Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Even Meatloaf can't write a song about this.

October 19, 2010

I went a little Deepy McDeepster the other day on ya.  I can't be Hi.Larry.Us all the time don't ya know.  Or any of the time, some of you are saying.

Does anyone remember the Meatloaf song Two Out of Three Ain't Bad?  Not to be confused with On Top of Spaghetti, all covered with cheese...

Well, I have realized I am oh-for-three.  Here is what I am talking about.

I was revisiting why I started this blog back in July of 2009, and I came up with three reasons.  One was to become famous as bloggers have a tendency to be.  Actually, I do not know how many famous bloggers there are, but I do know that some have gazillions of followers and I wanted to be one of those special contributors to society as we know it.  As it turns out, I am not funny enough, thought-provoking enough, dedicated enough, or wild and crazy enough to have good blog fodder every day.  I have some faithful readers (thank you Katie and Beth), but that falls a little short of the gazillion mark.

Wow, a little self-important you say?  Yeah, it sounds like that, but that is really not the main reason I started the blog, it was just a hopeful by-product so I could quit my job and make a living sitting on my arse.

The two more important reasons I started this here blog have to do with my family.  For some reason, I have had the Michael Keaton movie, My Life, stuck in my head since I saw it 100 years ago.  He finds out he is dying around the same time he finds out he is going to have a child.  Therefore, he videotapes segments of life-teaching moments that his child can watch in the future to know about his dad.  It was a real up-lifting movie.  Can someone hand me a hanky just thinking about it.  However, I always thought I was Michael Keaton, or at least his character in that movie, so I decided that some day I was going to die before CJ was old enough to hear all my words of wisdom.  As it turns out, I mistook which Michael Keaton movie I really wanted to emulate.  It should have been Mr Mom.  Beth did not really help me out with that one either as she has not gone out and gotten that corporate job with the opportunity to sleep with her smarmy boss.  Thanks sweetie, no really, thanks.

So I had a brush with my mortality earlier this year.  It was not a big broom-sized brush with death, it was more like one of those little paint-by-numbers paint brushes brush with death.  I had this brain/ear thing for which I was tested for MS only to find out there is nothing actually in my head.  Apparently, the pain in my ear when I am sleeping is actually caused by the hamster that spins the wheel in  my brain taking the night off to sleep, and he falls out of bed sometimes with gravity smashing him into my inner ear.  What?  That is what it said on the diagnostic printout.  They would not charge me all that money and lie to me. 

So, I am not dying.  Well, I am, but really slowly.  My death certificate does not have an expiration date on it.

So the last reason I started this blog was to communicate with my family.  A friend of mine from college writes a letter at Christmas time every year that he sends out to his family and friends telling what has happened with his family.  It is usually quite funny, especially the year he tried to convince everyone that they had another baby and named it LeBron.  He grew up in Cleveland, and LeBron James used to play basketball in Cleveland.  I thought I better explain that for people that live in Portland where they do not know of such things.

It was not a stretch, therefore, to think that I could have a blog, and my brother and sister could check in on my family whenever they wanted.  They could also then give me less grief about how little I phone them.  However, their lives are rather hectic, and they have never gotten in the habit of checking in on my blog.  Plus, they grew up with me, so they stopped finding me funny a long time ago.

So, I am finding less and less incentive to keep blogging, at least regularly.  If you can call two or three times a week regular.  I know people trying to poop certainly would not call that regular.  So I will probably become even more constipated, or less regular.  Depends on how you want to look at it.  I will be posting when something comes up that I want to chronicle for CJ to refer back to someday, but how often Beth gets pulled over by a police officer is about as unforeseen as how often CJ misspells a word like "Sindy". 

Perhaps I will be here more often than I think.

Finally, in other news, congrats to CJ for finishing his cross country season with a personal best time of 14:40 for two miles.  He did awesome and even recovered from tripping over another runner at the beginning.  CJ, if you read this, I am very proud of you and look forward to seeing you grow up.  Please try to be funny every once in a while so I can find something to post about.  Or you can do something awesome like joining the Junior Cincinnati Youth Wind Ensemble and nailing that triangle solo.  (He is a percussionist, and they bang things to make sound-again for Portland where they are still trying to figure out if sounds are made from trees falling in the forest.)

Thank you all for reading this rather long post, but they may be longer now in correlation with being less frequent.  That actually does not make sense, but I cannot think of another appropriate poop reference. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

I wonder what district we are in?

October 15, 2010

As you may know, I am always efforting to find things for me and CJ to talk about.  He is not into watching sports, so there goes a lot of potential material.  We both play Call of Duty, Modern Warfare II on PS3, and that is good for some conversation.  We talk about school and girls as much as a teenager can tolerate with his dad, so that takes up about 10 minutes per week.  We talk about how awesome Beth/mom is, but after a lot of "isn't mom the best back scratcher ever", or "how about that delicious dinner mom made last night?", or "I want to find a girl just like mom someday", or "aren't I lucky to have picked out the perfect mom for you?", or "when will mom be home, I miss her so much!"...we need to move on to other topics.

Therefore, I decided to read The Hunger Games.  A lady at Barnes and Noble recommended it for teens, and CJ has ready the whole trilogy.  He really liked the first two and wrote a paper about the third one and how a better ending would be.............  I don't know since he did not want to spoil it for me.  So I read The Hunger Games a couple weeks ago, and read the sequel, Catching Fire, this week.  Both of them end in cliff hangers that make you want to read the next.  Thus, I am waiting to acquire the third, Mockingjay, as soon as CJ retrieves it from whomever he lent it to.

So, here is why I bring this up.  It is a little surprising to me that this series is meant for teens.  The style in which it is written is obviously at a level to aid the comprehension skills of this age level, but the content is very challenging.  Partly, the challenge comes form all the killing that takes place.  Additionally, the reasons behind the killings are very thought provoking. The premise is that our country has been divided up into districts after a rebellion, and the Capitol keeps everyone down by having peacekeepers in place and rules that squelch any potential rebellion.  There is no travel between districts and food is scarce.  Finally, every year, each district draws the names of two teens from their district to represent them in The Hunger Games.  These participants kill each other off in an arena until one victor remains.  Everyone is mandated to watch and the theory is that each district will understand that the Capitol is in charge and that the games are punishment for past rebellion attempts.  It is a very elaborate affair that is treated like the Olympics or something similar, which is quite a mockery of the real fact that they are killing off children.

I am way oversimplifying the story as you should read it yourselves, but I hope you are getting my point that it is a rather deep premise.  I wish I had read the books at the same time as CJ so that we could discuss it as he went along.  Now I have to finish the whole trilogy before we can discuss some things about it.  It is also not a book that the whole class read together, so CJ was on his own to come up with content interpretations.  I am really curious how he went about understanding the political undertones of the story.

However, yesterday, I started to really feel the need to share part of what I was getting from the book.  I know very few people read my blog, and even fewer read my blog and have read The Hunger Games.  Therefore, take what you will from this thought. 

Do many people realize that every thing we do is ultimately a learning experience?  There is a reason that ancient civilizations used to hold their elders in such high esteem.  They have experienced more of life and can mentor the younger people.  I think about my relationship with my coworkers and how much I have learned from them, but one of them told me Friday night that she appreciated the fact that she learned from me what work ethic was.  It came as a shock to me.  I thought I was teaching these newbies about processes and best practices, and concrete things.  It did not dawn on me that leading by example is still something that works for people.  I mean, sure, we have had discussions about leadership style and how your mood or delivery affects it.  But that seemed more concrete to me and that I was just speeding along their development.  But work ethic?  I always thought you had it or you didn't.  But I wasn't born with it.  My mom bugged me all the time as a youth about how lazy I was.  As I grew older, I realized that all her nagging had turned me into a responsible adult.  It would have been nice if I had been born with it so that I didn't have to listen to all the nagging.  Wouldn't my mother be proud today to hear someone tell me that she learned about work ethic from me.  If she weren't dead already, she may have had a heart attack.

Therefore, as you go through your day, your week, and your life, please try to remember that each thing you encounter is a potential learning experience.  Every learning experience is then something you are welcome to share with others.  It is teamwork, people.  Ultimately, we are all on the same team.  I will throw a little religion at you-the team we are on is God's team.  He gave you a special skill set, just like Katniss, Peeta, Haymitch, or Prim?  Do you realize the impact you can have on others?  Think about it, work with it, pass it on.  Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I have a brother?

October 11, 2010


Does anybody remember this commercial?  I lived in Louisville at the time and used to see it all the time.

Speaking of Louisville, I spoke with my brother yesterday.  I know.  Emails go unanswered, blogs get ignored, and phone calls stay unreturned.  Well, I actually never call my brother, I do not do good phone, but the other two things are fairly accurate.  So why did I get a call from my brother?  Well, he is selling something of course.  His daughter is selling cookies for a fund raiser and wanted her favorite uncle to have a chance to get in on the ground floor.  Hopefully, that is not where the cookies are right now.  Anyway, like a good neighbor, and a great uncle, I have signed up for three tubs of cookies.  Won't my peers at The Target be so excited to be getting cookies for Christmas?  I think so too!

So they are not baked cookies, that would not contribute to the warmth of me (or hopefully Beth) baking cookies to give out for Christmas.  They are frozen, pre-proportioned, and fresh cookies.

As it turns out, my brother has the same sense of humor as myself.  It is one of the few traits that let us know he and I are not adopted.  He is blond-haired, pale-skinned, blue-eyed, and nice to people.  I am brown-haired, dark-skinned (for a white dude), brown-eyed, and not nearly as nice as he.  However, we have the same sense of humor, and the same facial structure.  We are also about the same height.  So there you go, practically identical.

So back to the sense of humor thing.

As we discussed these cookies, I told him I liked the idea that the cookies were the same as how I liked my women-meaning fresh.  He thought I meant that I liked my women frozen and pre-proportioned in little baggies.  Somebody is watching too many episodes of Bones.

So we chatted for a bit and they are doing fine.  He should get the cookies in a couple weeks and then we have to arrange delivery/pick up.  For all his local suckers, I mean customers, his son is delivering the cookies on his bicycle.  I have asked for the same service, but 100 miles is outside of his delivery window.  Fortunately, my brother has a good-sized freezer in his basement to store my cookies until I see them next.  Hopefully, the cookies do not smell like rotted flesh after being stored in the freezer with the limbs of missing women.

As for my family, they are off to school and work today whilst I lounge around in my jammies and enjoy a week away from The Target.  Got to get the juices rejuvenated for the impending holiday season.

Today's activitiy beyond the lounging will include gathering up clothes that do not meet the one year rule qualification.  If I have not worn them in a year, they get donated.  There are some clothes upstairs that I do not think meet the five year qualification, so Goodwill will be seeing some clothes that are currently out-of-style.  Anyone need some jean shorts or Hammer pants?  Speak now or find them at Goodwill next week.