Monday, March 31, 2008

oh it seemed like a holy place, protected by amazing grace, and we would sing right out loud the things we could not say

"There is a good life right across this green field and each generation stares at it from afar." That's what John Mellencamp says on his album cover.

Mom and Dad met a long time ago, they lived right across the street from each other. Age didn't matter, dreams and ambitions for the most part were the same on both sides. There weren't options like 'hopping on a plane to Germany,' or for that matter, moving to the 'big city' presented logistical challenges to your family.

Today a large portion of these challenges are gone, and one would think that sky is the limit in the flat world, however as Goethe in a roundabout ways says, people themselves hold themselves back, for good and for bad reasons.

Most people I meet want the 'honey I'm home' scenario, and most people want to live a fascinating and fruitful life, you can find the people who want to work hard, albeit they are harder and harder to find in the land of abundance, but the line of what is means to be 'compatible' is so fine, it's almost razor thin.

I've heard the blanket comments, you should be with the person who is your best friend at the end of the day, someone who shares your values, someone who is different from you, someone who completes you, this, that and the other, but all these sentiments seem to contradict each other and finding your mate in the modern day psychological world becomes a crapshoot, along with a challenging road of all those buzzwords like trust, honesty and respect. That's New Braunfels Texas, I can't even imagine what this is in NYC or other places where morality is questionable no matter how you spin it, and the psychology is complicated.

At the end of the day, I think it all comes down to being with someone who understands you, understands your vision, and what you want to accomplish in life. Just as there is a fine line in compatibility, there's a finer line when it comes to truly understanding someone and where they're coming from.

What's the balance in shooting for the moon and taking comfort in the green pasture? Didn't Hawking take on this question and come up with a blank? Is it better to fortify your territory or expand your boundaries?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Deep In the Belly of a Whale I Found Her, Down With the Deep Blue Jail Around Her, Running Her Hair through the Ribs of the Dark

Random sentiments -- Trip commentary, pictures and all that will come sooner than later.

What can I say other than that To The Dogs Or Whoever, off The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter album is stellar. I'd say its my 'song of the month,' the one I hum while sitting in the airport while allowing my brain empty cycles.

There are good songs, and there are good artists, a simple sentiment but when applied to life it's interesting. There are people who have 'spurts of brilliance' (songs) in the workforce, and there are 'artists' which are the MVP's of the organization who see virtue and work and are treated accordingly. Consequently, the the analogy can go deep into all facets of life.

I was reading about a certain office personality type that will 'filibuster' work, simply because they are afraid of it, lazy, knowledge isn't there, hearts not in it, all kinds of excuses. Makes me think about the first 6 years of my working life, years I'd love to have back, years that I could have 'done more with.' I was the king of the filibuster, for several of the reasons mentioned above.

Henry Ford said true virtue comes from hard work. Ayn Rand says no compromise in principal. I try live my life as a hybrid of both these days, although the latter is difficult when your purpose as a professional is information dissemination and things like this.

It gets me thinking, what is the SOLE thing I would look for as a redeeming virtue, one word that says it all, weather it be work life, private life, this, that or the other, and as I've been taking long walks the last couple of days, its uncanny that these answers to really hard life questions boil down to one word, that word...>RESPONSIBILITY

Lets take some scenarios.

1 -- The TV says the economy is doing bad, is it or is it not? Truthfully, what are the indicators in the world of spin, and as long as I have a patio and a beer to sip on, do I have to WASTE cycles thinking about 'am I going to have a job or not', or this and that, or do I just take it upon myself to diversify my stock as a human being, and that will take care of yours truly. If everyone had that attitude and personal responsibility, all the 'worker bees' would have the power.

2 -- Who says what about who in politics, and why is it so important. The systems is broke, it always has been, always will be, polarization will happen based on political parties, therefore making responsible individuals irresponsible due to their divisive colors.

3 -- My life is this, my life is that, it could be this, what if this, blah de de blah blah blah. Tom Petty's Two Gunslingers says it best, I'm taking control of my life now, right now. At the establishment I work at, there are 'core ideologies' one is 'always do the right thing.' I'm all for that, a pretty naive sentiment due to life's gray areas, but a better way to have said the same thing is to take responsibility to your thoughts, words, and actions.

A few ways I do this nowadays, 'The Power of Now,' a great self helper I suggest everyone picking up says, 'You are more than you're brain' is a great quote that has helped me overcome plenty of personal inertia.

Another note, I safely archived my one and only credit card saving for a day I will never have to use it, unless it's shirt.woot.com or something irresistible from buy.com. Nevertheless, carry a zero balance is on my things to do before I die, and I'm happy to say I'll be there sooner than later. After that, its American Express Blue for me, after a lot of research, all the 'frequent flyer' rewards bs is nothing compared to good old hard cash back. Put 12000 bucks on this card a year you get about 400 bucks back, that's the best I've seen, if someone can show me otherwise, I'm all ears.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Deutschland, March 18-24

After, pictures and video from SXSW and my trip to Berlin, Wusterwitz and Lehnin.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

From the Big Church to the Big River and Out to the Shining Sea, This is the Land of Opportunity and There's a Monkey Trial On TV

The Puritan John Cotton warned that "the more learned and witty you bee, the more fit for Satan you bee, as I grabbed it from this article about 'Revenge of the Experts.' For every creative 'thing' on the web, there's about 1,000 'not so good' things, hence another level of expertise or organization. I couldn't agree more with this piece.

  1. Bill Gates goes to congress and says we need more foreign workers in this country, I couldn't agree more. As said many times, intellectual property it vital to the success of a nation. 65,000 visas a year can be considered the equivalent of pissing on the sun. If we want to 'protect our empire,' it's imperative we 'in-source' all the smart people we can. I have no problem with outsourcing, it helps the world help themselves which in turn helps 'us.' When outsourcing quality is 'good,' lots are finding out its not cheap anymore. From USA, to India, to Russia to China, the buck has to stop and globalization will diffuse many problems, we just have to start treating everyone as true equals.
  2. Political posturing makes me abso-%#$@^!-lutely sick. I recall a graph in 'marketing class' in college, something like if a car is too much like another car, they move the product line to attract more customers. This science is effective but tired. The fact that Obama can run on 'hope' and inspire many people is often overlooked by trolls, doom and gloom people, and it is effective for Clinton to have the 'anti-hope' campaign and attract a lot of people, for a large part, people who don't pay much attention. Obama organizes the masses, Clinton organizes the bureaucrats.
Tomorrow I hope to see one of my heroes, Billy Bragg at the SXSW festival, here's a few cool covers.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Million Young Poets Screaming out their Words, To A World Full of People Livin' to Be Heard

I recall Chris Rock saying something about listening to John Mellencamp, it was pretty derogatory, but nevertheless, taking my geekly stroll to Best Buy and seeing his 'The Best I Could Do' cd, I had to get it. If not for Check it Out, or Little Pink Houses, or his amazing MTV Unplugged show, its for the memories I have jammin' the cd when I was a young lad with my brother Gman.

Everyone knows the song played all throughout football season, annoying as all hell, but I'll say it now and be cheesy, THE SONG HOLDS UP, especially in this Comedy Central appearance. Despite all the stupid monkey business that goes on in this country in the media, politics, big business, etc, etc -- the foundations are strong, and the he reflects it.




See 'the cougar' (as used to be his middle name) I can relate back to the game Civilization. Cities and civilizations produce 'great people' who produce 'great works', which in turn expand your borders and your cultural influence.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Call up the craftsman, bring me the draughtsman, build me a path from cradle to grave

It's been a charming / busy time, Jolen in to visit, great stuff, working while she's in town, just gotta do it. Here's a bunch of pictures from the last week. Why no blogging lately? Short version....new job has been busy.

First, starting with a walk in Landa Park, going down some stairs, I bust not only my butt, butt knee, hand and elbow. To couple the 'much too young to feel this damn old' feeling, I got an 'old person diaper' sample in the mail yesterday. I was excited, thinking it was some cool swag, but alas, only a diaper. :(


A trip to the San Antonio Zoo was entertaining, my first trip to a zoo ever. There was a room filled with butterflies.


The flamingos were my favorite, all standing on one foot.


All of them have tagged legs, and it looks like a big party in the ranks.


Entertaining the family on Sunday was fun, here are two people that really know their way around the kitchen, I didn't catch the conversation, maybe exchanging trade secrets. The word was out that when I was a kid I used to eat mustard bread, and mustard flavored sardines.


There's Doug, on the prowl for a new computer.


Mummy and Kman on the nice wicker rocker.


Jamie and Gman riding the Landa Park train. I had a great conversation with David, the owner. He knows a lot about Deutschland, etc, etc and promises great conversation at the Elks Lodge when I show up.


A close up eyeball shot. Check out how awesome my eyebrows are, just pure beauty. I bet a plucker would keel over and die if they had to contend with this.


A host of duckies floatin' the Comal River, that's feather pluckin' insane!


No matter how much the white duck would stick his head in the water, the dull murky water, he would stay clean.

The patio as seen from across the street. From there it reminds me of some scenes in Spain. Jolen made several comments about how she liked the skylights, and after finally noticing them and their effect, I'd have to agree.

This was a mean fella at the Wildlife Ranch at natural bridge. Actually this one was tame, but there was some crazy animals out there, that would just walk up to the car and have a look inside.

Some nice creatures, they are llamas?

Speaking of...this Zebra came in disregarded the little snack in hand, and proceeded to grab the bag of goodies right from Jolen's leg, what a site, and I think I actually got a little zebra slobber in the car. I was rollin on after the zebra got our bag.

This guy was much better. He was nice. My only attempt at feeding came from an animal that came up to the car, but once I realized he had a long blue tongue, I freaked out and dropped the feed on the ground.

Two trips to Ikea lands 4 tables put together for a coffee table(s) @12 bucks each, couch @450 and sleeper thing @400. Thanks to Milton's TV for the complimentary TV! It's hard to believe I actually have furniture, and its hard to believe that its my first bought couch. Only took 31 years to get, I'm mooovin' on up!

200 bucks for this what I think to be very nice table that has some slide out parts. At 59 each, the chairs were the biggest expenditure.

Here's the shoes I'll be representin' USA with in Germany. Notice the gold, red and black, I think they'll work out just fine there. I was thinking about getting a wedding outfit there, but saw how the dollar is doing, and looks like I may even forgo the pub experience and opt for a sixer from the cheap store and drink it on a park bench.

Finally, my goal is to befriend this guy. He's the keeper of that trash can. I watch him every now and then run after and his at people passing by, he's got a sinister looking disposition, and he even made my nephew Kman cry. I hope to make friend with him by showering him with gifts of bread, wheat, and possibly a french fry or two :)


All in all, so much activity the last since I've posted, I hope to catch a breath come April.