Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Reflections and Ramblings

September 11th. Every year. A time of reflection and introspection. Thoughts and dreams and nightmares and worries and a slew of other thoughts creep into my brain. Memories, some I'm sure I've completely fabricated at this point come flooding back - some recurring, some new. Some are crisp and fresh, and some, are fuzzy. Barely recognizable. I couldn't tell you which of these are real and which are figments of my imagination. I do think a lot about those who sacrificed their lives that day knowing full well they would not see their loved ones again.

My best friend is a firefighter. I think about that a lot. Sometimes I get sick to my stomach knowing that if he were called to the WTC that day he would have gone in, no questions asked, and likely wouldn't be celebrating his wedding later this month.

I think about taking a long hiatus. I think about hopping in my car, taking off for weeks, maybe months, and just driving. Driving through Midwest sunsets I know exist but have never experienced. Driving through mountains and lake towns, and wheat fields and bayous and salt flats and deserts. About driving 'til my little VW diesel dies out, and jumping on the next flight, doesn't matter where; a la Jim Carrey and Zooey Deschanel in "Yes Man". Of experiencing the hospitality and genuine sincerity of people not beaten down by the hustle and bustle of the on-the-go City Life that has drained the human decency and concern for one another that was championed by those who knowingly sacrificed their lives for complete strangers on that fateful day 11 years ago.

I sure am seeing a lot of "Never Forget" posts on Facebook, but I wonder if people have already forgotten what the tertiary lessons were we were to have gleaned from out communal shock and heavy hearts. Of course we won't/can't forget those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and the innocent people who woke up that morning, ate breakfast, dropped their kids off at school and got to work like it was any other Tuesday morning, never to return home to see their families and loved ones. It's been eleven years. Rather than act like it's time to move on, perhaps it's time we take the lessons we learned and move forward. As a Nation. Indivisible. With liberty and justice for all. With respect for our neighbors and common decency towards those we come in contact with daily. With an understanding that perhaps we aren't as insulated as we'd like to believe and that we should treat each day with gratitude.

I think about children that will grow up without knowing what "one Nation...indivisible, with liberty and justice for all" really looks like. I fear that, mainly, because I don't think I'll ever see it again. Immediately after 9/11/2001, everyone was American - regardless of origin, color, or creed. We helped one another, we lent a hand to our neighbors - hell, we actually made an effort to know who the fuck our neighbors actually were! We talked to strangers and learned life stories.We looked people in the eye, we said thank you when people held the door for us.

Or maybe, hmmm...maybe that's the part I made up. Maybe that's the utopian outcome I longed for and wished I was/would be experiencing. Either way, I sure don't see it today. I see greed. I see a lot of "me-firsts". I see people forgetting the Golden Rule. I see a number of "Americans" taking steps backwards, rather than attempting to make progress like this country has for 235 years.

Friday, March 2, 2012

“Many an optimist has become rich by buying out a pessimist.”

March is National Optimism Month! And while I've long considered myself a realist (never getting too overexcited), I have what I consider to be the gift of finding the silver lining in things, and the ability to not let petty shit bother me when there are so many other things in this life for which to be grateful. Below are a few tried and true steps to help you on your way this month. These are things that I find help differentiate me from my co-workers and a number of acquaintances:

Act like an optimist. 'Fake it to make it'. Not in the sense of being "fake" per se, but try and trick yourself into being optimistic when you really feel like you are unable to. Use the word choices and body posture of optimistic people. Use "upbeat" words instead of "upset" words - Challenged vs. Overwhelmed. It's a lot like smiling when your unhappy. As soon as you force a smile, it's nearly impossible not to be overcome with good feelings, or to reflect back on a time when you laughed so hard it hurt. (Go ahead, I'll wait).

Move quickly from problem-identification to problem-solving. We all get angry and upset, but the challenge is to move past these emotions and start looking for strategies and solutions that will help you to deal with that challenge. WAY too many dwell on shit that absolutely DOES. NOT. MATTER. Will that Facebook comment have any affect on you 10 years from now? How about 10 days from now? Didn't think so. By identifying if the situation you are dealing with can even be remotely considered a problem, you can easily lean to stop 'sweating the small stuff' and get back to living YOUR life.

Avoid emotional leeches. BOOM. Easily one of the biggest pitfalls I see in my everyday life. Co-workers, friends, and strangers are constantly oozing negativity. Pessimists suck the life energy from those around them. These are the people who swarm to one another in the effort to commiserate how 'tough' everything is. They've never once come together to explore the opportunities available that will serve to help them move past the 'problem' they seem to be facing (see above). Minimize your contact with those who look on the down-side of everything; trust me, this is harder than you might think. Perhaps you are doing it yourself...?

Reflect back on the first bullet point and start each day fresh. Dragging yourself down because of things you have no control over, or things that can't be changed, will get you absolutely nowhere - fast. Optimism is not a disposition people are born with. It's a learned skill, and one that takes consistent practice. Give it a shot. You just might come out a little happier in the end.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Resolutions

My 2012 resolution is simple. To get a god damn Clipper card and start taking the bus instead of paying out the ass for a taxi to take me 10 blocks. I mean, I've been in this City way too long to have only taken the bus a handful of times (maybe 6?) pre-2012. Ridiculous.

Anyhow, I also stumbled upon this little post from The Frenemy talking about resolutions for 2012. It's pretty well stated, and the blog/site is always entertaining. Here's the takeaway (it's written for women, but you should be grown enough to figure out how to change it, right?):

2012 will be my year of the “no big deal.” You’ve got one life, remember? If I was a plant in my last life I don’t remember it, so right now it’s me and this and it’s what we’ve got. It’s not worth spent in moments of self-doubt, so one has got to get pretty zen about this shit. You think something’s so awful? It’s probably not. Will you die alone if this guy doesn’t like you? Definitely not. Grow up. Rationalize. Remember what you have and cherish and love-your family or your friends or your favorite fucking pen. And also:

1. Give It Up

There are people I should be distancing myself from, there are insecurities about myself I know are just cattle prods to make myself feel like shit. There are toxic things in my life that aren’t worth the time of day, arguments I shouldn’t start or have, the last drinks at the bar I should cut off, attitudes that are indulgent because they are self-pitying. The judgements I am quick to make, the bad moods I am too eager to partake in, the bullshit sarcasm in serious situations, the moments I dwell on somebody—there are too many things I hold onto that drag me down. Lighten the brain load. Free yourself from the worst parts of yourself. You can give it up. You can let go of the things that dragged you down for so long. You deserve to be rid of them and it’s about time they stopped you from moving on to new, better things.

2. Go For It

Here’s a fuckin’ fun fact about me-I’d like to meet a cool person that I want to hug and kiss and shit. I’m not good at expressing this at all. There are times in my life where I should have made a move but I didn’t, or said something and didn’t. That sucks, because it only makes me want to punch myself in the dumb baby face for being so silly and childish. So now, I’m just going to try to go for it. Make some moves. Woman up. Get rejected or not. Feel things other than ‘being on the Internet,’ real things. If it’s not a romance kissy thing, it’ll be telling my friend when they’re making me feel like shit. It’ll be moments I get up early and work harder and write more and do more and feel more and just get some fire under my feet. Plenty of fire under these tiny feet, much of which I have yet to ignite.

Reminder: you are the only person responsible for your happiness. There are plenty of people who will let you down. Don’t be one of them.

So hey! Here’s to a year of mistakes and kisses and drinks and laughter, you guys. A year of dancing till your feet hurt and good crys and new friends and old friends and a whole mess of good and bad things. Let’s start this shit now. Good luck.

Now get out there and live. I'm most likely going to disappear from this blog for another 4 months. So, yeah.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The City?

I always get excited to see these Vimeos pop up, but was a little depressed at the lack of neighborhoods shown in the one below. Most of the clip is focused on The Embarcadero, Pier 39, the FiDi, and Fisherman's Wharf - places most people living in SF never go outside of work obligations and the occasional out-of town guest.

At the 3 minute mark there are a couple of shots from the Western Addition (Painted Ladies, duh), Dolores Park, and Duboce Park that brought a slight smile to my face. Aside from those 30 seconds though, there were considerable absences of Golden Gate Park, The Mission, The Haight, The Castro, Inner/Outer Sunset/Richmond (minus the obligatory Cliff House shot), etc...

Anyway, I'm still a sucker for stop motion, so check it out below.

The City from WTK Photography on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Deal with the Devil.

Well this is just ridiculous.



I mean, with all the discussion surrounding the MLB trade deadline, and the Giants' "anemic" offense, you'd be hard pressed to find a Giants fan (long-term or otherwise) who wasn’t calling for an upgraded bat. But what we saw was a deviation from the norm for Sabean, and an even further deviation from the formula that helped the Giants become World Champions. Rather than picking (young/underrated/talented) players off the scrap heap, Sabean went out of his way to trade for THREE aging players to fill spots in the lineup that were in need of some ‘oomph’ (all while other, potentially dynamic players were on the block – *cough* Hunter Pence *cough* Michael Bourn). While I’m not particularly worried about what we gave up (trading chip wise), I’m definitely concerned with the fact that this massive shake-up may have sacrificed the synergy (BUZZWORD!) that brought this team together last year, through the off-season and well into the early half of this season.

Not to say these guys aren’t professionals. Obviously, their careers averages and track records speak for themselves. However, when we look at the drastic change in quality of ball being played since the trade-deadline, it’s overtly obvious that we essentially dug our own grave. If the old adage, “when it rains, it pours” ever showed its profound meaning, this would be Case 101. You deal with the Devil and he eventually comes back to collect. If the injuries piling up are any form of currency, it appears Sabean went deep into debt since what we’re seeing now is nothing short of unbelievable.

In the last two weeks: Carlos Beltran (trade deadline acquisition) tweaked his wrist (on a swing!) – to the DL; Jeff Keppinger (trade deadline acquisition) messed his wrist up on a collision with first basemen Freddy Freeman – MRI not looking good; Sergio Romo (one of (if not) THE most dominant bullpen guys in the game) has an elbow that’s been acting up – to the DL; Nate Schierholtz messed up his hip on a slide and missed a couple of games, only to come back and smash a ball off his foot that may or may not have broken it - ‘hooray’; to top it off, Jonathan Sanchez - who had juuuust started to show a glimmer of his late-run 2010 self in last night’s game - goes and sprains his ankle on a botched play on an easy bunt (eerily familiar to Zito, I might add…).

This is downright frustrating. The Giants don't have a lineup that can lose guys and still have steam in the tank like, say, the Phillies (and to be perfectly honest - a pitching staff like their's either) But that’s baseball, right? That’s what makes this game so great, and why the season is 162 games - not 16, like some "other" sports.

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The only thing I’ve been picturing (praying for, really) is Aubrey Huff standing up like Jake Taylor in Major League and pronouncing that, “There’s only one thing left to do. Win the WHOLE. FUCKIN’. THING.”

But that’s a little ridiculous in itself, right? I mean for one, Jake Taylor was the only one in the movie who had to deal with any injuries, while the Giants are down several key components from last year’s squad (read: all those above not to mention those out for the season like Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez). Also, the Giants don’t really have a hitter like Pedro Cerrano, and nobody even close to having the speed of Willie Mays Hayes – both of which are dynamic game changers.

What the Giants do have is a manager like Lou Brown, in both appearance and demeanor, see:


Plus a closer who’s more of a celebrity than a pitcher (though this doesn’t come about until Major League II ). I just wish we had a Dorn who would walk over to Wilson and tell him straight to his face to stop playing around and STRIKE MOTHER FUCKERS OUT!



But I digress. From the looks of things, this might not be the Giants' year. But it's exactly those types of sentences that pushed last year's team to prove everyone wrong. With the September callups the Giants just might get their Roger Dorns (Gillespie), Willie Mays Hayes' (Darren Ford), and Jake Taylors (2010 Aubrey Huff?). Hell, the may even get a Pedro Cerrano (Pill). Only time and a few dozen heart attacks will tell.

Monday, August 15, 2011

One Man. Two Hands. One Dream.

Yup. I imagine this is like a wet-dream for a real Mexican right here. Something waited to be molded to perfection:

But, since I'm only half-Mexican, this is what my backyard has looked like since I moved into my place - back in late February 2011. Pretty gross, but a ton of potential. And as most of those who remember my last place, I've had an outdoor firepit I've been dying to use, but since purchased has been either sitting in the wind and rain at the top of Ashbury Heights, or in my new dining room, covered up... just waiting for late the SF "Summer" to show up so it can warm an outdoor gathering of friends and beer (can you say, House "Warming" Party...get it...)

Anyway. The point is, it's been a ridiculously long time since I've moved in and the fact still stands I haven't done shit with this decently sized backyard. I'm sure my Dad is ever-so-disappointed in his son, so today I did something about it. After getting my afternoon workout in (a doozy really: 5 pullups, 10 pushups, 15 body weight squats; every minute for a half hour - sounds easy, but it really only gives you about 20-30 seconds of rest each minute depedning on your fitness level...but I digress, try it sometime. You'll see.) I took the momentum from said workout, and decided it had been long enough. I put some music on, grabbed the green waste container, and got down in a squat and started pulling weeds like I did every weeekend for the majority of my childhood.

Within about 15 minutes, my muscles were starting to ache as the lactic acid from my workout began to take over my body. This was also the time at which I realized the green waste bin was going to be full before 1/10 of the yard was even weeded. Not to be discouraged, and taking most of the momentum with which I began this endeavor, I decided to knock out the whole yard. Because, why not?

Two hours and two giants garbage cans later: BAM! Wiped out. Here's a shot from the stairs leading down to the yard:
And here's a shot of what my feet looked like after I took my shoes off.
No, I wasn't weeding the back yard barefooted. There was just so much loose dirt in the backyard, it stained my legs (just a bit, since my feet are whiter than Tony Montana's nostrils) and coated the inside of my socks somethin' tough.

Speaking of nostrils, mine were jam packed with at least a pound of dirt - making for an interesting shower, to say the least. No pictures of that, no worries. But it has been sometime since I've really been able to put in some good work in the yard, and actually see some immediate results. Makes me think what else I may have been putting off that I'd be able to get done if I just got down to it and stopped making excuses.


Next step? Actually laying out a decent place to kick it, and getting that damn firepit some use. I'll let you know when the House "Warming" Party is scheduled.

Friday, August 12, 2011

One More Chance. Biggie Gimme One More Chance.



How awesome was this song to someone growing up in Gen Y? I mean, just look at the video. Those cameos? I love all the cameos.....Tyson Beckford, Luke from 2 live Crew, Zhane, Mary J. Blige, Aailyah, Da Brat, Craig Mack, Changing Faces, Jermaine Dupri, Heavy D and Queen Latifah pretty sweet. But that isn't what I'm writing about. The reason this song is even in my head is because I undertook mission "Shuffle Songs" on the iPod today. Thus, I'm writing about the strangely perfect mix of music that turned up in succession during my commutes to, and from, work today.

When I drove in to the parking lot at the office this morning, I was pleasantly surprised with a visit from my boy LL:



Which, at 6:25am is quite the entrance song to the parking lot of your job at "Investments R' Us" - (name withheld to protect the innocent). Luckily, the windows were rolled up - since it was still pretty cold, and the sun was just breaking the horizon.

Fast forward to leaving the office and it's a lovely 70 degrees (a far cry from City weather, mind you) and I've got the windows down eager to make the 30 mile commute home and get the weekend started (read: update this shitty blog for the first time in over a month). What song pops up?



For real. I mean, back at HHS I used to rock this. Needless to say, it's been a while since I've heard it so I may or may not have been a bit eager to turn up the volume and get my Master P on'.

So there I am, sitting at a light ready to get on the freeway. I crank the volume loud enough that were someone in the car trying to tell me a story, it would have looked like a mime was trying to do a performance in the seat next to me. In fact, as I was picturing this unlikely scenario taking place, I looked over to the passenger's seat to see a scrapered out purple Lexus with the window rolled down and the driver looking at me over the top of his lowered aviator sunglasses and under his straight brimmed Cincinnati Reds hat with the tags still on it. It was epic. I really don't know how to describe it. This guy was in shock. And understandably. From his view he sees: a 'white-boy'. with glasses. in a suit. driving a VW Golf. with bike racks on top. And BLASTING Master P.

I notice him. Tilt my chin back in the 'what's-up' motion. And get back to enjoying my music. It was amazing. I only wish I was still driving the Karmann Ghia I used to roll around in during my high school days when I would blast the same song. I'm pretty sure that dude's head would have exploded.

Hater.

Is this what it's come to?

Seriously? It's been over a month since I've posted anything on here, and the best I could do then was post a KOFY TV20 dance party? Holy shit. This is bad. I mean, the entry before that I still consider worthwhile, but it was nearly two months since the last 'real' post about my GoRuck training, and I didn't even have the energy or time to really post a decent rundown of how that went...Well, no. That is totally a lie. I could have easily used one of the 5-6 days a week I spend in front of the TV watching the Giants play a diluted form of Little League Baseball to write up some decent entries, but the truth is I've been pretty okay being away from the blog in the SF "Summer". In all honesty though, I'm tired of being streakier than Cody Ross and Nate Schierholtz (squared), so I'm gonna bust out some stuff I've been meaning to write up for awhile. Hopefully I can keep it up. If not, it's not like any one misses the crap I put on here anyway.

Sometimes, however - just sometimes...something comes along that makes you realize they that just need to be shared. And as has been tradition with this blog, it was the Gross-Eater-Guy at the office who was able to shake to my core and convince me to get back on here.

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Yesterday, after my customary lunch-time nap I walked back into the office to quite a sight. This mutherfucker had the 7-11 website pulled up and he was checking out the new additions! I kid you not. This was what I saw plastered across his monitor when I walked in:


Disgusting, yes?

Now, anyone who has followed long enough knows that the G.E.G. loves him some fast food, Double Gulps, and pretty much anything unhealthy, but I swear to Jebus, I had no idea it was this intense. Look at those things! Two look like straight shit, one looks like barf, and the other appears to be suffering from some sort of venereal disease. What about this is appetizing? Honestly. I'm beginning to wonder if he's doing this on purpose because he knows how grossed out I am. Wouldn't that be something...

Saturday, July 9, 2011

EPIC.

Why don't they still do this? After watching this video it's no wonder my parents got it on in '82!



And 28 years later, everyone is wearing the same shit.

Worth noting:

The hair at 0:48. The cheery ass, chubby Asian at 1:13 (he comes back hard 2:03). The seizures at 1:22.

Anything particularly ridiculous I left out?