Thursday, April 07, 2005

Do You Feel Appreciated?

Have you ever felt underappreciated at work… not motivated because it wouldn’t matter whether you worked yourself to death or didn’t work hardly at all? Welcome to big business! The fast paced cutthroat life of climbing the corporate ladder. The world of cookie cutter careers, where the promises of joy and contentment are rarely found. If you don’t believe me just give it time.

This week I just found out that I have to take the next two weeks off work without pay. I think they call it “furlough”. I guess that is the nice way for a billion dollar corporation to say “We want to save some money so we thought we would take yours, have a great vacation, now that you have no money, oh yah, when you get back we need you to take an additional two weeks off without pay next quarter as well”.

I know I am complaining and I apologize, I guess I am just trying to give you a real life first hand example of why I am always saying there has to be more to life than a career. Your career will not love, care and nurture you. It will send you on a path for more and more and then once you have tons of bills many times it will dump you in a dangerous and helpless position. Don’t get me wrong, I am not telling you to be a bad employee. When you’re at work, work hard. Just make sure it is not your life, make sure the success of your life does not rise and fall on the success of your career. I think that is one of the secrets to life. How do you do it? I am not totally sure, but I can tell you that not being in any debt except for maybe a house payment would make it a lot easier. Anyway, wish me luck and leave a comment if you have any ideas on how to actually pull off this secret to life…

Monday, April 04, 2005

A Nation of Strangers

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival. C.S. Lewis

I met a guy last night; it is probably someone I should have met ages ago. See, I go into Starbucks almost everyday. I know it sounds pathetic, but I have several friends that work there and it is close to my house. I know pretty much every employee with the exception of the ever-changing newbies and I will usually get to know them pretty quick. In fact, in the 4 years that I have lived in Idaho I have been invited to five Starbucks weddings. I hang out with people there, I have even taken several employees rock climbing. Basically, I'm trying to say I'm there a lot.

In all the time that I spend there, you start to recognize other customers. There is this one person that I see almost every time I have gone for the last six months. I even started to see him at the gym. At Starbucks He is always hard at work studying. You can tell he is in college but he is older for being in college maybe late 20’s to mid 30’s. I have probably seen him over 50 times, yet I don’t even know his name…

It seems somewhat sad; I have heard our country called a "nation of strangers". We continually cross paths yet never meet each other for fear of rejection, or pain, maybe they will ask you for help, God forbid require something of you, require you to listen for a while… maybe invest your life in another person.

There is a Starbucks across town that I go to maybe once a week. Last time I went the girl at the counter knew my drink before I even ordered it, it isn’t even a standard drink and she remembered it. I felt bad… she has taken the time to figure out what I like to drink and I haven’t even taken the time to find out her name. It’s funny talking to my friends that work there, they know tons of customers by their drink.

Have you ever had a little kid walk up to you at a park or restaurant? What is the first thing they usually ask you…? "What’s your name?" they say. Then there mother or father quickly comes over and grabs them and looks up at you and says sorry for bothering you, they have tried to get Johnny to behave but every once in a while he wonders off… Maybe the kid remembers something we forgot a long time ago, maybe he knows that a stranger is a potential friend, someone to play and laugh with, some one that will help you when you have to much to carry, someone who will encourage you and believe in you. Maybe I should have left the guy alone and let him study, not "bothered" him. Maybe I was just like that little kid with the big eyes that simply asks, "What’s your name?" Maybe that little kid is on to something…

Friday, March 25, 2005

It’s a Matter of Perception

Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil. CS Lewis

Society has set aside caring about people and embraced caring only for people’s perceptions. Another words, we care more about someone’s perception of us then we care about them. There is a tendency to help people so they will think of us or see us in a certain light rather then genuinely helping them for their sake.

How did that happen… are we really that selfish?

You will notice this tendency in politics and Big Business. Politicians preach an ideal to get elected, they campaign to gain a good perception yet many promises never actually turn into action. Politicians will jump on certain issues knowing that it will promote their agenda, yet leave similar issues untouched because they are not “profitable”. Big Business advertises and hires image consultants to manage consumer’s perceptions. Imagine if all that money was actually put into making genuine happy customers. I know it is a utopian idea, but why not aim high… if you do you will get closer to a Better mark.

Now that I have pointed the finger at big business and politicians, I can’t help but realize that we have all bought into this to one degree or another. Why do I sometimes care more about what people think of me then about the flesh and bone, the very life standing in front of me? Why do I strive to control others perceptions of me, why are my efforts wasted on perceptions rather then relationship? Why not show people who you are and make a genuine effort for meaningful friendship and let the chips fall as they may…

Are we all really that insecure? Are we that afraid of getting hurt again; are we afraid of rejection or loosing control? If you’re afraid of rejection and pain, maybe a better question would be, is there really an alternative? One road is guaranteed to be lonely the other has hope, hope of something meaningful, something full of life and delight.

Education many times teaches us to control a situation to ‘handle it’, don’t ever become so smart you mistake controlling people for knowing people. They are as different as living and dieing.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Somewhere Something Went Wrong

The separation between good and bad is tiny compared to the separation between good and best.

I don’t want to live a good life. I want to live the best life! Somewhere in the past, I started accepting that ‘good’ was good enough. Think about the term ‘good enough’, it inherently says there is something better. I went and bought the nice car, nice toys and house. I have a good job. I, like most consumers buried myself in debt and all the ‘good’ things. But, it is like what Rockefeller said when asked how much money would be enough, “A little bit more” he said. Why do we think a little bit more will make us happy? We have almost all believed it at some point in our lives. The car was fun and fast but not fast enough to make me not want something more.

Here I find myself a slave to my job because I have to support my debt. I am striving and striving and all just for good enough. Simplicity seems a lost art. The ability to live simply so you can enjoy life. How did I miss it… it is… so… simple.

Once you have gone down this road, it can seem so impossible to get out. You can either accept the burden you have placed on yourself and continue the current course. The course of keeping up with the Jones’, the course of a little bit more, or you can fight! You can decide to simplify your life, live well inside of your means, get out of debt, work to support your life rather then have work be your life. I want Best, I have put another roadblock in the way of living Best but at least it has woken me up and put me back in the fight for Best.

By the time I have a wife and kids I want to have time to be a Father and a Husband. I want to have the Best life. I have noticed the Best life is not always the easiest, but why settle for less? You only live once, so why not live.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Can You Hate Failure Without Hating Life?

Have you ever noticed that the word “Happily” seems to proceed things that are not always happy. “Happily ever after”, “Happily married” or “Happily single”. Marriage may be great, but I don’t think it is a happily ever after walk in the park. That’s just a guess, all you married people can let me know if I am right. It seems to me that every good thing takes lots of work. It’s the people that are pressing forward and failing and get up and trying again that seem to actually be accomplishing something. On one hand you can call them the biggest failures in the world, because they have probably failed more then anybody else… but, that is because they have also tried more then anybody else. You could actually argue that the biggest failures in the world are the people that actually change the world.

I really don’t like to fail… especially publicly. But I am starting to realize that my fear of failure is crippling my ability to succeed. You have to risk failure to grow… a lot of times the growth comes from working through failure. It's like I said earlier, It's amazing how everything worth doing right seems so hard. But I think the reason it turns out to be right has something to do with what you learn while it is hard.

I am realizing I need to embrace the posabillity of failure and continue to press on to do and be what I am supposed to be. I am supposed to be a man of courage, I am finding courage is as much about fighting and winning battels as it is about being willing to fail. You can loose a fight and still die with Honor… it's only when you stop you actually loose.

To embracing Life I have realized I must also embrace failure.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

I Want To Like The Hard Way

It is amazing how everything worth doing right seems so hard. But I think the reason it turns out to be right has something to do with what you learn while it is hard.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

If Your Gonna Jump You Might Want To Look Where Your Gonna Land

There is a fine line between passion and stupidity. Have you ever met someone who has the “Here is my heart please break it” approach to romance? I am a huge advocate of passionate living, fighting for meaning, living the great adventure. However, throwing oneself at everything that stirs your emotions is not the same as passionate living, at least not the way I define it.

There are times in life that require faith and huge risk. Sometimes you just have to jump in not always knowing the outcome. Decisions like this should be based on core beliefs and values. Passionate living seems to be found somewhere in knowing when to do this.

Stupidity however, is modern day dating. I can’t say I have found the perfect alternative yet, but I am trying, yes, searching for the answer. Meeting someone, leading them on, falling for them before you really know who they are and then breaking their heart when you shockingly realize it is not going to work out cannot be the best way. For one, I think it should be a crime that guys are allowed to go around breaking girl’s hearts. Yet on the other hand, the way some girls play guys is downright wicked.

Taking a relationship slow is unheard of now days. Why is trying to get to know someone before you become romantically involved so crazy? It seems to me that most people become romantically involved by the 3rd or 4th date now days if not sooner. You’re telling me you actually think you know that person after three dates! You’re crazy. Why are we surprised when two months later we feel like we had our heart ripped out by someone we thought we loved? Can you really even blame the other person… they were just being who they are. It just hurts you cause they didn't become who you thought they were. There has to be a better way…

I think the answer lies somewhere in taking it slow and actually caring about the other person whether you end up with them or not. You have to set out wanting to protect your heart and the other parties from the beginning. You actually have to be a friend and get to know them, before you charge into a romantic relationship. I have talked to guys before that recently ‘met a girl’.

Me: “So are you guys dating, are you together”.
Boy: “Well, umm, no, I don’t think so, No not yet”.
Me: “Have you kissed her yet”?
Boy: “Well yah, of course”
Me: “but you’re not together”
Boy: “Well I don’t know… but I really like her”
Me: “I bet she is starting to not like you and get a little confused!”
Boy: “Why? I really do like her.”

We need to get a clue! This is not working people, we need to try something different. I am tired of guys leading a girl on and then breaking her heart. I am tired of broken hearts. We actually need to plan a little before we jump, think a little before we pursue love. I don’t think this will steal the passion, I think it could actually enhance it. Imagine knowing someone cared about you enough to protect you before you had a romantic relationship… now that might be someone worth pursuing…

Just a thought.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The Commercial Said It Was Good For Me...

If you haven't noticed I have been on a little bit of a soap box lately about Perscription Drugs in the US. My fellow blogger Bynary sent me this link and I thought it was worth a laugh. Brought to you by the great guys over at Jib Jab.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Where Have All The Heroes Gone?

I think a hero is someone that lives for something bigger then themselves. Someone that would rather die then accept the jaded version of life that the world has to offer. I have a few modern day heroes, sometimes they are hard to notice but they are out there.

There are a couple guys at my work that have been married for a few years and I have never heard them complain about there wives. That is so rare… they are small heroes of mine.

My big sister is a hero of mine. She will be 25 in May. She is on a combat rescue team in the Air force. She flies in and bails out the marines when they are being shot at. I have seen her take down a 220-pound guy in submission fighting. She weighs 120 pounds. That is not why I think she is a hero though. She does everything she needs to do to be the best at her job she can possibly be. She is a perfect soldier yet an awesome wife. I think she could kill most people in under 15 secs, but when she is around her husband, she is an absolute girlie girl. They have spent about 8-9 months together in the three years that they have been married. Her husband has already went to Afghanistan and come back and she is scheduled for deployment. She believes in what she is doing and she has no problem dying doing it. Whether you agree with the war or not the commitment is admirable. She and her husband have both given up a lot to do something they believe in.

My big sister’s husband is in the Army. While he was in Afghanistan he started a Starbucks so the troops wouldn’t feel so far from home. They ended up making a lot of money off of the coffee so they donated all of it to children’s schools in Afghanistan. He also is in the process of completing a documentary on being in Afghanistan for a year. It starts from boot camp all the way to when they went home. Check out some of his short films from Afganistan here.

My little sister is another hero of mine. She is 20. About a year ago, she decided to go to India and teach for free. A little after she made the decision, she met a guy that was awesome. I drove down from Idaho to Cali to check this guy out and make sure he was Ok (I am the big brother I think this is part of my job). I thought he was great and they started dating and defiantly fell in love. Despite this she still followed through with her plans, she is in India right now and has about ten months left. She also believes in what she is doing and was willing to give up what she wanted at the time for something bigger then herself.

Another hero of mine is my little brother. He is 18. In the past year and a half, he spent a month in India and a month in Africa working at an aids orphanage. He saved all the money for the trips himself and is pretty sure he wants to do work like that for the rest of his life when he graduates. He has two bands and is a really skilled musician. He is only 18 yet is so focused on helping people. He is one of the least judgmental people I know. He will hang out with anyone and especially the people that are actually needy. You know the people we all avoid because they are annoying or they don’t fit our "click profile". He is only 18 yet he has caught a vision for something bigger then himself.

I couldn’t end this post without mentioning my youngest sister. She is in the middle of high school. Remember how that was, peer pressure, pure insanity, everyone trying to figure out who they are. Yet in the middle of that, she has not become jaded and lost her identity to the cool, hopeless, skeptic that is most high schoolers. Sure she has flirted with it, at times becoming jaded, but has fought back each time to a place of clarity, a place of hope.

I have a few heroes, they don’t always look like heroes but I think that is because they are fighting. Sometimes you win sometimes you loose, a hero just fights until he wins or dies.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Let's All Do Drugs II (The Drugging of Another Nation)

Hooked on heroin? Let the government pay for your fix… In a previous post, I talked about how we have become a nation hooked on a quick fix. Many times, we use Pharmaceutical Drugs to enable us to cope with an unhealthy lifestyle. Well, not only can you get pharmaceutical drugs, now, in Canada, you can get a heroin fix from the government! They have an 8 million dollar government sponsored drug pushing program running in Vancouver. There is an article about it here.

I really don’t follow the logic. I have a couple of friends that had parents that were hooked on heroin and I would have really been mad if the government was contributing to this in anyway. Is this a “if you can’t beat em, join em” kinda thing? I wonder where they’re getting the drugs? Are they redistributing drugs they took from “bad guys” or are they just buying it from Columbia like all the other criminals?

Wait! I have an idea let’s just give robbers money so they won’t want to rob banks. Or, we could buy children from Indonesia and give them to child molesters so they won’t mess with other people’s kids…

Is this a really bad idea or am I going crazy?

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

What Where They Thinking?

Have you ever noticed that some people are missing the part of their brain that says, ‘This is a bad idea!’. (If you don't know what I am talking about read the Darwin Awards.)

THese guys were almost Darwin material, they tried to go through one of the caves I was at this weekend. The big cave takes anywhere from 30 min to an hour depending on how well you know the way through it. Well, these guys brought a few flashlights and went in. they got lost and all their lights ended up going out. They were stuck in there for a day and a half! Luckily, someone saw there truck parked on the hill two days in a row and called the police. Search and rescue went in and bailed them out. I bet they never make that mistake again. Why not take Headlamps that last 60 hours and extra batteries...? Too much work I guess.

Some other people who went caving thought it would be a good idea to go about 80 feet underground in a small cave and then start a camp fire and consume large amounts of beer. This is no ordinary cave either, to get through it, you have to do a lot of rock climbing, and it is complicated and easy to get lost. They smoked out a couple of other cavers and they always leave all their trash in the cave. Yuck. Who planned that and actually thought it was a good idea?

There were these other guys that where trying to climb a granite wall with absolutely no climbing gear and just in case that wasn’t dangerous enough it was slightly raining. One guy broke his neck and the other stayed with him all day and all night instead of going and getting help. It dropped to about 25 degrees F. that night. Luckily, they made it through the night and where airlifted out the next day when a hiker found them. I saw them get airlifted out, they were about a half mile to a mile away from several campers. Aren't you suppossed to go for help? Aren't you suppossed to climb 700 ft cliffs with gear?

All three of these stories happened here in Idaho where I go caving and climbing. What were these people thinking…? I guess they weren’t.

These locals have nothing on these crazy guys! Check this, this and this out. Amazing, absolutely amazing.

(The links go to short videos, they are not viruses and do not contain adult content)

Monday, March 07, 2005

Playing Instructions For Adults That Forgot How…

I am sitting in my cubicle and I can’t see anything but walls. I can feel that it is a nice spring day outside but I can’t see it. I can smell it, I can even go on the web and look at a weather cam of it, yet I cannot go out and play.

Yesterday, I played football for about three hours and then went caving for about five hours. It was a beautiful day. I have told you about our football games before so I won’t bore you. But, caving is a whole new animal. Have you ever gone through such a small cave that you had to lay down and army crawl through it? How about one so tight that you get stuck and you have to actually exhale to squeeze your chest through? By the way, your birth does not count… Caving or spelunking, is really fun, it is a whole mix of rock climbing and crawling and exploring. I highly recommend it.

It is funny how there is this huge world outside our door (or cubicle) to explore and enjoy that has been traded for entertainment. Have we resorted to watching a movie of adventure and passion to feel passion, to watching life but never living it? Have we forgotten how to go outside and take delight in the world around us, or have we substituted comfort for delight?

Caving and climbing may not be your thing, but how about walking, hiking or just watching the stars. I saw a commercial on TV the other day that was telling families to go ride there bikes or play some outside games for exercise. It seems a little sad our TVs have to tell us this… Something is very wrong. Go outside and play! I know, I sound like a little kid, But, when it comes to things like this, I hope I always sound like a kid.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Lets all do Drugs! (The Drugging of a Nation)

Since society has accepted the fact that we need to be stressed out, career minded individuals that eat horribly and rarely exercise, they have also accepted that truckloads of prescription drugs need to be taken to combat the new challenges of our life style.

The top 20 Pharmaceutical Companies made over $240 billion dollars in 2000. To put that in perspective, the "War on Terror" has only cost $152 billion dollars so far. How do they make so much money? Merck a leading Pharmaceutical company made 2.2 billion dollars off of Vioxx the first year it was on the market. It was later taken off the market because it was found to be harmful (more on this below). Zoloft a leading antidepressant drug that is regularly advertised on TV made over 2.1 billion dollars in 2000. This is hard to imagine! Think of all the Tsunami victims in Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka, do you think any of them are on antidepressants since they lost everything from family members to homes and jobs? Do prescription drugs really need to be recommended to you by a cheesy commercial? I thought that was a doctor or psychiatrists job.

Whether we should be taking these pills or not seems a forgotten question? Americans are taking pills by the millions. There are a few things we should consider about the drugs that society has so freely accepted as the answer to their lifestyle. I think the question of why do others make it without them is a valid question. Another would be what do these drugs really do to me? I read in the New York Times that Vioxx was taken off the market due to complications it caused its users, then after review it was put back on the market by a FDA Committee that had 10 voters with Pharmaceutical ties! With out their votes neither Vioxx, Celebrex nor Bextra would be back on the market. Keep in mind these are all drugs that make over $2 Billion a year. After the committee voted Pfizer and Merck's stock soared. Read the article it is rather scary Here.

I understand some of these drugs are necessary and some people have valid reasons for taking them. I am more addressing the issue of a money driven industry that is supposed to be a health focused industry. We have to stop treating the symptoms and start addressing the problems. We have to stop caring about stock prices and money more then the wellbeing of the people we are supposed to be helping.

I would be scared to take these drugs. But, don't worry the government says they're fine. Doesn't a healthy diet, regular exercise and a family orientated life make more sense then a stressed out, pill filled, career driven life?

I know, I know... I'm crazy.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Searching For The Perfect Distraction

Are we all just looking for the perfect distraction? Society tells us to go to school. After school, society tells us that we will get a career that is fulfilling and causes us to be happy. Why do we believe this? If we’re not happy where were at, why kid ourselves that we will be happy when we have the 'Perfect Career'. There is only one thing that I can see as the perfect career and that is if it is the 'Perfect Distraction'. If we’re looking for a career to complete us it would have to be one hell of a distraction, it would have to consume us... because, if it didn't, when we were alone and not busy we would realize we forgot about life.

A survey in a USA Today article says only 50% of Americans are satisfied with their job and out of that 50% only 14% are very satisfied. In another survey 80% of workers say they experience stress on the job and half of those say they need help in learning how to handle it. 14% of workers have felt like striking a coworker and 25% have felt like screaming or shouting due to stress. 10% are concerned about an individual at work they fear could become violent. 9% are aware of an assault or violent act in their workplace and 18% had experienced some sort of threat or verbal intimidation in the past year.

So basically there is a 14% chance you will be really happy, an 80% chance you will be stressed out, 1 out of 4 of us is going to feel like screaming at his coworker, 1 out of 5 of us will be threatened and 1 out of 10 of us will work in fear another coworker is going to go postal. Somehow, this doesn’t sound like the makings of a life. If your job and career is all you have then good luck.

Once again, I am not saying there is anything wrong with working and school and careers. There just has to be a difference between searching for life and searching for the Perfect Distraction. There has to be a difference between having a job that is my life and having a job to support my Life.

Maybe I'm just beating a dead horse...

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Wanted: A Wife That Won’t Hate Me

I have spent my very short life trying to figure out what it means to be a Man and what Life is about. I have come to some conclusions but do not claim to be any kind of expert. One thing that has become very plain to me is that I may know a little about these other subjects but I know very little about the Ladies.

I can’t seem to figure a few things out.

Girls nowadays are taught to be independent to survive on their own. Yet somehow, they are supposed to get married some day. Most women say a guy is supposed to be a leader but they are raised to not follow a leader. They are raised to survive on their own. If you lead you’re sexist if you don’t you’re spineless.

Girls are taught that they don’t need a guy. I am no supporter of the barefoot and pregnant wife in the kitchen scenario but I do believe a Girl needs a guy like a guy needs a girl. Why does a guy’s protection or provision invalidate a man and woman’s equality? I don’t think that it does but I have met many people that do.

Studies have shown that dual income families are usually loosing money or breaking even with all the extra expenses. Studies have also shown that dual income families lack a lot of necessary parenting. I don’t want daycare to raise my kids. I understand that with lots of people, they have no choice, but I am just in the planning and thinking stage. The problem is everyone says it is sexist to want a wife that stays home. On the other hand, if you let your wife work and you are a stay home dad you are also a looser. How can you win?

Studies from around the 1940’s said the biggest problems in school was chewing gum and talking now it is drugs, violent crimes, and teen pregnancy. This seems to be a direct result of the breakdown in modern day families. The biggest difference between now and then is that women work now. Once again we are faced with the dilemma, if you say women shouldn’t work you’re sexist and wrong.

I don’t get it, there has to be a balance. There has to be a way for a woman to realize that whether she is working a highly paid and respected job or staying home with kids that both jobs are just as important. Why do women feel that taking care of kids doesn’t count? I had four brothers and sisters and I think my mom had one of the hardest most respected jobs in the world.

Is independence really a value we should be teaching anyone? We are after all, people on this earth living together. The only way to improve this world seems to be through relationship and love. How does independence factor into that?

Am I saying that women shouldn’t work…? No. Am I saying women should have to rely on a man for everything…? No. I just know that I want to have a family… not an independent wife, an out of touch dad, and 2.5 independent kids. How do you do this now days without violating somebody’s rights. Why does it seem like in order to respect a woman I can't have anything to offer her?

Monday, February 28, 2005

I Love You!!!...Maybe…Kinda…Well it Depends on…

Love… Sometimes it seems like just another four letter word or a slap in the face more then a life saving, world changing idea. It is such an over used word now days. Just in case you forget to tell someone all year, there is a holiday to remind you. I’ve seen people that say they love each other act like people that hate each other. I’ve seen people use each other in the name of love. I even know people that confuse the site of a beautiful person with love. So what is love?...

I am just 23 years old; I am no expert on what love is or how to love. I am maybe writing this more for input and reflection then anything else. I realize most people like the idea of love more then the act of love. It is a glorious and popular idea, just look how many streamlined love stories are found in chick flicks. Believe me people don't watch these movies for their plotlines. People watch these movies for how they make you feel. They are like emotional crack. The idea of love is highly addictive but an act of love seems rare.

Love is a funny thing, it is not fickle like approval, it is not based on you. It is ultimately based on the lover not the loved. If the lover truly loves you unconditionally, if they are hopelessly in love with you, it is like that song, “you can do no wrong”.

Real love is to love someone whether they love you or not. It is to love them the way they always needed to be loved. Real love sets aside the idea that you have rights in a relationship. No wonder it is so rare to see real love. I think everyone likes the idea of sacrifice a whole lot more then the act.

What can fill your life with purpose and life one week; can leave you feeling empty and lifeless the next. Why is that? Have we become users rather then lovers? Have we traded a passion filled, unselfish action for an idea?

Friday, February 25, 2005

Who Thinks This Stuff Up?

I was watching a commercial for a certain unnamed fast food restaurant and a Chicken Select Strip was talking to me. It was saying something about how great it was to be a Select Strip. Does anybody else feel like their intelligence is being insulted by some of the commercials out there? If you haven’t seen that one, all I have to say is, "Money Tree" as another example and you will know what I mean.

I went to a certain sub sandwich restaurant and got a medium drink. Then I got a lid, at least I tried to get a lid. Their medium lids don’t fit their medium cups. They are like 1 mm too small. They have them clearly labled and set up, easy to get to they just dont actually go on. So a cup company sold them cups and lids that don’t match… How does this happen?

Last of all, I called Tech support for a friend, to fix his cable internet. The guy on the line had a real thick accent and immediately tried to hose me.

Me: Yah Hi, my Cable doesn’t work there is a problem with the modem.

Tech: Have you registered the modem online…

Me: Uh... No, I can’t get online, that’s the problem.

Tech: Sir, If you register the modem online it will make the call go a lot faster.

Me: Yah, see that’s the problem... I can’t get online…

Tech: Sir, Please register the modem first and then call back.

Me: Ok, I don’t think you understand, if I could get online and register it I wouldn’t be talking to you.

Tech: Sir, I need you to call back…

Me: I am not going to call back, you register modem! You should be able to do it over the phone, I am not hanging up or calling back until this works!

After that we got somewhere. I don’t get it; I don’t get how they can’t get it. Does this just happen to me?

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Imagine If Lawyers Knew About This…

Every year around the Super Bowl, some friends and I get together and play flag football. We use the words ‘Flag Football’ in the loosest way possible. Last year I broke my leg and another friend broke his collarbone. Those where the bigger injuries, there were a few minor ones as well. This year was a little different, I rolled my ankle real bad, two people needed stitches on their face, one person separated some ribs, and my roommate broke his wrist. This is Flag Football mind you, imagine if we had played tackle?

Despite the apparent risks involved in the game my friends continue to show up for the three hour beating every other week (We always have a healing week in between). Some of you will say this is stupidity, and your probably right. However, I know men that have as much haircare products as most women, I know men that get pedicures, I know men that don’t know how to put oil in their own car. Is it possible that maybe men are forgeting what it means to be a man? I think men need the chance to go out and act like men. Play some football and run into each other. Get a little beat up, go climb a mountain, God forbid… beat a guy up that is mistreating a lady. We need to do something to remind ourselves of who and what we are. It may be bad for your health to be a man, your wife may not understand why you care if you can throw a snowball farther then all the other guys, Lawyers may even try to sue you if you accidentally break somebody’s leg, but does that mean you should stop being a man? Once again, never in my life have I heard of someone on their deathbed bragging about never breaking a bone or taking a risk.

I am not encouraging violence, I am encouraging life, I am telling you to take risks and be courageous. You don't have to play football to be a man, the point is to not forget you are a man. Don’t accept what the world is giving you, it's boring… and you know it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Is There Life After The American Dream?

Have you ever overworked so you could go on vacation? How about this, ever wanted kids of your own to raise but now you find them being raised by others? If you could take a large cut in pay to do a job you loved, a job that mattered, would you do it?

In my Mission Statement I said the American Dream is a let down. It is the never-ending pursuit of more stuff, pursuing things we think will make us happy but don’t. Why is it so hard for us to buy a smaller house that doesn’t stress our budget? Is a 300 hp car really necessary? These are the things that make us a slave to our jobs. They keep us from our families and keep us from having real friendships. Remember when you were a kid and you told your friends everything? What happened to real friends? Most people I know have no time for real friends, or they won’t take the risk.

"He is no fool who gives that which he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."
Jim Elliot. Shadow of the Almighty

This quote is an inspiration to me. Simplicity seems like it could be such a huge step toward a meaningful life. I am not saying to sell everything you own. I am saying give up the things that you cannot keep, the things that really don’t matter for the things you can't loose. Give up money for friendships, fast cars and big houses for time home from work. It has to be worth it; I am convinced that it must be. We are always trying to ‘get ahead’ but once we do, we find ourselves behind again. We have to stop getting ahead and start living.

I want you to know I am not just writing this stuff. I believe this stuff. See I am the person mentioned above with the 300 hp car. I have a 2005 Subaru WRX STi, it is a $40,000 car and can do 0 – 60 in 4.6 sec stock. I bought it a year ago and am now trying to get ride of it. I want to get my bills down to a manageable level so I can work at a job that means something to me even if they cannot pay me as much as my current job. To live life with risks you have to sacrifice some things that you love. I would rather sacrifice my car and my important job then sacrifice my friends and family and ultimately my life. After all, who on their deathbed wishes they could have spent more time at work?

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Pills For Everyone!

"America is the country where you buy a lifetime supply of aspirin for one dollar, and use it up in two weeks."

-John Barrymore (1882-1942), American actor

Stop the insanity!

Monday, February 21, 2005

Have You Done This Checklist?

It is a simple question yet has a difficult answer, it is your life. Why are you doing what you're doing? Is it because you love it? Is it because it pays the bills? Is it because society has told you it is the next thing to do? The simple decisions we make ultimately become our life. Wouldn't it be a good idea to stop every once in a while and try to figure out why you are doing what you're doing.

I know so many college students that if you ask them why they are going to school they say they don't know. They're just going because it was the next thing on the checklist. The checklist of life, go to school, go to college, get a good job, get married, have kids, survive, retire and then die. There is nothing wrong with the checklist, but the checklist is not life. Just because you made it from step 2 to step 3 doesn't mean you are living. I feel so bad for the college students that commit there life to making it through school and working and sacrificing and when they get out they think they are going to have life. Life is now... Not when you get out of school, not when you get married. The choices you make now determine the life you will live. If you don't determine to live in the moment, if there is not purpose and life in what you are doing now, what makes you think there will be later?

Vision, it is so hard to find now days. Someone that has vision for their life. Someone that wants to serve a purpose bigger then themselves. Someone that is not content with the checklist. I know that I'm being idealistic but who wants to be the statues quo? To live a life of vision is to live the great adventure. To take risks, the risk of real relationships and friendships, the risk of doing your own thing rather then follow the footsteps of your family, the risk of committing your life to something greater then yourself. These risks are necessary, they don't always work out, that is why they are called risks. Sometimes your friends will hurt you, sometimes you die when you fight for something greater then yourself, but those that do are always remembered as heroes, people who truly lived, people who truly believed in what they were doing. What are you living for?

Friday, February 18, 2005

Cure For The Common Blogspot Awards

I hope this posting is appreciated, it took a vast (and by vast I mean lots of clicking the next button) amount of research. I’m new to the blogging world so I thought I would take a look at what is out there.

After reading far too many blogs (and yes I leave comments) I have realized that the blogging community is missing a few things. More specifically, they are missing awards for the truly different blogs. You know the ones that stand out. I understand there are tons of ‘Best of Blog’ awards but we are missing awards for the blogs that scream, “Look at Me I’m Different’ (Different does not always mean good… just different)

In order to remedy this grave injustice I have initiated the first ever Cure for the Common Blogspot Awards. There are currently only five categories and a few nominations but the comments section will be open for further nominations and categories based on the approval of the Cure (This is not a Democracy). So without further ado I present to you the belated Cure for the Common Blogspot Awards of 2004, categories and nominations.

Blogs I Don’t Get Award
1. Multiple Languages, Gas Masks, and Guitars… You won’t forget it! Pimme.
2. Would you call yourself a ‘She weevil’? She Weevil.
3. A Crazy Wife, a Cow… Is this a Gateway Commercial? I Have a Crazy Wife.

Blogs That Scare Me Award
1. She says it is Ok because it is Art? Something About Noodles.
2. The name says it all… Bitchalicious.
3. Perfect blend of crazy… then why am I so scared? Perfect Blend of Crazy.

Craziest Title Picture Award
1. Did a steak ever look so unappetizing? Daves Big Beef.
2. Mom Says Dad taught him that… Jersey Humor.
3. With a picture like that you have to get nominated for more then one award Perfect Blend of Crazy.

Most Unnecessary Blog Award
1. Reality TV should never actually make it to reality… The Apprentice Boardroom.
2. Why, all I can say is Why? They're just donuts! Dunkin Doughnuts.

Most Out of Date Blog award
1. Our country is at war…they got that right…just a little behind the times CW Chronicles.

Disclaimer: Please remember this is all in good fun. If you have any nominations or catagories of your own please leave a comment. If there is one you would vote for let me know.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

If You Think You’re Smart Don’t Read This

Why do smart people talk like Harvard educated robots? Ok, so not all smart people, not even the majority, but some people do. They have their own words, sometimes I even think language. It always seems like they are just saying these words to prove their intelligence. If they’re so smart, why do they need to prove anything to us dumb people?
I had this guy (computer guy) ask me what my Telnet was today. I was like, Telnet? Come on! Who says Telnet? It’s called a phone number. Telnet… Phone Number... it really isn’t that much harder to say. If you’re a regular person, it's ‘Phone Number’ if you’re 14 and in school covered with zits and hitting on a girl, it's ‘Digits’. I want to know who really thought it was necessary to come up with another term so computer geeks could sound geekier… (Geekier? I’m not sure that's a word).

You will notice a lot of this wordiness/self-promotion happening at staff meeting when the boss asks ‘What are you guys working on this week?’ Sure enough some guy stands up and says ‘Well I have been working on the latest drops of the Firmware and Software to make sure they can cohabitate and compile correctly, and by that, I mean I have been conducting various studies and comparisons and historical observations of our Developers and Engineers as they strive for unprecedented excellence in the latest deadlines and goals.’ He then sits down and everyone claps but nobody knows why. See, if you paid attention, you realize he just told you he did nothing all week but watch others work.

Last note… I went to Fast Food today (I know, I know… it’s really bad, like eating asbestos or something, but I'm a starving Bachelor). The lady at the counter, in her best monotone robot voice, says, “will that complete your purchase?” Lady, I’m not buying stock, I’m buying a Western Bacon Cheese Burger. It was like when you call Tech support and sit on hold for an hour and then realize the hold recording is actually a person trying to talk to you. I have a dream… lets all stop trying to sound so automated.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The Fastest Sub Maker in the Known World - A Tribute to Hurricane Sally

Hurricane Sally can make a sub sandwich faster then you can say pickles, mayonnaise, and hold the mustard. I don’t know how this is possible since she has to actually hear what you want, to make the sandwich. Yes, she defiantly has skills… that is, if making a disaster of a sandwich faster than anyone is a skill. I always cringe when I get her. Like the time I ordered a BLT and had no B, that is bacon, or the time I ordered a toasted sub and she forgot it in the toaster. Everyone else cuts the bread, but no, Sally rips the bread. If you’re on a diet don’t worry, if you ask for mayo you get a dot. If you ask for extra mayo you get two dots and a rushed dirty look. She is really stingy with the olives… she gives you 7, but then when she is wrapping the sub 4 always fall out. Even wrapping doesn’t quite work out. Have you ever noticed that no matter how you unwrap a sub it always ends up upside-down? Maybe it’s just Sally. The amazing thing about Sally is she has one speed and one speed only Too FAST! Even if there is nobody in line she is buzzing. I know I am complaining but it is hard when you unwrap your sub sandwich and it resembles scrambled eggs more than a sandwich. I know what you're thinking… why don’t I complain to the manager. I honestly don’t have the heart. See Sally is probably 50 years old, on caffeine pills and 6 shots of Starbucks blast off blend. I heard a rumor she just got her Pacemaker replaced… I’m not joking, maybe they should turn that thing down…

My Mission Statement says the definition of insanity is to continue to do the same thing expecting different results. I have accepted Sally is not going to change and I thought to avoid insanity I would write a tribute to a truly fast sandwich maker. So this is to you Sally… May your days be filled with speediness and may you get into the Guinness Book of World Records. Cheers.

Monday, February 14, 2005

A Very (Valentines) Bad Advice Column

Valentines Day...

The day everyone tries to tell me to "enjoy it while you’re single". Trouble is they didn't enjoy it when they were single.

That is the trouble with advice. Everyone knows lots of it except when they needed it.

Here is some absolutely unqualified advice for all you lovers since I have nothing better to do.

If you are just now realizing today is Valentines Day then go for Spontaneous. Some girls have not yet realized that Spontaneous is just a code word for ‘I didn’t plan anything special’.

If you have been planning for a while please, Please, do something romantic and unexpected, If you are lucky enough to have a girl, knock her socks off!, surprise her, skip the chocolate and roses and do something creative (ok, maybe not the chocolate).

Last piece of advice… If you are a girl and you’re reading this and your guy decides to do something Spontaneous… Give Him a break, and don't tell him I rat-ed him out.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Step Away From the Computer

Have you ever done something so stupid you almost thought you could feel your brain shrinking? There are times in all of our lives where we need to realize we are not going to 'make the team' and just toss in the towel.

A lady called tech support for help with her printer. The Technician had to gather some basic info about her PC and told her to Right click on 'My Computer'. This took an ungodly amount of time, finally a simple click and they continue. He then tells her to click on 'properties'. Once again it takes a few minutes. By now our tech has figured out that something is drastically wrong.

Tech: Um... I noticed you are having problems with your mouse...

Lady: Yah, they're real hard to use when they are on the floor like that...

Tech: On the floor? Why is it on the floor?

Lady: Aren't you supposed to use it like a sewing peddle?...

Needless to say it was a long call and a genuine encounter with a Technotard.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Technotard – A sub par thinker with no grasp of modern technology

I have decided to create my own term or classification; I am going to call it Technotard. You know, they are those unfortunate souls that have all the Techy sense in the world yet not the brain to apply it.

If you are reading this and you are a Technotard rest assured we are not trying to make fun of you… we are… um… well… trying to help you. Yes, that’s it. See we are not saying you are retarded or dumb we are saying you simply are application deficient.

For all you non-Technotards… you know exactly what I am talking about.

Experiences with Technotards to follow shortly…

If You Think You're a Good Person Don't Read This (Random Thoughts on Ethics and Morals) Part I

Why is everyone so obsessed with being a good person? Let me explain, I was helping a friend with her ethics homework on a discussion board. Everyone on the board is talking about what is ethical and what is not, like they actually know. The majority of these people, if you talk to them, hold out that they are a ‘good person’(Surprise!). Good based on what? For once, I want to meet someone that knows they are a bad person but wants to change. Whenever I ask people why they are a good person they never seem to know. ‘Well I am a moral person’ they will say or like the little kid I talked to the other day, ‘I don’t hit’. Since everyone seems to think they are a good ethical and moral person I decided I would do some research to find out why… How can a person do whatever they want to do and still say the are a good person?

More to follow...

If You Think Your'e a Good Person Don't Read This Part II

Morality and Ethics seem to be utopian ideas for a non-utopian world. To decide whether someone acted ethically is ultimately to decide what is right and what is wrong. Ethics is the philosophical study of moral values and rules. To have moral values one must have right or good conduct. To be moral one must choose right over wrong despite environmental pressures. There are several dilemmas in the fight for an ethical and moral world. One dilemma would be the ability to distinguish right from wrong in all instances another would be the ability to do what is known to be right in all instances.

Aristotle pondered the first dilemma in length. He said in order to be ethical one must have virtue. In his writings on the nature of virtue, he concluded that virtues are found in a balanced response to ones environment. He decided it was a fight between excess and deficiency and that somwhere in the mean was virtue. However, it is not as easy as just a balanced response. Aristotle used the example of an athelets diet, two pounds of food is to little while ten is to much. Six pounds of food would be the mean yet could still be to much. How is humanity to decifer the mean correctly in all instances? How are we to decide what is right and what is wrong, correctly? What happens when we do not agree?

The second dilemma, doing what is known to be right, has been debated as well. Socrates believed that knowing what was right would result in doing what is right. Aristotle acknowledged the weekness of the will and concluded that one could act against knowledge of what is right. I would submit that people act according to reward. If they see a greater reward in one action as oppossed to another they will do it. Take a smoker that wants to quit as an example. He may want to quit yet still choose to smoke. The reward of a temporary nicotine fix is enough to persuade him to abandone what he thinks is good. We are all motivated by reward so the issues of morality and ethics ultimatly come down to desire.

Desire, what can be done about desire? It can be accussed of starting every war yet complimented for every romance. Many think the absence of desire would create a perfect world while others claim the absence of desire would create an absence of life in its truest sense. Moral education is our answer to the “problem” of desire. Moral education tries to teach people rightly-ordered desires or to desire what is actually good for them. Aristotle agreed with the modern world that the State should set up a form of moral education. The State, the government, our laws, are supposed to teach rightly- ordered desires, to teach us what is actually good for us.

The State is obvioulsy faced with a crucial task. They are to decide right from wrong. They are to define the highest standards of morality and display unsurpassed ethics. This would be hard for a good person to do yet many people debate whether or not politicians should be held to the same ethics as the public. Many people would say that a politicians private life (extramarital affairs, drug use, spouse abuse, lieing) has no bearing on his political life. I would have to conclude that politicians should be held to an even higher standard due to their high calling and far reaching influence, whether that be through passed laws or conduct. Despite the standard we hold politicians to I would submit that they will all fail to be perfectly moral and ethical at all times. I would also submit that collectivly even with the current checks and balances they will all fail to teach and exemplify perfect moral education. One mistake will be built on by further mistakes and ultimatly you can have a country fall, by underminning its moral values. To see this you need to look no further then History. Rome the most powerful nation in the world, at the time, fell due to this and so did WWI and WWII era Germany. So what must be done? What can be done to get people to do what is ultimatly best for them? How can human desires be brought into subjection?

In a utopian world everyone would have right desires. Therefore, everyone would have right morals and right ethics. Yet we find the world around us far from perfect. What is right and what is wrong is changed on a daily basis. How can we be moral if it is left to mere men to decide what is right and what is wrong, more importantly what is to be desired. The Founding Fathers recognized this problem at the formation of our country. They addressed it by accepting a creator who decide right from wrong and instilled in us unalienable rights. The Pledge of Allegiance echos this thought where it states that we are “one nation under God”.Their answer was that we are a nation subject to God, he defines what is right and wrong. He has the ability to change our desires. This idea along with other religious answers have been widley rejected.

I am left with my original thought but with a scary twist, Morality and Ethics seem to be utopian ideas for a non-utopian world. If no one else can truly define right and wrong or rightly-ordered desires then I am left to define them myself. If this argument is true, then I can do ethically and morally whatever my heart desires.

No wonder everyone thinks they are a good person...

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Someone Else Named Churchill Fighting For What He Believes

The name Churchill hasn’t been seen in newspapers this much since WWII. Prof. Ward Churchill is creating quite a stir in the media. I read his essay, his defense of his essay and his speech. It is amazing to see how much I can both disagree and agree with someone.

I strongly agree with his right to say what he said. In fact, I think he is a minor hero of mine for not backing down when they cancelled his speech. Filing a lawsuit to be able to say your opinion takes dedication and guts. You can tell he has a lot of conviction in what he is saying. The fact that a person no matter what he believes will stand against opposition, in this case a lot of opposition, and do what he believes seems to be rare now days. I think this is exactly the kind of thing America believes in and was founded on and that anybody trying to undermine his right to say this is a fool and merely practices circumstantial or convenient Americanism.

On the subject of his content, I agree with some but not most of what he has to say. It is hard to accept the writings of someone that claims we will be judged for all the deaths of the wars that America has been involved in. There has to be a time when killing is not undermining the moral fiber of our country, but instead actually living out our morals. It is a far stretch to condemn the killing of Germans and Japanese in WWI and WWII.

I agree with him that we were in a war long before 9/11 and that we have been very fortunate thus far. I reserve judgment on whether invading Iraq was the act of a 'warmonger' apparently obsessed with ‘killing the children’. I do not deny there has been a lot of death… but you cannot judge an event until you know the eventual outcome. My hope and belief is that the war in Iraq will bring them freedom from oppression (yes, they were oppressed) and that in the long run lives will have been saved and the quality of life improved. I am no professor and this is not a utopian world but I believe progress is possible.

'Tech Support' Such a Lofty Name for What You Get

I had to call tech support about my Netgear wireless router that died, needless to say it was a nightmare. I wanted to offer some Insider Tech Support Tips for the ‘Dazed and Confused’. C’mon you know who you are. The poor souls that call Tech support actually expecting some help, yet are left feeling dazed and confused asking yourself questions like, “What did he say or how does that help me?” or “Did he say please hold or please hang up?”

See, I was once a sinner and worked for Tech Support. There are a few things every caller (victim) needs to know. First, the ‘Technician’ you’re talking to was in high school last week, flunked his Computer class the week before, and will probably flunk his urine test next week. You want to hate him but it’s not his fault because he is only doing what he was trained to do. Training consists of two major points. You must keep your call time down and know how to say, “We Don’t Support That”. As long as you know these two things you are bound for upper level management in cubicle land. Last of all every victim must know how to recognize a ‘Hoser’. This is an abbreviated tech support term for a ‘Hose and closer’. You can’t blame these people either; they have no soul and therefore can’t be held responsible for their crimes against humanity. They believe their job is to get you off their phone in .0013 seconds. They have no intention of helping you. They can easily be recognized by the way they blend their greeting into one long unintelligible word or immediately after the greeting before you even talk they tell you that your product is not supported. If you get a ‘Hoser’ just hang up and call back until you get someone you can understand. It sounds crazy but even if you have to do this 6 times to get a real Technician you will walk away a happier saner person. If all else fails just keep asking for managers until they give you something cool for free.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Mission Statement

The American Dream is a let down! A Leave it to Beaver Childhood, a College education, a Career, A wife that resents you for working to much, 2 1\2 children that you hardly know, nice friends you don’t know, and a nice house full of toys… just what I always wanted! Or is it?
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t claim to know all (or any) of the answers. The point of this blog is simply to help facilitate the search. I want to know the cure for the common life. The mission, the goal of this is to simply explore the things we buy into that cause us to live the common life. This may sound like a lame attempt at inspiration. That is not what I am going for. I simply want to explore the physical, mental, spiritual, emotional and yes even political things we as people do that don’t work. The definition of insanity is repeating the same behavior and expecting different results. If your life is common and you want it to change…Well… maybe do something different.