Story of Life

This quite possibly is one of the funniest things I have ever seen....

just so it makes sense it's based on this video...


A Very Real War

I have had many friends during my time in the military. They were and still are a courageous bunch, and I'm proud to know them. But there is one who I think of every time casualties are reported on the news. Captain Cecil Strickland is the C (Charlie) 1-26 Company Commander and was during the events in these articles. His emails about writing home to all the families of the men who died under his command makes these stories all the more gut-wrenching.

Cecil is one of the best men I have ever known - straight as an arrow, morally courageous, tough minded and yet deeply sensitive with a great love for the soldiers he is responsible for. His wife Betty is as equally strong as her husband. Betty is the anchor of support for the other wives in the unit that wait back at home in Germany (where Charlie Company is based out of). Cecil and Betty have two children - a boy, Stephen and a girl, Olivia who have had to share their father with the Army since they were born.

Cecil and I met at the University of Texas as ROTC cadets. We were both "prior service" meaning we had enlisted in the Army and spent some time at the bottom rung of the rank structure prior to our acceptance into one of the programs that trains enlisted soldiers to become officers. Wanting to both join the Infantry and having a strong sense of duty we became fast friends with a great deal of mutual respect for one another. As cadets we were confident, competent and just plain cocky. We liked to train hard and we dreamed of the day when we would get our commissions and it would all be for real. Like all soldiers we wanted to test ourselves in the extremes of combat. We wanted to know what we were made of. But our friendship wasn't always about the Army as we spent much of our time talking about how to balance all the elements of our lives - school, family, work and our future.

Admittedly, Cecil was always a much better soldier than me, which I always envied, but he always just wanted it more than me. We both were honor graduates from our class and went on to be Commandant List selections later at the Infantry Officer Basic Course. Beyond that our circumstances changed and I left the Army sooner than I wanted while Cecil stayed in. When I think back to all the conversations Cecil and I would have over endless pints of Guinness or between the lulls of a training exercise where we dreamed of our future careers I couldn't see any other life but the military for me, but God knew better. There was something else intended for me. But for Captain Cecil Strickland and his wife Betty God has placed the ultimate tests of strength and courage knowing they have the fortitude to carry out that mission.

It's going on six years since the war started and it seems that on a large scale the news from fighting has become white noise. I wonder how much people are paying attention to what is going on and who is dying? I'll admit I've been guilty of not paying attention myself, but it's not that I don't care. I have other reasons. The story of my friend and his unit give context to the reality of a war that may have lost it's way. What's important is that the soldiers and their families do not become lost in the white noise. Say a prayer for them and that with the coming elections the new leadership will salvage sacrifice and bring them home. You may or may not feel the same , and I mean no offense, but please take the time to read these stories. Most of us have no idea what it is like to be in their shoes and we never will, but they need our prayers and support none the less.

Pics: #1) Cecil as a cadet, Captain (now Major) Paul Shelton and myself. Then Cpt. Shelton was a cadre teacher for ROTC cadets as well as our class advisor, but for Stric and I he was also our friend and fellow hell-raiser. #2) Cecil and I conducting rope-bridge training for the underclassmen cadets. . . and having some fun at the same time. #3) Cecil and his wife Betty. Betty was already accustomed to military life before meeting her husband. They met & married when he was a precocious little airborne grunt and she was working near by up in Alaska. She's done a helluva job keeping her man in line as "Household 6."

The amazing story of Major Strickland and the heroic men he lead has been made into a book, The Fought For Each Other: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Hardest Hit Unit in Iraq. I guarantee the courage displayed in this book will both humble and shock you.



I'm often amazed at the speed in which one can travel to other destinations around the country in such a short time. This morning I woke up in Houston where it was already 75 degrees and not yet 7:30 am. Four hours later I'm having lunch at my favorite diner on Broadway in cool, rainy Chicago. I love Stella's Diner and not just for the food. It's warm inside with large windows from which you can watch the people outside. About every third person that enters the restaurant recognizes someone else already eating. The wait staff acts like they really know you if nothing more than their second cousin's best friend from college whom they met once but have never forgotten. The manager, a large man that wears only Hawaiian shirts and talks about cars helps all the families carry in their babies or seats their children while telling a funny joke. I smile as content familiarity fills my mind. I used to live in this part of Chicago known as Lakeview. Little did I realize at the time when I moved what a great part of town I had selected.

There really was no science behind it. I knew I wanted to live in the downtown - close to the culture and far from my office. I ended up with just what I was looking for which also included a nearly 2 hour work commute in traffic, but I still would consider it worth it. I found a newly remodeled flat at the end of a tree-lined side street. The flat was perfect with 2 bedrooms, wood floors, a fireplace and a bay window with a view to the life outside. My neighbors incidently were The Blue Man Group who based their Chicago shows at the Briar Street Theatre with which I shared the back alley. Granted there were nights when I felt the frustration of coming home late only to be blocked for nearly thirty minutes while waiting for traffic to let out from the evening's performance thus blocking access to my garage space. Then there was the large population of rats that fed on the left over food that served as props for the night's show. Captain Crunch, whipped cream and marshmallows would litter the asphalt where the dumpster sat, thus serving as an all-you-can eat buffet for those (not-so) little rodent bastards. One morning I went to my car and found several containers of used marshmallows on the top of my car. They had spilled, of course, and contents were spread around quite nicely with the tiny outlines of rat prints stamped in it as if to mimic a miniature Hollywood walk of fame. However, that was still better than the homeless guy I found sleeping under my car on another cold morning. Despite our little differences, The Blue Man Group and I existed in relative harmony thus maintaining the eco-balance of urban Chicago.

I am sitting in an Argo Tea as I write this. My Mate' Late depleted with the empty cup winking at me as I consider getting another. Argo Tea isn't exactly an independent coffee shop, in fact it's really just the "tea alternative" version of Starbucks only with a less commercial feel to it. There are plenty of the hard-core purist coffee shops that require at least one genuine body piercing in order to drink there (in fact I can think of one where you get a new piercing with each coffee and on your twelve epidermal hole-punch you get your next drink or tetanus shot free); however, I came to Argo, not for the authentic Bohemian feel, but because it was close, had free wifi and large windows that allowed me to observe through glass the people of Lakeview as if they were an exhibit of sorts. Today is no different in that respect. It's in the upper 40's today, overcast and wet. Fall leaves are still on the trees, but most lie matted on the streets and sidewalks forming oddly patterned quits that hide the pavement. People walk all over them. The kids shuffle through them breaking their continuity. The adults walking by look down, then up and keep on walking. Mothers push strollers through the leaves stopping periodically to peek over the stroller cover to check if their baby is awake, or asleep, or wet, or cold. But everyone keeps walking in their way.

As they go by I watch their faces. I like to play a game as I watch them trying to guess which ones are happy and which ones are just numb to life. I make snap decision. "Happy... sad... really happy... high... kicks his dog (that one is easy because they are kicking the dog as I watch)." I harbor a certain impatience in making my little judgements because what I'm really wanting to focus on is what they are wearing. It's superficial to a certain extent on my part, but I love to see what they have on. Given the weather the corresponding fashion requirements are a favorite of mine. I love that layered look. Designer jeans and chunky boots, turtle neck sweaters and wool petty coats. Some of the women wear hats. The businessmen where heavy fall suits in natural hues; some have overcoats and leather gloves. There is one item in these people's wardrobe choices that I value above all over. Scarves. They are something you rarely can wear in Houston unless hiding hickeys from family and co-workers, but here in Chicago at this time of year they are as essential as air itself.

I love the fashions prevalent in the north. For whatever reason I attribute it to a perception of looking smarter. Looking smart is almost as important to me as actually being smart. Hell, if the truth be known given a situation where I met someone that was a complete mental reject, but they dressed smart and could at least speak in coherent sentences I would likely have a higher opinion of them than I would of some Einstein member of Mensa wearing cut offs and a t-shirt proclaiming either his unflinching desire to "Do Chicks" or his work as an FBI agent... FBI being the acronym for Female Body Inspector."

There's another superficiality that attracts me to walkers of Chicago. Smoking. I'm not an advocate of the practice, but yes, I smoke (and quit and start again and quit, etc) and I am aware of the health hazards but damn it nothing looks cooler than to have a cigarette wedged between the fingers of your hand as it swings back and forth in perfect step with your stride. It hangs at your side like perfect walking companion, conversing with you in each long drawn out drag. Houston recently banned smoking in all public buildings to include bars and clubs creating the impression that the act of smoking is on par with necrophilia. In Chicago, you just look cool.

My time is almost up and I need to get on the road now. My visit has been an unexpected treat. I miss Chicago very much even though it was one of the loneliest times in my life. Of course that has all changed for me and for the better I might add. I am very happy where I am at in life and in Houston, but there are times when I think back to my short stint in Chicago and I fantasize about transporting my entire life, friends, family, job, girlfriend, church, etc there. I know that's just not possible, but today at least allowed me to indulge in my little day dream and for that I am content. As a parting sentiment I think I'll a pack of Malborow Lites and take one more stroll up the street.



I know I've already made one plug for CBS's Television drama "The Unit," but here I go again. I have to watch this show alone because I find myself tearing up so many times through the course of an hour you'd think I'd been subjected to 12 straight hours of Extreme Makeover Home Edition. The story lines are both powerful and realistic covering not just the shoot-em-up-bang-bang aspect of the soldiers themselves, but also an equal dedication to the lives of the wives at home as they deal with their own issues most of which are unrelated to what their husbands are involved in. Over the course of the last two weeks' the soldiers and their families have had to deal with the unexpected death of one of there own killed in action during a mission in the Middle East.

The plot covers the subject from a number of different angles running the gambit of the expected such as the girlfriend left behind and the bewildered parents of the slain soldier, to the far more complex points of view of the NSA (National Security Agency) officer trying to keep a lid on the operation in order to preserve the President's Middle East initiatives, and the rescued, liberal journalist who, motivated by his sympathy for the people of Beirut and journalistic integrity, intends to "out" the otherwise secret mission conducted by the US on his behalf. As if these weren't enough to expound on, the plot even brings awareness to the very real stress currently placed on local chaplains trying to keep up with the numerous amount of memorial services required for the casualties of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Of course the point of view that gets the most attention is that of the fallen warrior's brothers-in-arms. The emotional impact is obvious, but unstated. Credit the writers and actors for not falling into the cliches of fist pounding and the "Dear-God-why-not-me-instead-of-him?" cry. Instead, the reaction could be felt only in their eyes - and not those long-contemplative stairs either, just simple and well-timed glances. Along with the glances was the team's resolve in completing their mission with an even greater level of composure and professionalism than before. In the face of this great personal tragedy, the members of the team instinctively understood the best way to honor their brother's death was to make sure it wasn't a wasted.

It's been said many times, but soldiers really don't fight for their country, they fight for the soldier next to them. The tougher the fight the stronger the bond. The stronger the bond the greater the degree of honor that exists. Honor... it's a horribly mangled concept these days or so it seems anyway. It's cliche to even discuss it, which only highlights our society's attitude toward the concept. Ironically, we downplay it's validity, but yet we harbor a deep respect for those that display a high degree of honor in their actions. Moments such as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina bring stories of honor and heroics to the forefront of our conscience and we applaud these heralded exploits. Over time, however, these stories dissipate like wisps of smoke from the rubble as complacency and cynicism fill the air once again as we fixate on acts of depravity instead.

I am a firm believer that for even the most cynical of hearts, people sincerely want to believe in the higher concepts of our humanity such as honor and integrity, yet they continually look for opportunities to discredit these concepts in daily occurrences. Why do they want to disappoint themselves? One reason is that by discrediting acts of honor they also lower the bar for their own actions, thus giving themselves an out when they act dishonorably themselves.

I also think that people consider honor and morality the same thing and because they don't consider themselves moral (or moral in relation to someone like, say, the Pope, or Mother Teresa) then holding themselves to acting honorably is out the window too. The two concepts are closely tied together for sure, but I would propose that they are not necessarily the same thing. That may sound controvercial, but rather than get too deep into this point I would tell you to go get your "situational ethics ball cap" on and watch the last two episodes of "The Unit." As you're watching it count the number of occasions when a complex moral decision had to be made (and made fast). What did the team do? Was it right or wrong? Was it is justified? At the end do you still think they are honorable men? Keep in mind one fact though. These men are tools asked to do work by a less-than-honorable government (only adding to the complexity), meaning their honor will even be tested by the very entity that is responsible for them.

I wonder sometimes if people get discouraged by examples of honor in that they don't feel they have it inside themselves to make those same honorable choices and so why even try? I'll admit I've felt this to an extent. My dream from boyhood was to be a soldier of the highest caliber. One that operated by a code of honor and professionalism required to deal with extreme situations, but it was not to be. When I gave up those dreams there was this feeling that my ability to be honorable had been robbed. I would instead be working for some company doing what I had to feed the greedy monster known as Corporate America. There was no honor in this and there was no allegiance by the people that worked with you. This played out a number of times in my career as I was stabbed in the back, bad-mouthed and discredited despite my many contributions to the company's success. In my mind it almost seemed like a waste of myself to act honorably in an environment that only paid feeble lip service to the concept. Yet, in spite of my thoughts I still did what was asked of me. I made my share of mistakes and didn't always make the right choices, but overall, I tried to act as honorably as I could even if I wasn't willing to admit that I was doing so.

As I have matured my view has changed. You either choose to be honorable or you choose not to. Recent events in my life have confirmed this for me. In the last few weeks I started one job and then had the opportunity for a better one present itself. With the newer job I was one of three candidates narrowed down from over 300 applicants and the only one from outside the company. The remaining interview process required to select from amongst the three of us was the most thorough I have ever been through, but in the end I was offered the position. When the offer was made I was told that management was actually looking for a reason not to hire me and went to great lengths to do so, calling over fifteen people that I had worked with or for that were not on my references sheet. They requested obscure documentation from me, conducted back ground checks and drug test and in the end in their words, "they couldn't find a chink in my armor." The more they dug they less they found. As it turns out it was my honorable reputation that got me the job that by all rights would have gone to the internal candidates.

In the other instance I received a call from my ex-wife. Anyone that is close to me knows the level of friendliness that exists between us (think Israel and the other guys nearby). I don't say that to be mean to her but rather to underscore the impact of what she called to tell me. "Thank you." That's what she said. "Thank you for keeping up with the child support and health care without missing a payment during the entire time you weren't working." (6 months to be exact). I was stunned that she appreciated or even acknowledged the fact at all. It would have been easy on my part to chintz out of making the payments. In fact I came across a whole organization that helps fathers reduce or eliminate child support, but as I read their material I got an increasingly uncomfortable feeling over the methods in which they utilized to "help" fathers out. Additionally, it didn't feel right to withhold money that directly impacts the welfare of my boys. As a father one of my biggest responsibilities is to provide for my family, not look for ways to cheat them by cheating the system. But greater than providing for them is the responsibility I have to teach them how to be honorable men themselves one day. I may not be a daily influence in their lives. Something I struggle with constantly, but at least their mother won't have to say that their dad is a dead-beat.

I'm not telling these stories because I want everyone to say what a swell guy I am, (and please do not leave any comments to those effect either - being honorable should be something we should expect in others and demand of ourselves). I say all of this as an admission that I mistakenly believed that I needed to be part of a covert special ops unit in order to live a life of honor, but I have been humbled in the realization that honor is an everyday trait irregardless of the extremity of circumstances. It's something that defines us in the eyes of others and it's the most critical when we don't think anyone (like old bosses and ex-wives) sees it.


Helluva Record

So my dearest and most beloved girlfriend Ashley has introduced me to the newest form of blogging narcissism known as the "stat counter." This simple little tool allows a blogger to see how many readers are going to their site on a daily basis, thus gauging the site's popularity. Of course in ascertaining the site's popularity what really is going on is that the author is actually ascertaining their popularity as a writer. "Ooooo Read me! Read me! Like me! Like me!" A high stat count for the author translates into, "Yes, yes, you should anoint me your king/queen and bow down to the almighty brain that feeds life into the listless monitor screen before which you sit." Conversely, a low count would be interpreted as, "They hate me and want me to drink Drain-O." The logic to this is a little off, but the basic thought process is nothing new for writers, artists, singers, etc who want some assurance that what they are doing has at least some degree of meaning for others. Nothing wrong with that. Knowing that what we do and what we create finds a place in this big world gives us a sense of satisfaction and belonging.

Take Ashley for example. Periodically she will flip open her laptop. "127 and it's only 7pm." she announces. She'll put the dinner plates in the dishwasher and check again, "131, good!" Thirty minutes later, "Hmm 132? Something must be wrong." The routine is similar to that of husband being forced to watch Grey's Anatomy but trying to catch the score of a major football game during the commercial breaks. Once the game clock hits zero (meaning bed time) Ashley checks the final tally for the day. If it's high then I find her scepter and Ashley goes to bed happy and thus Ron goes to bed happy. If the count is low then Ashley goes to bed sad and thus Ron... well, Ron waits till Ashley brushes her teeth, then he hides the Liquid Drain-O and clicks onto her bog page as many times as he can to inflate the count knowing that Ashley will double check the count after emerging from the bathroom ("Wow, 79 people read my blog in the time it took me to brush my teeth! Yay, me!") ... and thus Ron goes to bed happy.

I have to admit I have been tempted to add the stat counter tool to my blog. When you check the counter it's formatted into all these bars and graphs that can be sorted and arranged and rearranged plus there are colors - lot's of them. If I'm a sucker for anything - anything aside from cool hand bags, back packs, legal pads, ripped up designer jeans, Star Wars toys, superhero cartoons, Starbucks hazelnut lattes and organic peanut butter - I'm a sucker for glittery, shiny, multi-colored graphs that arise from data that I have created ("Mmmmmm, glittery, shiny, multi-colored graphs from data I have created, aurrrrrrrrrrg!"). Despite the temptation I have held off. Ashley, knowing my weakness, is not much of a help as she regularly flashes me the screen shots verifing the random numbers she's blurts out in tourettes-like fashion.

"Honey, I don't need a stat counter on my blog. It's very easy for me to count to three or four." I reason this to her with a reference to the fact that only she and my family read my blog, which I write so infrequently that I can't maintain any consistent readership thus further justifing no need for a stat counter.

"Ooooo, look! 219! That's the third highest count I've had for a Tuesday this year." and she starts to close the laptop but pauses for a moment. She looks down at the glow stretching out from the sliver of light created by the monitor and then she presses it shut. The metallic click triggers what I know is coming. "See Honey, how it works is, the more you blog, the more people will read your blog and the higher your blog counter goes up." The periods in her sentences come in the combined form of a smirk, shrugging shoulders and her eyes rolling up toward the ceiling. It's adorable.

"Ohhhhhh, that's it huh? Right. Got it."

Catching the sarcasm in my voices she gets up. "219. That really isn't as good as last Thursday's 221." She frowns by making pouty-lips. "I'm going to brush my teeth now," and off she goes to the bathroom, while I reach for her computer.

In the big scheme of things I started to think of the stat counter for my own life and it goes something like this:

35 years and 8 months on this earth
1 Mother
1 Father
3 Sisters
3 Brother-in-laws
3 Nieces
1 Nephew
3 Marriage proposals
2 Accepted
1 Marriage
1 Divorce
3 Sons ages 8, 5, & 3
1 Incredibly gorgeous, loving and talented girlfriend
Up-teen former girlfriends (necessary to find 1 incredibly, gorgeous, loving and talent girlfriend)
A ton of good friends
3 Really close friends
1 God
1 Saviour
1 Guiding Spirit
30 MG of Vyvanse once a day
50 MG Lamictal once a day
25 bucks spent per week on Starbucks Lattes (Ya, $100 friggin' dollars on coffee a month!)
3 Jobs in the last year
2 Job resignations in the same time
1 Middle finger
$734.87 in "re-appropriated" office supplies
4 Address changes in a year (Houston, Chicago, Arkansas, and Houston)
6 Different cell phone numbers in a year
431 comic books read in 9 months
Innumerable experiences and

1 pretty good life.

PS. Ya, and I added the stat counter to my page.... 14 hits and it's only 11am! Woooo Hoooo!



Ok, what was Ron for Halloween? uh, weeeeeellll... let's put it this way. One night my best friend Mark and I are watching monday night football while drinking beer and out of the clear blue I announce, "I know what we can be for Halloween!" Mark's eyes light up as he visualizes the pure spectical we would create. "Yeeees!" and we punch our fists together the way that macho men do when they want to punctuate moments of masculine, beer-drenched bonding. Two days later I get a call. "Hey, we got most of the stuff for our costumes. Erin's gonna start sewing stuff on tonight..."

"Huh?" seeing as I take the call in the middle of work my confussion is all the more compounded. "What are you talking about, BubbaGanoosh?"

"You know, the costumes... for Halloween. Erin won't be able to start on mine because apparently it is impossible to locate a man-size, extra large uni-tard in the 3rd largest city in the US... ya, go figure!"

A foggy memory of beer, football and fist punching floats into view and the rest, as they say, well the rest you can see for yourself....

PS - we were a hit to say the least.
PPS - yes, Mark's wife Erin hand-sewed the costumes for us and did a great job - there was no doubt that Mark and I were truely Fire n Ice (Blades of Glory)
PPPS - when my oldest, Noah asked what I was going to be for trick or treat I explained that I was going to be figure skater to which he replied, "Dad, I'm having a hard time seeing this..."


School Project

Noah has to do a school project with pictures of any of his family in the military which means his grandpa and me. Thought it would be fun to post the pics here as well. The ones of me are hokie, but it meant allot to have my dad pin on my Lieutenant bars at my commissioning ceremony. The photos of him are his profile and award pics as the 1st Special Forces Soldier of the Month Award.... and now you can see where Noah's headed.


Wanna Meet the REAL Jesus?

Think you know the real Jesus? Probably not. This is the Jesus I was taught to believe in... that's my problem.

... for more on the real Jesus and how he can save your soul from damnation check out the below link for more information (requires a myspace account). God save us all.


For All You Bible Scholars

I really wish that my instructors at Calvary Baptist Christian Academy and Lyona Bible Church would have used Legos instead of the "flannel graph Jesus" to teach me the great stories of the Bible. Who knows, I may have had a stronger and deeper faith... I know I would have at least laughed my ass off in any case.

This link says it all....


Deep Thought for Today...

Ya, and then I go and post something like this...


Robbie Seay Band

It's been a while since I've blogged but between the job search, running errands, phone calls and averting nuclear disaster in southern Russia I've been a little distracted. It's easy to get caught up in the swirl until you realize you are the stunt double in "Flushed Away." Then you realize the further horror that "Flushed Away" is a cartoon with no need for stunt doubles, which either freaks you out or establishes the fact that it's not real.

In any case it's easy to overlook the deeper, more important things. That statement is so cliche, I know, but when I lose that perspective I start to feel I am not in touch with the world around me and my sensitivities and gratitude are down the drain. Then something comes along - a person, a news story, words in a book, a song - and it snaps you back.

This morning I slid in my burned copy (Ashley has my original as she has her "band-crush" going. I have "man-crushes" and she has "band crushes" - ya, we're a match) of The Robbie Seay Band's new album and it brought tears to my eyes. In fact, when we sing those songs during church I am thankful that the lights are low because I can never finish singing without getting choked up. It's fairly consistent and I'm not sure why this is. My best attempt at understanding my reaction is that the music can both be soulful and reflective and then build to hopeful and upbeat. Combine this with lyrics that aptly describe the hurt and fear I feel/have felt while offering the sincere picture of a loving God who is there to give joy and bounty to the poor.

Together these two factors poignantly remind me of how real my life is and how real a God in heaven is despite the circumstances that can carry me away from reality.


I Have A Job

I Gotta Job!!!
When people ask me what I do for a living I no longer have to reply that I have no job... and that I sit around watching Opra, read comic books and make new layouts for my MySpace page all day. I have a job here in Houston and I am very excited about the opportunity. For reasons, I can't announce who it's with just yet, but it's on the higher end of the housing market (which is the strongest part of the market now). I'll be working as a Sales Manager again and have wide parameters to operate under - which will be weird after my Lennar hell.

Thanks everyone for you prayers and support. If there is anything I can do for anyone let me know.

Ok, on the flip side my cousin Jeremy was let go along with a number of other good people by my former company Lennar (aka Gaynar). This was no suprise as the company announced to Wall Street that is was 44% below projections and would be laying off more people. We are working to find him and the others jobs so those of you in Houston, if you hear anything let me know.


Oh Ye of Little Rythm

All, thought many of you would find this helpful in your day-to-day lives. I love good 'ol practical knowledge....


The Unit on CBS

The Unit
Ok, everyone knows what my favorite show is but a very close second is "The Unit" on CBS... watch the last episode from season 2 is Friday at 8 central and the season premier is TUESDAY the 25th at 8 central. The show is a very realistic account of the elite Delta Force unit with the Army's Special Forces Command. Not only does it deal with the soldiers in the unit but it also covers the lives of the wives and families of these soldiers as well. People, understand I am the most critical person ever when it comes to watching war-themed movies and television but The Unit is about as close to real as you can get in both drama and action. This is mainly due to the fact that it is based on the real-life exploits of SMG Eric Haney - one of the original members of Delta Force. I've read SMG Haney's book "Inside Delta Force" and it is one of the most increadible collections of heroics I have ever come across.

Check out my Top 10 Episodes of The Unit


Why I Like Superman. Part 1 - Origins

Why I Like Superman: Part 1 - Origins.

I’m so excited I can barely stand it. “Why?” you may ask. Well, sillies, this week is a big week for us Superman fans as it marks the release of both Season 6 of Smallville and the made-for DVD movie Doomsday, The Death of Superman (based on the popular graphic novel). Oh, and it doesn’t stop there as next week is the season premier for Season 7 of Smallville. I actually got chills this evening when I saw the latest previews for it on TV. Admittedly, I am a nerd… and it’s a fact I am not embarrassed about (mainly because I have accrued enough “cool” points in the other areas of my life so, even with the deduction for being a Superman fan I’m still waaaaaaaay above average… I get tons of bonus points for my sense of humor alone).

It’s been mentioned that my MySpace page, my phone screen-save, my ring tone, my book-shelf contents, Halloween costumes, um, and oh ya, this blog all have “subtle” hints of Superman-related themes. I’m often surprised at how many people pick up on these hints, which of course prompts them to ask me what the deal is with my “obsession.” After gently rebuffing them for their overly, dramatic assessment of my ability to tastefully coordinate themes across a variety of mediums in order to create a solid “branding” image for myself, I then go on to explain that, “it’s a long story.” (Note: When I say, “it’s a long story,” what I’m really saying is, “I don’t really want to get into that right now because it would require me to engage my brain in a way that I cannot unless I have had caffeine, and besides, I really haven’t given it much thought.”). Frankly, I’ve gotten tired of all the rebuffing in this matter and with the impending releases this week I figured it would be an appropriate time to share with family, friends and fans my “casual interest” with Superman.

Let me begin with how this all got started. As a kid I wasn’t much on superheroes, comic books and the like. My interests were more mature in nature - Star Wars and GI Joe. The concept of heroes in tights with their underwear showing seemed… well, not manly. Besides, I knew I stood a much better chance of attracting women with my extensive knowledge of the Force and my vast collection of action figures than with capes and flashy costumes. But 30 years later Wal-Mart changed my mind (thank you Sam Walton for reducing the American people’s cost of living with reasonably priced consumer goods and volume purchasing model). That’s right, Wal-Mart.

Going through the store I came upon a rack of DVD box sets on sale one of which was the first season of Smallville. If you are not familiar with the show Smallville is the story of Clark Kent’s late teen/early adult years in his hometown of Smallville, Kansas where he develops into who we all know as the current version of the Man of Steel. The creators brilliantly use what is known as “retroactive continuity” to introduce the fabled events that play into the legendary elements that are widely recognized as cannon in Superman lore. Is it ER or West Wing? No, but it incorporates all the elements of good story telling without letting the campi-ness often associated with comic book characters to get in the way. I was hooked and even when Sam Walton wasn’t rolling back prices I was purchasing the next season as soon as I finished the last.

What intrigued me more than anything, as I watched each season, was how someone with the power to do pretty much anything he wanted harnessed that power with an internal strength of character that would have to be even greater than his physical strength. Superman is an alien that has no real obligation to the human race and in fact, he could conquer and rule the planet at will. However, he does not. Instead, Superman becomes a self-less champion of the human race associated with the paradigms of truth, justice and the American way, and he does so both with steadfastness and compassion. So where did this unstoppable alien being develop into “the Big Blue Boy Scout” as he is often cynically referred to by friend and foe alike? Simply enough, in a loving home on a farm in the rural heartland of America. It doesn’t get anymore Mom, and apple pie than that.

This is what the show Smallville is about. In episode after episode Clark uses his emerging powers to save the day while his parents, Martha and Jonathan provide the strong (but not overbearing) moral compass that guides the most powerful being known to man. (Kind of like Mary and Joseph with Jesus… by the way, the fact that Clark’s and Jesus’ parents share the same first initial is not a coincidence, but that’s a whole another blog).

Impatiently, I devoured each episode, eager to see what new Superman element would get introduced, and eventually I burned through each of the seasons in short order. When I ran out of seasons to watch, fan magazines to purchase and websites to surf, my focus expanded to Superman’s character as a whole, which led to comics and graphic novels that covered the key milestones of Superman’s career. Of course having three boys, they became the perfect “cover” for my increasing interest in the baby from Krypton. I’m very thankful my boys have been very supportive of my hobby especially with all the new toys, games and storybooks that are all part of the perks that go along with Daddy’s habit.

As my research widened I was delighted to come across intellectual writings on the character of Superman (and comics in general), which now provided an overt legitimacy to my study. I no longer had to use my children as a means to mask my secret nerd identity. Now I could be a legit nerd without the fear of ridicule from fellow adults… almost like wearing flashy tights with the underwear over the top while grocery shopping. Digging further, I came discovered volumes (seriously) of Superman-related subjects ranging from sociology and ethics to Nietzsche and Jesus (In the first episode of Smallville, Clark trips spilling his books, the first of which is one on Nietzsche – again, not a coincidence. I love this show!).

Even with the plethora (I have to use fancy talk as I write this so you will believe me to be intelligent despite my choice of subject matter) of information readily available, my focus continued(s) to be on the morality, selflessness and compassion that firmly center Superman’s heroic actions. I’m fascinated with Superman’s ability to self-govern himself in order to keep his power in check, even going so far as to give his friend Batman a kryptonite (radioactive fragments from his home planet that render his superpowers useless) ring in the event Superman goes off the deep end and needs to be stopped. Self-control, accountability and trust by someone who could freeze you instantly, crush your skull like an egg and then incinerate your body with his heat vision. (By the way, Batman is an interesting BFF for Superman, but that’s another blog too).

Ok, so that all explains the “how” part of my interest in Superman along with the impetus that continued to fuel that interest. However, you may be wondering, with all the avenues of related study, why the Man of Steel’s moral composition is the element that holds the most intrigue for me. All I can say is it’s a long story.

To Be Continued… Next up, Part II: Small Town Values and the Big Blue Boy Scout


What Superhero Would You Be?

Ya, I was a sucker for this when I saw it, but I'll admit I was thrilled to find out that it actually scientifically matched me as being closest in personality to my favorite superhero. My testimony alone should suffice in authenticating the irrefutability of this test. So which one are you? Follow the link and find out, then let me know!
Keep in mind this is a "values and personality" based test (so the fact that it matched me with 4 women means nothing). My results ranked by percentage were as follows:

90% SUPERMAN "Strong, Mild-mannered, Always looking to help others" (Hey, the survey's words, not mine!)

85% Spiderman (I don't have the angst, plus my girlfriend isn't a ditz - quite the contrary!)

62% Robin (I'm nobodies sidekick. Note the big drop in %)

60% Hulk (I only get this way when counting sheep or when I run out of TP mid-mission)

50% Supergirl (I'm guessing the 40% difference from her cousin is because I'm not a girl)

50% Green Lantern (I think he's a wuss. His power comes from a fashion accessory... a ring)

40% Wonder Woman (I wish I had an invisible jet)

40% Flash (It's the fact we're both smart mouths)

40% Iron Man (I have no clue - He's a Marvel Comics guy not DC)

25% Catwoman (Has to be a tie to my leather body outfit fetish)

20% Batman (My son Noah will be disappointed but I guess I'm just not a vengeful guy)

Here's the link for you:


Three Indians Around a Campfire

Ok, so there were three Indians sitting around a campfire. Do you have the image? Good. Now put that off to the side because we're going to come back to it later (my apologies to all you Native American enthusiasts, but hold on to your loin-cloths for a moment). As I mentioned in my previous blog I have been busy interviewing this last week - one to two a day in fact. This is extremely flattering to me, but I have been blessed with solid experience and it appears to be paying off currently. Yet, at the same time I am humble enough to know that doesn't ensure my success in the future. I never want to let my past accomplishments blind me to the realities of a future employer's high expectations for me.

It's funny because there are so many books, recruiters and advisers that coach you on how to conduct yourself in an executive level interview. About 90% of what these resources focus on is the image you project of yourself via not just your answers, but how you shake hands, sit in a chair, the tone you use in responses, etc. Again, that's no surprise to anyone, but as I get dressed every morning and run through the mental checklist of items I need to be cognisant of I start to get annoyed. Why? Because all the crap that I "should" do to get the job is not me at all. Right up front I'm supposed to indirectly lie to an employer in order to get what I want.

Yes, I understand that you need to make a good impression that distinguishes yourself from other candidates, and conveys your ability to get the job done. But, everyone is so prepped for interviews that it's easy to "look" the part and not be anywhere near able to do it. Today, in fact, as an interviewer was preparing me to take the company's aptitude test he actually said, "On, the background and preferences portion of the test you need to pick these answers if you want to be considered for the job." I'm thinking, "Ok, what if that's not me? What if I get the job and I hate it and I hate you and I suck and then you hate me cause you think I suck? Guess who's to blame, pal?"

I took the test, only because I like to answer questions about myself. It makes me feel listened to. In fact I tried to answer every question the opposite of what I thought they were looking for which wasn't much of a stretch from what my real answers would have been. After I finished, a nice lady from HR took me to a conference room and congratulated me on passing the test, thus being accepted for the next round of interviews... HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! As she launched into the details about having limited time to meet next week I politely cut her off and explained (in professional terms) I didn't need this shit, but thanks for wasting my (in professional terms) F#%ing morning, and have a nice life. Of course she looked surprised like I had just took a million dollars, set it on fire in front of her and then pissed all over it to put out the flames. She did a sign of the cross as I left because I'm sure she thought I was the devil.

Granted, my imagery and language are little over the top, but every time I dig out that white shirt and start flipping that necktie - you know, the red one... the "power" tie you're coached to wear so you can project confidence in the interview... Oh, but wait. What if you are interviewing with the owner of the company and he isn't wearing a redder, more powerful tie than you? Is he going to turn you down because your tie made him feel insecure in that one day you might take his job? Gosh, now what? I'm not kidding! It gets worse though. I've been coached that on lunch interviews always order fish because it's not the most expensive thing on the menu which makes you not look like a mooch, but it's also not the cheapest thing which ensures you don't look like an ass-kisser, plus you don't have to chew fish which makes it easier to answer questions and allows you to finish your meal on par with your interviewer. Oh, and don't grab the salt and start dumping away the minute your plate hits the table. Good lord, your future boss will think you impetuous and rash - the horror! Instead, take a bite or two then add salt if you must, but remember adding salt is generally unhealthy so your employer may think that you don't take good care of yourself. Um, screw that! People, you want to see me project power in an interview? Ok. I started going to interviews commando. It's my little joke and besides, my interigators think the smile on my face is a sign I am an agreeable and friendly person. Little do they know.

When you boil all this down it comes down to one word - posturing. Our culture - like the interviewing process as an example - kind of forces it, and it's an easy trap for everyone to fall into without thinking, but I'm going to focus my thoughts towards men here. I'm not going to be a hypocrite as I am consciously guilty of it myself - in fact I will even use it to my advantage in certain situations. Is it right or wrong? Clearly there are times when it's wrong while at the same time there are times that it can also be justified (notice I didn't say "right"). I guess what I'm saying is think about either the people you know or someone from history that had an image that was true to themselves. It wasn't really an image at all because it was their true likeness and more often than not they earned a level of respect and admiration for being themselves. You know what else? They seem like very happy people too and I think that's because they aren't struggling with that fight between who they are and who they should posture themselves to be.

There are allot of angry men out there (hell, I was one) that are struggling with who they really are and who they are told they "should" be. Take a minute and think about all the words that are used to characterize men and then conversely, think of all the words that can be used to characterize men but aren't considered manly (stick to the positive descriptions - yes, we all can be asses but you know what I'm saying). How different are they? If you took all the un-manly ones to describe a guy you know in a complimentary way how would they react if you shared that with him in front of other guys? Maybe this isn't a perfect scientific experiment but in general I'm trying to demonstrate the image men have to project especially in front of other men.

My favorite place to observe this is in clubs... ones with lots of women present. I love watching guys trying to out-posture other guys who are trying to do the same thing for the attention of a women. Ya, it's natural selection and all, but it's funnier than clowns sliding in shit. They stand there with arms crossed so their arms look bigger, they talk about how much they make, they're decked out in "playa" (play-er: (n) from the Latin meaning horny male looking to nail as many chicks as possible in his lifetime. Also known as a "tool.") clothes. They peel out of the parking lot on their custom rims fitted special to their KIA Spectra and they brag about how much they can drink. The lists goes on. You get the picture. When I'm in observation mode many people mistakenly interpret this as a lack of confidence on my part, but remember what I was saying about using posturing to my advantage?

No, this isn't the part where I talk about how I have it all together, because to get into comparisons is a big part of what fuels this behavior. Frankly, I have my moments too. I'm human and to deny that would be just as a big a lie. In fact, there was a time when posturing so dominated my behaviour I lost sight of who I was. Thankfully, over time and through circumstances I finally came to a place where I centered in on what was real in me (I'll skip the boring details, but pissing on a pile of flaming money figures prominently into the equation). I've even gotten to the place where I can recognize when I'm centered and when I'm posturing. When I'm posturing is easy to see. I just have to be honest with myself and ask why am I trying to put some other guy down in front of a girl or why am I driving like Steve McQueen when I have a female passenger. But when I'm centered the quickest way I realize it is by how others react to me which usually comes in two forms. One reaction is completely disarming even to the biggest posing, posturing, knuckle-dragging, meat head, but interestingly enough, the other reaction is a palpable nervousness. What's also interesting is the fact that the nervous reaction usually gets flushed out of people I thought had it together.

Now here's the kicker to the whole thing. If you are true to yourself and confident about it you can't go around telling everyone. If you are they will know. I was talking to my father recently and in the course of the discussion I pointed out how intimidated our former pastor was of my dad. My dad seemed genuinely surprised by this, so I pointed out some examples of how our pastor reacted to a few situations involving our family and even how he exploited some of our family's vulnerabilities in order to make himself feel a little better. What I noticed was that my dad has always had this quiet confidence that people responded to naturally. A trait that made the pastor nervous. I could tell my dad was flashing that sly grin on the their end of the phone. He knew what I was talking about, but at the same time he wasn't going to claim it either. If you have to point it out then you aren't, which brings me to the story of the three Indians around the campfire.

On the plains of Nebraska three weathered old Indians sat around the village campfire late one night. As they sat gazing into the dying flames, the first Indian stood and broke the silence with a grunt.

"Um, when young warrior, I travel many moons on foot to steal horse from pale face soldier. I kill many pale-face soldier with bare hand, steal many horses and honored as great warrior."

The other old Indians nodded thoughtfully acknowledging the bravery of such a feat. In turn the second Indian stands and steps closer to the crackling fire.

"Um, with hunting party as young warrior great Grizzly big like tree attack young warrior and I kill with bare hands and bring great Grizzly hide to Chief. Me honored by Chief as brave warrior."

The other Indians again nodded thoughtfully in their admiration for the courageous feat, however, after a few minutes of silence the first two warriors Indians looked to the third with the anticipation of his act of Indian bravery. The third Indian sits there stone-faced, looking into the darkness. The first two Indians begin to feel shame and embarrassment for their fellow tribesman because they interpret his silence as an admission that he has no story to share. To their relief the third Indian finally stands and moves to the fire, but again says nothing. The first two Indians begin to feel uncomfortable again and they slowing look at one another to relieve the tension some. However, as they swing their gaze back to their stone-faced friend they notice that the third Indian is stoking the fire's glowing embers with his dick!

There are many lessons I have yet to learn, many mistakes to suffer through and many success to yet be proud of but through it all I hope that deep inside I am always like the third Indian - confident of his strength, reluctant to use it for show, but ultimately recognized as strong through his actions and not his words.


By Popular Demand

Yes, I know try to contain yourselves... sorry I haven't posted in a few days as I have been full-time interviewing (which I'm not complaining about). All is going well so we will see what I end up doing. Honestly, I'm in no rush and I'm wondering why I didn't take up "slacking" earlier in my life choosing instead to be all responsible and mature. Well, I don't have the time to blog anything right now either, but I'll get back to it soon. So instead I am running re-runs of Classic Krusty until I return.... oh, we don't have those films anymore? Hmm. Ok. In that case a number of you that don't have access to my MySpace page have been asking to see some of my other paintings so, by popular demand here they are.


Valentine Wine Pastel on paper 12x16

The Succubus Acrylic on canvas 28x38

The Midnight DJ Oil on canvas 28 x 42

Sweeps Me Off My Feet Acrylic on canvas 28x36

Red Dress Ruffle Acrylic on canvas 12x16

Girl in a Brown Dress Acrylic on canvas 28x42

Blue Necklace Acrylic on canvas 12x16

The Flatfoots Acrylic on canvas 36x24

If you'd like to purchase one let me know =-) Some are already sold - Thanks


What's Scarier Than Being Alone?

Ok, here's one of those thoughts that's rattled around loose in my head for a few weeks. What's scarier than living alone for the rest of your life? For some people, oddly enough, it's finding someone to live the rest of their lives with. Why do I say that? For some people the idea of really having to expose who they really are in order to be with the person they were meant to be with outweighs the easier road of just remaining alone. I don't necessarily see it as a good or bad thing, but rather a choice. What I think isn't good is to choose to be with someone but then choose not to open yourself up to them. It probably happens more often than not in relationships, marriages and even with God, while the consequences more than likely aren't going to be happy ones.

So what prompted this? Initially, it formed as I reflected on past relationships and then a little more as I discussed it with my sister, Ness a few weeks ago. Then this weekend I was reading a bio on my favorite painter (see earlier post) Jack Vetrianno. He had been married once, but it didn't work and after such he pretty much all but shut out the idea of intimate relationships choosing instead to devote himself to painting. There are a number of things that I share in common with Vetrianno's outlook, background and interests, but that concept just struck me as odd especially given the subject matter of his works. They are all about people and relationships (I attached a few more including one of his most famous).

As I thought about it more it occurred to me that for guys this concept gets pushed to an extent in our culture as "what a real man should be." Case in point - the last James Bond film. Critics loved it for its gritty realness. The new Bond was no longer the unfeeling agent of old that saw people - especially women - as a means to an end. In fact, the underlying premise behind this Bond was to actually show how he became so closed off in his ability to expose his inner feelings. If you think about it for a few minutes you can probably rattle off a dozen movies, TV shows, magazine adds, etc that attempt to portray men as loners that do not let their feelings become their weakness (or if they do it becomes the pinch for the plot).

Honestly, it's an easy trap to fall in. These are the characters and images I identify with, but at the same time I have hurt or been hurt for closing off when I shouldn't have. The trick, I suppose is to find balance in the dichotomy between strength and weakness as they both exist at the same time.


Getting Productive

Well, now that things have settled down a bit I'm finally getting productive again... of course I have shunned all my friends in the process. This project was my obsession for the last 3 days I had started it in Arkansas and when I got here I found three other projects I wanted to do instead but I stayed focused and disciplined which is weird, but whatever. I told myself I could do the other projects when I finished this one first and by golly I rushed, took short cuts and half-arsed my way to the finish. I may have focus and discipline but standards are out the window.

I call it - Drum roll, please.... "The Flatfoots." It's Acrylic on 30x40 canvas. It doesn't look to bad from far away - like say, Toledo. I got the idea from a photo series in a magazine layout... so I can't claim it as something that I yanked from my own tush, but I'm getting closer. Another 35 years and I think I'll have my style down and then I can work on making up my own junk. I at least was somewhat encouraged as I read my favorite painter's (Jack Ventrianno) bio and learned he was self-taught. If I can ever get close to his economy of brush-strokes and understanding of light I will be very happy indeed. I included a few of his paintings for reference.
Time for a nap.


Pearls Before Swine

I love this strip... Thank you Court!
(sorry, you may have to click on it to enlarge it on your computer)


Movie Recomendation: Stardust

If you get the chance go see the movie Stardust with Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert DeNero along with a brief appearance by Peter O'Toole (ya, who woulda thunk that?). It's fun, charming and romantic - I mean, if you're into that crap then you're going to love it. The movie is an adaptation of Neil Gaiman's novella of the same name in which a star (played by the ever charming Danes) falls to earth and is found by Danes' real life boyfriend Charlie Cox who plays the part of Tristan in the movie. However, there are others looking for the star as well to include a sisterhood of witches lead by Pfeiffer as well as a comical band of princes vying for the throne of their dead father. There are a number of other characters that keep the story moving. one of which is DeNero's hilarious portrayal of a gay pirate captain that hasn't quite come out of the closet yet. The movie is not perfect of course with a predictable ending, but all "happily-ever-after-fantasy-fair tales" are supposed to have an ending that everyone can guess. It's the ride to the ending that either makes it fun or a flop and this one is fun. My date (yes, I had a date. Stop with the kissy face noises) aptly compared it to The Prince's Bride in which case I can only say to my sisters - Ness, Cout, Ash - go see this movie and then buy the extended DVD version when it goes on sale. If I have to hear one more quote outta you from that silly Prince's Bride Movie I think I may jump from the Cliffs of Insanity. You guys need some new material, and I mean it... anybody got a peanut?

PS - Ness, take mom... dad will probably even like gay-DeNiro "Were you hittin on me?"


Things to do today

1. Laundry - I'm wearing my underwear inside out to get double the usage.

2. Empty Dishwasher - wait are those clean or dirty? Uh...

3. Turn Dishwasher on - not sure if current load was dirty or not so just to be safe

4. Take Job Tests - One of my job prospects which I am extremely well-qualified for requires preliminary testing of candidates. I didn't do so hot because I misread directions. I'm sure they think I'm a uni-brow'd knuckle-dragger and will pass me up for GIECO Caveman instead.

5. Get Prescriptions Filled - I've just been informed that I am certifiably insane. Oh, that's nice.

6. File Taxes - I got a notice that the IRS lost my 2005 tax filings. Thankfully they got the money and claimed I had a credit. I used Turbo Tax, but couldn't find the saved file so I had to redo my taxes all over again. On the bright side I did them wrong the first time and overpaid so I will get enough money back to take a date to McDonalds and share and ice cream cone.

7. File Claim with Insurance Company - Some drunk chick backed into my car last night. Drunk friends holler obnoxiously that I should get her number because she is hot - that may be but she is dumber than a bag-o-door knobs. When I get back, drunk friends want to know if I got her number. Duh! I kind of have to. Drunk friends are now honorary members of the "Bag-O-Door Knobs Club." Interestingly enough the several dents I have in my car have all occurred while at this bar and on one occasion after valet parking I got towed... Note to self - Stop going to this bar unless you are driving the Pinto. I am President of the "Bag-O-Door Knobs Club."

8. Update Addresses - needed to get new addresses out to all financial institutions and government agencies. The Department of Homeland Security is all over my case... jeez! one little bomb threat and they put you on a watch list... I was off my medication - how can you blame me.

9. Get New Drivers License and Car Registration - I just did this 5 months ago... oh, wait! That's right, I was in Arkansas... well, I got 90 days before I need to change to Texas so let's wait till the last minute.... 27 November 2007 - Perfect!

10. Job Search - Boooooooooring. I'd rather start a Chia Pet or something. Oooo! Shopping Spree at the Dollar Store!

Today is going to be productive. I can feel it!


The ADD Brain

I swear I'm probably the most selfish human being I know. Just about everyone I know has problems waaaaaay worse than what I have yet all I can do is sit around and feel sorry for myself. I've gotten to the place where I have stopped listening to myself because I am boring. There's a problem though - there's not just one voice that comes from my brain that I am ignoring. I'll put it this way. Get a bowl. Dump in some Rice Crispies and add milk, then stick your ear down close. Hear that? All the snapping, crackling and popping? That's about right.

No? Doesn't make sense? Not surprised. ADD'ers tend to make such far out associations that no one gets them. Let's try a different visual then. If you have cable go to the Bloomberg Channel. It's the one with two tickers running at different speeds with stock quotes at the bottom of the screen. In the top left side it usually has a box with headlines while in the right side there is some talking head expounding on the quotes or the headlines or both. Add a larger headline to the top of the entire screen and that should do it - no, wait. Take your remote and do a picture-in-screen of another channel that's showing Spongebob. Turn the volume to max. That's ADD. Scary part is even with all that going on at one time - as I sit with my Rice Crsipies and Bloomberg TV - on a good day it can all make sense. However, on a bad one you can't even finish snap, crackle... ooooooh, who lives in a pineapple under the sea.... and in other news! It's likly that you can never complete a freakin thought to save your life.

Not only that, you can never finish a project. Paintings and writing projects that captivated me days before sit incomplete for weeks, months and years. I have so many incomplete paintings I now make sure I do the "eyes" last so they literally don't sit there looking back at me wondering when I will give them life. I would have made one really poor mad scientist. I'd have a basement of half finished Frankensteins laying around on tables, beds, draped with sheets, shoved under beds in the guest rooms, deep freezer, tool shed, dog house, disguised as lawn ornaments.... see, it's more fun to come up with places to stash the "bodies" then it is to get that goofball Igor to get one fresh brain to bring si I could at least bring one of them to life in order to train to clean my toilets.

Understand that there are basically three types of ADD. One, of course is the hyper version. My best friend Mark has this and for as hyper as he is he self-medicates himself with - you will never guess this - with caffeine! He lives on Starbucks to the point they have named a drink after him call the "Black Mark" (get it), which essentially is a Venti Espresso with a shot of coffee. Then there is the second type which oddly is an over-focus caused when the chemicals that should flow between the connections in the brain (I know the technical jargon, I just can't spell it) move too slowly. When you have this version you literally can count the movement of mosquito wings and then ponder its impact on the air quality index in China. In other words you are so keyed into the fine minutia of a subject that the subject itself become irrelevant. And finally, there is the third version which is a combination of the first two. Experts consider this version to be the worst, because it's hard to treat given that one minute you can be in hyper mode which warrants a treatment that includes drugs to slow your brain down and then in an instant you are boring holes into concrete, in which case you would be given an amphetamine to stimulate those chemicals. Guess which one I have? Bingo! Ya, it can really suck.

Supposedly ADDers are supposed to be brilliant. It's true they are provided they can get what's in their head out there to do something with it. I've tried screwdrivers, oil filter wrenches and that nifty can opener that opens cans without the jagged edges. Other than pulling out chunks of hair I haven't been too successful. Without the ability to extract them they just sit there - well, not so much sit there as they do swim around rapidly while giving you the middle finger on every lap. Eventually you'd think they'd quiet down, but no it can go on for hours. Add stress, emotional duress, loneliness, depression, or fill in the blank with any other negative emotion and you just have created the incredible hulk. "MMMM, Hulk Mad!" End result - insomnia. You try to start counting sheep, but then the Hulk gets bored and starts punching sheep, then he's knitting wool sweaters, and finally he's wearing a sheep's head as a hat while driving a rented convertible Ford Mustang (with a black stripe) through 7 states... but still no sleep. That is where I am. It's been over 4 weeks and I'm averaging roughly 2 and a half to 3 hours of sleep a night and I think I am about at the end of my rope. I've tried over the counter sleep aids and after exceeding the recommending daily dosage I only get a headache. I actually don't want to go to the drug option - I have enough already (three is enough thank you) and I don't like turning to pills as an option.

You'd think with all this extra time not sleeping I would get more done right? Nope - I now have an average of 6 more hours a day to procrastinate. If I could get rich by procrastinating then I would be able to pay Bill Gates to clean my toilets on a regular basis. So there. I'm a whiny little "brat" (brat is my new term that someone called me recently). I have friends with major issues going on in their life like marriage problems, one was in a wreck while almost having their other car repossessed, one's dad is dying, and another thought her mom was having a mini-stroke, and yet another friend is in Iraq dodging bullets... and here I sit unable to sleep. I don't like me very much right now, but I do have the time to say a prayer for all my friends and family. If you can, say a little prayer for them too. Meanwhile I'm going to go stab my brain with a Q-tip.


Some Interesting Notes on Moving

Some Interesting Notes on Moving

Well, I made it and all in one piece so to speak. (Yes, Ness, it went smooth - Oh ME of little faith). First off I have to say thanks to all of you that helped otherwise I would still be in bed in Arkansas curled in the fetal position and rocking back and forth in complete denial.

Ness, thank you for helping me pack - your grace in ignoring my passive aggressive plea for help did not go unnoticed; however I am sorry I turned you sweet little kiddos into crack-fiending video game junkies looking for a fix... had school not started and distracted them you would hate me by now and I would be off the Christmas Card list for all eternity. I love you.

Robb, that hour or so that you helped was invaluable to the rebel cause... seriously. You were like Han Solo coming out of no where to blast Darth Vader out of the way so I could blow the Death Star to bits... keep the t-shirt... I picked that one special since it's the same color as your most favorite team - didn't know I could fit this much allegory and symbolism into one thank you.

Jeremy and Lucy, had the two of you not shown up I'm pretty sure I would have just started taking horse tranquilizers. You guys are both reliable and generous - not to mention impervious to pain which is good when hanging around me because when I make a plan I ensure there is a high degree of pain involved along with a low amount of common sense. How Lucy ever put up with my nonsense as a boss I will never know, but the divine purpose behind it must have been preparation for being your girlfriend, Jeremy. You are very lucky to have her. I'm sure she finds this much easier than working for me anyway. Hope you enjoyed driving the car... did you get it up to 120? (I don't want to know).

Mike, I'm glad your last name isn't Blanks-n-sht or Jeremy would have killed me in noon heat of Houston as we unloaded. I'm glad you had the energy to keep things on track, thus getting the truck unloaded in record time. As a token of my appreciation I have bestowed upon you the "golden plunger" which of course is no where near being golden in color, but in any case good luck finding it...ya, it's in your possession. I just can't say where.

That out of the way here are a few things I have noted about moving (I used the term "interesting" in the title but really that was just for marketing purposes to dupe you into reading this and thus validating my blog existence).

1. It is interesting what one considers edible during those transition periods of packing, moving and unpacking... for instance on one occasion while packing I quieted my hunger by eating expired turkey hot dogs with a slice of cheese, extra portions of mustard and ketschup all snuggly put into wheat buns that I picked all the mold off of (it was a 'loose' interpretation of the famed 10-second rule). The results of my cuisine were predictable.

2. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that you can time the amount of toilet paper on hand with your departure to your new location where, upon arrival, you intend to purchase more. When you have a 26ft moving truck at your disposal fitting an 8 roll pack of TP is not going to take up that much space. It retrospect this was simply one of the stupidest things I have done on a move (given item 1 or not). You have to understand that these are the little games I play in my life just to keep up the excitement for me... ya, I'm getting cable with DVR.

3. It's a scientific fact that when it's time to move all your friends will offer to help, but when it comes down to zero hour only an elite few will actually be there, a larger portion will apologize with the explanation that they wrote it down for the next weekend, while your very best friends will attempt to kill themselves while re-enacting a chase scene from Grand Theft Auto on I-10 in near hurricane conditions in order to have a good-enough excuse not to help. (It's ok, I forgive you... that's why we are friends, right?)

4. All those damn story problems that I used to get in math classes can come true although I still come up with the wrong answers... If one worn out skinny ass white boy leaves Fayetteville, Arkansas in a 26ft U Haul at 2pm while traveling 500 miles at an average speed of 43.5 mph, aaaaand his cousin leaves 3 hours latter from the same spot while driving a Dodge Charger at an average speed of 110 mph, aaaaaaaaand the cousin's girlfriend is frantically trying to keep up in her Toyota Camry at what point will the three vehicles intersect? Answer: The exit ramp at their destination 500 miles from the start point. (Ya, no joke - couldn't have even planned it that way.)

5. It was a blessing that God allowed me to be on top of my singing game as I drove - I was freakin Sinatra on this trip and was even nailing the high notes - YESSSSS!!!! Double blessing that he commanded all the radio stations along the route to play only songs I like and know... God's so cool! I sang so much I was dizzy and light-headed every time I got out of the truck - I looked like I was hopped up on something I'm sure but I sounded damn good... my vanity has no limits.

6. On the route from Dallas to Houston about 30 miles south of the Big D on I45 is a mile marker that indicates "Houston 170 Miles." No biggie, but 30 miles later there is another sign that says, "Houston 190 Miles!" ... TEXDOT, you lovable little scamps.... that's a good one, hahaha... I WILL KILL YOU A&%#HOLES!!!! DO YOU HEAR ME?!!! KIIIIIILLLLL YOU!!!! (PS - I have to drive to Dallas and back this week - can we say, "state-sponsored anger-management?")

7. Average truck speed first half of the trip - 53mphs. Average speed middle part of the trip 61 mphs. Average truck speed last hour of trip... let me put it this way. In the right weather conditions you can get a fully-loaded, 26ft long U Haul up to 85 mph (the speedometer only goes to 80 and then there are a few tick marks but you get the picture). By that point - in my 9th hour of driving with every one's high beams slapping me in the face from each mirror I realized that I am not as materialistic as I once believed. Renouncing all my worldly possessions I pushed the gas pedal to the floor and held the wheel steady as my cargo bounced around in the same fashion as those little ping-pong balls in a lottery machine. I actually caught air going over a few bridges alla Steve McQueen. The faster I went, the bigger the smile I got across my face thinking about the Texas Department of Safety Officer chasing me with the thought that this was the last vehicle he thought he'd be pulling over on a Friday night. If my singing voice would've held out a little longer, who knows? I might have just kept going... right on que George Strait starts up with "Amarillo by Morning."

8. "Packing Peanuts! Very Dangerous. You go first, Indy"

"Packing Peanuts. Why did it have to be packing peanuts..." Spill 'em on the floor and it's like trying to scoop up frantic field mice scattering in every direction... months later you'll find one or two still curled up under a chair or bookcase waiting to strick. I'll get you all if it's the last thing I do.

9. Three pounds of strawberry Twizzlers and 2 Cokes does not constitute a meal... at least this time I had a 8 roll pack (with aloe) handy. Of course I currently weigh 191 lbs so I highly recommend the Mover's Diet.

10. Going to the Galleria to buy watches is not a moving priority; however, changing your address for all your credit/bank cards is. Guess which one I did? Takes a lickin and keeps on tickin"

11. I've never moved back to somewhere that I previously lived - so my first Sunday Night in Houston and I had the urge to call in my Sales Numbers for the week to my old place of employment ... weird. Now, I'm wishing I would have just as a joke, but then again since I would have reported 0 Gross sales, 0 Cancellations for a Net of 0 Sales for the week they probably would've fired me for lack of performance.

12. A friend reminded me that I was moving in between a tropical storm and impending hurricane... I thought she was joking cause she's funny. Besides, I laugh at such dangers (provided there no packing peanuts involved). When my son asked if I was in Texas and I said yes he was very concerned, "You gotta get out of there dad, there's a hurricane coming!" Hmmm, guess she wasn't kidding - the fact that I don't have Internet or cable yet left me even further in the dark - luckily the hurricane is going to miss Houston, but you wouldn't have known it by the warning signs flashing along the major highways in the city... I stocked up on water, but it's too late to get renter's insurance as they write no new policies for renters or homeowners when a storm is in the gulf. Isn't the insurance racket swell? Oh, and my son's solution? Go stay with the X-in-laws that live north... He's so cute.... I'll take my chances with the hurricane.

I love my place - It is perfect for my narcissistic and artsy cliche lifestyle but the bedrooms are downstairs in a semi-basement set up which makes me feel like I'm living with my parents. "Hey, mom? What's for breakfast? Whaddya mean it's noon? No I didn't have any girls over last night? I don't need this crap right now mom! You know I'm a artist on the verge of being discovered; it's only a matter of time. Ok, ya, I'll get milk when I'm out today. ya..... I love you too."

I've included some pics of the living room area, kitchen and desk area... no bedroom shots though - it weirds me out to see pics of some one's bedroom on the Internet - it's even cheesier if it's a guy... and I have allot of pillows on the bed and I don't feel like explaining that to everyone, ok. Two words - Nate Burkus.

Thanks Again to everyone that helped out!

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