Sunday, March 1, 2015

Patience: Some Things Take Time

We live in a day when many people expect immediate results and don't have time for the outdated principle of patience. The instant gratification and microwave mentality robs of developing attributes like patience, dedication, persistence, and faith, which are necessary to accomplish any worthwhile task.

The picture on the the right is of my son Kirk when he was about five years old and was just starting karate lessons. I remember the first couple years of practice were sometimes frustrating to watch and some of the classes I observed even bordered on pathetic. Some of the little kids in the class (including my own) would get their right and left mixed up and could not perform some pretty simple tasks.

My son regularly went to karate lessons several times a week with his brother and got better over time. As I would attend their various belt tests I found myself surprised at the new skills and abilities they had developed since I still imagined them as little boys in the back of my mind possessing more excitement than skill.

One thing that impressed me about their journey is the fact that the studio they attended was not a belt mill. I have seen some kids start martial arts and advance to the black belt level in a ridiculously short amount of time. Sometimes I secretly wished they had enrolled in one of those easy programs where they could be a Grand Master in 3 years and done with it. This was not the case for them and they kept plugging away for over 13 years.

Today they are both 3rd degree Black Belts and can do things I can only imagine. Here is a current picture of the same little boy shown above. If we did not add the ingredients of patience and time into their experience they never would have achieved success.

I could tell this same story for some of my other kids but could use music as their discipline. I have two other kids who started playing hardly discernible versions of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" on the violin and piano as little kids. They have continued practicing for over 15 years and today I love hearing them perform and they have both earned music scholarships to college.

I did not write this to just brag about my kid's accomplishments, but rather to remind us that some things take time. If you are plugging away at something and headed in the right direction, just keep doing it even if you don't see results as quickly as you'd prefer. Patience is becoming a lost art and we could all use more of it these days. Keep persisting in order to accomplish the things that are important to you and don't give up just because something takes longer than you would like..

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Getting Paid For Not Growing Crops

I remember how confused I was the first time I heard about farmers being paid to not grow crops in The Grapes of Wrath. This concept surprised me but at the time someone gave me an explanation why it made sense and I really didn't question it after that. Years ago when the economy slowed down I started looking for ways to make more money and I wonder if that program is still in effect today. If it is, I want to know how I can sign up for it.

I was also wondering if I have to be a legitimate farmer to participate. I once put one of those long wheat/hay things in my mouth and I occasionally saw a little Hee Haw on TV while flipping channels when I was younger. I would imagine that there is probably a requirement that I wear overalls in order to qualify. Do I have to invest in farming equipment and own a lot of land before they will take me seriously and pay me for not growing crops? So many questions and so few answers. By the way, I'm not criticizing farmers. I think farming is one of the hardest professions around.

I wonder if this same principle applies to other occupations and fields (no pun intended) besides agriculture. I know some athletes have been paid to not perform at their best ability but they usually end up getting in trouble for that. Shoeless Joe Jackson from Field of Dreams comes to mind. The mafia also seems to be quite good at utilizing this principle. They get paid all the time for not doing stuff like not breaking the knee caps or other anatomical structures of their clients.

I think I could really leverage my time if I could also get paid for not starring in movies, not performing on American Idol, and not running for public office. The list is endless of stuff I'm good at not doing. I'm not sure who would be in charge of compensating me for all the stuff I don't do, but it sound like something that only the federal government could pull off.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

My Concern For Society

I was recently watching some YouTube videos featuring "dumb criminals" and hold ups gone bad. One video featured a guy at Walmart who got caught shoplifting. He removed at least 8 large items that were hidden in his clothes for the employee who caught him before he bolted free and ran away. I was shocked at how much stuff he was trying to steal in his clothes but I was even more surprised at the comments the viewers were making about the event.

The majority of comments were actually supportive of his actions and critical of Walmart. There are many things I don't like about Walmart, but I was shocked that the majority of the comments supported theft because he was robbing a huge retailer that "doesn't pay it's employees well or offer good benefits". Their justification was frightening and then there were those who didn't even try to justify and just said things like "good for him, I hate Walmart." The juvenile commentary, name calling, foul language, and threats made online by those brave anonymous commenters infuriated me.

Maybe I'm getting old but it seems there is a lot of backwards thinking going on today. I just hope that the people shouting their opinions on YouTube videos and commenting on news stories are not an accurate representation of our society. Another topic related to this is the attitude so many people have towards law enforcement. The media has been promoting recent controversial events involving law enforcement and has attempted to portray them as a bunch of trigger happy racists and bullies.

Do some police make mistakes? Yes. Are some cops jerks? Yes. Are there such things as racist or
crooked cops? Yes. I think any corrupt cop or public servant who abuses his authority should be severely punished, but let that process come through the appropriate time and channels instead of acting like a vigilante. In any field, there are people who do their job well and others who are a disgrace to their profession, but I think the majority of those in law enforcement do a great job and I would hate to do what they do for the pay they earn. As uncomfortable as I feel when a patrol car is behind me on the road, I am still glad they are there to serve.

I am big on preserving freedom and maintaining my rights so if I was stopped at a random checkpoint that was stopping people without probable cause, then I would object to a search. If I felt a cop was abusing his power I would report him and go through the appropriate legal channels, but I would not threaten or attack him because I felt I was being wronged.

I have noticed a big anti-police movement recently and people have not only been protesting and second guessing how law enforcement does their job, but they have also been threatening and attacking the police. I find it ironic that if something bad happened at one of the anti-police rallies, they would probably be relieved when law enforcement showed up to help and protect them.

Anyway, I guess my point can be boiled down to "don't be an idiot." Don't steal from people, don't hurt people, don't mock and threaten people online under the cowardly cloak of anonymity, don't fight against the police and then act like you are a victim if you are guilty of committing a crime.

One of my goals this year is to watch much less news so I don't get so worked up over stuff like this.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Stupid Quizzes Rant Time

I'm sure you have seen the many quizzes that are constantly promoted on Facebook and the Internet that prompt viewers to find out what kind of Jane Austen character, Star Wars character, or Super Hero they are. I guess some people might enjoy a special kinship knowing they are like Chewbacca, Mr. Darcy, or Wonder Woman.

These quizzes got old fast but somehow they are still making the rounds but now the makers of these quizzes are getting desperate. I'm seeing stuff like what spirit animal, state, and food are you?

It's only a matter of time before you can take a quiz to determine what kind of pizza cutter, tooth brush container, button shape, or phone ring you are.

Are people really that desperate to be analyzed and categorized? I'm sure the analyzing procedure on these tests is state of the art...NOT. Whey would anyone care what the test says they are? How do we get Buzz Feed, Zimbio, and other to stop making these?

Help me understand this. It really bugs me. I need to get a life and focus on something important instead of this.

What kind of curious, insecure, and gullible person are you? Take my detailed quiz to find out and then tell everyone online what kind of essential oil you are.

Part 2- Another trend that drives me crazy are all the intro teasers on so many stories and links you see these days.

"This boy was failing his speech test and then this happened"

"They bought an old home and you won't believe what they found in the attic"

"It was an ordinary day at work until this special special visitor came by."

I guess it works because I still click on a bunch of those dumb stories to see what the amazing surprise was.

End of Rant.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The ALS Bucket Challenge

I'm sure you have all noticed a ton of ice water videos over the last month. I can't log onto Facebook without seeing 10-15 challenges per day. I am afraid that the challenge is starting to wear on people by now and it feels like it is slowly turning into the Harlem Shuffle.

I think it is great that the challenge is for a good cause but I have a few questions. Are you supposed to pay in addition to getting wet or is promoting it by getting wet a free pass to not have to donate? I don't know the answer because I never like to listen to the first minute or two of someone blabbing on in the videos before they get their cold shower. (Less talking, more dumping)

I know some people may question the effectiveness of the campaign but contributions are obviously up big time for ALS research so something is working. I am usually not a big fan of awareness by itself. I remember several years ago when everyone changed their Facebook photos to cartoon avatars to help prevent child abuse. Still trying to figure out how that made any difference at all besides making people feel good about using Scooby Doo on their profile picture for a week.

Some have criticized the challenge for wasting water or because ALS research involves embryonic stem cells or animal experimentation. I wish my concerns were as noble, but my biggest hangup is that I just don't want to get wet.

Thankfully I have not been challenged and would probably out right decline the challenge since I am both a party pooper and am super sensitive to not only ice cold water but any temperature of water cooler than lukewarm. It takes me about 5 minutes to ease myself into a warm body of water like Lake Powell in the summer so I can't even imagine how painful and shocking ice water would be.

I may end up starting a challenge to create awareness for some other charity, but if I do it will entail eating a large stack of pancakes or an entire pizza as opposed to ending up wet and shivering.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Epitome of Masculinity

Today I'd like to share some thoughts on masculinity. I feel like I have been mellowing out a little bit as I get older. I'm in my mid 40's now and no longer have testosterone surging through my veins like I did when I was a teenager. I am not to the point where Steel Magnolias is my new favorite movie, but I am beginning to feel a little more docile and tired than I used to.

When people think of masculinity certain images come to mind. Society has told us that in order to be masculine we need to participate in the following activities:

Lift weights and have big muscles
Be good at home and car repairs
Grow facial hair easily
Occasionally eat food straight out of a can
Consume large quantities of alcohol
Be athletic and an expert on sports
Use a chain saw or hard hat at your job
Love to hunt and spend time outdoors
Not talking much if a simple grunt will do
Drive a large truck or 4 wheel drive vehicle

Obviously most of these activities don't make the man but they can influence how others see you.

After much scientific research I have created a highly accurate testosterone scale which is much like the food pyramid except I am using celebrities to illustrate my point. The higher the ranking the more manly a person comes across.

My testosterone scale of manliness

10- Ron Swanson
9-  Chuck Norris
8-  Charlton Heston
7-  Tom Selleck
6-  Lee Majors
5-  Bruce Willis
4-  James Franco
3-  Orlando Bloom
2-  Tony Randall
1-  Woody Allen

I am aware that these days you can get in trouble for not being politically correct or making broad generalizations. I hope readers can view the general stereotypes without taking offense. I think everyone has both masculine and feminine characteristics and I'm not saying one is better than the other, I am just worried that I have slowly moved from a 9 down to a 5 over the years. Maybe if I take up bull riding I can get back up to an 8 this year. If not I will just keep using the cheapest form of hormone replacement therapy I have found, watching The Expendables 2 trailer every morning.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

My Random Thoughts

I've had several random thoughts and insights recently and thought I'd share some of them with you. Feel free to either skim over them for mere entertainment or you can really study them for the deeper meaning and then apply what you learn to your life for amazing results.

I have never cared for the phrase "brown noser". It has an unsavory connotation but I think an even more disturbing name for someone who sucks up to a person to gain favor is "boot licker". When I imagine someone licking a person's boots I find it very disturbing.

Confession: Even though it was never cool, I actually liked school lunch as a kid. I could never understand what high class French restaurant my fellow 5th graders must have eaten at on a regular basis to make them look down on giant vats of mashed potatoes and gravy. I guess I was just hungrier than them.

What if you were alone at sea in a life raft like in The Life of Pi and the only survival rations you had was one months worth of cotton candy and rice cakes but then a big storm came and the rain and waves simply dissolved your food supply? That would suck.

What kind of dirt does Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and Danny Elfman have on Tim Burton? I have nothing against them but seriously, every movie?

I have zero respect for people who are eagerly applauding in the audiences of infomercials. Their fake enthusiasm sickens me.

I was making fun of AOL the other day and a person in the room said she still had an AOL account. I felt a little sheepish so I tried changing the subject and told a story how a customer at work asked that I e-mail her some information and she had an e-mail address something like foxy16@hotmail even though she was now an adult with kids. The same person I had previously offended minutes before said she also had "foxy" as part of her e-mail. I decided to shut up and stop talking for a while.

Whenever I'm on YouTube and reading comments I always get a kick out of the spammers who expect you to click on their link. They usually say something really stupid like "Imagine when my friends said I couldn't make money on the interwebs...." I always stop right there. Please don't call the Internet the interwebs or the world wide web. Just say online please.

I think Bradley Cooper, Brad Pitt, and Hugh Jackman are good looking guys but I'm not gay.

I would hate to die and get to heaven and then find out I was going to be judged by people like Simon Cowell, David Hasselhoff, Christina Aguilera, and Celo Green.

If I were to write a sit com for TV I would call it "the predictable mind numbing unfunny series for stupid people who are easily entertained" I bet most of the viewers wouldn't even take offense with it.

One of the ideas I'm toying with is SmellBook. It's a mix between Facebook and scratch and sniff stickers that allows you to share the important smells in your life with your friends.

I like old school 80's music but I don't like REO Speedwagon. However, I am also a coward so if I ran into that band while they were performing at a children's fair or a mall opening I would probably not want to hurt their feelings and I'd just keep quiet. I'm not saying I go to mall openings or children's fairs, I was just trying to insinuate that they might be a little washed up and are not playing at big venues like they used to. I guess that attempted insult may have backfired on me and I'm too lazy to hold down the delete key for 4 lines of words.

Confession 2: I like Children's Fairs and finger puppets.