Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Family Fun Time

My brother is visiting from Los Angeles this week for the holiday. He arrived in town last night. The family went out to dinner and then he and I went to one of his friend's houses. His friend is in town from Chicago. We drink and talked and then they continued drinking and we continued talking. I really miss my brother. Just like with Steph, he and I rarely got along when we were growing up, but as adults we are great friends. I met one of his high school/college friends last year over Christmas and another one of that same group last night. It is so much fun hearing about the crap that they got themselves in to. I heard about some of it when it was happening, but a lot of the details were completely new to me. I realized last night how interesting our lives have been since we separated.

I always thought his was interesting. He is a little over a year older than me and was two years ahead of me in school. He has been in school since he graduated highschool and is now pursuing his PhD in Classics (Latin-something-or-other). He has lived in KC, Norwich (England) and LA. In KC he received his undergrad degree, and then went to KU and earned his Masters. While there he made some money just by being in the Masters program, did research work and had other odd jobs from grocery stores to food delivery. Who knows what else he did to get by. From there it was over to England to live for a bit while his girlfriend finished her Masters program. While there he washed windows. He wasn't supposed to be working since he didn't have the proper visas. But, he made it work. When he moved back to the states, it was back to the KC area while he applied to different Doctoral programs. He finally got accepted to one of the best programs in the country out in LA and headed west where he has been for the past few three years. He makes more money in salary just by being a student and teaching undergrad classes (1 a semester, and I don't think he has to do that at this point) than I do where I am at. He gets to travel to Europe every summer (mainly Italy). Some summers he worked on archeological dig sites in Sicily and last year he taught a class at an American University somewhere outside of Rome. If he gets accepted, he will be spending a year at the American Academy in Rome starting next fall, while he continues his work on his discertation.

Over that time, I got married and received an undergrad degree in Criminal Justice. While doing that I worked in retail and in a factory. I went through the six month long hiring process for the Missouri State Highway Patrol three times, making it into the final phase twice. The only reason I am not a patrolman today is because when they asked if I could "take a life in the line of duty, yes or no, and why?" I answered, "No. I think that I could given the training and circumstance, but until I am placed in that situation I cannot honestly answer yes." I spent a majority of my two final interviews explaining my answer. Both of my parents had strings that they were pulling for me, I had passed everything else, but could not answer that question to their satisfaction. Thank God for that. I would not be nearly as happy today if I had. I became a PI when I got laid off from the factory and while working a file in Philadelphia I had a gun pointed at my head. I know now that I do not deal well with that sort of stress and would not have been happy as an officer who faces that possibility with every traffic stop and emergency call. I had moved to Philadelphia about the time my brother headed to Europe, and managed to work all over the United States. I have seen parts of this country that even the most traveled Americans never will. It was a very unique experience. I ended up moving back to St. Louis when my wife decided she was unhappy in Philadelphia. About three months later I was going through a divorce, turns out it wasn't just Philadelphia that was making her unhappy. By moving back I had given up any real opportunity for advancement in my company and had been slowly becoming burnt out with all of the travel and extra unpaid working hours and lack of a personal life. Once I got my head on straight after my divorce, I decided I needed to return to school and pursue a different path. I found a job as a drain cleaner and returned to school. Since then I have entered an accounting program and started working at a nursing home.

Neither of us would have ever guessed that we would be where we are now, back when we were first beginning our often interesting journeys. But, as I have come to realize, we are both very happy people who may not be traditionally "successful" but we know what real success is. Happiness. And I can say that his ability and willingness to follow his happiness where it lead him, inspired me to not be afraid to make the changes in my life that have lead to my fulfillment. I just wish that most of our time together wasn't spent talking on the phone, 2000 miles apart.

Monday, November 24, 2008

But Who's Buying

These are the NHL's commercials for their broadcasts on the only network that airs national telecasts. They portray hockey players as they are. Most are very approachable and I have not known any to be primadonnas in recent years. You non-hockey fans tell me if they would sell the game to you, I'm kinda biased.

I love these commercials, but the only time I see them is during NHL hockey games on the channel that is broadcasting those games. The league isn't in financial trouble anymore, but I don't see the point of advertising hockey during hockey. The fans already know it is there. They need to try to reach a different market I think. Although, in my opinion, the only way to make a non-fan a fan is to take them to a game. It is hard to follow the game on TV if you don't know what you are watching.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I'm Beginning To See A Pattern Emerging

Tonight my men's league hockey team won our fourth straight game. I also scored a goal for our fourth straight game. Tonight was the second game in a row I scored the game winner. Although tonight's goal was one I had never scored before. I scored the goal with my left butt cheek.

The best goals are the ones that you don't really have to do much work for. All of the other three goals were of the highlight reel variety. Two of the three were off of great passing plays from my teammates where I didn't have to do anything but hit the right spot on the net and the other was an end to end rush where I moved around four of the other team's skaters and beat the goalie with a backhand through the five-hole. I remember goals that I score, because as a defenseman I don't score too many. Tonight, I just skated into the slot and one of my teammates shot the puck off of my bum and it bounced into the net.

I don't know how much longer the team I play for will be together. The team has been together for about four years and has been changing a lot over the last several sessions. We subtracted a few guys and added a few more this session. The new guys have definitely brought a new energy with them. I love playing on this team because everyone has a great attitude and they just want to have fun. There is a great mix of guys from from one guy in his mid-fifties* to a few 18 and 19 year-olds. We ended our regular season tonight with a 4-7-1 record. But we are going into the playoffs knowing that we can beat all of the other teams if we play the way we have played the last four or five games.

Now I am going to go to bed and hope that the bruise that is forming on the left side of my derriere isn't too bad when I wake up for work in a few hours. I hate the late night games, I just can't fall asleep when I get home.

*As a side note, there is nothing like sitting in the locker room after a game and hearing a guy who is old enough to be my father talking about being pissed off that he missed the Crystal Method show at some local venue a few weeks ago. Then referencing Paul Van Dyk and Underworld. Seriously, blew my mind.

Busy Night

Last night I went out for my friend Lindsay's birthday. By going out with her, I missed out on a few things that I got to catch up on today. I missed the Toronto Maple Leafs retiring the jersey of Wendell Clark, whom I also disliked when Toronto was in the Blues' conference back when I started watching hockey. He was a great player with a lot of character and heart, and those opponents are the types of guys that always make it hard for your team to win against. It was moving watching the ceremony online.

But, the one I really missed was the Montreal Canadiens raising to the rafters the number of the greatest goaltender ever, Patrick Roy. I have had the privilege of watching a lot of the greats that I grew up having their numbers retired by their teams. I have even been present at the retirement of one of my very favorite player's number, Al MacInnis. But, I don't know if I have felt as moved by any other ceremony as I was when watching Roy's. Maybe it was knowing the circumstances of his departure from that storied club in 1995, or maybe it was because he was one of the first player's names that I knew when I started watching and playing, other than Brett Hull of course. But, whatever it was, if you are a hockey fan, you need to find that ceremony online and watch it. Fantastic.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Giving of One's Self

I was having a conversation with a woman today and I was surprised at the way it went. Not because I should have been surprised or the direction it took surprised me. I was surprised by the thoughts it provoked. We were discussing dating. For some reason, some of the women I work with are extremely comfortable around me. This one is one of them. While discussing dating, the subject of farting came up. She was telling me about how she was laying in bed at her boyfriend's house. He got up to go into the kitchen to get something to drink and she had to fart. She figured if she was going to do it, that was the time because they were going to be under the sheets together for the rest of the night. I understand being courteous where bodily functions are concerned, but she was mortified that he may have heard her fart when he was walking away. She was also afraid she might "scare him off" by being herself when they were doing competitive activities (bowling, mini-golf, video-games). She is the type of person that will joke about beating you, or rub it in a little. She is not sure how he would take it.

Now this is where the surprise occurred. I am slightly old-fashioned when it comes to relationships. I don't chase women like most men seem to now-a-days. I keep my eyes, ears and heart open, just in case an intriguing woman comes along. But, it's just not a priority for me right now. I enjoy getting to know someone well enough to feel completely comfortable before sleeping with them. I was thinking to myself, how can you be comfortable enough to have sex with someone and sleep with them, but not be comfortable enough to be yourself around them. I don't judge people just because they are not as old fashioned as I am. But, it is really hard for me to understand how people can share such an intimate experience without being comfortable with one another, first. Don't get me wrong. I believe in kicking the tires and taking a test drive before you buy the car. Or, taking a tour of the house before you sign the contract. Or whatever other analogy you like for sex before marriage. But, I just don't understand how you can enjoy the experience fully without being completely at ease and comfortable with your partner. And sex should be comfortable and much, much more. If you can't be yourself, what is the point?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ideology, Charisma, Murder

30 years ago today, a great tragedy occurred. A madman that was considered by his followers to be a prophet, "helped" over 900 people die in several ways. Mass suicide and murder followed people's good intentions. I often find myself wondering how people could follow someone like Jim Jones, or any other maligned leaders of the past for that matter. But, I have realized that a little charisma and a silver tongue can go a long way. And people have a need to believe in better things than seem to really exist. I have read several articles over the past year about Jonestown. The first one, about Jim Jones' grandson and one, today, about the events that occurred exactly 30 years ago. It scares me how easily any one of us could fall into a similar trap.

Believing someone that you think you can trust can happen to any of us. I have met a few people that have steered me wrong in the past, and I believed every word that they had said to me. I am not naive, and I am not stupid, but I had fallen for it. How? The person knew how to read me, and how to talk to me in order to get me to listen. And, they said exactly what I wanted to hear, although I had no clue that it was what I wanted to hear until I heard it. Friends and family warned me, but I believed anyway. There are plenty of people out there that are like that. Once you finally realize that you have been trapped, you are already trapped and extracting yourself is hard to do.

When you want to believe something can exist so badly that you are willing to believe against your better judgement that it does, people can take advantage of that. The people at Jonestown gave their love and trust to a madman and paid for it with their lives, some of them willingly. Be careful who you choose to trust and try not to dive into something without at least looking at what it is that you are getting into. Good intentions can mask bad ideas and lead to disaster. And normal, intelligent people can get lost just as easily as simple minded and naive folks. Intelligence makes it harder to accept that it could happen to us.

I try to make it a point to learn from the past. I use other people's experiences as well as my own to get by, now. When I was younger, I would only use my past as a reference point. I was too stubborn to believe that other people's experience affected me. Remember, we all make mistakes everyday. Except that we can make mistakes and it is easier to except that we do and ultimately it is easier to fix the issues that occur when we do. Learn from them and keep moving forward, treat everyone with respect and love and this world will be a better place for all of us.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bum Knee

This weekend had it's ups and downs. I went out late Friday night to play a bit of pick-up hockey with some friends (up). I was awakened before I was ready by my work pager and had to go in to fix some stuff (down). When I left work, there were snow flurries flying around (up). Later, I went out for my cousin's birthday dinner and then a bar for live music (up), but couldn't drink (they had one of my favorite beers on tap, very few people do) because I was on call and driving (down). Got called in again at just after midnight, while still out with my cousin (more down). Sunday, I got to sleep in, went to coach my kids (not really MY kids), then played in a game right afterward. We won the game, our win streak is now at 3 games, as is my goal scoring streak (all ups). Near the end of the game one of the goons on the other team hit one of my guys from behind. He had been doing this all game, had even hit me earlier, but it just wasn't the right time to get even. With the score at 5-2 in our favor, this guy hit my teammate very dangerously and I finally completely lost my temper and went after him. After I hit him and he came at me, I planted my foot awkwardly and tweaked my left knee. So, today, for my efforts I get to limp around and hope that the pain starts to subside. If not, I may have actually done some real damage this time.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

First Snow of the Season

I was not very enthusiastic about having to get out of bed before noon today to go to work. I was out until about 2am this morning after playing hockey late last night. But, I am on call and had to check on a few heating issues. I went in and did what I had to do. On the way back out to my car, I walked out into the first snow of the season.

It has been a great day.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Choice and Consequence

So, I read this article this morning. I didn't even finish it before I started typing up this post. This is not addressed to anyone in particular. But is aimed at Rev. Jay Scott Newman of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Greenville, S.C. I know that different issues carry different weight with different people when it comes to picking our leaders. With that being said, this country is not a theocracy, and should not be run as one. Sure, we pick our leaders based on our beliefs, but I hope one of the most weighted beliefs we choose with is the one that tells us the person we chose will help this country thrive. I don't think our abortion laws really help us suceed or fail as a country. I think our social, economic and foreign policies have a whole lot more to do with it, than our religious leanings do. I can understand telling parishioners that they should refrain from communion if they have been directly involved in an abortion. Not because they have voted for a candidate that takes a pro-choice stance on the issue. I voted for Obama. I would be one of the first people in line to tell someone not to abort their child. There are too many other viable options. I used to say I was pro-choice. I have been through something that taught me that I wasn't. I didn't have a choice, my baby didn't have a choice, the mother had the choice. It is a long, complicated and emotional situation that I will probably never go into fully on this forum. But it taught me that I was wrong (for me to say that I was pro-choice, you are allowed your opinion on it). But, I will not choose a candidate that might run this country into the ground, based solely on their abortion views, and I would hope that the staunchest supporters of the pro-life agenda would make the same choice. Although, I know that is a pipe-dream.

So, Rev. Newman, I am here to tell you that you are an idiot for trying to alienate your parishioners because they did not vote for someone that will probably do nothing for or against abortion while they are in office. This country has too many other important issues right now. It would be stupid to be focusing on what is ultimately a personal one. Teach your congregation that there are CHOICES that do not include abortion. But don't chastise them for making a CHOICE for a leader, probably based on many more factors than how they feel about a woman's right to choose. By supporting someone else, they might have chose a candidate that is supporting a war that was unjustified in the first place (Iraq not Afghanistan) in which innocent people are being killed everyday. I only use this example to prove a point, that no matter which choice you make, the candidate is probably supporting the death of innocents for what they believe is right. So, as a Christian, a voter and a pro-life individual, I would say, it is not up to you sir, to decide whose soul is at risk. Leave that to God, he will judge us when we pass from this earth. It is up to you to guide them in the right direction. If communion is taken to prove that Jesus died for our sins and this is one of the ways that we can receive Him, then why would you stop someone from receiving Him who might be trying to atone for the sin of choosing a pro-choice advocate. Maybe they used their religion to guide them in their choice and still found that the lesser of the two evils was Obama. Now they feel they need to repent and YOU won't allow it. You may be Christ's representative, but you are not Christ, you did not die for their sins and they are not receiving you, you pompus ass. Get over yourself and do your job. Help people find God, don't turn them away from him. None of us are perfect, least of all you.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Getting The Urge

Hahn's Peak, Steamboat, CO 11-12-08

It's snowing in Steamboat, my friend Troy sent me a picture from a mountain cam at Park City(snow covered), and I am now getting that urge...

I need to see if I can sell a kidney. I want to go skiing this year.

By now, I usually have made reservations and am just waiting my turn. This season, there is a trip planned for late February/early March, but I just don't think I will have the money. Since, well, I don't even have the money to pay off school.

Anyone want to donate to the cause? :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I used to be a wallflower. Sometimes, I am still a bit reserved in social situations. Finding that life sucks when I didn't take chances, I taught myself how to be outgoing. Sometimes I still turn many different shades of red when stuff happens. But, most of those times the only thing that is embarrassing is my body's reaction. It betrays me. Anyway, I just thought that for those of you out there that may be mortified by social situations such as speeches, parties, dates, or even going to a restaurant or movie where you may meet new people, you need to know you can change. It took some doing. I used to be the guy that walked around looking only at my feet, if someone made eye contact, I looked away. If someone said "Hi" I would very softly reply, sometimes with voice cracking. Most of my friends have a hard time believing this. I am very outgoing and not shy at all if I know you. But, believe me, once you learn how to be outgoing the world is a much more interesting place. What brought this on was earlier today on my morning break, I read an article about flirting. "Expert Flirting Tips". It seems that I have managed to become a huge flirt over the past few years. There were ten tips, and I am good at all of them. And only 4 short years ago, I was not this person at all.

Here is the article:

Some people are natural flirts, but what if you’re not one of those people? We’ve compiled 10 expert tips on flirting that even the most timid of singles can use.

10. Flirting is an attitude

A good flirt is self-confident and not afraid to take risks. Be enthusiastic and positive—it works! (I am a naturally positive person, the enthusiasm for the situation had to be learned)

9. Start a conversation

The best opening line is saying hello. Talk about the surroundings, ask a question, ask for help or state an opinion. (While working as a Private Investigator, I had to initiate conversation a lot. I had to learn how to be good at this. It is an invaluable skill. I know some masters, I am not one of them)

8. Have fun

Be playful, light-hearted and spontaneous. Show your vulnerability. (If you are quick-witted with your friends and family, transfer that over to those you don't know. If they don't get your humor, they aren't right for you anyway. If they do it makes you feel more comfortable, too.)

7. Use props

Never leave home without a prop. Props are natural conversation starters. They encourage conversation and others will be compelled to start talking to you. Great props include dogs, kids, unusual jewelry, a fabulous scent, a sweatshirt with your favorite passion, interesting ties, hats or an interesting book or newspaper. (I have a TMBG t-shirt that I wear. It is a great conversation starter. I was wearing it with a kilt one day, and the people didn't ask about the kilt, they asked about the shirt. Every time I wear it I get asked about it. Seriously, anything to break the ice, but be comfortable with whatever prop you choose. Oh, and for those of you who don't know TMBG is They Might Be Giants. Fun band.)

6. Be the host

Change your behavior from guest to host. You are not a passive person waiting around for romance; instead, you’re the welcome committee. (You're there, they are there, you may as well both feel welcome. You were both invited. If you don't know where you are, offer a tour that you can both get lost on. If you do know where you are, get lost together anyway. Another P.I. lesson is this: "Walk in like you own the place, most people will assume that you do.")

5. Make the first move

Move closer to the person you want to meet. Say hello. (It's not hard to say hi. If the other person blows you off, move on. If they say hi back, revert to a few of the previous steps; start the conversation, use props, be the host and attitude, always attitude. Remember, confidence is key. Believe me, you can fake it. They don't know you yet, they don't know you are really nervous.)

4. Listen

You have two ears and one mouth because you should listen twice as much as you speak. Listening is a true art. Your flirting partner will be drawn to you. Everyone loves to be heard. (One of the skills that I already had. Thankfully, I didn't have to learn them all.)

3. Eye contact

Please look your partner in the eye gently (no more than a few seconds) and then glance away. Don’t stare—it’s a turn-off. (This is the only one that I have issues with. I never know if I should look away or keep looking. I take the woman's body language into account and just hope to God that she doesn't start looking uncomfortable. But the suggestion of "a few seconds" makes you seem flighty. Use external "exit" cues; people entering the room, any nearby motion that you can pretend drew your attention, etc., if you have a hard time keeping eye contact. It's not so obvious that you want to look away if you can do that. But, don't look away for good, you will either look uninterested and bored or you will look timid. Neither one is good.)

2. Compliment

Compliment your flirting partner. The best compliments have the element of surprise. The “flirtee” will know that you really noticed him or her. Remember, your compliments must be honest, sincere and genuine. When you receive a compliment, the best response is a simple “Thank you!” (Try not to over do it. There is a fine line here. I had to learn it, I don't get it right every time. If you are bad at it, learn it. I wish I could give good advice on how to learn it. Practice makes perfect. I use the women I work with, that I am already comfortable with. I fine tune my approach and then use it on strangers. A well placed compliment is magical.)

1. Smile It's contagious

Smiling makes you so much more approachable. A smile lights up your face and draws people to you. You’ll be a people magnet. (The only other skill that I didn't have to learn. I am naturally happy. People are always more comfortable if it doesn't look forced. Think of something that makes you happy and use it, if you can't naturally feel that way in the situation you are in.)

Happy hunting.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Rime Of The Ancient Mariner

No this post is not about Coleridge's poem:

It is an ancyent Marinere,
And he stoppeth one of three:
"By thy long grey beard and thy glittering eye
"Now wherefore stoppest me?

The bridegroom's doors are open'd wide
"And I am next of kin;
"The Guests are met, the Feast is set,--
"May'st hear the merry din.

But still he holds the wedding-guest--
There was a Ship, quoth he--
"Nay, if thou'st got a laughsome tale,
"Marinere! come with me."

He holds him with his skinny hand,
Quoth he, there was a Ship--
"Now get thee hence, thou grey-beard Loon!
"Or my Staff shall make thee skip.

He holds him with his glittering eye--
The wedding guest stood still
And listens like a three year's child;
The Marinere hath his will...

Nor is this about the song "Rime Of The Ancient Mariner" by Iron Maiden. Although that is where the title of this post came from. Because nothing of consequence has happened in the last few days and I felt like posting. I like these memes that require a bit of randomness in an otherwise random world. I got this over at Scaramouche Jones' place. Be prepared for a bit of Dave Matthews as about a third of the music on my windows media player is DMB, or Dave and Tim, or Dave and friends, or just plain Dave.

Instructions: Use your mp3 player set to random to answer the questions with random song titles.

What does next year have in store for me? "You Never Know" Dave Matthews Band (pretty appropriate way to start. "Funny when you're small/How the moon follows the car/There's no one that you see/Hey, the moon is chasing me")

What does my love life look like? "Grey Cell Green" Ned's Atomic Dust Bin (hmmm, I guess desire is inside me)

What do I say when life gets hard? "Laid" James (yeah, it doesn't make much sense to me either)

What do I think of when I get up in the morning? "Falling Off The Roof" Dave Matthews Band (It must have been a bad dream)

What song will I dance to at my wedding? "Better Off Dead" Bill Withers (I'm such a romantic)

What do I want to do for my career? "We Didn't Start The Fire" Billy Joel (So, I guess I can rule out arsonist...)

Favorite saying? "Good Morning, Good Morning" Dave Matthews covering John Lennon (I do say "good morning" an awful lot)

Favorite place? "Televators" Mars Volta (I love frightening places)

What do I think of my parents? "Play Crack The Sky" Brand New (What?)

Where would I go on a first date? "My Sundown" Jimmy Eat World (I have watched the sunset over both continental divides, in my rear view mirror, over the Pacific several places, in the mountains, from the middle of nowhere, and over the skylines of cities like New York, Chicago, L.A. and San Francisco. It never gets old, but I don't think I have ever shared a beautiful sunset with someone special. If I ever do it on a first date, that woman might just be a keeper.)

Drug of choice? "The View" Modest Mouse ("my mouth runs on too...")

How do I describe myself? "Hope She'll Be Happier" Bill Withers (Now that is just plain depressing, I'm gonna try again) "Wonder" Natalie Merchant (that's better)

What is the thing I like doing most? "My Descent Into Madness" Eels (My life in a nutshell)

The song that best describes the president/prime minister? "Rushing" Moby (rushing legislation through at the end of his last term, hope it doesn't work)

What is my state of mind like at the moment? "Pepper" Butthole Surfers (did you know that the lead singer's dad was a famous children's show host, kinda like Mr. Rogers, only he was local to Dallas, TX?)

How will I die? "Let You Down" Dave Matthews Band (wow, just for letting you down? you're hardcore.)

Song they'll play at my funeral? "Seven Minutes In Heaven" Fallout Boy (I got nothing)

What song will I put as the subject? "Rime Of The Ancient Mariner" Iron Maiden (Ohhh, good title, fate was kind with this one)

4/18 songs from Dave, about 50% less Dave than I would have predicted. Not bad considering...

Monday, November 10, 2008

"Why Can't We All Just Get Along"

This is one of the funniest things I have ever read. I know it is actually a bit sad, but this is precisely the reason I don't attend church. There are so many sects of Christianity and none of them can get along. It's rediculous. I don't think Jesus preached a message of intolerance and stubborness. Just take the ladder down, fix the rooftop monastary and learn how to live with one another. If Christians can't live and work together, how can we even try to pretend that our way is "the right way"? A turf war among the members (albeit "different" religions) of a stupid.

Friday, November 07, 2008

R.I.P. Bruce Cannon

My prayers are with your family and friends. I know I didn't know you well, but I knew you well enough to know that you were a decent man and you were a very good friend to one of my best friends. You will be missed.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

I Swear, Officer, I'm Only Casing This Joint For My OM Class.

I am in an Operations Management course in school. Last night we were learning about project management. The terminology, the skills, the way things can be tied together or broken down into small units. We learned things like the Critical Path, earliest start, earliest finish, latest start, latest finish, slack time, blah blah blah blah blah. As interesting as that stuff may or may not be to some people, I need to know it for my degree program, if for no other reason. The best part is how we learned about this stuff. Our professor split us up into groups of three and we applied the terminology and techniques that a project manager uses to perform a jewelry store heist. She didn't teach us with a lecture, she didn't give us a general description of these terms or techniques beforehand. She just handed out a diagram of the store, a list of activities that were involved in the robbery process and set us to work.

The good news is that if I fail at accounting I know that I can lead a team of highly skilled safe-crackers and alarm-specialists into a jewelry store. If the statistical data that we used was correct, my team had a 99.99999999999999% chance of success. And, hell, if we failed we could at least go out guns drawn, in a "blaze of glory."*

*That was for you Steph. Bon Jovi is my hero.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Conservative Or Closed Minded?

I have always been a centrist. I am not going to lie to you and tell you that when I voted yesterday, it was without trepidation. However, I do not believe either candidate was a horrible choice. I think they are already both excellent leaders. But, as much as I fear change, as much as I am frightened that my choice may bring about a few changes that I do not want, I chose change. I chose to hope that change will be good, not bad or indifferent. And I chose to believe this because, McCain was not really talking about his agenda so much as he was attacking Obama's plans. I chose to believe this because as eloquent as his speech was, Obama never used that eloquence to change his story and see if we would believe him. I chose to believe in hope, because although Obama is a very talented politician, he has not been at it nearly as long as Senator McCain. I chose to believe it because, as my sister pointed out, "there is conservative and there is close minded". I like to consider myself open-minded. I am religious but don't believe that everyone will be happy believing in my God. I am pro-life, but don't think that the choice is always that easy. I am straight, but love my gay friends and respect their "choice" to pursue their own happiness. I had a conversation last night where someone said to me, "if all those black people hadn't come out to vote based on the color of his skin..." I said, "at least they got involved, and they will be much more willing to vote now that they see that it does matter. Look at most of them, they are lower-middle-class or below and are suffering through not only this recession but also have dealt with racism forever. This is their chance." (I know this statement was a generalization and a bit stereotypical but if the person I was talking to was willing to use race, I feel comfortable turning it back on them) The black population equals roughly 17% of our population, if we all voted racially, McCain would have won by a landslide. I'm 100% positive that some white people voted for the exact same reason the other way. Every time I have voted in the past, I have been disappointed with the outcome. Not because my candidate didn't win, because to be honest I am 3 for 4 in picking winners. I actually voted for Bush his first term. I am disappointed because it always seemed to be politics as usual. Nothing changed, the game stayed the same. With Obama I hope that this country can united and work together, which is something we have not seen since the 1940's and WWII. We have had moments of greatness since then, but I am ready for more. I love this country but believe it is becoming more and more divided. We need to centralize, work together and compromise a bit. Nothing is ever as black and white as the extreme right would lead you to believe, but nothing is nearly as easy as the extreme left would try to make it. Hard work and sacrifice built this country. It is the only thing that will save it from the mediocrity that we are heading toward. Not just monetary or physical sacfice, mind you. We need a little bit of idealogical sacrifice from both side. We need to learn how to be united again.

I choose to hope Obama can lead us down the path of change as he has been preaching that he will try. I hope he does work with both sides and that people follow his example. Change is coming. Let us all be flexible enough to change a little, too.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Hold On Tight

I have just arrived at work after casting my ballot. I live in a lower middle class neighborhood, as I have for most of my life. I have voted in four different presidential elections and never had to wait longer than 15 minutes. Today it took almost 2 1/2 hours. One of my friends lives out west of me in a much more affluent area. It took her 10 minutes. History is being made here today folks. I'm just sorry that some of you are only passengers on this ride. We'll try to steer you in the right direction.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

My Weekend

This weekend is normally a pretty big one for me. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and it is directly followed by my birthday. But, as you may have figured from my previous post, I was involved with some friends that were having a much bigger weekend than I would have. They got married and I was the best man. It started Friday with a rehearsal dinner and rehearsal in the small village of Elsah, Illinois. The town was pretty neat at night, however, it was spectacular on Saturday. It was a rare Indian Summer day. 70 degrees and sunny, with leaves ranging in colors from brown to maroon, red, yellow, orange, green and even a bit of purple. They were as bright as I have ever seen leaves in the fall. And, I spent three falls in the Poconos, which are famous for their fall foliage.

The wedding was held at a beautiful little Methodist church in town. The wedding went off without a hitch and we went on to the reception at a local country club. I met quite a few really cool people. After the reception was over and I had gone back to my friend's house to help his mom feed their cats and dog, I went over to another friend's house to a Halloween party, that I was not dressed for. Had some fun there and went to bed. I got up and drove back out the River Road to Grafton, Illinois, just up the road from Elsah, for a gift opening party. I got out there early and took my camera so I could take a few pictures of the church and some of the changing leaves. I have lived most of my live within 20-30 minutes of this wonderful drive and have never seen it so beautiful as it was this weekend. Hopefully the pictures I took while driving will turn out. From there I went directly to coaching and my hockey game, out to dinner with some other friends and now I am waiting for my laundry to get done so I can throw it into the dryer and go to bed.

It was a great weekend, but, now I need a few days off to have some time for myself.