So long. Farewell. Stay mindful.

goodbye

Goodbye

It’s with mixed emotions I announce this is the last episode of the show.

I’m planning to launch a new podcast and it’s going to take all of my time and attention.

It’s my hope you’ve learned how to be more mindful by listening to the show. Learning to focus and avoiding distractions has changed my life. I hope it’s helped you, too.

You can still listen to the existing episodes online anytime you like. If you need a quick meditation or mindfulness boost, just give a show or two a listen.

If you’re interested in the new show, send me an email – [email protected] – and I’ll let you know when it goes live – probably in early January.

The new show is going to be a very different kind of experience. If you’re into science fiction and are optimistic about the future, it just might be your cup of tea.

I’m very excited about launching the new podcast. It’s something I’ve been working on for a few years. And it’s time.

And, now, for one last time, we’re going to meditate for five minutes.

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Explore your community: the Levitt Pavilion

Lee Rocker

Good rockin’ on a Saturday night at the Levitt Pavilion

My friend Doug and I were looking for something fun to do over the weekend and learned about a free concert at the Levitt Pavilion in Arlington, Texas. Stray Cat bass player Lee Rocker was performing there on Saturday night.

I saw Brave Combo perform at this venue years ago and had a great time. The pavilion is in a park-like setting located in the middle of downtown Arlington.

You can bring lawn chairs, coolers, and the kids, and catch an entertaining show. We had a wonderful time.

Lee Rocker at the Levitt Paviliion
Lee Rocker at the Levitt Pavilion

The show started at eight. Doug and I arrived at 7:15 and found a parking spot right behind the stage. We found a great spot to set up our chairs and then checked out some of the food and drink vendors around the pavilion.

The show started promptly at eight. Lee Rocker is an amazing entertainer and his band is fantastic. It was an awesome performance and we got to meet him after the show. Lee turned out to be very friendly and approachable.

What started as a simple desire to find something to do turned into one of the best live music performances I’ve ever attended. And it was free.

I’ve said it before: you never know what you might discover when you explore what’s going on in your community.

And, I’d like to give a shout-out to the Levitt Foundation. The foundation is “dedicated to reinvigorating America’s public spaces through creative placemaking and creating opportunities for everyone to experience the performing arts.”

Here’s a big thank you to the Levitt Foundation.

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Have you found something interesting or fun to explore?

Tell me about it – [email protected]

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Comic book convention adventure

Comic Con Fan Days

Dallas Fan Days 2017

If you’re looking for a local event where you feel like you’ve stepped into a different universe, look no further than your local comic book convention.

I just got back from Dallas Fan Days in Irving, Texas where I had an amazing time. I saw tons of talented cosplayers from all over the country.

If you aren’t familiar with the term, cosplay is a contraction of costume play where cosplayers dress up as characters from movies, comic books, anime, video games, literature – the list is endless.

Many cosplayers make their own costumes and props and do their own make-up. You might see costumes and make-up that rival anything you’d see in a big budget science fiction movie.

Cosplay isn’t just a hobby for many – it’s a passionate subculture, too.

Tinker Bell at Dallas Comic Con Fan Days
Tinker Bell at Dallas Comic Con Fan Days

I usually take my camera and take tons of cosplay pictures like the ones on this blog post. I’ll be sharing those pictures with some of the cosplay Facegroup groups in a few days.

In addition to the cosplayers, you’ll found dozens, if not hundreds of vendors selling comic books, original art, videos, t-shirts, books, and all kinds of collectibles.

There were several thousand attendees at Dallas Fan Days this year. And they are an interesting group of people. I always make a few new friends when I go to a comic con.

There are hundreds held each year all over the world. If you’ve never been to a “con” before, you owe it to yourself to experience one.

You don’t have to wear a costume to a con, but it gives you a good excuse if you want to.

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Have you found something interesting or fun to explore?

Tell me about it – [email protected]

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More reading adventures

reading books

Caution: reading these books may change everything

On a recent podcast episode, my writer friend Christopher Gronlund recommended a couple of great books for people like us – explorers and adventurers.

On today’s show, I’ve got some more of his reading suggestions.

Once again, in his own words, are more of his recommendations:

“For fiction, Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore (affiliate link) is not obscure, but it’s about old and new technology, looking at the world in different ways, and how doing things with friends is a wonderful thing. I’ve read the last page of the book soooooooo many times; in fact, after sending this email, I’ll pull it down from the shelf and read it again.

“Jim Lynch’s The Highest Tide (affiliate link) is a masterpiece in noticing things before you. There are descriptive passages of a kid combing the coastline during low tide and finding things most people never notice. It’s a coming-of-age story that has some surreal moments, but it’s the kind of book that book clubs would love.

“I’ve not picked it up, but there’s a best-of poetry collection of Mary Oliver’s poetry – Devotions. (affiliate link) Her work is very in the moment.”

I can’t wait to get started on these books.

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Have you found something interesting or fun to explore?

Tell me about it – [email protected]

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(affiliate links)

Pursue your passion with a Meetup

Meetup

Over 32 million members and counting

Are you passionate about something? Chances are, there’s a tribe for that. Question is, how do you find that tribe? The answer could be Meetup.

If you aren’t familiar with it, here’s how the Meetup website describes itself:

Meetup brings people together in thousands of cities to do more of what they want to do in life. It is organized around one simple idea: when we get together and do the things that matter to us, we’re at our best. And that’s what Meetup does. It brings people together to do, explore, teach and learn the things that help them come alive.

If you’ve never checked it out, there are Meetups for just about every interest out there. I just clicked the Explore link on their site and saw Meetups for:

  • Entrepreneurs (Real Life Shark Tank)
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Local Makerspace tour
  • Speaker Co-op skill building
  • Gay professionals
  • Video Marketing World Conference – hosted by my buddy Jeremy Vest
  • No-code, low-code developers
  • Studio photography
  • Singles and other social groups
  • Romance writers

I discovered Meetup years ago and it has changed my life. I’m not exaggerating at all.

Through Meetups, I met Gary Leland, Tony Cecala, and many other significant people in my life. Gary and I even host a local group called Podcast Dallas.

If it weren’t for Meetups, I wouldn’t be a podcaster. I’d probably be spending most of my evenings at home watching Netflix.

A Meetup might be the next place you start your next big adventure.

Can’t find a Meetup for your interest? Start your own.

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Have you found something interesting or fun to explore?

Tell me about it – [email protected]

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Mindful eating update

mindful eating and donuts

Falling off the mindful eating wagon

On a recent episode of the show, I talked about how I’ve been using mindful eating to lose weight. And what have I been doing since then?

Too much mindless eating.

It happens to a lot of us. We aren’t perfect and we slip up from time to time. And we don’t need to beat ourselves up over this.

This morning, while waiting for my car to get fixed at the dealership, I impulsively grabbed and devoured a donut.

Oops.

And it wasn’t my first slip-up.

Sometimes, we just need to take a step back and reset.

Mindful eating for me meant eating healthy, avoiding sugar, and having one really good cheat food each week.

Maybe it’s time to take a second look at what I’m doing or make a change.

I’m not upset about slipping up or freaking out about it. It’s like when you’re meditating and your mind wanders. You acknowledge it happened and get back to the meditating. Or, in this case, mindful eating.

On the way home from work, I stopped and bought some healthy and tasty prepackaged salads. I’m replacing my habit of going out for lunch with having healthy lunches with co-workers.

I’m going to continue to be mindful and take a fresh look at my routine to see what else I can change. It’s probably time for me to try some new healthy foods.

I’m looking forward to it.

Okay, that’s MY approach.

You have to find the approach that works for you.

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Have you found it challenging to eat mindfully?

Tell me about it – [email protected]

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The State Fair of Texas and Mindfulness

Big Tex

My mindfulness lesson at the fair

I’ve lived in the Dallas/Fort Worth area since 2000 and have never gone to the State Fair of Texas – until now. I made up my mind it was finally going to happen this year.

I chose a Tuesday for my visit to avoid the super-busy fair days. Still, the crowd grew steadily throughout the day to a pretty healthy size.

While there, I ran into my buddy and fellow podcaster, Tim Vasquez of The Launch podcast who was interviewing Mitchell Glieber, the President of the State Fair of Texas.

Tim and Zach at the State Fair of Texas
Tim Vasquez of “The Launch” podcast interviews Mitchell Glieber, President, State Fair of Texas as Zach Lewis looks cool and mans the soundboard

So, I got to meet the President while I was there and Tim interviewed me on his show. And I made a couple of new friends.

That’s one of the coolest parts about being a podcaster and hanging out with other podcasters – you never know who you might get to meet or what you might get to experience.

Exploring the fair, I finally had a Fletcher’s Original State Fair Corny Dog. If you aren’t from Texas, this is the original corn dog which the Fletcher brothers started selling at Fair Park in 1942.

I also sampled a fried grilled cheese sandwich, fried brownies, and an awesome cinnamon roll.

If you’re wondering about my diet, I just sampled them.

Anyway, back to Tim’s podcast. We were talking about mindfulness and being in the moment.

People at the fair were having a wonderful time. Most people who go to the fair don’t have to work at this while they’re there. I saw a few smartphones here and there, but most fairgoers ignored their phones to EXPERIENCE the fair.

And then it occurred to me – what if we could be mindful and experience the rest of our lives as intensely as we do the fair? Wouldn’t that be amazing?

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Have you found something interesting or fun to explore?

Tell me about it – [email protected]

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Sleeping late on Saturday?

Sleeping late koala bear

Give me more weekend

For many of us, sleeping late is one of the reasons we look forward to the weekend. I’m as guilty as anyone.

Why would anyone want to get up early on a Saturday morning?

I have to confess this was my goal last weekend. My plan was to get a couple of hours of extra shut-eye.

Instead, a coughing fit woke me up at 6:30 and I couldn’t stop coughing.

Admitting defeat, I got up and started my Saturday morning.

Hitting the road in search of a good breakfast destination, I noticed the roads were almost empty. I had breakfast with no waiting at a popular diner that’s usually packed when I get there.

Score one for getting up early.

From there, I headed to a local coffee shop to work on the podcast and do some writing. Then, I headed home to record, edit, and schedule my podcast.

Finishing by 10:30, I still had most of the day ahead of me.

It’s still early!

I usually feel a little rushed on weekends, but now I had plenty of time to do whatever I wanted. And I ended up doing a lot.

I ran a lot of errands at a leisurely pace and checked off a bunch of to-do items. There was plenty of time to browse at the comic book store. Since I planned to do some night photography that evening, I checked out several blog posts and YouTube videos on night photography.

That night, I managed to get a few decent night shots at Celebrate Roanoke – I talked about that on yesterday’s show.

When I got home, I still had the time and energy to do some reading and a little more writing. My weekend was off to a strong start.

If I had slept in, I would have missed out on a lot.

Do you think I slept late on Sunday?

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Have you found something interesting or fun to explore?

Tell me about it – [email protected]

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Celebrate Roanoke: exploring fun and photography

Celebrate Roanoke Pretzels

Practice makes perfect

Last night, I explored a local community festival called Celebrate Roanoke. I decided this would be a great opportunity to take out my camera and practice some night photography.

Celebrate Roanoke is a popular annual event in downtown Roanoke, Texas.

It was a gorgeous day for an outdoor festival and the place was packed full of people and fun. And by fun, I mean:

  • food booths
  • unique boutiques
  • fireworks (I missed this somehow)
  • magicians
  • puppet shows
  • bounce houses
  • juggling
  • live music
  • gunfights (historic reenactments)

It all takes place on the main drag in Roanoke – which is Oak Street.

There was so much going on, I found it a little challenging to find a suitable photography subject. I actually started getting a little frustrated by it.

Now, I should point out I’m an introvert and, if you know about introverts, we tend to find crowds energy draining.

So, I walked the entire length of Oak Street looking for a good shot and wasn’t coming up with anything.

It was time to test the meditation and mindfulness stuff I talk about on the show.

Miracle on Oak Street

I slowed down, took some deep breaths, relaxed, centered myself, and got into the moment.

It started getting darker when I finally noticed it – the pretzel stand. The stand has an old-school state fair look I really like and lots of light.

I took my time and tried a few shooting angles until I found a couple I really liked. Now, all I had to do was look through the viewfinder and snap away.

I’m pretty happy with the results.

Later, on the way back to my car, I snapped a picture of a food vendor with the Babe’s Chicken House sign in the background.

Celebrate Roanoke Babes
One of the food vendors in front of Babe’s

That makes two interesting subjects for my night photography exploration.

I wasn’t expecting mindfulness to help me out with my pictures, but it came to the rescue. You never know where or when it will come in handy.

Lesson learned and I can’t wait until next year’s celebration.

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Have you found something interesting or fun to explore?

Tell me about it – [email protected]

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Take a canoeing adventure

The Christopher Gronlund canoe

This was no boating accident!

I was trying to decide what kind of adventure to talk about today when I came across an interesting Facebook post. My friend, Christopher Gronlund, aka The Juggling Writer, got out early today to go canoeing at a local lake.

Talk about your serendipity-do-dah! Perfect timing, Chris.

By the way, Chris took the picture of his canoe I used in the show notes.

It was probably around 70 degrees – a gorgeous day – when Chris got out with the canoe.

When was the last time you went canoeing? I’m scared to do the math on this one.

I remember watching Magnum PI re-runs when Magnum would go out kayaking in the ocean. Even though his tiny shorts made me uncomfortable, I always thought it would be fun to do that myself.

I have other friends who like to get out on canoes or kayaks whenever they can.

Facebook update: Chris found a beach to explore this morning.

Chris explores the beach
Chris explores the beach

You can buy a canoe for 400 bucks or more. You can rent a canoe for 40 or 50 bucks. Kayaks are a bit more expensive.

So, what’s stopping you from exploring your own local lakes and rivers?

Just be sure you wear a life preserver. Safety first, exploring second.

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Have you found something interesting or fun to explore?

Tell me about it – [email protected]

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