August 26, 2006

I'd like to sue...

Verizon - For making me pay to have an unlisted number. Shouldn't it cost more to be IN the book?
McDonald's - For every burger that doesn't look like the ads.
Burger King - Just for the shitty crispy fries they switched to.
The NFL - For cutting to commercial every time there is a fight on the field.
The NHL - For stopping fights before first blood.
ESPN - For televising poker as a sport. (Seriously WTF?)
Air France - Just for being French.
WalMart - For the de-evolution of society. All you have to do is look into one to see what I mean.
Home Depot - For being the only place to get home fix-it supplies.
Victoria Secrets - For creating the wonder bra and dis-illusioning millions of men in the process.
Comcast - Because Comcastic is another word for shit.
Evans Food Products - The makers of Pork Rinds for ryhming their product with Hind (thus ensuring they'll never pass my lips).
And last, but not least...
VISA - Because I'm not everywhere I want to be.

August 24, 2006

Chopping block

Why is it that so many people wait for the ax to fall rather than guiding their own destiny. Here is a quote from someone working for a company going through a reorg.

"I'm just tryin' to hang low for now until September. Then depending on the direction they want my job to go and who my new supervisor is I may be looking for a new job."

What the fuck? Hang low? That is such chicken shit behavior and I just don't understand it. If you stand up and proudly proclaim your skills and abilities, don't you think that you might have a shot at not only keeping your job, but guiding it to a better place. This person has been handed a golden opportunity and they are going to 'Hang low'. Someone get me a mallet, I'm in need of tapping some sense into someone.

Squeaky wheels get oiled. Non-functioning wheels get replaced. Why put yourself anywhere near a category where you could face extinction due to ignorance? Be the Town Crier... get the word out. "Hey, everyone... I'm a valuable resource. Here is how I can help." Make yourself part of the ultimate solution, don't let someone decide your fate.

I recently read an article about people that are successful and why. I also read one about making your own luck. It's a matter of looking for opportunity rather than sitting and waiting for the inevitable. The inevitable is death. A slow miserable death at someone else's control. If you are going to die, do it gloriously aflame as you do it your way.

Winnebago man

I'm not big at posting stuff that's not mine, but this makes me laugh and laugh everytime I see it. Rated R for language. No nudity or adult themes.

August 21, 2006

False judgement

Do you ever wonder what makes people successful? For that matter, what is success? Money? Family? Career? I think that perhaps regardless of what success is determined to be, there are common steps that get you there. Drive is probably the greatest of these factors. Following on the footsteps of Idea, Drive brings you to places you couldn't go without it. Sheer willpower to succeed or to progress. (Personally, I like progress better than succeed. The idea of success has too many outside factors.

Success is ultimately determined within ourselves, not by the people around you or even tangible results. How many of you would consider losing something a success? That not achieving a goal could be the right thing? How will you know until later whether that bears out or not? People can judge all they want. And usually, they judge on external factors in our day and time. Wrong hair, wrong suit, wrong shoes. Clueless. Hmmm... perhaps, that is exactly the right place to be.

Back to the drive. The will to succeed. Is simply being alive enough? Depends on how you live most would think. Then again, perhaps you are a cancer survivor or a caregiver. Or someone that has lived with AIDS for nearly 20 years. I think I'd have to give each of those persons a 'success' rating. Each of those people may also be the most miserable, insufferable sons of bitches on the planet. That's not our determiner of success. Or is it? Do we each live with our own barometer that mets out the decision for us?

The things that make us feel alive. That cause our pulse to race within our chests. That bring us the sensation of 'I matter'. Perhaps these are the factors upon which we should judge success. Did you make an impact on anyone today? Do your actions matter to anyone but you? How lonely the world if you cannot reach out and touch the difference you make within it... How spare your emotions for your surroundings...

August 19, 2006

Git 'er done

You ever do the same load of laundry three times? Yeah, I didn't think so. See, sometimes the ADD really kicks in and I forget that I did laundry. Said laundry sits for days in the washer and well, you know know what happens to to damp dark places... yeah, time to do the wash again. So, I'm on the third cycle with this same set of laundry. Maybe today will be the final washing. I'm trying really hard. I promise. As soon as the final spin is done, these babies are going in the dryer. I hope.

Laundry really isn't the bane of my existence, it's putting the stuff away I really have a problem with. I don't like the sorting, folding, hanging process. It freakin' takes way too much time out of my day. When are we going to have the wonderful wash and wear? Wait, that would mean only having one thing to wear. Did that once in the military. Everyday was easy, Let's see, today, I think I'll wear the green camouflage.

Steve Jobs, the guy that runs Apple, has a uniform of sorts. One of the richest guys in the country. Wears jeans, sandals and a black mock turtleneck everyday. I read somewhere that he had 200 of the same shirt made. How kick-ass is that. To have a look that is so you that you can not only pull it off every single day, but you don't get trashed for it.

Ralph Lauren, one of the worlds greatest (debatable, I know) fashion designers. He wears jeans, boots and a chambray shirt as a daily uniform. I doubt Mr. Lauren gets much flack for what he wears. It's comfortable, easy on the eyes and he's probably got a closet full of the same light blue shirt (perhaps he really wanted to be a cowboy). So what does it say when a leading fashion designer doesn't even wear his own clothes? Is it OK, to give up on fashion and begin looking for that one outfit you can do for everything? I'm considering Dickies work shirts since the chambray thing is already taken. I could start with half a dozen and work my way to say 40 or 50. Same color. Or not.

August 14, 2006

2nd in charge

I was looking at the image I posted with the post below called King me. It gives me pause to consider that you spend all your time in the game attacking the other King and protecting your own. However, the most powerful piece on the board is the Queen. The female, the second in command (at least hierarchically).

What is it about the second in command that makes it so powerful? You of course have your own authority in that position, but you are also covered in the mantle of the visible leader. Often, in the second hand position, you can go places and do things that you couldn't in the position of the actual leader. The leader must be diplomatic and political. The second position, much less so. The second can wield power in a much different capacity.

I had the opportunity in the military to work for multiple Battalion Commanders. (Lt. Colonels to those without the experience.) They lead a group of 400-600 people depending on the type of organization and it's TO&E (Table of Organization and Equipment). I was a lowly Corporal, but I was often seen as someone who held vast power in the organization. I was able to walk into the Commander's office virtually at will on a daily basis and discuss things with him that most would never dream. To see a very basic org chart for a Battalion, click here. Technically, I was way down at the bottom in a support platoon.

In reality, I shared the commanders visions for their organizations. I had to know how they felt and what they desired. When I saw things that didn't fit with that, I often corrected them myself. When that wasn't politically possible due to rank structure, I was able to bring the issues directly to his attention. My own Company Commanders and First Sergeants were wary of me when I came prowling around. They never knew if I was there of my own volition or on the direction of the Bn Commander.

I recall once walking from my desk where I was working with the Bn Co. late at night before he had to brief the European Commander (CINCEUR). I wasn't sure of a word spelling in the brief and walked into another part of the office to get a dictionary. As I returned, I commented, "It must be good to be the King." He stuttered and started, "I could have gotten the dictionary." I was horrified. "Oh, no, I didn't mean about getting this, I was commenting that leading all these people must be very gratifying." He echoed something I've read in many military books. To be a commander of men is both the best and the worst thing you can ever do. However, once you get the taste for it, you'll always crave it.

I crave to be that second power. The one with the true power on the board. While it doesn't shoulder the responsibility of the leader or get the attention of command, the benefits are there. You have immediate access to your own success. The result of your actions may be transparent to everyone else, but undeniably, you see the result of your efforts. Do we really require credit and title to be the most powerful on the board? Is it enough to simply be the Queen?

August 13, 2006

King me

I applied for a job once as a Resident Assistant in college. I was struggling financially to stay in school and my part time job that clothed, entertained and transported me made me too much money to keep the student grants and loans flowing. I decided living for free in the dorm and being fed at the expense of the school was the right ticket.

At one of the interviews, I was asked, "How would you define a perfect community?" My immediate answer, "One where I make the rules." As soon as I said it, I knew I'd made a mistake. I didn't even think about the answer, it was just there flowing out of my mouth like toxic waste from a punctured 55 gallon drum. Poisoning the environment of trust and peace I'd built with the interviewers. "I'm kidding," I followed up, but even to my own ears, the comment was hollow. I was kicking an empty drum and I knew it.

The answer was truthful though. As I look back on that moment years later with a lot more insight into myself, I wonder if that is fixable. I like environments where I make the rules. And if I don't make the rules, I like to bend them, twist them and use them to my own purposes. I read a philosophy once that said, 'if it's not specifically proscribed, then it's legal.' At the time I was interviewing to be an RA, I didn't much like things to be Gray. I liked things to be black and white. It either is or isn't. I didn't leave a lot of room for maybe in my world. Perhaps I still don't.

I've always been an extremist when it comes to the language I choose. Examples being - I hate that - for something I mildly dislike or - I love that - for something that was a simple pleasure or delight.

Ultimately, I did get the RA job and found out a few things about my hiring later. The Hall Director quit and moved to another job, leaving the position vacant for a staff that was hand picked to work with him. That I'd barely been hired because I was a 'loose cannon'. That the Director of Resident Services told the newly hired (and inexperienced) Hall Director that she would have problems with me. (A self-fulfilling prophecy that consequentially led me to quit the job 2 months into the second semester.) I was told at the time I quit that I would have been fired soon thereafter anyway. I won't say that this is all the fault of the Hall Director or even the DoRS. I made some poor judgement choices along the way as well. I was 21 years old and certainly had a lot to learn about how people respond to other people's statements and actions. There were other factors as well.

With my 20/20 hindsight, I can see that a community where I make the rules might have been perfect. Idyllic even. At least for me. I often wonder how people would have felt living in a community where I made all the rules. That's called a dictatorship, which has a negative connotation, but is it always bad when one person is in control? They work to their own set of beliefs in what they see as the best interest. Perhaps people don't always agree, but then if they had the drive and self power to become the one in control doing the same thing themselves instead of complaining about how someone else does it?

My personality type, INTJ/INTP, says that I don't like to be the leader, but rather in the second hand or right hand position to the one visibly in control. Pulling strings and making things happen in the background. If a leader fails to appear, I will reluctantly take the leadership position where I will excel, but I won't enjoy the position. That's true as I look at my life. I'm not lazy, but I'm perfectly happy if someone else wants to lead. I'll use my own position to advance the cause in the background.

August 11, 2006

My best compliment

While riding from Ground Zero to the Pentagon on my bike as part of the Face of America Memorial Ride in Sept. 2002... I was allowed into a paceline with Greg LeMond, Tyler Hamilton and 1980 Silver Medalist Nelson Vails after being dropped by my team. After riding with them (and about 15 other riders for over an hour, there was a quick break for Gatorade at a 7-11. Greg and Tyler quickly remounted their bikes and took off (Tyler was trying to catch a ferry so he could meet a flight). Nelson pursued them and far in the distance I saw him catch them... About two miles later, I caught them... Nelson turned around, dropped his jaw and then said... "Good Job" with a big smile on his face... one of the best moments of my life... I rode into the ferry stop with them... a little paceline of four to the agog stares of my entire team. Nelson then invited/insisted for me to ride with them again on the other side of the river. (I didn't, but those words, 'Good Job' will always be the highlight of that ride.)

Crap. I have a better one I just thought of...

When my sister (not related by blood, but rather a generous open family) graduated from college, I told her I couldn't fly out there... too busy with work... then flew out anyway. Showed up and stayed hidden from her for 2 days. Then called her cell at the graduation hall and wished her luck and told her how proud of her I was... then asked for one more thing...
"A hug" I said.
"Kinda hard to hug through the phone"
"Then turn around..." I was standing 4 feet behind her.
She started crying...

That was my best compliment.

August 10, 2006

From the past...

I wrote this in November of 2004 to a good friend. They sent it to me today. I thought it was interesting.


I got up this morning and dressed to fly home (I'm in Atlanta). I looked in the mirror and saw an illusion. I'm wearing jeans, a red AIDS ride long sleeve T-Shirt with the words I'MPOSSIBLE on the sleeve. At my wrist is my LIVESTRONG bracelet. I've got two earrings in one ear and a tunnel in the other (yes, that's new). I have glasses on today so that gives me an arty, hip urban flair...

So what is the illusion? I'm not me. I dwell deep inside this shell I wear. Each visible piece a little glimmer of that which lays deep inside. I'm someone that rarely smiles on the outside even when I'm full of glee. Some wear their hearts on their sleeves and seem happy all the time. I say seem because it's true. The more experiences I have, the more convinced I am that people hide.

I think a lot of people hurt and don't know how to express it.

As I think about my life and how other people react to me, I have to rely on other people's visions of me. I know from conversations that I have touched many people's lives. However, I don't feel those connections myself. Is that strange? I get glimpses of perception and have a hard time assembling the
complete picture.

Anyway, I've rambled enough... if I don't send this, I'll lose it.

August 06, 2006

I want to...

Eat a snow cone, ride on a ferris wheel, eat a hot dog, eat a corn dog, devour some cotton candy, visit Nantucket, hike through the forest in Fall, watch a squirrel for an hour, listen to waves crash on a beach, eat chislic and drink beer, spend an hour looking at a painting, make a new friend, reconnect with someone from my past, make a wish on a falling star, pet a penguin, buy someone's groceries, cook dinner for 8, sit before a crackling fire with a glass of wine, listen to someone old tell a life lesson, drink a glass of ice cold homemade lemonade, start a trend, buck a trend, eat dessert first at a restaurant, get a new tattoo, see a live concert that just rocks, visit a dive bar, see a Georgia game in the stadium, eat fresh mango, take a great picture, go sailing, swim with dolphins, stay up to see the sun rise, sleep from dusk 'til dawn, get drunk with my best friend, dance 'til dawn, roatrip across country, buy a motorcycle, quit working in an office, fulfill someone's fantasy...

August 03, 2006

The box

Last night I wanted to write about a goth, candy apple red casket. Not sure why. I don't plan on ever being in a casket (cremation remember), and I don't imagine any of my friends or family wanting something you might see in The Adams Family Christmas Story.

I haven't been to a funeral since I was a kid. I know people who lose family and friends on a regular basis. It's not their fault, it's the cycle of life. We are born, we grow, we live, we try to reach childhood again and then we die. Or we are taken early. Hmmm... there is an interesting concept. That we are taken. That there is something more after this life. I'm more of a reincarnation fan myself.

I kind of like the Buddhist idea of reincarnation. If you behave badly in this life, you come back as something lesser. If you do well, you come back as something better isn't really fitting with my thoughts though. I suspect in an earlier life I was a blacksmith/armorer because I've always had a predilection for a good knife or sword. I also love looking at war machines and the like (although I never understood how they work).

I'm not sure what this post is about, so I'm just going to end here. Perhaps I'll have some kind of revelation later and write some more, but don't count on it.