Archives for November 2012

Is Your Elevator Pitch Current?

When people ask you to tell them about who you are, what you like to do and what your goals are in life are you giving them the current story or are you stuck talking about who you once wanted to be?

The Most Self Indulgent Headline Ever

Maximus: Three weeks from now, I will be harvesting my crops. Imagine where you will be, and it will be so. Hold the line! Stay with me! If you find yourself alone, riding in the green fields with the sun on your face, do not be troubled. For you are in Elysium, and you’re already dead!

Maximus: Brothers, what we do in life… echoes in eternity.
Gladiator

The most self indulgent headline ever is how I think of what I had intended to use for this post. It was going to be called, “The Legend of Jack Steiner” and it was going to be good.

With some hard work and a bit of luck maybe it still will be. Walk with me for a bit and let’s see what we can dig up.

“You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill;
I will choose a path that’s clear-
I will choose Free Will.”
Free Will– Rush

Some of you might appreciate why “The Legend of Jack Steiner” makes me chuckle and how I have thought about writing a tale about that particular story, but it won’t be today.

That is because the headline isn’t something I came up with to be snarky, sarcastic or silly. It is not me being insouciant, far from it. That is me being serious.

When I die I want people to think of me as a legend and not because my ego needs that kind of stroking or help. Rather it is because I want to make a difference in the world and leave it a better place than I found it.

Here is the deal, I shoot for the moon but will settle for making an impact upon a much smaller crowd.

A Life Of Contradictions

You might wonder if that last sentence isn’t one hell of a contradiction and ask yourself if it sounds like I am working against myself. Why bother to shoot for the moon if you are willing to settle for far less.

I can provide you with a well reasoned and long winded response, could be kind of fun and it would play into my natural battle with brevity.

However I prefer to make it simple.

If I can have a positive impact upon my children the work I have done there will benefit not just them but others. If it goes half as well as I hope we’ll have a viral effect and the end result is that many more will smile because of the work we did before.

Small Victories Can Yield Big Rewards

It is arrogant, but I haven’t any doubt in my ability to make a big splash. I expect it will happen because I will make it happen.

Yet experience has taught me one of the most effective ways to do so is to build upon small victories. It is also a way to not feel overwhelmed when life kicks you in the teeth and having eaten my share of shoe leather I know it can happen.

So this is how we do it. This is how we shoot for the moon but make sure that if our rocket runs out of fuel we still have the ability to say we did something that made a difference.

Can We Heal Twitter & Is Samsung In My Future?

What you have in the audio post above are a couple of thoughts that are tied into Two Things That Are Killing Twitter. If Twitter is ill the question I pose is will we allow it to die or are we going to try to take steps to save the patient.

That is followed up by a few thoughts about whether the Samsung Galaxy Note II is the phone I should purchase with my upgrade or if there is a better phone for me.

Upgrades like this make me a bit crazy. The phone is a critical part of my work life as well as a big part of the personal so it is important to me to pick one that will be better than just “ok.”

The cost of the phone makes changing them prohibitive so if this one doesn’t work I have to live with it for a while which is why I try to be cautious and careful in my decision making.

The Moments Matter

I don’t use videos in my posts as often as I used to. It is not because my love for music has shrunk but because I have had too many experiences with broken links and that is a problem.

It is not just because Google doesn’t respond well to such things but because it looks like hell and I am trying to make this place look nicer, warmer and more inviting. It is a big part of why more posts here have pictures in them.

It took a long while for me to focus on the photos but not because I don’t think they are important. That old saw about a picture being worth a thousand words is true.

The Slumbering Blogger

For lack of a better term I feel like the slumbering blogger. I used to do a much better job of making the rounds and visiting far out parts and places throughout the blogosphere, but lately I haven’t been able to.

Life got in the way. The kids were off of school all last week and work was crazy so something had to give.

I noticed this not because of an impact on traffic, in fact traffic is up here.

Nah, I noticed because I haven’t checked in my with friends and that bothers me. Some of us have developed real friendships and I miss you guys. I miss reading your tales and hearing about your families.

I feel disconnected. Part of that is good.

The good part stems from knowing how much time I got to spend with my family. My kids and I played games, rode bikes, wrestled and hung out.

That was good. The time will come soon enough when we won’t be able to do it the same way.

It might be because work changes and I don’t continue to have a home office or it might be because the kids grow older and go through the period where mom and dad just aren’t interesting.

The Moments Matter

I struggled to write a post called How To Be A Man. I am not sure why it was so hard but I know I see it as being emblematic of the importance of living each moment.

It is a reminder to me that we only get one chance and sometimes we screw it up. That might sound like a cliche, but I believe it to be true.

Maybe it is because I have very few regrets but those I do are enormous. The goal now is to avoid adding to the list and if possible to find a way to fix the mistakes.

Going With My Gut

Sometimes I am certain that I am on exactly the right path and these things I am doing are all leading to the place I want to be. Sometimes I am comfortable just relaxing and letting it all happen and sometimes I feel like it is a mistake not to manage it.

Blogging is a funny thing. When you read your own posts you realize that you are no different than anyone else. You are just as crazy, mixed up, insecure, smart, successful and good looking as the next guy.

These Moments Matter

There are a list of magical moments in my mind. These are moments that matter. I pay attention because I am a collector of moments and I don’t want to be the guy who always says I remember when.

A man needs to have dreams to aspire to and the confidence he can attain them so that he can pass this confidence and strength on to his children so that they may live their dreams too.

It is time to close out this post with one of my favorite poems and the anthem of the year:

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”
The Fellowship of The Ring- J.R.R. Tolkien

How To Be A Man

Eighteen years ago I made my grandfather cry and my grandmother howl. If I close my eyes I can still hear that awful sound and see the tears flowing down his face.

Technically it wasn’t my fault, I wasn’t the cause of his pain but I was the messenger and that was enough to sear the moment into my memory.

Two hours later I gave my father the same news and held my breath while waiting for a similar response.

It didn’t come as I expected and I breathed a sigh of relief.

+++++

Life never slows down. It doesn’t stop and it doesn’t wait. No matter how badly you try to hold on and no matter how desperately you beg for it to just give you a moment to catch your breath you are forced to accept a simple truth.

Life continues.

In the midst of your glory and in the middle of your pain life continues. The river just never stops flowing.

+++++

Those are my words and though they were written in June of ’06 they were really born the day I made grandpa cry.
Until that day grandpa was one of the superheroes of my life who could do no wrong and always knew the right thing to say.

And then came the awful moment when I saw a piece of him break off and dissolve and I saw firsthand what I intellectually I knew, but emotionally never accepted, grandpa was just a man.

+++++

There is nothing wrong with being just a man. He never asked to be put on a pedestal or made any attempt to be treated differently than anyone else.

He didn’t hide his flaws from me and perhaps that was part of why he was one of my heroes.

In many ways my grandfather led a much harder life than I have and far more colorful. We could talk about his time in the carnival business or his time in the service and have more than a few stories to discuss, and I loved his stories.

+++++

The moment that made my grandfather cry wasn’t completely unexpected for him or for me. We had never talked about it, but I know he must have thought about it before it happened.

That is because when your child is ill it doesn’t matter how old you or they are. You find out what needs to be done and you do what you can to see that it happens.

But I didn’t involve myself in that particular discussion. I didn’t because I wasn’t asked and I respected the silence.

+++++

It would have been different if it happened now. It would have been different because at 43 I am a father and I have a better understanding of the kind of horror a parent feels when they receive terrible news about their child.

I made my grandfather cry because I was the one who told him that Uncle Jimmy had died.

And then I waited for my father to come home and told him his little brother was gone.

+++++

I was 17 when I found out that two of my uncles were gay. Uncle Jimmy thought it was funny that I hadn’t figured it out. I had been to his apartment and met his boyfriend, but it never clicked.

Can’t remember what my parents said other than Uncle Jimmy was lucky to live with his best friend. I think I was eight when they told me that and when you are eight you think that being able to have sleep overs with your best friend every night is cool.

+++++

Sometimes when I think about that day I am amazed at how strong my father was. When I told him about Uncle Jimmy I could see the pain in his eyes and noticed the change in his expression, but the first thing he did was ask if I was ok and then told me he needed to speak with his father.

I don’t think I recognized how remarkable it was then, but at 25 I was far less contemplative or observant.

+++++

Twelve years after Uncle Jimmy died my dad called to ask me a question. He had promised my mother that he would take her on a trip but was concerned because grandpa wasn’t doing well.

He wanted to know if I thought he should cancel the trip or if he should go. It was a seminal moment in our relationship and the first time I really remember him leaning on me.

I told him to go. I said that grandpa was almost 92 and at that age every day was a gift. They were my grandfather’s words but my dad understood.

Since they were driving up north I was confident that if something happened they would have plenty of time to come back home.

I was wrong.

+++++

Two days later I received a panicked call from grandpa’s caretaker and raced to the hospital.

The drive over was hard. It was early Saturday night and I hadn’t seen grandpa that day. I had intended to, but I was really tired so I planned on going Sunday morning.

The ER doctor didn’t mince words, grandpa was gone.

For the second time I had the responsibility of telling my father that someone important had died, but this time I had to do it by telephone.

And for the second time my father made a point to ask how I was doing and instructed me to check on my sisters to make sure they were ok.

+++++

No one learns all how to be a man from just one or two experiences but sometimes you can look at a handful use them to see the essence of the kind of guy you are supposed to grow up to be.

Those moments you just read about are some of mine.