Blogs & Blogging · LiFe

The Times They are a Changin’

I have, for months and months, and maybe even longer, been thinking about changing the title of this blog.  Which, if you read the description of how I originally came up with the title for the blog, you may think is ironic.  Thinking thinking thinking, mulling mulling mulling.  It goes something like that.  But, life moves, and so do we.  Change can be scary, but also really good.

I need to make it fresh, to enliven it.  Or maybe I need this as an excuse to enliven myself.  Either way, I’ve been thinking about other titles for a long time.  Nothing seemed to fit, until recently, when I came across a quote, it’s actually on my inspirations page of this blog, and was suddenly, another irony, inspired.

The quote, “With an eye made quiet by the power of harmony, and the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things.” ~ William Wordsworth

This means a lot to me.  I have this little mantra, or life philosophy, or whatever you want to call it, made up of four words.  Kindness, joy, hope, love.  The quote by Wordsworth incorporates all of those things.  It is hopeful, speaks to kindest and love, and references joy.

It’s my goal in life to see into things.  Not just look at, look past, look forward to, but to see.  I want to notice life, pay attention, soak it up.  I think my love of the arts and nature and people comes from this place.  My hopeful nature and smiles for people I know and don’t know also come from this place.  I feel like I’ve always known what was really important in life.  I’ve been lucky in that.  Some of the circumstances through my life to this point have just sort of put an exclamation point on it, but I’ve always known.

And the truth is, this is going to sound familiar to anyone who has read anything I’ve ever written here, that the only things that matter in life are the people we love and who love us and the experiences we have with them.  Period.  The end.  Drop the mike.

So, in that vein, taking the focus off of my head, and what’s inside it (speaking to the current title of the blog), I thought I’d change to something that speaks to all of it, the inner and outer worlds.  Something that inspires hope and connection.

Something like, The Life of Things.  “It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me, and I’m feelin’ good.”

I believe, since I’m not changing the URL, that your subscriptions and follows will all still work.  Here’s hoping that’s true.



Blogs & Blogging · Photography

The Images Are Coming

10543652_10153128637040802_8391498658141029699_nFor several years now I’ve authored more than one blog.  There’s Tam’s Think Tank, where I post everything from movie reviews to essays about life to music I find interesting, the work blog, TJ Parker Photography, and a blog called image-ination, where I’ve done several 365 photography projects over the years.  Keeping the Think Tank and image-ination separate seemed important for a long time, but I’ve streamlined things in my life, simplifying, consolidating. It seems like a natural progression for me to also streamline things in my online life.

In that vein I’ll be closing up shop over at image-ination and migrating all posts over to Tam’s Think Tank so that none of that content will be lost.  I’ll also be creating a new page over here so I can include content about my 365 journey.  It’s my hope the experience I created at image-ination won’t be lost.  I don’t think it will be.  And in fact, I feel like the experience at Tam’s Think Tank, which has gone on for 10 years now, will be enhanced and enriched by this change and the addition of the image-ination content.

For those of you who have followed image-ination and been interested in the images I’ve posted there, I thank you for your interest and your occasional comments on the work.  If you’ve decided to hop on over here and follow the Think Tank, welcome!  I will continue posting images I find interesting, and knowing me, I’m sure I will once again do another 365 at some point.  It was a lovely journey over at image-ination.  I’m looking forward to new and continued adventures over here at the Think Tank!

10 Word Review · Blogs & Blogging

10 Word Review

10 Word ReviewAn update about 10 Word Review.  I have organized and catalogued and alphabetized the list of movies, books, television shows, food, and miscellaneous stuff I’ve reviewed and put up lists, each group with its own page, under the 10 Word Review heading.  So if you ever want to look at the complete and ever-changing list of films, books, tv shows, food, or miscellaneous stuff I’ve reviewed just hover over the 10 word review tab and then click on whatever page you’re interested in.  Click on a film, say, and you will be instantly whisked to my review of same.

Blogs & Blogging

2013 In Review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

English: A exposure blended photo of the Sydne...

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Blogs & Blogging

Trimming The Herd

I have been working on the blog.  I’ve been at this blogging thing for, wow… eight years?  Really?  No…. I should check to make sure.  That’s a damn long time.

Every once in awhile I get restless with it and have to change the look of it, update some things, get rid of others.  I cull.  Today I’ve really been at it.  I went though links, getting rid of many and re-organizing the sites I chose to keep.  Is it just me or do blogs appear and disappear at the speed of light?  It’s a tough gig to keep up I guess.  I go through periods of time where I write/post every day and then there are the droughts.  Times when I don’t even want to look at this thing.  Ah well.  That’s life I guess.  Ebb and flow.  Come and go.  Bob and weave.  Metaphor much?

Now I’m working on the pages I have here at the Think Tank.  I love the inspiration page.  But of course I would, it’s filled with words that move me.  I also like the Token Hippy Who page.  Most blogs or sites call that the About page.  All you want to know about the person or persons who keep the blog or site.  I had to change the name.  I felt like I had to include the legal page as well.  Not that anyone is going to try and steal anything I’ve written or photos I’ve posted that I’ve taken, but it makes me feel better having the legal mumbo jumbo out there.  Boundaries, they rock.

The page I’m struggling with is The Journey.  I think it has to go.  There’s no point to it.  None.  Originally… uh, wait.  I’ll just post what was on that page here, in this post, and delete the page.  It has to go.  Cull… to trim the herd.


I used to have something else written here… I just deleted it.

Journey has a lot of meanings; traveling, moving ones life along, it’s a band. Sort of vague really. What does it mean for me? What I used to have written here was the story of how I ended up a WordPress… B-O-R-I-N-G. So do I keep this page or not?

Maybe, as the name could imply, I put up song lyrics from various Journey songs I like.

Uh… no.

Maybe I should talk about my life’s journey.

Uh… no.

Maybe I just say this…

I’ve made a recent journey. Moving from the place I lived my entire life to a brand new town in a brand new state over halfway across the country. It’s very different here in a lot of ways. Weather… political atmosphere… where everyone is at with sustainability and the environment. But it’s also very much the same… some great people, some beautiful scenery, adventure to be found around many corners. It’s been good. Living in a new place, meeting new people, doing something out of the comfort zone, and also spending time now with the little grandson. He’s the catalyst for the move, and he’s been worth it. I’ve been surprised by this experience. Dreading it in some ways, knowing I was going to miss family and friends who I love very much and so miss, and the weather. But it’s been very good in many ways as well. And I have grown to really appreciate many things about this place.

It’s really good to shake things up once in a while. Good to keep ourselves off balance a bit. Good to risk. Good to take an unexpected journey.

“Don’t stop believin’… hold onto that fe-ee-ee-ee-lin'”

Blogs & Blogging · LiFe

A Look Back


I just realized that it’s the beginning of October.  I started blogging the beginning of October 2005.  Yes folks… I’ve been at this a long long time.  Sometimes I haven’t been the most consistent, going days or even a couple of weeks without a word, and truthfully this is the third blogging platform I’ve used.  Started with Livejournal, then Blogger, and finally WordPress, where I found a permanent home.  Luckily each time I moved platforms I was able to import my old blog posts to this blog you’re reading right now which, thankfully, has it all.  Start to finish.  Pretty cool.  It’s been quite a journey since 2005.

As I re-read these first two entries I had to smile, and be a little sad.  The first entry was after a visit to Karen’s parents place in San Jose.  I had been there before, but not many times at that point so I was still getting to know all of them and they me.  Charles, our nephew, was only 16.  He’s in grad school now at Columbia in NY studying film.  I was smiling reading my entry as I described him as a kid who is passionate about film.  I guess that part stuck.  The second entry was written the morning after my grandmother passed away.  It’s been 8 years and I still cried when I read it.  She was an amazing woman and I see her still in my Mom, my aunts, and in myself.  I’m so proud to be her granddaughter and proud to be a part of the family.

So here they are, the first couple of entries written October 3 and 4, 2005.  I can’t believe I’m still doing this, and still loving it.  Thanks to everyone who’s been reading these little missives of mine since the beginning and stuck with me and also thanks to everyone who’s decided to stop by during that time and especially to those new readers who drop in from time to time, sometimes deciding to stay.  I appreciate you all more than I can say.

I love this blogging thing… a way to express, to write, to share, to throw some of my thoughts out into the world in a real concrete kind of way.  I’ve loved it from the beginning and still do.  Here’s to the next 8 or 16 or 50 years blogging.  I’ll probably still be here.


Tuesday, October 4th, 2005
12:10 pm
A life… Beautiful
My grandmother passed away early this morning. I got the call from my mom some time around 6:30, though now it’s hard to remember just when. I drove to work, not really remembering the drive, and have found myself sitting here, not able to concentrate on whatever task it is I’ve had at hand. And that much, I’m sure, is to be expected. I’m working today because, I think, if I didn’t, I’d just be sitting at home, restless… thinking. Instead, I sit here… restless, interrupted at times by a phone call or email I have to answer, and thinking. 

I saw my grandmother three weeks ago. Frail…yes. Tired… absolutely. Full of life… always. She was an amazing woman. Had an amazing life. I walked around my grandparents house three weeks ago in wonder. Slowly passing by photographs of a positively amazing history… awe struck. Phenomenal. 64 years with my grandfather. 64 years of love, of life. A life so rich, so beautiful, that wandering around looking at the record of it, I could feel it’s texture. There were books and drawings, copies of marriage licenses, and picture after picture of a life so full it spilled from those photographs out into the living room, where the miracle of that life sat manifest… in children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. The legacy that’s been left is not just that these people all exist because of her, but that they are all, every last one of them, stellar. Magnificent. They are the best people I know. Intelligent, kind, loving, curious, full of laughter, accepting, driven, artistic, educated, musical, good to the core people. There is never judgment, never an unkind word, ever. They rejoice with each other, celebrate each other, comfort each other… all of them. All the time. There is never a criticism, even a hint of should or shouldn’t… always, in the truest sense of the word, there for each other. My grandparents had seven children, who themselves had 19 children, who themselves have starting bringing many more into the fold. And in the bunch of us, there is not one who is not, in his or her own way, an outstanding human being. All of this, for me, started with my grandparents… the people that they were… are… have been to us. Those two people created the beautiful tapestry that is our family. Those two people created something rare. And we, who are lucky enough to be part of it, know it. It is not, and has never been, taken for granted.

There was a lot of laughter that weekend, three weeks ago, as there always is with this family. My grandmother, central to the scene, as she has always been, involved in it all. I thought to myself, sitting with them that day, what an honor it was, and is, to be a part of it. The luck of my draw. I often wonder how it happened, that I ended up a part of this history, a link in this beautiful chain. I am thankful, every day, for my fortune. I am grateful every day, for the honor of it. And from now, until the end of my days, I will be celebrating my grandmother’s life, as she would’ve wanted me to… by living my life in the best way I can. With joy, love, peace, and happiness, amidst the family… that she made.

Monday, October 3rd, 2005
1:37 pm
Three days in San Jose
Just got home from hanging with the in laws. It was a good trip. Karen’s parents seem to have accepted me, and better yet, they really like me. I think it’s nice for her. All the years of not really being able to be herself, and now she can just be. They are obviously happy she is happy, which is really the important thing anyway. We didn’t do much while we were there, other than hang around chatting, but that was nice. Every time I’m with them I like them more. 

We did go to a movie one night with her sister, Cathy, and her nephew, Charles. I really like that kid. He’s 16 and sort of quirky, and it’s that great kind of quirky. He’s smart, has a great off beat sense of humor, and he doesn’t feel the need to conform to what’s hip. He’s a kid who absolutely loves movies. Old and new, it doesn’t matter. Plus, he knows about them… technique, directors, cast, etc. He’s passionate about it, and that, in anyone, is very attractive. We saw the movie Serenity. Good movie even if you’ve never seen the tv show. There were a lot of people there who obviously had not just watched the tv show, but have gotten into it so much they dress the part. There are clubs for browncoats. Who knew. Not I, but it was pretty entertaining watching them. It was premiere weekend for this particular film and since there’s such a huge cult following, which I also was unaware of, there was a line, the people in costume as I mentioned before, and pre-show trivia complete with prizes for those who knew obscure tidbits about the characters, etc. Needless to say, I didn’t win anything. I did, however, come home with a key chain, thanks to Cathy’s quick grab of a flying key chain after the trivia was over.

Karen’s parents made a full on turkey dinner Saturday night. I guess they figure that they don’t get their kids together very often and since all three were there, it was a time to celebrate. I got the honor of being the forker. When Karen’s dad carves the turkey a person stands there and forks the carved turkey onto the platter. I was told that not everyone gets to be a forker so I was touched he asked me. Standing there, forks at the ready, I felt the pressure to perform and live up to my new post and title. He said I did well, so I might, if I’m lucky, be asked to fork again.

Today I’m lucky enough to be able to hang at home. Relax after traveling. Karen, busy as she is, had to go in to work today. A perk of my job is getting to take off quite a bit of time. I’m fortunate enough to earn comp time on top of my accrued vacation time, so that helps. I slept in today. What a luxury. Sitting here sipping on green tea, still wearing pajamas that I know I won’t change out of, looking outside at the forest and the rain, I think it’s time to head in and see what movie I can find to watch. It’s Monday, and I’m home. How lucky am I?


Blogs & Blogging

Yeah… Uh Huh

Ever have a thought, something you think you want or need to do, and if you don’t do it right away you forget what it was.  That was me today.  I had this great idea for a blog post.  It was right there, bam,  all shiny and ready for me to wax on about whatever it was.  Now… nada.  I got nothin’.  I can’t remember an inkling of what it was.  Sad.

Blogs & Blogging

2011 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 18,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Blogs & Blogging · Opinion

To Blog Or Not To Blog

I guess there is no question…

Blogs & Blogging


Every once in awhile I get a hankering to mix things up here at the Think Tank. Today I changed the blog theme I use. I like this one. I realize some people have more of a problem with the white writing on the black background, but I’m going to test it out for a time. Have no fear, if I’m not a total fan I won’t leave it this way. I’ll change it again. And to be honest, I will probably change it again at some point again in the future. That’s what happens to a blogger who gets restless.

Blogs & Blogging · Words Written

New Inspiration

A couple of quotes recently added to my inspirations page.  I used to have one up in my room when I was in college, and the other, later, up in my office.


In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.

― Albert Camus

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Blogs & Blogging


Wow….  I just realized I’ve passed the 100,000 hits mark on my blog.  Amazing….  Thanks for reading and for continuing to come back.  Much love…

Blogs & Blogging

Changing The Way I Do Business

I just made a slight change to how my blog will auto publish to Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Wordpress now allows you to do this directly, so I’ve switched off the auto publishing by Networked Blogs (at least I think I did) and have turned on the auto publish feature here at WordPress.  It’s a trial run.  If I don’t like it, I will change back, but we’ll give it a try and see what happens.  Not a very exciting post this one, but an update none the less.

Hope everyone out there is having a fantastic day.  It’s another day of sunshine here in the Portland area of the Beaver State… yay!

Blogs & Blogging

A Little Construction Is Needed

I was looking over my blog yesterday, and today a bit I must say, and noticed that some things have not been updated in over a year.  Music preferences, books I’ve read or am reading, and such and so forth.  Admittedly I’ve been a tad busy over the last several months, but now… well now I think it’s time to do a little blog construction.  I will go over the little sections on the side and update them for your viewing and exploring pleasure.  Or not.  Look if you will, don’t if you must not.  Either way, I’ll feel that I at the very least gave it a little spit polish.  A little shine.

I’ve already added a link on the side, in it’s own section, called poem flow.  If you click that link it will take you to a new page where a poem will flow in front of your eyes.  It will be a new poem every day.  Kinda cool actually.  So keep your eyes peeled (a nasty sounding expression if there ever was one).  There may be other fun additions as I tidy up.

Blogs & Blogging · LiFe

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 24,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 5 fully loaded ships.

In 2010, there were 181 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 1984 posts. There were 13 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 3mb. That’s about a picture per month.

The busiest day of the year was January 7th with 213 views. The most popular post that day was 50 Movies of The Future… And Some Sequels.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for movies that will make you cry, wedding script, stow, blade runner, and gaudi buildings.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


50 Movies of The Future… And Some Sequels November 2009


13 Films That Will Make You Cry August 2009


A Script For A Wedding January 2010


10 Cheesy Movies I Love… and two bonus features August 2008


Pass and Stow February 2008

Blogs & Blogging

Yes, Another Blog

And yes, I know I already have two going.  This and image-ination.  I know a person can get too blog heavy.  It’s a sad fact.  But there’s a reason for this madness.  And here it is…

This blog is about my life.  Photos, stuff I like, things I’m thinking about, what we’re doing, etc.  A hodge podge if you will.  Everything and the kitchen sink.  Messy, but I like it that way.  The Think Tank will always be here, at least right now I feel that’s the case.  I’ll always have something to say and besides, it’s a great way for people who don’t live near us, and even some who do, to keep tabs on what we’re up to.  I’m not always the most prolific, but am going to try and consciously keep this bad boy pretty active, up and running, especially after I leave my current job.   The second blog,  image-ination, is all about photography for me.  A way to make me stay connected to that.  That blog will probably end up being attached to the new website I’ll have when this photography thing really gets off the ground and running.  At least, that’s what I’m sort of envisioning right now.

So the new blog… Karen and I were talking about my changing careers mid stream.  Doing something totally different and new, something I’ve always wanted to do, and what’s that’s like.  There are so many emotions wrapped up in this decision.  Excitement, sadness about leaving where I am, apprehension about trying to make the new gig work, elation that I’m getting to do this at all, etc.  Loads of new and different feelings hitting me multiple times a day.  It’s also interesting from a sociological place.  What’s this do to someone, what’s it look like, how does navigating this whole scenario play out.  We thought it would be interesting to have a blog dedicated to that journey, to this new experience.

Hence… Door Number 2.  Because, after all, I’m opening a new door.  I wonder what’s behind it?  I wonder where it will lead?  The only way to find out is to walk through.  The new blog is going to be the story of this new chapter in my life.  How it feels, what it looks like, the reality of it.  Should be interesting.  I, for one, can’t wait to see what happens.

Blogs & Blogging


Yep… passed the 60 plus thousand mark.  Can’t believe it.  Thanks gang for staying tuned and reading along.

Blogs & Blogging · LiFe


Wow… I’m nearing the 60,000 page-view point. You guys rock. I know it’s mostly my friends and family who read this and I just want to say a big thanks for staying interested and keeping tabs on us. This whole blog thing started as an experiment for me in writing and taking pictures regularly. I also decided at some point it was a great way for family and friends to keep tabs on us when we traveled or even when we just stay home and live our lives. Who knew that four or is it five, I don’t know, years would go by and I’d still be here… posting away.

Again… wow. Can’t believe, 1. people are still stopping by… thanks, and 2. that I’ve managed to keep this going and to pretty much stay interested in it. Now if I could only apply this stick-to-it-ness to other aspects of my life I would, I don’t know, conquer the world! Bwah ha ha!!

Blogs & Blogging · Photos

New Commitment

I have decided I need to start posting a photo a day every day again over at image-ination. Try it for another year. I am just about to get my new camera. The Canon EOS 5D Mark II. I can’t believe it. Very excited. So to commemorate that great milestone in my photo taking life I am going to, as I said, re-commit to doing the photo a day thing.

Let me explain the photo a day concept as I mean it for this blog. I will try to take a new photo every day, but when I can’t I will try to post something I’ve already taken. We’ll see how it goes.

Blogs & Blogging

Repeating Myself

Apparently, after reading over what I’ve posted today and then scrolling down a bit, I posted stuff about the Children’s Fair and our trip up to Centralia earlier.  Ah well… age.  It’s a lovely thing.  At least I posted different photos.  No need to look at the same old ones.  bah ha ha ha!!  I make myself laugh.

Blogs & Blogging · LiFe

Place Keeper Post 101

Yes folks… we are back from camping, back from Maggie’s birthday party, and there has been progress on the addition.  Progress as in the sheet rock is almost done and the windows are supposed to come today.  After that… paint.  After that… tile.  After that… finishing plumbing and electrical.  After that… or during all of that… finishing trim.  Then… ta da…. bathroom complete.  I will, I promise, post some in the next day or two.  Loads going on today so it might end up being tomorrow.  Took a couple of decent shots over in Central Oregon so I’ll get those up, plus some interesting anecdotes about the trip.   Until then… have a great day out there ya’all!

Blogs & Blogging · NaBloPoMo

Post a Day for 30

Well folks, I’m going to do it again.  One blog post a day for 30 days starting a couple of days ago… July 6.  Not quite the first of the month, but oh well… close enough.  I’ll be posting every day, or trying to anyway, until August 6.  Let’s see how well I do.  The photo included here is from the National Blog Posting Month website.  Check it out.

Blogs & Blogging

Looking to Keep The Celebration Going?

If you feel the need to keep up the celebration mode after the fourth has passed… you know, like you just don’t want to come down off of that happy cheerfully exuberant holiday high you’ve been on for a few days, then you may be the person who needs to check out THIS LINK to find many other fantastic things to celebrate in July.  I know I have.  You might even find some of that celebrating done here.  It could happen.

Blogs & Blogging

Growing Blogs

Sounds a bit like if you don’t watch out my blog will attack… like a weird jungle plant or a seemingly docile pet.  Fear not.  Really it’s the WordPress Growing Blogs report and today the Think Tank is at #23 on the list.  Not bad.  Think of all the blogs in all the wordpress stratosphere and there’s my little ol’ blog.  #23 on the growing list.  I don’t know who’s reading me, besides my family and friends, but… I like it.  And most humbly… thanks.

Blogs & Blogging


Sometime today it happened. Or maybe it was yesterday, later in the day. Not really sure. What I am sure of is that it did happen. I’ve crossed over people. I’m surpassed the 50,000 page view mark. When I looked at the stats just now I was at, well… you can see by the title of this little missive how many hits I’ve had. 50,046. Pretty amazing.