31 December 2006

Holidays At Last

This weekend was my true Christmas. I spent the weekend with my babies in Portland enjoying the holidays. The big present this year was bikes!

We went and watched Beauty and the Beast on stage. They really like musicals. The production had some strong vocal performances, and was pretty solid all things considered. It moved a little slow at times as evidenced by a yawn or three from Emma. But Caleb really got a kick out of conducting the music and singing along. He is such a ham.

The Zoo Lights at the Oregon Zoo were pretty good this year. We rode the train and oohhh'd and aaahhh'd the lights and animals. All around was the smell of hot chocolate which makes it really feel like the holidays.

Now I'm heading back to a warmer climate to ring in the New Year. What hijinks can we get up to this year?

27 December 2006

It Comes Around

Spending so much time with my family for the holidays brought to mind how everything comes back around in time. Consider your parents for a moment.

When we are first born and growing, we rush to them all the time. They are the center of our world, and we look to learn all we can from them.

When we reach our teenage years, we pull away. They become something we put up with and we are absolutely convinced they have no idea what they are talking about.

When we leave for college or a job or our first apartment, our independence really kicks into high gear. We never call enough, and we feel like they can't possibly understand what we are going through so we don't share ourselves completely.

At some point, we realize just because they are our parents doesn't mean we can't enjoy their company as adults. The conversations improve.

Then one day, you see your parents with new eyes. Maybe it was an illness or just a conversation, but they revert to being the adorable people we loved so much as children. You want to just hug them all up, take care of them, give them the happiness in the life they carved out for you.

Of course, this could just be me. My parents are so freakin' cute.

23 December 2006

Christmas Party

Tonight I got to spend some time with my family at a Christmas party. One of my sisters and her family recently moved to another state and not having them around was a little weird. But my mom and dad stayed for quite a while which was cool.

My family has their quirks just like every family I suppose. The most notable from this evening is how loud we are. Everybody talking loud and making all sorts of noise. It was one part chaos and two parts mayhem.

Following our tradition, I took some cousins out for a movie and we saw "Unaccompanied Minors" which was actually pretty funny. A ridiculously cheesy ending, but a very hilarious romp until that part so it was easily overlooked. Lewis Black, one my favorite comedians, played with gusto and verve as was to be expected.

And by the way, big Congrats to my friend Dusty who just got engaged.

17 December 2006

Soft Feet

This weekend I had some down-time (much needed!) and I got to take a bath. Okay, no laughing, I actually bathe quite often. Every day at least, and twice a day if my work-out is at night instead of morning. I'm not talking about showering and getting clean, I am talking about relaxing in the tub, taking a nice long soak. Hot water, bubbles, peace and quiet, the whole bit.

While taking time for reflections is nothing new to me, this particular venue for meditations comes with a side-effect that evidently I had forgotten. Soft feet. After soaking in a tub of hot water for almost an hour, my feet come out soft and...ahem...tender. Not that they aren't usually just fine, after all I'm sort of fond of lotion and being clean. It is just that I really enjoyed the feel of my freshly pruned feet on hotel carpet.

Anyway, shout out to my friends in P-Town. And Cooper, I'm kindda sad you didn't tell me about the whole engagement thing. One of my real friends had to fill me in since you can't seem to pick up a freakin' phone or type a bloomin' email. Congrats, bud.

13 December 2006

Jingle Bell Bash

Over the weekend I had a chance to check out Jingle Bell Bash with some friends from P-Town.

The line-up was:
  • Cartel
  • Natasha Bedingfield
  • JoJo
  • Danity Kane
  • Nelly Furtado
  • Pussy Cat Dolls
  • Gym Class Heroes
  • Fall Out Boy
Needless to say the last two bands really stole the show. However, Nelly Furtado also surprised me, that lady has come a long way in my book.

10 December 2006

It's Their World...

...we're just living in it.  I'm talking about women, of course.

This weekend afforded me the very rare opportunity to mingle amidst the masses and witness the spectacle that is shopping during the holiday season.  While trundling around from store to store picking out presents and gifts galore it struck me how much more there was for women than for men.  The remainder of the excursion it seemed that every store I visited exhibited the same proportions.  Mostly it was for women, with a nod to the fact that occasionally men need new things too.

Old Navy was especially apparent, actually taking over a whole section of normally menswear with female accoutrements. Even Club Monaco and normally even keeled Kenneth Cole fell in with the stereotype that men require only the minimum of floor space and variety.

Am I strange for feeling slighted in the shopping arena?

I've Got Shim In The Veins

Tonight at the High Dive I had the opportunity to partake in the auditory delight that is a Shim show.


There was some difference of opinion from the variety of musical elite in attendance, but the general feeling was that their entire performance was really tight.

Their first release "In The Veins" isn't on a label, but with their continued maturity and exponentially growing fan base we can look for that to change soon.  Perhaps.  In any case, this first album is a solidly produced and lyrically sophisticated offering.  The landscape of their sound is reminiscent of Jet, White Stripes, Killers, but with Brit-Rock undertones throughout.  It makes for a fairly unique auditory experience for a band from the Northwest.
You walked in like you own the place, but you don't.
You're acting like you'd do anything, but you won't.
- You Walked In, Shim
Check 'em out when you get a chance.

05 December 2006

Smiling? Really?

Someone comment today that I've been smiling "more" lately.  And that this was a good thing.

Now I'm not really sure what that means, but I took it at face value as a positive thing.  The comment made me self-conscious in the way that virtually any comments about me, to me, will do.  In this case, the thread of thoughts wandered around wondering if I'm as even-keeled in my presentation as I think I am.  Obviously not.

The random off-the-cuff remark today was hardly necessary to remind me that I'm not as good as keeping up appearances as I might think.  No sir.  Of my many failings in the "just keep smiling" department, I need no reminder.  This is, I think, mostly by choice.  It is probably just that my choice would be less erradically inclined were I following my intentions to the letter.  You see, the conflict is between wearing my heart in the air.  Being transparent.  Living deliberately.  My basic creeds and tenets, vows and convictions to be honest, clear, and open in all things.  These fill my personal side of this ledger sheet.  In the counter column resides my desire to protect, guard, sometimes to control.  Even as I try and balance these conflicting goals, my short-comings in performance often choose my choices for me.

Why is it that even with practice and determination, my deliberation is so incomplete?  Why would being caught with guard down hold such a negative connotation for someone yearning desperately for transparency?

I want to be real. I know that I am not. Getting caught being real should be a good thing.

01 December 2006

Turkey Pictures

Okay, so there are no pictures of actual turkeys (unless you count my cousin), but I thought I'd let everyone know that the new pics from Thanksgiving have finally been uploaded.  Take a peek here when you get a chance.

Get off my back, I've been a little busy.

In other news, I got to have a great dinner with my Mom because we happened to be traveling in the same general vicinity.  That was a very nice treat.

Have you taken your mom to dinner lately?

21 November 2006

Bond Reborn...Again.

A well-crafted report on a movie I thoroughly enjoyed...


Like the author, I found the realism of the character a refreshing jaunt.  Not that big of an Eva Green fan, but found her performance wasn't lacking.  When it comes down to, even the displaced time-line was easily consumed because of the smooth elegance of the story.


19 November 2006

Sexyback? JT is now on the nemisis list.

How crazy is it when you find someone who hurts you attractive?

When the woman who filleted your soul and routinely rips out the stitches you are pathetically attempting to hold yourself together with and pours battery acid in the gaping hole…when desperately trying to ignore her, you realize that she's still kind of hot. Especially now that she's doesn't resemble Kate Moss on a diet after back to back colonics.

It's a shame really. Why would my normally level head present such twisted symptoms of lunacy? Maybe I'm under too much stress. Maybe it's just been too long since…well just too long. Maybe I'm just a guy who from time to time can have his head spun by just about anything for any reason whatsoever. Yeah. That's it. The testosterone defense. That's my story and I'm sticking too it.

If we ever do have a chance to converse, please, never, ever, bring this up.

14 November 2006

Smart != Sensitive?

From time to time I find myself drowning in the sea of over-sensitivity.  Other times, it is like I'm wearing flame retardant underwear, a concrete helmet, and beer googles.  It's like my personal sensitivity just goes right out the window.

Don't get me wrong, I work hard to be empathetic.  It's just hard for me.

I used to follow the stereotypes and excuse my void of empathy as an outworking of my objectivity.  As if the tradeoff for being able to accurately perceive the perspectives of others removed the ability to adopt any one position and subject yourself completely to it.  Being objective and quick and practicing rigorously the art of being able to see all the sides of an issue, and still act with deliberation takes skill.  To be able to routine avoid analysis paralysis, you must hone your sense of forwardness to to such a point that sometimes you can lose the ability to wallow.  That is a fatal flaw.

How can I be both objective and subjectively emotional at the same time?  Do you know?

I really try to see what troubles others so, but when I see through their eyes, my conclusions are found wanting.  As if my head just gives up and says, I see you struggle, but your prision is your own production.  If you listened to your own voice you would see the cage is your own construction.

Can one be objective and empathetic? Are those just words that waft about, ethereal and ghostly?  Why is it that when I am being most precise, most helpful, I am often most aloof?  Is there some balance that tilts when too much is placed on quadrant of the relationship or another?

If that is true, then my challenge surely is to shift swiftly and surefooted from quiet listener to patient guide.  And suppose a transition successfully is made, who then will provide the prodding poke when time it is again for people to produce?

You can have it quick, you can have it correct, or you can have it easy.  Pick any two.

06 November 2006

Back in the Rain

The last few weeks (months!) I've been blessed to spend my time in very temperate climates...India, Hawaii, Southern California.  This week I'm back in Seattle and loving it.  It was interesting to me how much I brightened up at the idea of coming back to the land of grunge and rain.

Of course, having spent so much time in warmer tempatures I was caught a little by surprise by the volume of rain when I got on the ground.  It wasn't that I didn't remember to bring a jacket.  I actually reminded myself to pull it out of the closet.  Then I promptly left it on the couch in the apartment.

So now, I've been running around in the rain freezing my little tush.

Speaking of which, I saw the movie Babel last night which was possibly the worst movie I have seen since the Thin Red Line.  I wanted to poke my eyes out just to stay awake.  Even the gratuitous use of full frontal nudity (something I would normally applaud) was unable to quell my desire to intellectually vomit.  See this movie at your own risk.

29 October 2006

Companionably Alone

Somehow I find myself still on India time.  Not entirely sure if it is the lack of any sleeping schedule this week, the changing timezones enroute to Hawaii, or just my internal clock in mild rebellion.  In any case, even though I am tired and want to sleep, I find myself and watching the Hawaiian sunrise.  Perhaps I don't want to be asleep surrounded by all this? It is very beautiful here. (duh?)
Dawn stretches, yawns, breathes deeply.
Companionably alone I
soak in the sights and sounds of the
seascape surrounding me.
Light illuminates clouds
etches trees and rocks in stark relief.
Thoughts of yesterday, before, and then, are gone,
yielding to the yearning of oceans echo.
There floats a fish,
there sails a ship,
now washes a wave against my mind.

Such a place needs no together.
Meanderingly I arise and alight,
facing the full of day,
companionably alone, content.

I am not sure exactly what made me wax pathetically poetic today.  Perhaps just that overblown sense of appropriate behavior when faced with the magnificence that is such a flagrant vacation destination.  Man, did I ever need this place.  And I needed it even more once I realized that the internet works great from this beach...

28 October 2006

New Found Glory Indeed

This week was crazy.  Supporting multiple teams at work, huge deadlines, and lack of sleep.  I averaged 4 hours a night which meant I was making mistakes as I zombied around.

Then Thursday night came.

My good friend Josh came down from up north and we went to the House of Blues to see New Found Glory rock the house.  I have seen them several times and every time they reassert themselves as the best band I've ever known.  Experiencing anything musical or creative with Josh is always a treat. He has an appreciate of art that I found to be unique; a blend of elitism and pragmatic consumerism all rolled into one.  He can appreciate the sublime, the mass, and perfection without comment but with commentary.  I will always love him for that.

If you have a chance check out the new NFG album, Coming Home.  It is a really good find.

And now, I'm off to Hawaii.  Thank heavens.

26 October 2006

On Posting and Pictures

Lots of new pictures posted.  Check 'em out when you get a minute.

I've been working on a ton of new posts, but have been too busy to keep the words flowing as they should.  Not to leave you wanting, here is a little something from one of my foremost inspirations.
Here's some simple advice: Always be yourself. Never take yourself too seriously. And beware of advice from experts, pigs, and members of Parliament.
-- Kermit the Frog

You can find the latest picture sets here or here.

16 October 2006

The Agra Adventure

Things have been very busy here on the other side of my normal world.  Not only has work been very busy, but I've been managing to get out and enjoy myself a bit as well.

My recent adventure was a trip to Agra to see the Taj Mahal.  Yes, I was there.  I touched it.  It touched me.

Image The trip was an interesting excursion across the country driving 5 hours from Dehli with two friends and a driver who didn't speak english.  Our driver tried hard, but it was an uphill battle.  We fell into every tourist trap, but it paid off when our "guide" got us past a two-hour line with a well placed bribe.

I took tons of photos, but more I just looked and looked and soaked it in.  Truly remarkable.

08 October 2006

Horn Ok Please

Did you know there is a Hard Rock Cafe in ?  I didn't before yesterday.  But as of now, I can say I've seen it.

Flying while your sinuses are congested is just a gross way to travel.  For three days I hadn't been able to hear out of my left ear and everything I could hear was only via a weird echo.  That is finally letting up, thanks in no small part to several medications and heaps of self-abuse.

Traveling in this boisterous city continues to be a stew-pot of possibilities and scenarios.  Walking around doing some shopping in the metropolitan area with some friends, some kids tried to hijack my buddy and get his wallet.  One youth grabbed his legs while the other went for the wallet.  There were like four of them and they almost succeeded. I was very amazed at how calmly my friend reacted.  He just pushed them away and kept walking.  This fascinated me.  My own response was very indignant at being acosted in such a manner, and it wasn't even me, I was just watching!  Which doesn't say much for my skills accompanying others does it?  The whole thing took about 5 seconds, but I think I couldn't believe it was happening for the first 3 and during the last three all I could do was glare.  Not much use, am I?

We have definitely seen the happy, festive aspects as well; with beautiful lush trees and greenery, intimidating stone architecture, and the most colorful clothing and attire.  I can't wait to how this place can get more riotous during Diwali. My friend purchased a nice long Kurta (shirt) for me so that I can experience (the Festival of Lights) more fully.  It was very gracious.

The adventures of the weekend are complete and now it is back to work again.

07 October 2006

A Fan of Anne

The fall television season is always something I anticipate.  The new comedies, intrigues, and characters are brain candy that I sorely need while motoring along the elliptical trainer for hours on end every week.

The latest fun little surprise is Men in Trees which stars Anne Heche.   I've always been a fan of hers and it was to my delight to discover this show is a refreshing vehicle to showcase her loveableness.


If you haven't caught any of the episodes, here's a quick overview. Men in Trees is a quirkly drama with an eclectic character base and fabulous fashion sense set in the little town of Elmo, Alaska.  The main character is very real, which is uncommon for such fare, even though the sexual tension is a little predictable.

The setting makes for some great cinematography, and the quick pace of the dialog keeps you humming along.

In the mood for something light and delicious?  Check it out.

30 September 2006

Birthdays Run Amuck

This weekend, I'm helping multiple friends celebrate birthdays.

Which of course, makes one reflect on the age of oneself and all that one has accomplished, or not.

Do you ever have to consciously remind yourself not to compare yourself with those around you? Surely I am not the only one? I don't think of myself as particularly competitive or anything, but I am definitely very self-reflective.  When I see someone else smoking it reminds me why I don't smoke.  I've never smoked, never will.  When I see someone thinking about their career choices, it reminds me to review my own.

The thing about it is that I sometimes I find myself thinking, what would I do in that situation?  How would I react if I were them?  Why are they making those choices, and if faced with their predicament for better or worse, what woe would I release?

I guess it isn't a comparison per se, more of a twisted empathy and vapid self-loathing.  Then I reaize that I am not in that situation and my choices of yesterday would not lead me to that situation and therefore my reactions in that situation are more or less irrelevant and I should be supportive and encouraging and less self-critical and perhaps just have a drink and relax.

All that from a birthday bash, hmm?

28 September 2006

Happy Path

The whirlwind continues.

If you have a chance check out The Vampire Earth series by E. E. Knight.  I'm thoroughly enjoying it.


Today I had the unusual pleasure of partaking of my lunchtime repast with some associates that I don't always get to spend time with. During the course of the meal the conversation wandered from subject to subject. At the peak of hilarity, Jim announced...
At least we don't work in a fireworks factory.
...which pretty much summed up the conversation with a bow.

I really need to update the survey questions? Any thoughts?

23 September 2006

A Plow-mule for Mumbai

Time was ticking away and I was being a team player.  Never one to gloat I had thoroughly resisted temptation to wave "I told you so" as we morosely rearranged the deck chairs on this Titanic of a project I've been assigned.  Months ago when I was first raising the alarm and doing my best to not be ignored by the management team this exact situation was just a speck on the horizon.  Having a keen sense of weather when it comes to technology I was quick express exactly how big this storm would become.  Deaf ears all around, thank you kindly and please take a seat in the back of the bus.

So I smiled politely and toiled away alongside my compatriots all the while knowing there was little to no chance this particular hurricane would just pass us by.  Now we are in the midst of the storm again.  No rest in sight, but somehow they expect it will all work out.  Were I the vindictive sort or one to hold a grudge all hope would sure be lost.  Good thing for them my intentions are honorable and my heart is bigger than my brain sometimes.

As it stands, I must away to India to bring basic skills and common sense in a hopefully not wasted attempt to triage this sickly, near-death patient.  All the while straining my forbearance as I struggle surrounded by fair-weather friends and forked-tongue deceivers who are neither as clever nor as competent as they presume.  Leadership is about partnership and trust, not control and submission; a sad lesson apparently foreign to the forest in which I now find myself foraging.

The work horse is being trotted out again.  If only I were more to look at I might one day aspire to be misused as a show-pony instead of plow-mule.  The only difference would be the perks afforded me as again advantage is taken which I allow.

Doing something proper always feels nice.  And I sleep soundly.

15 September 2006

Feeling Wicked

Finally the day has arrived.  My babies and I are going to attend a performance of Wicked tonight.  We have been looking forward to it for quite some time.


My babies love shows which is a very good thing to my eyes.  It makes them super creative, imaginative and open-minded.  Being able to use the "fun" part of your brain as much as you use your "work" part of the brain is something I see as crucial for development and balance.

Here's hoping you all find a way to get out and be a little Wicked soon.

08 September 2006

A Busy Bee But Not

My apologies for not keeping up my regular postings.  In truth my life is just boring these days.  My babies are back in school, I'm working too long hours, and there's not room for much else.

Fortunately, a little foresight and planning means I will get to take a small break after the weekend to go see something spectacular with my sister.

Image Image

Delirium, by Cirque Du Soleil, is one of the few I haven't seen yet and I can't wait to experience it.

When you are working over yet another weekend, and no real end in sight, you need the little things to keep the balance.  For me, planning well in advance is the only way to pull it all together.  I've had these tickets for more than 3 months.

Oh, for those who don't know, my amazing little brother is moving back home to Arizona!  This is very good news for Arizona.

04 September 2006

The Illusionist

It had been some time since I've been able to hit the theatre and catch a movie.  This weekend, I got a chance to see The Illusionist.

It was an excellently put together film, well executed, with smooth dialogue and solid cinematography.

Edward Norton proves again to me that he is excruciating selective in choosing his roles and adapts them marvelously to his unique sensibility.  Paul Giamatti continues to showcase his remarkable talent in well-suited roles.

While predictable and yet not, your suspension of disbelief is not strained and yet it is an intriguing story that will surely delight you.  This is the type of theater that cinema was meant for.

01 September 2006

You Know You Are Working Too Much...

...when the holiday you forget is Labor Day.

This week was so crazy that I actually forgot about the holiday.  It didn't become an issue until I realized that I have to work most of the weekend and the holiday.

But the good news is...I forget.  I'm sure there is some good news here somewhere...anyone got some?

29 August 2006

Busy and Sore on the Way to Balance

The last couple weeks have been ridiculously busy.  Between all the various things competing for attention, my work/life balance has taken quite a hit.  One area in particular was my workout schedule.

So I took some time for myself, enjoyed some relaxation with some friends and just rebalanced a little.  Finally on Sunday and Monday I was able to get back into the gym for a solid workout.  The feeling of happy tired is slowing returning as the endorphins kick in.  I vaguely remembered how it impacted me as I was whiling away the hours at work.  I would remind myself, get to it, it'll be good.  But then something would come up and it would get pushed.  Stop.  Rebalance.  Engage again, and happy tired now returns.

I'm very deliberate most of the time, but keeping the immediate needs lining up with the big picture throws me off just as much as the next guy.  Sometimes I wonder how other people keep their short and long aligned.

Any ideas?

21 August 2006

Reorganizing Writing

If you haven't noticed, I reorganized my blogs so that people can better find the writing that interests them.  You can find my writings about:

Feel free to check 'em out and update your bookmarks and subscription feeds as appropriate.  And don't hestitate to add some comments so I know what you think.


17 August 2006

My Babies Are Back!

My babies have been out of the country in Costa Rica for the last month.  This has made for a very tedious month for me.  Now that they are back, there is light in the world again.  Hearing their happy voices so anxious to tell me about their wonderful adventures just lifted me so far out of the muck.  I can't wait for tonight to spend some much needed time with them.

11 August 2006

Work Sucks...off to Vegas

Some friends from India are in the US and we are going to Las Vegas this weekend.

Introducing virgins to the city of sin is always interesting.

Wish me luck...

01 August 2006

A Sense of Community

This evening I had the chance to stroll with some friends from Mumbai and take in the beautiful night air of Newport Beach.  As we walked and chatted, we talked about how the rythym of their lives is so different in the communities they live and work from here in the US.

They spoke of how on Sunday the whole complex comes together to play cricket.  Regardless of age or ability, just for joy and community.  As they spoke I marveled yet again at the vibrant eloquence that is their everyday speech.  At one point they mentioned how people get really into the game and they fight and so forth.  They told me that I would only have to play one day and I would learn all the bad words that can be expressed in the rich Hindi language.

We wandered, and I wondered.  It never ceases to amaze me how people with such elegant command of speech would find so little opportunity to exercise it.  I found myself remaining intentionally quiet just so that I my ears could continue to be delighted with their unique use of our language.

31 July 2006


When I haven't seen my kids in a while... I get grouchy.
When my friends are doing well... I get giddy.
When I don't work out for a week... I get gooey.
When the conversation is about boogers... I get gross.
When the air conditioning is too high... I get goosebumps.
When we share a secret... I get giggly.
When my project is going along smoothly, and then it isn't... I get grumpy.

27 July 2006

Shawn Hogan vs. MPAA

Things never get the attention they deserve until someone with money gets bitten on the butt.

Read The Who, What, When Here

Things should get interesting...

25 July 2006

Never hesitate to eat ice cream in the dark

This one goes way back.  I remember once my Mom talking about making choices in life.  She once said I was an ice cream in the dark kind of kid.  What she meant was that if it came down to paying the electric bill or having ice cream, I'd rather sit in the dark with the ice cream.  My momma knows me.

This wasn't about ice cream, or food.  It was about embracing the pleasures around you.  Sometimes people say "It's the journey not the destination" or maybe "Stop and smell the roses".  These are other ways of saying enjoy life.  But of course it is one thing to just say "Enjoy life"; it is quite another to give practical guidance to help with the little decisions we have to make everyday.  If the choice is to stick to the safe habits and the drudgery of stability or to strike out and take risks, to hope for something more…then I choose hope.  I choose faith that tomorrow will come, and God will provide.

Now to be clear, this doesn't address the issue of integrity.  It is in no way a license or support for not paying your bills and being responsible.  It's just that the little details have a way of working themselves out.  Sometimes stretching for the goal and fully committing to the rope; is the only way to climb out of a hole.  Hope lets you do incredible things, but only if you have faith to act like your hope is inexhaustible.

Are you being timid?  Safe? When is the last time you just closed your eyes and fell?

20 July 2006

Just a Shout Out

The other day I had occasion to hang out with a friend I really respect.  Before long the conversation wound around to the quality of work we were able to expect from various resources we've been working with.  As is his fashion he summarized our approach with wit and intellect.
If you can't get the best,
get the best you can get.
For an unexplained reason (ok, I was sleep deprived) I found this to be a wonderful addition to the toolset for better living.  So there you have it.  A new rule.  And absolutely no alcohol involved.

15 July 2006

Dashboard Confessional Concert

The venue is excellent, the concert rocked. The Mesa police suck for the super-tight security. Ben Lee was very excellent. The big change was adding the violinist, which made a really cool addition. Check 'em out when they come to your town. Sorry for the crappy picture.

13 July 2006

Pick-up Lines

Recently I had occasion to be having lunch with some friends when an attractive woman walked by our table.  This prompted a discussion on how to approach someone of the opposite sex. How do you bridge that gap and show interest appropriately?

As I pondered this later that day considering the various perspectives broached in the conversation it occurred to me that some of the basic negotiation principles were expressed in the most agreeable of the ideas presented. Simply put, it became obvious that there are good ways and bad ways to show interest in someone while preserving decorum.

To begin with, let's discuss a less-than-stellar way to broach the subject:
Would you like to go out with me?
This particular phrasing has several negative aspects:
  • You set yourself up for rejection. They might say no.
  • You pass control of the situation to them.  This creates pressure on them to provide a specific response.
  • You imply a formality. This requires an increased level of commitment from them.
  • You have limited the response timeframe.  The implication that an immediate reply is desired gives them less flexibility in how they might respond.
  • You leave the response open to interpretation. If they say "no," it might mean, "No, I don't want to go out with you," or "No, I want to go out with you but I'm busy at that time."
In many cases, these are the exact opposite of the techniques applied for successful negotiation.

Now consider a different way to approach someone:
Let's get together and do something sometime.
In this phrasing, you have a great deal of positive aspects.  You give the impression of a casual meeting.  This is less pressure, and no loss of control.  You transition from a specific object to just friends getting to know each other. There isn't any formality so the responses are unconstrained. However, allowing an unconstrained response doesn't mean you don't get your answer, in fact the opposite is true.  You are often able to more quickly and smoothly get more information.

If they are interested, they will respond in a positive verbal manner.  The words they use, the tone of voice, their body language, and their expressions will all be positive.  If they are very interested or in pursuit of you, they may even lead the conversation to making a specific time to do something or suggest a particular activity. If you get these positive responses, you can either pursue the conversation and arrange the schedule or leave it to a later time for follow up depending on your interest.  Setting plans immediately shows your level of interest in them. It may be that you perceive a high level of interest from them and you would like their anticipation to work for you.  In that case, deferring a specific plan until a later conversation can downplay your level of interest.

If they are not interested, their verbal responses may be explicitly negative or it may be indecisive.  Often times the "sure" or "okay" is designed to be polite or save your feelings, but the tone, facial expressions, or body language indicate a desire to drop the subject.  This will let you know they are not interested.  Simply do not pursue it any further.

Some positive aspects of this phrasing include:
  • You aren't setting yourself up for rejection. You've made a statement, not asked a question.
  • You haven't asked for any specific response, so you aren't adding any pressure to the conversation.
  • The casual nature of the phrase is not implying any commitment from you or them.
  • You find out for certain whether they are interested or not.
  • You are making a statement about yourself, not a question about them. This shows something of yourself and allows them to join into the fun and friendship that is your life.
By thinking about how we attain the positive aspects and avoid the negative aspects we can discover phrases that help us approach other people, and be more successful in our relationships.

Can you think of other ways these principles can apply to other situations in your life?

08 July 2006

02 July 2006

Broken Toe

Over the weekend I spent some time on the beach in beautiful southern California.  While boogie boarding in the growing surf I managed to jam my toe on some rocks.  The surf was really cold and my feet were numb but as I got onto the hot sand I realized how much I had messed up my toe.  So now I'm walking with a limp...

28 June 2006

Ignorance Abounds

My good friend Harry recently brought to my attention further proof of the failings of our education system in the form of a pro-WalMart article.

Evidently, no amount of education can substitute for a fraction of wisdom.  The writer of this moronic tribute to the idiocy prevelant around us should be forced to redo his secondary education.  And Harry should be thanked for bringing it to my attention.

25 June 2006

The India Pictures

At long last the India pictures got posted.  You can find them on tempusfugate.com/img if you want to check them out.

I'll do the best I can to get this weekends pictures posted with all due speed.

20 June 2006

Celery: The Silent Killer

This is not a Veggie Tales post, even though it may have seemed like that.

Today while talking with a friend of mine about some nutritional stuff we were discussion vegetables and the like.  During the discussion the subject of how much fiber is in celery and how it burns more calories chewing it then it provides.  This was summed up in one sentence:
If all you eat is celery...you will die.
Now I know this might seem petty and insignificant to all of you high-brows out there, but I assure you, my world is consistently littered with the necessity to restate reality in such extremist terms.  I am after all, a consultant.

In this case, he was just taking the idea to its conclusion to put the right emphasis on the correct syllable. I found it a very refreshing and humorous way to retain forever in my mind the value of a balanced diet.

19 June 2006

Headache in the House

In spending some quiet time to get my head screwed back on after a whirlwind weekend, a quote came to mind from my early catechism training.
God is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in His being, wisdom, power, justice, holiness, goodness and truth.
Enduring a headache, trying to let the stress of the world pass into the void around me, I found an odd comfort in these words.  After some reflection it is not hard to see why they would give me (a God-follower) a sense of peace.  Throughout my day, my biggest stresses come from handling the unknown, from relying on the fickleness of those with whom my life is intwined.

When you're a perfectionist, the rough edges and lack of discipline evident in the every day just grates on you from early until late.  Having to actually be dependant on others to deliver something with an ounce of polish becomes an exercise in futility.

Don't get me wrong, I am acutely aware of the foulness of my own aromas.  It is not the flaws that I see and stress about, it is my stark reliance on such obvious imperfections that threaten to make my own performance suffer greater still.  It is exactly the flaws in my own execution that bring angst to my brain when compounded with the haphazard happenstance surrounding me.

At some point, you'd think I'd learn to suffer fools, ignorants, and slothfulness surrounding me.  Today is just not the day.  My headache and 10 miles in the gym attest to that...

06 June 2006

Pulling Me Back In

In another life (okay, quite a few years ago) I functioned quite a bit differently than I do now.  The crowd I ran with was different, the skills I utilized where different, my value system was different.  Over the past couple of years I've been laying low, trying to get a handle on things.  Trying to figure out the right balance of things I want in my life, the right way to utilize gifts and contribute.  It seems I've waited long enough and the world has decided my passivity won't stand any longer.

The last several months it's been necessary to step back into shoes I'd long forgotten.  Just when I was really enjoying the quiet anonymity of the worker drone, the world bursts in my solitude in the form of floundering around me.  It seems I have a weakness for imperfection.  (Okay, like we didn't already know about my absolutist tendencies!)

Seeing people I genuinely like struggling to better themselves and perform at a level beyond their current ability always makes me want to jump into the ditch and help.  I just can't seem to pass by an opportunity to support the struggling.

Actually, I've been trying to practice that particular skill for some time now.  The quiet aloofness, the ability to turn a blind-eye to ignorance or incompentence.  Drowning out the obvious cries for help with the excuse that my life is already full enough and I just can't add any value.  I tell myself that they are better off without me because look at the disaster that is me.  Usually if I tell myself that long enough I pretend to believe it.  As least until my faith slaps me silly for my unwillingness to share. I guess I'll just have to chalk my inability to be careless and fancy-free up as yet another failing. ;-)

So now, I'm gradually moving back. Investing in others, being open to responsibility. Allowing my former self to be fully realized from the shadow I've become.  Letting myself fall over the cliff of opportunity (or at least be pushed).

In some ways, it's like living again.  Not the happy, fun, party-time kind of living necessarily.  More of the nitty-gritty, down and dirty, willing to care, I'll-take-responsibility-for-that sort of way.  And frankly, I blame all those darn people I let get to me.  If I wanted to be a functioning member of society again, I wouldn't have spent all this time and energy hiding myself away.  Freakin' friends! They just sneak up on you when you aren't looking.  Before you know it, you care what happens to them.  What a messy way to live...

05 June 2006

A Cure for Jet Lag?

Trying to get back on a regular schedule when your body still thinks it's on the other side of the world can be tricky.  I found that exhausting myself at the gym, watching movies, and doing it over again a few times seemed to help.    I'll have some India pics and maybe a video or two in a few days.


By the way, X-Men is a fun ride with some excellent effects and a solid storyline (as far as comics go).

If you don't mind, take the Sententia Vestrum (Your Opinion Poll) when you get a chance you can find it on the right.  I'll change it every couple days or more frequently as good questions arise.  If you have a particular survey you'd like to see, let me know.

04 June 2006

Question of the Day

On the way home from Mumbai I was able to finish the Poll service I was working on. You can find it now hosted on Tempus Fugate as the Question of the Day.

It's actually a public interface so theoretically anyone could host poll questions on their site. I need to polish up the administration UI but it's still a pretty tight little service. If you are interested in the details, feel free to drop me a line.

23 May 2006

Cows in the street

India continues to be a frenetic and interesting place.  On my way to work every morning I pass the cows browsing in the trash on the side of the road.  We narrowly avoid being pummeled by lorries and cabs, and pass the bicycles and pedestrians with just a hairs breadth of room.  I have tremendous respect for anyone who can drive in this city; our driver is amazing!

Last night was a small moment of downtime (at about 10pm, mind you) where I was able to enjoy some quiet conversation in nice restaurant watching the skyline across the lake.  In the day time it looks pretty swampy and you can't miss the shanty-towns, garbage, and chaos.  But at night, the skyline looks peaceful and pretty.  It reminded me a little of dinner at Salty's on Alki.

Though tired I am, the luxurious opulence that is my life at home is missed. Sometimes as a stink in my nostrils, other times with sadness and longing.  Disparity is a constant friend.

Oddly enough, I don't mind the food.  Perhaps maturity is upon me at last?  Say it isn't so.

15 May 2006

Make It Do What It Do, Baby

One thing you can say for sure about overseas hotels is that when they do something, they generally do it right.  An example of this is the way they use your card key to keep the lights on while you are in the room.

If you've never been in a European-style hotel they have a slot on the wall inside the door of your room next to the light switch. When you walk in the room, you put your card key into the slot and leave it there. This activates the lights and whatnot automatically. There are many reasons why this is cool.

 - It saves energy because when you leave and take your card with you, the lights can all go out no motion sensors needed.

-  When you are getting ready to leave, your card key is always in the same place, so it's harder to forget.

- When you leave the room, it turns on a signal so that the staff knows you've left your room.  This way there is no annoying knock from housekeeping at "Oh-Heavens-It's-Way-To-Early" in the morning if you forget to put the Do-Not-Disturb sign out.

- There are handy indicator buttons that light up inside and outside so that you can tell in a glance if your room is in Do-Not-Disturb mode or not and adjust accordingly.  This is great if like me, you head to the gym first thing in the morning and don't want someone in your cleaning before you get back.

It sounds trivial, but this kind of sound thinking is way overdue for the US market.  As someone who travels full-time, you learn how valuable the little things are pretty fast.

13 May 2006

India is Far Away

Eight hour lay-overs suck.  Even if they are in cool Business Class Lounges with amenities and whatnot.  Trying to stay awake after 18 hours of flying is tough.  I did get to walk around buy some presents and stuff.  Ready to find a bed and crash.

Happy Mom's Day you guys.

07 May 2006

The Vegas Quotes from Day One

Steve: Vegas, baby.
Joshu: I'm in love man.  In love.
Geniveve: She doesn't really drink.  I don't think she has sex. What is she thinking?
Lane: We're going to the jacuzzi at 4 in the morning.
Joshu: I'm drawing you a bath.  You are getting in the bath.
Steve: We are getting boy-band status tonight.
Joshu: I'm spooning you until you come down with us. And I'm just going to keep saying spoon so you know what's happening.
Steve: You are a pessimistic guy.  But that's beside the point.
Geniveve: Prague girls are hot.  I almost went lesbian for just a minute. I mean hot.
Lane: You are obsessing over this girl and we all just say 'F'-that.  And we mean it both ways.

03 May 2006

Men of Film

By way of adding some more fuel to The Problem with Men, you should check out the newest study from USC about the portrayal of men in movies.  Evidently men are mostly "casanova's, criminals, or clowns".  If we are teaching our children so much through movies is it any wonder we are seeing the repurcussions now?  We see evidence of this decay all around us.

We already know that women are supposedly under-represented in G-rated movies, because See Jane told us so.  According to that study, in G-rated movies the characters are inordinately male.  Which may very well be true.  Of course, being skeptical I ran my own little test.  I used a quick formula to assign male, female, or both to each major Disney film release since 1937.  The ratio was closer to 53% male, 47% female, but I digress.

In the end, my point is that sure movies teach us things.  We find things humorous and entertaining which won't always mirror our value systems.  Does this mean we have some systemic problem we have to rush out to counter?  I say, boo.

If the values of the majority mirrored your own, then you could expect popular theater and culture to reflect that.  Since it doesn't, don't be surprised.  You want to change that?  Don't treat the symptom, address the disease.

02 May 2006

The Irony of the Orgasm

Handling a paradox can be hard.  When I review employees one of the key metrics for maturity is their ability to deal with juxtaposed objectives.  In listening to my friends (and in my own experience) I find that the ability to manage conflicting goals is essential to success in more than just business.  Okay, so there are many skills that bear that trademark, I'm writing now about one of the less-obvious ones.

In sex and love, just like in the workplace, you are continually challenged to collate a conflicting checklists of desires.  Your boss wants to get as much work out of you, while paying as little as possible.  Your lover wants to satisfy you but also has desires.  You want to have a career you enjoy and get paid for, while keeping your life and relationships a priority.  In a healthy relationship, the desire to satisfy your counterpart is comingled with the necessity to allow your counterpart to satisfy you.  Simply put, somethings you do for them, other things they do for you.

Even in the not-so-healthy case (such as mine), where the desire of one party is only to serve the needs of the other, an insidious balance is struck.  It can sound like the perfect relationship; the servant with a place to serve, the served having needs met steadfastly.  An accord in situations like this are fragile at best.  As humans we are creatures of need and our actions however independently appearing are the outward expression of that need.

When you stay late at work to meet a deadline for your boss, when you spend your hard-earned money on flowers (that will be wilted and gone in a day) for your lover, when you sit through an endless baseball game for your counterpart, or when you take the outside spoon.  Sure you are doing something for them.  But you are also doing it for you.  For the raise, for the smile, for the quiet evening, for the kids, for that special funny face of pleasure/pain that only you get to see, for your deity, for a bazillion little reasons.

I wonder if the partner who handles paradox in the boardroom with grace, does likewise in bedroom?  If someone can handle the Irony of the Orgasm, shouldn't they also be able to do the Priorities Shuffle?  Sometimes I think yes, but often times I realize the opposite is frequently true as well.  Like a bodybuilder who can't balance a checkbook or a mathematician who doesn't dance.  They go together so well (caloric intake = bank account, music = math, keep up folks!), and yet it is so easy to over-compensate in the mix.  Almost as if the control required to keep the plates circling in one ring of the circus must be offset by a loss of control in yet another ring.  Sometimes those rings are clearly antithetical, other times seemingly the same.  We run back and forth spinning plates madly for one show, and dashing them to the ground for another.  Sometimes we just want to get off, other times we want to get someone else off.  (I'm talking about the Ride of Life, you dirty-minded reader!)

Methinks it is this control that belies the rub.  Everyone needs to lose control, if even in a small way. For each of use that takes a different form.  It can even take different forms for the same person in different relationships.  If you've been giving, your balance is the take.  If your rut is in taking, your loss would be the give.

When did you last lose control?  And how long since you've given it away?  When's the last time you used your tongue?  When's the last time you let someone else use theirs? (I meant for talking, you horn-dogs! Well, for everyone except you, Jan. ;-) )

28 April 2006

Engineering Lies

My current "paying-the-bills"-strategy involves working with a company that is doing offshore development.  I've been burning the candle at both ends trying to keep this engagement running smoothly.  Shortly I will have to spend a significant amount of time overseas to handle this fiasco.

Kawasaki recently posted "The Top Ten Lies of Engineers".  It was humorous but definitely struck a chord with my situation.  Specifically #8:
We can do this faster, cheaper, and better with an offshore programming team in India.
Rank and file engineers usually don't tell this lie; it's the CTO who does. Somehow we've got it in our heads that every programmer in India is good, fast, and cheap, and every programmer in the United States is lousy, slow, and expensive. My theory is that for version 1.0 of  a product, the maximum allowable distance between the engineers and marketers is thirty feet.
Once again, funny and insightful all in one go.

25 April 2006


"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less."
- Lewis Carroll -- Through the Looking Glass, Chapter 6

22 April 2006

Showing Up

This evening I had the great pleasure of conversing with my father.  The weather is spectacular and sitting outside, sipping a strawberry shake, swapping stories with my dad is truly a recipe for contentment in my book.

During the course of our conversation we wandering onto the topic of maintaining relationships. My pop has always been a model of the christian life for me, and in his outreach and ministry this is especially true.  As far back as I can remember he has given of his time to visit the sick, the needy, even those in jail.  At one, time he was one of the few anywhere with the necessary clearance to witness to maximum security offenders in the federal prisons. His willingness to invest in others with his time isn't just central to his being, it's foundational to how he views The Walk.

One particular hospital visit made an indelible mark on my life. While attending a man who suffered a particularly painful illness I was left to visit with him as my dad stepped into the next room continuing his rounds.  The man waved me close and imparted to me the reason so many people enjoyed my dad's visits.  The words he said still resound in my ears from time to time, "Your dad knows when to come.  But more importantly he also knows when to go." Before then, I'd always wondered how these people shared such a connection with my father in the short time they spent with him each week. Those words were just the smallest glimpse into how my father Walks.

This evening, I got to share with my father a conversation I'd had the previous weekend with a friend I hadn't seen in a while.  I'd been on a whirlwind tour visiting friends that I wished I could spend more time with.  One in particular just casually mentioned that it wasn't necessary to see everyone. Which got me a little worked up I must admit. You see, I put particular priority on visiting my friends. Not just email and phone calls, but actually Showing Up.  Being there, live and in-person to share and fellowship. These things are vital to me in a way not easy to explain.  To my friend, I bumbled and fumbled but more or less got my point across or so I thought.  My dad, understood right away.

This evening my father told me another story. This story was about an elder who used to come to his Sunday morning group with the number of people he had called that week.  An elder who still wasn't being effective, because he wasn't Showing Up.  As my father put it, you can share significant news on the phone if you must.  But you can't share a significant moment that way.

This evening my father told me another story. This story was about one of the many people who have shared with my dad during their final hours in this life.  They seek him out, they speak with him, they reveal their fears and ask their questions. Because while they lived and walked and wandered, he continued to Show Up.  He gave a little of himself to each of them. Consistently. He Showed Up.

Even now, the biggest misunderstandings I face are from those who question my sincerity in servitude.  They reserve commitment in their hearts and with their time. They just can't comprehend the value of Showing Up.  It may take until the end of their life, but one day perhaps consistency will show the sincerity and simplicity within me.  Not for me, and not by my strength.  In spite of me and for His glory alone.

Until then, and like my dad, I'll just have to do my best to keep Showing Up.

21 April 2006

Beautiful Sunset

Phoenix is always so amazing this time of year. It was an AMAZING week. this closed it nicely.

11 April 2006

What Did You Expect?

Recently there was a Washington Post article about The Problem with Men.  It was blogged about in several good posts including by Coloring Outside the Lines and theviewfromher.  It's not worth noting that each of these authors was female.

The core article, while giving a nod to a balanced view is fundamentally alarmist in its slant towards key symptoms with little or no perspective on underlying cause. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for alarmist if it gets people discussing root causes. ;-)

Each of the various posts made me consider the core issue from different perspectives which I assume was the point.  As I considered a variety of responses, I decided to just knock them down in the order they came to me.  So while I'll repost on this subject again with other angles, this one covers only my initial reaction.

Reading the article my first response was "What did you expect?"  In today's workplace we are required to give women special treatment but equal pay.  The legal system gives preference to mothers over fathers at almost every turn. Our child support system is woefully corrupt. Casual sexuality leaves men completely disadvantaged in the dating scene. The education system is in majority geared towards a liberal arts education whereas the workforce continues to give preference to the aggressive and technically adept. The number of support and specialty resources for women vastly outstrip the parallels for men. And so on...whine, whine, whine.

Don't get me wrong, many of the protections afford women and mothers are necessary, crucial even. But if a woman can expect equal investment from a company while reserving rights not available to a man for example maternity leave, that's clearly shifting the balance of power.  When a woman can choose to leave a relationship for no cause and still enforce primary financial dependence on the man, clearly the balance of power has shifted.  When the scholarship basis is weighted almost 4 to 1 in favor of female applicants and the cost of education is stratospheric clearly fewer men or going to consider higher education.  Because I'm a coward I don't even want to get into the other more inflammatory examples.

Rest assured I am not so naive or ignorant as to be unaware that there are many examples of how power has been and continues to be abused by men.  I concede that men can really stink.  My point is that anyone can really stink, gender-neutrally.  As we continue to emphasize legalities that are gender-specific we only make this whole problem worse.

I'm all for gender-equality (or race equality or preference equality or height-equality or pc/mac-equality or...) but it has to actually be about equal, not just a form of special treatment.  Let me give one clear, simple example.  It doesn't make every point and surely has multiple impact points.  But it specifically showcases my point about equal pay and special treatment.

As a business owner I currently have to invest equally in women and men in my workforce.  However I must bear an increased cost in the health-care of women that I don't have with men.  As the business owner I am required to fund the cost of preserving a womans job during a maternity leave, regardless of the business disruption. In this simple situation I have employees that cost me considerable more but I am expected to pay them equally.  Of their own accord, they can choose with their health and family planning decisions to increase my costs and the associated business disruptions by more than 100%. Clearly, these employees are not being treated equally because of the special protections afforded one group by our legal system.  Keep in mind this isn't a bogus example, these are actual facts from current reality.  Because these costs are real, and the business must plan to cover them, the average pay available for anyone in that position is pulled down.  This impacts men because now they are faced with taking a lower wage job with no additional benefit to them.  Women however are afforded the equivalent pay but with added benefits. This isn't just one level of inequality it is actually a double impact. A negative impact for a man and a positive incentive for a woman.

When faced with a myriad of special treatments and challenges such as this, it is becomes possible to understand how this environment is demoralizing at a minimum, and ultimately debilitating. With women getting special treatment in the workplace, the legal system, and the education system, did we really expect men to continue being competitive?  If we increase their challenges to success (in the workplace, the social scene, and in education) and hobble them seemingly at random when they attempt to integrate (the child support system, the divorce courts, and the disparity with benefits and support resources). We can't expect them to do as well as women at keeping up, even if we assume they aren't completely beaten-down and demoralized to begin with.

Add to all of this the idea that women are, generally, more capable then men, is it really such news to discover that men aren't being as "successful" as women?  I use the terms "successful" in quotes because it was used in many of the posts and is another aspect I intend to discuss in future follow-ups.

Okay, so I covered my first response and gave away more of my controversial opinions than ever before.  Well, what's a blog for anyway? Flame away.

06 April 2006

Thank God You're Here

Tonight I got to catch an episode of Thank God You're Here from Australia's Network Ten.


From the moment the first skit started until the last skit ended, I didn't stop laughing.  If you get a chance, watch this show.  It's hilarious!

04 April 2006

Disneyland Rides

Disneyland California rocks!

Me and the babies had a great time.  More sets to come soon...

27 March 2006

Ouch. That Hurt.

This post kind of wandered a bit because my head is still reeling (and evidently I'm a lousy writer).  If you're feeling lazy, here's the two-point summation: Relationships are hard.  Mean people abound.

Most people would probably agree that I am very much a Man. I'm a big guy, I'm analytical and a problem-solver, I talk fast and when I'm not paying attention can tend to behave much like a bull in a china shop.  I can be insensitive, unempathetic, and often just down-right stupid.  Then again, I am a man.  Bumbling around is expected to be pretty much the par for the course.

Growing up I had broken lips, pissed blood, and got thrown through my share of closet-doors, just the same as any kid growing up in an abusive household.  I know a little about cruelty and have first-hand experience on the business end of just nasty and evil people can be.  I say all that to frame my the next sentence...women can really be cruel.

We all know the old adage about sticks and stones, and we all generally accept that it is the reverse which is really true.  I definitely bear witness that the worst wounds are always on the inside.

Being somewhat versed in the power of psychology, it is my general opinion that women, being on-the-whole, more in touch with the verbal and intimate are therefore more capable of creating deep and lasting hurt than some moronic man flailing around like an imbecile.  This in no way should be taken as a light view of the utter contempt and loathing I bear for those who inflict physical pain on others.  I've been there, and this is my opinion.  The scars that cripple me today can't be seen on the surface any more (unless you happen to rub the bump on the back of my head, hehe).

From that viewpoint, I have found that women, being generally more in touch with the tune of emotion, wield words with the precision of a surgeons scapel incising your insides to an excruciating effect.  Their ability to destroy a life is matched only by their ability to create one.

Okay, so maybe I'm a little bitter from having been taken advantage of yet again.  And quite thoroughly divested of all dignity this time as well.  It is only Faith that keeps me upright.  In the face of a selfish, petty, and vindictive assault I can only retreat inside my Faith.  You never quite realize how big your Faith can be, how infinite your Salvation is,  until you feel how far from God this world has fallen.

The challenge now is not just to survive, but to thrive.  Surely I can find a way to not let my sweeping generalities about the feminine capability for cruelty color my day to day worldview.
If you've had enough of all your tryin'
Just give up the state of mind you're in…
- Change Your Mind, Sister Hazel

20 March 2006

The Loop

This weekend I was stalled on some very delayed plane-rides so I had a chance to catch up with some tv shows I haven't seen.  In particular the first two episodes of The Loop which were absolutely hilarious.  The whole first-class section was annoyed because I couldn't stop giggling and laughing at the dialog.


Well done, Fox for giving us The Loop a refreshingly funny comedy!

15 March 2006

Alas, not here.

Check out these pics from the Planetshakers conference.  They're still out and about.  I keep hoping they'll make a stop in my neck of the woods.

Of course, if they can't make it here, I may just have to swing over their way...

An Undivided Heart

So I'm growing. I can deal with that.

During this process of self-examination I continue to be faced with the stark reality of my isolation. Walking by faith becomes a straight-forward exercise when you surround yourself with God-fearing counselors who will unabashedly bounce your commentary and actions back to you as needed. Working on the road, amidst the decidely unreligious, makes me strain against my relativistic leash.

One of the key things that I find help my walk align my talk is striving for an undivided heart. Perhaps I'm just helped by the visualization, but knowing my heart and my motivations is how I keep my clarity and sanity in the world gone mad. It is common today to rationalize ways to accommodate our faith to the culture we imbibe. This is contrary to our identification in scripture as "a peculiar people." As disciples we have been sent out “like lambs among the wolves.” I'm not sure about you, but that would sure be easier for me if wool didn't make me itch.

Living with an undivided heart and an open mind is hard but I've found two aids to keep the walk and the talk in sync. Be deliberate and be articulate.

Knowing your heart and motivations is crucial to keeping on the straight and narrow. It is a necessity if you want your mind to be open to the world around you. The early Christans had this same problem when their monastic and ascetic faith was suddenly overtaken by rich, successful Roman Christians. The Roman Christians really wanted to find a way to live their faith, without giving up their influence in the world that was enacted through money and relationships. The new Roman Christians wanted to party and be faithful and the figured if their heart was in the right place, why wouldn't that be okay? It's the same rationalization I've heard over and over. I for certain have used it myself.

For much of life I have no problem with this, especially when it comes to interpersonal issues. You have to have an open mind about style, taste, and comfort level. If you link your own ideals of behavior, dress, adornment, worship-style, or whatever to maturity and depth of faith then you remove your ability to be impactful on those around you. Simply put, you stop being in the world. There is no excuse for elitism or formality in faith and God-following. I'll save the extremes of this (tolerance, relativism) for another post.

The earlier Christians had a problem with this blind rationalization which Paul argued for them. The crux of the argument is that the rationalizations can't be done in a vacuum. You still have to be able to interact and communicate those things you are being deliberate about with those around. For example, Paul urged them to consider if another weaker Christian might be led astray by this action. He wrote, “by your knowledge those weak believers for whom Christ died are destroyed.” I'm personally not too keen on destruction so this would be a side-effect of my walk I'd rather avoid.

Being articulate isn't just about being able to tell others your story, your intentions, or about your faith and reasoning. It goes beyond your actual communication and speaks to the transparency of your life. You shouldn't have to actually defend your beliefs and movitations, they should be crystalline and obvious even to the casual observer. Don't shoot me, I know that's incredibly hard, and it continues to be my challenge daily. Thankfully Christ understood this intimately and gave us Scripture and Spirit.

In my own world-view, it is being deliberate which keeps me impacting my world (living in it), but it is being articulate which keeps me seperate from the world (not of it).  Maybe as you stew on this, you'll find your own ways to express how you straddle this particular razor.

In truth, I could write and write about the undivided heart and about being deliberate and articulate ad nauseum. This particular post is just to start giving the concepts some structure and start some thinking. Future posts will address and expound on these topics. I'd appreciate any feedback to guide this study.

14 March 2006

A Technical Match-up

Today at lunch we started discussing the whole online dating thing.  Not from a usage standpoint, but more from a technical stance.  We are geeks, remember?

Having recently implemented a dating site for a client and with an in-process effort underway testing a slew of people-matching algorithms and approaches, it is fair to say that I'm a little more than a novice on the subject.  As I threw out a topic and watched the fur fly amongst those at the table, I was intrigued by how passionate people can be about the whole thing.  It seemed that everyone had an idea, a point of view, and was intent on validating their perspective.

Don't get me wrong, it's pretty often that we discuss psuedo-religious topics of great weight.  But this was hardly the touch point I expected it to be.  To be fair, one of the gentlemen is an educated and trained therapist and another had implemented a dating site, so this was a subject that hit close to home.  Still, the remainder of the crew were pretty evenly split between steadfastly single and devoutly married.  With this kind of mix, I wasn't expecting much, but voila! a serious table rap ensued.

As I pondered this, I came across a couple of interesting reading points from recent history which were in my notes file.

First off, was a reference on The Non-dating Life about how eHarmony.com rejected a client because she listed her status as Seperated.  Read the source article on The Consumerist here.

Secondly, this post by Dave Taylor summarizes what a tinder-box this whole online thing can be.  Count the number of expert references, studies, and factoids he drops.  Sure it's more or less insightful and certainly a useful summation of current thinking.  But really, if you don't already know what he's going to write, you really don't need to be dating in any form.

Thirdly, when all else fails, it's back to old-fashioned geographic matching.  After all, if you can't find your perfect fit based on your personality, you can settle for someone next door.  I dug out a reference to a company called 4ppl that I had come across a long time ago which uses location-based services in a mashup with dating profiles to help people with the whole finding-others thing.

Lastly, evidently according to Jupiter Research this whole online-dating thing is going downhill.  They told the BBC that the market is declining.  Remarkably the don't think that the growth of social-networking sites (read: myspace, friendster, etc.) pose any threat because "They don't have the tools or the right audience to help people to find a date."  Well, okay then.  I guess the fact that more people use myspace in a month than use match all year, has nothing to do with it.

This continues to be a fascinating subject.  But then again, I'm a geek.


Really struggling.  I'm a very easy-going person and the interpersonal stuff usually comes easy for me.  Unfortunately, I've been choosing to grow.  Which always means self-inflicted pain of the highest order accepted by a smile wherein your teeth are clenched.
Can I relate to you the way you relate to me?
Can you help me out with my chemistry?
I don't want to be precieved the way I am.
I just want to be percieved the way I am.

- Chapstick, Chaped Lips And Things Like Chemistry
It's remarkable to me how easily we as humans deal with near-constant paradox and dichotomy throughout every facet of life.  We encourage people to deal with us in ways that are counter-productive and conflict-driven.  Then we stress over the fact that we are misunderstood or ineffectual in our relationships.

Sometimes I think the point of a friendship is to have those people in your life who will see past the image you actually present to the world and instead drink up the image you'd like to present to the world.  All the while, encouraging you that the person you actually are is valid, coherent, and suitable.

12 March 2006

Shaimus & Brunch

The Shaimus concert was excellent. They really rocked the house, drawing more patrons than any other group that night.

11 March 2006

Typical Josh

As usual when I show up to hang with the LMU crew, Josh is half-naked. The show tonight should be pretty good though.

07 March 2006

Emma's Birthday

My baby girl had her birthday this past week.  My baby boy got to spar for Tae Kwon Do for the first time.  They sure do grow up fast, don't they?


Avoiding Pretense

That warming smile like gentle heat of desert dawn
that voice like rushing wind through silent forest trees
the newness of heart brings in mind the
gentle sloping fields after first snow fall all pure
intense in innocence but easily changed
marred melted by the heat of this ever moving world.

Standing near as I wish her to my heart alive
with thoughts of her when finally together
 our spirit minds are one in vision eyes are too
paralleled with no convergence
intertwined with no divergence.

In life so close are we in mind so distant, unapproachable?

The radiant glow that means her smile on me
I see and feel as if tomorrow could not would not
be just a yesterday to come a past that's willing
to be made not only memories that fade.

With smile to my eyes her thoughts
unknown to me except as prayers.
Her life unchanged as yet made
known to me but not in full.

For what may not be cared for can be shared and so
avoid pretense of despair for that which we
cannot change such as my being now alone.

I listen for the words of emotion to speak in song to soul and
change that which I know to be a dream
into the reality that others see and I alone must now endure
with pleasure drawn when near to her again.

She smiles and I recieve at last truth from behind
the nervous eyes that may seem to see the me and
care for that which cannot be the thoughts and deeds
from one soul such as myself.

Were that my thoughts with which I think of her
could at last be straight in this my crooked mind and
though pulled together let us be firm as friends and
center also on God who attracts each and extracts
from each the glory due His name.

28 February 2006

A Changing View?

These last few weeks I've been working in California.  Newport Beach to be more precise.  The thing about this area is that it is very appearance-oriented.  Lots of beautiful people and so forth.

In walking back from the mall for lunch the other day, my friend Tim made an interesting comment that I thought was insightful and humorous...and perhaps a little sad.  Basically, is that when you are young and single and looking around at members of the opposite sex, you tend to focus on the body.  Then as you get older you realize how important the face is and you focus more on it.  The idea is that as you mature, you realize that bodies will change over time, but you'll have to keep looking into that same face for the rest of your life!

The funny thing was, I thought through just about every conversation I'd had the past week and realized how right he was.  If you know Tim it doesn't take long to realize that he is definitely beyond his years, but this was one more proof.

And before you jump to conclusions, yes, I made the transition.  More or less. ;-)

27 February 2006

Port of Seattle

Does anyone else resent how the Port of Seattle continues to screw people?

Apart from the fact that it is one of the most expensive airports in the country, which by itself is just outrageous considering it gets federal money and so can't produce profits, how do they get away with just sticking it to the little guy without any fanfare?

Recently, they quietly added a little sign to the car rental counters which essentially say that they are going to collect $4 PER DAY from every car rental to pay for a new offsite car rental structure.  Argh!  Firstly, these off-site structures are horrendous!  It turns a few minute task into a half-hour or more ordeal involving over-crowded shuttles, endless walking, and interminable queuing.  They just consolidated these activities at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix and the results are disasterous to frequent travelers.  Secondly, $230 million dollars!  Just to further inconvenience travelers?  What?

Okay, so I disagree with the whole consolidation thing to start with.  Fine.  Getting in and out of Phoenix which used to be a lovely experience is now a nightmare of wasted time and inconvenience.  I can accept that.  But then to find out that the Port of Seattle is going to charge me $4 PER DAY so they can build this monstrosity which might save someone a few pennies and turn my car rental experience into a hellish schlep-fest of agony, that's just too much!  If they want to save money, do it on their own dime.  Don't make me PAY to create a new process which will increase my pain, suffering, and inconvenience.

Lastly, I challenge anyone to find information about these fees, the new structure, any of this online.  I'm pretty handy with the net and I couldn't find anything.  The only reason I know about it at all?  Because a rental got screwed up and while waiting at the counter I read all the signs, including the itsy-bitsy sign which gives the high-level details, but nothing more.  The web address included for more information?  portseattle.org.  What garbage.

So maybe I'm just getting worked up.  Is there some hidden benefit I'm not seeing here?  There certainly has been none that I'm able to testify about after experiencing this change in Phoenix.  Perhaps I need to setup a website and start getting people riled up about this.

What do you think?

Family Guy

Turns out that Family Guy can be pretty funny.

22 February 2006

Bond Drama

Complaining about who a film company chooses to star in a major motion picture just seems like such a waste of time.  Of course, that's what is happening with craignotbond.com.


An AP news report hilighted the site.  Some people just have too much time on their hands.  ;-)

21 February 2006

Love Like That

I've been researching a new post and came across some interesting notes I'd accumulated.

Who knows if it's legit but it sure is cute.  Supposedly, the following are some of the responses from kids between the ages of 4 and 8 who responded to the question "What is Love?":
  • When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love. - James
  • When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth. - Billy
  • Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs. - Chrissy
  • Love is what makes you smile when you're tired. - Terri
  • Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss. - Emily
  • Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen. - Bobby
  • If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate. - Nikka
  • Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well. - Thomas
  • During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore. - Cindy
  • My mommy loves me more than anybody . You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night. - Joseph
  • Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day. - Timothy
  • You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget. - Jessica
This next one is legit and it's along the same lines.

Leo Buscaglia once talked about a caring child he came across.  The four year old had a next door neighbor who was an elderly gentleman that had recently lost his wife.  Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there.  When his mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, "Nothing, I just helped him cry".

Imagine what it would be like if we all loved like that?

19 February 2006

Weekend Update

The party was a smashing success, especially the spaghetti.  The recipe is a secret so don't ask.  But if you want me to come cook for you, just send me an invitation.

You can check out the pictures here.

The very next morning, my sister Mindy got me up at oh dark thirty and we went for a hike with our cousin Cassie on Thunderbird Mountain. It was a pretty solid hike and the sunrise was just outrageous. Makes me think about all the trekking my family did growing up.

Later I went to the Cheesecake Factory with an old friend of mine that has been gracious enough to keep up with me over the years. She has a wonderful family and it was good to connect with them again.

In the evening, my newphews and cousins went bowling.  Darius and CJ had never really played DDR before but they started to get the hang of it. My cousin Thomas is just a trip. He's a great kid and very much like my own son when it comes to Constant Motion.  You can check out those pictures here.

14 February 2006


This weekend was one of refreshment for me.  I got to see some friends I haven't seen in a while and spend some time just enjoying casual company.

Of course, after I went for a long run, I got to kick back in the jacuzzi tub watching this:


...which helped quite a bit too.  Again. Charmed.

The Price is Steep

My grandmother passed away. The family came together for the memorial and the service.  It was beautiful and I even got to hear my brother sing! Oh how I wish it didn't take such a loss to see my family together.

http://thebergmanns.com/Grandma's Service/

In one sense these pictures are to pay respect to her passing and our loss. In other way, they help showcase the amazing legacy left behind by a God-fearing woman. There is nothing more breathe-taking than when a believer changes the lives of those around her.  My grandma did that. Look at the pictures and see for yourself.

The Second Chance

Sony Pictures is releasing The Second Chance, a new movie from writer/director Steve Taylor starring Michael W. Smith and jeff obafemi carr. It opens this Friday, February 17, 2006 in 35 cities nationwide.

In the movie, a white church in a wealthy suburb discovers that its "outreach" to an inner-city black congregation is creating resentment and distrust. This is the story of how a rebellious son and a street-smart pastor attempt to bridge the gap between their churches and their cultures.

See the trailer at thesecondchancemovie.com.  You can also find a list of theaters and showtimes.  There is going to be one near you.

I'll be there to support 'em!  Will you?

12 February 2006

What an outstanding episode!

Tonight's episode of Grey's Anatomy was very excellent.  George continues to be so the man, and Izzy had on glasses.  We all know I am such a sucker for glasses!

Yes it was a great episode but it was made even more great because I was able to trade text messages during the show with two of my good friends who were watching it at the same time.  And because they chose The Weepies for some of this episodes key background music.  Now I've only heard them a few times before and had forgotten about them.  But I had not forgotten about Deb Talan who is half of this talented duo.  I encourage you to check them out.

11 February 2006

Shaimus Rocked!

The Shaimus show at Club Good Hurt was very excellent.  There was quite a crowd with lots of energy.  They were able to announce another show at the Roxy which is a pretty notable venue.

Afterwards we were able to hang out and enjoy some fun times together. Josh and I had to catch a cab back from the club because we ran out of designated drivers.  This was pretty cool because it gave us some good one-on-one time to catch up which we haven't had for a while.  Later I'll post some cool pics.

Today at the beach was outstanding. We played Frisbee (oh my sakes, it has been too long!) and some football and just enjoyed the wonderful weather and company. It was a good day.