Plugged in, or Plugged Up?


I’m becoming more and more dependent on electronic gadgetry all the time. It seems that a constant part of my day now, is concerned with the battery levels of my various devices. I am usually trying to recharge my android phone, or my Bluetooth headphones or the portable battery that I use to restore either one of them. Now I have a Smart watch too, that will need juiced every couple days.

I will admit that I’m addicted to these gadgets!

The content though, is what I’m really after. I inform and entertain myself with several podcasts and YouTube Channels. I am a paid subscriber for a Motorsports website and a Political one. I am all the time catching up on their latest video installments.

I don’t watch TV, or do much socializing outside of work and family. My wife and kiddo are asleep when I get home late, so I unwind with some Flat Earth Theory before bed. Without the internet, I would have a major shift in the places I give my attention every day.

I saw a friend this week that is using a flip-phone instead of a smart one. He is possibly the only freshman on the Kansas State University campus with one. He is realizing the simplicity that comes with the lack of connection to the online world in his pocket.

I can remember when those phones were the new thing and yes, we probably didn’t imagine in those days of the flip phone, what was yet to come with the internet in the palm of our hands.

So now is the point of the blog where I’m supposed to condemn this technology and talk about the good ole days. I should preach on the values we’ve lost, and the upcoming generation’s lack of interpersonal connective skills… Well I won’t.

What good does that do? Again we miss the point when we blame the smartphone or the internet or even guns or democrats for everything. All these things exist and can be used inappropriately or for extreme harm, and that is a truth about the world. It won’t change with legislation or attempts to revive our past.

I remember being a kid when computers were new, and some said they were a waste of time, or the ruin of everything. Even if partially true, the wave has come, and it’s here to stay for awhile. No ‘thing’ it seems is permanent. Change is relentlessly cyclical.

Spiritual truths though, are rooted too deeply in the construct, to be moved by the winds of change. This is the realm where we have room to improve, always. As a culture our material fetish and pointing fingers of blame could pass someday, hopefully. Seeing beyond the stuff and tearing each down, we could introspect deeply into the calm embrace of God’s Love. That would bring the heaven we want to experience.

Sure we need action. We need to know where we stand and when to fight. I won’t though apologize for being both in this world, but not completely of this world. I think God has us positioned to benefit from both and be a benefit to both, the material and the spiritual.

I have to admit that internet is an amazing connector. Just this week I had a couple hundred people wish me Happy Birthday through Facebook, Snapchat and Text. Wow that felt really nice, and loving! Thanks everyone for taking the time to say hi!

Until next week, take a minute here and there to reflect. Ask those deeper questions, and make sure your batteries are charged, in case you need to post something profound!


Aaron Nichols

My Danged Double Life

It’s the hoo-rah and the ya-hoo of St. Patrick’s Day that proved to me, the value of Gridlock.

Working hour after hour at our bar, on the day when everyone seemed to be letting loose, I was tightening up. All the party people were dressed in green with big smiles and if I had one, it was most likely fake.

A Friday of St. Patty’s is surely the most annoying day ever, to be Sober.

I’ve heard it said that the Framers of our nation’s Constitution, designed Gridlock into the structure of the Republic. They wanted to make it difficult and arduous to make big changes. They saw value in standoffs between ideas. Immobility allows for security even. I felt the pain of that truth while sipping Sierra Mist instead of Scotch yesterday afternoon.

If Gridlock isn’t the default position of our nation’s leadership, then what would be the alternative? I guess it would mean that whatever idea had currently taken hold, could enact vast sweeping change. Any current administration could radically alter and reinvent our country however they saw fit. Without checks and balances, the core construct of the system couldn’t survive.

How could a peaceful transfer of power occur, say from Republican to Democrat, if the probability was that it would never be returned again. We have to hold hope, as a divided nation, that our ideas will have a chance again to be heard, no matter who holds the office today. Otherwise we’d have civil wars, instead of elections.

In my early thirties, I experienced an internal shift of power within my own being. My priorities changed, I wanted to try a new way of living. As part of the new internal personal regime, I began to attempt sobriety from alcohol.

That was 5 and a half years ago, but it seems like just yesterday. Before that moment, I was a much different person. I whole heartedly belonged to the Party of Parties! I was committed and engaged and a die-hard. I loved to drink and socialize and laugh too loud.

The changes I’ve made have been strong enough to keep me dry up until today. However, there is still a democracy battling for power within. The proverbial angel on one shoulder and devil on the other, are at war in the space between. They are both tough. They both fight hard. Their blows and punches at each other can wear me out.

St. Patrick’s Day left them both bloodied and bruised, neither seeming to gain ground on the other.

This Gridlock must then somehow be healthy. Without the vote and voice of my better self and my baser self, I surely wouldn’t be here today. I couldn’t have tried out sobriety, as a life sentence. The way I approach it is that I just skip drinking for today. And that method invites temptation to bark at the door, to scratch and paw, to break in, and attack in beastly ways.

Work is involved. Daaaaaaaammit.

The battle isn’t on my shoulders and out of my control. It’s all within my own jurisdiction. It’s up to me, to feel disdain for this jolly holiday, or to join it, and let go of my personal achievement.

I have to thank God for the help, but God isn’t pardoning me from any responsibility. That’s not real help. He didn’t give me this fish. I have to get my freakin’ pole out every day and cast a line.

So there. I truly hope you had a great St. Patty’s day. Whether you imbibed or abstained, I hope it was fun. Luckily for me, even though it didn’t feel fun, I was supported by my loving wife. She could tell I fought hard to stay straight. I appreciate her so much.

So, the Gridlock paid off again. Any amendments to my personal constitution are going to take more of a challenge than green beer.

Until next week my friends; be well. I wish You the very best.


Aaron Nichols

These moments remind me of this poem I learned from my Uncle Steve.

The Double Life

How very simple life would be
If only there were two of me
A Restless Me to drift and roam
A Quiet Me to stay at home.
A Searching One to find his fill
Of varied skies and newfound thrills
While sane and homely things are done

By the domestic Other One.
And that’s just where the trouble lies;
There is a Restless Me that cries
For chancy risks and changing scene,
For arctic blue and tropic green,
For deserts with their mystic spell,
For lusty fun and raising Hell
But shackled to that Restless Me
My Other Self rebelliously
Resists the frantic urge to move.

~ by Don Blanding


Too free of speech

“Damn, dilution is a powerful force.” I thought that as I watched pages of neon paper curl out of the laser printer in our office, one by one, this evening. These kids’ menus will be important sheets that show off chicken strips, hot dogs and cheeseburgers along with crayon artwork. It took about 5 minutes for 150 of them to pile up…

Back in the late 90’s I went to school to learn about graphic design. In those classes we were taught some now extinct skills. We used stock pages of photo-ready lettering and artwork to literally cut (with scissors or knife) and paste (with the hot wax roller) together a newsletter layout. The result of our paper surgery was laid on a vacuum plate in front of a process camera. We shot and developed the large-format film. Then the negatives were exposed onto metal plates covered in light blue emulsion that we rinsed away in a solvent bath…

Then we were able to mount the plates onto a basic sheet-fed one-color offset printing press. When powered on, the metal plate would spin and clunk and click in rhythym while beginning to cover the rubber drum with a sticky wet inked image. Pull a lever and the suction cups would lift and deliver the top sheet to the spinning cylinders. A quick ride around and out the other side, the 8 ½” x 14” page would arrive with our newsletter on one side.

If you wanted to have a back side to it, you could start the whole thing over again from the beginning.

A very complicated process like this actually changed the world in the 1400’s… That was when Gutenberg printed the Bible. It was the beginning of a massive shift and it happened because words could be reliably ‘painted’ onto thin leafy vellum.

Today, I’m guessing that almost every single person reading this blog has a ‘printing press’ in their own homes. Our inkjet or laser printers are so incredibly more advanced, simple and accessible than their great-great grandparents, the screw press with movable type.

Is everyone with a ‘printing press’ in their home changing the future of humanity with it? Do the machine’s capabilities automatically translate into transformation for our culture?? It seems almost the opposite doesn’t it? Printing presses are one of the most common office or home items and yet huge breakthroughs don’t spit out of them all.

When there was very few machines like this and it took a lot of work, The Bible, the word of God, made history. It’s the content on the page, not the page itself or even the breakthrough process that did.

The whole of Earth is now flooded with printing presses. With this kind of dilution and overloading of the ability to embed words onto paper, we seem to be doing less importance with it. The normality of the astonishing technology at our fingertips renders it weaker than ever.

The deluge of information coming across our screens and therefore eyes, washes away the value of the headlines, the posts and the sentiments we are consuming. Doesn’t it?

Maybe if it took hard manual labor for weeks on end to record and publish an idea, we would invest more effort into it. Here, in this example, I just plopped down for an hour and fifteen minutes in the middle of the night to string together some words for you and for me.

It’s probably too easy, to really make a difference, and that may be the problem itself.

Until next week, be amazed my friends, and be vigilant in case the next big shift wants to arrive through You.

God Bless 🙂


Aaron Nichols

I tri, a scalene blog post

Another thing that happens in the daily bath with my daughter is this:

She plays in the stream from the faucet. A plastic cup, or the pudgy blue Nettie Pot catches the water. She pours it on herself and laughs. Crammed up at the end of the tub, she’s piled around with toys and having fun.

Then I decide to twist the knobs and shutoff the flow.

Whaaaaaaa! Daddy! She cries. She’s mad. I messed up her good time…

It takes a second, but I remind her to turn around and see the tub full of water. She has a literal swimming pool to splash in. She likes that too. Wiggling on her belly, blowing bubbles with a straw. Bath time continues.

How often, do I get focused in on the little stream of new blessings in my day. I stare at it and play. I might think it’s the only thing that is nourishing my life. This trickle is keeping my spirits up… If it happens to stutter or slow down to a drip, I panic… If my message to JoJo were to myself, I’d say, ‘Turn Around. Take a Look Back, There are PLENTY of Blessings to sustain to you, for now, and for a long time to come, even if they aren’t gushing in 24-7.’


I didn’t do what my wife asked me to do. She’d bought an organizer to hang on the bathroom wall. I noticed it sitting in the box for a couple weeks, and then she finally installed it herself.

The picture on the package, showed a hairdryer, maybe a brush too. Ours now sit in the cradles of curly metal, but it doesn’t look quite like the box. Any real hairdryer has a long cord. It dangles in big loops along the wall. The picture didn’t show that.

My favorite band posted a new music video online. It’s a clean black and white theme. In solo shots they each rock out with their instruments to the song… I’ve seen them play a bunch of times in person, and the guys never look like in this video. The guitars are missing their wire leading to a vintage amp. There are no effects pedals on the floor. The drums aren’t mic’d and the electric piano appears to work without electricity also. None of their instruments are plugged in…

Why aren’t they there? How are they left out? How can the music play without the power?

The photoshopped product packaging looks better without dangling cords, right? The band too, it’s presented sans wires, it’s more ‘elegant’.

Someone must’ve thought the Heathens’ image would be cluttered with wires running all over the stark white movie set. In their concerts, the cables and amps and extra guitars hanging on racks are almost another member of the band. These guys are musicians, and their gear covers the stage like thick black spaghetti.

Real life has wires. It’s crowded with them. They are necessary and vital and yeah, kinda ugly to look at. When we let ourselves forget that real life is messy and not pretty from every angle, we can get discouraged by that truth. At least I can.


I heard on the radio the other day that a log cabin on the homestead of Little House on the Prairie is needing repair. In this article, you can find out that the cabin was built in the 1970’s. It’s not the original one. Anyway, it’s a tourist attraction for fans of the books, and a Gofundme campain is underway.

This log cabin and an outbuilding is estimated to cost around $48,000 to build.

I think I can remember reading all of those Little House Books. I was in awe at the simplicity and the suffering of pioneer life. It was a long time ago when I read it, but didn’t she mention her current day prices of goods. I think they were extremely different than now. She was even excited about simple Christmas gifts like an orange or a penny.

I think they were buying bolts of cloth, mules and land for what we spend on a nice dinner out. $48,000 now will only buy the cabin and a shed. I wonder what Laura Ingalls Wilder would think of that?


Until next week my friends, be mindful of the bounty of blessings in your life. You are probably swimming in them.

But don’t forget, that real life is messy, when someone is trying to sell you a sanitized version instead.

Overall, wherever we are in this crazy world, there is no way to imagine how it will all be valued out into the future. So today do something that you’ll glad you did tomorrow.


Aaron Nichols