Red Leigh Cooper

Red Leigh Cooper

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A "Seinfeld" Approach to Life...

     Disguised as a spirited conversation about "salsa" and the plot of a T.V. show the characters were pitching,  Seinfeld became known as "the show about nothing."  Seinfeld was on the air for almost 9 years starting in 1989 and running until 1998.  Few situation comedies have that kind of longevity today.  I really think the reason is because most situation comedies are about something.  There is a certain situation or a certain issue a character has that the stories are centered around. This means the shows themselves already give themselves a shelf-life by providing such a narrow scope of possibilities for show ideas.  Seinfeld was just about four friends' every day lives.  For that, the show idea possibilities are endless.

     I have tried to do more of "nothing" lately.  Eric and I recently went downtown, and stopped by a club to see our friend Mike.  Mike's had a lot going on and I was very happy to just vibe and listen to everything occurring in his world.  He had to run since he was working, but, being the very cool dude and great friend he is, said, "I took up the whole time talking, I can't believe that...what's up with you all? What are you doing?" To which I replied, "Nothing..."  Mike stopped for a moment, looked thoughtful, and said, "I need to try that..."

   I was reflecting on the evening and our conversation with Mike and I started wondering what I really meant by "nothing". I mean, I was out, downtown, seeing some bands...really wasn't exactly doing "nothing", right?  I still have a day job.  I don't sit around doing "nothing" all day...

  ...But I really meant what I said to Mike and countless other people who have asked me what I've been doing.  What I think I really mean by "nothing" is "enjoying life."  I am a notorious "projectaholoic".  I'm not a a "workaholic" per se, nothing I take on seems like hard, endless, 60 hour plus per week work.  I truly enjoyed all the various things I've done throughout my life.  When I was done, I stopped.  However, the key here is there was always something I was working on or doing outside of my normal life.

     I'll be honest, for always doing something, I feel like I've missed out on a lot of actual life.  I honestly do think friends stopped inviting me out because I was so busy with the band or dog training or whatever.  Since I decided I was slowing my life down a bit, my social calendar has greatly improved.  This is a good thing.  I love people.  I love community.  I like having conversations and hearing people's perspectives and ideas.  That, to me, is what life really is about.  I've probably never been happier and I'm not on stage and I'm not teaching a dog to sit or doing anything else that is keeping me from really adding deeper meaning to my life.  I'm in real relationship with people for probably the first my life.

     Let me take a moment to say that I don't believe that there was some kind of relational element to being in a working band and dog training.  There most certainly is, but it's in a completely different way.  First of all, let me say that you have to look for the "real" moments of relationship with the whole music industry thing.  A lot people are just trying to see what they can get from you as your star rises, and you have to be careful of that.  Real relationship when you are a musician tends comes from friends you had before the whole thing started and your band mates.  Sometimes it doesn't even come from your band mates because egos start to inflate...big...but those real moments are certainly there.  It's very much like a family as I've said before.  There are sometimes those real moments with fans, but it's definitely not often enough and not always very enjoyable or uplifting.  I was in a metal band.  A lot of people who like metal are dealing with pain of some kind.  Many of those stories, when you have that moment to stop and listen, are horrifying, albeit very real.

     With dog training, well, there is the dog...and that's the most enjoyment you get honestly.  The people make it hard really hard. When I say that, I mean the owners and other trainers alike. You are only as good as your successes and when you fail, even though it may be due to lack of owner compliance, and through no fault of your own, word can get around quickly that you, for lack of a better phrase, suck.  I love dogs.  I believe I can communicate with them better than most people, but my love for such a free, and beautiful animal was greatly diminished by the people I came across.  In hindsight, I just figure I wasn't meant to be a dog trainer and this was the way to open my eyes to that. All I wanted to do was love and help dogs. Not brag about my successes or give in to a client's unreasonable demands about how they thought their pet should behave and how to get there.  I feel the whole industry should be more esoteric.  Instead I find it getting all increasingly militaristic. It's a dog, people.  I'm not saying let it misbehave, but I am saying give it room to breathe and be happy.

     In the end, I couldn't continue with these activities because they didn't make me ultimately happy.  What I find makes me happy is really getting out and experiencing life.  Not being hold up in a rehearsal space.  Not being held hostage by a client or the ridiculous idea of dominance over another species.

    So now I choose do "nothing".  Maybe that's what Mike meant when he said he needed to try that. Maybe he noticed the look of calm and peace on a previously stressed-out face.  Maybe he realized he was seeing me and Eric now even though he hadn't seen us in a year and a half.  There are benefits to freeing yourself of the extraneous stuff.  You may truly give yourself more "life"...

     ...After all, a show about nothing had nine years. For me, the "show" idea possibilities are endless...

Happy Fishing!



Deep Sea Fishing - 8/30/2012

Here are my "good reads" of the week! Hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Deep Sea Fishing - 8/30/2012

 Lance Armstrong and the USADA - When A Cancer Hero Decides To Stop Fighting - blog - This is a hot topic where I live, Austin, TX and many people are "armchair quarterbacking" it as to why Lance Armstrong really gave up his fight.  Me?  I'll wait for the proverbial "smoking gun" if there is one, but I thought this blog was interesting as it's from the perspective of a cancer survivor about the possible perspective about another cancer survivor.  If you think about it, sickness or not, haven't you ever just felt so tired that you just wanted to stop fighting a ridiculous allegation, rumor, etc?  Ever felt secure enough in your self and who you are just to let that go?

We will need your help to change the world - blog - One of my favorite authors, Donald Miller, releases a new book September 6th, but this new offering is so much more than that.  Want in on the revolution?  Want to "grab that starfish"?  Go over to Donald Miller's blog and see how to become involved in Storyline 2.0.

Sodom and Gomorrah Revisited:  A sermon on reading the Bible with the eyes of love - blog - I always maintained that the Sodom and Gomorrah story was about the dangers of disrespecting people and not what everyone has come to think it means. I was comforted that I wasn't alone in my assertion.  - Okay, maybe not a blog, but a pretty simple questionnaire that tells you which presidential candidate's views are closest to yours. I completely recommend this and was pretty happy with the results.  They were spot on for my beliefs; give it a try!

And you know...since the presidential election is coming up...  Anyone as tired of the rhetoric on Facebook as I am?

Happy Fishing!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Deep Sea Fishing - 8/23/2012

Here are my "good reads" of the week! Hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Deep Sea Fishing - 8/23/2012

Far Too Little Sabbath in Sabbath - Huffington Port Religion blog by Mark Sandlin  - When going to church becomes a chore, there is nothing restful about it.  While I have communicated my own ideas about how to "Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy," this is a great post about how to go about Church as a place our sabbath rest, why that is important, and "can the institutionalized Church shake itself free of the dogma and structures which bind it long enough to experience Sabbath in a more sabbath full way."

What’s So Threatening About a Changed-Mind? (Resisting the Term “Flip-Flopper”) - Melissa Jena blog - I always wondered why we as a people desperately want people to change and then when they do, we find something wrong with that.  Very thought provoking blog about finding the value on others' experiences and welcoming changes of thought.

What If Jesus Meant All that Stuff?  - blog by Shane Claiborne If Jesus really meant to love our neighbor and that's all that was important, a lot of people may be in trouble.  Posted by a friend of mind on Facebook, I found it very life (and starfish grabbing) affirming!

Thou Shalt Not Have a Potty Mouth; Does God hate swearing? - article by Brian Palmer - Let me first explain that I think "swear words" are completely deemed as such by man, so I found this article very interesting.  I feel that any biblical reference to being profane is more about gossiping, speaking ill of people, etc.  What does this article say?  "The Bible is hazy on vulgarity..."

...and since you all know about my life in a band...

Happy Fishing!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Deep Sea Fishing - 8/16/2012

Here are my "good reads" of the week!  Hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Deep Sea Fishing - 8/16/2012

The Theology of the Dark Knight Rises - Experimental Theology - This was really interesting to me as, well you know, I believe you should always be Batman.  Surprising was also one of the comments that said the movie was terrible because Batman relies on violence too much.  I'm not a fan of movie violence; I don't go to horror movies at all actually, so I was puzzled by that remark.  Do you think it was too violent?

Your God is Too Big - Experimental Theology - A reminder for Christians that there is a difference between a God so big that we don't see the small miracles in our everyday lives and that God is big enough to handle our problems and love us.

Six Surprising Ways Jesus Changed the World - John Ortberg, Huffington Post blog - Whether you believe he was the son of god or not, Jesus was a real person whose examples of love and kindness historically changed the world for the better.

Sexuality & Scripture  - Zone0fScilence - "An important thing to remember about the rules laid out in Leviticus is that they are part of the Old Covenant, replaced by Jesus’ New Covenant. Indeed, Jesus violates several of the rules laid down in Leviticus, and teaches his disciples that there is a new way." Amen. This blog also stresses the importance when engaging in biblical study of examining entire chapters and not just the verse.  Too many times, in my opinion, verses are taken out of context and used improperly to support bigoted beliefs.  I always knew I didn't need to actually be silent in church or "submit" to my husband...

Sexuality isn't a Choice - Zone0fScilence - This was linked inside the previous blog.  A must read for anyone still on the fence of whether our sexual orientation is a choice or not. 

What Beer Can Teach the Church - the abp blog - Okay...I'm listening... ; )  In all seriousness, good comparison between trends in the beer industry and how the church might follow those trends to minister to the communities they may be out of touch with.

And since I am convinced we all Google incessantly...

Happy Fishing!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Deep Sea Fishing - 8/09/2012

     I commented earlier in the week that, probably like many of you, I take to Google alot when searching topics.  The Internet has become a wide source of serious study and amusement for me and probably a lot of us.  I've been posting my "Good Read of the Day" when I come across a blog I like, etc, for my Facebook friends and had the idea to share with everyone weekly what I've been reading and what's influencing me while I continue to search for, and eventually grab, the starfish.  So here we go:

     Deep Sea Fishing for August 9, 2012:

      Hidden Battles - Knight of the Living Dad blog - The ending of this will get you for sure.  It's an important reminder to be kind to everyone, especially on social media.  There may be pain someone is experiencing you aren't aware of necessarily.

     Are Christians Hate Filled Hypocrites? - Experimental Theology blog  - A thoughtful essay, especially in the wake of the Chick-Fil-A controversy.  I'm a Christian, so this was interesting to me, especially as I fully understand what some people do in the name of religion to make Christianity less appealing to anyone, including myself.

     On Geese and Gander - blog -  What's good for the goose is good for the gander no matter what side of the political isle you are on.  Both sides posting offensive materials and then claiming the other side is "mean."  I'm glad someone called them out on it.

     An Honest Conversation with my Gay Friend - Conversion Diary blog - This one blew my mind!  A good conversation that didn't end with a "you have to agree with me or I'm gonna be mad."  If you want to learn to have a civil discourse, even if you have to agree to diagree, this is a pretty good example.  I will say, I don't think the topic necessarily had to come up during dinner and I don't believe in the author's religious views, but this was a great blog to read!

     And I'll also post a favorite meme/picture/saying from Facebook as well:


    ...okay...but I also really liked this!

Happy Fishing!


What was your favorite blog this week?  Tell me below in the comments!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Always be Batman...

        I wish I had seen this before I wrote the last post...

     Problem solved.  I would always choose to be Batman...wouldn't you?

     I guess more important though is the first line. "The most important thing in life is to be yourself."  It was kind of my point.  You do you for the greater good of this thing called life...

     ...That's not what a lot of you told me though...

     I had forgotten about this gem when I wrote about what was "best in life..."

      Seems simple doesn't it?  Much more simple than being Batman, actually...

      My friend Geoff actually posted the text of that picture to the comments of my post. That's when I remembered I had seen it before and regretted not adding it into the conversation.  Now, one thing I hadn't seen before is my friend Thax's comment that Chicken Pot Pie was the meaning to life, but I digress...

     Another friend of mine, Payden, said that, "YOU being happy is the only thing that matters, your thoughts, dreams and experiences are the only thing you take with you after your body is gone."  Okay then, if the actual meaning of life is just to be happy, how do we do that?  Constitution, right?  "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."  What are we chasing though?  What is "happiness?"  Does it mean being content? Is it completely state of mind?  does it mean having everything you've ever wanted?  Is it perfect physical or emotional health?  Is it fulling the purpose for the gifts you've been given in this life...

     ...Quite the ponderance for a starfish grabber...and it got worse...

     I saw this posting from a friend on Facebook: "Happiness. It is not something to do. It is something you are. Pursue something else. Be happy."  

     Now I am thinking are they separate? Being happy has nothing to do with what you do? You can just be happy no matter what?

     I'll be honest, I've been really unhappy with being an accountant lately. It's not the most soul satisfying of jobs for someone who is more of a creative mindset. I don't quite know how I got here except for a long string of jobs starting from temporary data entry to ever increasing levels of accounting duties. So, suffice to say as I have embarked on my adventure in starfish grabbing, it's been on my mind. I am not the "normal" accountant. I am outgoing, communicative, apologies to any other accountants reading this, but it's not the normal profile of a number cruncher. I actually got a job once because of the person I am, but I've lost many because of it too. I'm good at what I do, but I have really felt like lately that I need to be doing something else...however, "something else" maybe doesn't pay as well. Can I still be happy then? With potentially less money?

     How do you just be happy without any other extraneous factors? I mean if it is the meaning of life and all... If I'm starting to sound like my head is swimming, it is. So, I'll do what most of you would when faced with urgent questions...I'll take to the Internet.(C'mon, admit that a day goes by that you don't "Google" something).

     What do I find? There is a freaking Happiness scale! What? Don't measure me right now; I don't want to know...but really...I do think that generally I am happy.  I get easily annoyed or bored with a specific facet of my life, but I think I'm generally happy.  Can you be annoyed and bored and still be happy? Is it all or nothing? Or is it an average of the answers in the categories on the happiness scale inventory?  Why is this all so hard?   WHY CAN'T I JUST ALWAYS BE BATMAN?

     I guess when you think about it, life would be satisfying for Batman because he was always himself. He was just a guy. No real superpowers; just a lot of fun toys. Instead of being a potentially becoming an uncaring high society kid with money, he really cared about those less fortunate. He did his all he could to instill a sense of justice in a dark world and be the best human he can possibly be.   Maybe knowing you do the best you possibly can for others and this world makes you satisfied with tour life. Maybe that thought makes you, well, happy...

     ...I may not ultimately know the secret to continuous happiness, but I do know, in this life, you should always be Batman...

Happy Fishing!

  So what do you think?  What does it mean to be happy and how do you achieve happiness?  Tell me in the comments below