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Friday, January 27, 2012

Everything Tastes Better In A Glass

Here in the South, ice cold sweet tea is king. There are a number of laws that go with the drinking of sweet tea but one of my favorites is that ice cold sweet tea tastes better in a glass than in any plastic cup. It's pretty much a fact; I've never had ice cold sweet tea in a plastic cup taste better than tea in a glass.

The glass seems to enhance the cold of the tea and it lets you feel it. It seems to make the sweet tea that much sweeter and I'm not sure why. Sadly, I can no longer drink sweet tea anymore (too much sugar) but I have moved to green tea. I find that also tastes better in a glass than a plastic cup.

So, I've come to this conclusion; everything tastes better in a glass. It just seems to be true across the board. Think about it. Milkshakes taste golden in a glass cup-in a plastic one, not so much. A smoothie tastes better in a glass cup. Juice tastes better in a glass cup.

This isn't limited to just limited to drinks though, it pretty much covers everything. We all get bad news in the course of our lives. We have days where we're frustrated and the universe just seems to pile on by adding more on top of you. This past week has been like that for me; I get success in some areas of my life and then in others I'm getting completely stonewalled. I'm frustrated beyond belief.

I wish I could just take that frustration, put it in a glass cup, and drink it away. Sure, it probably wouldn't taste great, but it'd taste better than just taking the news straight up. Taking that frustration, that bad news, that horrible day, and throwing it in a blender, making a shake, pouring it down in a glass would make the process of accepting all that a lot easier in my mind.

It's like medicine. You have the choice between the liquid or the giant pill that could choke an elephant, most of you are taking the liquid cause it just goes down easier most of the time. Further, putting that liquid in a glass would make it easier to swallow (figurative and literally).

Sadly, it isn't that way. You can't literally take all the frustration, put it in a glass, and drink it away. However, you can do it figuratively. Figuratively, your glass is the inner you; it holds the good, and it holds the bad. It's a vessel, a piece of dishware, it has no bias; so go ahead and put that frustration in your glass (the inner you) but don't forget to blend it up with the good too; the successes in the day, the funny things, ect. Once it's there, drink up or in this case, begin the process of accepting it. It makes things a lot easier than just taking the frustration straight up because that's liable to make you sick.

I know that a lot of times this week the frustration was making me kinda sick. I wasn't factoring in the good, wasn't letting things sit for a bit, I was just sucking down the frustration, hoping that by getting it over with faster it would go away faster and in reality, it just tends to stick around longer.

So, remember people, everything tastes better in a glass. Sweet tea, green tea, milkshakes, smoothies, and even frustration. The great things about glass cups is that not only do they make the good stuff taste better, they make the bad stuff taste a lot less worse.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Leftovers Are Everywhere

Opening up the fridge today, there were a ton of leftovers in it. All kinds of good stuff; soup, roast beef, and even some pizza (which I can't eat anymore). There was a plethora of options of things that were once main meals and now had been reduced to cold leftovers. Now, that's not saying there's anything wrong with leftovers; there isn't. A lot of times leftovers are better than the meal was in the first place, simply because the spices/flavors have time to soak in and make things taste better.

That got me thinking that leftovers aren't just in the fridge, they're everywhere. Hear me out; a lot of times our first attempts at stuff aren't as good as we think. I know that I experience this a lot in writing, whether it be stories, research papers, or blogs posts; I get in the zone, I'm typing away and then when I get done with it and read back over it I don't feel it's as strong as I would like. Sometimes, I go at it again right there but most of the time I "stick it in the fridge" so to speak and leave it be for a little while.

Oftentimes I find that when I bring it back out again and give it another shot (using what was leftover) it turns out better. That's not always the case though; I've put other things "in the fridge" and left it to leftover status and it's taken years for that stuff to get better. The prime example is my weight loss; I tried throughout high school to lose weight but it never really worked. So, I stuck it back in the fridge.  Eventually, I brought it back out and I was in a place where I knew what to do with it; I was able to use it again.

Leftovers in life and in your fridge have their uses. Nothing is ever wasted even if you do throw it out, because the experience you had in constructing that leftover will be used for something else. Leftovers get a bad rap because they get stuck in an fridge and forgotten about; just because it's a leftover doesn't mean it's worse than the main meal it was once.

So, with the leftovers in your life and in the fridge, give them a chance. Sure, they may not look all the great after a while and sure, you may not want to smell it; sometimes they just don't hold up well in the fridge. Nonetheless, don't disregard the experiences those leftovers gave you. They'll be useful. And don't disregard the possibilities with those leftovers; you never know what they'll be good for.

At the end of the day, don't waste leftovers. A lot of times they'll taste better than they did originally.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Well, Look At That

That was my thought when I got out of bed and hit the bathroom this morning. Now, I'm not a vain person by nature; I can be called many things (ego maniac, sore loser, stubborn beyond belief, ect) but vain is not one of them. Yet, this morning, I woke up, looked in the mirror, and I was actually kinda happy with my appearance.

Granted, I had just gotten bed and yeah, I wasn't looking great by any stretch of the imagination, but for the first time...ever, I guess...I noticed how much thinner I was than I remembered. Yesterday I spent some time looking through my old high school yearbook and, surprise, I look better now than I ever did in high school (I'll take a poll one of these days and see if others agree with me-I think they will). The high school yearbook pictures I was in were not flattering in the least, I had forgotten how unflattering (or plain horrible) those pictures looked.

I thought about those during the night some and probably while I was asleep, and you know it allowed me to appreciate the changes that have come to me in the nearly six months I've been at this lifestyle change. I'm noticeably thinner, even to myself now, and I feel good mentally, physically, and emotionally, better than I have in years.

I'm pleased about that. Now, that's not to say I'm completely glossed over my many flaws, but I think it's important that we as human beings take the time to appreciate the good aspects of ourselves and the world around us. For me, I looked in the mirror this morning and started off the day pleased. I'm not saying everyone has to look in a literal mirror, but do look in a figurative one.

The world we live in likes to emphasis the mistakes, the flaws, and the negative things we do or are. They like to play those things up and we do too; we're sinful creatures but we're also creatures who feel guilt when we screw up or when we're reminded of our past screw ups, or even our flaws. We're not perfect by any means and we're not close.

That's not to say we shouldn't try to be better, we should, but we shouldn't focus so much on the negative things in life; they're way more negative things in life than positive ones and that's because we human beings make it that way; it's our corrupt nature that does the damage.

But I'm an optimist and an idealist. I'm a hopeless romantic too, so I am three dying breeds rolled into one. I like to focus on the positive and emphasize that because, in my opinion, the positive far outweighs the negative. The negative may outnumber the positive but the positive has far more quality to it than the negative, which is why I tend to lean towards the positive in any argument. I'm not an undying optimist; I'm more a glass two-thirds of the way full guy than a glass all the way full guy.

Bottom line is that I think we all need to focus on the positive aspects of ourselves and the world around us more. It's way too easy to drown in all the negative.

So, tomorrow morning, when you wake up, take a few minutes to reflect and find something positive to start the day out on. It can be about yourself, the world, another person, your breakfast, whatever. Just take a moment to say to yourself "Well, look at that," and make sure to say it with a smile.

Or if your teeth are like mine, a grin. :)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Forgive High School

I was talking to a buddy of mine today and we had a good talk. It was nice talking to him again and it had been too long honestly, but the end of the conversation bothered me because he apologized to me for being a dick in high school.

Had this been a few years ago I might had gained some sort of feeling of joy from this. High school was fun for me in some parts and not fun in others, much like many people's high school experiences, but I have to say that the apology he offered didn't bring forth any joy from me.

It just made me feel bad for him. He was a dick in high school, yes, but guess what? So was everyone else, me included. Ladies and gentlemen, I hereby make a motion that we just forgive high school; everything and everybody that went with it. Let's face it, none of us were at our best in high school.

I certainly wasn't. In high school I adopted a lot of bad things that carried over post-high school. I was the fat kid who was smart, a geek, and pretty much good for any answer to any question. Being the geeky fat kid, I got my fair share of mean spirited jokes thrown my way and I responded back with even meaner jokes, even deeper insults, and I took pride in my quick wit. If you dared engaged me in a verbal match you would likely lose.

I decided not to take things lying down anymore and I lashed out at people who previously put me through hell. I was a dick, plain and simple; I just got a pass sometimes because I was geek. Frankly, I'm not proud of myself during those high school years.

I seriously doubt anyone really is proud of themselves during those high school years. Sure, some of you may have earned good citizenship awards, a 4.0 GPA, and more, but let's face it...none of us were at our best in high school. We were teenagers, still growing physically, mentally, and emotionally. High school is hell because you don't know what you're going to get day to day; one day your friend is tight with you and the next you have a knife buried in your back.

So, I say, forgive high school and everyone in it. We all made mistakes. We all said things and did things we shouldn't have. We don't need to apologize for it; I appreciate the effort, but it could take years to apologize to everyone in high school I was a dick too. I'm sure it's the same for you.

There's no need to offer up apologizes for those years. Let's all just accept that we weren't great people then because we were young, stupid, and easy to influence. Let's just move on and enjoy the time we have now rather than apologizing for years past.

We were all dicks in high school. Let's not be dicks in life, huh?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"The Biggest Loser" is Dangerous; Here's Why

Everyone's seen this show. It's been on for years now. It's spawned more than it's fair share of products, spin-offs, and celebrities. I know some people who watch this show (certain family members) and I know how they view it; they see it and think this is the only way to do things. That this is THE way to lose weight.

People, I beg of you, do not believe that. I've hated this show for years. Before, it was merely because that being the fat slob I was I felt incredibly ashamed when watching this show. "If someone who weighs 400 pounds can get off their butts and lose weight, why can't I?" I would ask myself. I never got an answer and I just felt pissed every time I heard of the show.

Now, my reasons for hating the show have changed. I'm in the best health of my adult life (and the best health I've been in in easily 7-8 years) and I've done it without going to the unhealthy (and dangerous) extremes that people on "The Biggest Loser" do. These people starve themselves, dehydrate themselves, and generally go way to far just to make a number. They do this because they feel like they have to, otherwise they get voted off the show.

Do some research on the show folks. Most of the people who lose weight on the show by those extreme methods gain it back. Many of the people admit that the show helped develop habits that have been MORE harmful to them than what got them there in the first place.  Take a listen to an interview done by a previous contestant of the show, Kai Hibbard, and take the information to heart.

Listen Here

This show is not only dangerous to the people on it but to those who watch it. It gives a warped sense of what has to be done to lose weight and, in my opinion, sucks any motivation people have to lose weight away. "They do all that to lose weight? I can't do that..." I've thought on more than one occasion in the past about the show. I'm sure others have to.

But that's not the end all be all way to do it. "The Biggest Loser" is wrong. It's not the way to do it. It's harming people on the show and people who watch it. Either you lose motivation to lose weight or you try the extreme methods shown on the show and hurt yourself. Either way, the show needs to be stopped. If you watch it, I beg of you to stop. If you don't, I implore you to not start.

"The Biggest Loser" is dangerous and it needs to be put down. Permanently.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The United States of Lazy Bums

I saw a commercial today that just floored me. I mean...really, if today has driven home one point it's that determination and hard work are sadly becoming a thing of the past in this country. Check out this commercial for something called Slim Ts. It can be found here;

The official website ( preaches this junk:

"Made of special Spandex-blend fibers – not hot, not constricting!
• Slims, supports & reshapes instantly
• Look firmer, younger & well toned
• Fits under any other garments
• Un-noticeable
• Look inches slimmer
• No diets, exercise, pills or gym memberships"

This is the first time I've ever seen, heard, or suspected such a thing existed for guys. I've seen this type of stuff for women but I never, ever, thought such a thing existed for men. I mean...we're men! We're stubborn, prideful, and stupid beasts; we're supposed to completely ignore these things and then when it finally gets through to us, we're supposed to work our tails off to get back in shape.

We're not supposed to have an UNDERGARMENT do it for us. Seriously? Seriously?!  

I was floored when I saw this commercial. How could such a thing exist? When did hard work and determination become so unimportant to people in this country? We eat poorly, we don't exercise, and we complain about clothes not being big enough. Most of the people in this country are fat because they don't make the dedication to change.

I know. I used to be one of those people, I probably led the charge. I understand that it's tough and I understand that it's really difficult in the beginning. I faced those challenges. I got through it. And if I can get through it a lot of others can.

But this Slim T's a travesty. Men are now resorting to this type of undergarment lie? Women have a reason; their bodies are not set up to burn carbs and fat like us men, it's ten times more difficult for them and I can understand whys they go to an undergarment.

I cannot fathom why a man would need an undergarment to HIDE behind. That's all this Slim T thing is good for and any man who decides to use this thing should take a long, hard look at oneself. I'm sorry, but there's a point where you have to make a choice men; are you going to be fat or are you going to make the effort to get in shape? You can't have it both ways, this Slim T thing might tell you you can but you can't. In the end, this undergarment does come off at the end of the day and that gut is there staring you back in your face.

What has happened to the pride and stubbornness of the men in this country? When did we, as males, become...this? I don't know. But it's soft. It's lame. It's a lie. And I'm quite insulted by this things existence. What it preaches is a lie.

Men, I implore you, let's rise up and do away with things like this. Undergarments should not take place of hard work and determination; this is exactly what the Slim T is doing. I can't believe people actually buy this thing to begin with but if you're considering it, do me a favor and don't buy it.

And if you do, please take your man card and burn it. You've lost it if you buy this junk. It's an insult to the things we, as men, should embody.

Hard work and determination needs to make a comeback for men and America.

Otherwise, we might as well call ourselves "The United States of Lazy Bums." 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

What Would Jesus Do...Today?

WWJD. We all see it. We all know it. It's, perhaps, one of the most well known things in this world. It's a huge seller merchandise wise; bracelets, rings, watches, bibles, and have WWJD on them. It's a question that's become a money maker.

Is it a difference maker though? That's the question I have tonight. It's been on my mind for awhile now. On my class ring, on the left side, is my name at the top and WWJD right below it. I designed it that way so I would be reminded every time I wore the ring of that question. I only wore for about a year though because after my senior year in high school the ring no longer fit my finger; I not only put on the freshmen 15 at college I probably doubled down. At any rate, wearing it hurt, it didn't fit, and frankly being reminded constantly of WWJD only led to me feeling guilty when I screwed up.

So I stuffed it back in it's ring box, and let it sit. And sit it did for years until these last few months where thanks to my rather large weight loss, I could wear my ring again...just not on my ring finger. Cause now the ring was too big. So I stuck it on my index finger (and every time I do I say in my head "The power is yours!") and wear it that way. It works.

Earlier this evening I went out to get food with a buddy of mine. On the way to the local Walmart (and their McDonalds-I didn't eat anything of course, it's McDonalds!) I received a phone call from another friend of mine. And she needed a favor.

This is the part where you should roll your eyes. "Female friend in need of a favor? This is predictable." You know what, it is actually really predictable. I predicted it in my head as soon as the words "I need a favor" came out of her mouth. It's obvious, right? She needed some money.

You see, I've been friends with her for over 5 years now. In that time, she's never asked me once for money...this was the first time she ever did. You know what this money was for? Medicine. She needed to refill a prescription for some pain killers because of her ovarian cyst (for those unfamiliar with ovarian cysts, they are quite painful when they act up).

Now, obviously, this looked like a scam.

But as my mind was working to come up with a decent excuse as to why I couldn't let her borrow some cash my eyes caught sight of my ring. "Zach, WWJD?" said my ring.

Immediately I felt like a dick for even considering lying. So, I said yes. She was clearly in pain over the phone and this cyst thing had been going on for a few wasn't out of the blue. Did it look like a scam? Yes. Was it one? I don't think so. Notice I said "think" there.

So, we met at the Walmart, I gave her the money (not a large sum, like 20 bucks-not even a tank of gas, not even close) and she was quite grateful. I got like three really long hugs in the span of five minutes. We talked, I made SURE to tell her that the money had better be used for what she said, otherwise I would be very unhappy; I made sure to let her know I didn't want to be stabbed in the back. She didn't waver from her account of why she needed it and she seemed truthful. She had never lied to me before...why start now, right?

After about ten minutes we parted, she went on her way, and I went to the Walmart McDonalds. I talked with my buddy about it and he pretty much agreed with my initial thought; it was scam and I had been had. We discussed it pretty much the entire meal (I didn't eat, so the meal was a third of the time it would have been had I eaten; I eat slow) and after the meal we took to wandering around Walmart, looking for interesting things, and we continued to discuss it.

The more we talked about it the more I began to think he was right; I had been scammed. This was classic and I'm a sucker for cute girls who bat their eyes at me (my buddy was sure to point this out multiple times, cite examples, ect). But I kept glancing back at my ring and "Zach, WWJD?" continued to glare at me.

I grabbed a Lipton Diet Green Tea on our way out of Walmart (I was strongly considering a bottle of red wine and just drinking half of it to induce drunkenness...but then I remembered the last time I did that and the nasty hangover I had the next day. I didn't want to be branded "lightweight" this early in the year) and we parted.

Instead of heading home, I headed to the local park, parked the car, sat on a nearby bench, and drank my tea. My head was swimming with the possibilities. Had I just enabled something horrible? Some sort of secret drug addiction I didn't know about? Would I be called upon again for a "favor" and be forever anchored with the nights events?

Yet again, I couldn't help but glance at my ring. "Zach, WWJD?" it asked once more.

Jesus, in my opinion of the situation, would have helped her. He would have done his "You are healed" thing (can't buy that at Walmart, but you can get everything else) and she would have been fine.

"Had Jesus been in my position today, what would he have done?" I asked myself on that cold and uncomfortable park bench (at least it wasn't wet). In that case, had Jesus been in my exact position dealing with everything I'm dealing with...he would have helped her.

I'm two for two at this point but I reminded myself that I live in a cynical world. My first thought of "scam" would have been Jesus' too if he were in my exact position I think. And really, if our positions are reversed, and his ring says "Jesus, WWZD?" would he have helped her?

Based on my past cheap bastard tendencies, my ability to make up a decent excuse on a dime, and more...I would think if WWZD was a phrase people wouldn't help anyone; Jesus would have made up a decent excuse, expressed his sympathy, hung up, and went about his evening.

Luckily for all of us, Jesus is Jesus and I'm me. But it still sucks to realize that.

We live in a cynical world that has taught us not to trust people at their word. Every day people trust someone they think they know and that trust gets betrayed. It happens too easily and too often. So, if Jesus were alive today and someone asked him for help-any kind-I think he would help.

But he'd have to think about and that's a sad comment on our world today. I'm pretty sure that with all the great things we have in this world today that Jesus is thanking God that he was born in a manger and no one tweeted about it to their 60,000 followers, one of them who happened to be Herod (seriously, if that happened, Jesus would have been killed by Herod and we'd be way, way worse off).

The end result of tonight was that WWJD was a difference maker for me.  I think I made the right decision but I won't really know...maybe I'll never know. The fact is that I'd rather be trusting of a person and stabbed in the back then so cynical that I'd never give anyone a chance. Being that cynical is no way to live.

With that said though, I still have those lingering doubts...I can still justify to myself the cynical take on the entire thing. That will pass with time and prayer. But the fact I have them says a lot I think.

I'm pretty sure most of that a lot isn't good.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Jet Trails

I bruised my leg today while playing football with my youngest brother. It was pretty stupid on my part, I just wasn't paying attention. He threw a bullet pass and my eyes caught sight of the ball...more than that though, it caught sight of the sky. It was full of varying jet trails and in the few seconds I was mesmerized by that, the ball got to me, hit me, and left a nice mark on me.

After a few moments of silently cursing under my breath, death threats towards my sibling (who was laughing at the thunk the ball made when it hit me), and a Lee Corso "rub some dirt on it kid" speech to myself, I resumed playing football.

That brings me to the thought of jet trails. I was pretty much consumed with that for a few precious seconds and you know what? It was really cool. The varying patterns of jet trails, how they all mingled together, how they just existed for a short time before they disappeared into the blue sky.

That's what our lives as humans are like; jet trails. Here for a few precious moments, the focus of all the attention of the world, and then we fade away into the sky around us. The time we, as human beings, spend on this Earth is so precious. There are a lot of things that last longer than us; buildings, monuments, rocks, trees, wells, fences, cars, the oceans, the pipes in your house, the sun, the myth that there's no such thing as too much of a good thing (only one exception to this rule; bacon), and more.

Seriously, horribly written songs, movies, and television shows last longer than some people on this Earth. The short amount of time we have on this planet is wired into all of us; we all know it. It's why we're all rushing to do everything we can as fast as we can. Jet trails only have a short time to catch people's attention and get the "oh, cool!" look that we've all given them. As humans, we want the same thing the jet trails have; we want that "oh, cool!" look. We want to bask in that glory for just a few precious seconds.

It's not a bad thing, but often we're too concerned about getting our few precious seconds of glory to pay any attention to anyone else around us. I know I'm way too focused on me a lot of the time and not enough on others; this has become readily apparent to me in the last few months.

My youngest siblings, 14 and 12, are on their way to teenage life. I can remember just a few short years ago where I doubted either one of them would be as tall as my mother. Now the 14 year old is almost as tall as me and the 12 year old is just about as tall as my mother. Both now can actually understand and have adult-ish conversations. I remember when I could impress them with some random scientific fact. Now they're the ones throwing out facts I'm impressed with.

It's the way of life, I know that. Yet, it doesn't help me when I look at them and think to myself "What did I miss?" That's the big, haunting, question. All the things I could have been a part of, the moments I could have shared in...will I regret later that I missed them?

I don't know. It's a "What if..." scenario that everyone has to go through. I'm the oldest of four; I have a 20 year old brother, a 14 year old brother, and a 12 year old sister. I helped raise the younger two; fought the other one a lot when we were younger. I can remember holding the younger two though as little babies and now neither one is really that fond of hugs at all.

Bottom line; humans are jet trails, but unlike jet trails, we need to be aware of the other people in our life. We need to give them the "oh, cool!" look instead of waiting for ours. Like all jet trails, we will begin to fade away so cherish the time you're given now. Don't just devote it to yourself. Though it's our nature as humans to be selfish, we should take the time to grant others a few precious seconds.

Even if that means suffering a bruised leg like me. ;)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Prince William, My Arch Enemy

"I want to show you pictures of some haircuts," my mother says nonchalantly Monday.

My father, my youngest brother, and I are sitting in the living room watching football when she announces this randomly. My mother, whipping out her brand new Kindle Fire (she's more protective of it than her own children some days, I swear), brings up pictures of two people. One is George Clooney. The other is Prince William.

"Both of them have your...problem," she says as subtly as she can.

"You mean going bald?" My youngest brother says with laughter. I shoot him the "You're dead" look but he doesn't see it. He's too busy with his head buried in the couch arm, laughing. My father (who resembles a zombie when football is on...a zombie with great coordination because he can dig into a bag of chips, drink his sweet tea, and shift position in his giant chair at the same time) manages to tear himself away from the TV long enough to chuckle, offer a grin in my direction, and slap my brother on the back of the head gently.

I'm not exactly left with much more to say other than, "Okay, and?"

I suppose all those Coke Zero "And?" commercials brainwashed me into thinking there was some sort of prize waiting on the other end of my question.

Instead I got, "Which one do you like better? I like Prince William's," my mother says while making eyes for the prince.

Cue me rolling my eyes but agreeing with her.

Prince William will now be the inspiration for my haircut Wednesday. You see, I'm going bald. It's genetics at work. My mother's father went bald early, she got the gene, and I have it. The kicker? I have two younger brothers and neither of them have the problem. They'll be fine.

Me? I use Rogaine.

That's right, I'm 23 and use Rogaine. Go ahead and laugh, I would too...let's face it, if it's not funny, it's surely sad. And guess what? The Rogaine takes a minimum of two months to start working and even when it does, it'll only look like peachfuzz in the bald area initially.

Shoot. Me. Now.

Look, I know it has to be done. I've been told it had to be done for years. Like my weight issue, I ignored it, and like my weight issue, I finally got around to dealing with it. All this is fact but it still doesn't make me feel much better about it.

I remember all the Rogaine jokes from my high school years. I made and invented a lot of great ones.

Now all that is coming back to me with a vengeance. Karma at work I guess.

But now the embarrassment is two-fold. Not only do I have to use Rogaine, now I have to get Prince William's haircut to help hide it. ::facepalm::

I'm 23 and I have a hairline of a 40ish/50ish man.

And the fact is all those Rogaine, hair product commercials...they're just so bad. So purposefully bad it seems. You know, it really seems that the people who make those commercials want you to know that if you're going bald, you have no chance with a Chia pet, let alone a woman.

What good does it do to take shots at the self-confidence of potential customers? Well, it shames them into buying your product for one. That's what it did to me. I managed to convince myself for years I was all right. A little creative work with the comb and my developing bald spot was hidden decently enough.

But the mirror doesn't lie. For years I used it to justify my ballooning body too. I had to accept the truth on that and now I'm accepting the truth about my developing baldness as well. If I don't do something, I will be bald at some point in the coming years.

It's just insult to injury to have to get a haircut now to cover up said developing bald spot...and to have that haircut modeled after Prince William. Why not William Shatner? I like that William so much better, he was Captain Kirk, not a Prince!

::sigh:: I hate it. I have a standard haircut that I go with. I grew up on Air Force bases for a large portion of my life and my haircuts were always the same; short and sweet. I moved off base, I still kept the same haircut, still combed it the same way, and I was fine with it.

But now, I can't get my same old haircut. Short and sweet no longer exists for me. It's "Prince William or a neon sign saying I'm going bald!"

I choose Prince William...unfortunately.

But let it be known, Prince and I are not friends. You are my newest Arch Enemy. Your haircut will eliminate a dear, old friend of mine (my previous haircut), and you won't be forgiven for that easily. I promise you, one day, when my Rogaine works all the way (I may cry if it doesn't), I will gleefully do away with your haircut.

Until've won the battle, sir. But not the war.

And just for the record, I hated your wedding. It was lame. ::sticks tongue out immaturely:: 

Is There A "Right" Answer?

Is there such thing as a "right" answer? Let's face it, especially in this day and age, the question is quite valid. We're a society that loves multiple choices; look at the variety of choices on the menu at any restaurant in this great nation. I remember when Hardees only used to do burgers; now they do that, chicken, and more. Olive Garden used to only serve Italian food, Denny's only breakfast food, and IHOP only pancakes; those places don't serve just that now, they serve pretty much everything and anything.

I have a really difficult time ordering at restaurants with that many choices; ask anyone who's eaten with me, I take forever to order and even longer to eat; I'm a slow, slow eater. I've always been and it's hell for the poor people around me. They finish their food, they're sitting there patiently waiting for me to finish while I just talk, and talk, and talk. I like my meals to be social, otherwise what's the point of eating with someone?

Anyway, the moral of this particular tangent is that multiple choices and I don't do well together. Statistically speaking, I'm pretty sure that I do better with tests that have one right answer then tests that have potentially four or more. Multiple choices kinda freeze me up; not horribly, but enough to slow down my thought processes and make me question "Which one is right?" I've wasted a lot of my life second, third, and fourth guessing myself in multiple choice situations.

But life is made up of multiple choice situations; every day we face those as human beings and we make the choices that, at the time, seem right. But is there such a thing as a "right" answer? With the plethora of multiple choices we have and the plethora of ones that seem "right" which one isn't the false "right" answer?

I don't know the answer to a lot of multiple choices questions that have been asked of me lately. "What are you going to with your life?" I don't know. "Well, that's okay, you have a lot of choices."

At that, my brain screams "I KNOW!!!!" in complete frustration. Getting myself to agree to do something is hard; I have to be committed to it all the way or not at all. I'm a person of extremes...I see things in a black and white, victory and defeat mindset. I either win or lose. It's either right or wrong. I operate from one end of the spectrum or the other, but very rarely do I operate in the middle. I'm not one to straddle a fence...I make my opinion known (usually rather loudly and rudely) and then apologize for it later if I'm wrong (which happens a lot). That's me. That's what I am.

Is that good? Probably not. Can I change it? Probably not. Bottom line is, I have no clue what to do with my life. I have multiple choices; multiple upon multiple choices and I feel like I'm standing in line at (insert random fast food place here) and there's dozens of people behind me, waiting for me to make up my mind; and folks, they're getting antsy. They're getting tired of waiting.

I don't blame them. So am I. Let's face it, it's not as though I haven't been here before; I made my decision, decided to bank on college, and then I burned out. I'm back in line again, wanting to reorder, and people are rolling their eyes. Again, can't blame them, I understand, they want me to get out of line already.

That however, leads to the other issue; I'm tired of being in line. I'm tired of being presented with multiple choices and having to choose the "right" one. The odds that the one I choose as the "right" one is indeed the real right one are small. People make far more wrong choices than right ones in their lives. I'm no different, in fact I'm probably the one that's screwing up the odds for everyone else because of my propensity to make the wrong choices. You see, I get dumber the more frustrated and tired I get. I make dumb, dumb choices in that state.

So, I'm kinda stuck in a catch 22 here. I want to take the proper amount of time to analyze all my options and make the real right choice, but the longer I take the more tired and frustrated I get, and then I do something dumb. It's a vicious cycle.

Again, is there a "right" answer? Does it really exist or are we, as human beings, doomed to choose the lesser of multiple evils? Part of me wants to agree that there is no "right" answer. We're just screwed from the get go, doomed to choose between multiple evils and we had better pray the evil we choose kills us slowly, so we can maximize the amount of time we have on this Earth to do something decent. It's a rather pessimistic view, isn't it?

Of course, I rather like the optimistic side of me. It says that there is indeed a right answer and it provides a lot of examples for that. I make right choices in what I eat (most days), in what I do (most days), and in how I act (most days). So, if I can make those right choices, why can't I make this one? Confidence is key, says the optimist in me, and maintaining that confidence (without it becoming egotistical) is the best way to make the right choice.

Then there's the third part of me...let's say the part that acts as a balance between my pessimistic and optimistic sides. The part that can swing the vote one way or the other, or come up with it's own course of action. That part of me is confused. Both the pessimistic side and optimistic side of myself make true points, and my deciding third part, the one that holds the swing vote, can't make up its mind.

So I'm stuck. Multiple choices, multiple "right" answers, and no real bearings on what is, and isn't the real right answer.

Meanwhile, that line behind me grows more impatient and I share the sentiment.

At the end of the day, it's my fault. I'm not denying that. I made the choices that got me into this mess in the first place. Now I have to make the ones that get me even deeper into this mess or get me out of it. And you know what? That's on me.

It would just help if the menu was a little smaller at least. Alas, it's a devil of my own making and I made it well...which I'm not particularly happy with; why couldn't it be like my junky tool box I made in Wood Shop? That thing sucked. It's measurements were off, it was poorly constructed, and it was not pretty looking at all.

Actually, never mind; my sucky tool box from Wood Shop is still around today. It's lasted.

Let's hope this doesn't.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Be Grateful You Have a Steak

This was what I was thinking while eating at a restaurant today with the family. It's a Sunday tradition of ours to go out once every two weeks or so and eat in town. Some days it's regular old fast food (Wendy's, Arby's, Sonic's) while others we get to upscale things a bit; today we ate at Logan's. It was a nice treat and it had a decent menu for the healthy inclined like myself, so I was happy.

But the guy behind our table? He wasn't. You see, he ordered a steak medium rare and instead it came out medium well. He was rather displeased, demanded a new order (which he got), and upon completion of his meal talked at length with the manager about the difference between the steak he wanted and the steak he got. Now, he did this all in the "pretend nice" voice that we all have. You know what I'm talking about; where we're rather displeased at something but we're faking the nice so as not to look like complete jerks.

The entire time this is going on I can't help but think that he should be grateful he has a steak in the first place. Hear me out; I know it's New Years and it's a time for resolutions, promises, refection, ect, but I woke up this New Year in a rather poor mood. People were celebrating the new year well into the early morning nearby my house and I couldn't fall asleep for the life of me. I barely made it through church service and by the time we got into town, my mental functions were falling off a cliff; I was going to go to bed as soon as I got home (which I did-great nap).

So I was tired, cranky, and rather uninspired for any New Years celebration. Which is why when this guy started complaining about his steak, I wanted to get out of my chair and slap him across the face. Seriously, dude, be grateful you have a steak. There are a lot of people around the world and in our own country that haven't ever had a steak, much less one not cooked to your specifications. I was getting pretty riled up over it and as soon as the dude left, I launched into a full out rant for a solid ten minutes.

Now, anyone that knows me knows to pretty much ignore my rants; you can enjoy it because it's often entertaining, but usually it's just me venting. In this case, I was indeed doing that; I was tired, I was cranky, and I wanted to sleep.

The full weight of the thought didn't hit me till after I got home, napped, and woke up. You see, we should all be grateful for the steaks we have in our lives. I don't mean literal steaks (as much as I like them) but the stuff we complain about that we really have no right complaining about.

Let's take my car for example. It's over 17 years old, only half it's power windows work, the paint job on it is degrading, the AC/Heat works when it wants to, and it's a bit of a gas hog. I have friends who have brand new cars or newer cars that complain about them; not so much what the car is doing wrong but rather what the car doesn't have. "Well, it has no bluetooth" or "It only gets 23 miles to the gallon" or "I wish it had more seats" and more.

Listen, I'll be the first to tell you about the various flaws my car has. It's old and was built in the early 90s; it's not top of the line in a lot of areas. But one thing I've learned about my car is that it doesn't like being complained about; don't insult the technology. My father complained about the sensitive AC/Heat in my car and it stopped working for almost a month. I know my car isn't a person or possessed, but the basic fact remains that I have no right to complain about it. It does it's job; it protects me, gets me from point A to point B, and is reliable most of the time. It's a great vehicle and I love it to death.

I've learned not to complain about my car...but I still complain about the other steaks in my life. I haven't learned to stop complaining about them and that's on me, a fault of my own. I'm a lucky, lucky, person; I'm very blessed. If 2011 has taught me anything it's taught me that despite the massive screw up I am, I still have people I can rely on, people I can trust.

Can everyone say that? No. Can you? I don't know, but I certainly hope so. For me, this past year has not been what I imagined it would be New Years 2011. New Years 2011 I was certain of things that now I'm not even sure I was ever right about. Here are a few I can think of right off the top of my head:

1. I was certain that despite how many pounds I was putting on, that it didn't really matter. I was wrong. My health was okay this time last year but I feel loads better now than I have in years. I feel more confident, more in control of myself than I ever have before. It's been a revelation to me to know I have the ability to work out, eat right, and make the smart choices in my moments of weakness. This time last year I would have laughed in your face if you told me that.

2. I was certain that I had a defined role in life; I knew what had to be done and how I was going to do it, and everything else didn't matter. I was wrong. I burned myself out severely and I was so sure what my role in life was that I chose not to listen to anything or anyone else, even God. My life was pretty much set...and then I burned out, had a crisis, and barely coped. I'm not certain right now about much of anything, but I'm the most uncertain about my life. I don't know what it's for or where it's going to go...but I hope I'll get some guidance on that sometime soon.

3. I was certain that I would never, ever, spend four months in Virginia. Seriously, this time last year, I had no thoughts of going to that state. It was too close to DC, too far from home, and I had nothing and no one there. My, how that changed. An extremely unlikely (if not completely insane) series of events transpired that made me a live in nanny for four months and not only did it help put me on the path to recovery from burn out, but it also gave me...I guess you could call it a second family. I came to care for those people dearly and they were a tremendous help in a lot of areas.

Those are the three things that came immediately to mind. There are more of course, but the point is that I thought I knew things. I thought I had certainties that in fact weren't certain at all. Which is why I need to be grateful that I have so many steaks. I have been fortunate enough in my life to be blessed with my blood family, my church family, and my second family up in Virginia (I'm likely the crazy cousin there). I have done a lot of complaining about my blood family and church family over the years. I really don't have a reason to complain at all.

Some people don't have one family. I have three. Some people don't have a car. I do. Some people don't eat on a regular basis. I do.

We should all be grateful for the fact that we have steak-the literal and figurative kind. We don't deserve anything; we're probably the most undeserving creatures on this planet. We wreck things, we wreck people, and we wreck ourselves. Oftentimes, we blame anything other than us for that; we complain about anything else before we'll ever be grateful we have stuff. We take everything for granted.

So, I'm going to make an effort to shut my mouth if I want to complain. I don't have a right to do it. No one does.

I'm going to make an effort to continue to eat right and work out. I'm going to do my best to encourage others to do the same.

I'm going to make an effort to be a better person than I am right now. I know I can be. I know I should be. I'm going to do my best to be a better person. Less stupidity, more common sense; less arrogance, more humbleness. I need a remodel. I've started the outside's time to work on the inside stuff.

Now, I'm not calling these New Years resolutions. Screw New Years resolutions, we all know no one really keeps them. I'm calling these Life Goals-something to aspire to in life to complete in life, preferably ASAP. Failure is an option-I can fail at these but guess what? I can pick myself up and try again. I'll likely end up doing that a few times this year and in the coming ones. But I won't forget these; once it hits the internet it never goes away, so they'll be here forever.

I implore the rest of you to do the same. Don't fall into the same old New Years crap that we all do every year; do something new for New Years...make it into a celebration of how much BETTER your life and yourself can be if you try. Just remember trying doesn't mean automatic'll fail, but that's okay; try again. And again. And again.

Oh, and be grateful you have a steak. ;) Happy New Year folks.