Musings & Thoughts for Wednesday, September 14, 2022, or: My (Emotional) Focus Determines My Reality – Seeking Joy Wherever I Can Find It


As John Keats wrote: “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” Photo by Ekaterina Nt on Pexels.com

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It is another gray-tinged, hot, and rainy early autumn day here in the Tampa Bay area.

This, of course, is not unusual in the state of Florida; this far south in the continental United States, we live in the subtropical zone, where the “shoulder seasons” of spring and autumn are not as clearly marked or defined as in more northerly latitudes. Instead, we have the “hot and wet” season (late May to early November) and the “cooler and dry” season (late November to early May).

We’re in the late stages of the wet season – which, unfortunately for us in Hurricane Alley, is also the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season – and, like it or not, we are stuck in the “summer weather pattern” of hot sunny mornings that morph gradually (and sometimes not so gradually) into rainy, even stormy afternoons.

Photo by Ekaterina Belousova on Pexels.com

Sometimes, if I am sad or dwelling too much on negative topics – whether it’s the dystopian turn that the United States has taken over the past 30 years or my love life (or, rather, my lack of a love life) – days that are dark, overcast, and rainy amplify the feelings of sadness, loneliness, and resentment…. if I let them, anyway.

Today, I refuse to do that.

Today, I am resolved to finding joy, no matter how fleeting it might be.

Today, I reject negativity.

Or, as Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer put it in their 1940s song “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive”:

You got to ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive

E-lim-i-nate the negative

And latch on to the affirmative

Don’t mess with Mr. In-between

Today, Dear Reader, I will keep in mind that as much as my feelings say otherwise, I am responsible for my happiness.

Photo by the author.

“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.” Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

George Lucas in Stormtrooper Disguise. Image Credit: Hasbro. (C) 2021 Hasbro and Lucasfilm Ltd.

In that spirit, then, I present to you….

What Makes Me Happy (Today)

  1. My music collection: “If music be the food of love, play on…” – William Shakespeare
  2. Feminine beauty:  “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” – John Keats
  3. Books: “I cannot live without books.” – Thomas Jefferson
  4.  Movies: “I have a theory that movies operate on the level of dreams, where you dream yourself.” – Meryl Streep
  5. Sex (or the memories of having sex): “Good sex is like good bridge. If you don’t have a good partner, you’d better have a good hand.” – Mae West
  6. My Star Wars collection: “Always remember, your focus determines your reality.” – George Lucas
  7. Star Trek: “The human adventure is just beginning.” – Gene Roddenberry
  8. My computer games on Steam: “A game is an opportunity to focus our energy, with relentless optimism, at something we’re good at (or getting better at) and enjoy. In other words, gameplay is the direct emotional opposite of depression.” – Jane McGonigal
(C) 2018 Dr. PinkCake

Old Gamers Never Die: Trying Out a New Skirmish in Regiments –  Ettenhausen

Aftermath of a TOW missile strike from an American AH-1F Cobra attack helicopter. (All game design elements and graphics in this and other screenshots are (C) 2022 Bird’s Eye Games and MicroProse.)

Last night, after I decided to not watch another Star Trek movie, I played a Skirmish in Regiments named after its setting in the country that was – in 1989 – known as West Germany: Ettenhausen.

Once again, I chose to play an Attack scenario with the 1st Brigade, 3rd Armored Division, aka the “Spearhead” Division, which was part of the U.S. V Corps in NATO’s Central Army Group (CENTAG) throughout the Cold War.[1] (Apparently, this my favorite American unit to command in Regiments.)

This was the first time I played the scenario, and because I was playing in a new geographic location. I was on unfamiliar ground, with plenty of potential ambush sites and defensive “kill zones” for the Warsaw Pact forces to use and prevent me from winning an easy victory.

Burning vehicles – American and Soviet – mark the site of a ferocious fight, and the scenario still has 30:01 to go!

And, Dear Reader, it sure was not an easy win. Even with 40 minutes on the clock and with the experiences I gained in other Skirmish games in Regiments, the Red force not only got in some good blows – especially with one air strike launched before I had a Chaparral SAM section available – and inflicted significant casualties on my Blue force, but it prevented me from capturing all eight Objective Zones before the clock ran out at the 40-minute mark. (I still won a Total Victory because I had a better kill ration than the Pact forces, but still…)  

East German BMPs and infantry under heavy bombardment from DPICM artillery fire and AH-64A helicopter gunships. Note that you can see a few dead East German soldiers caught in the open by the DPICM bomblets.

Because I sometimes have to pause the game in order to give orders to multiple units and I play it at one-quarter of its speed, last night’s Regiments session ran for nearly two hours, so by the time I closed the program out and went to bed, it was past 11 PM Eastern.

The outcome of the battle.

I should go take a shower, Dear Reader, so I’ll wrap this post up and say “See you later” here. Until next time, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

Photo by u0415u043au0430u0442u0435u0440u0438u043du0430 on Pexels.com

[1] Fun fact: When Elvis Presley was drafted in 1958 for a two-year hitch in the Army, he was assigned to the Headquarters Company, 1st Medium Tank Battalion, 32d Armor, 3d Armored Division. Because Presley was, by 1958, a huge celebrity, he could have chosen a cushy posting as an entertainer in the Army’s Special Services branch, which was responsible for the morale of GIs. However, his manager, Tom Parker, aware that older adults in the U.S. disapproved of Presley because of his status as a rock-n-roll star, advised him to ask for a posting as a regular Army enlisted man in a deployed division. Presley agreed, and although he still did some celebrity-like stuff, he served with distinction and left the Army in 1960 as a sergeant. This, as Parker suspected, earned Presley the respect of Americans who had dismissed him for his suggestive gyrations and “rebellious music.” (Of course, Presley’s addition of ballads and Gospel songs into his repertoire also increased his popularity with a wider audience in the U.S.)

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

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