2018 · accomplishment · anniversary · birthdays · Bucket List · David's Thoughts · husband · Millionaire · Random Stuff · Random Thoughts · Travel · Uncategorized

David’s Thoughts – Millionaire

So, five months after taking the initial audition test, my episode of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” finally aired last night. I have to say, I am pretty proud of how Jerry and I did. While I would have loved to have won more money, the $50,000 we did win was, as Chris Harrison said at the end of the episode, “Not a bad paycheck for 30 minutes work!”

Looking back, I am happy with the game I played. I used all my lifelines when I needed them, I thought through the questions, and I didn’t take any significant risks. (Of course, getting questions that happened to line up with the storehouse of weird knowledge I keep in my head helped immensely!)

Overall, the entire experience was an amazing adventure! And I have to say, we especially enjoyed meeting and working with the cast and crew of the show. From the folks that hosted the original test, to the producers that I interviewed with, to the production staff that took such good care of us at the studio, they couldn’t have been more supportive or encouraging. A lot of unseen work goes into making sure the final production looks good on the screen, and those folks deserve far more recognition and respect than they typically receive. So, to all of them, I offer my sincerest thanks.

If you ever get the chance to audition, I would highly recommend it! It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I am so very grateful to have been able to experience it.

@MILLIONAIRETV
#WatchMILLIONAIRE
#TodayOnMILLIONAIRE
@ChrisBHarrison @weartv

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Baby Steps · David's Thoughts · Goals · Uncategorized

David’s Thoughts

One of the most important lessons I ever learned involved a LEGO kit, of all things. A few years ago, for Christmas, Jerry surprised me with the LEGO Ultimate Collector’s version of the Millenium Falcon (I have always been a huge “Star Wars” nerd… πŸ™‚ )

As I unwrapped the massive box, I was completely blown away. However, that sense of joy and delight soon became tinged with a bit of distress – this thing was HUGE! Over 6,000 pieces, a 150-page assembly manual. To this day, I remember the sense of complete dismay I felt as I sat on the floor, surrounded by the bags and bags of LEGO pieces that made up the kit. I was absolutely overwhelmed. I looked at the amazing picture on the box, and felt, without question, I would never, NEVER be able to build THAT.

However, if I was going to fail, I decided, I was going to go down swinging. So, I picked up the instructions and read step 1. Piece A into piece B. Okay, so far so good. Then step 2. Then 3. Then 4.

A few hours later, I looked up and realized that I had made visible progress. I still had a long way to go, but I could start to see the outlines of the chassis. The next day, I kept at it. And the next, and the next. Overall, it took me 2 weeks, about 4 hours a day to get it done. But I did.

Sitting back, looking at the completed model, 3-feet long and weighing 15 pounds, I was amazed that I had actually pulled it off. But then, as I thought about it, I realized something important. Something so vital that I have carried it with me since. The most elaborate project can be broken down into simple, achievable steps. Hundreds of steps, maybe, but each single step is doable. Do enough of those steps, and suddenly the project is done.

So these days, when I find myself staring at some impossibly complex challenge, overwhelmed and paralyzed at the scope of work before me, I remember that Millennium Falcon. And then I start on step 1.

David

David's Thoughts · Goals · past · Random Stuff · Random Thoughts · Religions

Transcendence

Oh boy, another post by David! πŸ™‚ (For those of you who are only here for Jerry’s posts, she’ll be back tomorrow, I promise…)

So, today’s post has to do with spirituality, the paranormal, and other things that we lack the ability to experience with our physical senses.

I am very much of two minds when it comes to such things. On the one hand, I am fairly certain that the vast majority of “supernatural” experiences, if not all, can be explained in completely natural terms. The human brain is an incredibly complicated piece of kit, and we are only beginning to comprehend all the things it can do, and how it is affected by its environment. And given that all of our perceptions of the world and its workings (natural and otherwise) are dependent upon the processes that take place entirely in this poorly understood lump of tissue we all carry around on our shoulders, it is absolutely conceivable to me that the things that go “bump in the night” are, in the end, simply glitches in our internal software.

On the other hand, there is nothing that I would love more than concrete evidence that such experiences are real. The thought that the universe is “not only stranger than we imagine, but stranger than we can imagine” gives me great hope. The desire to push back the veil of reality and discover that it is just the barest of veneers covering what’s really going on holds an amazing appeal for me.

My friend Tayo asked me a very difficult question one day. He said, “David, what do you want?” (Actually I believe that is probably one of the most difficult questions you can ask anyone.) I thought about it for several weeks (truly!), and finally came back that what I wanted was for people to like me. Or, more to the point, I wanted people to not dislike me. (I never had a problem with people remaining neutral about me… πŸ™‚ )

But I was never really satisfied with that answer. And so, I have continued to cogitate on the question, some decades after it was originally asked. And though my answers continue to change as both I and my circumstances do, one aspect of my internal response has become fairly fixed: I want to experience transcendence.

If you look up “transcendence” in the dictionary (or, more likely in this day of Wikipedia and blogs, on dictionary.com…) you will find the definition is “the quality or state of being above and independent of the material universe”. Sounds positively supernatural! πŸ™‚

And I suppose that is why I have such a fascination with such potentially idiotic things as UFOs, Bigfoot, and life after death. Because if any of those things actually exist, then they do “transcend” what we understand as making up our material world. And experiencing them, or even learning about their factual existence, would definitely be a transcendent moment.

However, there is an exquisite zen-like twist to this line of thinking. If any of those things were proved to actually exist, then they would instantly become part of our material universe, and so lose their transcendent quality! Reality is an elastic concept, and once something is “proven”, reality adjusts itself quite comfortably to include the newborn “fact”.

So maybe that is why I continue to enjoy the edges of the supernatural, without wanting to seek out the heart of any mysteries. Once the mystery is solved, it’s no fun anymore. πŸ™‚

David's Thoughts · Random Thoughts

Games

David here again! Looks like these posts may become a weekly thing. πŸ™‚

In keeping with the title, today’s post is related to games. And in keeping with the topic of games, today’s post is being constructed with a particular rule in mind. Based upon an article about creative writing exercises, this rule is serving to make this post difficult to complete. However, the attempt must be made, if for no other reason than discipline.

With a collection of boardgames numbering well into the hundreds, it is fair to say that games are a personal favorite. Games have the capacity, it seems, to at least approach a level of “transcendence”. By moving one “above and beyond” the material universe (given that, in the essence, all games take place in the imagination), it could be fairly said that games can allow one to “transcend”. How many times have you played a game with family or friends, only to be shocked to discover how many hours have flown by once you were done?

Perhaps that sense of moving beyond the mundane is what makes games so appealing. The sense of experiencing things, even via imagination (does the brain know the difference?), that one would never experience in “real life”. The exploration of the unknown, and the thrill of discovery as another level is achieved, another card is turned, another battle is won, another point is scored.

Although, ironically, it is possible that another appeal of games is just the opposite: a sense of “knowing what the rules are”. In a very literal sense, when playing a game, one is in control. You know what the rules are. You have a limited amount of information to process, and even unanticipated events that occur do so within the context of the game itself. (You’re not surprised when your opponent cashes his cards in for reinforcements in a game of “Risk”, for example, but you would be shocked to see him place a dinosaur on the board and proceed to play Godzilla all over your pieces…) Particularly if you have played a game before, you know what to expect.

The universe, however, imparts no such assurances to its players. πŸ™‚ Every day is a new roll of the dice, every moment brings with it the potential for a new, entirely unfamiliar rule. That may or may not ever be applied again. The universe offers an innumerable amount of opportunities and challenges to its players, but a sense of being in control is not one of them.

Anyway, games are cool. πŸ™‚ So, have you figured out the rule constraining the above paragraphs yet? Here’s a hint – I just broke it. πŸ™‚

birthdays · David's Thoughts · Random Thoughts · thoughts · Uncategorized

Age

Howdy – David here again! This time out I thought I’d offer up some thoughts on something that everyone can relate to – aging! I turned 54 last week, and had to get my driver’s license renewed, complete with a new picture. Given that the last picture I had taken was 14 years ago, I guess it was time… But the physical changes reflected in those pictures were definitely noticeable! A lot less hair, and what was there was a lot more grey.

I think our society as a whole has a real fear of growing older. We worship youth, and desperately cling to it. And advertisers are more than happy to play to those obsessions.

But you know what? Getting older isn’t that bad! I mean, I miss the resilience of my younger form. I find that I get tired more easily now, and it takes longer to recover when I do push myself. But, overall, as I often say, getting older “beats the alternative”! I would certainly rather have another birthday than not!

Seriously though, I like being this age. I have a level of confidence and comfort with myself that I lacked as a younger man. I have experience and knowledge that can only be gained by living. And, more than anything, I think I have gained an appreciation for the power of the passage of time.

How many times do we hear, when we’re younger, that “time heals all wounds”. Surprisingly enough, I have found that is true. And that is something you don’t learn until you experience it a time or two yourself.

The final thing I’ll mention in this meditation on aging is one of the most important lessons I have learned – everything changes. Nothing stays the same forever. And that is a powerful concept to internalize. It gives me a greater appreciation for the joys in my life, because I know they won’t be there forever. And it gives my hope during the trials of life, because I know they won’t be there forever either.

So in summary, my hope for you is that you embrace today, whatever age you are. Cherish those things that bring you joy, and try to look beyond whatever challenges you may be facing. For both will pass.

blog · David's Thoughts · Random Stuff · Random Thoughts · thoughts · Uncategorized

Value

Howdy, David here again! In order to help Jerry keep up with her schedule, I have agreed to post a blog entry once a week (or so).

When I was thinking about what I wanted to write today, my first thought was “I want to make sure whatever I post brings value to Jerry’s readers.” And that thought gave me my first topic!

Value. We hear that word regularly, but do we really consider what it actually means? Several years ago, I attended a course on marketing. As part of that course, the instructor provided an equation that became a touchstone for me. It was a mathematical equation for value. Here is what he wrote:

Value = Benefit – Cost

The premise is that value is simply the difference between how much we think any particular decision will benefit us, compared to the cost we perceive with that decision. In order to make any choice, we have to see that value as positive – the benefit has to outweigh the cost.

Now, one of the mistakes a lot of people make when they encounter this concept for the first time is that they automatically assign a “dollar sign” to the variables, especially the cost portion. But cost, and benefit, are not only not solely tied to money, but they are also completely subjective. Each individual will evaluate the cost and benefit of any decision completely through their own personal lens.

So, at this point, allow me to offer an example – this post. Some of the costs associated with this post include the time and effort it takes to read it. There are also “opportunity costs” to consider – those things that you aren’t doing right now, because you are currently reading this.

Against these costs, consider the benefits. Maybe you have an interest in economics. Maybe you just have a curiosity about why people do the things they do. Maybe you were just bored and looking to kill a few minutes. πŸ™‚

Regardless, my hope is that the cost of this post, to you, was more than offset by the benefit you received from it. I hope this post did, indeed, provide you value.