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Monday, February 20, 2012

What's Your Shadow Telling You?

Last night I was watching a movie, Backdraft, starring Kurt Russel, William Baldwin, Robert Deniro, and Donald Sutherland. I must say, I was quite pleased with it though there were some obvious predictable turns to it. One part of the movie caught my attention though and that was Robert Deniro's character, a fire investigator who was nicknamed "Shadow." Why was he called this? Because while he was rescuing a deranged psychopath (Donald Sutherland's character) who set a fire, he got caught in an explosion and his shadow was left on the wall, so to speak.

I thought that was an awesome nickname but it also brought to my attention an aspect of myself that I had forgotten about; my shadow. All to often, while outside, I'm focusing on the activity at hand and not on anything else really. I forget about the world and it's issues, I forget about my personal issues, all the stuff that's going on in friends lives, and more...I forget about everything really.

This is something that apparently, is not limited to myself but a lot of people. An article I was reading this morning on 10 Ways To Feel Good Everyday brought to my attention that the stuff I do-exercise, drink water, eat right, stick to a routine...well, a lot of this stuff is recommended. Of course, I don't agree with everything the article says-drinking algae (BLEH) seems like a sure way to make me miserable, not happy.   

So, it seems that with all that said, with all the stuff I forget about which makes me (and other apparently) happier, I also forget about something that was once essential in my life; my shadow.

And you know what? That's kinda sad. I remember as a kid my shadow and I used to have a lot of fun. All of us, at one time or another as children, have found that on those days where we're alone with no one to play with, our constant companion, our shadow, is there. My shadow and I used to have a lot of fun; I remember acknowledging it rather than just knowing it was there. Somewhere along the way though, all children grow older and those little things-like our shadow-get forgotten about. Often times, they're never really remembered again.

It's kinda like an imaginary friend in a way I guess. Once you hit those teenage/adult year, what's the point of having an imaginary friend? There isn't one. You have more friends on facebook than you have in real life, you have more people in your life than ever before, you don't have time to acknowledge an imaginary friend or, in this case, your shadow. I mean, it's your shadow...what's so important about it?

Well, I'll tell you why your shadow is important; often times it can tell you stuff you can't tell yourself.

Hear me out, I know it sounds a bit loopy. You see, while working out today, with the various things in my mind being regulated to background process, I was surprised to find my attention to be divided between my running and my shadow. It's odd, watching your shadow as you do something like running. You know you're doing the actually moving in the process, but really it's almost like you're not out there by yourself. Like you have a companion.

So, me and my shadow, we did our running and I was generally enthused to have it along for the ride. It seemed to be having fun and I will admit, I was too. Usually, running just is kinda tedious work; I do it because it's good exercise but more than that because it's part of the routine. I took the last two weeks off from it because I'd gotten tired of it; it was less fun and more work.

Now, suddenly, it's somewhat fun again after many months of it being just tedious. My shadow was having fun with it and so was I. It was telling me something there; prior to the workout I was feeling guilty for not really doing any running the past two weeks. I figured I'd be woefully out of practice and unable to do much. Turns out I was able to get back into it without too much trouble. My shadow was telling me "hey, it's biggie, you're good."

As children, it seems we have the wisdom to acknowledge our shadow and pay attention to it. It doesn't seem so weird then. As we get older, it does, and I wonder why that is. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that, as we get older, we spend less time outside in the sunlight and more time inside doing stuff.

Whatever the case maybe, your shadow can tell you things. It can tell you to chill and not worry about skipping some workouts, like mine. It can tell you that, while out taking your lunch break on your favorite park bench, you've somehow lowered your head onto your hands. It can tell you that, while standing in the sunlight, you have an odd resemblance to Superman striking a pose.

It's kinda odd and kinda out there, but listen to your shadow folks. In fact, get outside more so you can see your's an old friend that is too often forgotten about as we get on in years. After all, it can tell you things that you would never tell yourself.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

What Not To Do As A Parent

All right, I'm majorly, majorly POed at this video that's made the rounds on facebook. If you haven't seen it, well, here is is.

(Warning: language, general stupidity, and a complete lack of common sense)

Now, I'm not a parent, let me be clear on that. I'm single. I have no kids. I'm a straight, lonely, virgin.

But I'm qualified to call this guy out. In fact, every person alive is qualified to call this out. This is not how you parent. This is not how you treat another human being let alone your DAUGHTER. This goodness folks, he makes me mad as heck.

He is wrong. Let me put that out there right now, he is dead wrong to do this to his daughter, whom he supposedly loves. He hacked her facebook, jacked her wall post, and decided to take to youtube to trash her? Not only did he do that on youtube the dude blew away her computer and demanded his daughter pay for the ammo?

I asked myself when my friend showed me this video, "How could anyone think this is a good thing?" and then I looked at the likes vs. the dislikes. Likes over 20,000. Dislikes just over 2,000.

Say what?

People are agreeing with the guy's message, I get that, and the guy's message is sorta on base. Yeah, his daughter complains about stuff she has no right to, yeah she's spoiled, yeah she shouldn't have taken to facebook to lobby her complains. But guess what? She's ONLY 15. She's a teenage girl, in high school, going through a lot of changes on a number of different fronts.

I mean, really? You can't take that into account youtube viewers? The father obviously couldn't, but you, the viewers, should be condemning this man not heralding him as a speaker of truth! The dude was off base in so many different ways!

1. He aired out grievances online; that's always a bad idea especially on a youtube video.

2. He trashes his daughter on the internet, which means this video will FOREVER be there.

3. Oh, he names his daughter too and if this dude was even half as smart as he claims, he'd know that naming people in a video is a dumb, dumb idea; particularly because someone can track down where this video originated and find his daughter.

4. He kills a perfectly good computer which, he admits, he spent lots of money and time upgrading.

5. He wastes perfectly good ammo.

6. He looks like a reject from Brokeback Mountain.

7. By the way, did I mention the guy is SMOKING in the video while scolding his daughter about doing things SHE shouldn't? Way to set an example, dude.

8. He gives us his lifestory about how things were tougher in his day. Apparently he forget to mention the hooked-on-phonics classes he failed because this dude has serious trouble reading from a printed sheet of paper in the middle of an open field.

I could go on but at this point you understand my major dislike for this guy. This is not the way to parent. I may not be a parent but I'm a big brother; I have three younger siblings, a host of younger cousins, and I've taken care of young ones as though I was a parent. This blatantly offends me.

I've been accused many times before of taking things too personally. I admit, I do. I admit, I'm probably taking this too personally. And you know what? I'm still angry about it. The fact SO many people think this guy is doing something worth applause astounds me in the worst way. This. Is. Not. Parenting. This is being a vindictive, arrogant, jackass.

I'm hoping the wife of this guy gave him a swift kick in the jewels for this video. Maybe she divorces him.

But more than that, I hope the daughter can find it in her heart to FORGIVE him. I doubt that though. This guys has ruined his relationship with his daughter for the immediate, short term, and likely long term future. I see this being a huge problem 5-10 years down the road.

Can you imagine what this girl is feeling? Not only did her father, the man who has raised her all these years with her mother, hack her facebook in a blatant breach of privacy, but he also took to youtube to completly trash her. He shot a bullet through her laptop and likely their relationship.

She's got to be in a really bad place and I hope some of her friends are there for her, because this is just WRONG. On so many levels this guy has destroyed his daughter it's hard to think of anything but the worst. I can easily see the girl going into super rebellious mode, doing drugs, hitting up parties, generally doing dangerous things because of this; this is extreme in all the worst ways.

So, parents, I know you think I don't know jack. I know I don't have kids and I haven't even gotten close. But I'm telling you, every fiber of my being says to find this guy, beat the crap out of him, and make him post a retraction on youtube-where he shoots his computer and gives his daughter a brand new one.

I know that won't happen (likely...) but do not condone this man for his actions. Do not herald him as someone who speaks the truth. His message may have some truth in it but the way he goes about it, there's no justification for him to be seen as anything less than the jackass (and that's putting it kindly) he is.

Parents, I beg of you, do not take anything this guy does or says and use it for your own kids. Don't be this guy. Don't be this parent.

Don't make your kid hate you...that's what this guy did with this video. She has to hate him.

The saddest part is, he probably hasn't realized that yet.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Grumpy Old Cat

Today has been a banner day for a lot of reasons (I'm 180 and wearing size 32 jeans with ease, primarily being the reasons) but as with any day, there are chores around the house that need to be taken care of. No one likes chores. No one wants to do chores. Even I, Mr. Routine, wouldn't mind seeing chores eliminated from my routine, but alas, chores have to be done. And predictably chores are...well, a chore.

That being said my chores today were house cleaning and my most loathed form of house cleaning is cleaning bathrooms. I hate cleaning bathrooms, it's a pain, nothing's easy, and it doesn't smell much better clean than it did dirty. Despite that, I had been given my marching orders and I was bound to carry them out. However, my cats found my cleaning antics to be interrupting their "lying around in the bathroom" antics. All three of them have an obsession with the bathrooms to some extent but the two younger cats (Aslan and Lilly) are the big offenders. Aslan likes to be a bum around the sink while Lilly sits in the windowsill and sunbathes.

So, I had to chase them out multiple times while I was cleaning the bathroom. Eventually, I got so exasperated by it I turned the oldest cat we have, Lightning, threw up my hands, and told him to teach those two how to behave when cleaning is being done. Lighting being the oldest cat we have, is the veteran, the cat who's earned his retirement. We've had him since 1995, when he was a fast little kitten (hence why I named him Lightning). He's been around longer than 3 out of the 4 cars we have, longer than two of my siblings, longer than a host of cousins, and he's pretty much seen it all.

At this point in his life though, he just doesn't care. His day pretty much boils to waking up for breakfast, eating, hissing/scratching at the dumb dogs, going back to sleep, waking up for lunch, eating, hissing/scratching at the dumb dogs, going back to sleep...well, you get it by this point. The old man is pretty much set in his ways and he doesn't really pay much mind to the younger cats-in fact, he pretty much ignores them unless them make him mad and then they run. Despite the fact he's practically ancient in cat years, he's still a mean guy with those paws of his. He used to mess my first little brother up pretty bad as kids; the two of them did not get along, which only made me happier to have him as MY cat.

Anyways, I asked him for some help and predictably he didn't do anything. He just stared back at me, blinked a few times, and went back to sleep. Why I thought I'd get anything different I don't know, but he's one grumpy old cat. That got me thinking many times in our lives do we do the same thing to other people? Not literally the same thing, but the basic idea of us ignoring a plea for assistance and returning back to our routine; how many times do we do that in our lives?

I'd venture a guess and say quite a lot. I mean, I love my routine; it works, it doesn't change often, it's pretty much set. Having to break from it to help out someone annoys me a bit and were I Lightning's age (in cat years mind you) I doubt I'd have much motivation to go give some younger folks an earful about staying out of a bathroom while it's being clean. Often in life, we're asked to do things that we just don't want to do; it's not that it's particularly hard it's just that we'd rather be lazy and stick with the routine that we have. I do that a lot of the time, partly because I am lazy, and partly because I'm obsessive about my routine. It's a bad mix.

But some days we need to stop being the grumpy old cat, get up off our tails, and help out. Sure, it sucks some days, and sure, it's not easy some days, but it's better than being no help at all. I'd rather help out a little than not help at all. Every little bit helps.

Even if it comes from the grumpy old cat. ;)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Just Keep Going

"Just Keep Going" I tell myself when I work out. I get tired of it. It gets boring. I've been working out on a near daily basis (days off on Sunday and really bad weather days) since late July. Frankly, I'm tired of it. I want to stop and just relax for a while but I've gotten into the habit of working out in the afternoons. I've made it part of my routine and I am a very routine based person.

In the mornings I do the same thing when I get up. Bathroom, weigh in, pills, water on face, stare into the mirror for a few seconds to determine if I'm indeed alive, teeth brushing to make my breath smell better, and head downstairs to consider breakfast.

During the nights before bed I do the same thing. I use the bathroom, I brush my teeth, I take my pills, I splash water on my face and I head off to bed. I'm not a complicated person. Well, that's a lie, I am a complicated person; everyone is a complicated person. I hate ketchup but I like spaghetti sauce; is it basically the same thing? Yes. Will I ever eat ketchup? No, never.

I love cheesecake but I'm lactose intolerant. Will I ever stop eating cheesecake? No (especially if it's like the last one I had during my most recent birthday). I will forever love cheesecake, will forever eat it, and will suffer for it no matter what.

And those are just the food based examples. We get deeper into it and you may not make it out of this blog alive. Bottom line is that I am a complicated person and once a routine, a habit, starts I find it hard to stop. I am a habitual person. It's why cigarettes, drinking, and other addictive habits are things I stay far, far away from. I know my weaknesses. I know how easy I could fall into stuff like that.

Which is why when I workout and "Just Keep Going" pops into my head, I wonder whether or not I really should. Is working out an addictive behavior? In some cases, yes. In my case, maybe. I'm not sure. I just know that "Just Keep Going" applies in other areas of my life besides my weight loss.

It applies in my search for love. I'm a classic hopeless romantic. I have standards, probably out dated, and I'm stubborn. I've struck out with more girls than I care to recount and that same thought "Just Keep Going" applies. Giving up is not something I do easily; it takes a lot, a lot to make me quit on something. Which is why the search for love will inevitably continue for me.

The same applies for my search for a job. I've been at it for nearly a month and I've struck out everywhere, every which way. It sucks. It's incredibly frustrating. But "Just Keep Going" enters into my mind there as well. It has yet to produce results, but I will keep going.

"Just Keep Going" really applies in all areas of my life despite how tired, bored, frustrated, mad, sad, unenthused, and plain sick of it that I am. I'll "Just Keep Going" because that's how one lives life; you have to keep going, whether it be a yard, a foot, an inch, or less.

So remember..."Just Keep Going." It's better than doing nothing.