Category Archives: Thoughts
As we all take time out of our busy lives to give thanks today, I thought it a good idea to sit down and reflect on the year. It’s far too easy to get caught up in the daily grind and lose sight of the things that are really important in life. I have so many things to be thankful for – I wanted to share some of them with all of you.
- I’m thankful that I am growing older – despite my many complaints, it’s still far better than the alternative.
- I’m thankful for my family. I am married to a wonderful, patient, and caring woman (who is, by far, the best thing that ever happened to me), and I have been blessed with two phenomenal kids who are the center of my world.
- I’m thankful that I have been able to pass my love of reading and all things “Star Wars” on to my son. It validates the geekdom of my youth.
- I’m thankful for my true friends. You know who you are, and I appreciate all you do for me. (I’m taking applications if anyone else would like to join up…)
- I’m thankful for this blog. It’s given me the opportunity to chat with some amazing people this year, talk with some incredibly talented authors about their work, and provided me with a much needed creative outlet.
- I’m thankful for everyone serving in our armed forces. Agree with their missions or not, they have volunteered to do a job that most of us have not (myself included). Their service, both past and present, is the reason I am able to write this and you are able to read it.
- I’m thankful for my job. I have the opportunity to work with great people in an industry that I love – and I get paid to do it. You can’t ask for more than that – (aside from a raise now and then…)
- I’m thankful for music. It has surrounded my life- permeated it – in so many ways for as long as I can remember. It’s one of the few threads that run through my life from childhood to today.
- I’m thankful for my wife’s signature cookies. They’ve help make me a lot of friends over the years. And, no – I can’t share the recipe with you.
- I’m thankful for my freedom. Without that, everything else is just window dressing.
Take a moment and think about all that you have to be thankful for this year. You may find it’s more than you thought. I hope that all of you have a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy the food, the family, the friends, and the football!
I was sitting on a plane the other day and a thought hit me like like a ton of bricks – someday, someone is going to break my son’s heart. I sat up straight in my seat and had a moment of pure, unadulterated pain. I don’t know who she is going to be, or how she is going to do it, but someone is going to make my son feel the same way I felt many times growing up – alone.
It took me a minute to gather my thoughts and while I did, my iPod continued to play. I was listening to a playlist my wife had put together to listen to in the car with the kids. We’ve tried to instill a love of music into our children, and I’m happy to report that they are both fans of rock music. It was then that another thought snuck up on me – I needed to share what I learned about love with my son – a bit of advice on just how to navigate the murky waters of love and infatuation. And, as crazy as it sounds, the perfect way to do it was in the same way that I learned it – through the music of my youth. So here it is, an open letter to my son about the highs and lows of love.
Nineteen years ago I had the chance to see a musical on Broadway for the first time. (I know – It would sound much better if I could say it was twenty years ago. Twenty is such a nice round number – but it was, in fact, nineteen years ago, and I don’t feel like waiting an entire year to write this, just so it has a nice clichéd opening. But I digress.) As I was saying – nineteen years ago I had the chance to see a musical on Broadway for the first time. Not only was it great show, I also learned a few things along the way: I really can do anything I set my mind to, young love is almost always misguided, and my father has a serious deficiency when it came to hotel nicknames.
I recently came across a great new blog that you should check out – The Man Eating Bookworm. Peter Leonard runs the the site and offers up a great perspective on not only books, but also comics, movies, games, and whatever else catches his eye. (I don’t say that just because he has reviewed many of the same books I have; but come to think of it, he does seem to have good taste in books…) It’s a great site and well worth checking out. Give it a try!
I am a fan of reality TV. My wife and I will watch cooking shows, singing shows, survival shows, travel shows, shooting shows, people-locked-together-in-a-house shows – as long as it’s not a dancing show, we will give it a shot. For the most part it’s mindless entertainment – but every now and then, something will surprise me. Something will sneak up on me when I least expect it and make me FEEL. I had one of those moments when watching a young man named Connor Doran on last night’s “America’s Got Talent”*. His talent? Flying a kite. Trust me – it was far more extraordinary than it sounds.
Have you ever had one of those moments when you are watching TV – perhaps a college football game – and you realize that the players on the field were, for the most part, born AFTER a time when you would have been of legal age to wager on the aforementioned football game in Vegas? It’s a sobering moment. It’s the same feeling you get when you realize that you can remember your parents when they were the age that you are now – and they seemed really OLD. You realize that your youth has passed you by, and maybe you didn’t accomplish quite as much as you thought you did.
With those thoughts percolating in my head this weekend, I found myself doing what I usually do when I feel melancholy – surfing YouTube for an example of human stupidity that makes me feel better about my lot in life. (It’s usually not hard to do – there are a lot of people out there who really should be kept away from both cameras and computers.) What I stumbled upon this weekend, however, was not the antidote that I sought. It wasn’t an ode to one’s bathroom exploits; it wasn’t the single worst exercise video in history; it wasn’t the best game show EVER invented. What grabbed me this weekend was South Korean guitar prodigy named Sungha Jung.
This Sunday was movie day at our house. The kids had been looking forward to it all weekend, and had behaved JUST good enough that my wife had not had to cancel the whole affair (it was touch and go for a bit that morning during Princess Checkers – but they pulled it out). As we agreed on the film selection and got ready to head upstairs to the movie room, all we had left to do was pop the popcorn. That could mean only one thing – time to get out The Popcorn Pot.
I really enjoy my job. No matter how much I complain sometimes, I really do enjoy what I do. After 17 years, it still motivates and challenges me on a daily basis. I’ve actually been pretty lucky over the years. I’ve had my fair share of interesting gigs – I’ve laid natural gas pipe, I’ve worked as a nurse’s assistant in an elderly care home, I’ve even drilled custom bowling balls – and still I’ve always found a way to enjoy each stop along the way. But the two best jobs I ever had, by far, were the ones that I had when I was in college – campus “security guard”, and pizza delivery/night manager at Mazzio’s Pizza.
My son has been taking Taekwondo for a few months now, and really enjoys it. Recently he was invited to join the leadership program. As part of the leadership program, the students are allowed to start training with weapons. The first one wasn’t so bad – a Jahng Bong – essential a long wooden staff. He had a lot of fun learning to use it. Last night we went to a seminar to introduce the new weapon for the next cycle – a Gum Do. Sounds fun, right? Well – for those that don’t speak Korean – the Gum Do is a sword. At first I thought – that’s really cool, my son is going to learn to use a sword. Then I thought – holy crap, my son is going to learn to use a sword. What were we thinking when we agreed to weapons training?
That set my mind to work – no one ever offered to teach me swordplay when I was nine. Would I have been responsible enough to learn swordplay at that age? Would I have been responsible enough to learn swordplay at any age? What kind of injuries would I have inflicted on my parents, my friends, my brother, and myself? (I realized that perhaps one of the best decisions my parents ever made was making sure I was never in a situation where someone could ask them, within earshot of me – “would your son like to learn to use a sword?”) I began to worry about my son’s well being, with a sword in the house. After all, I had trouble enough with just the normal things around the house when I was a kid – things like bicycles, grills, skateboards, floors, and spray paint. I can’t imagine the carnage a sword would have wrought. I managed to accrue three major head wounds in my childhood with nary a sword in sight. It wasn’t pretty.
Last week was my summer vacation. I say vacation – but it wasn’t your typical, go-to-the-beach, drink-umbrella-drinks, type vacation. We live in a different state than our extended family, so we took the week off and went home to visit. It was good to spend time with family, and as always, I learned a few things while we were on the road. I learned about lizards, little league baseball families, and the importance of really LOOKING at a sign before you put it up on the side of the highway. It was an interesting week…