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!