referenced in a conference announcement for the Society for Venturism.  The website at CalicoLabs.com states:

Calico is a research and development company whose mission is to harness advanced technologies to increase our understanding of the biology that controls lifespan.  We will use that knowledge to devise interventions that enable people to lead longer and healthier lives.  [...]  Through our research we're aiming to devise interventions that slow aging and counteract age‑related diseases.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Washington & Old Dominion

The Washington & Old Dominion was originally a railroad track that was later converted to a hiking and biking trail.  This 45 mile long linear park is sometimes just a few trees deep on either side but you frequently get the illusion that you are deep in nature rather than an urban area.  Click on any one of the photos to see them all in full-screen slideshow mode.





















Sunday, June 29, 2014

Jersey City Postcards

I was in Jersey City for a few months recently.  Here are some photos that I took that I consider postcard-worthy.  Click on any one of the photos to see them all in full-screen slideshow mode.















Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

On Memorial Day, we remember those who died while serving in the military.  Today I remember the Croft brothers Edward and Daniel who died fighting for Independence in the American Revolutionary War.  May we bear in mind their sacrifices as we practice our citizenship.

Today I walked by the KatyƄ Memorial, a gruesome reminder of the massacre of thousands of Polish prisoners by the Soviets.  For this Memorial Day, a wreath has been placed beneath the plaque that was added to the memorial for the 9/11 attacks.