Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Douglas Adams Said...

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Bernard Bailey Said...

When they discover the center of the universe, a lot of people will be disappointed to discover they are not it.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Henry David Thoreau Said...

In our most trivial walks, we are constantly, though unconsciously, steering like pilots by certain well-known beacons and headlands, and if we go beyond our usual course we still carry in our minds the bearing of some neighboring cape; and not till we are completely lost, or turned round -- for a man needs only to be turned round once with his eyes shut in this world to be lost -- do we appreciate the vastness and strangeness of nature. Every man has to learn the points of compass again as often as be awakes, whether from sleep or any abstraction. Not till we are lost, in other words not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves , and realize where we are and the infinite extent of our relations.

From: "Walden, ch. 8 "The Village""

Monday, December 04, 2006

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Jules Renard Said...

Failure is not the only punishment for laziness; there is also the success of others.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

George Burns Said...

I look to the future because that's where I'm going to spend the rest of my life.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Toys Today

I apologize ahead of time for those who will be offended. My wife and I began Christmas shopping last night. OK actually, we continued Christmas shopping last night, we actually started a few nights ago, but last night was a new degree of serious.

There is some really cool stuff out there. I cannot elaborate, since occasionally my kids actually read the Old Man’s stuff, but shopping, I wish I was a kid again. The toys they have today do some really cool stuff.

I also like the day in which I was a kid. My kids today do miss out on some cool adventures: taking off on bikes for hours on end, playing in large open fields or in construction yards, or on school playgrounds after hours. All of these activities are really dangerous today but were a blast back in the day.

I loved being a kid, and although sometimes I wish I had the toys that my kids have today, I often wish they could have the adventures I had when I was their age. I imagine it all equals out and we are all born and grow up in the time that we are supposed to.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

If You Want Everything...

If you want everything you need, get it yourself.

If you truly want to be successful, if you truly want to be totally prepared and equipped, if you NEED something, nobody is more reliable than you. Take responsibility for your needs, your wants, your desires.

Occasionally, there are times when we must rely on others to get what we need, but even then, make sure it was you who knew what you needed, it was you who asked for what you needed, and it was you who followed-up until you got what you needed.

Do you want to be completely prepared and perfectly equipped? Take charge and do it yourself.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

You Can't Always WIn...

You can't always win, so don't lose.

It's no fun to always win. It just kind of loses it fun to always win. A good loss every now and then just makes the wins sweeter. So with that in mind, don't be a poor loser. If you get beat, tip your hat, consider what you can do better, and go prepare for next time.

Losing also makes for great comeback stories. Three years ago, the Detroit Tigers lost 119 of 162 games. They are now two games away form the World Series. Tell me these wins are not sweet for the players and especially the fans.

Likewise, if you're on a losing streak, don't let it get you down. Keep your cool, accept your bad fortunes and make your plan to make it all better. As one person told me once: "Don't let the bastards get you down."
Suck it up, keep your pride, and don't lose anything important!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Pirate Lesson

“Pirates of the Caribbean” has been a long Disneyland favorite of kids and adults alike. A number of years ago, Disney decided to make a movie based on the ride and it was an instant success.

One reason for its success was due to our life long love of the ride. A second reason was due to the fact that it was a great movie. One of my favorite lines from the movie was:

“Only two things matter in this world: what a man can do and what a man can’t do.”

Or in other words, there are things you have control of and others you do not. The lesson is to use what you can control, to influence, attain, or even control that which you cannot. This way you can concentrate your focus on what you can do something about and let the things that you have no control take care of themselves.

Or so says Captain Jack.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Sunday Scripture Choice

Proverbs 9:9

Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man and he will increase in learning.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Thursday, October 05, 2006

If You Want To Be Perfect...

Sleeping is great isn't it? I mean really, is there anything more relaxing, non pressured, and more satisfying as going to sleep? That brief moment that consciousness is fading, nothing yet everything, makes sense and you feel yourself drifting off. I believe at the point of going to sleep, life is perfect. That is the only time.

I hate pseudo perfectionists, the people who think they must have everything perfect. I think it's just a cover-up for wanting to be nasty. True perfectionists just keep their place organized, try to do everything right, and go about their business. It's important for them to attempt to be perfect, but no one else needs to know because it wouldn't help them in their quest.

Pseudo-perfectionists are those who just want a license to be rude, who want to try to pretend that their goal is perfection and that since they want everything perfect, you must also comply. They then take liberty to inform you how many ways you are not perfect and how their lives would be better if you would just do it their way. And if you politely tell them to "blow it out their hole", perfection now is unattainable because of you and all the others who are not willing to comply. How convenient.

I like jobs well done. I like things that run smoothly. I like order and discipline as well. But I also know that perfection and one's desire for it are an impossibility. It doesn't exist.

If you want to be perfect, go back to bed.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Baseball Quotes- To Start Off The Play-Offs

"Baseball is 90% mental, the other half is physical." Yogi Berra

"We're supposed to be perfect our first day on the job and then show constant improvement." Ed Vargo, major league baseball umpire

"If it weren't for baseball, many kids wouldn't know what a millionaire looked like." Phyllis Diller

Monday, October 02, 2006

Doesn't Matter What's Chasing You...

Things in school just have a life of their own and it starts clear back in Kindergarten for me.

Our play area was a covered blacktop area and a bark filled play area with all the things that are usually associated with school playgrounds. As Kindergarteners, we were isolated from the rest of the school. The playground was all ours!

Kindergarten was separated into two classes in Harvey Green Elementary. I don’t know how it started or what it was about, but a group of three boys from the other class began chasing me during our recess. They would chase me through and around the playground and even out across the blacktop area. I must have been fast because I cannot remember them ever catching me.

One day while the chase was in process, I decided to take the chase out of the bark and out onto the blacktop and to open it up. I was fast and the on the blacktop I was sure I could demonstrate my true speed.

The blacktop, as I mentioned, was covered. To support this covering, there were several I-beams that extended from the blacktop and up to the top of the roof. I did not account for these obstacles when I began my gallop. My head was turned as I was watching behind me, watching the boys fade into the background and feeling just a bit proud of my obvious speed.. I was all smiles when I casually glanced forward to map out my new direction and continuation of my demonstration of superiority over my pursuers.

The smile and my consciousness disappeared quickly as I spied and simultaneously collided with the column directly in my path. I am sure both arms and both legs extended out and around the I-beam and I came to an immediate stop. I don’t remember anything else that happen. I don’t remember ever again being chased by those boys. And I don’t remember ever learning this lesson any more clearly at any other time in my life…

It doesn’t matter what’s chasing you, it’s best to watch where you are going.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Sunday Scripture Choice

Proverbs 9:10

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Hit Somebody

Coach S was an assistant coach for my high school football team. He came on my Junior year and eventually became the Head Coach after my "career".

Coach S had a lisp. And although I am not really into making fun of people, OK I am, but not in a mean way...just a fun way. Anyway, he had a lisp which just added to his personality. He liked to yell, but the lisp just seemed to deny him the ability to really have the scary bite that most football coaches would have when yelling.

He was the sideline coach. He would watch the sidelines and make sure that the right people were ready for the different situations and to maintain order within the ranks while the other coaches would concentrate their attention on their individual responsibilities like Offense, Defense, or Special Teams.

One of the most memorable sayings that Coach S had was "GET ON THE THIDELINES!" He used to yell that over and over again throughout the games as well as at practice; they were one and the same to him. "Get on the sidelines" simply meant to get back so we were not accidentally standing on the field of play.

It was so amusing to a lot of use that we used to push it just to get him to say it. "GET ON THE THIDELINES". The sound is burnt into my memories and will remain there forever and always brings a smile to my face. He took his job seriously and we although we liked to make him yell, we also respected the fact that he was serious about his responsibilities. We stayed on the sidelines. Coach S at the time may not have been the head coach, or the one calling the plays for offense or defense, he wasn't even the Special teams coach, but he took his role seriously and gave it his all, and he gave it all the time.

His attitude he carried as a sideline coach also went along with another one of his famous yellings. Whenever we went into a game or whenever he coached us, he used to yell at us, "HIT THOMEBODY!". His thought was that we were playing football and no matter what play was called, no matter what developed in the play, no matter if anything had anything to do with us individually, if you were on the field, your job was to hit somebody, anybody and to hit them hard like the play depended on you to hit them and hit them hard.

If you went into a play and didn't hit somebody, as in really smack them and make real contact, you were a wasted person on the field; you didn't deserve to be on the field. So every time the ball was snapped, you better find someone on the other team and hit them with everything you had. You could hear him screaming from the sideline, "HIT THOMEBODY!!!! HIT THOMEBODY!" If you didn't, you would have Coach S in your grill "inquiring" why? You may not make it back on the field for another play either.

Hit Somebody! What great advice. No matter what you are doing, no matter the importance of your individual efforts in the endeavor you are engaged, no matter if anyone else cares are not, do your thing the best you can. Make your effort the best it can be. Find something, anything that you can do and do it well. Your role may not be the make or break role, but your attitude and the way you approach your personal responsibilities are the make or break for you. If you are willing to throw yourself into the seemingly insignificant duties you are asked to do, you will be able to respond likewise when it does matter.

Go out and hit somebody! Do you best at whatever it is that you are asked to do. It's not fluff, its real world advice. If you don't believe me ask Coach S!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Denis Diderot Said...

There is no moral precept that does not have something inconvenient about it.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Get It Done and It's Finished

Just get it done in one shot and it's finished!

Too many things can happen if you leave loose strings. Too many compromises come into play. The joy of victory is sweeter when it can be savored after the fact as opposed to being dragged out to die as a long-awaited "finally."

Last night the A's, my baseball team, clinched their division. They have been in the position to do it since Saturday. It's now Wednesday. They were at the brink of getting it done and then just holding. It's so frustrating! Had they won it a week ago, confidence would have been higher, fear instilled in their opponents would have been heightened, and the focus of the team would have been sharpened towards the next goal- getting to the American League Championship Series. Instead, weakness was shown, focus was lost and in general, the over-all impression of the team was questioned. Why couldn't they just get it done? Can they survive a play-off series? Don't get me wrong, I'm still with them and rooting all the way, I just think they missed a valuable opportunity.

Construction jobs are another good and actual "real world" example. There is always a big push to get the project started, the rush of getting into it and often a monumental effort to get it "finished". And then comes the punch list time.

Punch lists are generated by walking through the 99% finished project and noting all the problems, issues, or changes needed to satisfy the client or owner before they take possession of the project. A list is made of the items and as they are completed, the contractor can punch them as finished. Once all completed, the ownership of the project is transferred to the owner and the contractor is released from the project and all final bills paid. Project complete.

Unfortunately, the punch list lives a life of its own. Many times, subcontractors have to be called back to fix or install the required things from the punch list. This could be additional caulking, equipment that does not run properly, paint that has been scratched or scuffed during the construction, wrong fixtures, poor workmanship, etc.

In most cases, sub-contractors have already been paid at this point so any additional trips to the site are at his cost. Regardless of the fact that he was paid to do it right the first time or the fact that the damage is not his fault, it is expected that the sub contractor will come out and repair the disputed issue. They are not always readily available to stop a new "paying" job to go back to a past "already paid, non-paying" job.

Sometimes the general just skips the hassle and does the repairs himself. It's never as good. What happens in large projects is a slow grueling process where things get repaired very slowly as the General tries to wear down the client to the point that the client just gives up and takes ownership under the name of "Substantial Completion". This process can last over a year on projects I have worked on. It's tiring and disappointing and really takes the joy out of a new building.

If the job is done right the first time and the doer is dedicated not to stop until the job is finished, what happens is...the job actually gets finished!
And the satisfaction of all is actually satisfying.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

If You Don't Want To Be Late, Be Early

If you don't want to be late, be early.

Now there's a brilliant thought. If you really don't like to be late, I mean you REALLY don't like to be late; the best thing to do is be there ahead of time; be there early.

Being right on time leaves the door open to be late. If anything comes up: traffic, car problems, parking, getting lost, bad information, difference in clocks, wardrobe malfunctions, etc.; you are immediately late.

I heard a guy yesterday make arrangements to meet someone. The person meeting the one that needed to meet the other, said he would be at the appointed spot at 8:00. The person needing to meet replied: "I'll be there at 7:55."

Real world solution is that there is no foul in being early but rarely an excuse for being late.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Welcome to the Real World

I know I have used the phrase "welcome to the real world" in my life at least a number or two times. It just means, that someone has just emerged out of the la-la land they were in and just got dumped, smacked, or otherwise introduced to how the real world works.

The real world is tough, abrupt, unforgiving and uncompromising. When you get in the real world, things come at you fast as they come at you without any intention to help or hurt you. Quite frankly the real world doesn't care.

You can stop and smell the roses, but just know that the real world doesn't stop. The real world demands decisions, demands action, and demands attention. The real world requires people who are willing and able to act and act now.

The real world is not just business. It is not just serious situations. It is not without its good side. The real world is the things in life that are...well real.

I am going to take the next few blog entries and explore what I see as the real world. How it works, how we must work within it, times when it's OK to step out of the real world and times it is not. This is my story. My realization. My time to be re-acquainted to the real world.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sunday Scripture Choice

Job 23:10

But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

SUCCESS: S*U*C*C- Commitment

Sometimes plans just come together, success comes easy and quickly and the sheer momentum of positive actions and events just keep things going and growing. Unfortunately, that is not how most things work out. What usually happens is that success is slow coming and requires more than a great plan; it also takes a solid commitment to the process and goal.

"The concentration and dedication- the intangibles are the deciding factors between who won and who lost." ” Tom Seaver

Opposition can come from anywhere. There are constant drains on your time, resources, and attention. You are the one who must make it happen. You are the one who has to keep your eye on the prize. You are the one who must work through the difficulties, the challenges, and the obstacles. No one wants to see you succeed, other than maybe your mother.

Don'’t count on people around you for support. Take the help if offered, but don't count on it. You are on your own when it comes to being committed to your success.

Commitment must come from within and it must not falter. Without commitment from yourself, you will fail. With it, you can only succeed.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Fall Has Fell

Today is the first day of Fall and man did it try to feel like it. All last night it rained, snowed, and hailed. The wind blew, the thunder thundered and the lightning lit up the sky.

Time and seasons just keep moving on. I sometimes think I would love to slow it all down, but I have no choice. It just keeps going. Why is it that the older you get, the faster time seems to fly by. A theory I tend to believe is that as you get older, one year becomes a smaller and smaller percentage of your life and therefore it just seems faster. So what do you do?

Forget it! Time is time and really irrelevant in life! It doesn’t go any faster. There is still and always will be 24 hours in a day. No more, no less. Stop crying and whining about how much time you do not have, how much time has passed by, or the lack of time you have in the future. Just do what you have to do!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Have you ever noticed that life’s events just come at you in droves? I just survived a wave of events.

It seems that once one thing has a date set, many things just seem to stack up on that same date. It’s like getting a log jam in the river of events. Unfortunately priorities must be set and sometimes there are casualties in terms of things getting done. For me it was this blog, at least over the last several weeks.

Sometimes I think we all need to stop trying to do everything all the time. Do what is the most important and don't worry about it. The most important thing is to resume the events dropped once time again allows.

I am back and let’s go again!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Poul Anderson Said...

I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become still more complicated.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Abraham Lincoln Said...

No matter how much the cats fight, there always seem to be plenty of kittens.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

How Did We Ever Live?

I didn't write this, but it was sent to me in an email.

I cannot deny that as a father today, I am thankful of some of the advances we have made to keep our children safe, but I do admit that at times I am sorry for the parts of childhood that my kids will miss. I just hope it is made up for somewhere else and in a better way.

To all the kids who were born in the 1920's,30's 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's!

First, we survived being born to mothers who took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, and ate tuna mixed with dolphin from a can.

Our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paints. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets. We would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. We shared one can of soft drink with four friends by passing it around. We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter. We drank soda pop with sugar it, but we weren't overweight because we were always outside playing. We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day and we were O.K..

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps or fixing up our bikes and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot or loss our brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, or X-boxes. We had no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms; we had friends and we went outside and played with them.

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and lost teeth and there were no lawsuits. We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt. We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls, and played in construction sites. Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team.

From all of our troubles, this generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever. The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Welcome Back

Without Labor Day Weekend, the seasonal change from Summer to Fall could pass without notice. It is, therefore, a good thing to have one last long weekend to remind everybody that, although it’s still hot, Fall is here.

Without the attention that this weekend draws to itself, we might not notice the days that have grown shorter, the nights that have grown cooler, and the sunsets that arrive earlier each day. Without this celebrated weekend, we might find ourselves somewhere in late September, wondering how Fall snuck up on us so quickly.

The trees in the mountains are beginning to change colors, and soon their leaves will be falling. Sweaters and jackets will soon be begging us to wear them as the air becomes crisp and refreshing. Football is underway and the baseball play-offs are just around the corner.

Fall is my favorite time of the year. I am so glad to see it arrive.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Variable Speed Highway

Recently a stretch of highway that has been under construction was re-opened. It came complete with additional lanes, new and improved off ramps and new signs and pavement. The highway department closed sections off for a big party/press conference to officially re-open the highway to all of us motorists.

The highway never really closed during the construction. There were times it was down to one lane, but I used it almost everyday. So I found it a bit amusing that they were "“re-opening"” it and making such a fuss.

Driving by, it'’s hard to see what all was going on so I watched the news later that night to see what was said and who was there. I might as well be well informed about my surroundings, right?

As expected, there were Department of Transportation officials, invited politicians, and of course, reporters. It looked like a party that was well worth missing. There was one person they interviewed that stole the show for me. She was describing for the reporter how nice the road is now, the wonderful new off ramps and merging ramps, and how much the new highway would benefit all of us residents that lived on the west side of the valley.

She went on to inform us how we should take care of the highway, cherish it and be thankful. She also added how they had "“already seen people speeding"”. Can you believe it! People speeding so soon! What ingrates!

She continued, "“we want to remind everyone that they should stick to the speed limit of 65"”.

Maybe she let the cat out of the bag and maybe there'’s even newer signs are on the way, but the current signs read, and therefore the current speed limit is, 60 M.P.H..

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Sunday Scripture Choice

2 Kings 17:39

But the LORD your God ye shall fear; and he shall deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Success: S*U*C*C*E*S- Segmenting

My wife is an incredible cook. I don’t say that because there is a good chance she might read this; this woman is absolutely fabulous in the kitchen. Anyone who has had the privilege to partake of her masterpieces can also attest to this woman’s culinary mastery. It’s almost unnatural. I describe her food as “wicked good” because the feelings one receives while eating her food cannot be wholesome and must be sinful somehow.

She hasn’t made a deal with the devil (that I know of) but instead, she pays attention to the directions. She looks at a recipe and actually looks at the individual ingredients and at each individual step of the process. She really thinks each of them out. Why is it done this way? Why is that ingredient important?

A batch of cookies, therefore, is not something she just “whips” together. She takes care of each step. If she has determined that something needs to be beat for 20 minutes, she beats it for 20 minutes. She sets the timer and does exactly 20 minutes. If she finds that a certain extract makes something tastes better, she adds that extract, at the right time and in the exact amount. She really takes care of details. I’d share more that she has let me in on, but they are really her secrets.

The bottom line is this: she does so well on her food preparation because she breaks down the whole process into steps. She treats each part of the process with thought, care and perfection. When the process is all done, the proof, as the saying goes, is in the pudding.

Not only does breaking things down into parts make the task seem more possible to accomplish, but breaking it down and treating each detail with care and as a end in and of itself assures a greater result at the end of the journey.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Nouveux Rich

What do you do when a Coke machine steals your money?

Yesterday I had been walking around outside going to various buildings and such. It was a hot day, in the low 90's. It's not hard to imagine that I became thirsty and when I was walking through one of the buildings, a hospital, I would be incline to stop at a vending machine and purchase that "pause that refreshes".

I picked out my only single dollar, rubbed it out flat and fed it into the dollar slot. The machine was very happy to assist me and pulled the dollar in. We passed that half second when the anxiety rises in anticipation of the qualification of my dollar. Was it good enough, or would it get spit back out? It passed and the amount of $1.00 appeared on the screen.

I made my selection of B-2, an ice cold Diet Coke. This machine was one of those machines that all the bottles are on display. Once a selection is made the little ramp moves up to the row that you selected, the bottle is pushed off the end of the row and slides down the ramp, along the glass window and into the shoot, landing in the spot where it becomes your property. In this case, my cold , refreshing, breathe of life.

After receiving the request of B-2, the machine did nothing. I entered the numbers again- this time controlling my anticipation and making slow deliberate moves: "B", "2". The screen then indicated to me that if I wanted that selection, the cost was "1.00". I tried to enter the number a couple of times trying to convince the machine that I had paid, but it was to no avail. It had forgot about our previous moment of anticipation when it qualified my dollar.

What do you do at this point? I'm in a hospital. Me being thirsty is not an emergency. Me losing a dollar is not anybodies code red. There is no one really to which to complain. I didn't even have any way to leave a warning to other would be victims. It was the perfect crime.

Now, do you find another vending machine and accept that the next coke you buy will be a $2 Coke? Do you pretend that you are no longer thirsty? Can you ever really trust another Coke machine again?

Friends it was hot that day. The sun beat down and warmed the last day of August like it was July. Did I care? No, I was drinking $2/bottle liquid refreshment. It was worth it!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

It's In The Name

If you’re going to call it a Fat Boy, It better be a Fat Boy!

I speak of ice cream sandwiches of course. Fat Boy ice cream sandwiches are like ice cream sandwiches on steroids! They are about three times as thick as any other ice cream sandwich and are the equivalent to eating a bowl of ice cream with two cookies. They come in all kinds of flavors including seasonal flavors such as Egg Nog at Christmas time.

Fat Boys are the type of dessert that makes skinny people whine about how fattening they look and start searching for someone with which they can share it. For you real life Fat Boys out there, be warned. Even if you down the first one easily because it’s so good: don’t get cocky! The second one will get you. A Fat Boy Ice Cream sandwich is a Fat Boy and must be respected.

Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream has a similar name as one of their flavors: Chubby Hubby. Peanut butter, pretzels, and caramel all help this ice cream to live up to its name and inflict terror on people who weigh less than two swallows carrying a coconut. If you are faint of heart, you cannot handle this special food from the gods. Turn around and return to your Neapolitan. Chubby Hubby is a Fat Boy and must be respected.

So when I saw a hamburger joint advertising “Home of the Fat Boy”, my curiosity was peaked. A Fat Boy Hamburger! Now that sounded interesting! Being a Fat Boy myself, I had to see if this burger really lived up to the name. I was sorely disappointed. This was nothing but a home made quarter-pounder…with lettuce! Lettuce! Fat Boys don’t do fillers! This Fat Boy is not a Fat Boy and no respect is required.

So what makes a Fat Boy a Fat Boy? A Fat Boy must have size: size that awes at the first sight. A Fat Boy must bring joy to the soul, a feeling of being completely satisfied, and nothing left to be desired. A Fat Boy must not have fluff. No filler, just pure meat and potatoes. A Fat Boy is made of the things that all people desire, but most will not admit. A Fat Boy represents the best things in life, built up to an incomprehensible quantity; to border on waste, but a Fat Boy never would.

Say what you will about us Fat Boys. Deep down, we are what everyone truly wants. Some of us are just deeper than others and we must be respected.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

What Are They Trying To Say?

On the T.V. Game Show Jeopardy last night, there were three categories of "answers": "Star Wars, Star Trek, or Lord of the Rings", "Living at Home with Mom and Dad", and "Get a Life". Do you think there was any relationship between these topics implied?

I like Star Wars and Star Trek. I am also married, I do not live with my parents, and do not buy action figures (at least not for myself); therefore, I do not ask out of guilt. It just seemed like a good question to me.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

George Burns Said...

"You know you're getting old when you stoop to tie your shoelaces and wonder what else you could do while you're down there."

Monday, August 28, 2006

School's Back In Session

School's back in session today for my kids. The backpacks are all laid out nicely in the living room, the kids all went to bed early, and the cat even went outside for the night. Summer is ending quickly and life will now return to the tempo of weekdays and weekends for everybody. Of course for those of us with a job, nothing really changes.

We trudge through summer like any other season. The biggest difference is that for half of the year we get to drive to and from work in the daylight. As fall approaches and blends into winter this will turn to darkness and we will wonder if the sun really shines at all. It's dark when we leave for work and darkening when we return home.

Remember back when, back when we were all in school and actually did have the whole summer off? Playing everyday, bedtime optional, and fun, fun, fun all day long. I miss those days. The only pay off is today.

Oh how I hated the first day of school! The new clothes were the worse. Today I am wearing all my well worn and familiar clothes. No stiff collars and weird store smell on my new shirt. No brand new jeans that are so perfectly blue they look like some sort of beacon and so stiff, they rub against you all during the day making sore spots on your hips and "otherwheres" and make it a chore to sit down, especially Indian style. Of course there is also the bright white shoes that scream, "Hey! Look at me!" and feel 6 inches too long, causing you to trip on anything that is not perfectly flat.

Oh no! I hated the first day of school! The new kids all looked strange, the old ones looked goofy in their new clothes, everybody smelt different, talked different, and all the friend groups tended to re-shuffle. Once in class the teacher would try to establish his or her dominance to keep all of us freaks in line, and homework would begin. This of course meant that once home, not only would I be sore from all the clothes rubbing, tired from having to get up earlier than I had for the last three months, not able to watch my regular T.V., but I would be watching the end of the summer days from the kitchen table as I tried to learn the stuff I thought the teacher was supposed to teach us!

Yeah, I'll take the job world. Where we might have to work through the summer, but we don't have to go back to school!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sunday Scripture Choice

Psalms 100: 1-5

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.

Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

SUCCESS: S*U*C*C*E- Executing

The difference between wanting to do and doing is so small yet so large. Wanting, planning, and even waiting for the best possible moment is the place where many would-be success stories stall and die an agonizing death. It's at this point that many regrets are formed and nurtured for years and sometimes for life.

The element of executing a plan is of all the other elements of success the one that really separates the winners from the losers, those who will stand on success and those who will only dream of it. As I look back on the successes I have experienced, there is almost always one point I can reflect upon where my action made the difference. One moment where I acted in a way different than I would have naturally.

I love being on stage. I love putting on a show. I am very comfortable in front of groups and being the center of attention for the time the spot light is on me. Once the light goes off and the event is over, I am actually quite shy. I keep to myself and remain quiet. I am uncomfortable talking to people I don't know, I don't like talking about myself to others, and I would rather listen to a conversation than to ever be thought of as the one who always has to talk.

The times of my greatest success have always been preceded by a time when I have had to overcome these feeling of shyness and executed a plan. I have had to overcome great fear to talk to an editor about writing an article. I have had to overcome the fear of rejection when writing or pitching a proposal for a presentation to a business. I have had to overcome the fear of someone asking "who the hell does this guy think he is" when volunteering my services to a function or group. I have had to overcome many fears to actually have the courage to write something someone else might read or even edit- even to the point of my daily blog. Every morning I worry about what someone might think, but I do it nonetheless.

Despite my true inner confidence, my preparation, my willingness to push myself to perform well, it is the doing part at the beginning that makes the difference. Every successful thing I have done required my courage and willingness to take that one extra step, that venture into an uncomfortable zone, and do the one thing that would allow me to do all the other things I had prepared and waited to do.

"How many flowers have failed to bloom, not because they were never watered, not because they received too little or too much sunlight, not because the soil or seed was bad, but because no one ever decided to plant them?"

Friday, August 25, 2006

Bad Day

I know I've had bad days before. Days when I just would rather had stayed in bed than to have ever got up. In all of those bad days, however, no one has ever demoted me from "human" to "organism". The planet Pluto is being considered to be demoted from "Planet" to "dwarf planet" at a conference of people who have such authority.

How does one become able to determine and assume that authority, I wonder? I don't know but that's not really where I wanted to go with this so let's get back on track.

Poor Pluto. It has enjoyed being the planetary favorite of all young kids- mostly due to its shared name with the dog from Disney- but a favorite nonetheless. Even I got geeked up some time ago when a probe was sent to Pluto, which is still on it's way. Pluto is the outpost, the last stop. Our outer edge. Beyond Pluto is the even greater unknown. If Pluto looses it status, will it loose these qualifications? Will the edge now be the other kid favorite, Uranus. Would we just pretend that Pluto doesn't exist or count anymore?

I think this is the most unsettling for me. I feel like we're retracting. It's like deciding Nevada isn't a state anymore because it jut doesn't add up to all the other "real" states, so we'll call Utah or maybe even Colorado the last state before reaching our greatest unknown, California. If Wyoming was discovered today, would it be a state? We just don't recoil like this. It's un-American.

I understand the reasons. If we call Pluto a planet there are several other objects we would have to call planets as well to be fair. It makes sense to me, but can't Pluto get the benefit of a Grandfather clause? The benefit of being discovered in a time that we didn't know better? Make it a planet with an asterisk. I just feel that the demotion like this could really hurt Pluto's feelings. The planet that was, and then wasn't. I thought we all loved "the little engine that could" story. What if it was determined that the little engine couldn't because someone decided that the little engine was too small to be an engine and we were to call it a "mechanical device". Would no one care? Could we just dismiss it that easy?

I know. Pluto is an inanimate object and does not have any feelings to be hurt. But correct me if I am wrong, but I don' t think the objects that might qualify the same as Pluto but not receive the planet staus have feelings either. Are we afraid that they might sue for discrimination?

Why not let some scientists roll their eyes every time someone declares that there are 9 planets in our Solar System. Let some smart ass go on and on on some blog somewhere about how there are really 12 or 16 planets if we allow Pluto to continue to be a planet. Let the kids keep Pluto, that small frozen piece of rock way, way out there. Let Pluto be our edge, or border, our last outpost!

Despite the ones who know better. Despite the irregular elliptical orbit. Despite the size. Despite all the arguments against this poor planet- I say let Pluto keep it's planetary status. All new comers must be subjected to the newer standard but Pluto...what? The vote is already final? Pluto is already stripped of any possibility of being a planet...already?

Oh well. Next subject.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Mall Rats

Granger Elementary had one major flaw in it's 50 year history: it allowed itself to be located next to an ambitious city's only mall. I am sure that the school was there first, but somewhere in the course of time, the property dedicated to education became "otherwise" valuable.

West Valley City, Utah wants a better mall. A cool mall, a "got-to-be-there" mall. In order to do this they need big names in retail to bring in lots of no name customers. The bigger the name, the more customers. Costco, one of only a handful of stores to which I actually like going, was to be the first of these big names. Costco is to be the first major addition to the new and improved Valley Fair Mall. They needed the kids' space and they got it.

The school, amidst protests from concerned parents, was torn down and is currently being cleared away. Once done, construction will immediately start on the new Costco and thus the first phase to breathe life into a really bad mall will begin. Now to be fair, a new school, a better school, will be built to replace the old one in another location and according to all involved, a better location. Costco is flipping part of the bill as is West Valley City.

The new Costco is said to be open by Christmas. Wow! That seems rather ambitious and quite remarkable. West Valley City will be seeing revenue as early as this winter and Costco will benefit from the Seasonal shopping.

The new school? Not quite so fast. The new school project is projected to be an 18 month project. The school district has the money, but I was unable to find out the start date. In the meantime the students will move into the abandoned Woodrow Wilson Elementary, which is 81 years old, and await the completion of their new and improved school.

I really like the Mall project but I have to admit: It all looks funny to me. It just seems like the proper thing to do was to build the new school first, move the kids in, tear down the old school, and then start building Costco. Maybe I'm just old fashion. Maybe I'm naive. Maybe I'm just out of my mind but I think it's hard to sell kids on "stay in school", when we obviously would rather have a store.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Things They've Seen

Last Sunday, my family and I spent the afternoon with my grandparents. It just seems like life gets so busy that there is never time to do things like visit anymore and we decided to make it happen and we took the two hour trip south to Centerfield, Utah.

My Grandparents are in their mid-eighties and are doing well for that age. Age is causing them to lack some of the physical abilities they once had, but their minds are still sharp and it is so pleasant and entertaining to sit down with them and just talk. They are interested in what we have been doing and watching their great grandchildren play on the floor in front of us. At one point of the conversation, we started discussing the "how is was then and how it is now".

Normally this is where the "uphill both ways to school in 20' of snow, 11 months out of the year" stories are told, but not on this day. Daily living was physically harder then, no doubt about that, but the conversation was more of them reminiscing and sharing stories I had never heard. It was stories of daily chores, riding horses to the store, selling cream, cooking potatoes, things people said back then and how they said it, and other such tales. It was memories laced with fond feelings and good intentions.

I couldn't help but think what a difference they have experienced. My grandparents have probably seen the biggest change any other generation will ever see. Yes, I will see bigger, stronger, faster things; life will continue to evolve. They, however, have gone from eating the things they grew from the dirt they plowed, riding, using and eating the animals they raised, and scratching their lives out of only the things they could produce to today's society of everything available, all of the time. I find it hard to think any change will equal the magnitude of change they have witnessed.

I don't know if they were the "Greatest Generation", but it certainly is not hard to understand why my grandparents and all of those who share their time frame in history seem to have such a unique, clear, and seemingly wise perspective on life.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Sunday Scripture Choice

Acts 17:11

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

SUCCESS: S*U*C*C- Committing

"What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight - it's the size of the fight in the dog."

Dwight D. Eisenhower- speech to the Republican National Committee, January 31, 1958

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sunday Scripture Choice

Psalms 25:7

Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O LORD

Saturday, August 12, 2006

SUCCESS: S*U*C- Challenging

Although I think I could be happy to be rich by hitting the lottery, I don't think I or anyone else could claim any challenge to it. The closest one could get is the claim that they diligently "paid their dues", played every draw and got lucky and won.

Getting lucky, at least in this sense, is not challenging. It's just getting lucky. It's not anything from which you can claim personal victory. You can spend a lot of money and have a lot of fun and may never work again for the rest of your life, but no one, including yourself, is going to be impressed with your mastery of life.

In fact, most lottery winners do get jobs again. Most spend everything they won and end up broke again. Why? The process wasn't anything from which to learn. The win was cheap and the money- although spendable and able to buy anything one wants- wasn't worth anything. You picked some numbers and they came up. It's hard to call that successful.

"Most people rust out due to lack of challenge. Few people rust out due to overuse." Unknown

Set your sights high. Make it hard. Make it worth something. Your success is now dependent on you, not a cheesy host and his assistant reading balls with numbers on them. Your success is dependent on you breaking your balls to succeed! It has to be your sweat. It has to be your toil. It has to be your tears in order for it to be your victory. It'll mean something. It'll be satisfying. It'll have value.

If you want , you can still play the lottery. Just imagine aiming for personal goals way up in the stratosphere, working towards them, struggling and fighting for them and then, Pow! You're infused with mucho dinero to go for it 100%!

It could happen.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Pay Off

When the call comes in to visit my wife's grandmother, the trade-off for me is the opportunity to watch some baseball. More precisely, a lot of baseball. Over the last four days, I have been able to watch four Oakland A's games with many other games in between. At home this is not possible. One might say it's my pay-off for visiting the In-Laws. In a related way, there have been two other "pay-offs".

During Monday night's game, the camera switched several times to one of the Oakland Players working on his swing in the dug out. The player was Milton Bradley. Bradley is a switch hitter and he was, while in the dug out, practicing his swing both right handed and left. The other players gave him the space, but he is the only one I saw doing it. There seemed to be something that he was specifically working on and he was intent on mastering it.

Late in the game, the game was a tight 6-4 in favor of the A's. Milton Bradley got up to the plate and on the first pitch offered, the game became a three run game. He hit the ball left handed up and over the left field wall. In baseball, late in the game as it was, the difference between a two-run game and a three-run game is enormous. The A's held on to win it 7-4.

Nothing was really said about the dugout practice session, maybe it happens all the time. The thing I noticed was the determination to "get it right" and to be ready for the moment. It paid off. That was Pay-off #2.

Pay off #3- After watching four consecutive baseball games of my favorite team and for all my time and effort, I have a blog entry!

Now if can figure out how to write that off my taxes...

Monday, August 07, 2006

Finding The "Human" In Human Resources

The other day I needed to get a hold of someone in the Human Resources Department. It had to do with documentation and I really needed some assistance to complete it properly. I learned that the person with whom I needed to speak was on Maternity Leave, which seems to me to be a good reason to be on leave.

I called the person filling in for her. She was on vacation, which may or may not be as good a reason to be on leave but seemed understandable. It is August. Her message , however, said to contact another person, which I did...or let's say tried.

His message said that he was in and if the caller had left a message the day before, he would be getting back to that person later in the day and to be patient. Being busy, may also be a good reason, but it wasn't as good as the other two reasons- at least not to me. All was not lost because his message also gave another number to call- he called it the HR Hotline- and that I could call if I needed immediate assistance, which I felt I did.

I called the hotline. No answer.

I called again. No answer.

I called again. Someone answered, then hung up.

I called once more. No answer.

If the purpose of the hotline is to give people immediate assistance no matter the status of the people needed, it failed. If the purpose is one of education, it worked. I stopped calling and just figured it out myself.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Sunday Scripture Choice

Numbers 6:23-27

Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them,
The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

SUCCESS: S*U- Understanding

I know that there are people who teach that to achieve, all you need to do is envision it. "Fake it until you make it" is another opinion. It's a nice thought.

I don't know how anyone can imagine anything unless you know about it; have some understanding on what it is that you wish to accomplish. You have to have some "learning" about it. And "fake it"? You better know what you are supposed to be faking or you can end up looking pretty stupid.

Learn what it is that you want to accomplish. Read about others who have gone before you. Explore what it will do to your life style. Explore what others have done to accomplish what (or as close to what) you want to accomplish.

A couple of things will happen:
You might find that your dream is not as dreamy as you thought and you may want to alter you goal or it might be even more than you imagined and help you push harder, and
2) You will now what to emulate as success and not just "fake it".

Learning about your goals is a valuable element of success because it not only helps you understand your goals it may even help you accomplish them, relish them, and truly appreciate them.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Spice of Nevada

We are, as a family, spending some days in Nevada to visit my wife's family. This trip take us out to Carson City, the state's capital. And although Carson City is a city, it also has a feel of being very rural and also very Nevada. And I mean that in the best possible way.

We had some rain last night and we experienced rain as we came across I-80 from Salt Lake. Some do not like the rain, especially when driving, but there is one great benefit: the smell of sage in the air. It is enhanced when the rain and wind mix it up. As we re-fueled in Elko and again this evening as it rained, the air is full of the smell of sage.

Maybe it's because I lived in Nevada and spent a lot of time playing in her playgrounds- the desert, maybe it's because when I am exposed to it now, our family is on some kind of vacation, or maybe it just simply smells good. In any case the scent of the sage on the wind is always invited by me and is always a pleasant occasion. It seems to always say, "welcome back friend" and makes me feel at home.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Mel Brooks Said...

"Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die."

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Sunday Scripture Choice

1 Corinthians 13:13

And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three: but the greastest of these is love.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

SUCCESS: S- Steering

How do you decide on your goals? What do you want to be when you grow up. Many people waste years and lives not wanting to do anything until they know for sure what they what to be. The Pink Floyd song "Time" says it this way:

"And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun."

It is important to set goals and know where you want to go, but if undecided, for your sake choose something and start going!

"“Everyone should carefully observe which way his heart draws him, and then choose that way with all his strength." Hasidic Saying

Listen to your heart. What do you want, what would make you happy? It does not matter if you know anything about it, it does no’t matter if it seems impossible, and it does no’t matter if you tell anybody else- so long as it is something of worth to you!

"This became a credo of mine...attempt the impossible in order to improve your work."” Bette Davis

If you find yourself at that spot where you haven't decided anything yet, you're actually in a good spot. Just don't stay there too long. All the questions do not have to be answered yet- you just have to know where you are going to point in the right direction. You're like a ship leaving port, heading out into the ocean. Start pointing your ship to whatever port you desire!

"My whole career can be summed up with 'Ignorance is bliss.' When you do not know better, you do not really worry about failing." Jeff Foxworthy

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Art of The Start

I know this video has been circulated around a lot already, at least in certain circles. It was referred to me not for its content, but for the speaking style. (Speaking geeks are just as bad as any other kind of geek). I watched it and found the style very good as well as the content.

Guy Kawasaki speaks about entrepreneurship, but his message extends deeper. I think that his message can be applied to any endeavor someone may venture into. I list a link to his video on Google Video at the bottom of this entry, but to help out those who may never have the time or capability to watch it, here is the outline that I made listening to it. (I told you I was a geek!) Guy mentions in the speech that his comments were loosely based on his book, The Art of the Start.

1. Make Meaning
a. Increase the quality of life.
b. Right a wrong
c. Prevent the End of Something good.

2. Make A Mantra
a. Not a vision statement
b. 2-3 words. What are you about?

3. Get Going
a. Think Different- Don't do better sameness
b. Polarize People
c. Find soul mates. Balance yourself.

4. Define a Business Model
a. Be specific.
b. Keep it simple.
c. Ask women about your business model

5. Weave a MAT
a. Milestones.
b. Assumptions.
c. Tasks

6. Niche Thyself
1. Great Value to customer
2. Ability to provide unique product or service

7. Follow the 10/20/30 Rule
a. 10 slide maximum
b. 20 minutes
c. 30 pts smallest font

8. Hire Infected People
a. Ignore the irrelevant
b. Hire Better people than yourself
c. Shopping center test
1. Run over and introduce yourself- Hire!
2. If you come face to face- introduce- Don't hire.
3. Drive away- Don't hire.

9. Lower Barriers to Adoption
a. Flatten the learning curve.
b. Don't ask people to do something you wouldn't do.
c. Embrace your evangelists.

10. Seed the Clouds
a. Let a hundred flowers blossom.
b. Enable test drives.
c. Find true influencers

11. Don't let the Bozos grind you down.
a. Losers- easy to ignore
b. Successful, educated- hard to ignore.

Video on Google Video. Check it out while it's free. Art of the Start

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Mark Twain Said...

I am not one of those who in expressing opinions confine themselves to facts.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

True Environmentalists

Weekends bring out so many good things. The thing I like the best is the cars. Many people break out their "babies" and cruise them for the weekend. I, myself, am a Corvette man, but I appreciate nice cars of any influence. I occasionally even admire a Mustang from time to time. I love those big engines, the rumble, and the all the shiny parts.

Some may think that muscle cars and big engines are irresponsible. In some ways they are. Anything can be used in an unsafe manner but there is an upside to these cars and their use. Fossil fuels.

We all know that the burning of fossil fuels (oil) is a contributor to not only global warming, but also the unrest in the Middle East. As long we was use the oil, these two things will continue to be a point of contention. Muscle cars and V-8's are the answer. The faster we use the oil, the sooner we will be forced to find a solution. If we only build automobiles that conserve oil and fuel consumption, we will just prolong the long term solution and never look for alternative fuels. Necessity is the mother of all invention.

Chevy, Ford, and Mopar owners, hold your head up high. You are the future of this planet!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Pioneer Day 2006

159 years ago today, pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley with the goal to establish a permanent settlement. They were refugees from religious persecution, expelled from a country that failed and refused to protect them. They had been chased form several states and several cities and had been dubbed religious freaks and dangerous to the areas they had previously settled. Their crime: they were Mormons.

They were also Americans, native born and immigrants alike, yet they were forced to flee for their lives and to search for a new safe place to live. They had been invited to come to San Francisco, but no longer felt safe within U.S. borders. They came to the Salt Lake Valley where no body wanted, no one thought to settle, and where they could be left alone.

Somewhere in the groups to follow that first party, ancestors of mine arrived in the valley. They fought for their survival with the others. They had to grow crops to live. They had to face the challenges living in a remote wilderness, without country, friend, or a guarantee of any future. They had faith in God and a determination to make it and that was it.

The U.S. did catch back up to them and tough times followed. They stuck it out and held their ground and became a powerful influence in the settlement of the west. Mormon settlements were the backbone to settling the Great Basin and Salt Lake became the "Crossroads of the West" and a major hub to travelers of all kinds.

This morning, I sit in my house, comfortable and secure. I fly the US flag outside our house and enjoy all the benefits of citizenship as well as technology: T.V., air conditioning, and this computer with which I am using to write this piece. I have seen Presidents of the United States visit Salt Lake City, as well as several other world leaders, and honor the Mormon Church and recognize their contributions to the greatness of our country.

Utah has come a long way since that day many, many years ago. I wonder if any of those pioneers had any idea what they were starting, but I thank them none the less. Happy Pioneer Day to anyone who cares to celebrate it today!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The 7 Elements of Success

I haven't done this since February, but I used to write about what I consider the Seven Elements of Success each Saturday blog. I have decided to restart this practice. Each Saturday I will cover another element as my entry.

The Seven Elements of Success are: Steering, Understanding, Challenging, Committing, Executing, Segmenting, and Spirituality.

These elements are elements I have seen in other's success as well as my own. They are not steps. They are not all inclusive I am sure, but they are important. I believe that if one concentrates and addresses each one of these elements and incorporates them into his or her methods of operations, success is more likely to happen. In fact I would almost say guaranteed!

So look for these elements each Saturday right here on this blog!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Same Place, Different Time

(Written yesterday) I' m sitting in my backyard and thinking how amazing it is that the same place, the exact location where I am right now sitting, will in six months be covered in snow. It is nearly 100 degrees today and yet the day will come that it will be below freezing.

I hear that the sun is like 90,000,000 miles away, yet the simple shifting of the axis- leaning towards or away from the sun- can push the limits of our existence. Let's say the earth is 8,000 miles across the wide section, and the tilt swings us 4000 miles one way or the other, that means our ability to live on this planet is dependent on staying within 1/22500th of our distance from the sun. Any shift inside or outside of that paper-thin tolerance would spell certain doom for all of us.

Maybe you are thinking "so what"?!! I am just amazed at how fragile our life can be, how very small things make enormous differences and how insignificant my efforts are to anything really important.

My efforts, therefore, can and should be fearless. I cannot alter the axis tilt of the earth. I cannot even make myself grow up one inch. (Growing out, however, is quite simple to do.) So why not go for it? Why not just ignore the things that hold us back from what we really want? Why fear "no's", "You're crazy's" and "you can't do that's"? Why not just cut loose and tear it up. Preferably while the earth is tilting your part of the world towards the sun.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Taking The "Ick" Out Of Sick.

I stayed around the house yesterday. Unable to speak and not feeling too well kept me from doing what I usually do. What did I do with my time?

Caught up with some much needed sleep.
Had breakfast with my wife.
Listened to kid stories.
Played video games with the kids.
Walked my daughter to her friend's house.
Watched a movie with the family.
Watched the taped copy of "So you think you can dance" with my wife.
Spent some alone time with my wife.
Wrote a little bit.
Cooled off in the pool.
Kissed everybody good night.

Maybe I should get sick and loose my voice more often.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Sound Of Forced Silence

If you ever want to know how much you really speak- try not speaking for a little bit. Yesterday I began losing my voice. Every word I said had a price to it. It hurt to speak and it made the volume weaker with each forced syllable. I tried to limit myself, but couldn't help myself. Today I am without a voice.

It'll be interesting to see how many times I try and nothing will come out. But already I have learned one thing that I can take from this experience: I yap too much!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Better Than A Poke With A Stick??

It's fire season. That means that from now, or actually about a month ago, there will be wildfires here in the west. Thousands if not millions of acres will burn, the sky will have the hazy smoke look, and newscasters will do those ridiculous story on location. It's a scene played out every year. I don't understand why?

We just got back from camping. Have you ever tried to start a fire? Have you been in charge of maintaining the fire? You work and work to get the kindling just right, the tender situated just so, and then have to baby this little fire along until it can burn grown-up wood and then...it topples over and goes out.

I can have a fire going for an hour, poke it with a stick a couple of times and it's out! Yet get two kids and a couple of firecrackers and next you'll have hundreds of firefighters, a couple of helicopters, and about a million dollars to put it out. What they should do is just hire me. I'll just poke with a stick a couple of times and it'll be out in no time!

If it's really a big fire, just line up a couple of hungry campers who are desperate for fire for cooking, ask them to maintain it...the fire won't stand a chance!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Back On The Wagon

Normally on Sunday, I would post a scripture for the day. Seeing how I have not written for a while, I thought it might be nice to actually post a real entry today. And since being reminded by my mother yesterday that's it has been a while, I thought today might be even more appropriate as a real good place to restart.

Usually I just start to write. I just choose something I am thinking about and then let the writing do it's own thing. It is something that I really like to do. Sometimes it's ranting, sometimes it's raving. In either case, my true feelings really tend to surface. It keeps me thinking, keeps me balanced, and keeps me from sleeping in too late.

I have always wanted to be a writer of some sort. It has always felt good to write a great story or thought. I have "writings" dating back to 1972 I believe. It's just something I like to do. I think that is why I enjoy speaking as much as I do. I find it exhilarating to write out a speech and then perform it for people. This blog has been fun, helpful, and a great outlet for me. And then life happens.

I had a bunch of projects coming due, I have not been feeling well, and I was feeling pressured to do other things rather then take the time, and it does take time, to write everyday. I started to allow other things to get into the way of my writing. I was allowing other priorities to bump what I felt was a personal priority. Why do we do this?

I don't know exactly why some stay on track with their own ambitions and others don't. And I understand that there are other people involved in our lives that need us as well. There are my priorities and there are others who count on me making them a priority and live is balancing the two of them. But there's the problem, they must be balanced. One is not more important than the other.

Fortunately, all has not been lost. I can pick this blog up at anytime and get back on schedule. And out of sheer good fortune, I have recently been offered a column with a national magazine. Nine issues a year and best of all- it pays. I still have some things that need to be worked out, but it is my job for the taking.

I am, as I said, fortunate that my lack of dedication to this blog did not cause me to miss an opportunity. I do feel had I been more true to writing everyday, my skills would be better polished. I have been working on other projects that have required writing, but nothing beats the daily routine.

One's personal priorities must be addressed. It is part of life, it is a part of success, and it's a part of happiness. Be true to your priorities and if you feel you have let them slip, just pick them back up again.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

In The Eyes Of A Child

Summertime is here! Yesterday was my kids’ first day off and it was a beautiful day. They played in the sprinklers most of the day and flat out had a great time. They also watched movies, had snacks, and played video games. Remember how fun it all was?

Unfortunately we are all now adults. Jobs do not take summer vacations of three months. Regular jub duties continue as always. Even people who work at home cannot take three months off. Home offices must continue to produce, home makers must continue their duties, and things like mowing the lawn, pulling weeds, and watering actually increase their time requirements over the summer months.

Wouldn’t it be great to be a kid again and have the opportunity to just take three months off? We cannot. That time is past. However, this summer I think we can all maybe emulate something from the little munchkins: Enjoy the summer!

Summer offers us a lot of fun opportunities. Swimming, outdoor cooking, evening marshmallow roasts, swimming, camping, watching sunsets, watching sunrises, stargazing, playing and watching baseball, picnics, and the list goes on and on. Take the next three months and treat it like the kids do: A unique time of the year to enjoy yourself; play like there’s no school (or job) and no expectations. Make it a time full of fun and memories that you can look back on during the cold months ahead.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

"I turned 40 today. I woke up and realized that I was half dead."

The day has arrived. I am 40. I don't really feel any different, but I have been dreading this day for almost a year now. Why? What's the big deal? I didn't know, but something has really been bothering me.

Yesterday I was driving home and the anxiety of "40" hit me again. I knew that on the next morning, I would be realizing I was 40. My mind immediately responded, "Well just don't do it!" The next thought that followed was the over-whelming sense that I had no choice- there was nothing I could do to stop or avoid it. That's when it hit me: regardless of what I do, what I have done, or what I was going to do in the future; I was going to turn 40 on the next day. No matter what!

Why is this so bad? What's the big deal. Everyone has been telling me that the day you turn 40 doesn't feel any different than the day before or the day after. "Don't worry about it.", they say. "It happens to everyone." Well at least to a lot of people.

I think that therein lies my problem. I want it to mean something! I don't want to move into a new decade of my life and there be nothing different. My fear has been that this day will pass and I find that it didn't make a difference.

It has been 40 years since my breaking onto the scene.That was a long time ago. If I make it another 40- that's going to be equally a long time. I have a whole lot of living to do and I think it's time to make my mark, to do my thing. As the Snowman said: "It's time that we introduce them to the old boy." (Smokey and the Bandit)

40 seems to be a great spot to say it's time to be a better husband, time to be a better dad. It's time to be a better employee, a better speaker, and a better person. It's time to really make that relationship with God solid, it's time to read the good book again. It's time to take advantage of all the things I've learned. As Jimmy Buffet sings-"All of the things that I've sung and I've read- they all make sense in time." And of all the things I posses, time spent on this world is the thing of which I have the most.

I was 14 when I went to Alaska. All my stories were fresh in my mind, but they lacked any context in life. At 20 I was in France, still naive and unaware of the worth of my experiences. I was 24 when I got married, but knew nothing of marriage and relationships. When I hit 30, I was a father for just over a year. In addition to not being able to understand the significance of that role, no one wanted to hear about fatherhood and parenting from a new father. In fact, new parents should be banned for sharing their opinions for at least 5-10 years.

At 40, I have credibility. I have a good vast array of life experiences against which I can measure the adventures of my youth. I have measured my cultural experiences against the world for 20 years since leaving France. I have been married for 16 years, a father for 11 years (and a father of five for 6!). I have something to say, things to share and I cannot be dismissed because of my youth and inexperience!

At 40, I am ready to make my mark- whatever that mark might be. I am going to make turning 40 mean something. I am going to not let it pass by like any other year. It just seems too perfect not to make a new beginning- the start of using the last 40 years of lessons and experiences to my advantage. I feel that the first part of my life has been dealt to me. The second half- if I am so lucky to live a full second half- I want more say on how I play my hand.

Dr. Layne Longfellow once said that the mid-life transition doesn't have to be a crisis. But he added there are some important questions to ask. It doesn't matter as much how you answer them as it matters that you ask them.

My question to myself is this: "Now that you're forty, what are you going to do about it?"

My answer, whether it's important to anybody else or not, is this: "Watch!"

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Travel Day

Nowadays, "Travel Day" usually means a trip to the airport. But for me and mine, Travel Day means a drive across Nevada. It is time for our annual Easter trip to Carson City and to Nan's- my wife's grandmother.

I actually enjoy the drive. I have spent my entire life somewhere along I-80, or somewhere close to it. California, Nevada and Utah. In fact, It's hard to imagine life where I wasn't near I-80 or it not being a part of my life.

The stretch of I-80 that runs through Nevada, I know real well. I have traveled between Utah and California many, many times. As a child, as a single adult, and now as the head of a family. It's as interesting as any drive I could imagine and I always enjoy it.

Most people would only see miles of sage brush and an occasional town fly by. I know every stretch of that road and the drive is like seeing old friends again. Some sights are just nice to see, some hold memories- places we broke down, towns where we stopped and had lunch, animals we have seen, or places where family members threw up. It's all good, some better than others.

I am looking forward to the trip and revisiting all these places, all those memories, and wondering if any new ones await today. I'm really hoping they're animal sightings!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Irony of Attitude

This last winter during the Olympics, there were two instances where attitude stood in the way of winning Gold, one was praised, the other was vilified. What was the difference?

In one event, an event I even commented on in a previous blog entry, Kelly Clark was on course for a gold medal in the Women's Half Pipe, the announcer even commented she had won the Gold and then she went for one more trick, one more "air". She didn't land it cleanly, her butt hit the snow and the gold was gone. Forget the fact that she was clearly the best, she was clearly getting the most air, and could clearly even challenge the men; she lost the gold to an inferior competitor. The announcers felt bad for her but praised her for "going all out". "She had done enough to win the gold, but just had to put one more punch to seal the deal."

In the Board Cross event, Lindsey Jacobellis tried doing an air move on the last bump, lost control and fell. She was clearly in the lead, clearly the best, clearly the winner, yet the fall allowed the second place woman to slip by and edge her out at the finish line. The sports world chewed her up on side and down the other for "hot dogging". "How could she have been so foolish and so willing to give up the gold?"

What was the difference? In my opinion not much, except one thing. In the first case, gold was not assured, it was assumed. Half Pipe is still a judged event. To hold back thinking you have won could, in and of itself, cost you a gold metal. You are in the process of analyzing your next move, not points. You have to go all out- win or loose because you don't really know if you are winning or loosing.

In the second event- the board cross is a race. The first one across the line wins, period. If you're in front- you win. If you're in front and let someone pass you- you loose. Lindsey had already done enough to win. To simply finish first was not a let down, but an expectation.

Bottom line- I like both these girls' style, I love their attitude! They were willing to just do their thing. A nice board grab before the last slope to the finish line would have been cool, and to land that last air would have been awesome. Neither one worked out and neither woman is identified as 2006 Gold Medalists. Regardless, they both had great memorable events and I enjoyed them thoroughly.

It was just a great lesson that sometimes attitude gets in the way of winning a battle here and there- sometimes even big battles. But having a winning attitude is what puts you in position of being part of the battle! In the long run, it IS what matters and in the long run it IS what defines the true winners.