Sep 28, 2009

What? Oh, this is really nothing.

Ok, seriously, I am cramming this one in at the last second. 

I'm to see the boy this weekend, which means very little sleep today.

I'm going to be a disaster.

More later.

Sep 26, 2009

Grace Cathedral, the Labyrinth, and an Overly Closed Mind Opened a Little

(This post was inspired by a friends Facebook status.  Thanks M)

When I was just out of High School, I dated a girl named Jennifer.  I'm pretty sure my mother never really liked her, but dad thought she was alright.  For those of you who don't know, I was raised in an LDS household, something which still holds a place in my soul for making me who I am (however, this is not a piece on religion, so feel free to keep reading, those of you who are squeamish at the word "Mormon"). 

On a date, Jennifer and I went to San Francisco.  At her urging, we wet to Grace Cathedral, hoping by chance we might find the boys choir singing (apparently this is something to really behold; I have never heard them, but they are world famous).  Go figure, they were not singing that day.

But the Labyrinth was there, and Jennifer wanted to walk it.  Those of you who are not familiar with the Labyrinth, it is a maze that is inlaid in lime stone.  The masonry work is absolutely beautiful. 

Not to mention that Grace Cathedral is one of the most beautiful buildings in San Francisco (and quite possibly on the planet).

 So, the-then GF talks me into walking the Labyrinth. 

It is required of you to walk this Labyrinth, or maze,  with your shoes off.  What strikes me the most, looking back, is how closed minded I was to the idea of walking the Labyrinth under the roof of an Episcopal Church.  I didn't even want to take my shoes off (OK, I should really say Birkenstocks.  I haven't really worn shoes in my off time since I was a sophomore in High School.  And Birkenstock has always been my favorite choice of footwear).

Was I that closed minded?  Was I that jaded to the ideas of others that I couldn't accept the ideas of another faith as helpful in my own life?  Why was I so against this idea of introducing myself to something that was somewhat foreign to me, and in the end only designed to help me gain a better understanding of myself and the world?

In then end, I took my Birks off (after all, I had to get the girl in the end).  But then I walked the Labyrinth.

Grace Cathedral's web site has this to say about the Labyrinth:

There are three stages of the walk:

•Purgation (Releasing) ~ A releasing, a letting go of the details of your life. This is the act of shedding thoughts and distractions. A time to open the heart and quiet the mind.

•Illumination (Receiving) ~ When you reach the center, stay there as long as you like. It is a place of meditation and prayer. Receive what is there for you to receive.

•Union (Returning) ~ As you leave, following the same path out of the center as you came in, you enter the third stage, which is joining God, your Higher Power, or the healing forces at work in the world. Each time you walk the labyrinth you become more empowered to find and do the work you feel your soul reaching for.
Is this really so bad?  Even for those whose ideals don't exactly believe in God, there is nothing bad going on here.
It goes a little more to say this:
Quiet your mind and become aware of your breath. Allow yourself to find the pace your body wants to go. The path is two ways. Those going in will meet those coming out. You may "pass" people or let others step around you. Do what feels natural.
And in doing so, my mind seemed to focus on a million different things all at once.  I can honestly say I don't think I have discovered and more peaceful act than simply walking a curved path toward a central goal.  Was I in tune with a higher power?  Was I tune with my self?  Probably yes. 
It certainly helped me later in life, and I find myself far more open and interested in the ideals of others, at the very least.  But lets take a little more of a deeper look of walking the Labyrinth itself. 
Do you pass others?  Do you move to the side and let them pass?  Do you find both of you move aside for each other, and find yourselves at an impasse?  There are so many implications here, I don't even think I have the where-with-all to actually delve into them after the night I just had.
So in closing, I say this:  Jennifer, where ever you are, you helped me in a rather unexpected way to open myself up to the ideas of the world at large.  And for this I thank you, even though it a few years over due.

Sep 25, 2009

A little recognition and the Great Dish Disaster of 2009

First, apparently all a guy has to do to get a little feedback is simply complain that he is getting no feedback. Perhaps, in the quest for my completion of NaBloPoMo, I forgot the effort it actually takes to sit down, to not only post but, to comment as well. 

I am relieved to see my audience is still around. 

Second, the great Dish Network Disaster of 2009.  This is a little more of a meaty subject, and I might even be going on so long I will have to make breakfast mid-diatribe (todays word of the day, compliments of Yours Truely).

A while back my father switched from the old stand-by, (insert your local cable companies name here).  He chose to use Dish Network.  Its been a few years since he made this switch, and has been so happy with his service the only changes he has made over the last few years is to simply upgrade his equipment and spend more money on his service. 

To this I say, "Congratulations, Sir.  I am glad your experience has been a pleasant one." 

Now, I have a friend locally here in Humboldt (OK, I actually have "friends" [note the inclusion of the s], however this part of the story only includes one).  He is a subscriber to DirecTV.  Both my father and friend use an over-the-air antenna in order to acquire the local TV stations.

And both are able to use a DVR and schedule recordings at their leisure.  To them I say, "Congratulations to you gentlemen.  I envy your superior satellite service."

So with this in mind, we decided it was time to jump ship and make the switch from cable to satellite. 

This proved to be a complete disaster. 

First off, when I called to simply get a price quote, I ended up speaking with someone whose command of the English language was limited, to say the least.  To say that we didn't understand each other would be an understatement.  In end, she signed me up for a package I didn't want and scheduled me for an installation appointment I didn't even know I had, then hung up on me. 

The only reason I even know about this was because I called back to officially sign up after I consulted with Wife.  It was then I was told I was already signed up for an install appointment. 

So it begs the question, "Why are companies putting people who speak limited English in positions where they really need to have a fairly good command of the language here?" 

On a later phone call, I again experienced this type of interaction.  The guy I spoke to this time, said word for word, over and over again, "I'm sorry this is taking so long.  Please be patient as we work through this process."  I can only assume this is a tag line he was forced to memorize as part of his training as a phone sales person. 

Now, I don't want to seem biased, or discriminatory. In the end, its simply a exercise in patience when you have a lot of questions and the only thing the person on the other line says with any clarity is, "I'm sorry this is taking so long. Please be patient as we work through this process." 

So install day comes along. The guys who were there to install the system were decent enough.  But already I knew something was wrong.  The order wasn't as I wanted, but I made do, thinking it was something I could deal with later.  After all was said and done I sat down to peruse my new Dish Network channel selection.  Again, this was not as I had ordered (thanks allot person who doesn't speak a lot of English).  And after about 5 hours of trying to make it work like I was told it would, I called customer support. 

I got a person on the line whose first language was obviously English.  What did I learn from this person?  That the system isn't designed to work the way I was told it would.  They were unsure why I was told it would work the way I wanted it to, and apologized for the inconvenience.

An inconvenience?  Thats a fair understatement.  I just signed a two year contract with them and and they call their own peoples short-comings an inconvenience?  It should suffice to say I canceled my contract.  They at least had the decency to not charge me a penalty.  My only obligation is to mail everything back to them (at their own cost too).

So now we are back on cable.  For now.  Until then, I will begrudgingly pay them their extortionist's fee and submit to the fact they are holding my local channels hostage. 

But I will not relent.  I will find a way.  I already have a new plan, but that is a whole different story I will be saving for later.

Sep 24, 2009

A little note wich is big on complaining.

Two items of note:

Had the dish people come over and install the satalite. Did it work like they said?  Nope.  Did I try all afternoon to get it to work before I called and they told me it wouldn't work?  Yep.  Was I a frustrated person?  You bet.

On another note, I think I might be the onl y person who is actually spending any time here.  Bummer.  I seem to have lost my audience. 

And now, its bed time.

Sep 22, 2009

A small reprieve and a bit of thanks.

Its been a long week. I am now faced with two whole days off. The only saving grace to this torturous week is spending the next two nights with Wife, and knowing Oktoberfest is around the corner.

Now, on to something a little more meaty. 

One of the hard parts about my profession is knowing that even though you don't always get along with others you work with, you still have to be there to watch each others backs. Wait, its not really that hard; its actually one of the easiest parts. 

Case in point:

Last night we were faced with a fairly emotional and somewhat unstable subject.  In a rare moment, I even raised my voice to this person, and even issued out a bit of an ass chewing.  In the process, another co-worker came to stand by (even though he was on a break). 

Did he have to do this?  No.  Did I expect him to do this?  No.  Was I grateful for this?  Yes. 

It was simple thing he did, really.  And it simply did my heart good to be reminded that we are all there for each other.  Were I in his shoes, I would have done exactly the same. 

We are a close knit, if somewhat dysfunctional, family at work.  Its good every now and then to remember the things that really make us functional.  I'm grateful for the people I work with, who have the clarity of thought and the where-with-all to realize that something as simple as a raised voice usually signifies something out of the ordinary (especially when its coming from me).

Even though 95% of the people I work with will never read this, I thank.  I appreciate them.  And I will always be there when they have need to raise their own voices. 

Sep 21, 2009

Glorious Meat and a complete and utter failure.

Over the weekend, I had one day off.  Saturday.  In one sense, it was a pretty good day.  In another sense, it was a day of complete and utter failure.

So, on with the good and the bad.

The good:

Wife and I seem to rarely get  a day off together.  This is for various reasons.  The fact that I work graveyards has a lot to do with it.  For what usually amounts to more than half the week, our schedules conflict and we don't see each other for more than about an hour a day.  Top that off with being in the morning, while she is getting ready for work, and it equals out to less than an hour.  However, we had Saturday off.  So after I slept most of the day, we decided to go out for dinner.

Where you ask?  Why the AA of course.  Now the AA, at its best, is still a bar.  The fact that they charcoal grill steaks is simply an added bonus.  Its even More than a bonus, its nye upon a pearl in the rough.  Looking at it from the outside, it looks a little shady.  Its right across from the county hoosegow (and yes, according to the dictionary, that is the correct spelling for a slang work referring to a jail).  Its underneath a set of downtown apartments that generally look like only those on probation and making use of some sort of assisted living fund live there.  But when you walk in to the place, there is a whole different feel. 

The floors are all hardwood.  The spacious, polished horseshoe bar has nice stools around it, and a polished brass foot rail to boot.  The center island, while surrounded by your typical bar-type accoutrement's is topped by a large fish tank that is always immaculate and lively. 

Then there is the food.  Might I suggest the ribeye?  A solid choice.  Always cooked to perfection, and you really can't beat the char that results from the charcoal grilling.  Sure, you might get some of the average rif-raff that comes with a bar setting, but if you manage your times and simply eat a little earlier in the evening, its well worth the effort.

After a tasty dinner we came home, and watched the season openers of Bones and Survivor.  All in all, a quality evening spent with the one I love the most.

 Now for the complete and utter failure.

I failed to post on Saturday.  Apparently, my idea about posting during my waking periods fell slightly short and somehow I completely failed to post on Saturday. 

I have no excuses, I make no excuses.

But I do wonder....

Does a double post on the 11th absolve me this heinous crime against NaBloPoMo?  Is there a governing board I can appeal to?  Do I need to fill out an appeal form, in triplicate?

I would, you know.

Sep 19, 2009

Talk like a pirate you scurvy dog! Arr!!

It is September 19th, 2009.  And for those of you that don't know, it is:

And hence, you land lubbers, I be talkin' like a Pirate, arrr!

I actually attempted to type a little, as though I were talking like a pirate, but that proved to be a little tougher than I thought.  It also looked as though I am  completely uneducated.  Which is something I can't live with, as I have worked hard for the little education that I have. 

The following this "Holiday" actually has is quite astounding.  Were a person to google International Talk Like a Pirate Day, you would get about 18 million results.   Sadly, I doubt there are 18 million web sites actually dedicated to the trivial pursuit of talking like a pirate, but there are plenty, thats for sure.

Talk Like a appears to be the official web site.  Here you can find plenty of information on the subject of being a Pirate.  For example, there are translators for converting the English language into Piratese.  There are engines for generating your ships name, glossaries, and quizzes to determine what kind of swashbuckler you are.  Its all there.  Wikipedia also has a rather lengthy section, detailing the history of Talk Like a Pirate Day.  I have taken a couple of these, just for the entertainment factor.  Here are the results:

My given Pirate name:

Dirty Sam Vane!! 

I am feared on the seven seas, the kind of Pirate others want to throw overboard (not because of silly ideas like mutiny, but because of the smell I produce). 

Yeah, Dirty Sam Vane.  Heck, if this name weren't attached to Pirate Quiz I would have thought it was more like a porn star name.  Of course, I could never be in a porn movie (much to my mothers relief, I'm sure), for multiple reasons which I won't be getting into here. 

Hmm, I appear to be digressing here.  Lets get back on topic.

So, talk like a pirate day.  Now lets get back to the amount of people who follow this crazy tradition.  Based on the available links that are attached to Talk Like a Pirate Day, I would assume there is quite the following.  I would assume there are are those like me, who make a few jokes, make use of the Pirate Name Generator and then blog about it to their friends.  There are those who might even go so far as to be able to hold an entire conversation in Piratese without a second thought (much like those who know Klingon).  Then there are those who take ti to extremes.

Costumes, home decorations, party games, books, pictures, the list could go on and on.

For example, look at this guy.  He has really gone the distance to look the part.  Not only has he gone the distance, he clearly has a lot of free time on his hands.  

We have all seen these types.  This is the type of guy who goes to conventions, and has different costumes to compliment the given themes for the event.  This is way beyond me.  I can't even put on this type of garb on Halloween, let alone to parade myself up down the street in front of spectators and fans of the Pirate genre. 

So this begs the question, can I start my own day?  Is there an application system for this?  Or is it as simple as finding a niche, getting the word out?  Somehow, I doubt there would be any interest in a day like "Adam is a fine cook" day, or maybe "Lets take it easy and watch TV" day.  Perhaps this could use some more thought.

So, in the end I say this, "Avast ye land lubbers!  And prepare the meats in the galley, the crew is hungry!"

Sep 18, 2009

A Paltry Post to simply post something.

In the spirit of NaBloPoMo I am posting something. 

I am tired.  I am going to bed.

I have nothing more to say.

Adam, out.

Sep 17, 2009

Norm, a complete stranger, comments on my horrendous spelling skills; And I thank him?

I did something tonight I have tried very hard not to do since I started this blogging endeavor: I wrote a small piece, posted it, and have now deleted it.

Here’s the deal: A rather lengthy conversation led to some thinking, and even a little introspection and self-evaluation. This led to some goals I set for myself, which I realized not too long afterward were way out of my league.

So, I decided to forgo these goals, for now. Why the sudden change of heart? Well, I can thank Norm.

Who is this Norm? Where did he come from? How no earth did he end up on my little corner of the internet? Fortunately, he was kind enough to post a link to his exploration of the blogging world. This is what he had to say:

“So today I decided to really hit up some blogs. Looking for some inspiration, some laughs, or even a kick to the chops. I didn’t know. I decided to start at one blog read the first entry. Leave a remark or not, then Click one of that blogs links….

“Scrolling down the links there, one caught my eye A Guy, a Girl, Three Cats and a Dog, so I clicked it. With a name like that……The first post was a little short so I ended up reading three. Good stuff. Addicted to crosswords? Sending a letter to your Elliptical Glider? Hehe ok someone with a slight askewed sense of humor. I like that. Gonna have to check them out more.”

So, I became famous (in my own mind anyway) by sheer luck, a semi-catchy title, and by the fact I was already linked on a friends blog.

So where does this leave me? It leaves me a sense of needing to a little more adventurous with my own blogging. When I started keeping a blog it was really about keeping tabs with the Family; Mom and Dad, and my sister. The parental units live a scant 300 miles away. Sister, on the other hand, lives a whopping 1,036 miles away. And lets face it, when I lived a mere 10 minutes from the folks house, I still only talked to them once (maybe twice) a week. Add a few hundred miles distance to that relationship and I might as well live in Saskatchewan. Now, over time, this blogging thing has taken on a whole new feel. I’m not even sure when the last time I posted a pictorial post was. I’m note even sure when I last commented on the general goings on here on the Lost Coast.

So in essence, thanks to Norm, I think I have found the direction I need in this NaBloPoMo. I need to branch out. I need to find other areas of inspiration and information.

So, this is my goal (and believe me, this will be easier to achieve than the ones I set previously this evening):

For the next 5 days I will be exploring blogs outside my normal circle (which also extends out of my own personal comfort zone). I’ll be commenting on this here for the next few days.

And to Norm, I say this: Thanks for stopping by and having the audacity to comment on a complete stranger’s horrendous spelling skills. It might have been the small kick in the arse that I needed here as I have been somewhat floundering in my own textual stagnation.

Sep 16, 2009

Posting to simply post.

OK, so technically its still yesterday for me. 

Right now I am simply posting something, anything, to make my quota for the month long ordeal I have signed up for.

Having said that, I'm home from the gym, I'm tired and I stink.

Time for a shower, and then bed.

I'll make an effort at being more prolific tonight.

Adam... Out.

Sep 15, 2009

An admission of an addiction

I'm not entirely sure where the addiction began. Its all kind of fuzzy, really. Its just seems like yesterday I was not so hooked, and now I can't go a full day without a fix.

Its hard to admit really. Of course, there is the old addage (a little more on this word later), "Admitting you have a problem is the fist step to recovery."

But do I really want to recover? Do I really have a problem? It doesn't affect my home life. In fact, it really only affects at work. Don't worry, my supervisor knows of this issue. In fact, I think he is as hooked as I am.

Perhaps you are wondering what malady could afflict me so that I must blog about it?

Its a slight addiction to Crossword Puzzles.

In some of my wildest dreams I didn't ever imagine I would be addicted to crossword puzzles. This was for retired people, who sit around their kitchens in the mornings and drink coffee and talk about the weather and such.

But here I am. In fact, before I started this post I printed out todays crossword from USA Today's web site.

Yeah, I'm hooked. And Addage, as I promised I would discuss a little futher, is one of the words I have become more familliar with over the last couple of months.

And now, my crossword calls to me. And no, I don't have a problem, really.

Sep 13, 2009

A personal letter

Dean Elliptical Glider,

We have been together for a full week now. I remember, like it was yesterday, our first encounter. You looked so innocent, and yet somehow kind of easy. With your oversized foot platforms and easy to grip handles, I figured I was wasting my time getting to know you. In fact, I even felt foolish, to a degree. Almost even embarrassed. Was I settling for less with the attraction of possibly getting some mediocre mileage? Was I cutting myself short by opting for what seemed like the easier route?

I used to have a thing for Treadmill. But oh, how I have come to loath her and love her at the same time. In the end, she always hurt me. Sadly I knew this, and still I had returned for more and more abuse. But I can’t take the hurt any longer. I am stronger than that. I am smarter than that.

And so it was with trepidation and hesitancy I stepped on your spacious footpads and began turning your gears. And all your lights came on. You practically talked to me, letting me know it would be OK. You were there for me. You cared for me.

You asked me some personal questions, though, and this took me somewhat aback. You want my age? My weight you ask? Surely, these questions should be saved for a more prudent time? But here, in front of all these people? But again, you urged me to trust you, and so I told you. Then with the push of a button you promised me a few things.

I would reach my target heart rate. And when the going might seem like it’s a little tough, you promised you ease up. And if the going got to be a little too easy, you promised you wouldn’t let me slack. And so I began. I turned the wheels at a pretty good pace. And true to your word, you kept track of me, your helped me along, and together we achieved our goals. But, there where things you didn’t tell me.

You didn’t tell me it would take longer and longer to achieve my goal. You didn’t tell me you would make it harder and harder to achieve my goal. You didn’t tell me I would actually have to work. You led me into your den of tranquility, only to later turn on me and force me to succumb to your wily ways; that or be forces to give up a, go home.

But I will be strong; I will not be overcome by the adversity of this relationship. And I won’t give up on you. I know you mean well. Perhaps we need to learn to communicate better? Perhaps some counseling? Either way, Elliptical, I won’t be leaving you. I’ll stick by your side.

Love, Me

Procrastination and Rationalization.

Procrastination, and Rationalization.

To skills I have honed to perfection.

Anyone who is paying attention to the dates attached to my posts will clearly see there is a date missing.  September, 12.  However, I do not believe this counts as a failure on my part to post at least once a day.

Hear me out (or rather, read a little farther).

Most people define their days by their waking hours.  When they awake and when the go to sleep, it is routinely the same day.  I however am constantly awake when the date changes.   My day starts in the late afternoon and ends in the late morning.

So technically, its still the same day for me. 

And so I continue to post, once a day.

Sep 11, 2009

Remembrance and Appreciation

      I hadn't planned on posting something else today, however, that plan has changed.  And so begins a little focus.
      This morning, while at the gym, the two TVs on the wall, which are always on the news in the morning, were tuned to CNN and Fox News.  These two television news stations could not be any more diametrically opposed to one another.  Fox News is ridiculously conservative, and certainly favors a right-wing rhetoric.  CNN is far more liberal, and suits my taste far better.  Despite my own personal convictions, over the last week I have found I actually like seeing them both at the same time.  They can report on exactly the same thing and as a viewer I can get two different sides to every story.
      This morning, though, was different.  It wasn't about who is right, or who is wrong.  It wasn't about why President Obama is a complete failure or why he is a complete success.  It was about remembrance, respect of the fallen, and looking toward an ever better and safer future. 
      I remember September 11, 2001 very clearly.  I was camping at Pinecrest Lake with a then girlfriend and some other friends.  We had just gotten up and were busy with preparations of making breakfast.  Eggs, bacon, biscuits; the standard fare for camping.  I remember seeing the campground host hastily driving from site to site and stopping to talk to every single person who was up.  When I first saw this I assumed he was reporting something like a bear sighting, or something like that, and was making the obligatory warnings to would-be hikers and swimmers.  However, when he came to our site he made us aware that in the course of about 20 minutes, while we were away from general civilization and completely unaware, the world had changed forever. 
      Two large passenger planes had crashed into World Trade Center and they had collapsed.  Thousands were presumed dead. 
      How could something like this happen?  One plane, we thought, could have actually been an accident.  Two? Obviously a more diabolical plan was at work.  Our friends had a small portable TV with an antenna, and we quickly turned it on and did our best to get some sort of reception.  Being where we were, we couldn't get a picture, all we could do was listen to anonymous voices filled with sorrow and shock as we stared at a screen that was nothing recognizable. 
      It wasn't until two days later when I got home that I saw the images on the news.  I was saddened, I was shocked, I was angry.  I can see in my head, still clear as the day I saw it then, seeing a body being hurled from a broken window as the pressure from the collapsing tower forced it into the air from unknown stories above the street.  Along with the many people who lost their lives by simply arriving on time for work, hundreds of Fire Fighters, Police Officers, and EMS personal were lost in effort to save any and all they could. 
      I grew up in a very police oriented family.  My uncle worked for the Berkley PD, and my father worked for the Vacaville PD.  I think, I never truly understood the kind of sacrifice that this may have required of them because I never really saw what results could come from such sacrifice.
      Every day people put on a uniform of some sort and go work, and sadly, we really only hear about their labors when some drastic event happens and public cries foul on the part of these fine people.  Thankfully, every now and then (although sometimes by way of horrific reminder), we are reminded what these people really do for us.
      As a child I remember thinking, "How cool is it that my dad is a cop?"  Now, I am 33, and I still think the same about my father.  In high school I would make a point of stopping by his office on campus (he was the supervisor of the youth services division, and had an office on campus), visit with him and Beverly (I think that was her name; I don't remember for sure, I just know she had a desk when you first walked into the office) and then bum a couple of dollars to get something to eat since I rarely took the time to pack a lunch in the mornings.  Did I truley appreciate what he did then?  Or did I simply appreciate the cash that always seemed readily available?
     Later as I got older, I would never hesitate to stop by the PD, visit and see how things were going.  I knew many people there and all were always friendly and welcoming.  Again, though, did I truely appreciate exactly what these people were doing?
      So, many years later, and maybe a little too late for some (sorry Bob, it took me a long time to say something like this), I am thankful for them, one and all. 
      To my father, who served his community for 30-plus years, I want to say something I don't know that I have ever said. 
      Thanks, Dad. 
      Not only were you, and still are, an example to me of how to live my life, but you were willing to make that sacrifice.  I thank God that it didn't take the loss of your life to bring this out, because our lives would have been empty and dreary because of it.  I am grateful for the service you provided, and I'm sorry for taking too long to truly appreciate it for what it was.
      We love you Dad, and our lives wouldn't be the same without you.

The need to focus is sudenly becoming clear.

Is it cheating if start my post before midnight?  I don't really think so , since I work all night.  And as I have often said in the past, I seem to always be way more inspired to write something when I am working.  I'm sure this has more to do  with me not wanting to work over any sort of late-night inspiration.  But in the end, it is what is it.  You know?
So, I am on day 6 of my goal to post something every day.  One thing this has certainly done is point out to me, more than anyone else, is without taking a day or so to sit and think, and edit, and think, and edit, my writing seems to be horriby unorginized.  My thoughts, which are seriously random, seem to bounce from margin to margin.  There are no filters, there are no boundaries.  Its a free for all. 
So I need some direction.  I need a sort of Blogger's GPS.  I need a goal and path to get there.  Now what happens while traveling this path is completely up in the air right now.  So for for now, I am looking for a theme. 
NaBloPoMo has a specific theme for the month: Beautiful.  Yeah, not really my topic.  Is this shying away from the challange?  Perhaps.  But if I am in my infintile stages of me one post a day, should I really challange my own determination?  Or is it I am being realistic, and recognizing my limits given my current mental conditioning?  Of course, I am a fan of the latter option.  It makes me seem more self aware.  And how can that be a bad thing?

So the hunt for a theme begins.  I wager I'll come up with something soon.  But the need for focus is clear.  Right now I don't even know how I will implement this whole idea.  Remember, infantile stage here.

More to follow, I'm sure.

Sep 10, 2009

I dig in... to the cat boxes.

If there is one thing that comes along with pet ownership, its cleaning up after said pets.
Lets take a look at our household, for example.
There is Bear (the dumb-as-a-rock dog), Ubu (the I'm-and-cranky-but-you-better-love-me cat), Tia (the I-got-teeth-fixed-and-now-I-can't-stop-eating-so-I-weigh-ton cat) and Chimo (the I'm-a-curious-kitten-who-hasn't-learned-how-to-control-my-claws-very-well-and-I'm-sorry-about-the-puncture-holes-in-your-lip kitten).
For todays post, we are focusing on the cats. 
Cats obviously have their own personalities.  Fortunately, all the cats have decent ones.  Wife would argue that Tia is horribly annoying and wouldn't miss her if she were gone, but I can see through her facade.  Deep down somewhere, she cares. 
Now, these cats have the run of the house.  Even Bear is a little weary of them most of the time.  And of course, they have litter boxes (after all, responsible pet owners don't let indoor cats outside, right?). 
Cleaning the little boxes is a task that has fallen to me.  I can't say I really mind this, but it seems like such a chore to simply get in there once a day and scoop out a little mess.  This simple act would cut down on mess and smell to great extent.  So why is it I can't seem to get myself to this?
The cats, are obviously grateful when the boxes are cleaned, as evidenced by the fact they jump right in and enjoy a clean potty. 
Who knows, really.  I do my best, which sadly some would say is not very "best" at all.  But cats are happy, thats for sure.  They certainly aren't left wanting.  Sometimes I wonder if we are taking care of them, or its the other way around?  But perhaps that is a thought for another time.

Sep 9, 2009

A minor set back, and renewed determination.

It’s currently 10:15 pm.  I was afraid I wouldn’t make my quota.
I got home this morning after spending the better portion of my night hacking, coughing and sweating.  I got home, thinking I would make myself hot cup of tea and get all hopped up on cold medication.  However, that didn’t pan out for me.  I laid down on the bed and promptly fell asleep a few minutes later.  I woke up a short time later as Wife was saying goodbye.  Then I didn’t wake up again until about 4 pm. 
How great is that?  Nearly 10 hours of good solid sleep.  Obviously, it was needed.  Today, I do feel a little on the better side.  I certainly feel better rested.  But sadly, this small invasion of virus-type intruders has set me back a little.  There was not gym trip this morning.  And, as evidenced by my late and rather hasty post, I nearly fell behind in my NaBloPoMo. 
But I will not give up.  I will not relent.  I will torture myself tomorrow at the gym.

Sep 8, 2009

Day 3 - Maybe I am getting old, so I tackled my inhibition and hit the elliptical trainer.

OK, so I'm only 33.  Not that old.  But there are parts of me that are aged beyond what they should be.  Two parts specifically, my left and right ankles.

Anyone who has followed my blog knows I have ankle issues.  Long story short:  Where I should have ball and socket joints in my ankles I have two flat ends with little to no cartilage.  Numerous ankle surgeries later and they are functional, at best.  Its not that big of a deal normally.  They get sore more than most people would have to deal with, but I have learned to deal with the pain. 

On the bright side, they are not so arthritic I can predict rainy weather.. yet. 

So I have been on the treadmill.  Sadly, this has left me so sore and achy I simply can't so it any more.  I know the elliptical is a better choice.  Its low impact, which is what I need.  But I have this weird hang up about it.  Mainly, this hang up comes from observing other people. 

For example:  There is this kid who goes to the gym.  He looks to be about 20, or there abouts.  He wears wristbands and a headband, and generally looks like a reject from Flashdance.  I happened to notice, also, he reads magazines while he works on his cardio fitness.  These magazines are unmistakably feminine, like Redbook or Cosmo.  To make the observation that he is probably gay is probably not needed here, and really it has nothing to do with the actual act of using the elliptical trainer.  Its his antics that go along with said use of the work out machine that leave me so horribly self conscious about my own possible antics.

Imagine a large bird, like a pelican, with a ridiculously large wingspan.  Now imagine this same bird wrapped in net and flailing like mad trying to escape.  This is the image that comes to mind when I see this kid on the trainer.  Its really a sight to behold.  Arms flailing and head weaving as he is sweating to the beat of what is clearly his own drum.

Is this what I look like?  Do I come off as some crazed and wounded animal trying desperately to cling to whatever vestige of my own personal fitness is left?  I would like to think not.  I would like to think I look a little more graceful that that.  But the sad truth is, once you hit that stride where your in the target zone for heart rate and calorie burning it really doesn't matter what you look like.  It simply matters that you are accomplishing your goals. 

And surprise, surprise.. When I finished today I was able to simple walk away.  I didn't hobble away like a wounded animal with it's tail between its legs.

Lesson here?  I guess quit worrying about appearance and simply work toward the goal of being a better person.  Lucky me.  I learned a lesson while torturing myself. 

Self flagellation?  Masochism?  No, no.  That seems a little extreme.

Realization and the eradication of my own laziness?  That sounds for more enlightened.  I'm going with this one.

Sep 7, 2009

Day 2 - The Great B-Movie Disappointment

There was a time when I would get together with my friends and watch B-Movies. You all know the kind I'm talking about. They are typically touted as Sci-Fi originals or "The scariest movie ever made." As a standard practice, they feature "stars" with unknown names and questionable talent. Every now and then you find a movie with a name you recognize, but know the actor in question hasn't made a legitimately decent film in years, Mark Hamil comes to mind. After the Star Wars trilogy he fell off the map. Now you can find him on Netflix in a ridiculous looking sci-fi movie that doesn't even look interesting enough for me to remember the title here.

This morning, after seeing Wife off to work, I took Bear for a brisky walk. Now, this poor dog saw the leash come out and got all excited. Little did he know I intended to work up a sweat on this walk, and so it goes that he was destined to work up a sweat as well. Half way through our walk, when passing the side street that goes to our house, I thought he was going to simply sit down and refuse to walk any further. I wore him out. Now he is sound asleep near my feet as I begin to tell of my great disappointment this morning.

I got home, showered, and decided to cruise the streaming movies on Netflix. I found one. Dark Rising. Something to do with a woman who is trapped in some sort of vortex for 20 years and is freed by accident by some would-be campers and enjoyers of a weekend in the woods. Said trapped women now appears to battle zombies wielding an axe and wearing some sort of iron clad bikini (standard zombie slaying attire, right?).

When I was 17 and hanging out with my buddies I would have found this horribly entertaining. Bad acting, violence and blood, and the occasional booby shot to offset the horrendous acting. Again, for a 17 year old hanging with his friends this combination certainly seems to be a winning one. Much like picking the winning numbers on the power ball would be for me now.

Man, was I disappointed. The acting, as expected, was horrible. The story line was ridiculous and hardly palatable given the horrendous acting. And even the occasional booby shot simply didn't make the whole thing worth the effort. After about 37 minutes (I paused the movie to simply see how far I made it through this horrific movie experience) i turned it off, shook my head, and retreated to the computer to reflect on this experience.

Perhaps, my taste in movies has matured far more than I had ever realized. My palat simply can't withstand such a brutal assault on the taste buds as this movie left.

What happened? Is it I am older and simply more mature? I'm not sure that is really the answer here. Is it that I am more refined and a movie snob and require a more stylized movie, with a real plot and acting to support it? Maybe.

Or is it simply I need the companionship of friends to enjoy such a ridiculous movie watching effort?

Who knows? I can tell you this, however, I won't be watching Jane Ere (did I spell that right?) or Casablanca any time soon.

Now where did I put my copy of Blade Runner?

Sep 6, 2009

Day 1 - A little torture on the treadmill and a huge disclaimer.

And so it begins. I woke up at 1300 hrs today and headed down to the gym. One of the hardest things about going back to the gym is realizing you aren't in the shape you might have once been when you lasted made use of a rather costly, monthly membership.

Before Wife and I got married I was attending regularly, and was probably in the best shape of my life. I was running for 30 minutes solid and going through a regular weight routine. I believe the I was even called "svelt looking" by the wife on a few occasions.

Sadly, though, after the wedding, this whole plan fell to pieces and since then I have had a heck of a time trying to put it back together again. But this new plan seems pretty solid. It requires very little planning, and really the only hard part about this whole thing is going to follow through. But I'm confident right now, and Wife is hear urging me on. And so it begins.

Now, lets get to this blogging thing. NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) is a web site geared towards encouraging would-be bloggers to post something, anything, once a day for an entire month. My friend, LazyBuddhist, threw down the gauntlet and challenged me to accomplish this after reading my sniveling posts about writers block. And really, I was simply complaining, wallowing in my own misery and completely unable to set aside even 10 minutes of time in order to post something.

So here I am, day one, and the challenge has begun.

This is where the disclaimer comes in.


In my half-cocked mind, I'm sure I can come up with something to post every day. Having said that, it should be noted I can not guarantee these posts will have any worth what-so-ever. Nor can I promise the content will make sense to anyone but me. Nor can I promise the content will always be kid-friendly. Follow along at your own risk.


OK. And now its on. More to follow tomorrow. This should be horribly entertaining.

Sep 5, 2009

A commitment to self motivation, realization, and the eradication of procrastination.

We shall begin with a little introduction from the English Dictionary:

To Stagnate:
  1. to cease to run or flow; as water, air, etc.
  2. to become stale or foul from standing, such as a pool of water.
  3. to stop developing, growing, progressing, or advancing.
  4. to become sluggish and dull.
First off, I do not believe number one applies to me. Why, you may ask? Well, I am neither water nor air. Nor do I believe number two applies to me. Why, you may ask? Well, mostly because the simple act of standing doesn't make me stink. Nor does it attract mosquito's.
Number four seems to apply indirectly, but only because number three seems to hit the nail on the head.
When I started this blogging project, it first was a simple way to keep in touch with the family. We did "this" over the weekend, we did "that" the other day. But over time, it became a lot more to me. And suddenly it was an outlet for all sorts of written monologue. But now I find I have indeed become stagnant.
I just spent the last three hours in the car, and this was something I was thinking about quite a bit. Why has this happened? I can certainly speculate on a few things, working night shift has certainly cramped my writing style. But I have come to realize there are other factors at work here that I didn't realize at first.
Perhaps, not just my prose has stagnated, but physically I have as well (which I believe is leading to a mental stagnation, too). For example, I come home from work and take my boots off pretty much just vegetate. I might eat a little something, then I go to bed. I do my best to not wake up until I need to get up and get ready for work. I go to work, come home, and repeat.
Now, lets rewind the clock a little. Before the marriage, Wife and I were dedicated to losing weight, eating right, and getting in shape. And we set a goal to do this before we were married. This included nearly daily trips to the gym, eating a whole a lot better and reaping the benefits.
I was motivated, I had a lot to say, and I simply felt better about myself. Now, right now we are generally doing a good job of eating right, and my weight is reflecting this. However, I am horribly out of shape. My energy level is pretty much zero beyond what I must do. To put it more bluntly, I am a lazy cull.
So, this is my new goal. Actually, I have two (because in my mind, they go hand in hand):
  1. I am going back to the gym. Now, I have been telling myself this over the last couple of months, but to no avail. What is my motivation now? Don't know (at least its an honest answer). Aside from the obvious "it can't hurt me to be in better shape," I believe a more active person will have a more active mind. And as we have discussed a little, I have become boring and dull. And I can't let Wife realize how boring and dull I am, she might not find me so endearing (OK, that might be a slight exaggeration of the truth).
  2. At the suggestion of my good friend, LazzyBuddhist, I am committing to a full month of posting. Supposedly, this is going to be an exercises in creative writing. Forcing myself to producing something, anything, is better than the nothings I have been coming up with. And while my little following I have is fairly small, I had come to enjoy my posting more for myself than anything else.
So, its time to stop feeling sorry for myself, and start doing things that are tried and true methods for self motivation and improvement. And really, whats wrong with wanting to improve myself?
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