Monday, April 26, 2010

Like the chapters of a book

There’s something to be said of turning pages in a book, reading one page after another, experiencing the story, and waiting to see what’s beyond the current page. Turning to the next only to find that it’s half the size of the page before and a new chapter is about to begin.

Life is like that: chapter after chapter after chapter. One day to the next, one month to the next, one year to the next, one decade to the next. Sometimes the chapters seem very short and sweet, short and painful, long and boring, and certainly some seem long and burdensome. Sometimes you can’t wait to get onto the next, and sometimes you wish you could stay there forever.

Just like a book, we must continue on with the current chapter, patiently awaiting the next. Sometimes we may not like it, and grow impatient of the chapter’s end. Other times we may not like it, because it happened so fast and we wanted the chapter to go on. Either way, we always end up wanting more. Yearning for more. Waiting for what’s next.

It’s natural to read on only to see what’s coming on the next page, even if we’re struggling to get through the rough of the current chapter and wanting so deeply for something else… maybe sometimes even wishing to end the book right there.

Like the chapters of a book, no matter what we do we must continue reading(!)… for no other reason than if we don’t, we will not leave our current chapter, and will be left within for far too long.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Listening to questionable radio stations while at work

Today at lunch I decided to check and see if there is a BlackBerry app for Sirius radio. Sure enough, there is. And let me tell you… it’s the best. My workplace experience has now been revolutionized. I thought it was great to be able to listen to my iPod all day long, but now I can listen to my favorite music and talk radio from Sirius while at work.

One thing that may become a distraction is Playboy Radio. I didn’t think it would be available, but it is. For those of you who don’t know what the station is about, don’t let your mind wander too far – it’s not as bad as you may think…

You see, I don’t ever listen to Playboy Radio, it’s just never on my radar. When I get in my car, Octane 20 is always on. If I change the channel, it goes to Alt Nation 21. Patriot Radio is frequented during my lunchtime in the Jeep, and the news stations come on during commercials. But right now on my BlackBerry while at work, it seems the only interesting channel is Playboy Radio.

As strange as that may seem, here’s a short description of what it’s all about: it’s talk radio with colorful hosts, guests, and discussions about random subjects as listeners call in to ask questions and make different points, typically of adult nature. Granted, although the language is far from PG-13, it’s not even close to being a verbal description of an adult film. Think the articles throughout a newsstand edition of Playboy… that’s Playboy Radio.

If you thought you enjoyed your morning wake-up show on terrestrial radio, you have no idea what you’re missing with satellite radio. Think it’s not worth the few dollars a month? You’re probably wrong: no static, commercial-free music, big-name shows, and a constant channel on every road trip regardless of how many state lines you cross. Add in the ability to listen online, and now from your phone… even while at work! Think about it. Trust me, it’s worth it.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day, Year 3096, and Cold Elbows

Today, apparently, is Earth Day. The day the Earth was made? Probably not, but there’s a chance. Why not, though? It’s not like Christmas is the day that Jesus was born, so why can’t Earth Day be celebrated as the day the Earth was made? I think the world would celebrate a little more, and give a little more respect to the occasion and our home if we gave the Earth a birthday.

I spoke with a friend today and somehow the year 3096 came up. I don’t remember what the context was, but I had to pause and think about it: will humanity be around over a thousand years from now? Will we still be solely on this planet? Will we have colonized parts of space by then? Will the world be so overpopulated that only the rich and powerful live in space as the poor and weak suffer in the “slums” of Earth?

3096 is a long way off by our measure, but it’s really only just around the corner in the reality of the Universe.

Last weekend I went to a concert and was standing next to a guy whom I, obviously, didn’t know. The show goes on as these things tend to do, and people dance and groove in their space as desired. I don’t usually get bothered when people have a good time – I like to have a good time and let my hair down as well – but all of a sudden, this guy just seemed entirely too close and was definitely invading my space. I didn’t really notice until his elbow touched me. The only thing I noticed at that point, and which started my dislike for the guy, was that his elbow was extremely cold… unnaturally cold. I almost felt disgusted.

Needless to say, I promptly adjusted my space, made a comment to a friend, quickly added the mental note into my BlackBerry so that I could write about it at a later date, and went on with my evening. Hair down and all.

What do the top three anecdotes have to do with each other? Not much, except… that Earth Day should be a real celebration of our home, not just a date on a calendar which gives people a reminder to say “happy Earth Day,” “plant a tree,” and “take care of the Earth.” If we don’t give more respect to our home, my anecdote of what the year 3096 may be like could very well become a reality sometime in the future. Respect Earth every day, and everything should turn out just fine. As for the last anecdote: keep your elbows to yourself.

Thank you.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Is That a Parade, and The Secret V

I like a good parade. I haven’t been to a parade in a long time and really want to get back out into that scene. If only parades were more abundant… we need more parades in our streets. Much like carnivals, circuses, fairs and the like, parades have a sense of adventure, mystique, and excitement about them. They’re made of candy, sugar, funnel cake, and charcoal. If I could, I would wrap a parade in a package and sell it under the brand name Francine – that’s how great a parade can be (and no, I haven’t met anyone named Francine… so that brand name might be a stretch).

My phone continues to annoy me, but seems to be lasting since the last two crashed within a week. I wanted it to break again, but I’m coping for now. Whenever I send a text it seems to continue on and type the letter V on the screen, without me typing the letter V, and even if the last letter I typed was a W. I’m calling it The Secret V because no one knows about it, well, not until now at least. Before this, no one knew about it but me, thus making it a secret. What keeps it interesting is that The Secret V comes and goes; you never know when it’s going to pop up.

What can we learn from these? Go to the next parade or any exciting function of the sort that you can find: have some fun and enjoy the treats. Also, and no less important, watch out for your own Secret V’s… they mostly go unnoticed.


Monday, April 19, 2010

I survived a nuclear blast.

We knew the bomb would drop at a certain time. We knew that we had to take cover. We knew if it was dropped a little farther away that we could survive the blast. We knew the man who ordered the bomb, and we knew that he would order it to drop farther away if she was able to convince him. We wouldn’t know his decision until it was too late. We hoped that she had convinced him… but only time would tell.

The time came. We knew she gave it her best trying to convince him to drop the bomb farther south of the city, even by just a few miles. We rushed to take cover as we heard the sound: the time had come to survive or die.

The bomb dropped, we took cover and waited, awaiting our life or our death; we were sure that we could survive the outermost band of the bomb’s blast.

As the first wave came over us, we began to close our eyes, and in slow motion I looked at her, grasping one last time: “I love you.” The wave of air rushed over us, the pressure building, our eyes closed, feeling as if we were about to blow away. The pressure continued to build.

The blast went on, two waves at first, and then a final third: without a doubt, this one was the retraction from the initial burst. The pressure built so extraordinarily, I thought my head was going to explode. I knew we were on the edge of death: “How close are we,” I thought, “when will this be over?”

The pressure continued beyond belief as I felt my body was about to rip into pieces, one particle at a time.

Just as it almost became too much, the pressure began to slow. Right then, I knew we had survived.

Although it was still there, the pressure let up. We managed to survive the outburst of air from the explosion, and we had survived the collapse of air as it rushed to fill the void it had left behind.

It was difficult to open my eyes: they felt glued shut. I didn’t want to open them too soon, and I didn’t know what to expect when I did open them for the first time after the blast. I felt the pressure let go, but my body was still feeling the aftereffect. “Open my eyes?” I thought it was time. There’s no doubt we had survived the blast, but what remained of our surroundings?

As I forced my eyes open I saw a vision unlike the one I had seen before the blast. I quickly closed them again in disbelief: “Was that real? Did we survive?”

I opened my eyes again in anticipation of the environment around me: a place where my life teetered on the brink of death, a nuclear explosion, and unthinkable fallout.

My eyes opened, expecting to find her in front of me as she was before the wave came over us.

I looked and she wasn’t there… I wonder what had happened.

A moment goes by before I’m relieved and disappointed, yet left in awe: How did I survive? How did I have such feeling and emotion? How did it seem so real? How was it only a dream?


Friday, April 16, 2010

An experiment in possibility

Possible topics for today:

Is that a Parade?
The Secret V
The Sun

None of these made the cut. Not one. They each got a start, but they each abruptly ended with little to no direction after gaining a title.

It’s Friday. moe. is playing tonight and tomorrow night, and I’m going to both. There is a Secret V in my phone and it’s starting to upset me. In fact, my entire phone is starting to upset me. The sun isn’t out and the clouds have put me in an all-day funk; where is my usual Colorado weather? Because of this my inner-muse is having trouble coming up with something today, as are my outer-muses. Is that a parade going down the road? No? Well I wish it was. Migration is the key to success, whether you realize it or not. And that’s something I’ve been talking about my entire life.

Experimenting is fun, but often times it gets us nowhere. But that doesn’t mean we should stop. In fact, we should continue continuing on.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Artificial Life and the Death of a Giant

I arrived to work today in my usual fashion. Made it to my desk, unpacked my stuff, turned on the laptop, and started the Facebook app on my BlackBerry. The first update I saw was from a friend back home: “Peter Steele is dead? He can’t DIE! wtf.” In disbelief, I patiently awaited my laptop to finish its startup process, which was entirely too slow for my patience today. I quickly opened the web browser on my BB and googled it: Peter Steele. Up came the headlines: Peter Steele had died sometime last night. Heart failure.

I quickly notified a coworker whom I knew was familiar with Type-O. I posted a status update on Facebook. I commented on a status. And I commented on my own: I hope it’s a hoax… again. You see, they pulled a stunt back in 2005 with a headstone posted on the band’s website that read RIP and led us to believe it was Peter Steele who had died. And here we are again. 2010. This time, few think it’s actually a hoax. Hopefully it is, and good for them to be able to pull something like this off twice in the band’s career – but we expect otherwise at this point.

The short conversation with my coworker went from Peter Steele and his alleged heart failure at age 48, to Ozzy Osbourne and his continued existence: somehow rock n’ roll got Peter Steele at 48, but it hadn’t gotten the best of Ozzy at age 61 (arguable, at the least). This thought prompted me to wonder: is Ozzy just lucky? Had he been able to pump so much poison into his system that he was either on the brink of failure, or pickled to the point of suspended animation? Had he truly made a pact with the devil and sold his soul for rock n’ roll? Either way, it’s amazing Ozzy’s still alive.

It’s not often that I stop to think about artificial life (not counting your typical zombie and vampire discussions). The possibility of man creating a monster, a cyborg, or even a robot with full automation isn’t something that regularly comes mind. Yet, for some reason when I thought of Ozzy I immediately thought of artificial life.



Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Old Chub and the Subwat

I came back to my desk at one point today to find an Old Chub sticker sitting on my chair. A pretty vibrant green thing with yellow along its edges. I’ve never had Old Chub, and I’ve never been to Scotland. I’m sure I’ve had Scottish style ales, but most likely not this one. Why? Obvious reasons, probably; I think it’d rather visit Scotland than drink something called Old Chub. No offense, Chub, but that’s the way I roll.

Earlier in the day, a friend of mine sent a message to my phone saying something about a subwat. Like you, I paused and thought: “Oh my god! He’s being attacked by a subwat!” For those of you who don’t know what a subwat is, I think it could be any one of the following: A) a rat found in a subway, B) a rat that looks like a submarine, either sandwich or vessel, C) an animal large enough to attack a grown man, D) a misspelling of the word subway, or E) something like a jackalope that brings fear to all men, yet is infamously difficult to catch on film, much like Big Foot.

I still haven’t figured out what, exactly, a subwat is, but I promptly notified my friend’s wife of the attack. I trust that he’s ok; we never spoke of it again.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What is your inspiration?

Inspiration can come from anywhere, and out of nowhere. Inspiration is what moves us forward, as an individual and as the human race. Inspiration is what provokes us to dream big, and to try something new. Inspiration is the bud of all creation, both large and small.

I challenge you to open your mind to the inspirations in any given day. Even in the harshest of winters, and the most challenging of times, inspiration is abound – you just have you open your mind.

Yesterday, the company I work for held our annual associate form at a nearby hotel. There was the usual food and the usual people, and of course the speaker of the day. This day, much like other similar days, the speaker had a story that was very unique. No, she didn’t have to overcome adversity to become a success; she was a single mother of twins, a business executive, and trained for and competed in the Eco-Challenge. Sure, her time and energy was challenged, but adversity was not the case.

I think that’s why I liked what she had to say: she was relatively usual, in that she could have been any one of us… any one of us who had the inspiration, the drive, and the direction that she harnessed. I think she proved to me that a lot of things are possible, so long as you put your mind to them and find inspiration to go on.

So again, I challenge you to open your mind to the inspirations in your day. It is out there, just open away…


Monday, April 12, 2010

The life of a goose is not so easy

While it may seem that the life of a goose is relatively simple and easygoing, I think it comes at a price. A pretty high price if you ask me. The other day as I walked out of work for lunch, I was texting and walking (not nearly as dangerous or as illegal in some places as driving and texting), when just as I walked around the corner I almost stepped on a goose that was sitting there, hanging out. It returned my imminent crushing with a hiss like no other. Not only did it hiss, but it also stuck its tongue out and perked its head up, much like a snake would do. Since I wasn’t looking where I was going, and having heard a snake’s hiss, I naturally jumped back and was pretty startled. For this reason I say that the life of a goose is not so easy.

As I was walking up the stairs to work today I noticed the usual two geese hanging out on the ledge flower bed. And then I noticed the broken egg laying on the ground, and it seemed one of them were staring at it in disbelief. I’m not sure who or what broke the egg on the ground, but it was a good five feet away from the ledge, clearly showing intent on someone’s part. And for this reason I say that the life of a goose is not so easy.

And then there is the obvious issues in the life of a goose: jet engines and airplane props… need I say more?

I sometimes think about how animals have life pretty easy when compared to humans: no money worries, no stress from the job, no hangovers in the morning. But then I think about the veracity of nature, survival of the fittest, and the impending death right around the corner for almost all living creatures. In comparison, we probably have it pretty good sitting atop the food chain.

So, the next time you see a goose crossing the road and get annoyed as it takes its time with a blatant disregard for our schedule, remember that it could be worse: you could get sucked into a jet engine, or trampled on as someone turns the corner.


Friday, April 9, 2010

It’s not always as it seems

During my tenure in the US Air Force, I had the privilege to spend a summer in Kuwait. I use the word privilege for a reason, which it two-fold: 1) I am proud to have served my country, and it was a privilege to represent my nation and what it stands for while on foreign soil, and 2) it was a privilege to have met such wonderful people in Kuwait.

You see, I’m not speaking solely of the men and women with whom I served in Kuwait, but also of the locals and third-country nationals (people from a country other than Kuwait, there solely for work, away from family and friends in their home country). This group of people, from countries and cultures I haven’t had much exposure up to that point in time, are among the nicest people I have met in my life, and I mean that literally.

While in Kuwait, I was fortunate to have worked in a position where I was in close interaction with the third-country nationals on a daily basis. I met people from not only Kuwait, but from Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Bangladesh, Egypt, and India. Each day they would offer me food from their own lunches, juices, candy, and ice cream that they received from the on-base American cafeteria. One of the bosses even offered his house for me to stay in should I ever visit Bangladesh, and gave me his email address to contact him. His name is Bichu. Funny enough, Bichu also gave me his own burned CD with local music straight from his car CD player, and insisted that I keep it.

I remember one day, while I was supervising the third-country nationals in the landfill area on base as they removed construction debris, one of the truck drivers pulled in and went on with his business as I noticed that his hand was bleeding pretty bad, wrapped in a cloth. I had remembered that there was a first aid kit in one of the piles of debris so I ran over and grabbed it, gave it to him, and he thanked me profusely. He was the most thankful person I have ever seen when given a Band-Aid. One day while riding in the cab of this same man’s truck on the Kuwaiti side of the base, he stopped at the Kuwaiti store for a drink and a candy bar and asked if I would like anything. I said no thank you, as always. Upon his return to the truck, he pulled out a candy bar from his bag and insisted that I eat it. I tried saying no, but there was little chance of me not taking the candy bar he just purchased… for me.

Mind you, these are individuals from Middle Eastern countries. Countries in which we find to be hostile. Countries in which we tend to look upon negatively. Countries in which we seem to harbor a degree of fear.

Individuals are who I met while in Kuwait; I did not meet entire nations. It was those individuals who opened my eyes to the outside world, a world much bigger than America… a world where the lot of people are of good nature and mean no harm. These individuals also opened my eyes to our American ways, and after my trip I had a greater appreciation for America than I had before. I try my best to carry this appreciation with me still to this day.

I always like telling this story because the majority of Americans have no clue who is outside our borders (hell, we don’t even know who our neighbors are most of the time). I also like this story, not only because it’s mine, but also because it’s the same story for a great number of Americans who have served on foreign soil. It’s unfortunate that what people hear is usually only the negative; it’s even more unfortunate that people don’t realize it’s not always as it seems.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

It’s natural to be wary of a cat… of any kind

The subject of ‘bring your children to work day’ came up and it was suggested that I bring in my dog and a coworker bring in her cat. The discussion continued on about the usual ‘dog will chase cat’ and typical cat/dog hoopla. I mentioned about the one or two times my dog had met a cat, and how she was wary from the beginning of each event. I also commented how I would be wary too, both if I were a dog and as a human.

Cats are different creatures than dogs (obviously), but in key ways that make other animals more like dogs than cats are like dogs. Granted you have the four-legged, tail, paw, general feature similarities… but that’s pretty much where it stops. Personality goes a long way when sizing up a dog or cat, if you can even say an animal has a “personality” (or maybe animality?).

As nature would have it, lions, tigers, leopards, and housecats alike cannot be immediately trusted; dogs, on the other hand, can be either immediately trusted or distrusted. Anyone who has ever met a cat can probably attest to this.

The issue (as I suggested to my coworker), is that from initially greeting a dog you know whether or not the animal is friendly, interested in or frightened by you, or even if it’s about to attack; cats, on the other hand, well… you have no clue what they’re thinking… ever... They just keep staring at you, sizing you up for pretty much the entire duration of the encounter. Sure, sometimes they just run away into another room or hide behind a couch, but there are many times when they just sit there watching, staring at you. And that’s all they do. No coming up to sniff and check you out, no saying hello and giving you a chance. Just sitting and staring. Sometimes very creepily, I might add.

This is why cats make some people wary.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Motion-sensing faucets

Sometimes when I’m in the men’s restroom at work, standing on the other side of the wall from the motion-sensing faucets at the sink, one of those faucets will start to dispense water on its own accord. Generally speaking, the idea of a motion-sensing faucet is to reduce water consumption, reduce waste, dispense only when necessary, and to simply not dispense at all until motioned to do so.

Other motion-sensing faucets I have had run-ins with have paused and waited to dispense until I move my hands around in desperation, waiting for the water to come out for what seems like an eternity. When it comes to modern technology, why is it that we can have come so far yet still have so much work to be done? How is it that we can build a station in space, yet we cannot configure motion-sensing faucets to function properly?

Oh, and then of course we have the entire realm of motion-sensing technology (i.e. doorways, paper towel dispensers, etc.): it seems that none of these is infallible (think of the many times in your life you have walked up to a door and waited for it to open, and kept waiting for, again, what seemed like an eternity! Never mind the paper towel dispenser that refuses to dispense at the moment you waive your hand in front of its lovely eye). Yet game consoles (ex: Wii), seem to have taken their empire to a whole new level, solely based on motion-sensing technology.

How is the everyday person supposed to convince such a thing to respond (willingly) to their every command?


Writings from a workspace

Many things come to mind at work and many of those keep on going – we don’t stop to write them down and grab them from the air. Probably because when these things come along we’re a little busy to pause and reflect. Also, the chances of us lacking the pause to grab and reflect means that a great many of these things that come to mind at work are, of course, non-work related. I attempt to grasp these from the air, pronounce them, and direct them down the path best suited.