Wednesday, December 31, 2008

No fire where I lit my spark, I am not afraid of the dark

Seth G says it best, "I don't like New Year's. Faux merriment, excessive drinking, ridiculous resolutions and general malaise. Not to mention Dick Clark."

Life is a journey, expectations change along the way --To whom, for whom, with whom all gets blended in, very important in the crusade of life.

-- Where I'm From (past)

I have a buddy that always asks me about my parents, how I grew up, and the psychoanalysis goes from there. In short, he says there's no way I grew up in rural Texas, and I say why the heck not? On my jog tonight I go past the cemetery where my old man is buried. I think about the memories, growing up under the circumstances of Dad being sick most of mine and his life. It was an opportunity to both give and receive love, a way to come to grips and exorcise bitterness from my life at a young age.


Growing up my expectations were the following (highlights)
  1. that the doc's would reduce the suffering dad had to endure (social pressures didn't bother me one bit)
  2. marry the first girl I fell in love with
  3. experience life after high school, go to college on my shitty SAT score, get a computer job
The rest was the great wide open --


-- The journey I've chosen (present)

Traveling, heartbreak, reading and imagination set me on the course of discovery. I can easily decipher what's an end, and what's a means to an end. My 'bucket list' so to speak is literally out of this world.

Current expectations
  1. common decency to people i know and meet, and especially between people who are supposed to love each other
  2. obtain a deep understanding of the connectedness of the world, social-political-geographical-religious-financial
  3. give further definition to my faith, and keep it alive
Future expectations and more to end state

The reoccurring sentiment best described by the presidents of the usa (not really presidents, but the band...) --" old man on the back porch, old man on the back porch, old man on the back porch and that, old man is me."......"happy with no teeth, happy here in hibernation" -- sure that plays into it, but i'll surely be workin' till my days are done, hopefully more on what i want.

Long term exceptions (contradictory as portrayed in bullet points, but clear in my head)
  1. to be loved
  2. to experience true freedom (from myself, from others, from society)
-------
Yea, write it all down will I -- I think about it all (the whole why we are here, and what do we need to do), as life changes and feel that it's helped me put most things into perspective, and for the most part, has made things like sifting through technology a breeze.

drawn to the flame

everyone throws out bullet points for the years end, what came to focus from 2008.

bullet points --\\ gotta look past them, everyone reads the bullet points, not too many read the long boring paragraphs and accept the cold hard realities of their respective fields

aggrigator v producer --\\ anyone can aggrigate, less can produce content worth aggrigating -- integration of it all is the only thing that gives you a competitive advantage these days

learn mechanics--\\ know the tools out there, and figure out what purpose to use them for. just b/c a swiss army knife has 60 blades doesn't mean you have to use them all -- if you use the screwdriver to try to cut something....nothing good comes of that, etc

ideas / and execution--\\ ideas are a dime a dozen if you don't execute. if you think someone else is going to execute your brilliant idea, think again -- i've come to understand if you want your endeavor to take off, you have to babysit it from start to finish

stock market vs fantasy football-- \\ the stock market is easier to predict than fantasy football.

aggressively persue goals w/ eye on prize-- \\ find something that needs to be done within your scope, agressively execute -- accept the diligence needed for the task at hand

intuition and courage-- \\ is personal, is key, is the make or break--- you can read books, blogs, tweets, wikis and countless other sources on information, you gotta mold them together, add value, and retrofit for your specific task, and execute.

finally --\\ you're not going to outdo what's already been done

Monday, December 29, 2008

It's the End of the World as We Know it, And I Feel Fine

The 'stock-off' between my brother-in-law and I begins.

End-Of-Us-Dominance Portfolio

Stock -- Price -- Shares -- Value

Petroleo Brasileiro SA (ADR) PBR
22.07
11.32759
$250

PetroChina Company Limited (ADR) PTR
84.19
2.969474
$250

Sasol Limited (ADR) SSL
28.5
8.77193
$250

Terra Industries Inc.
TRA
14.89
16.78979
$250

Agrium Inc. (USA)
AGU
31.04
8.054124
$250

Silver Wheaton Corp. (USA)
SLW
6.33
39.49447
$250

Goldcorp Inc. (USA)
GG
31.07
8.046347
$250

Bucyrus International, Inc.
BUCY
17.44
14.33486
$250

Total $2000

Contrarian US will Recover Portfolio Mutual Fund

Stock -- Price -- Shares -- Value

Royce Financial Services Svc RYFSX
4.30
248.139
$1000

ICON Financial ICFSX
5.18
193.05
$1000

Total $2000

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The dimming of the light makes the picture clearer, It's just an old photograph, There's nothing to hide, when the world was just beginning

Brothas, sistas, and motha.


Kale and I, this little dude is AWESOME.


Grant, Ayden and the gang on a mission


Have yourself a very vulcan Christmas.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Did you see the stylish kids in the riot We were shovelled up like muck Set the night on fire Wombles bleed truncheons and shields

Ever since Gladwell turned me on to the word 'maven', I've combed the internet pages to find these special people and bask in their radiance.

One attribute I've always thought 'handy,' the power to influence. Bon Jovi does it, you can hear tons of people singing along to Livin' on a Prayer. He's got the help of guitar hero and shelf space at wal mart.

You have to go out of your way to find and understand Pete Doherty and truly grasp why a mass follows him. That's the gang, generally speaking I want to go have a beer with.

Pure influence, when your song gets sung back to you. This isn't a bad pickup either.

This city's so cold & old Forever rain or snow I'd really love to come and go

The season and year for fog.


Leaves finally have left the trees.


The banana tree doesn't like the cold weather.


The festive neighbor


The most decorated building in town.


Joy to the world


The bustling downtown.


Nicely done :)


A random hunk of lights in the park

Friday, December 26, 2008

It's on Amerika's Tortured Brow, That Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow

I'd say there are changes coming in 2009, first coming with saving, saving for a better day, saving to spend later. Interesting and unique opportunities are all over the place, and I'm going to labor to capitalize.

Makes me think of a line of thought in Crashproof, in which the author talks about western 'information technology service sector' being overstretched. Generalizations about manufacturing jobs being lost and about how the world isn't awe'd by the American consumer also shine through.

For my future as an wanna be entrepreneur, what this guy probably will say in this book...If your idea says something like 'well get 'them' to hook into 'this'' , you're screwed. Cute is saturated. If it can't be done in your living room with your best buddy, you're playing a finite game and marching with the herd.

The money will stay on the sideline for some time, but will be there to scale a solid idea that can be monetized.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I worried and stalled every night of my life. Better safe than making the party

Time to recollect for the year on what I've learned. A buddy and I talk, generally speaking he's an idealist, I'm a pragmatist, but rigid in my own thoughts. For a great part of my life, I've found struggle in how pragmatism and idealism can meet in the middle.

Abstract a bit further, and think, how can ANY idea, any thought, word, deed, feeling, etc find common ground. What's the basis for commonality? Sure there's the general themes of mutual respect, understanding and empathy, but that doesn't strike at the heart of the matter.

To explore further, my personal story of discovery, of course lost in translate, comes from weekly dialogue in philosophy, my buddy, a Plato person, myself, a Kant person -- two that 'kinda go together, but kinda not'. I do some digging for quotations, find a middle ground that assures me that I (at least for my own well being), have found the root of common decency, and the tie that binds reasonable people together, and provides a solid foundation to build upon.

-----------
'Always recognize that human individuals are ends, and do not use them as means to your end.' -- Kant

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. -- Plato
-----------

I've discovered that despite what contempt I have on the surface of 'this place' (anything that deals with the mass of humanity, their consumptions, their evils, my perception of what's pathetic), it doesn't manifest in friendships I've established over the years, and generally speaking I have a great disposition when it comes to the challenges in life, and all of its curiosities. Even though my phone doesn't ring on Saturday night, I have great friends everywhere I look, which confirms a mutual genuine interest.

Similarly, I feel as if I've got great capacity for intimacy, I feel strongly (as my fortune cookie suggests) a beautiful, smart and loving person will be coming into your life. All the intangibles will align, someday, somehow, sometime.

It all starts with the realization that most human life is precious (even though there are too damn many of us), and I want to dive into that feeling. This means lowering my guard, this means throwing out the bad mental habits of self defeatism.

Humans super complex and wonderful, I'm going to live by that one, and continue bridging the gap between cognition and manipulation.

Acting on your best behaviour Turn your back on mother nature Everybody wants to rule the world

Next year marks the first year in my professional career that I'm collectively producing more than I'm consuming.

In a civilization that seems to have forgotten how to produce, we see shifting -- entertainment, litigation, copyright and cool web 2.0 stuff.

Tears for fears was right, everyone has an agenda in this world. Few go the extra mile to help their agendas along. This means finishing up something before surfing the web, and it means doing the hard stuff first.

We can lie to ourselves and say sub prime is the cause, but more consumption than production is root cause, that's the super bubble that will break. Someone said we have the 20% work rule, and that's what's got us into this mess, and suggests that we employ the 120% rule to get out of it.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Huhuh! I was in the right! Yes, absolutely in the right! I certainly was in the right!

The last credit card debt I'll have in my past life -- 2009 might be bad for the economy, but it'll be great year for me.

Been to hell and back financially, got the t-shirt.

That doesn't mean I won't buy a round of beer for 15 Brits at 10 bucks a pint, just means I'm not going to put it on the credit card :)

Pure easy listening, settle down On the pillow soft when theyve all gone home

Stringing things together as life goes on.

Gladwell has two good phrases to ponder in his new book, 1, the war on mitigated speech, and 2, glorious misconceptions.

Two new years resolutions --


An all out assault on mitigated speech
-- Slapping a time and date saying you need this on 'x' date, instead of the 'umm, if you're not too busy, do this by then', etc, etc -- It's the next step forward in people taking things seriously.

A breakdown of glorious misconceptions. Continue to spend 20 minutes on something someone else gives up on in 30 seconds.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Hilary went to the catholic church because she wanted information The vicar, or whatever, took her to one side and gave her confirmation

Soliciting thoughts on what to write about tonight, you know I'd take the hard one. --

1 -- how our almost former president is agile, like a cat?

or

2 -- The Duality of Man

Duality, of course I'm thinking Yin and Yang, but then got into 'Unification Thought,' very fascinating. It's the ultimate in finite thought, and its left my head spinning for the evening.

Unification thought is meant to serve as a philosophical basis for social, political, economic, religious, and cultural activities. It also goes on to say....Unification thought encompasses theories on God, human nature, nature, ethics, art, education, knowledge, logic, method, and history. God and man are mutually interdependent.

It frames life in a more spiritual way. From what it tells me, there are forces that can tell you how to think, but fewer forces to explain how you feel.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

giving into the blue sky and to the gold eye of what is possible, giving one in a million, you be the engine of what is possible

Time for the top ten of 2008, most are repeats and oldies, some sentimental to the heart, but the top 10 surly does change when you move out of a music city. Your musical knowledge and 'in the know' seems to shrivel on the vine.

With that being said, its been a great year for the soul, and the soundtrack reflects. It also reflects someone that's getting old.


10 - Conor Oberest / Conor Oberest and Racounters - Consolers Of The Lonely -- Number 10 is a tie between these two great. Conor is a great songwriter that surrounds himself with some of my favorites, too deep to be considered whiny emo. The Racounters are there b/c of the mere precense of Mr Benson, the Jack White singing style gets to me every now and then, but its a great jam. This year used it as a pump Roland and Mike D up for the Marathon car drive.

9 -- Belle and Sebastian -- BBC Sessions -- Even if they'd fart on a snare and record, they'd be in the top 10. An album that shows there ain't much studio magic to their perfection.

8 -- John Denver's Greatest Hits -- What memories are made of. Mike P and D and I rolling throught the mountains of Colorado with Mr Rocky Mountain high hippie on repeat. We did see it raining fire in the sky on Mike P's wedding trip. The soundtrack is memorable if you take something like this, roll it on repeat, get annoyed, get past annoyance, and sing at the top of your lungs. I'm there, just got to get the others in the car to that point.

7 -- Fleet Foxes -- The only mainstream hipster band on the list. I like them because of the reverb, the lyrics, the nice little fills.

6 -- Old 97's Blame it On Gravity -- Rhett and the Boys put out consistently good stuff. Rollin with the top down in Shiner, acting cool, blaring these tunes. Not to mention, even people who aren't up on music can hop in the car and say, hey, this sounds good. It's approachable and hip.

5 -- Dan Wilson -- Free Life -- Album that talks about love, love, love, and spins it every which way. In my line of work we deal with analytics and OLAP cubes, well Dan can spin that cube any and every which way in this album, as it pertains to love. He traded in his gyrating hips of Semisonic for a solo career, and producer of great albums like the recent Dixie Chicks.

4 -- Ben Folds -- Way too Normal --He has the crowd pleaser song with Regina Spector, love it, and also......

He's the geek that puts the mistery, debate, and complexity behind in defining gender roles. This little dude brings a huge set of nuts to the debate, representin' for the intellectual, representin' for the non-athletic type.

The first line of the song says it all...

(The answer you seek my son only poses more questions.
Ask many women why relationship has failed.
Each woman offer unique reason for demise.
One woman may say, "man could not commit."
Or, "man is douche, and is now free to make love to himself instead."
Another woman may say, "man had changed,"
or even, "man no longer satisfactory lover."
But my son, ask many men same question all over the world, "why has relationship failed?" Each man, each time, will give same, simple answer.) ---- The B*tch went nuts..

3 -- Billy Bragg -- Mr Love and Justice -- Billy brings me a contemporary outlook on life throught the lense of an active Brit. Uncanny that I agree with most he preaches, he's a positive vibe in a world full of trouble.

2 -- David Byrne -- Everything that Happens -- Wow, caught on to this one late, but Byrne works wonders with the album, his vocals are amazing. The man is superhuman.

1 -- Josh Ritter -- The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter -- Number one goes to the album that was in my car CD player for the first 6 months of the year. Driving to work, I listened to the Temptation of Adam at least 5,000 times. The music is emotionally anomous despite deep lyrics and insite.

The cars in the churchyard are shiny and German Distinctly at odds with the theme of the sermon

I'm sure going to miss the view from where I geek out when its not there.


Mike P comes to town, I get offered beer in 4 different places on the evening and the total number drank....0. Last time I ran a 5k, I drank 6 rum and cokes the night before. Talk about a difference of performance.

Gotta keep the head warm in cold Texas weather.


And then there's Chesney, she's damn funny. Mike P and I invaded her and Jason's dinner by the fireplace.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Through Your State of Grace, Lift me Up, Walk into the Fire With Me

The astronomical clock in Prague has always has created an epiphany when gazing at the sun and moon, and walk of the apostles at the same glance. Not to mention the clock seems to sit in the middle of 'old' and 'new' city.

Similar, here I sit right smack dab in the middle of a crossroad in life, to my left is a lifestyle that's got me where I am today (for better or for worse), and to my right is a vision of where I want to be. Feels like I'm easing into one and out the other.

To my left, I'm one to harp on words like domestication and contentment, to my right I'm discovering new words like grace and compassion. I'm intrigued by the collective feelings of sorrow and happiness rather than the individual, I know I have a lot to learn.

Proper judgment means more than anything.

Monday, December 08, 2008

So go play with your piano Write a mediocre song Out the shell of mediocrity And pretend there’s nothing wrong

Tonight is one of those nights everything sorta hurts, a night of limbo. During whiteboard session with Mike P on ACROBAT>COM, I asked 'what should I blog about,' the answer, 'an epiphany', your latest one.

Had to really look the word up to see what it meant. The definition, 'A sudden revelation of truth inspired by a seemingly trivial incident.' Guess those things are good, and I think you can condition yourself to have more and more of them.

Here's where I have them, and what they pertain to --
  • While sitting in my cube, I have to get up, walk around, figure out how to disseminate, diffuse, and catalog next steps moving forward
  • Sitting in pubs with friends of like minds, who cultivate ideas, no trolls
  • Visual queues, looking at something, man made or nature, going 'damn, there's something really significant about that'
  • Being vigorously hard on the heart and mind, body and soul, constant probing as long as I can withstand -- I always figure there will be time for rest one day, or not

What I do with them --
  • Frame it context, act.
  • Push the envelope
  • Weave into your existence
  • Share / Communicate, the most important part
Epiphany's are out there, observance is key.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

And At Night, You Go to Bed and Dream that the Would Would Be Like You Want it, You got the Courage Why Not Flaunt It.

A word about hyper consumerism --

Going to a store, going to a burrito joint, going to a mall, you could argue that we've reached a gilded age for the middle class. People for the most part can afford to do almost anything, buy anything, use anything, go anywhere.

Something in me says what's morally right in seeing the mass consumerism is to seek sustainable living. I'm proud when I can pluck a lemon from the tree in the backyard and use it, I'm proud when I see a counter full of potatoes, tomatoes, onions and carrots.

I'm not proud when I see 100 plastic cups disseminated at Starbucks every hour, the packaging it takes to deliver certain goods to market, or the general passiveness of people, or people who are oblivious to the effects of all of this.

Lots of hearts and minds need to be changed, we have two choices, become more aware and conscious, or mother nature will rightfully burp us off this planet.

White Kitchen Walls with a Thousand Windows, You Turn On Winston in the Den.

Thinking about it today, my family balances me out, thank y'all so much for that. Blogging about / thinking about the family is therapeutic.

No chestnuts roasting on an open file, but we have some nice stockings hung by the chimney with care, and we also have 'Bedford Falls' up there, the famous places from the movie.


Back yard retrofitted with a sheet as a screen, projecting a movie while we basked in the hot tub.


Angle is everything when shooting pictures, here' the backyard pool looks a bit like puff daddy's stuff.. um maybe not, how am I supposed to judge until I get invited to one of puffy's parties.


The fam says its low maintenance, so no pool boys come over to clean.


Finally the Bailey Building and Loan. A queen bee I used to live with said I remind her of George Bailey, I think it's one of the best compliments I ever received, in context.

I'm up in the air, can't hear a sound You're making a noise on the ground

Often I neglect the fact that tennis has had a major impact on my life during tender years. My buddies and I would often play 7 hours a day on the weekends in 100 degree Texas heat. Lots was learned during this time, and now that I have the ability to think, there are several terms that transcend tennis.

Ace -- Making that point that transcends all points. Hitting the ball so your adversaries can't even touch it.

The Double Fault -- The worst thing ever. Means that you don't even get the ball in play to see what happens, you screw it up yourself, and don't even give you opponent a chance to react.

Volley / Net Play -- Picking the ball off early will all for better placement, often 'winners' and gives your opponent very little time to react.

The Serve -- Getting the mechanics down for the serve is a feat in itself. It's collecting yourself, then exploding all effort for a purpose

-----------------
My travels have brought me to Roland Garros in Paris, Flushing Meadows in New York, and Wimbledon in London -- The last of the Grand Slams to hit is the Australia Open.

Favorite matches in my 'career'

-- Regional Final 1995 -- Playing doubles, the 'audience' would clap when I double faulted b/c my serve was wicked, especially for a short dude. Opponent gets stung by a bee, I'm thinking 'hell yea', we're going to win by default, but alas.

-- Team Tennis 1992 -- Playing the #1 slot for Shiner, I'd get demolished almost every match. One match during the warmup, wearing my prim and proper white attire, I hit a mud slick chasing down a ball, fall straight on my back, play the rest of the match covered in mud.

-- Cuero Summer Tennis 1993 -- Hot and tired, ready to concede the match when this punk pops me in the leg with an overhead smash when he had the entire court open. I mustered up the energy to come back and pulverize this bunghole.

-- First match ever -- Sportin my 'LA Gear' tennis shoes, I'm stressed like hell b/c I never played anything one on one organized, and I wanted to win. The set count 2-2 and then the rains came. 'Ronnie' and I never got to finish that match.

-- Regional Opener Round 1 -- Playing a Brazilian exchange student the day of dad's funeral. I got pummeled, but I showed up, that's what pops would have wanted.

-- Clay Court Hilton Head Island -- My bud David (aka John McEnroe temper) throws his racket over the fence in anger, not able to adjust to the slow play of the clay.

--------
Lots to be learned in it all, last night's match shows that we're all slowing down, using more angles and less power. We'll see how it goes at age 50.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

what was i supposed to do, standin there lookin at you, a lonely voice far from home

Purpose --

Driving home in the middle of massive traffic, I stopped to think, what's the purpose? So many beings on the merry way, all with missions, all with thoughts, attitudes, personalities, challanges. It all seems to be a commodity.

I've been called a deconstructionist on a few occassions in life, seems to be getting that way. It's always more, more, more, more tv's, more money, more shows, more travel, more *insert vice, superficial, or other sentiment here* --

Certainly I don't agree with Freud when he says all you have to do in life is die. But certainly the modern day temptations don't offer a lot in terms of peace.

I know a lot of smart people that say they're searching for 'purpose,' but that begs the question, are they that smart? Purpose can be in all of life's simple things, I guess expectation is what screws it up, the incessant desire to want more and more and more, from everything and everyone.

Somewhere in there respect for your fellow man is thrown out the window.