Archives for June 2015

106 Degrees

Have Bloggers Changed The World?

blogging change
My daughter hasn’t been to Disneyland since she was a toddler. She says she is tired of hearing all of her friends talk about it and wants to know if I can take her so that she can participate in these discussions.

She also wants to know if I can take her to Hawaii, Europe and Israel because a bunch of her friends have been to all of these places too and she thinks it would not just be nice to talk about, but educational.

I smile at her and tell her I am working on it.

She smiles back and tells me she is going to be 11 in a few weeks and is curious about when I’ll move it from working on it to making it happen for real.

Let’s Talk About Your Uncle & The Supreme Court

I smile again and tell her I want to talk about Uncle Jimmy.

She says she doesn’t know why having a gay uncle is a big deal because her friend has two moms.

I tell her that I was older when I learned Uncle Jimmy was gay and ask her if she remembers we had another gay uncle.

She says no and we have a short conversation about them both. I tell her about how they were part of two different generations and explain how their lives were different from others because they had to hide parts and pieces of their lives.

We talk about how it must be hard to hide some things that are important to you and spend a few minutes going over what kind of secrets are ok and what aren’t.

It is a more sophisticated conversation than what I am sharing here, but there are boundaries in blogging and you don’t always need to see behind the curtain to understand the importance or value of certain things.

I tell her that sometimes you find your passion and that sometimes it finds you. The manner of discovery doesn’t always matter because either way changes your life and you find yourself walking paths you never expected to wander down.

“Daddy, how many times has the world changed in your lifetime?”

I tell her I am not entirely sure and that I have to think about it for a moment or two.

Have Bloggers Changed The World?

Long past midnight before the 98 ounces of coffee have lost their impact I sit outside and think about the question.

Certain events stand out because they impacted the entire world and some stand out because they are things that changed my world.

Do I focus on the events that had the biggest personal impact upon me? Do I talk about how blogging changed my life and relate how it also changed the life of my kids?

Is it more important to talk about change on a global scale because of the larger impact or is it more significant to talk about the impact of decisions upon US citizens?

That doesn’t negate the importance of people around the world, it just narrows the circle a bit so we can improve our focus.

The Scotch in my cup swirls in response to my playing with the glass but I don’t see any answers in the ripples inside.

“What is the point of this Jack? What are you trying to figure out?”

No one answers the question, which is a good thing because I am certain I didn’t say it out loud.

The Future Is Unwritten

Back inside the house my daughter is upstairs asleep in her bedroom, the smile on her face makes me smile too.

As I wander down the hall my son pops out of his room to ask a question.

“It must be nice to be a teenager and to have nothing but time to do nothing.”

He rolls his eyes at me, “you had your time to be a teen dad. I am hungry, can I make myself a sandwich.”

I shrug my shoulders at him and he laughs, “yeah, I know it is not really a question.”

“Don’t make a habit of eating now.”

He smiles at me and promises he won’t. I am not particularly worried, I remember being ravenous like him and how my metabolism didn’t care if I consumed a billion calories.

He is clearly growing, the pants he is wearing aren’t particularly old and they are already short. Skinny boy that he is, it just makes him look taller.

*****

I sit down at the table and we spend a few minutes talking about movies and he asks me if there is an update on moving.

“Nothing substantial yet, the future is unwritten.”

He tells me he’d feel better if I could give him more details and I laugh because I would too.

If I had my way I’d have made the major changes quite some time ago but things haven’t worked out that way so for now we wait and see.

“There is a real benefit in learning how to roll with whatever comes along. I don’t think I could have done it as well as you have, not when I was your age.”

What & Who You’ll Become

He asks a few questions about what life was like for me when I was his age and I do my best to answer them.

“How tall were you and how much did you weigh?”

When we exchange measurements he is surprised to find out I was almost twenty pounds heavier. I pull out an old album and show him a picture and he tells me that he can’t see the difference.

I tell him I was broader and I worked out.

“You’ll be at least as tall as me, if not taller. Your built a bit like your Uncle Jimmy and your great-great grandfather.”

He nods and smiles finishes his meal and heads off to bed.

The dog and I move into the living room.

“Life isn’t what I expected it would be like. Some of it has been a lot harder than I ever could have imagined. But damn, who would have thought that at this age I would be able to say I am becoming more like I thought I would be than ever before.”

The dog wags his tail at me and I thank him for listening.

“Guess I might as well catch some zzz too, tomorrow could be a big day.”

Should You Blog When You’re Angry?

angry blogging
The temperature inside my home is pushing 90, might be a bit below or a bit higher, all depends on how accurate the thermostat is.

I haven’t had it calibrated and since I don’t own the place I am living in I don’t particularly care to figure it out.

All I want is for my landlord to figure out that when your AC dies four times in 16 months it is time to do more than slap a bandage on it and hope the bleeding stops.

Had my plans gone as I initially expected them to we would have been out of here months ago but life happens and things don’t always go as you need or want them to.

If they did I wouldn’t be covered in sweat wondering about the relationship between weather and violence.

Granted we may still be on our way out in a short time so some of my concerns about bandages and real solutions to problems may not become the issue I hope not to see them become.

loved 


If old Willie Shakespeare were to jump off of my screen and ask me about blogging I would explain it is about storytelling and say that if he really is the writer he is credited with being it should be a simple thing for him.

And then I’d ask him if he thought it prudent to let his anger bleed through his fingers and onto the page. I don’t know what he would say nor am I going to try to pepper this page with quotes that support or disprove my ideas.

Instead I’ll tell you that I am known for being the stereotypical Taurus, it takes some doing to really piss me off but if you manage to do so I will oblige your interest in a way that will likely make you wonder if inciting me was worth it.

That is not me trying to show off or display any sort of bravado. Its place is to remind me that a man who has torn down doors, destroyed walls and done his best to personify a tornado is not a mature man.

Its place is to remind me that a man who has torn down doors, destroyed walls and done his best to personify a tornado is not a mature man.

Been a long time since I did anything truly stupid because of anger, but the past 18 months or so have worn my patience down to the nub and there is a part of me that wonders what it would be like to just let go.

One of the best parts of being a father is being able to tell my children how to avoid getting embroiled in some of the stupid mistakes of my youth based upon experience.

But I confess to you dear reader that part of me still loves the surge of energy that comes with being pissed off. That shot of adrenaline is free of charge and when channeled properly has served me well.

broken heart 


Yesterday I gave you 69 Reasons Why SCOTUS & LinkBait Will Make You Gay because some of those things needed to be said.

But I didn’t provide you with all the snark at my command. I didn’t give you my thoughts about how very dumb some of the arguments against marriage equality are.

Some of you have tried to tell me this is wrong because it is going to allow people to be ridiculous and do things like marry a goat or their dog.

You call it perverse and I’ll agree, that shtupping an animal is perverse and wrong.

But if you tell me marriage equality makes a mockery of marriage and that it somehow hurts yours I’ll ask you to look me in the eye and provide facts that prove your specious allegation to be true.

And then I’ll tell you I am thinking about marrying my left sock and cheating on it by making love to the black dress sock that seems to have lost its partner.

Is that dumb and ridiculous?

Hell yeah it is, but so is claiming that marriage between two people of the same sex will hurt yours.

Maybe it is because at heart I am a romantic and I believe that love is a special thing. You rarely if ever get to pick who you fall in love with and when it happens sometimes you just have to go with it.

Perhaps you should take a hard look at your life again and maybe take a look at The Last Lecture- Remarks of a Dying Man.

Or maybe you can’t handle the truth, maybe it is better to read something like Full Moon Rising- Murderers Unite and see if murder makes you..smile.

And if that doesn’t work and you need something else, well you can check out An Uncertain Certainty.

Should You Blog When You’re Angry?

The answer is…maybe.

If you can channel your energy and not write anything that you are going regret than maybe it is worth doing.

I often wonder about how honest we are in our posts and what would happen if we really let go. Or maybe it is better to say, what would happen if I really let go and wrote unfiltered and uncensored posts.

Some of the people who know me in real life have asked me some very pointed questions based upon the posts I have written.

It is fair to say some people have been upset by them.

Part of me doesn’t want to have to speak about what I blog about. Part of me wants to write and not worry about consequences because there is a freedom that comes with that.

But then again, if you really put your thoughts out there you cannot avoid potential issues and the consequences of sharing your thoughts.

You’ll never make everyone happy nor should you try but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the potential for issues either.

Just because you can isn’t always a good reason for doing something.

But if you want a push towards being in a place that makes you say fuck it, well kill your AC and let the house turn into a sauna.

I love the heat and always prefer hot weather to cool, but there is a time for sweating like you are in a sauna or exercising at the gym and this isn’t it.

Typing at the keyboard with sweat pouring down my head is not my idea of interesting.

Writers  are supposed to drink Scotch or beer, not the sweat from between their eyes.

Hell, I think I’ll take out a raft and sleep on the pool tonight. Been a long time since I had a waterbed.

69 Reasons Why SCOTUS & LinkBait Will Make You Gay

There is a tremendous cheer and a general gnashing of teeth going on around parts both near and far.

I am wondering if I ought to play them Love Sick by Bob Dylan or if I should force them to watch my dear friend Inigo Montoya repeat his lines time and time again.

Or maybe I ought to share with them how funny it is to me to hear my children say, “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father. Prepare to Die!”

Sometimes I jump out and yell, “I am here. I am good. Dad’s ok” and then they shake their heads at me and ask why I must be so silly.


wordsandmeaning 

I tell them because it is more fun to be silly than sad and happy than angry. Besides I am good at it.

They know I know lots of silly stories but some like The Sloppy Kisser, The Flying Clown and One Slightly Used Pump For Sale have been withheld because they aren’t ready for them yet and may never be.

Because there are some stories that children never need to learn about their parents.

Heck there are some stories parents don’t want to be able to tell about their children which is part of why the teenage college years can make our hair turn white.

You never want to be able to say, “oh, I see that you are busy” but I digress.

69 Reasons Why SCOTUS & LinkBait Will Make You Gay

My Facebook feed has been filled with a mix of ecstasy and dismay. I have read multiple updates from Constitutional scholars who have declared with all of the authority they didn’t earn in law school or elsewhere that the judgments made by SCOTUS are legal/illegal.

Some of these social media scholars have made me hope they never procreate or be given positions of influence because the world would surely explode if they did.

Or maybe it wouldn’t.

Maybe things would be better.

To those who tell me with sarcasm that I should be happy because I can marry my dog or livestock I can only say I am currently too poor to own a farm, let alone cattle or sheep.

But I hope to one day because I just know that Old Bessie and I will be happy, so happy I’d even consider moving to cleveland.

Einstein miracle


In more serious news or rather a more serious bent my daughter has issued instructions of great import to me.

“Daddy, I would like to move and I don’t care where as long as it is not Fargo and it has WiFi so I can Facetime with my friends.”

Since I promised she would get her own cell phone by the time she started middle school this WiFi thing isn’t as big a deal t0 her in some ways.

That girl of mine will send out 9,983,234 text messages from her phone and she will prove that some girls still love to talk on the phone.

However WiFi will be a very big deal to me because it will help me try to ensure she doesn’t devour all of our data in a day.

She and her brother have also been told that during some of the car trips we take they have to turn off their electronics so they can see the world around them.

I have told them I worry about their necks maintaining enough strength to hold their heads upright and so we will exercise those muscles by working them.

Old Al and I are in agreement about how to view the world and I want them to see that too. I want them to understand I firmly believe that there are miraculous things to see and experience.

Wander through Sequoia, Yosemite and Big Sur and you cannot help but be awestruck by some of what you see.

Go elsewhere and check out Joshua Tree or just sit on the sand and watch the waves roll in and you get another chance to recognize how very small humans are compared to nature.

presence


When you open yourself up to possibility you often discover that opportunity comes racing after you. One can choose to be alive or to simply be live.

There is a difference. I know what my choice is.

Fathers & Fantasies

Midway through my Father’s Day the kids and I had a long conversation about what they want to do with their lives and how I figured out what I want to do with mine.

Somewhere in the midst of it all they both looked at me with wonder and asked questions about my dreams and why I haven’t lived them all…yet.


layersoflife

I tell them there are more than a few reasons why I have lived some and not managed to live others. There are moments in time and layers of life that change you and push you in directions you never thought to go in before.

Some of those are magical moments that fill your heart and soul with gratitude and make you throw your head back, eyes closed and lips peeled apart in a wide mouth grin.

Others are a different sort, the kind that leave you wondering how you turned into a punching bag and furious because you can’t take a swing at the demon that has been working you over.

And these are all part of the layers we experience.

The Layers Of Life

The Chain

I play the video for the kids and tell them part of what I love about this song is hearing all of the different voices singing together.

Instead of one element there is an alloy, a melding of minds that lends itself to creating a different sort of musical mashup.

It is an experience you can’t have alone.

We go back and forth about this and that, sharing moments and memories and I talk about the importance of taking time for yourself to figure out what you want and how you intend to get it.

The point is to help them understand the value of good friends and companionship as well as recognizing that sometimes we need to take time for ourselves to learn who we are.

****

My going to be 11-years-old in a few weeks daughter is starting to talk about boys and making me wonder if she is going to be interested in them sooner than later.

Her older brother, the boy who enters high school in the Fall claims to have no interest in girls. He tells me he sees no reason to hang out with them because most are irritating.

I ask him if is sure about that and he says there are probably a few who might make decent friends, but the screaming, squealing and assorted other comments about middle school girls makes him wonder why he should take the time.

Besides, the few friends of his who have had girlfriends always end up complaining about being bossed around and or irritated in one way or another.

I assure him it doesn’t have to be like that and if you find the right girl she can be a good friend and fun to play with. He tells me he is not interested in learning what fun means and I tell him to relax, I am not pushing him.

What I don’t tell him is I am convinced he is paying far more attention than he claims, but that is ok, one day he’ll admit I am right. 🙂

Fathers & Fantasies

I look at the blog stats to see what the most popular posts here are and wonder if I should try to focus some of my writing around them.

The concept is give the people what they want and it is easier to build the blog faster than I have been. The theory that follows is it helps build exposure and it leads to more writing opportunities.

More opportunities mean more chances for Old Jack Steiner to try and live fantasies and not dream them.

So I grab a sample of the top 50 (based upon pageviews) and ask myself what I think I should do to leverage the strength of the posts I see in the list below.

  1. A Letter To My Children-2011
  2. Some Things I’ll Teach My Children (Updated)
  3. The Best Cover Letter….Ever
  4. One Slightly Used Pump For Sale
  5. Mean Girls Come From Mean Moms
  6. Why Steve Jobs Isn’t Important Now
  7. There Are No Coincidences
  8. Never Bet Against A Sicilian When Death Is On The Line
  9. Thank You Lewis Black- If It Weren’t For My Horse
  10. A Letter To The Universe
  11. 666 Devilish Ways To Become A Social Media Superstar
  12. How To Deal With Mean Girls & Mean Moms
  13. Why Your Post Sucks and Everyone Hates Your Blog
  14. A Letter To My Children-2012

It is mixture of topics and I see a variety of ways to attack it but what I don’t feel is a tremendous push to focus on these.

I prefer to continue to follow my own path. I prefer to look at the layers of life and write about them as they strike my fancy and not force the square into the circular hole.

In good conscience I ask myself if this is what I would advise my children to do and wonder if it’s the right path.

The gut response is immediate, “follow your gut” and let things grow as they will. Sustain your effort and good things will continue to come from that.

Fleetwood Mac is singing Gold Rush Woman and I look at the video to watch and listen to the layers and I think about how old the band is and how they have managed to stick around for so many years.

There is a more sophisticated answer than saying they just kept doing what they do, but “doing what they do” works for me.

It makes sense and sometimes the best way for father to live his dreams and turn fantasy into reality is to just do what he does.

So that is what I am going to do, keep writing about what I want, when I want and see where it takes me. There is joy in the journey.