Sunday, November 13, 2011

Watching Homer Watch TV

It's been over a month since I last updated.  And, frankly, I've been dreading this post.

There's nothing new going on.

My last post was labelled "Montony". And not much has changed.

Who wants to watch Homer watch TV?

Nobody.  We want to watch people live.  We want to see them climbing, flying, loving, risking...

It's what makes the movies so addicting.

They say, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step."

It's true.

courtesy refreshya
But just try talking to that wayfarer who has been journeying many days.  He's dirty. Smelly. Bored. Tired. His only thought is "one...more...step...". He's the character that you show 3 seconds of on TV (flying aerial view) and then cut to the part where he's showered. 

That's me right now.

We don't sit around the TV to watch people watch TV.  That'd be boring.

I broke away from the boring monotony this month. Several times, actually.  You see, my wife has been encouraging me to find the beauty of life's journey.  It's a slow lesson to learn.  But even on desert treks, you can find pleasure in so many little things.

The beauty of the shape of sand.  The way it feels.  The company you are with.

Ya' just have to look for it.

I'm a bottom-line kind of guy. The end goal is worth any cost. Winning worth any pain.  I drive and drive and drive until I burn out.  Then I get sick (like today), sleep til noon and get up and go at it again.

I walk right pass that flowering cactus without giving it a second glance. 

The Darling is helping me refocus.  She's made us guarantee a date night/afternoon.  Sometimes that's appetizers at Applebees and a perusing of Barnes and Noble.  Sometimes its a nature walk with the kid.

Also, I'm learning to spend more time with extended friends and family.  I still don't have the time to devote to it that I used to have when I was single.  Man, I would drop everything and tear off to every event.  Good times.  But, now, I've swung the other way and am threatening to become a self-absorbed hermit.  

My brother-in-law called and suggested we go canoeing.  I picked a crappy creek but it left us with some good memories and beautiful scenery.

Finley Creek Near Ozark.

Let me put 2 points on this ramble

Don't Just Chase The Exciting. 

"It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth." - Lamentations 3:27

In America we have two loves: Sugar, and TV.  Thankfully, I've gotten most of the TV out of my life.  I'm still working on the sugar addiction.

We American's have an insatiable appetite for distraction.  Just look at all of the kids milling around on these "Occupy" protests.  They went to college.  Now they are in debt and feel trapped.  Let me ask: "Why did they go to college?"

Obviously it was not to give back to society.  Their entire goal has always been to be entertained.  To be given wealth.  To be given nice things.

They thought a few years of partying in college would do that.

They got suckered. Why should they be surprised?  They've never given one ounce of effort into making their life better.

They followed the piper and his fanciful visions.  (I did, too, so I know what I'm talking about.) They spent hundreds on his video games, his college textbooks, his movies, his beer, his vacations....

Unemployed?  Go start a company.  (And wash dishes so you don't starve)

These guys are distracted right now.  The piper has left, they are in their rags, but all they are trying to do is find another piper to follow. And, soon, they will be distracted by something else.

Quit being distracted by the shiny, the fun, the romantic.  Find something worthwhile and work for it.

Don't Miss The Refreshing.

Just listened to a great sermon by Ravi Zacharias.  It's like 10 minutes long, so take a few moments and enjoy it. (Ok, so it's technically 25 minutes, I guess.  It felt shorter. His speeches always feel short.)

The Problem of Pleasure - Ravi Zacharias

The Refreshing is powerful.  That canoe trip was  a great break from the hum-drum of my everyday trudging.  As are those dates with The Darling.

But, too often I make poor recreation choices.  Like when we had TV.  I would spend hours in front of "NCIS" and "Dog, the Bounty Hunter". Hours.  It was the same way with my Xbox. Hours.

Refreshment comes in small doses.  And it should be uplifting.  I still take time for movies, but its more because it gives our family a moment to do something together than anything else.

The journey of 1,000 miles is boring. And long.  But a few moments beside a stream of clear water is refreshing, and will not add a significant amount of time to the journey.

So, take time to enjoy the beauty of the journey.

So I guess all of that is to say that we've had a great month of enjoying each other and making progress on our goals.  Isn't that what life is supposed to be about?

Friday, September 30, 2011


So, last month I decided I was going to try to start updating at least once a month.

This month, I'm updating a little early. Right now I am actually trying to use this new software called Dragon NaturallySpeaking. It's taking a little bit of a learning curve, (I apologize for all of the wrong homonyms) but I think once I get the hang of it, it's actually going to be quite a bit faster than typing.

For me this has been a month of growing, a month learning more about myself.

I've always been want to hold the things of this life too dear. I like my money, I like my dreams, I like to go spend money on my wife...

I've too often been critical of my friends who seem to get wrapped up in the monotony of life. I have to say that right now I am there. In the monotony of life.

But the nice thing is this period of life is growing me. It's going to make me taller, older, wiser.

I've been spending a lot of time contemplating what Christ meant when he said as "wise as serpents and as harmless as doves."

One day we'll be there.


I'm thrilled to have my younger sister living with me. It's so exciting to get to share some of the things I've learned in life with her. I think that I am learning that I like to be a teacher.

Not that I have any skill at being a teacher.

I guess some things are learned by doing aren't they?


Gavin is growing up so fast, he's walking, he's learning, he's listening. I'm so blessed he has a personality that is easy to connect with and that seems to just grab you every time you talk to him.

Too often I feel like we only like our kids when they are convenient. And, I have to say that in my life I find that to be true. Especially we dads, we really struggle with making time for our kids.

I never want our kids to think for a second that I wasn't involved enough. "Distant" is not a phrase I want anywhere near my name.


Okay, so I think this Dragon NaturallySpeaking could be a dangerous thing. Maybe I bare my heart a little more when speaking is that typing. But that's what this blog is for, isn't it? It's about asking questions.

I hope you ask questions of your own.

"In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet, the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul. "

Invictus -- William Ernest Henley

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Homeward Bound

Most of my reader visit this page via facebook.  Which means you already follow my statusii and know what has happened in my life.  Which makes me wonder why you visit.

But you do, and that always warms my innards with happiness.  So thanks.

Oh, and a shout-out to who sends the second-most amount of traffic.  I'm not sure whether to be grateful, or creeped out by the thought the the big J might be stalking me.  But he's a cool dude, so I'm fine with his stalking, or creeping, or sharing some of his loyal blog fans, or whatever he's doing over there.


I wanted to buy a house.  My wife had 101 reasons why it would be a bad thing.

Reason #1: In an apartment, if something breaks, you just call the maintenance man and he will come fix it for you at no extra cost. Homeowners don't have that privilege.

Here I sit, sweltering in our wonderful little house with a broken air conditioner.  I don't think an A/C repairman was in the budget for this paycheck, so we may have a couple of weeks of 80-degree nights ahead of us.

But, dagnabbit, we're homeowners!

It's always tough to lose a family member, even when you know it is their time.

I'll admit, I've spent a few good months wrestling with the knowledge that we were nearing the end of our time together with him. It just seems wrong that death exists in the world. I mean, why not just all hang out here together until the rapture?

But that's not the way it is, and so we sit here with our memories and hold tenderly the mantle left in our arms as our loved ones depart.

Granpa Geo (He insisted that we spell it without the "d".  After all, you can't hear the d, right?) possessed a powerful knack to staying connected.  My relationship with him really started when we were in the Mennonites.  Dad had helped Granpa set up internet and email with Juno.

And then he helped me set up my own email account.

Who knows what the church bishops would've thought, but every week Granpa and I would send poorly spelled letters to each other.  I wish I still had them.

When we moved to Illinois, he insisted that Cory and I come over for breakfast once a week.  In spite of  family drama, college and work, Cory and I pulled up a chair to Thursday morning breakfast nearly every week.

Grandpa didn't like talking about the past
. He wanted to talk about our futures.And as young boys, we were thrilled to talk about them in detail.

I also got the feeling that he didn't want to brag about his successes and I think there were a lot of things from the war he didn't want to remember.

We did get little tid-bits from his past: There was a pretty serious air battle that he was a part of that I never could get him to tell me about.  Only that he was glad he survived. He talked about them dropping the fuel tanks before a gunfight.  He'd lean out and watch them explode on the ground.  And then he'd get scared, knowing it was about to get crazy.

He was proud of all the walking and traveling and camping and trailbuilding he and Mary had done. He told us about it in detail, trying to get our young minds infatuated with the things that had made their lives rich.
Christmas Time at The Hamp House

He told me to learn how to accept compliments.  For such a grouchy old dude, he sure handed them out, and then taught me not to be sniveling or overly humble when I was given one.  I think it must have been a sore spot with him when he was a manager.  He hated that his employees couldn't take an honest compliment.  

He forgave me for saying "crap" in front of him. I was mortified I had let it slip.  Later he called me to the side.  "Don't be ashamed of little cuss words.  As my mom once said, 'words like that are just our way of being lazy when we talk'. "

He always ended those conversations with his husky laugh that set the world all right. Like time I once got a little vehement telling my uncle not to use Jesus's name as a swear word.  (Probably a little too vehement -- trademark of a 13 year old). Granpa never really told me where he stood on the issue, just took time to tell me he thinks I should always stand up for what I believe in.

He had a list of people who's names he didn't want to forget.  He prayed for them each night. 

His coworker, Jim Cayne told me that "Your Grandfather was a principled man"

Sure, some of his principles were a little odd.  I've gathered from him that on many a work night he'd stop at the pub for a pint before going home.  His principle was that he didn't want to bring work home, and took some time to clear his head before going home.

Who knows how well that worked.  I have my own little rituals that I do to try to shake work off at the end of the day-- and I still haven't gotten it figured out.  But I like the principle.

I'm glad he got to meet my wife.  And his great-grandson.  Granpa never shied from sharing his opinion.  It meant a lot to have his approval.


I could ramble on -- I have all of these wonderful little tidbits that I've been tucking away in my memory.

I think this is a post more for myself.  As a chance to share some of these little things.  And to grin a little while I type. 

This morning, the Gavinator kept waving "bye" to everyone.  He wanted to leave the unfamiliar surroundings and go home.

I'm definitely looking forward to heaven.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Life Goes On..and then it doesn't

For some reason I''ve been trying to come to grips with my own mortality - and reason for living - for the past two weeks.  Some of that is probably just the fact that I'm 20 pounds heavier than I have ever been and I'm slower and nearer 30 years of age then I am to 20.  

Plus, my new route to work takes me past a place where a mom was killed when her Blazer ran off the road last winter.  Her kids survived - belted safely in their carseats.  I saw the accident scene shortly after it happened, and it has somewhat stuck with me.

And so I Ponder...

So much of American living is wrapped up around finances: House, Car, Lights, Water... 

If you decide you want to do anything more than that you find yourself paying for things like credit cards and student loans.

You're chained to your job, trapped by the ever-present debt collector and threat of living on the street.

And so we spend the greater part of our lives.  Our values get screwed up.  After all, we are already working overtime to pay for the electric bill.  Why not work a little overtime to get a nicer car?

Our kids leave home and get stuck in their own rat race. Our cars rust.  Worn-out, we die too.

"And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." -Luke 12


I've been making plans to leave the rat race. Ways to cut spending. To learn more valuable career skills. To create small, profitable streams of income which can be used to create other streams of income which then fund my bigger, loftier goals.

My priorities get screwed up.  

"... he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 

But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." - Luke 12

I have big plans.  Africa still burns in my heart and I want to learn Portuguese and go back.  Maybe a little French and Spanish too, those people also need to know about Jesus.  I keep envisioning a ton of schools.  Schools that are run on pennies a day, by local Christian nationals that teach lessons of both temporal and eternal value.

I check the mail.  I have a little over $20,000 in student debt.  I pick up my little ball and chain and head back to my desk.


I've shared this before:

A rich man was in really good with the Lord.  He had given away most of his wealth to the Lord's work, and had even donated his valuable time to the discomforts of the Lord's service.

On his deathbed, he worked out a deal with God:  He could take a bag along with him of whatever he wished.  It would go with him across that great divide and into glory.

He breathes his last breathe and opens his eyes.  There he stands on the outskirts of heaven with his huge black trashbag.  He lugs it to the pearly gates where the gatekeeper [whom everybody here on earth keeps calling Peter.  In reality, it is a 7 foot tall angel that doesn't look anything like Peter] informs him he can't take the bag with him.

They argue for several minutes.  The dear saint is adamant he gets to take his possessions with him and insists the angel must go speak to the Lord about it.

Finally, the angels acquiesces.  "But first," says he, "I must see inside the bag."

Proudly, the rich man reveals a bag brimming with the purest gold.

The angel stares at it confused for a moment.  Then asks, "Why do you want to bring a bag of pavement into heaven?"

The greatest wealth we can chase on earth, is nothing more than pavement.

And what would we think of that guy who decided to devote his entire life to collecting all of the pavement that he could?

We would lock him up to spend his days scrabbling at walls.


I took a walk tonight.  I marveled at the stars, and challenged a skunk's territorial lines.  I waved to neighbors passing by .  I came home to my pretty, sleepy, wife.

This is life.  This is the life I'm here to live.  The shoes I'm in for right now.

I have responsibilities and I have dreams.  And I must be willing to see the Lord's plan wrought in both areas of my life.  Sure, if I hadn't taken on student debt, my load would be lighter.  But we reap and we sow, and that principle is part of God's plan.

For me, the challenge is to not get weighed down by my responsibilities, but also not to get distracted by my dreams.

The challenge is to spend my life in constructive ways that further my family and my financial situation (using my "talents" wisely - for those of you who remember that parable) while not wasting my life "scrabbling for pavement" (ie. money, for those of you who missed the punchline up there)


I had a blast playing soccer yesterday. Wrecked my wrist pretty badly which means typing is a little challenging right now.  Plus the pain -- and the meds to combat the pain -- are playing havoc in my head.  

So, yes, I do think I'm a little melancholy right now (thanks, Doc, for such Trippin' drugs).  But I also think those truths that I've been pondering for the past few weeks have ordered themselves rather nicely up there.

Hope it helps some of you who wonder what your living for.  

And for those struggling with depression and discouragement - I had a fascinating battle with that last week. I want to share it with you.

But that will be another night. On another blog.

Good night, all.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy (2 year) Anniversary!

I was just blogging about my monthly income progress with my little, crazy enterprise and felt that I should also give this blog a nice update. It's been a good month...


Two years ago I was an immature, hot-headed kid making the craziest decision of my life. 

It's been a good two years since then. I'm blessed well beyond what I deserve, and that pretty lady I married has insisted on sticking with her crazy husband through it all. We've been down to pennies in the account, shared cornbread and beans together, watched each other go through intense physical pain (me with rehab after a bike accident, her with the birth of our son - not that one was equal the other!) and have spent hours camping, walking, hiking and traveling with each other through life.

I don't know how I'd live without her.

So, in honor of our two years together, and with great deference for the upcoming down payment our bank account is about to suffer, we spent a nice evening out on the town, watching a movie and going to Kai downtown. It was our first real date since the kid's birth,  and only occurred thanks to the Darling's two sisters who babysat for us that night.

We then went camping down at Hootentown and floated the James River the next day.  I hadn't used my big tent for nearly two years, and forgot to bring the tent poles.  I ran the 30 minutes back home to grab them. Got the wrong poles. Ran home again and this time got it right. grr.

We returned to our campsite to discover that we were camped under a streetlight.  Needless to say, we slept very little.

The float was great. I think the kid's going to become a regular seal. He loves the water.

The house purchase is moving forward nicely.  The Darling added some pics on her blog, if you haven't seen them already.  The work is mostly done - we get it reinspected on July 12th to make sure the construction was done right, and then we close on the 15th.

We should be homeowners by the end of the month. It's exciting. And Scary.(with a capital "s" apparently)

The kid is sitting on the floor, playing with my work lanyard and whispering to himself. What 10 month old whispers to himself?

I love that kid.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Overdue Update

So a lot has happened in the last - wow - 40 days since the last update.

I've spent all of my free time on a new project, learning about SEO, google adsense, and how to make money online.  I've had some small success, and will probably starting keeping a journal of sorts on this separate blog. It's suppose to be a two year journey.

We will see.

Primarily, life has revolved around the house hunt.  Our lease is up here in July, which means we need to know by the 30th of June that we have another place to live.  The Darling and I think its probably time to consider buying our own home, and hence, it has been the month of the house hunt.

There are several reasons for buying instead of renting this time.  Primarily, it will save on our monthly rent expenses, plus it gives us the reassurance (it commits us) of not moving for several years.

We have put in official offers on two separate houses. Turned out one of them was in a sinkhole, and the other one was invested with termites.  After a month of emotional ups and downs and after intruding on the homes of 20 different strangers, it appears we are going to chase the termites out of the one house and go forward with it.

Of course, nothing is final until we hold the house keys

Been thinking a lot about "living in the light of eternity".  I think I've finally found answers to some long-standing questions I've had. I'll have to make a blog post soon

 We bought a charcoal grill using a gift card I won at work.  Our upstairs neighbors had suggested we all go in and buy one together, but I said I'd get it myself since I wanted one anyhow.  Turns out to be a great idea and I am fine-tuning my art of charcoal grilling.

The Darling loves swimming.   It is a pity to move her away from the pool.  Maybe we can get a gym membership again.

I hate swimming.  I'd rather sun bathe this pooch of a belly I've seemed to grown in the past two years of marriage.

We've been married 1 year and 358 days. Last year we went to a bed and breakfast in Eureka Springs to celebrate. I wish we could do the same this year but I fear we will have to settle on a camping trip, what with home buying expenses looming

Camping is nice, though.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Looking Up

I get to be at home with my happy little family today.  The Gavinator is after cords again.  Kid loves 'em.  Strings, cords, wires...I really need a completely wi-fi house.  Has anyone seen a cordless lamp? I need that.

Right now I'm trying to write, while rescuing him from himself every few minutes.  But then, every few minutes he comes over and pulls himself up on my knees and stands there trying to talk.  He's so adorable, and it's so hard to fathom that one day he is going to be 12 or 13 and we will be having adult conversations (and arguments)

It's hard to believe he's not always going clinging to my pant leg on tottery legs,  looking up to me with those adoring eyes.

I find myself wondering if I don't look a little that way to God.  I've seen a preacher try to show us God's knowledge by drawing a big line from floor to ceiling and placing a little 1/4" speck next to it to show man's wisdom.

But I think my son demonstrates it best as he doggedly crawls after his own interests -- to his own endangerment.

He knows so little. He doesn't know why things hurts, or what pain is, so he cries at every discomfort.  He doesn't know that he is sleepy, he just knows that something isn't happy, so he cries in confusion. He sees something he wants, but he is often confused how to propel himself to it. He knows that we talk, but he can't fully figure out how to communicate the same way and fills the air with his "mama" and "ga-duhm"  and "ba-bah" sounds.

But I never tire of his trying to learn.  I never tire of those two eyes staring up adoringly at me.

Suddenly I think I know what the Proverbs writer means when he says "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."  Maybe we do not know why we keep getting pulled away of the "cords" in our life.  Maybe we don't know why we face discomfort.  And yes, we are all too whiny.

But when we stand there at His pant legs looking up at him, we are never ignored.  Instead, we find ourselves being  lifted up into His wonderful arms of love.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Time Spent on Good Thingss

It's been January since I updated? Wowzers.

Well, here goes, The Gavinator is darn amazing.  He crawls. And pulls up on things.  And kisses his Daddy.  I love the little guy so friggin' much.

I've always hoped to be highly involved in my children'(s) life(s), but I've also known that it would be a challenge, especially as I go through life: working overtime to pay the electric bill, taking night classes to get ahead  -- that sort've thing.

So recently I've challenged myself to make sure I spend a little time each night to get on my hands and knees with him.  And those moments are so sweet and special to me.  He just absolutely adores his mom and I, and loves nothing more than to have quality time with us.

It's amazing how this little thing that is so joyous has to be a discipline for me. I guesss I'm like any dad.  I get used to being the income, and mentally that becomes my first focus.  (After all, I do sit in the same chair for 10 hours a day.  It's not surprising that my mind gets its priorities confused.)

We've been trying to make reading the Bible a family goal.  It helps Gavin with his quiet time, and it's a good family practice to get instigated this early.  I'm sure my wife will write more about this, but we heard a fascinating viewpoint  today that only 2% of  marriages that are truly Christ-focused ever fail.  The small sacrifice of family devotions holds a high weight in spiritual warfare.

I've been fighting this cold.  Or maybe now it's just an allergy attack.  I can't tell, but its been two weeks and I'm miserable.  Normally, the Green Tea kicks it, but this time I started the cold away from home, and then only had 2 tea bags left when I got back.  I went through a box of tea thereafter, and kicked this thing, only to be revisited by a sinus-infection type thingy.

I'm starting to suspect it is actually just a major allergy attack.  Joanna and Gavin haven't seemed to be getting any of this.  (Thankfully) So perhaps its more of an allergy thing.  I took some Wal-dryl a few moments ago.  Liquid form. Dang nasty.  Can't say if it's helping much, but it is royally screwing up my writing patterns.

I've been doing a lot of writing recently. Including this article on How Green Tea cures my colds.  I joined Infobarrel where you write articles and then make money as people visit your page and click on advertisements around it.

 It's like what I do on this blog.  So far, I've made about $5 on the advertisements you see lying around on lostcyclist.   Nothing amazing, but it shows, in a minute way, the potential out there.    So Infobarrel is another way to write a 1,000 or so articles and then sit back and collect the $500 paycheck each month on your advertisements.  Feel free to join me.  (yes, It's free)

It's keeping me entertained since my programming seems to be primarily just straining the relationship I have with this out dated computer.

I s'pose I should quit rambling .  Here's to Spring finally arriving!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mean Men

Seest thou a man diligent in his business?
he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men. - Proverbs 22:29

No Excuses, no explanations - Tony Dungy

Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. -Galation 6:9

( Against those who are generous at the beginning, but do not continue, because the harvest seems to be deferred a long time, as though the seed time and the harvest were simultaneous. - Geneva Study Bible)

Random thoughts from last night.

Allez, my friends! Allez!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Forex, MiFi, Mr Powell, Mr. Dungy, Mr. Brightside.

This week has been up and down - literally - in the Forex.  There's these things called Supports and things called Resistance. I'll write an article soon on them.  Basically, you are suppose to buy on one and sell on the other.

Seems like I kept doing the opposite all week long. (There will soon be a chart posted to show just how much I lost this week)

In other Forex news, my wife does not seem to appreciate me waking at 3:30am to see how the London Markets are faring. The life of a trader...

There is something out there called MiFi. As the CNN article I read describes it, it takes cellular signal and creates a localized, mobile, wifi HotSpot.  Apparently it's only about $40 a month for the setup from Virgin Mobile.  

It costs a little more to get started than, say, a tethering setup. But if you are always on the go or have more than one computer that needs to be online in some rural area - it looks like the hookup.

The CNN article was covering how some geeks are using their Apple Touch with a MiFi  as an inexpensive iPhone. Frankly, that sounded like more of a pain then I would like, but I'm still sold on the MiFi setup.

In other Tech news, this Facebook game saved a man's life.


With all the links I'm putting around on my blog, I think it is fair to make a point that I'm not doing it for pay right now.  These are items I truly find cool/weird/informative, and would absolutely drive my wife crazy trying to show her all of them.

That being said, I have nothing against my wife's current  money-making gig she has going on at her blog. And, if any of you would like an easy $50 a week writing blog stories, you should really talk to her. She's a super resourceful little lady, and I'm super proud of her.


I finished Soldier, and am now an even bigger fan of Colin Powell. Sure, I don't go with his stance on abortion, but his emphasis on diplomacy was so well presented through-out the book, it's sometimes hard to believe he was trained as a killing machine.

So often we glorify the sacrifices of war and defending our country.  He never detracts from that. But war for him was only an consideration after diplomatic options have been exhausted first. And when it came to war, it had to be decisive (500,000 troops for Desert  Storms week-long war, compared to Rumsfield approximately 200,000 for a full invasion and occupation)

And pre-empt war. He twice brokered deals to remove Haiti from the brink of war. He was the central role behind the Israeli-Palestinian peace process during Bush's first administration (when Bush actually let him send emissaries over there) . Patient Diplomacy. And Preemptive Diplomacy. Smart guy

I'm now starting the first chapters of Tony Dungy's Quiet Strength

Already I'm inspired to "be more".  I think the onset of marriage and adulthood tends to drag one into an incredible mire of "I can't" and "It'll never happen".  It's great to introduce my mind to inspirational men (in this case, men of God) to help snap it out of the ruts it tries so hard to get into.

In other biographical news, my wife is on her own biographical journey.

But it's just the price I pay
Destiny is calling me
Open up my eager eyes
'Cause I'm Mr Brightside - Killers

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Make that a Trenta, please.

Starbucks has a new coffee size. Trenta.

Nine-hundred and sixteen milliliters of frozen coffee happiness. (31 ounces) 

Not set to hit our area until May.

That is, if we don't all boycott them over their new, skankier logo before then.

Coffee buzz, anyone?


I watched my little man last night. We had fun for an hour wrestling on the floor.  Then he hollered for an hour. ("aaaaaa. aaaaaaaa. aaa. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. aaa. aaaa.")

Then he puked on himself. And decided he was ready for a nap.


In other news, my wife and brother-in-law convinced me to open a new blog.

The Shirtless Forex Dude should be mostly up to speed in about a week.

Should be a fun journey.

Friday, January 14, 2011


Wilbur Scoville invented a test to determine the hotness of peppers.

Since He invented it, he named it.

So now Scoville Heat Units are used to determine the hotness of peppers, or the amount of capsaicin present. 

A Bell pepper is 0.  Jalapenos come in at about 2,500 Scoville units with Habaneros registering about 200,000+.  The Naga Jokia Chili pepper melts your sinuses about 1.4 million Scoville units.

Of course you could always try pure capsaicin at about 15 million Scoville units.

I should name something.

Upgrade! I got a new phone today.  Dropped my smartphone package and the out-dated piece of junk I had been using, and went to the ruggedized Casio G'zOne. I was sold on it after I had read about the gauntlet Andy Kaiser had put his through, complete with a baking, dunking and toddler-test.

The only thing left was to convince my wife on the price tag.  (Thankfully, the rebates and my Chase discount did a lot of the convincing for me) 

I can't wait to dunk it in the canoe this summer.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Dust it Collects

Teenage boys can never go fast enough.  I still lie in bed at night and wonder what it would be like to create a rocket with a small (pressurized) capsule and a seat in it with which to ride up to the fringes up the atmosphere. It'd be fast. Too fast. And scary as heck.  I'd never want to climb in it. But I still think about it.

Life moves too fast. I was standing over my son's crib tonight. He was tired. Too tired for his own good.  I had been in the kitchen and could hear him whimpering.  He'd whimper and then doze. Grump a little, and doze again.  I walked in and he had gotten flipped over on his back. Uncomfortable, he couldn't convince himself to go to sleep.

I stood there looking at my son as he snuggled to sleep (on his tummy). So much like me. I have to have my position just perfect. Left side. Blanket on the shoulder.  I can't sleep any other way. I've tried. 

I pulled out my Pre-Calculus book tonight.  My recent dabbling in family poker games had me ready to dust off the statistics book, but a quick review of my shelf reminded me I had sold it shortly after the end of the semester. 8 years ago.

It's hard to imagine 8 years passing.  Eight years ago I was a suspender-clad college freshman that was only 12 years away from becoming a doctor.  That was before Organic Chemistry. Or Physics...

I'm still torn between being glad I'm not confined to 80-hour workweeks as medical student, and frustrated because I would have only been 48 months from a 6-figure income and payments on a quarter-million dollar student loan debt.

I think I'll stick to being glad.

So, if anyone has a college-level statistics book I could borrow, I'd be obliged. As my brother stated, 8 years is a long time to hang onto something and still know where it is.

Speaking of 8 years ago, I discovered tonight that blogger has only retained the last 4 years of my blog posts.  I guess I need to start printing them off. Another book to hang onto, I guess.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

10,000 Hours

There is a universal life rule out there that too few people know about.

One can start by finding it in the first verses of  Galatians 6. It starts off with  "whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap".  A little further down there is an additional exhortation "...let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not"

Personally, I love those verses. In my life, I have undertaken so many goals that seemed so far away.  And when I'm sitting there doubting myself, I take a moment and remember that I've gotta' keep sowing, and that I will most definitely reap what I've sown.

But it's the due season part that gets me.  How long is a "due season"?

Turns out, its about 10,000 hours long.  I happen to re-stumble across this concept when doing research about computer programming. 

As the article on the link above points out, most musicians, programmers, researchers, inventors, sports stars - you name it - had around 10,000 hours invested before the hit their break-out, world- reknown status.  As someone who keeps an eye on the current job market, I've noticed that most ads for mid-level jobs require at least 5 years of employment in the field.  You do the math.

Now as Early to Rise points out, you can likely achieve your first level of competence at 1000 hours.  
But to achieve mastery, one must spend - at a minimum - about 5,000 more hours to master the subject.

But, knowing the rule can be greatly empowering.  Learning a new skill can be overwhelming. Especially once you are several hundred hours in .   And, while long road trips (or boat trips, or airline trips or self-improvement) can be a bear, its encouraging to know exactly how much further you have to go. 

And to wrap things up, I would be remiss not mention the article on new Year's Resolution by Paul Tripp, brought to my attention by my mother-in-law. 10,000 moments is a great (short) look at this subject from a different angle

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Reflections from Leadership

Colin Powell has collected thoughts on leadership throughout his life.  Here is a list of thirteen aphorisms he kept under the glass top of his desk, as published in Parade magazine in 1989.

1. I ain't as bad as you think.  It will look better in the morning.

2. Get mad, then get over it.

3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.

4. It can be done!

5. Be careful what you choose. You may get it.

6. Don't let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.

7. Check small things.

8. Share Credit.

9. You can't make someone else's choices. You shouldn't let someone else make yours.

10. Remain calm. Be kind.

11. Have a vision. Be demanding

12. Don't take counsel of you fears or naysayers.

13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.

I am currently reading Soldier, a biography of Colin Powell written by Karen DeYoung of the Washington Post.  She presents the story exceptionally well.

As I am reading about Colin Powell's life I am finding myself challenged greatly in the area of decision-making. So often, I make decisions with little thought and only short-term ramifications.  As a leader of this nation, his decisions affected the world on a global scale, and each one required thoroughness and persuasiveness to see it collaboratively accomplished.  Realizing that he, too started off with small decisions, it raises the bar for me, encouraging me to take a longer look at the why and how of my decision making, and ensuring that I truly will achieve the results I desire for my family and the world around me.