The Longest Journey Begins with a Single Step

30 01 2010

I have made several commitments to myself and the people in my life lately. I intend on doing amazing things in this, the 37th year of my life. Among those things are two specific goals I have ALWAYS wanted to do. I will discuss one of them here.

Ever since I was a young boy I was a musical fanatic, and I watched the guitar players with awe. Not just the guitar players in bands, but even the schmoes on the Third Street Promenade, or in random coffee shops… Guitar slung over one shoulder, or guitar case in hand, they just reeked of coolness. Even if they couldn’t play for shit, they were cool by association to that mysterious and magical instrument. The girls would flock to them time and time again.

You knew they got laid whenever they wanted to. They could always entertain themselves and those around them at will. They were always learning how to play new songs, or noodling around with grooves for their own material…I watched, and dreamed.

When I was in college and had an open elective to take I tried to learn, but the teacher I got was just some kid. He wasn’t inspirational or motivational, or even that into it… and I had to drive all the way to his house for the lessons, so before long I stopped going and it just became another wistful dream of mine.

When I had my daughter, I tried to push her into learning the guitar, I bought her a guitar. I bought her lessons. I tried to inspire her, but it just never seemed like it excited her very much, it never seemed like her thing. So the beautiful acoustic guitar I had bought her never left it’s case. It sat in her closet, and got moved with us from house to house without ever seeing the light of day.

Now as a point of knowledge about me, I belong to what’s known as a Men’s Circle. I’m sure I’ll talk about this more in depth on another post,m for now let me just sum it up by saying it’s a place where i get together weekly with a circle of men committed to helping each other become better men and achieve our dreams and goals in life. During a meeting, we were discussing just that, and men chose to make commitments about goals they were interested in moving towards in this new year. I decided to commit to taking up the guitar, after all, I already had a beautiful acoustic just sitting there.

One of the men on my team was recently out of work, and looking for any odd jobs to help him gather some funds. As it so happened, he was also a great guitar player who had brought his guitar to many meetings and had composed several songs about the team, particular men on the team, and our experiences together. I realized that this was a perfect opportunity,… synergy… a chance to kill two birds with one stone. I would hire him to teach me guitar, giving him some much needed cash, and starting on my quest to learn this instrument that has fascinated me for 30 plus years.

So, we’ve had about five lessons now, and what I like is that we’re not getting hung up on musical theory, or learning all the chords, or scales. We’re actually learning songs. Three so far.

We started with Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues. Simple. Three cords, easy progression. Then he added Get Back by the Beatles…. an opportunity to learn some power chords. Now we’re working on John Lennon’s imagine, which has a few chords I haven’t learned yet, and some pretty tricky chord changes and picking techniques.

I haven’t gotten any of the songs down yet, but for the first time today, when I sat down to practice, my fingers didn’t start aching right away. I think I’m starting to get some callouses and getting the hang of how to properly hold the guitar, and push my thumb up against the back of the neck for leverage.

Now if I could just get that damn E to B7 chord change down…. oh well, Rome wasn’t built in a day.


The Best Time to Plant a Tree…

30 01 2010

Ok, First up, let me explain the title of this blog… My name is Dylan Stewart, although I also go by the moniker of The MacWhisperer. I am, and have been, a professional freelance macintosh consultant for the past 7 years. Over that time I have created a mazing relationships with many, many of my clients…. But none of these relationships have ever surpassed that of my first full time client, Mr. Kurt Simon.

Kurt was an amazing man, and when I first started working with him, he was 90 years old. He was eager to dive headfirst into the world of technology, and over the 4 years I worked with him before he passed, my life would be greatly changed by my connection to him. At the start I was holding down a full-time job as an administrative assistant to a film industry producer, and I was doing a little tech work on the weekends. On average I was charging $50/hour, but more often than not I was just doing it for free. When my father told me that his landlord was looking for computer training on a regular basis, I told him I was $75/hour, certain I would never get it… but I was wrong. Through my time with Kurt, I would quickly raise my price to the $125/hour I now receive, and I would quit my job and start doing computing full-time.

This was all based on one of Kurt’s simple life long philosophies. In fact it was this philosophy that had inspired Kurt to learn computers in the first place. The philosophy was this: “The Best Time to plant a tree is 20 years ago…. the Next Best time is RIGHT NOW!!!”

So Kurt had long wanted to take up computers, and as he was aging, parts of his body were no longer working as well as they once had. Also, he had a very strong mind and was concerned about losing it to Alzheimer’s. He felt the time was now to stretch and exercise his brain by taking on as much knowledge as he possibly could, and I was going to be the way he would do that. He was tired of waiting to begin learning the computer… the Next Best Time was right now. And so over the years, I would fill his mind with new ideas and concepts. We would scan, learn about ipods, organize his photographs, write and compile all his favorite quotes in a searchable printable database, communicate via email, skype and video-chats with his contacts all around the world. We would teach him everything he ever wanted to know about technology… and then some. It was truly inspirational.

So inspirational in fact that I realized the next best time to start doing computers as a career was right now. The next best time to raise my rates was right now. The next best time to… you get the point.

So that explains the title of the blog. Now let me explain the purpose….

It’s been several years since Kurt passed, but his words continue to echo in my head, and I find myself thinking about all the things I’ve always wanted to learn, or do, all the places I’ve always wanted to go, all the experiences I’ve always wanted to have… and although it would have been nice to learn the guitar 20 years ago, the next best time is right now. I grew up in Malibu, and should have learned how to surf when I was 10, but the next best time is right now. I’ve always wanted to be a podcaster, a blogger, a writer, you name it… the next best time is RIGHT NOW!!!!!

So in this blog, I will chronicle my experiences as I begin to learn new things, experience new things, take chances and risks, all in the name of not waiting any longer to do it.

I hope to inspire others to do the same, and add their comments and experiences to this forum. Together, we can all have the lives we have always wished and dreamed of for ourselves.

The first step is to identify the dreams and desires. The second step is to make the commitment to move confidently in the direction of our dreams. The third step is to keep moving forward don it. Write your experiences, keep track of your progress, make your commitments and share how you are building your new dream life RIGHT NOW!!!!