Notes on Horsemanship

I've always liked horses, I just haven't interacted with them much. A handful of years ago I took some private lessons and worked up to jumping over little gates. It was fun. Then, I ended having health issues after almost dying in Africa, and then I had complications with my spine, and now it's been years since I've been on a horse. Over the last few weeks I've tried motorcycle riding for the first time in years, and I've been fine. Soon I'm going to give horseback riding a try. I have some hesitancy about it, because it could go very bad for my health. But, as a step on that path I went to a 2-day horsemanship seminar at Chance Stables put on by Phil Oakes.

Last year I noticed that there was a horsemanship seminar going on near me. I looked into it just a little and learned that Phil Oakes is known for his gentle methods used to create gentle horses. I like that, it goes well with my spine that needs gentle treatment. But, last year I was not anywhere nea…

Making Speeches for the Harry Potter Festival - Part 4 of ?

My dueling demonstration has had its ups and downs, but it's coming together.

I have authentic muzzleloading pistols. But, I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to use them. Rebecca, who runs events in Sparta, is checking into it, but she hasn't gotten back to me and we're only a few days away now. I may end up getting cap guns or something.

The owner of Griffin's Rest in Muskegon, Kiel, is letting me borrow the staffs and swords for the demonstration, so that's great.

I met with Laura and we did a little walkthrough. I'm used to giving speeches by myself, not giving demonstrations. So it's a little different, but it will go well. (The other three speeches that I'm giving will just be me.)

I was going to get my temporary tattoos on Sunday from my friend Jay, but something came up so I still don't have those on yet. I have to get them in the next couple of days to let them darken for the event on Saturday.

Here's the basic idea of the mugg…

Fighting Local Government Corruption - Part 9 of ?

Removing an elected official from office is difficult, which it should be.

I contacted the Muskegon County Clerk's office to find out the official number of signatures needed and the time frame. Here are the number of votes needed:

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The total number of votes cast for Governor in Dalton Township in November of 2018, was 3,530 of which a recall would require a number of signatures equal to 25% of the number of votes cast or 882 valid signatures of registered voters in Dalton Township.  This is following the process for filing for recall beginning with filing a recall petition with the County Clerk and approval of the petition language by the Election Commission at a Clarity Hearing, prior to circulating petitions for signature.

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And here is the rest of the process:

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Filing for recall is not a quick process.  When you file the wording with us, a clarity hearing is scheduled for not less than 10 or not more than 20 days from the date the wording …

Curiosity Saved the Cat: Mind, Body, and Soul

I was recently observing my cousin's five cats interact, and I was also recently at another house where there were a few cats. One cat would come out and want to be petted. Another would hide. One cat would jump at a toy and play with it. Another would run away and hide. There are always differences in the cat personalities, but at base there are really only two main perspectives that a cat can take on life.

Curiosity is the thing that encourages exploration. Exploration and fear are both ancient circuits in the brain. To a large extent motivation is linear, you can move towards something or away from it. You can approach or you can avoid.

When something is new it's natural to be afraid. Not being afraid is what is learned. For instance, if you take a cat to a new environment and drop it off then the first thing that it will do is stand still, tense, ready, and look around. It's trying to get its bearings, it's trying to orient itself in its new environment. The first …

Fighting Local Government Corruption - Part 8 of ?

It's time to clear the air.

It sometimes happens that people are put in bad spots, almost impossible positions. "Lie or you lose your job." You don't want to lie, but you can't afford to lose your job either. That's a difficult situation. Maybe you make the wrong choice. We all make bad decisions at some point. The question is, can it be rectified?

Personal and public redemption are two different things, but they also complement each other. Personal redemption is more important, by far. You becoming okay with you, the decisions you've made and the actions you've taken, nothing's more important than that. And violating the public trust, that's a big issue.

Here is a statement from U.S. President Grover Cleveland in a speech titled "Good Citizenship".

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...toleration in all things save dishonesty and infidelity to the public trusts.

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I'm not sure the public trust can be restored after something like what ha…

Life: Expansion, Limitation, and Success

Life is about collecting experiences. Or, at least, that's how I've lived a large portion of my life. I think it's a valuable attitude, but I also think it falls short in some ways. Specifically, it doesn't include creative or attitudinal values. But, I've operated under that life philosophy for so long that it's a strong habit now, and maybe I have a natural tendency to be that way too. So, I'm going to dump some of my mind in here and see if I can come up with any new, good, or useful thoughts.

An Amish friend of mine asked me today if I would be interested in taking some of his products to the farmers' market in Holland.

Yesterday, a friend of mine asked me if I would go to car auctions with him because he owns a small car lot.

At a business meeting yesterday someone told me that I should dive into the book and publishing industry in some way because I seem quite knowledgable about it.

I would like to pursue all of these things, but that's the pr…

I Went to a Writing Group Today - June 12th, 2019

I was not feeling it today. I had a tense political meeting on Monday that I gave a speech at, and I sat in this uncomfortable plastic chair for the meeting holding a lot of tension in my body. That threw off my spine. I went in for an extra adjustment the next day and it wouldn't adjust properly. If my cervical spine is out of place for too long it causes issues with my brainstem, and will start effecting my ability to cognitively function, which is just starting to happen now (it doesn't take long). And, I've been too busy to properly rest like this particular body design needs. So, I wasn't feeling it today, but I went to the writing group and had fun anyway.

Analiese came up with a prompt that included an educational piece. Here's the beginning of it.

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In every story, there has to be a problem. The main character has to be challenged in some way or the story will go nowhere. There are four basic conflicts to look for that may face the main…

Ideas from the Last Few Months - Part 3 of ?

When I reached the top of Mt. Rainier it was odd. It was odd for a few reasons. First of all, I felt like I was drunk, never underestimate the power of elevation. But then there was this other thing, I wasn't sure what it was at first, it was kind of a letdown. I had been working at achieving this goal for around 6 months, now I was there, and it was a letdown. That confused me for awhile, and I realized that you always need to have a next step. I had nothing planned after that, nothing. That was a mistake.

Today, I have a political meeting that I've been working towards for a couple of weeks. It could go well or it could not. It's important that I make sure I have other things going, other things in motion, always another thing. Thus, story ideas.

Objective third person point of view is when you describe what people are doing, but you cannot know what anyone is thinking. What if I did that from the perspective of actual implements, like cameras? What if these were marked …

Fighting Local Government Corruption - Part 7 of ?

I see a bright future for Dalton Township.

There comes a day when the mettle of a community is tested. When hard times come, a question is asked, a question that reaches out to each citizen and wonders, "What will You do?"

In that choice, in that decision, lies the entire future of the community. It's a decision that rests in the heart and soul of each individual.

The community that comes together in a show of support is the community that has a bright future.

The community where the citizens find courage and strength in each other, that is the community that has a bright future.

I see hundreds of people coming together, connecting, sharing, supporting, and seeking for that brighter future.

A future where the citizens participate in, and contribute to, the township's policies.

A future where the citizens oversee and approve of the township's procedures.

A future where the citizens of Dalton Township trust the officials of Dalton Township.

That's the future th…

Fighting Local Government Corruption - Part 6 of ?

Why do some people feel that they can trample other people's rights and that's fine? This article will be fast and heavy. We are going to see the eight ways that people detach morality from their actions, why it's hard to tell when politicians are lying, a disturbing statistic related to the dark triad, two experiments that show the tendency of some people to abuse power and other people to follow bad orders, how stories reveal some of these processes, and the possibility for redemption.

There are eight techniques that people use to make the bad things that they do seem okay. The psychologist Albert Bandura wrote the book "Moral Disengagement". He also has a five page paper by the same name. By knowing about these you can be more alert and aware of the various manipulation techniques that are used. This will be a short overview. They have semi-confusing names, so I'll break down what they really mean.

Moral Justification
This is simply doing bad things as a m…

Making Speeches for the Harry Potter Festival - Part 3 of ?

A couple of weeks ago I sent a simple breakdown of my speech plans for Potter in the Park.

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This is a general overview. Let me know if you need anything more specific. Also, I'm revealing the creation process in a series of articles, so many details are included there if needed.

4 speeches for 15 minutes each.

If I get an intro I would like to use this background:
Jeffrey Alexander Martin
Visiting Lecturer - Sparta Institute for the Study of Muggles
Current Assistant Professor of Muggle Studies - Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Former Professor of Muggle Studies - Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Presenting the series: MUG 207 - Muggles in Real Life

The four speeches are:
Further Research on the Many Uses of the Rubber Duck
Muggle Encounters with Dragons Through the Ages
A Short History of Muggle Dueling
The Great Gnome Conspiracy of the 18th and 19th Centuries
(Not necessarily in…

Fighting Local Government Corruption - Part 5 of ?

How do you stand up and talk in front of a crowd? Some people fear it more than death. It's okay to come to the Dalton Township meeting and not stand up, but if you want to stand up and say something then this article will help you.

First, some inspiration. Then we'll dive into specific options.

One of the most important things to realize about a local government meeting like this is that you are not making a presentation. You won't be graded. You are there to say what you have to say. I'm going to put a few of my speeches from the last couple of months here. You do not have to stand up and speak like this. To a large extent you can't. You will only have three minutes during the public comment section. (Notice though, that even these speeches are only about 5 minutes long.)

A couple of weeks ago I requested a 5 to 10 minute spot on the schedule and the township would not give it to me. That's because they don't want to hear what we have to say. That's a…

Leading a Writing Group - Session 2

The prompt for today was dialogue. The story could be anything the kids wanted, it just had to include dialogue, or people talking. Some stories are all dialogue, some stories have no dialogue, most fiction writing is a mix. No matter what kind of writing you do, it's good to play with dialogue.

I find these types of writing exercises interesting. I usually have no idea what I'm going to do. If I do have an idea about what I'm going to do it always comes out completely different, nothing like I had imagined.

We talked about dialogue a little bit. I went over the idea of interstitial sentences because I thought Lexi, the 14 year old, would be interested in that. An interstitial sentence is when there is one sentence that starts with someone talking, then in the middle there's some description, and then the person is talking again. For instance, if a woman is standing at the fridge it might be like this: "John! I thought you said you were going to," she turned …

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