Aldon Hynes's blog

Don’t Just Shop, Make Something

With Black Friday encroaching on Thanksgiving Day, Small Business Saturday, and perhaps Giving Tuesday, it seems like now, more than ever, we need to rethink our priorities. Does your penitence on Black Friday.

Those of us who worship in the Abrahamic traditions, including Jews, Christians and Muslims, believe we are created in the image of our Creator. While people may argue what that really means, to me a key aspect is that we were created in the image of a creator, not a consumer.

Small Business Saturday, to me is a little better than Black Friday. At least it encourages us to be a little less removed from the creators and the creative process. Giving Tuesday, is in my mind, a much better day. It reflects the sort of thankfulness that seems so much more real and honest. We are thankful for the wonderful things we have been given and are called to give to others as a response. It ties us back to our creator and to the giving part of Thanksgiving.

Yet I want to come back to being a creator. This is an important part of my daughter’s calling, to help us all become more in touch with our creative sides. She written a book about it, Don’t Make Art, Just Make Something. She promotes the hashtag #WhatIMake

This takes me to Makers Monday. There is a Makers Monday Meetup where makers gather to share ideas. Another group has launched Makers Monday as the Monday after Thanksgiving to buy American Made products. This feels a bit like Small Business Saturday, getting consumers closer to the creators, but not making that important step of becoming creators.

So, borrowing from my daughter’s book title, Don’t Just Shop, Make Something.

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The Four Dollar Fermenter

Last night, I stopped at a local bar where I’ve been chatting with the own about brewing and he gave me two empty Petainerkegs. These are five gallon one-way disposable kegs with a sanke coupler, which seems to be a new trend for microbreweries.

I spent a bit of time trying to figure out how best to these a part. Most of the information I found was about removing the sanke coupler from metal kegs so you could clean them and reassemble them. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any good instructions about disassembling the coupler, so I ended up cutting the bottom ring off of cap which holds the sanke coupler on the keg.

The plastic is pretty tough so it took a little bit. However, once I managed to cut part of the ring, other parts started breaking off fairly easily. Once most of the ring was broken off, the whole cap and coupler just lifted out.

With the cap removed, I found that the opening to the keg was about the size of a #10 or #10 ½ stopper. At the local brew store, you can pick up a #10 stopper with a hole in it for $2.50. For another $1.50 you can pick up a vapor lock. With those and the Petainerkeg with the cap cut off, you have what looks like it will be a nice, cheap, fermenter.

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All the Time in the World

Recently, people have shared some links on Facebook that combined with some other links make an interesting story. I’m sharing these links, without comment.

The Disease of Being Busy.
A ton of people didn’t vote because they couldn’t get time off from work
Connecticut voters defeat early voting measure
Gathering Time - Haleys Comet
Lowen And Navarro's All The Time in the World

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A Political Victory

For those who haven’t seen the results of my campaign for State Representative, let me share the most important result. Prior to the election, I spoke at to a couple classes on Critical Issues at our local high school.

Last night, a student left this comment on one of my Facebook posts:

Mr. Hynes, you were an inspiration for me. Your views and approach to leadership are fresh and exciting. I can honestly say I am truly sorry for the results of the election, but I am proud to have helped work on the campaign. Your idealism and grasp of the bigger picture are inspiring in a political world too full of short-sighted cynicism.

I won! I can think of no greater victory than inspiring people to work together to make the world a better place. Thank you to everyone who helped make this victory possible.

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The Long Run

Well, I dreamed I saw the knights in armor coming…

I’m not sure why that song came to my mind after Election Day, but it was one of the first to come to mind.

Look at Mother Nature on the run, in the Twenty-First Century…

Yet, I am not feeling as down about the election as others. I’ve been skipping over much of the gloating and hand wringing on social media. It is all just part of the ongoing process. I ran. I did not get elected, but I talked about issues and got people involved. I won.

Another song came to mind soon after Neil Young’s “After the Gold Rush”. Fiona is a big fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There is a musical episode of Buffy with the song, “Where do we go from here?” That’s what I’ve been thinking about.

It is National Novel Writing Month. I’ve written the first draft of two novels in previous National Novel Writing Months. I had kicked around the idea of writing a parody of the political biographies that presidential candidates need to write these days. My working title was, “Let’s Get Real”, sort of like Hunter S. Thompson meets the presidential candidates’ autobiography. But I knew that I wouldn’t have the time or energy to make a full out effort, so I decided not to tackle NaNoWriMo this year.

Yet as I’ve thought more about it, I’ve started thinking I need to write, “The Long Run”. I’ve gone back and forth on whether it should be a memoir or semi-autobiographical novel about running for office. I’m currently thinking of the novel approach so that I can amplify aspects of running for office without worrying about offending friends who have been so helpful. This way, I can also weave in parts of other people’s stories about running for office.

I’ve put together an outline and started writing my introduction. At the same time, I’m trying to decompress from the campaign as well as find other ideas to weave into my narrative.

On the campaign trail, I spoke about how I was not running against the incumbent, I was running against apathy. It is an idea I used in 2012 as well. This year, I expanded it to talk about not just what I was running against, apathy, but also what I was running for, empathy.

So, the question becomes, how do we increase empathy? To get ideas, I’ve been listening to various TED and RSA videos. Brene Brown has a couple good ones worth viewing. She talks about empathy and sympathy, shame and guilt, worthiness and vulnerability. All of this is tied up in connectedness.

Who is worthy of running for office? Who is worthy of being elected? Who is worthy of receiving help, whether it be food stamps, or a meal distributed to homeless people in parks in Fort Lauderdale? Who is worthy of success? How does this relate to internalized racism?

I continue to try and make sense of my experiences over the past half year as a candidate. I continue to think about empathy and politics, and I continue to seek ways to make a positive difference in the lives of those around me. You see, I’m in this for The Long Run.

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