Friday, August 28, 2009

Ahead of the Times

You might be that guy if you're a half a year behind the DL. Nonetheless, it's still a quality post from a quality site. Would have liked to see some guidelines spelled out for the two-man trough, though.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Word of the Day - clarity

Merriam Webster OnLine defines it as:

'kler-ah-tee (noun)
the quality or state of being clear: lucidity

Well, since "the quality or state of being clear" is a sucky definition that leverages the root word to define the derivative, let's go with "lucidity"

lü-'si-dah-tee (noun)
1: clearness of thought or style (there's that damn "clear" word again)
2: : a presumed capacity to perceive the truth directly and instantaneously: clairvoyance

Well since I am definitely not clairvoyant, and I could pretty much give a rat's ass about "style," let's go with the "clearness of thought" definition.

Two words you don't see anywhere in that definition are "smoke" and "stars," but they both factored prominently into the hour I stood outside tonight trying to refocus. Romeo y Julietas are amazing and apparently lead to the kind of serene relaxation that drives contemplation. It seemed strangely apropos that I could stand out on my porch here in Ventura and see stars, and then some things started to make sense.

One of the major problems I have had in the last month plus is that I feel like I haven't stopped. I haven't been home for a weekend. Sometimes it was for factors beyond control, and to be fair, all the time it was with some of the most important people in my life. But the fact of the matter is, that I wasn't home. I was either in locations where I couldn't see the stars or didn't stop to look at them. Both of which are problems but raise a couple important points.

1. I think of this place as home. This is a credit to the laid back environment in both the city and the apartment. My roommate is roommates are baller. After the absolute debacle post-ARob, I have a place to live that is comfortable and a person (and dog) to share it with. Bonus points for the neighbors being cool.

2. I like seeing the stars. I grew up in a place where I couldn't, so I never really thought about it before, but tonight I decided I really like it.

3. Even when I was places I could see them, I didn't stop to do it. This is perhaps the most disconcerting part of the whole thing. Something as simple as taking a minute to myself was something that I let get buried and lost. For a guy fighting burnout, that's pretty stupid.

I love my family and friends, and I am happy to put them before myself. But in the process, I'm realizing that I've lost sight of myself in a way. Happiness is nebulous, fleeting and difficult to pin down without some sort of roadmap. How do you develop that roadmap without some sort of introspective lucidity to give you direction? I don't know how, but I do know that the first step is coming to this realization.

This is the realization I came home...looking at the stars in silent lucidity.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Experimenting with reBlog

A couple days ago, I read a fascinating article in Wired Magazine on Craig Newmark and why his Web site has turned into such a train wreck. Today I found a blog posting from a VC in New York analyzing the article. His insights are highly thought-provoking as well.

I found this fascinating quote today:

The much more interesting conversation is about the appropriate economic model for a social network that depends on the contributions of its participants and increases in value as more people use it. One possibility is that the economic models of these networks will look more like Craigslist than Yahoo. Recent estimates peg Craigslist's revenue at more than $100,000,000. Not much compared to Yahoo's billions, but Craigslist still employs only 28 people. Even allowing for substantial bandwidth, and server costs, it is still hard to imagine how their costs are more than $5,000,000. Since Craigslist collapsed a multibillion dollar classified advertising business into a fabulously profitable $100,000,000 business, perhaps we should be talking about the potential deflationary impact of more "zero billion dollar" businesses. As the radical efficiencies of the web seep into more sectors of the economy, and participants in social networks exchange attention instead of dollars, will governments at all levels need to make do with less tax revenue? That's a scary thought in an era of high deficits unless traditional governments can learn from the efficent governance systems of social networks and provide more for, A VC, Aug 2009

You should read the whole article.

The title of this post refers to a function attached to his blog called reBlog, which is essentially the bloggers' equivalent of retweeting on Twitter. I'll play around with it when I have more time, but it looks fascinating. So, then, Fred Wilson, if you should happen to backtrack to this post, thanks for your insights. I'm definitely adding your blog to my blogroll and RSS readers.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Toph's BDay Weekend in the IE

Brief Summaries:

  • kegs and eggs
  • bbq
  • drinking games
  • girl on girl action
  • Simpler Times
  • "We Built this City"
  • Journey
  • Cawlfield and Matney outed (DL: twice)
  • blondes
  • vial shots
  • Jager bomb
  • dance mania
  • lap dance
  • brawl
  • Breakfast Jack!
  • strawberry shake
  • papsan down
  • Yard House
  • trotting out a four starter against staff aces and #2's
  • Datsun is
  • silver bullets
  • Bitch U Ride the MARTA Bus
  • knee to the spine
  • regular ID (DL: racial profiling)
  • lemon drop martinis
  • "Shit...they're at my car now."
  • baseball
  • side beef
  • crazy bitches
  • cougars
"Don't forget about our discussion of the importance of diversifying the rotation behind a clear-cut staff ace. Lincecum stuff...backing the hammer with 97+. Then running out a solid Cain-esque #2 and a #3."

Friday, August 21, 2009

From Facebook: My Life According to The Offspring

Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions. Pass it on to 10 people you like and include me (presuming I'm someone you like). You can't use the band I used. Try not to repeat a song title. It's a lot harder than you think! Repost as "My life according to (band name)"

Are you a male or female:
Pay the Man

Describe yourself:
Defy You

How do you feel:
Gotta Get Away

Describe where you currently live:

If you could go anywhere, where would you go?
Never Gonna Find Me

Your favorite form of transportation:

Your best friend? (brother)
Dirty Magic

You and your best friends are:
Worst Hangover Ever

What's the weather like:
Burn it Up

Favorite time of day:
Time to Relax

If your life was a TV show, what would it be called:
Conspiracy of One

What is life to you:
Why Don't You Get a Job?

Your relationship:
Million Miles Away

Your fear:

What is the best advice you have to give:
Leave it Behind

Thought for the Day:
Get it Right

How I would like to die:
Total Immortal

My soul's present condition:
Mission from God

My motto:
You're Gonna Go Far, Kid

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Video of the Day - MARTA Shout-out...sorta

For those of you who are not familiar wiht Atlanta (which, I believe, is all of you), MARTA stands for Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority. As I'm sure you can imagine, all sorts of colorful people ride MARTA, as it is definitely viewed as a stepchild. Thus, it is apparently a grave insult to insist that someone take it. That being said, I took it voluntarily to lunch with Loudy on Thursday, and it was an experience but not the awful one that I'd anticipated. We took it again on Friday to the game, and it seemed fairly benign then as well. Perhaps I simply missed out on the REALLY fun people who take it, but in any event, here is a sampling of the locals' thoughts on the MARTA bus.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Video of the Day - Chuckles the Chicken

Just got back from the weight room on campus at Emory University, and unfortunately, there was not a Chuckles sighting. There was however some random, sporadic clucking. Go figure.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Video of the Day - "Welcome to Atlanta"

Self explanatory. I am in the it. Looking to bring home one of these. I, too, am puzzled as to why Fernando Viña is in the screen shot of the video.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Letter from a Great Man


To my Grandson Dale:

Thank you for being such a fine man and upholding good standards. It has been such a joy for Grandma and I to have shared so much of your growth.

I thank God that we were able to follow you around on the baseball circuit.

The time is coming in your life that you will have to make big decisions, so make sure that you make good ones. If you're not sure it's right, just slap yourself. (haha)

Just want you to know that Grandma and I love you dearly.


Grandpa and Grandma

As you can tell by the date, this letter came to me a while ago--my senior year in HS. Those of you who went to Catholic high school know all about why and where this comes from, so I will divulge no further details on that.

The important part, though, is the focus on decisions, and this is a topic near and dear to me as I just attended the going away party of one of my former players who leaves for college this week. Another leaves next week, and the rest will be on their way too. Clearly as my knuckleheads take off for college, they will be faced with many decisions, and while I certainly had my share of shortcomings as a coach/mentor for my boys, the overarching point I always tried to drive home was that there are two ways to do things.

The right way and the wrong way.

What do you know? That point extends to more than baseball. I hope and pray that my boys always continue to work to do things the right way. It's not always going to work out perfectly for them, as it certainly hasn't always for me since I received the above letter eight years ago when I was their age. But as I told my grandpa in the response I wrote him, I know that in the big picture I've gotten more right than I've gotten wrong.

To me, it's a testament to the strong principles and family values he helped instill in me. While I could never measure up to the example he set for me with respect to impacting future generations, I hope that someday (maybe in eight years), my boys can look back and think that the lunatic freshman coach from 2006 taught them a thing or two about how to do things.

Live life with a passion for others and see God in them, because you never know when you'll lose them. Play to win, because playing not to lose is for...well...losers. Have each other's back always because you better believe I have all of yours. That's doing things the right way.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Web Site of the Day

For all you grammar and usage snobs out there (yes, I'm talking to you, Sarah, Catherine, Paula, Monica and anyone else who reads this and hates people who can't command the English language). <--Yes, i know that is a fragment. Save it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Couple Weeks Ago

A couple of weeks ago, I posted my college entry essay, verbatim. It was about family and the wisdom and guidance that my parents have given me. It cited a specific example, and you can read the whole thing if you'd like, but the takeaway was that when I was in 3rd grade, my parents hit me with a lesson in priorities and proper behavior that has resonated more than any others and will stick with me for the rest of my life. I mentioned the scorekeeper, but the focus was primarily the coach...aka the guy who benched me.

This one's about the scorekeeper.

I use this blog (and facebook and twitter) to whine and moan and generally just bloviate about anything and everything. You all have a right (and are encouraged, really) to leave me comments to weight in or tell me to shut up and stop my complaining or any of a number of things you may want to sound off about. I love the dialog.

No one has as much room to tell me to shut up as the scorekeeper.

One word that never appears in my college essay is "strength." My parents taught it to me, but were so covert about it that I never really recognized it...until a few years ago when the scorekeeper and i nearly lost the coach. Then it became crystal clear.

In early September '05 (my first year out of school), I had gone back to spend a night with one of my college buddies and some of his friends from his apartment building. It was a prototype evening of college shenanigans and I woke up to a phone call from mom. She then proceeded to tell me that my father had a massive heart attack the night before, and they were at the hospital in Hollywood because that's the venue with the great cardiac team, apparently.

After I picked my jaw up off the floor, scrambled to say goodbye to everyone and violated a couple traffic laws to get there, I was greeted by my dad hanging out in his bed drinking some water and my mom hanging out talking to him like we were at home in the living room or something. Outwardly...not fazed. Pretty amazing. It put me at considerable ease and really eliminated any sense of immediate panic I had going in.

So they scheduled pops for surgery for later in the week. Mom worked out a deal with the office where she could work part of her day remotely, so she could spend as much time with dad as possible.

When he went into surgery, she was there, and she told me to just go to work and not worry about it.

While he was in surgery, she waited in the waiting room.

When I called after work, she told me not to worry and to just go home. (I ignored her...I always did have selective hearing.)

When the surgery went past the estimated time, she was glad that I'd ignored her, but if I hadn't, she would have hung in there.

When the doctor came to talk to her once he was out of surgery, she listened to every word and calmly asked questions.

When he was in the hospital for a couple months after surgery in constant danger of taking a turn for the worst, she was right there all day during visiting hours.

When things started to get a little better, the stoicism turned into a smile.

And when it was time for him to come home, it was like a party.

Since then, through good days and tough ones, she's shown the same kind of selflessness no matter what's been going on around her. Going in early, staying late, working through lunch...whatever she needs to do to finish her paid job as a CPA to get home to her unpaid job as a wife and primary care physician, she does with a faith-driven grace that I don't believe can be replicated.

This is why it didn't surprise me a whole lot that when she called me a few hours ago to tell me that her father (from whom I get my personality...I'm convinced, anyway) had been diagnosed with cancer that is believed to be terminal, she spit out the facts like a doctor without a hint of weakness in her voice.

My grandpa has always been the active type, quick with jokes and stories and all about fixing (and "fixing") things. He's as strong-willed and stubborn as they come, the larger than life personality and the commanding presence that you would expect out of a former Navy guy and head of a household with five kids, but with a heart of gold. Even in the face of the worst news someone could possibly get from a doctor, he wore it to stay strong for his family.

I guess we all know where the scorekeeper gets that from.

Please say a prayer and keep good thoughts for the Power family. As tough as we are, we could really use it, and it's much appreciated. God bless.

Photo credits to my cousin Crissy and her blog and my cousin Courtney and her Facebook page.