26 months

This morning I was sitting at the Orange County airport in sunny California when the clouds rolled in. They were the not so good clouds. They were the clouds of a friend that fought, and fought hard. They were the clouds of a Dad that loved his children. They were the clouds of a racer that didn't have to win to enjoy his fellow racers. They were the clouds of a friend who has moved to the next chapter. They were the clouds of a friend that was fighting pancreatic cancer. They were the clouds of a battle. They were the clouds of strength. They were clouds of persistence. They were clouds of... Brian. It was all for you brother! That crazy day in Mobile, Alabama. And all of the times we both tried to connect in Chicago, yet it never happened. You are loved and will be missed, never forgotten. You are a legend! All my love, rest in peace.

It’s the end of the world as we know it

So first of all, welcome to the last day on Earth! I've been working on this post since August, this is the last time we get to converse, so I have to make it perfect! Since this is the last day, I have no limits, no telling how long this list will be (and these are in no particular order). [Edit: Of note, this has been written across many geographies including Phoenix, Aruba, Chattanooga, Chicago, Key West, Buffalo, Tampa, Baltimore, Orlando and North Carolina (Home Sweet Home), so excuse dialect changes mid post.] A little bit of history: I'm thirty something, I sometimes act like I'm twenty something, my kids are both under 10, my body makes me feel like I'm seventy something, so I guess you could say that I span a lot of generations. My "learning to walk and talk" years were spent outside of Cleveland in the quaint little farming town of La Grange, Ohio. My "relearning to walk and talk years" have been spent moving as far out into the country from Raleigh, North Carolina as possible, as long as there is high speed Internet access. It's not that I don't like the city, I love it! But I also like to kick back under the stars next to a campfire and roast marshmallows with the kids. History will not matter tomorrow. The list of people and/or things I want to thank/be thankful for in the remaining hours of our existence... 1. Facebook (and Mark Zuckerberg) - Thank you for being a total geek and expanding Facebook beyond the ivy league. What you did was a great last ditch attempt to bring the world together before we all self destruct. 2. Orville Redenbacher - Thank you for bringing buttery movie popcorn to the average home in 90 (ish) seconds so that I do not need to pay engorged prices to watch a movie with my kids... AND, I get to snuggle with them on the couch. 3. Neil Armstrong - your footprint on the moon will last for at least a million years, what an impression! 4. Alcohol - could we have ever made it this far without it? It "makes white people dance," it makes ice breaker conversations a little easier, it makes us take our clothes off, it makes us say things we shouldn't say (or should say), it makes us fall down in public and run into walls, it makes us fall asleep in the chair or fall out of the chair if we're unlucky. 5. To my dog Lola, I never thought I'd have a dog, but you have been an awesome addition to our family. When I see the fireball in the sky, I'll let you out to run. I hope you can find a safe place and live out the rest of your life - your chances of survival are much better than mine! I'll leave the rest of your food out and a big pail of water to get you started. If you want to know what kind of dog she is then just ask my daughter... "She is part silly dog, part crazy dog, part cute dog, part clumsy dog, part lazy dog, part long tongue dog, part sniffer dog and part cuddle dog." 6. Kirkpatrick Macmillan, although there seems to be some dispute, in 1839 for developing the mechanics behind our modern day bicycles, for without them, as children, we would not have had so much freaking fun riding around. Bumps and bruises aside, our childhood would have never been the same without these awesome vehicles promoting staying fit and learning how to balance. And no, I do not make my kids wear helmets, I don't think that makes me a bad parent. 7. The wonderful world of the Internet for without it, I would not be here talking to you and for making life a little easier with online shopping, communicating, sharing, researching, the list could go on forever, but I don't have forever, so thank you Al Gore! :) 8. Sunscreen for allowing us to soak up harmful sun rays and feel protected. 9. Sex... uh, to the one that decided to put that in there, and share the ins and outs, you've kept us reproducing and I commend you!  Without you, it would be a planet of two. 10. 5th-4th Century BC Chinese and Greek philosophers describing the basic principles of optics and the camera. And further up the timeline, 1822 Joseph Nicephore Niepce for developing the first camera obscura and then again in 1880 when Eastman Dry Plate Company founded and started the photographic revolution. We preserved memories on paper (and then digital) and I honestly wonder why, who will look at them in 1,000 years? 11. Peanut butter and chocolate together, and I hate chocolate! 12. Hats off to country music! For my favorites... "Barefoot blue jean night" and "Midnight Chardonnay", you have gotten me through many a night, sparked many conversations and made me all warm and tingly inside (wait, that might have been the Chard). But seriously, what's better than songs about broken hearts, trains, trucks, pontoon boats and whiskey? I actually love all music, so my hats off to the caveman with a stick busting out rhythms on a rock and "Delta Dawn, what's that flower you have on, could it be a painted rose from days gone by?" 13. My ex-wife... yeah, I have to be thankful for her. We didn't exactly work out, but she wiggled out two awesome children for us to share. Since the split, although we have had some rough roads and nasty fights, we have gone back to being friends, which is how it all started anyways. [She actually has proofed (part of) this post and commented... "You think I just wiggled them out? You were there, you know that it wasn't that easy." Yeah, I know!] 14. Henry Ford for bringing cars to the masses, and also for those that many years later decided taking car manufacturing back to it's roots (hand made) and charge a seriously high premium for ultra fast sports cars. I love speed and gas and grease and power (and Top Gear). 15. Sushi, how I love thee. 16. For Gay Marriage!!! I mean really, marriage is hard enough (see # 13), so who really cares who you marry, if it works, it works. I have plenty of friends happily married to same sex partners and they are doing a hell of a lot better than I did! Love is love, companionship and compassion are just that-don't judge! 17. To drama, yeah, no, I could have been fine without you! 18. For eye glasses. From Wikipedia... The first eyeglasses were made in Italy at about 1286, according to a sermon delivered on February 23, 1306 by the Dominican friar Giordano da Pisa (ca. 1255 - 1311): "It is not yet twenty years since there was found the art of making eyeglasses, which make for good vision ... And it is so short a time that this new art, never before extant, was discovered ... I saw the one who first discovered and practiced it, and I talked to him." For without the spectacles, I should not have been able to see clearly all that was in front of me. 19. Ah, the Wright Bothers and pioneering powered flight. If it had not been for them, I would have never fallen in love with the Caribbean! 20. All of the awesomely fantastic 80's and early 90's flicks that I grew up with, The Breakfast Club, Risky Business, 16 Candles, Cocktail, Heathers, Goonies, wow, the list could go on and on, but I need to be conscious of the time. Oh, I cannot forget Dawson's Creek, for I spent many weekends in Wilmington on the waterfront wondering if I could get a glimpse of Katie Holmes (and the day she married Tom Cruise, they sent the rescue crew in to find my sunken heart). 21. Gardenia, Carolina Jasmine and Honeysuckle, you have made my summers fragrant. 22. Lego's... I love (still at 37 years old) playing Lego. I think it's really swell of you to have released the "Friends" collection for girls, I know my daughter loves that, it's kind of like a doll house with the ability to build something new and creative (oh, and I love the Lego hedgehog). And the Dino series, my son eats that up! 23. Edgar Allen Poe
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling, By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore, `Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, `art sure no craven. Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore - Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!' Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'
24. For The Dukes of Hazzard! 25. The keyboard, well, this one is bittersweet. Without it, it is difficult to compose crazy blog posts or to work, but it also has caused over 3 years of pain dealing with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome that has escalated beyond what surgery might be able to fix. Oh well, just don't laugh at the way I type, I can still hen peck with the best of them! 26. Angry Birds for passing time in a few situations I inadvertently put myself into that I kind of regretted. 27. Spam (the processed spiced ham?). 28. To books, I know you are made from trees, but I've always loved the way your pages turn as we passed time at leisure. Yeah, I tried the whole eBook phenomenon, it just didn't feel right, kinda like a bad kiss. So I should also give a shout to all the great authors I've read in my life, I won't name you all, not even sure if I could. 29. Midnight. 30. To Cassie who got me drunk is Buffalo, NY by serving me a quadruple gin and tonic for the price of a single. And for when I got stuck in Buffalo a few nights later due to delayed flights, she promised to take it easy on me with a light and tasty IPA. 31. Props out to Felix Baumgardner for having the balls to jump out of a capsule at over 128,000 feet above the earth. And land safely. And set some records. Not that those records will matter tomorrow. 32. To my employer for taking a chance on hiring me almost six years ago and letting me grow a job into a career where i can honestly say, "I absolutely love what I do and enjoy work, it is not always easy, but it is always rewarding." 33. Marilyn Monroe, yeah, I would have totally slept with you! 34. To Kool-Aid, for without, I would have never puked in 3rd grade. 35. To playgrounds, for without, I would have never had my first kiss in 3rd grade (and calling out the HashTag... #MyLastKissForManyYears) with a girl that was from Greece, and that same year, said, "Hey, you should go to Greece with me." - we never did. 36. For rain. According to the song, "Rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey, whiskey makes my baby, feel a little frisky" (Just need to find "my baby" in a short period of time, that's all we have left). 37. For toilet paper. 38. Waffle House, 'nuff said. 39. For blankets and snuggling on the couch and blanket forts when you destroyed every piece of furniture by removing the cushions and creating your own little haven to chill out in. You better remember the secret password to get in! 40. To pen and paper. There is a lost art of writing love notes (and other notes) and passing them around in class, hoping to not get caught by the teacher. Kids these days have no clue what this was all about. Those lucky enough to have not had a significant other burn them on the grill will have the luxury of going back and reading what you were like and the relationships you had. For the rest of us, if we only could. For the youth, you have Facebook! It's not the same. Check Yes or No. 41. For Egg Nog, not for Custard. 42. For cooties. Yes, there are boy cooties and girl cooties and they don't go away as you get older. They exist until you do the circle circle dot dot now I got my cootie shot ritual. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then you must have the cooties! 43. For Tacky Christmas Sweaters. 44. For prescription snorkel masks that let me discover the absolutely stunning world that lives below the surface of the water. 45. For the sweat shirt I gave my Dad when I was about 16 because I thought I was too cool to wear it. And the day when I was 37 and he gave it back to me with only a few small holes. What happened to quality craftsmanship? 46. For the zipper. From Wikipedia... "Elias Howe, who invented the sewing machine, received a patent in 1851 for an "Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure". Perhaps because of the success of his sewing machine, he did not try to seriously market it, missing recognition he might otherwise have received." 47. For the wheel. This has sure made life easier. 48. For butt dialing. It's only caused a few awkward moments. 49. For my 6 year old son. What an awesome little man. He loves life, can be stubborn, get's shy around pretty girls (I think he got that from me), has one heck of an imagination and can talk non stop. He knows more about dinosaurs that I ever did. 50. For coffee that gets me going every morning. Black, velvety, hot. Again, Wikipedia to the rescue... "Other accounts attribute the discovery of coffee to Sheik Omar. According to the ancient chronicle (preserved in the Abd-Al-Kadir manuscript), Omar, who was known for his ability to cure the sick through prayer, was once exiled from Mocha to a desert cave near Ousab. Starving, Omar chewed berries from nearby shrubbery, but found them to be bitter. He tried roasting the seeds to improve the flavor, but they became hard. He then tried boiling them to soften the seed, which resulted in a fragrant brown liquid. Upon drinking the liquid Omar was revitalized and sustained for days. As stories of this "miracle drug" reached Mocha, Omar was asked to return and was made a saint. From Ethiopia, the beverage was introduced into the Arab world through Egypt and Yemen" "The Oromo people would customarily plant a coffee tree on the graves of powerful sorcerers. They believed that the first coffee bush sprang up from the tears that the god of heaven shed over the corpse of a dead sorcerer." 51. For my beautiful daughter. My Daddy's Little Girl. According to her, I do not know where the middle of her head is when I fix her pony tail every morning. She enjoys sitting on the front porch with me while I sip my morning coffee and we just talk, about anything. She's got a great head on her shoulders and reads well above her grade level, but most of all, she just has a really great personality. 52. For the cell phone. This one is also bittersweet. I no longer recall how we lived without them. It was one thing when you just received phone calls on them, now they are connected to everything, mutiple email accounts, text, web, Facebook. Do you go into shock if you leave your phone at home for a quick trip to the market? Mine is usually attached to my hip from 6 AM until 10 PM. I have learned (usually) to leave it alone on the weekends and almost every Thursday from 6 PM until Friday morning. It's a very rewarding experience to be freed for a little while from the thing that seems to run our lives. So I spend this reclaimed time with my awesome kids and the dog and doing normal things around the house, you know, fun things like cooking and cleaning and yardwork things. 53. For voodoo dolls. Yes, I have 9 of them. My first one was the only one that went through the naming ritual, I will not tell you whom it was for. Yes, I was bitter, yes, I was mad. The rest, well, they just sort of showed up because they are a great conversational piece. 54. For PBR and an acquaintance in NYC. I expected to buy you a $20 fancy mixed fru fru drink, and you wanted a PBR. 55. Brooklyn. [On a NYC kick right now] 56. For poetry slams. We all have a voice, some of us are just really good about sharing it in front of a live audience. I have yet to attend one where I was not in tears at some point in the evening (and no, it wasn't the alcohol that made me tear up). 57. For My Side of the Mountain. It took my wonderful sister and I close to 20 years to figure out the name of this movie that we both watched when we were much much younger. I was surprised one day to find a copy in my mailbox. 58. For the perfect kiss. 59. For Vegas, we have a love/hate relationship. I don't gamble, but I love your larger than life attitude. 60. To conch fritters. These tender yummy concoctions that scream "Caribbean!" [Caribbean kick now] 61. For crystal clear azure water that defines the Caribbean and every time I see it or dive right in, it takes my breath away. It's like a drug that I'm drawn to, addicted to and NO! I will not go to therapy because of my addiction, it IS my therapy. 62. For airport bars and the hundreds of people I have struck up random conversation with. Everything from sports to travel to higher education and all the things in-between. [Oh my, Chi] 63. For Chicago. Ahh, the many many stories I have from her. From the best in the world Bloody Mary at Reilly's Daughter to bacon infused whiskey at The Southern. We've been drunk together wandering the streets at hours that were probably not safe. We've reunited with old and dear friends and done vodka flights at The Russian Tea Room. I've watched a couple join in holy matrimony, walked a gazillion miles, breathed in the lake air, heard stories of the most odd things, almost taken muffins from strangers, bought a bottle of wine for a complete stranger and met really interesting people. I'd have to say that Chi is my favorite city, so full of life, culture, good food, great drinks, great friends. 64. For Navy Pier and a random three hour conversation with a complete stranger on a warm summer night. 65. For hedgehogs, the most adorable little creatures. 66. For everyone that knows how to Wang Chung tonight. And for those that know "Wang Chung" is translated to "Yellow Bell" and is the first note in the Chinese classical music scale, my hats off to you for that useless piece of knowledge. (This also makes the song a bit more odd... "Everybody yellow bell tonight?" WTF?). 67. For lawnmowers, although I do not hold on for dear life and whip you around the dirt track any more, you are the reason I have met so many wonderful people. 68. To pickled green beans, yum! 69. Emoticons. :) 70. Campfires. 71. For all of you that read my crazy shit. Honestly, I don't have a clue how many of you actually read this mess, although analytics on this site say there are at least a couple of you. 72. For not being normal, a little on the crazy side, but living and loving life. Any other attitude and it's a waste of breath. 73. To oysters on the half shell with a little squeeze of lemon, pinch of horseradish and a couple shakes of Tabasco. Ohh, my mouth is watering. 74. WiFi at 36,000 feet. How cool is that be be able to catch up on all the blogs I read while speeding through the air at over 400 miles per hour. 75. For proper Chicago hotdogs with mustard, relish, onion, tomato, pickle and hot peppers and a dash of celery salt. 76. Did I mention Chicago? 77. For Katrina and the Waves Walking On Sunshine - because that's how I feel! (I do like Aly & AJ's version better) 78. For my awesome sister and our front porch nights, we haven't had one in a long time, need to fix that. 79. For the fact that this list has grown so long and I have less than 24 hours to finish it. 80. For The Hobbit, Christmas parties, tacky Christmas sweaters, The Holiday Club and Mirai Sushi. This unlikely combination of things is turning out well. 81. ................ to be hopefully continued Maybe this is all a waste and the truth is that we all just love the drama that the world could end now! But really, it could end any day and at this point, only time will tell. I really think we are on a path to self destructing ourselves and the lovely planet we call home. But, should we all be here tomorrow, I think we should start to take life a little less for granted and appreciate each other more; Love a little more, hate a little less. Now for some factoids...
"It's the time when the largest grand cycle in the Mayan calendar—1,872,000 days or 5,125.37 years—overturns and a new cycle begins," said Anthony Aveni, a Maya expert and archaeoastronomer at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. The Maya kept time on a scale few other cultures have considered. During the empire's heyday, the Maya invented the Long Count—a lengthy circular calendar that "transplanted the roots of Maya culture all the way back to creation itself," Aveni said. During the 2012 winter solstice, time runs out on the current era of the Long Count calendar, which began at what the Maya saw as the dawn of the last creation period: August 11, 3114 B.C. The Maya wrote that date, which preceded their civilization by thousands of years, as Day Zero, or 13.0.0.0.0. -Courtesy of National Geographic
The end of the Mayan calendar coincides with a galactic alignment, in which the Sun will align with the center of the Milky Way galaxy. It is said that this rare event occurs once every 26,000 years and some predict it will be the 2012 apocalypse, potentially catastrophic consequences. The theory goes that on the day of the winter solstice in 2012, the Sun will be aligned with the center of the Milky Way . This alignment could mean that energy which typically streams to Earth from the center of the Milky Way will be disrupted on 12/21/12 at 11:11 p.m. Universal Time. This galactic alignment has the potential to create a shift in the Earth's poles, initiating the 2012 apocalypse, which would involve a sries of disastrous environmental events. There is also a good possibility that the effects will alter the magnetic polarity of the Sun. -Courtesy of 2012 Apocolypse
Maybe we should all just be looking forward to the next 1,872,000 days... or say Happy New Baktun! On another note, should you choose to spend you last day learning, go forth and educate yourself on the Maya Codices, and the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, it's freaking interesting! As for me, I'm going to go pour a drink, a Gin and Tonic to be specific, and wait for the big fireball in the sky to swallow me whole and should I wake tomorrow with a hangover, well, at least I woke up! Cheers and love my friends! (And good luck, I hope we can still chat tomorrow) [Final disclaimer, I've tried to note references where applicable, if I missed some, blame it on alcohol or sleepiness or laziness or that person over there]

Thanksgiving 2012

No crazy duck theme Thanksgiving this year, the themed dinners are now every other year. You see, I won't have the kids tomorrow, and I should be sad, but I'm not. We just moved our Thanksgiving to Friday. We be flexible like that! So what shall I do tomorrow? I could sit around and drink beer and watch football. No. I'm going to be out in the yard working on my landscaping project that gets larger every time I look at it. It's going to be a beautiful weekend, why not take advantage of it? (And hey, there's always the possibility of redefining sexy through Carolina clay and sweat and white T-Shirts) It's a trade off, really. The kid's school schedule is all in a tangle this year for Christmas, only one week off. So I give a little (for Thanksgiving). And take a little (for Christmas). It's all good! I guess the only down side is that Lola has to go to the doggie hotel on Sunday before Christmas since they are closed for drop off on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We leave for our vacation on the 26th at the wonderful hour of 5 AM. Wow, that will be fun waking the kids up. Anyways, I guess the point is that it pays to be flexible and not "keep score." It makes a much better life. What am I thankful for? You silly women with these "secret" posts on Facebook, yeah, a month of "Day xx: I'm thankful for..." I get it, but seriously, the dudes are thankful for shit too! So here we go, I'm not doing every day in November, I'm exercising just10things: 1. Spandex - No, I'm kidding (maybe). Hoodies, cause it has gotten down right chilly out there 2. Kids - they just freaking rock. Sometimes they aren't the most well behaved, but I love them unconditionally 3. Family - I've learned a lot from them and they continue to enrich my life 4. Friends - Uh, TRUE friends. Repeat, TRUE friends! 5. Simplicity - because complex is a pain in the back side 6. A roof over my head 7. Food on the table 8. The truth - you never know how important it is to you until it's a lie 9. My drunkin' punkin' pie recipe, except I forgot the pie shell 10. To be alive and to being surrounded by friends and family Cheers my friends, Happy Thanksgiving!

Pride (4)

My son draws a picture of a monster with 22 eyes and a scary mouth and shows it to me. My daughter teaches me what "Mental Math" is, and I get it. My son wakes up with a dry Pull-Up, he starts dancing. My daughter won an award for good handwriting in school, she let me take her picture. Who cares? I do, because they took pride in what they did, what they accomplished. Pride is a strange word. It can be excessive.It can be negative. I go again to the wonderful world of the Internet.
[the] pleasure or satisfaction taken in something done by or belonging to oneself or believed to reflect credit upon oneself
Having pride is not being egotistical, and if you think it is, well you know what to do. Be passionate when you commit to effing yourself and make sure you trust that it is intimate and you are honest with yourself, how it feels, and believe it. But from the definition, the one word that goes blink blink in pink neon is

Satisfaction.

I think Aristotle said it better though
Now the man is thought to be proud who thinks himself worthy of great things, being worthy of them; for he who does so beyond his deserts is a fool, but no virtuous man is foolish or silly. The proud man, then, is the man we have described. For he who is worthy of little and thinks himself worthy of little is temperate, but not proud; for pride implies greatness, as beauty implies a goodsized body, and little people may be neat and well-proportioned but cannot be beautiful.
And when it is excessive, from Wikipedia, "Excessive feelings of hubris have a tendency to create conflict and sometimes terminating close relationships, which has led it to be understood as one of the few emotions without any clear positive or adaptive functions (Rhodwalt, et al.)" So take pride in yourself, take pride in what you do, but don't be excessive, you can be humble and still have pride, you just have to exercise balance (next time). [I sort of got a little hint, well, a big hint, from quite a few people that I needed to "forgive" whomever pissed in my Cheerios. No one pissed in my Cheerios, I don't eat cereal. I know it sounded like it, but it really wasn't quite that way. It wasn't a true rant at an individual, rather the concept of being honest with yourself and others. It also was a perfect demonstration of how if someone is not being honest to you, it can turn you batshit crazy, and I didn't realize this until after it was posted and a few people pointed it out. I think this means that being honest also goes down as a foundation alongside trust. Yes, "Honest" did have a negative undertone, but it did, afterwards, really drive home that being honest is a quality that I need in those that I associate myself with, and myself. I was being honest in how it came out, brutally honest.]

Intimacy (9)

I'll start with a story, one that is a thousand percent true. I'm planning a trip next month to visit some dear friends in Chicago. They just got married (yeah)! We started talking about what to do while I was there and I jokingly said, "find me a date and we can double, she doesn't have to love me forever, just for one night." And I was being serious. What was said back to me was, "OK, but you need to talk! The last time we tried to set you up, you didn't talk." Then last night, after hanging up the phone at around 1:30 in the morning, I said to myself, "wait, you can talk, you just did!" Today, I sit here, and I wonder to myself what the difference is. Why can I pick up the phone and talk for hours to someone I barely know and then placed in another scenario, clam up and barely speak at all. And I'm starting to get it sorted out. And I think it has to do with being intimate. What is intimacy? Well, thanks to the Internet, I get a head start.
in·ti·mate (nt-mt) adj.
1. Marked by close acquaintance, association, or familiarity.
2. Relating to or indicative of one's deepest nature: intimate prayers.
3. Essential; innermost: the intimate structure of matter.
4. Marked by informality and privacy: an intimate nightclub.
5. Very personal; private: an intimate letter.
6. Of or involved in a sexual relationship.
So what does this mean? I'll skip the sexual definition, that's an area of intimacy that I know nothing about. It's been over three years and the 3 seconds I would last would be more like the movie American Pie than anywhere close to intimate. Stop laughing, I understand that statement was too much information (TMI), we can talk about that another day. You can call me pathetic if you want, and I will politely, with passion, tell you to go eff yourself (which could be intimate for you). So let's talk about what being intimate really is and try to figure out why this applies to all kinds of relationships and why there are times when I cannot talk. From the definitions, three words stand out the most.

Close. Personal. Essential.

First, what does close mean. Close is not just a physical thing, it's more than just saying that we are near each other. It means that we can connect. I get you. You get me. We can be close on different levels, for instance, we could be close in our political views, we share the same beliefs, the same theories. In this scenario, we may also be a battleground state and completely disagree on religion. At the end of the day, we are still being intimate with each other because it is personal. It really starts to become all about opening up. Being personal. I am certainly a person that has walls I put up for some people. I don't want to let them in, but for some reason, I need them. I also have a blanket fort (not my idea for an analogy, but it works) and as long as we play nice together, you are more than welcome to come in. On some days, you may be in my blanket fort, others, you may be on the other side of my wall. However, once you are inside, we can share deep dark secrets because at that point, I've accepted you and trust you to be intimate with me. As for those other days when there is  an eight foot thick wall between us, I'll just toss over a note if I need you. Lastly, it's essential to be intimate. You may be one that is intimate with a favorite author, you are close to their words, their writing affects you personally. It could be intangibles, I'm intimate with discovering ways to teach children how to think and reason. No matter how you chose to have it, it is absolutely essential that you have intimacy in your life. Intimacy changes though. For example, I have been intimate with a software product. We were really close. I even slept with the code, literally, I fell asleep one night working with the code. I could tell you how every wheel turned inside. We were close. And since I was also passionate about it, it was essential that I stayed so close. Over time, we grew apart, she changed, I got bored and moved on. But! We still stay in touch, and she allows me to be in her blanket fort sometimes, I just can't spend the night any more. It's OK for intimacy to change, we are not stagnant creatures, we evolve as I am doing here. I'm stepping back and wondering who and what I wan't to share my intimacy with. And maybe it's just for a little bit of time, maybe it's forever. One way or another, it's there, I cannot escape it. So how does this all go back to my scenario of being able to talk to some people like we've been friends forever and others I just cannot talk to? It is forced intimacy. Maybe I take things too seriously. If I sit down for dinner with you on a date, I expect that date will be intimate (No, I'm not talking about that kind of intimate), but in all seriousness, it "should" be intimate. And that kind of scares me. I am all of the sudden completely speechless. There is this hampster in my head that just stops spinning the wheel. He gets scared. Maybe my hampster should instead run like hell! A few years ago I ran into an old high school classmate. Yeah, I'll admit, I did have a crush on her then, but we are all grown up now and I got past that. The point is, though, that we went out to dinner. We ate, had a few glasses of wine and we talked. As I drove home that night, I thought about our dinner. It's hard to describe, but as we sat there, every thing else just seemed to fade away, there was no one else at the restaurant, there were no wars going on, no one was starving, it was just the two of us, enjoying each other, being intimate. Those moments where the "rest" of the world goes fuzzy, yeah, that's intimate. That night, I could talk, and I did, and she did, and we still do, but I was in a situation where I knew the outcome, we would have dinner, we would go home and we would chat another day. We were just two friends hanging out. So then I started thinking maybe it's the unknown that I'm scared of. In the case where I was on a date, I did not know what the outcome was going to be. Would we run off and get married? Would we have a huge fight? I didn't know! And I had the expectation that the evening should be intimate as we started to learn about each other. In the case where I was out with a friend, I knew exactly what was happening, we were eating, we had a great time and we will probably (and did) do it again. Not knowing what the outcome of a situation or a relationship is going to be, not knowing if you are, or should be intimate, well that absolutely scares the shit out of me. I need to learn how to believe (next time). Cheers my friends.  

Passion (10)

I cannot reveal the details to the Nth degree, but this week I have had a little extra time. A little extra time to focus on something that I haven't focused on in quite some time. That focus has been me. Call it egotistical if you want, I'll quickly tell you to go eff yourself. I needed to figure out me. I determined what it is... It's passion. I have realized that I have passion in every thing that I do. From raising my kids to working 80 hours a week. I don't talk to you, I engage in a conversation with you, with passion. I have an idea, I embrace it with passion. I have a new way to solve a problem, I attack it with passion. It's odd, the crazy hairstyle kid dressed in all black in high school gets this swift kick in the ass at some point in his life and it all changes. I don't know how I got here, I can tell you that it wasn't easy. I know that at some point along the way that I quit saying "I'm sorry." Well, not entirely as my ex wife reminded me this morning after she found a shoebox full of letters and cards where I pleaded and begged for forgiveness, and said, "I'm sorry." Regardless, there comes a point in life where you need to focus on you, what do you want to do, who do you want to be. I'm there. Defining that dream. It's my time to figure out the next 30 years. I recently threw in the red flag and said "What do you want me to do?" My boss quickly picked up that red flag and threw it back at me with a Post-It note attached that read, "What do you want to do?" Huh, tough situation... I want to win the lottery and drop to part time! But in all honesty, he was right. I control my destiny by my actions, and if I'm not in control, then I'm not in the right place. And if I am not passionate about what I do, and what I want to do, he probably will not let me do it! And I'll never get "there," wherever "there" might be. I have passion. I enjoy work, life, relationships. I thrive on conversation, engaging others to converse and feed, feed off of each other. Embrace others in your life, give them the opportunity to share with you things that mean something to them, return the favor by sharing things that matter to you. Beg them to share with passion. And listen! Listening is important, listen with passion. Really bunker down and hear what someone is saying to you. Repeat it back, ensure that you heard it correctly. Conversation is not a one way street. Relationships are an eight lane highway, and if you don't go in with passion, you will end up stuck in traffic giving someone the bird. So now it's time to figure out what I want to do for the next phase of my life, and I'll be just as passionate about it as my current spot in life. I guess that I'm one of the lucky few that can say, "I love what I do," but I want to do more. And we should all want to do more. Now it becomes intimate, that's another topic. Cheers my friends!

30 ways

Luckily I wasn't asked to write "50 ways to leave your lover" but instead, 30 ways to say "Piss Off!" Me and my big mouth, 3 weeks and 30 different ways to try to get the data I need to complete a project and we side track. So here it goes... you get a 3 in one today! (Which considering how lazy I have been writing, pretty good) Common:
  1. bugger off
  2. fuck off
  3. get lost
  4. pee off
  5. rack off
  6. take a hike
  7. cheese off
  8. tee off
  9. tick off
  10. torque off
Not So Common:
  1. bid farewell
  2. flake off
  3. git
  4. move out
  5. say goodbye
  6. split
  7. take a hike
  8. take one's leave
  9. withdraw
  10. buh bye
Obscure:
  1. go eat a pumpkin
  2. your shirt is on inside out
  3. i've got my oven on
  4. an apple a day
  5. is that your Halloween costume
  6. gouda is better
  7. stupid punk
  8. bite me, then bite the wallaby
  9. you want a piece of this
  10. your eyelashes are ugly

22 floors, late

Well, here I am in my favorite windy city, Chicago, but this trip isn't about me. It's about two awesome friends that are tying the knot tomorrow afternoon. Last night, the groom and I did some hopping (bars, that is) and I (re)introduced him to good old American light beer. And we got green beads from the bartender, and free shirts that say "Half way to St Pat's Day", but tonight I'm relaxing in my room, 22 floors above the streets of a town that I love. Tomorrow, I get to share a special day with two people that have become very dear friends. I look out my window and I notice this big white ball in the sky. A full moon (almost... tomorrow it will be). I stared at this moon hanging effortlessly in the sky. I stared at all the buildings and cars and people below and sort of drifted off. I thought about how small we really are. How many of us there are, all alive, busy, working, playing, shopping, planning. And I thought of this couple that is about to get married! Married! It's funny how you come to meet someone in life, and something just clicks. Next thing you know, you are the best of friends, you are hanging out for New Years in Chi, meeting the soon to be. It was all just too amazing. I guess what really was going through my head was... I was genuinely excited for these two. They really have something special, and in a world where there are billions of people, to see two, just two, find each other and grow their relationship is just amazing. So under the almost full moon, I tried to think of ten things. I'm in Chicago, this should be easy. And it isn't/wasn't. I was nervous, the day before the wedding and there were things not panning out the way they were planned. When does life play out the way we plan? Never! There were so many things to do. Last minute. It's going to be a wreck of a wedding! No it's not! Yes it is! No it's not! Yes it is! Yeah, you get the idea... jitters... Absolutely f*ing amazing!!! It was a beautiful wedding! On the lake, perfect weather (I swear the lake was like glass during the ceremony, not a ripple around, not sure if anyone else saw that). We were introduced to Mr. and Mrs. you know who you are :) (there I go with emoticons again, need to stop that!). The dinner was interesting, and ingenious. Put a bunch of people around a table and make them eat with their hands. Brilliant!!! And the food was awesome to boot. Ethiopian cuisine... basically you have this moist bread that is your fork/spoon/knife and if you are sensitive to spice, don't choose the spicy dishes (lamb, beef, chicken, beans) - I did, and survived! And it was yuuuuuuummmmmmmmmy! Now to get jiggy with it at the bar... Oh shit! I'm the appointed DJ. This should be easy, just play the song list we talked about - no - play whatever keeps the crowd dancing - no - slow it down, we are all sweaty - no - speed it up - no I don't have that song - wait - I have Internet - Amazon, take me away - dance - oh, no, wait, I don't dance - a shot? - oh, no, I can't - OK, well maybe one... Just a great crowd celebrating you two! (And for a dude that said many times prior to Saturday that you couldn't dance... you sure owned the freaking dance floor) So 10 things... I'm happy for you both. FINALLY YOU TIED THE KNOT!!! That alone should be worth at least 10 things. Cheers my friends, may life love and happiness bless you forever. All my love (and the kids) (and Lola)!    

I wrote you a letter today

Yes, some of you are saying, "Yeah, what the *f* ever, you wrote a letter, big honkin' deal." Well, when was the last time you wrote a letter, I mean an honest to goodness pen and paper letter? I thought so! I don't know about you, but I write all the time, emails, documents for work, FaceBook updates, texting, this blog, etc., but never a letter. 1. There was no spell check - I realized how dependent I am on it 2. There was no delete or backspace - no chance to reorganize the thoughts 3. My handwriting sucks 4. It was strange writing with a pen for a purpose other than scribbling notes during a meeting 5. I didn't really say anything earth shattering So what does this all mean? Well, I dunno! In this fast paced world of electronic correspondence, I did something on a whim, out of character, something I have not done in probably 25 years. And all for accidental reasons. I never set out to write you a letter. I was supposed to mail something to you and had already chased down a stamp and an envelope (thanks Mom for lending me these things, I never have them on hand). I had already put your address on it and stuck a stamp on it (when did they start making self stick stamps? Nah, this is good, they used to taste like hell!). It just kinda went from there. 6. I hope my letter finds you well 7. I know you will probably crumble it up and throw it away 8. That's OK, I've stared at the flag on the mailbox all day 9. And wondered if I should put the flag down I sit here listening to Honey Ryder's new album (because the world needs a new band that can write and perform songs that stand the test of time) and popping Licorice Altoids like they are candy (OK, they are candy) and realize that today is a federal holiday. So tomorrow, I will be watching as the faithful postal jeep reaches in my mailbox, puts the flag down and pulls away. That's it. It's out of my hands and into yours. Absolutely no chance for delete now! 10. I hope you are not offended or embarrassed. Not only are you receiving a letter, but this letter has become the subject of something a million people will read (OK, yeah, don't remind me... this site doesn't get that much traffic), and you won't even know for a couple of days, so the suspense will kill me. I won't be able to sleep. I'll drink way too much coffee. I'll have a couple glasses of wine. I'll wonder how you will react to this letter, a letter that really basically just says "Hi."  A letter just for the sake of writing you a letter. It's a lost art, I think I have proven that to myself when I sat down this morning with pen in hand. Pay it forward, maybe you will write someone else a letter, maybe you will even write back. And somehow, I dig out this childhood memory, long before we met, quoting Beverly Cleary's Dear Mr. Henshaw... "Deliver de letter de sooner de better de later de letter de madder I getter." To one undisclosed recipient, check you mailbox in a couple of days! <3

Times a changin’

I have been under some pretty crazy stress lately and haven't been writing much, so things change today. I have this tendency to get put on these really strange projects where there is something odd, abnormal, weird going on with technology, or something new, or some strange integration. And I guess I kind of like it, it's always a challenge, but I also take it personally, and it's scary. And walking into unknown spaces is always a risk, but hey, isn't that life? So I've started thinking over the last few weeks (also scary) - and also decided that I really hate salt, or anything salty - and it's time to act (not react). I'm not going to do anything drastic, it's more slow mellow thinking, mostly, because I love my job, I'm doing what I've always wanted to do and I love the challenge and all the awesomely brilliant people I work with, I just want more! So I can't exactly share these new ideas with you now, except for the few that are already public, like my book that (if I'm lucky) might be out in the next few years (I never realized how hard this really is), but I can give you some hints... I've had conversations in the last few days with some really fucking smart people, and I realized that I have this primal desire to continue to learn. The problem I have is that I do not want someone else to dictate what I learn, so I'm ruling out formal education (there's another word I want to preface education with and another to follow the replaced word with once that word is replaced, just cant find either right now, oh well). I have also realized that there is something in my life that seriously bugs the crap out of me. It is to the point where sometimes, I pretty much lose it, and I need to figure out what "it" is! "It" has hurt a few people in my life recently, we are OK now, but I'm starting to put 5 and 5 together and when I get 10 for the answer, I know I'm there. I'm at 7.88627 now, so it is certainly close. It takes a little bit of soul searching, it takes walking away from some things and it takes standing up and facing other things. I'll do it all before I get there. It's kind of strange, when I go back and read things I've posted in the past, and my whole reason for starting this blog... I wanted to learn 10 new things every week and share, but what I've seen, over time, is that I've experienced 10 things every week(ish) and shared. Which then brings to the table, how does knowledge weigh into experience, are they interdependent? I think so, because you should be learning from experience, and if you don't, how can you grow as a person? Is this not the premise that makes us wise old men and women? Is this not the knowledge and experience we then transfer to our children? I know, myself, that I want my children to be better off than I am, not financially (but that's a consideration), but in what they know, how they think, what they believe and how they interact with society and what/how they contribute to the world. We can all make our mark, large or small, this is a world of many, not a world of one. As I'm rambling on, I certainly am thinking, what are my ten things, I mean it is about conforming to the rules I set for myself, but I just don't know what they are tonight, there's so much going on, and changing-every day. So I should leave you with one thing - "Who are YOU and what do YOU want from life?" - Maybe that sounds silly, but this (these) simple question you should sleep on, don't answer me, but answer you, no one has to know, keep it to yourself and sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite!