Tonight, my hat

I wear this hat tonight because it is cold and even though I am in my house, the cold creeps in so I wear this hat. It is a hat I have had for ten years and I wear it when I am cold. So I wear my hat tonight. It is ugly, like really ugly. When I wear it for any length of time then it makes my hair ugly. But my hair is ugly already so that makes it all OK. But I still wear my hat. I wonder why I still have this hat. It is out of style and certainly not cool. I put it on and the first thing I think about is if I should be seen in public with this hat on my head. I buy a cigar at the store and it sits on my counter and I never will smoke it because it will make my hat smell like the mafia. That's right, the sitting around playing cards and drinking scotch in fancy suits smoking cigars with guns. I do not want my hat to smell like that. Then I do exactly what any fashion conscious dude with an ugly hat would do. I buy a coat. Not a jacket. Not a flogger. A fucking coat! One of those that borders on a sport coat and is so stinking sexy that you can't help but look at me and wonder why I have an ugly hat. And then I put on the scarf. And you are totally amazed at how awesomely I transform into the poster boy on the cover of some internationally acclaimed magazine. Then you stop. Because I have an ugly hat. And you are right. I should not be there in my ugly hat. But I love my hat. I wonder what I should cook for dinner tonight. I am really in the mood for a salad but I have no lettuce. Maybe I should go out and buy a new hat. One that conforms to the fashion regulations of today. I am not sure if a new hat would keep my head warm. Protects my ears. I do not want those dangling things like the kids wear these days. I want an ugly hat. Ugly hat.

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]

Making memories

Grrrr, I've been enticed to write this (note to self... keep mouth shut). So it goes like this; Rush - Making Memories. It's a song that will always be near and dear to my heart. It started back in nineteen ninety something, I was working the retail management part of my life. The company I was working for had just purchased a smaller retail establishment, so I was promptly put on a team to go "transition" the stores. Emporia, VA was my destination, I was managing a crew of 10 to get the job done. I remember the hotel very well, pool and late night drinking. One really overweight gay dude. Not interested. One amazingly attractive brunette. Interested. Eight other people. So we all worked, we had things to do, but at the end of the day, we all hung out at the pool. By day 3 of 14 we started talking. No, not the gay dude, the amazingly attractive brunette. After work that night, sitting by the pool, she asked me if I had heard Rush's album Fly By Night, in particular Making Memories. I had not. 2112, check. A Farewell to Kings, check. But not that one. I did what any guy would do. I drove 2 hours back home that very next day after work to buy the CD (You see, back "then" we didn't have Google Maps or GPS or anything like that and there were no CD stores listed in the Emporia phone book at the hotel front desk, how did we ever survive?). Actually, I think I called my sister from my Motorola StarTac and asked her to buy it and meet me somewhere to pick it up (but I might be confusing that aspect with another story, not sure, she would remember). So then I again did what any other dude would do and drove back listening to the CD on repeat for 2 hours. I'll admit, I did fall in love with the album on that ride back. Day 5 after work we grabbed a bottle of wine and jumped in the truck with Rush playing and just drove. We stumbled upon a quaint little pond out in the country. No houses around. Cute little dock. We parked on the side of the road and spent the evening drinking wine with our feet dangling in the warm water. We didn't talk much. I honestly don't even remember her name. We held hands occasionally. Days 6 through 12 we did the very same thing, sometimes packing a sandwich, but always bringing a bottle of wine. Often, we would lay down and stare at the stars filling the night time sky with an occasional giggle and even less often, words. We never really talked much, yet many nights would last until 4 or 5 in the morning. Sometimes we would take a walk around the pond under the moonlight, listening to the crickets and frogs with uncut grass tickling our toes. Other nights a gentle back rub or foot massage. Day 13, our last night following a long days work finishing the store. We took our last trip to our little escape place with a bottle of wine. Neither one of us spoke a word that night, until... A little after midnight, we went back to the hotel and spent what seemed like hours in front of her room in that leading up to a kiss moment. We never kissed. And she said to me, "In The End." I turned around and walked away, never seeing her again. I left the next morning before anyone else was awake. So why does this still mean so much to me almost 20 years later? Because it has taught me that communication between two people isn't always verbal. It taught me that relationships don't have to be sexual or physical. And many years later when I look back, that holding hands still means something. And that you should cherish relationships because they often do not stand the test of time. And sometimes you have to walk away, even if it was a good thing. And music is a great ice breaker. And warm summer nights with your feet dangling in the water is a great way to spend time together. And although I don't remember your name... and after all of this time... I still remember the moments we spent together... mostly just being together... and drinking wine. Rush - In the End Well, I can see what you mean It just takes me longer An I can feel what you feel It just makes you stronger Well, you can take me for a little while You can take me, you can make me smile in the end  

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

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

One happy island, bo kier baila? Part 2

Adventure time! I rolled out of bed at 6:30, right on time, put on a pot of coffee, did the morning routine and was ready for the day. Until... I realized my camera battery was dead. I had an hour before I was being picked up for my day of exploring, maybe I can get some charge in. At 7:50 in rolls the Land Rover of all Land Rovers from ABC Aruba, we're going offroading! I arrived at the office, signed a waiver (I probably should have read it a little better) and was ready to go. Some quick math here, the Rovers fit 10 people each, 98% of the people gathered were couples, 1% was a group of three ladies, and then there was me to round out the hundred. I figured at least I might get the passenger seat up front since there were 8 in the back. Elijah, the Prophet introduced himself, he would be our guide, and his sidekick (but I cannot remember his name). Wait, we were a group of about 30, and five Rovers, 2 guides doesn't add up. Elijah explained the morning, where we would be going, explained we would be back at the office for lunch and that his drink was the Elijah's Punch because he used to box when he was younger and we should all have one to make us happy for the afternoon shake up. But I was still wondering about the number of vehicles to guides. And then it happened. He asked for three daring volunteers. Ah, there's the other drivers! We were all then instructed to hop in. I grabbed the second in line and hopped in the passenger seat, I get an up front tour. I then learned that Tony, my driver and fellow adventurer was from Brooklyn, well, originally from Greece, but now in Brooklyn. I thought about this... driving in the city versus off roading, my life was in his hands for the next 8 hours. How bad could it be? City drivers tend to be right up on the tailgating concept, this would be my fear, he didn't like to use the brakes. I never truely caught his girlfriends name, but I think it was Christy, I did find out she was from China. The best thing, and worst thing (which I will explain later) is that we were the "rest" and the only three in our Rover, the remaining four were packed with between 6 and 10 people. Buckle up, lets go. First stop, the Natural Bridge. Hmmm, I said, because I knew it had fallen in 2005, most likely due to Hurricane Ivan smacking his tail against the coast in 2004, but Baby Natural Bridge is still there, but probably not for long. The ride there was not too bad, pretty much all paved road, and my Brooklyn driver had increased my confidence level in his ability to keep me alive. Ouch, brain freeze as I write... Dang Summer Dreams, a yummy frozen concoction of 151 Rum, Green Grenadine, Coconut Cream and fresh bananas. We all notices the stacked rocks, but Elijah wouldn't tell us yet their meaning, and on we went. The next stop was... an ostrich farm? Yep, that's right, certainly not indigenous to Aruba, but here none the less. There's a "good luck butt" carving near the entrance, yeah, I rubbed it! We met Herald, the Ostrich farm tour guide and then we met a few Emus. I learned that emu oil is great for joint pain, and they run 25 miles an hour, but don't drink the emu oil, warned Herald, or you will shit at 25 miles an hour! Next we me a few ostrich, they are much taller than me! And I fed them, pictures come after the trip, you must wait. They can run 40 miles an hour, and sustain that speed for an hour, and can kick like hell, so what once was a bear escape plan is now an ostrich escape plan. We then headed off to the gold mines, the terrain became a little more rugged, the bumps a little bigger. Gold, over 3000 pounds of gold was mined from Aruba, and a castle like fort thingy was built with openings to scare the pirates away (you couldn't tell from the pirate ship if there were cannons or not in the openings), although no cannons were ever in the fort, nor was a roof ever put on. It stands today, pretty much as it was the day it was finished. Here we finally learned about the stacked rocks. Ledgend says that the firsherman used to stack rocks to mark a good fishing spot, but then the tourists kicked in, and Aruba loves tourists, so pretty much the entire north shore from the Natural Bridge to the lighthouse has stacks of rocks (pictures to come, it's pretty cool). Of course Elijah had his own story when he told us to go stack rocks, stack 7 rocks, one for each wish, the seventh is your big wish, but before you put the seventh rock on, slip a $20 under the sixth rock, then make your big wish and place the seventh on. Walk away for seven minutes and when you come back, if the $20 is gone, you wish will come true and your tour guide's wish already did! We then went through some pretty serious four wheelin' action and I was holding on for dear life! My drivers girfriend was bouncing and shaking in the back and got a little sick, but after a cool frozen drink from the roadside stand, was feeling a little better. We stopped at the Alto Vista Chapel, the California lighthouse and then headed back to the office for lunch at the Waka Waka where we had Aruba style bbq ribs and according to my drivers girlfriend, rice comparable to that which she would have in Hong Kong (it was pretty tasty). Then there was the not so good strawberry ice cream. We all had some drinks and jumped back in the Rovers for a shake you up afternoon! Our first stop was Baby Beach, and it was a long 45 minute ride, although mostly on paved roads. Baby Beach is hard to get to unless you have your own rental vehicle, the taxis will take you there, but they don't exactly come around to pick you up. There are plenty of tours that will get you there, buut ABC Aruba is the only one that will also take you to the Natural Pool (and a bunch of other places as well!). This beach is waist deep forever and does have a little bit of snorkle action, but the current is a little strong, so without flippers, very tiresome, and we had already had a tiresome day, so I didn't stay out long. Bring extra money if you go, it's two quarters to use the restroom, and no, it's not one quarter for #1 and one for #2 (yes, this was asked by someone). I decided it was time for another Balashi, so for the small fee of $3.00, I had an ice cold beverage and sat down with a couple from Holland. We talked for 10 minutes or so then it was time to go. Fifty kilometers an hour over the desert like landscape, dust flying everywhere (note, don't wear a white shirt, it will not be white when you get back to the hotel). The terrain wasn't too bad, my drivers girlfriend had moved to the front seat, she was right though, it was more intense in the back (possibly since we had an empty Rover, not much weight back there). Next stop, the bat cave, no seriously! It was dark. It smelled like bat dung. We could go in any cave we wanted to, but our guide couldn't promise we would find our way back out. I almost did another Aruba Face Plant, but managed to catch myself. There were spots in the cave where the ceiling had holes up to the surface, really neat how the light poured in. Anyways, time to go for the last stop on our adventure. Holy @*#%, hold on for dear life kind of ride to the Natural Pool. This was serious four wheeling! Up and down volcanic rock and coral, hairpin turns, six inches of clearance to the edge, please stay on the road! For what seemed like hours, my ass was in the air more than it was the seat, but we made it. You could hear all the others in the Rovers screaming, it was like a roller coaster. It was only 88 steps down the rocks once we parked, but 188 steps back up. Basically a pool formed by rocks and coral, the water was crystal clear and swarming with fish. Well worth the bumpy ride. We spent close to an hour there before packing up to end our adventure. In true spirit of Elijah, he made sure we had a bumpy shake you up ride to almost ever place we had been today, but there was always a smooth ride leaving each place. We asked him about this and he was quick to relay that the only way out was the same way we came in. Holy @*#%, hold on for dear life kind of ride leaving the Natural Pool. Going back was a lot bumpier than coming down, I think this was due to over confidence of the drivers, a little faster and trying to aim for the bumpiest of bumps. We made it though! Back at the office, lots of email exchanging goes on before we all get redivided into groups for a smooth ride back to the hotel. What was an eight hour tour was better close to ten hours, and worth every penny - I would do it again, and I'm usually not one for those big group tours, but this one goes down in my book as an excellent adventure and social experience. I arrived back at the hotel close to 7:30, Happy Hour was over but I popped a couple asprin (my ass hurts!!!) and headed down to the bar. A few drinks later and I was in bed by 9:30, exhausted, but had a wonderful time! My new song One Balashi Two Balashi Three Balashi Four Five Balashi Six Balashi Seven Balashi More Eight Balashi Nine Balashi Ten Balashi Floor Cheers!

The Lorax – not your typical movie review

I've never written a movie review, and never plan to, so this is not a movie review. I rarely take my kids to the movie theater, not because that after the tickets, popcorn, candy and sodas you could have made a down payment on new car, but because there's no pause button-and it never fails that one or both will need to go to the restroom (and it's always during a good part of the movie). So, yeah, I'm the "Daddy you never take us to the movies!" guy. Oh, well. I'll wait until it comes out on DVD (yeah, I'm also the "You don't have a Blue-Ray player yet?" guy) (there's hope for me yet, the home theater/play room is getting close to completion). Enough rambling on already... last night, the kids and I sat down to watch The Lorax in the better than movie theater experience kind of way. You know, lights out, big bowl of popcorn, pillows and blankets and the three of us snuggled on the couch (that's the best part, kind of hard to do in theater seats). I can't remember if I read the book when I was little (I've put a lot of years on since then), so I wasn't sure what to expect, but Horton Hears a Who was awesome, so I had high expectations. I quickly learned while the popcorn was popping, that The Lorax was "shortish and oldish and brownish and mossy ... with a voice that was sharpish and bossy," how can you not love Dr. Seuss? I also learned that The Lorax (the book), in 1988, had a little bit of controversial involvement in a small town in California where some thought that the book was "unfair to the logging industry" (see Wikipedia The Lorax). Alright then, enough history and facts, here's my take on The Lorax. 1. The characters, well, I've always loved Dr. Seuss characters, they are fun and original. The Once-ler seems a little shady at first. As the story unfolds though, you realize he's more than that, he's a greedy industrialist bastard that doesn't give two shits about the environment. That is, until his precious supply of Truffula Trees runs out. In your face! But now we have a much larger problem, didn't they teach you about reforestation and Arbor Day in school? Apparently not. It does make you think about all of the industries today that are scraping precious material and life from our planet... fishing, mining, oil (that black gold we just can't seem to get away from), lumber, Alaskan King Crab (that Discovery show we can live without). Hopefully the CEO's of these companies have seen this movie. 2. Thneeds. Yeah, something everyone just has to have. As I sit here writing, I'm looking around the house. I just had to have that plasma TV, I just had to have Diet Caffeine Free Pepsi, this laptop I'm typing on, the list goes on and on. It goes back to the differentiation of want and need. I do need food to cook, clothes on my back-but even buried in these needs are wants, I want a certain brand of rice, I want only name brand designer clothes (not really unless you look at my winter coat collection or cowboy boot collection). It really boils down to marketing, those annoying commercials, the especially annoying ones on the kids channels during our 30 minute TV time before bed, "Daddy, I need that toy!" Well, I actually bet you don't really need that toy, but you can want that toy as much as you please. 3. Political corruption and greed. How did I get that out of The Lorax? Easy, the Mayor of Thneed-Ville. He immediately masks the outside world and fills the city with artificial, "protecting" his happy citizens and then takes advantage of them by selling bottled oxygen. For fear of starting a political frenzy, I'll just leave this one alone. I have my political views and you can have yours, but you can't deny that there is certainly corruption and greed. I'm reading Me the People by Kevin Bleyer right now which tells the tale of our Constitution birth (and Bleyer's quest to rewrite it), even as our country was getting it's feet wet, there was corruption and greed. Enough said, moving on... 4. Truffula Trees, they are just so cool looking. They look soft and fluffy and I want to climb right up in one and take a nap. They remind me of probably my favorite tree, the Mimosa. I like the wispy-ness of the leaves, kid of fanning out like a fern. And my other favorites, the Magnolia for it's grandiose flowers and sweet sweet aroma, and of course, the Weeping Willow, how can you not love this tree? 5. Illumination Entertainment, wow, I'm amazed at the CG work in this film. And they are relatively new, having only recently been formed in 2007, and still a pretty short list of films. Technology sure has changed, CG movies haven't been around for that long and have advanced exponentially. Sure, CG has been around since the 60's, but full feature length CG animated films really only started to take shape in 1995 with Toy Story, although LucasFilm made some pretty good headway in the 80's and a host of other motion picture companies made great advances in probably two of the hardest aspects of CG, human animation, especially facial, and realistic CG water (in movies such as Water World, The Abyss) followed by advances in digital puppetry (RoboCop 2, Terminator 2) in the 90's. Will there be a day when we will not need human actors? Hmm, that might change a lot of the "I need to have that because so and so, the famous actress has one." 6. Audrey, ahhh, she's dreamy (and bundled with Taylor Swift's voice). I wonder what made her want to see a live tree. OK, I wonder why a lot of women want what they want, so next topic. 7. The Lorax, the list would not be complete without (him?). I enjoyed how he kind of picked himself up by the seat of his pants and flew away. I could go on for hours the times I've been in situations and just wanted to pick myself up and "Dear God, make me a bird. So I could fly far. Far far away from here" (Yep, Forrest Gump). 8. Unless. Unless someone cares, the situation will not improve. 9. “When a guy does something stupid once it's because he's a guy, but if he does the same stupid thing twice, that's usually to impress a girl.” This has to be my favorite line in the movie. I wonder if the opposite is true? Wait for it... I think it is. So this past week I took my puppy to the vet. The technician must have had one of these moments as the third time she came in (for no reason) I received, "Can I ask you a question?" Thinking it had something to do with how many months of flea control I wanted to get or something, I said sure. Her question cause a slight jaw drop that bounced off the floor a few times before returning to the proper location. "You are a little goofy looking, but cute, would you be interested in dinner?" Now this doesn't sound totally stupid, but what she doesn't know is that I just don't date, so first stupid thing. I couldn't help myself, I mean, yeah, I could do dinner, so we exchanged numbers, I mean, how can you resist a line like that? So she called and asked about dinner again (second stupid thing), and I couldn't resist the persistence, so it is what it is. But I don't date, so we'll see. 10. You very rarely see something in life that is truly spectacular. And if you do, or when you do, and the moment is over, or it's gone, you question what you witnessed or experienced.  You wonder if it was real, search for it's authenticity. This has nothing to do with any specific aspect of The Lorax, just something that's been sitting in my head for awhile. We've all witnessed or experienced something awesome, rainbows,  the birth of a child, a quiet walk in the park, the power of the ocean, I'm sure you have yours that you are thinking about right now. I used to believe in taking pictures of everything, I no longer do (it's not that I don't take pictures anymore, just not as many, and not for the reason of preserving history, my history is safe inside my head). I used to believe that if I didn't see it, it didn't happen, I no longer believe that. I believe in so much more now. So there you have it, my non movie review of a movie, I'm sure I need all the proper credits listed for legal purposes and all that jazz... just consider them there, I'm tired and think I'll go find dream land. Cheers my friends!

New beginnings

Well, that's a wrap. It's legally over now even though it's been over for more than 3 years. Thank you for the absolutely beautiful children, I will love them forever (and by the way, they look more like me than they do you, see, good things do come out of bad packages!).  I will provide for them everything they need to be successful in life. I will remain civil and border on "yeah, we can still be friends" (for the sake of the kids), but the joy of today just knowing that it's really over, finally, brings tears of happiness to my eyes. I could be an ass and list out the 10 Things I Hate About You, but that's already been done in a movie (which is a fun classic up there with The Breakfast Club, Pretty In Pink, Sixteen Candles, Some Kind of Wonderful and a gazillion other awesome 80's flicks). So what's next? I don't know, a new book (that was the last chapter in that one), I could be mad that I spent the last some odd number of years with you, but I'm not, I can borrow from Fleetwood Mac and "Pick up the pieces and go home." And the book is coming! Because I can say that I did it! 10 Lines is coming to fruition, I have an illustrator and the rough copy is on it's way. Little nervous about it, but hey, you only live once! "Did she make you cry Make you break down Shatter your illusions of love Is it over now - do you know how Pickup the pieces and go home." Yes, I do know how!