Showing posts from May, 2011

How Far Should You Go?

What do you do when a close friend is both excited and conflicted about something, tells you about it in a way that invites opinion but doesn’t actually ask for an opinion? What if you’re male and the friend is female? You’re just friends but very good friends who frequently confide in each other.

How far do you go in addressing the situation? Do you say everything that’s on your mind, exactly as you’re thinking it, with respect but also directly and bluntly? Or do you sugar-coat it, second-guess it, qualify every point in some way?

Relationship guides often point out that women want men to listen but don’t especially want the man’s opinion. My scenario, however, does not involve a relationship with me and her but her update does involve a relationship she has with a man. She brought me up to date, telling me good stuff as well as a few conflicting feelings. She didn’t ask for my opinion, but we do have a friendship that includes telling each other how we feel about stuff.

In the past…

It's Not Just a Boat

Nothing especially new to write about tonight, other than to say I have some great friends.  And I'm still floating on the emotional high of having a pleasant weekend.

By the way, that "boat" I mentioned yesterday ... it's a 46-foot yacht!  But the owner really does refer to it as 'just a boat'.  You decide ...

Test Driving a New Life

As my self-discovery journey continues I realize that I am just a little bit closer to living the life I want. If you’ve been following along, you’ll recall that I believed a couple of years ago that I had let myself lose big parts of my identity by spending too much time and effort living on other people’s agendas … work, spouse, societal expectations. I even found myself buying into some misguided assumptions of aging. The destination of my journey was and is to re-discover the real me and design my life around that. Along the way I’ve picked up a couple of awesome new passengers and dropped off a few others. At times the journey is painfully slow, covering mere inches per month, but when I look at where I was two years ago and where I am now, I see I have made great progress.

Socializing and breaking patterns are two characteristics of the ‘real me’ that I have focused on and two weekends during the past two month stand out as markers for making progress. In both cases I test drove…

A Little Music Randomness

Blues is my favorite music; mostly contemporary blues rooted in the masters but with a modern twist, some electric guitar, a hot horn section and funky stories.

I also love country, rock, Motown-style R&B and songs that borrow from and combine unrelated genres.

If you try to learn something about me by setting my iPod to shuffle mode, you might encourage me to get a psyche evaluation; unless you are also able to make sense of Led Zeppelin, Frank Sinatra, Brad Paisley, B.B. King, Dave Matthews and Otis Redding back to back.

Some of my closest friends would be there with me, not just in the waiting room for support but also getting their own psyche evaluation. Eclectic music tastes unite us.

I also like classical music, mostly Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Handel, Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky.

I usually skip the ARTS channel when channel surfing. That’s the one that often shows classical music “videos”. I stopped on it this morning for the first time ever; and listened to and enjoyed Cho…

Memorial Weekend Randomness

Here are a few of my usual disconnected observations and thoughts going into the holiday weekend:

- Many people use Memorial Day and Veterans Day interchangeably. Each holiday does have a military connection but they’re not the same. Memorial Day honors those who died in the service of our country. Veterans Day primarily honors living veterans of military service. Either way, they are important holidays.

- Traffic sucks on Interstate highways at 5pm Friday going into a holiday weekend. I always expect it but it still sucks.

- My original weekend plans completely changed but I think I like the new ones even better.

- My regular gas station that was selling regular for $4.09/gallon two or three weeks ago now has it for $3.89. Going in the right direction!

- My gas grill is telepathic and is transmitting brain waves to me. The message is something like “free me from this shed and light me up.”

- Facebook seems to be experiencing difficulties as I’m writing this. Let me guess: 5…

Great Quote

Smile... you look better... and it holds the drool in. - Anon.

Awesome Access Randomness

Today I had the opportunity to experience something few people ever will … six hours inside the Pentagon. I am not gloating about this; I am sharing what I can with you. That is an awesome and unbelievable place, a structure containing the greatest amount of military might on the planet.

We were just four radio guys doing our jobs and telling listeners about the incredible jobs and activity within that building, activities that keep our whole country safe.

The Pentagon is the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense. More than 23,000 military and civilian people work there, including the top people in each military service branch. I was there to help with my radio station’s Morning Show broadcast and to record a few interviews with people who work there. During the show we were told that our radio station was the first ever to do a live show broadcast inside the building. Wow! We had no idea. Sure, there are radio news organizations with offices there, but we’re a country music…

10 Random Things About Me

I saw a version of this on Facebook recently and used to see it a lot in the blogosphere. I did one two years ago but not since. Here are my answers (mostly different and longer than the last time). Post yours and tell me where I can see them.

- I love to laugh buy I rarely watch comedy TV shows

- I once met Gavin McLeod, the actor who played the Captain on Love Boat. I have a picture of him singing the Love Boat theme live on the radio with the DJs who were interviewing him.

- The older I get the more confident I get about every aspect of my life. I did not expect that to happen.

- I’ve played three musical instruments in my life, bass guitar, trombone and saxophone. Trombone was the only one I learned to play well and is the only one I no longer own.

- The musical instrument I really wanted to play, but never have, is piano.

- I have a borderline fear of flying. It began with a turbulent final approach once in the 1990s and got worse after 9/11. I’ve only flown three round trips si…

Photo Therapy

When I'm feeling blue the best thing I can do is take pictures. Went through a blue mood for a little while Sunday, grabbed the camera and walked around my yard and found this ...

Hmm, does that mean I now feel yellow? I definitely felt better.

My New Favorite Quote

Tough times never last, tough people do.

~Robert Schuller

Some Rockin' Country

That festival I mentioned in Friday's post starred some of the hottest acts in country music right now: Jason Aldean, Eric Church, the JaneDear Girls, Steel Magnolia, Sunny Sweeney and Eden's Edge. All six put on awesome performances and for this event each set aside some time to sign autographs for numerous fans. Each has at least one hit song to their name; Aldean and Church have many each.

Funny insider note: every music artist's management sets the rules on things like meet-n-greets, media interviews and photographer access. Country artists are by far the friendliest and easiest to work with of any popular music genre, but sometimes their "people" act like the artists are in the superstar league, even when they are not there yet. And they seem to forget that radio stations play a big role in the performer's success, even in the digital age. So there are restrictions on photography, even when the photographer (in this case me) works for the radio station a…

My Music Weekend

My radio station's annual music festival is tomorrow (Saturday May 21st), assuming the world doesn't end tomorrow. Here is one the headliner's hit songs:

Between Now and Saturday

Some say Saturday is the end of the world. I’m counting on that NOT happening, but the persistent media coverage of it has led me to think about what I would do if it was true. Have you ever considered something like this? Let’s say you knew for sure a week ago that this Saturday was the end, what would you have been doing?

I’m certain I wouldn’t have worried much about whether or not I got the phone number right in a car commercial I produced. Probably wouldn’t have care much if I hit any deadlines at work. Hell, I would have quit my job; I love it but who needs a job if the world is ending? I’m not cleaning the bathroom or washing my car.

I would have blown my 401k on first class airfare to New Orleans, Asheville, Milwaukee, Norfolk, Raleigh, Seattle, Corvalis, Kona, Colorado Springs and London, all places where important people in my life live. I would have spent whatever time I could in each, talking, hugging and loving. Conversations would include questions like Where did the pas…

Random Questions

Does your heart sometimes get ahead of the rest of you?

Do you sometimes have so much on your plate that there isn’t room for a fork?

Does your chewing gum lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight?

Have you ever been at a point in your life where your paths are clear but virtually every choice has some kind of obstacle, some kind of delay, disappointment, connection to five related roadblocks, any one of which could be easily circumvented but when combined present a brick wall that seems at first glance to be impenetrable?

Don’t you hate when that happens?

Have you ever experienced a lightning strike so close it made the hairs on your arm stand up?

Do you sometimes wish the heart’s only job was to pump blood?

Why do we drive on the parkway and park on the driveway? (borrowed from George Carlin)

If your car could travel at the speed of light, would your headlights work? (borrowed from Steven Wright)

Choices and Travel

Today was a very odd day for me. I’ll share, knowing in advance that most of this won’t make a bit of sense to you.

I only worked for three hours today, partly because I worked a 15-hour day yesterday. I think I got a lot of work done yesterday because my day began at 3am and nobody bothered me with an email till after 10am. I should do that more often.

Outside of work issues, today I’m focused on the upcoming summer. Virtually everything in my original plan has changed. It’s one of those “one door closes, another opens” situations and, as you might expect, I can’t spell out all of the details. But here is some of it.

A friend who I was hoping would visit decided not to. I’m very sad about that but I accept the decision. Another friend who was possibly going to visit won’t but I might visit her instead, or at least have a dinner with her as part of another road trip. I have the opportunity to go to a convention in Seattle this summer but I’ll have to pay for it all myself. I might do …

He Did It Out Of Patriotism

Good ole Newt has decided to run for President. This is the same Newt who played the ‘family values’ card as a Congressman, blasting then President Clinton for marital infidelities, while secretly carrying on his own affair. His affair doesn’t bother me so much as the ‘holier than thou’ hypocrisy.

So now he gets to answer reporter questions about his own past … the marriages, the affairs and the occasional misrepresenting of facts during speeches. His responses already provide some great campaign humor. My favorite so far is what he told the Christian Broadcasting Network … he engaged in his affairs because he was overworked and overcome with patriotism for America. Wow, that is original. He “did it” for his country.

The scary part for me is that someone might actually vote for this guy.

Photo Therapy

Sometimes the best way to feel better on a cloudy, gloomy day is to walk around with a camera.  I did that yesterday.  Here is one of the pictures I took.  Visit my photo blog for others.

Quotes on Friendship and Today

As my self-discovery journey continues and the confidence to just be me grows, I try to celebrate these two things every day: my friendships and the present. Here are a few quotes that fit that feeling. Enjoy and share.

Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons.
~ Ruth Ann Schabacker

Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.
- Anais Nin

A friend is one who walks in when others walk out.
-Walter Winchell

A friend is one who believes in you when you have ceased to believe in yourself.

It takes a long time to grow an old friend."
- John Leonard

Two may talk together under the same roof for many years, yet never really meet; and two others at first speech are old friends.
- Mary Catherwood

I can't wait all my life
On a street of broken dreams.
~Journey, "It Could Have Been You"

Don't let yesterday use up too much of today.
~Cherokee Indian Proverb

The past is…

Up Again

Remember back in the day when gasoline was “only” $3.99/gallon? Actually that day was last Thursday. Yesterday my regular place was suddenly $4.09/gallon.

And the oddest thing happened as a result. I posted a short quip about this price on my Facebook page and got more than 20 responses, a record for me. Actually most of them were a vicious political debate between two friends of mine, one very left and one very right. It reinforced my belief that politics is over-influencing our lives right now. Both of these friends are well-spoken and intelligent but both were quoting “facts” that, in my opinion, are based more on political banter than on actual fact. I don’t like to discredit people, especially people I know, but facts are a hard thing to come by these days, despite the incredible number of possible sources for facts.

I seek balance in most aspects of my life, including political debate. Sometimes that makes it seem that I have no opinion or belief myself. Hah! They’d/you’d be sur…

Aristotle Quote

"In the arena of human life the honors and rewards fall to those who show their good qualities in action."  --Aristotle

(By the way, it looks like Blogger was down mostr of yesterday and a few posts might be missing).

Different Meanings

Sometimes song lyrics can take on a meaning that differs from the original intent of the writer. “Where the Streets Have No Name” is a U2 song that according to Wikipedia was written “in response to the notion that it is possible to identify a person's religion and income based on the street on which they lived, particularly in Belfast.” But I identify with the first six lines on a completely different and personal level.

I want to run
I want to hide
I want to tear down the walls
That hold me inside
I want to reach out
And touch the flame

That song came out in 1987, I didn’t become a fan of the band till ten years later and these particular lyrics did not connect with me till a month ago. Better late than never.

Interesting Life Quote

"Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet."
- Bob Marley

Interesting Odd Day Randomness

I had a pretty good day today. It might seem a bit odd to some, but those close to me know it was rather normal.

I wore a suit, which is not the norm for me. I would dress up for work every day if it was required, but it isn’t. My day started with me taking a picture of myself making a goofy face while dressed in the suit. I like the disparate combination and the friend I texted totally got it.

The meeting that led to the dress up was good on its own merits. I listened to representatives of numerous local non-profit organizations talk about their causes and how media organizations like mine can help them. This is the part of my job I do from the heart.

I returned to work earlier than expected and chose to keep my Out of Office turned on so nobody would add to my workload and I proceeded to begin a slow catch up on projects I’m behind on. People who needed to know knew I was in, but to everyone else I was unavailable. I actually made a dent in my “to do” list.

My homeward commute was …

Totally Random 6.0

Nothing very exciting tonight; just a few random observations.

Work out – I’m back down to my second-lowest weight since starting my fitness plan two years ago. It is still a struggle to get to the next level but I’m happy to report that the exercise part of the plan is great. I’m regularly going to the gym three times a week and working with heavier weights. My shape is still nothing to brag about but I can see the results and that’s all I need for now.

Gas prices – My usual Sonoco station is still holding onto $3.99/gallon.

Sun in eyes – Drivers on nearly every east-west road in latitudes more than 10 or 15 degrees north or south of the equator experience a few weeks twice a year during which the sun is in their eyes. That means while looking to see if the light is green or red you risk burning your retina from looking into the sun as it looks back from behind the traffic light. That choice sucks.

National Lost Sock Day – Did you know today was National Lost Sock Day? Who comes up with…

A Nice Change In Routine

My original plan for today was quite boring ... laundry, coffee, straighten my home office, argue (don't ask), MAYBE take some pictures.  Last night I got an email reply from a friend I hadn't seen in a year.  She said some day soon we should do something we talked about a year ago: visit Middleburg, Virginia, which is about an hour from our respective towns (and about an hour outside of DC).  Soon hell, how about tomorrow?

So we spent a pleasant afternoon of food, wine, touristy stuff and conversation.  And I took a few pictures.

By the way, Middleburg is where the rich people live, including actor Robert Duvall.  There are massive horse farms in the area and several wineries.  We had lunch at an ourdoor restaurant in the middle of town, right before the Mother's Day rush, then walked around, stopped at a wine-tasting.

Later we stopped at another wine place on the way back.  Definitely a better afternoon than I had originally planned. 

I need more days like this.

A Random ‘Live For Today and Be Unique’ Quote

Jack Kerouac was a famous writer who in many ways chronicled the generation just ahead of mine. I am not all that familiar with his writing, but I saw this on Facebook recently and the sentiment and attitude are very appealing to me. And the irony is this: the FB friend who posted it is 25 years old; the quote is older.

they danced down the street like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I've been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes "awww!"
- kerouac

I want to be one of those people  How do I do that?  Suggestions?  I have the potential for it, as we all do, but I tend to be subtle.  I should be …

Mother’s Day 2011

As you may know, my parents died several years ago (Dad almost 10 years, Mom almost 6). This was the first year I didn’t wake up thinking about them on their birthdays, but it is nearly impossible to forget about them on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

I’ve written about Mom many times on this blog and I don’t really have anything new to say about her. However, the best short summary of her life and how she influenced mine was what I said at her funeral. I’m in media so making a speech is no big thing for me, but that was probably the most difficult and emotional three minutes I’ve ever had. I know I held it together till the last line.

Here is what I said (family names were removed here for privacy reasons):

When we met with Father Ralph a few days ago, he pointed us in a wonderful direction for today. He said this should be a celebration of your Mother’s life.

My sister and I are so lucky to have had her as our mother, and there are so many things we could say about her. But in my mind,…

Totally Random 5.6

Interesting dilemma … there are personal things I want to write about but, well, they’re personal so I won’t. And I’m having a pretty good week but I anticipate it turning bad by Friday. I don’t want to write about that either; I’ve already written my annual ‘depression’ post.

Soooo, what to write about?

- I had an awesome dinner tonight. Great food (grilled salmon on sautéed spinach with basmati rice and two glasses of tasty wine) and great company (a friend/former co-worker I meet for dinner every few months; she and I chat about the ups and downs of careers and life). My friends are a diverse collection but three things they seem to have in common with each other are me, music and talk. When this particular friend and I meet for dinner, it usually goes on for three hours. I’m happy for the wait staff that the place wasn’t crowded tonight.

- Gasoline is up to $4.05/gallon at my usual station and $3.97 at my two backups. I shouldn’t complain too much because the further you get into …

Feeling Better Randomness

Taking action, changing patterns and accepting support from friends can ease depression and sadness. Here are a few random things from today that helped me feel better than I did when I posted my ‘depression’ post yesterday morning.

- Successful creativity puts a smile on my face. My actual job title is Creative Services Director and, as the name implies, it involves being creative. In my case, the creativity is found in commercials, promotional announcements and those sometimes-fun-sometimes-annoying short things that play between songs on music radio stations. I produced some pretty good ones today and gave myself a high-five over a couple of them.

- Yes I’m a geek. Didn’t you know that?

- Emotional support from two good friends goes a long way!

- Working out at the gym was helpful tonight. I used to avoid Mondays because it’s usually so crowded then, but I put on my take-no-shit attitude and plunged right in there. Had a great workout.

- Two nights of social activities in a row are…

He’s Dead, Finally

I didn’t hear the news till this morning: Osama bin Laden, the guy behind the September 11th terrorist attacks and other unspeakable crimes against humanity, was killed by U.S. Navy Seals during a 40-minute raid on his compound. The news broke last night and within minutes there were celebrations in front of the White House. Had I known, I would have been there myself, camera in hand.

I don’t usually celebrate killing but here is a guy that deserved to die.

A few random quotes that fit today:

"I've never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure."

- Mark Twain

“May 1st, 1945... Hitler confirmed dead... May 1st, 2011... bin Laden confirmed dead.”

- Historic fact noted by a Facebook friend

"I'll see your birth certificate, and raise you a terrorist warlord."

- Unknown Facebook person (hah! Take THAT, Donald)

“Ding dong, the witch is dead, the wicked witch is dead.”

Somewhat Inspirational Lyrics

And I must be an acrobat
To talk like this and act like that
And you can dream so dream out loud
And you can find your own way out

I know that the tide is turning round
Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

- U2

Depression, Procrastination and Creativity

It is interesting how procrastination and depression sometimes leads to creativity. I am going through a fairly depressing time at the moment. Last time I wrote a whole post about this I took some good-natured criticism from a couple of friends. They were concerned, of course, but also pointed out that I was having a public pity party. The term ‘poophead’ was included in one email (private joke).

Depression and my natural desire to avoid conflict have led to some procrastination in certain areas of my life. Every time I take a serious move forward I get trapped into taking another step back. People who know me over the long run know I make things happen, although usually on my own timetable. I often appear to be making no progress, then suddenly everyone involved realizes I’ve made the progress, hit the goal, accomplished what I set out to do and then some.

The current situation, which I can only talk about in circles for now, is dragging on. Part of that is my own procrastination and…