Sunday, December 27, 2009

Dealing with Family over the Holidays

Spending the holidays with family can be a stressful time.  While it is supposed to be a time for relaxation and good laughs, the reality is sometimes much different. What do you expect when you bring people together once or twice a year and put them in the same house. Many times it can turn into one big competition.  Whose kids are going to the best college, or who has the better car or better house.  When you don't see someone that often, sometimes there is an inclination to blurt everything out at once.  This can all be very draining and suck all the holiday spirit out of you.

On the other hand, we should feel lucky that we have family around.  Many families have lost loved ones or have family in the military who can't be around for Christmas. Like anything else in life it is all about perspective.  Sometimes it's easy to feel sorry for yourself and annoyed at the turmoil around you.  But when you think about it, it's really not that bad.  Look, there have been times I've wanted to tear my hair out(the little that I have) at big family gatherings.  But then I think, well it's only a few hours out of my life.  Suck it up and deal.

The key is to smile and nod and not bring up anything controversial. After 24 years on this earth I've finally realized that no matter what you say you aren't going to change anyone's opinion on religion, politics, or most any other hot button issue, and why should you? As long as the person doesn't try to push their beliefs on you what does it even matter? When in doubt just talk about the weather, especially if it's cold.  People seem to love complaining about cold weather.

Personally, I always prefer just to have the immediate family at the holidays.  It's just too much tension to bring people with all different personalites and beliefs together and not have chaos ensue.  I think the Holidays already put an intense pressure to a lot of families especially during these economic times.  However, if you go into a situation with an open mind you might find out it isn't as bad as you thought.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and got everything they wanted from Santa.  I got a Kevin Faulk jersey so I'm pretty much set for life.  I think I might be the only person in the state of Virginia with one of those.

Next blog: 2009-Year in Review

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A lot to be thankful for

Thanksgiving is the one holiday that all American's celebrate, which is what makes it so great.  It's a time for family and friends to get together and do what Americans do best; eat.  It also allows us a time to reflect on the things we are thankful for.  Little things in life that are often times taken for granted. 

I'm thankful for my family and friends who have always been there for me.  It's interesting how as kids we often take what our parents do for us for granted.  We complain about not getting a new phone or having too early of a curfew.  When you get older you realize that they did this because they care. 

At the Old Brogue last night, I realized how many people I had lost contact with over the years.  It's amazing how your friends change as time passes and life happens.  I've been lucky enough to meet a lot of great people in my life, and am thankful that I still keep in touch with a core set of 4 or 5 of my closest friends.

I'm thankful that I have the freedom and opportunity to do what I want. I'm thankful for lazy Sunday's on the couch watching football. For having a job I enjoy and that I am proud of.  I'm thankful for Saturday afternoons on the Potomac with good beer and a good book. I'm thankful for my health and the ability to play pick up basketball whenever I want.  Most of all I'm happy that after 24 years I've finally realized that it is always better to look at things with the glass half full.  There's a lot of bad stuff going on, but that makes it even more important to appreciate the good. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 2, 2009

I Belong in Boston

I went to Boston last weekend to visit college friends and had a blast. After I got off the plane Thursday night at Logan Airport, I immediately saw a Dunkin Donuts and felt at home. I grew up in the DC area and love it here, but I feel like Boston is where I will end up eventually. Let's face it, a red headed, brutally honest, hardcore sports fan like me doesn't belong anywhere else. Hell, Sam Adams is even my favorite beer.

The people of Boston live and die with their sports teams just like me. Friday night I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express across from the Banknorth Garden and ate at a Celtics and Bruins restaurant called Halftime Pizza. It was such a great feeling being around people that loved the Celtics as much as I did. Pictures of Larry Legend, Bill Russell, and Brian Scalabrini adorned the walls. Celtic green was everywhere, and you could feel the excitement in the air for the upcoming game. As much as I love repping Boston sports in DC, being around people that share your passions is a great feeling.
Boston gets a bad rap sometimes for being front runners, but that is simply not the case. There are only a few cities in America that are more hardcore about their sports teams than Boston. My parents always used to wonder why I would revolve my day around Celtics or Patriots games. Maybe it is ridiculous to the casual fan, but to Boston fans it is a way of life.

The people of Boston may come across as angry or mean at first glance, but in reality they are honest people who will tell you what they think to your face. That is what I love about them. With Bostonians, what you see is what you get. Plus, given the weather there, I think they have a right to be short tempered every once in awhile.

Boston is a beautiful city filled with passionate people. Maybe that is why so many people that are born in the area stay there. Some of my best times in my life have been in that city, and something tells me at some point I will be back.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Turbulent Twenties

It has been awhile since I last wrote. I've been concentrating on my new Celtics blog, and haven't really been in the right mindset to write. But I'm back and ready to write more random thoughts about nothing. I thought I'd start my comeback by writing about life as a 20 something.

The 20's have long been said to be the time where you try things out. It's that transition period from college to the working world, which is a blurry line in itself. It's silly to think people become mature adults right after they graduate.

In your 20's the general thinking is you're supposed to date around, try out new jobs, travel, do things you can't do later in life. Essentially you're supposed to figure out just what the hell you want to do with your life, which is pretty scary in its own right.

The 20's are a blast in part because you don't have to feel bad about not knowing what you want in life. It's like the excuse people in college give " well it's college." You say "I'm in my 20's that is why I can still drink 12 Natty Lights and have late night 711 runs. You bar hop, date around, have money for the first time. You can live a pretty carefree life.

However, as fun as this all is, it is a scary time too. The unkown is frightening, and that is what the 20's are. In terms of your career, sure it's nice to think you can change jobs, but what about paying rent and your bar tab? Sure, it would be great to travel, but where is that money coming from? With the state of the economy, how can anyone afford to take that risk. Also, do you go to grad school, do you get certifications? How do you know if the job you are doing makes sense for your future?

For relationships, you wonder if it's the right girl, or are you too young for commitment. Or even for life in general. When are you too old to play beer pong all night and eat 711 Hot Dogs. Notice another 711 reference, I can't get away from that place.

The 20's are the most exciting and frightening time in a person's life. Sure, suburban family life may seem monotonous, but at least it's stable right? At least you have direction, experience, and an idea of what you want. In the end though, I say just enjoy the moment. I think too many people, me included, live according to societal standards. We overthink and overanalyze. Maybe it's better to just let things play out as they will.

All in all the 20's are a time in life you can never get back, so it's important to live them to the fullest. Whether that be changing jobs or changing relationships, do what makes you happiest and the rest will figure itself out.

Next blog: Things I don't understand about people

Monday, September 28, 2009

The College Days(Part 2)

I was going to talk about my junior and senior years in college, but realized that would just be an extremely edited version of events anyway. That is the problem with trying to market this blog to a wide audience, I can't say everything I want to say. Anyway, I feel like I experienced everything there was to experience in my time at Umass. I met some of the best people around, and was able to really see how the real world lived for the first time. I encourage anyone who can afford it to live in another state for a few years, it really gives you a new perspective on life.

Like I said before, I always heard that college is the best 4 years of your life, and in a lot of ways it was. At the same time, I don't necessarily think it is the best, but rather the most unique. There are so many people you meet, and so many different experiences you have that you will probably never have again. It is the only time in life that you can have a 1 hour work day. Free time in college is immense. I wish I had started my blog then, I'd have so much more time to work on it.

What do I miss about college? I miss the freedom of not having to worry about what the hell I'm doing with my life. Sure, I worried about getting a job my senior year, but for most of the time I was in a 4 year safety net from the real world. I miss the house parties at college, and the $2 beers at the bars. Now, there is no such thing as a house party for the most part. You may pregame, but you always end up going out and paying $5 for a Bud Light. I miss going out with the Boys to cheap bars and all the stories that would come out of those nights. I miss the Patriots games at my apartment with Jim, the late night runs to Antonio's pizza, the legend of Wild Bill.

Most of the people that read this have already graduated from college. For those that haven't, make sure to live it up every chance you can and appreciate the moment. I remember driving to graduation listening to the song Learning To Fly by Tom Petty with two my best friends Jim and Steve. I realized at that moment that this was the end of an era. It was bittersweet but also exciting at the same time.

Thanks for reading everyone. Have a great week.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The College Days(Part 1)

With the beginning of fall I feel like it's an appropriate time to reflect on the college years. College was a great time, but during that last semester I was ready to move on. It's interesting to me how people miss it so much, almost not being able to accept it's over. The fact is it is like anything else in life, it has an ending.

Fun doesn't end after college, in fact in some ways it's more fun cause you have money. I don't buy the notion that you have to suddenly wake up and be responsible and stop drinking after college. You should take steps in cutting down, but you can't expect to wake up the day after graduation a new person. Life doesn't have to change unless you want it to. That is until you are married with kids, then that life is over for good.

It is true though that there is no other time in your life like college. I remember always hearing that it will never be the same, and now I realize that is true. It's not that it is bad, it's just different. You meet a ton of new people, hang out with them for four years. You keep in touch with some, but many you never see again. Kind of sad when you think about it.

College is a time like no other. It's the last time everyone is on the same playing field. It's a four year safety net from the real world. We're supposed to go to college for an education, but let's be honest, it's all about how we grow as a person. I remember when my parents left that late August day. I looked at the massive campus in front of me scared as hell, but excited too. Starting over is always tough, but especially when you are in a different state and don't know anyone. I think the moment your parents leave the dorm your adult life begins.

Each year of college took on a different theme for me. Freshman year was all about adjustment. Adjusting to living with a roommate, adjusting to doing my own laundry, basically adjusting to having the freedom to do as little or as much as I wanted. Sophomore year was the party year. Junior year saw my first serious relationship, senior year the year of the wing man.

Let's start at the beginning. Freshman year was awkward for me. I knew no one and had to adjust to living with a person in a small little dorm room. Thankfully my roommate was a really chill kid and also happened to have a girlfriend who lived a few floors down, so essentially I had my own room for most of the year. I'm a loner at heart, what can I say. That first year I took classes on insects and natural disasters. I met a 23 year old hippie named Nat, who to this day is one of the chillest guys I've ever met. He'd cook up food for me and a couple girls from upstairs and we'd watch Aqua Teen Hunger Force every night during that spring semester. I played ball at Boyden gym in the winter, and at the Southwest courts in the couple months it was nice out. I witnessed campus riots after Red Sox games where the true meaning of being an angry Boston Sports fan was put on display. I went to my share of frat parties which were in retrospect, a lot like the Guards in Georgetown; hot, crowded, and dirty. The only difference was the beer was cheaper. I also probably told the story of why I chose to come to Umass about a 1,000 times. For those of you who don't know, I wanted to get out of Virginia and I figured Amherst was a lot like Cape Cod. All Massachusetts people are laughing right now.

Sophomore year was probably my most "college year." Let's just say my floor liked to do their share of partying. The good thing is, for the most part we all got along and no one got seriously injured. I lucked out again with another great roommate in Taylor Buckoski. He was 6'8 so everyone would always ask him if he played basketball. I'm not the tallest guy anyway, but looked like a smurf next to him. I also met one of the most unforgettable people I've ever met that year in Erik Draugsveld, or "Draugs" as we called him. To this day he is probably the most unique person I've ever met, a true Viking at heart. He would go on these philosophical rants that may have been far fetched, but were interesting all the same. Meeting someone like Draugs is the reason I went to Umass. There is no way I would have met a guy like that in Northern Virginia. At the end of that year I would meet my first serious girlfriend(Shannon), my best friend for life(Jim), and the person that is most like me(Steve). Steve Perry, I would never have though I'd meet someone that loves 2pac,Phil Collins and basketball as much as me. A lot of people say they like 2pac and Phil but it only takes a few minutes to know they aren't true fans.

Sophomore year was a year I'll never forget. The Red Sox and Patriots won titles that year, and I was on campus to see the deciding game 7 win against the Yankees to cap off the greatest comeback in playoff history. I even delivered pizza for a month missing the entire Super Bowl, on my first day at work. In retrospect I don't know what the hell I was thinking. I will forever hold a soft spot for all delivery drivers. My car smelled of pizza for at least a year after that. Sophomore year was the year I broke out, the year that changed my life forever.

Well that is part 1. I've probably left out a ton but I'm sure I'll be back to this topic in the future. Look out for Part 2 later in the week. Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Last night I went to my friend Brian Crane's wedding at a beautiful wine vineyard in Leesburg. It was a surreal experience and an amazing time. If you've read some of my past blogs you probably can tell I have skepticism about marriage and commitment in general. But as I watched the emotion of both the bride and groom I realized how powerful marriage is. Think about it, you are committing yourself for eternity to another person. That is some really deep stuff and not to be taken lightly.

Wedding are such happy events. In fact, besides Obama's inauguration, I've never been to a place where there is such universal happiness everywhere. Weddings are crazy in that you have total strangers with all different political,religious, and cultural backgrounds coming together to celebrate. In any other setting these people would probably never hang out but for at least that night they are all dancing up a storm. Hell, even I dance at weddings and for those unfortunate souls that have seen my dance moves, you know that isn't a pretty sight. Everyone is drinking beer, dancing to sappy love songs, just generally catching that wedding fever. Special shout out to Pat Dean who made a great speech about Brian. That guy has a career in stand up ahead of him.

I've got awhile to go before I walk down the aisle but I sure hope at some point in my life I will be able to be that sure of something. You could tell that both of them were completely in love and that is something that all of us should be lucky enough to feel at some point in our lives. Happy Labor Day everyone. Blog about college is next.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Best Friends

A couple weeks ago I saw the movie I Love You Man, and it got me thinking about the importance of having a best friend. Having a best friend or a couple close friends is one of the most important relationships a person can have. Relationships come and go, but that best friend or group of close friends is always there. I've always believed in quality over quantity in all aspects of life. Friendships is no exception. In my opinion, it's better to have 2 or 3 great friends than 10 acquaintances. Being best friends means you can be yourself with that person and have no filter. You feel comfortable saying anything or nothing at all.

For me, my best friend is Jim Gallant. I've only known him since college, but he is the only person, besides my Dad, that I could hang out with everyday and not get tired of. In fact, that is essentially what we did for the better part of my junior and senior years in college. Jim and I are extremely alike in that we are have simple tastes. We both are laid back, like drinking beer, and love Boston sports. We appreciate the little things, and are just as happy drinking a few cold ones at home, as we are raging at a party. Hell, he's the only guy I know that is lower maintenance than me.

In college we were the duo, almost inseparable from junior year on. He helped me through one of the hardest times of my life in the Summer of 06. He is a great listener, which I think is probably the most important quality in a friendship. Whether it be throwing the football around, ordering Wings for the Patriots games, or jamming out to the song "Roxanne" in the apartment before a night out at Charlie's, it was always a good time. We bring out the best in each other, which is essentially what friendship is all about. Jim's the best friend a guy could have, and he will always be my wing man for life.

I've been lucky enough to meet some great people in my life. I've always had high standards for friends because I just don't see the point in wasting time on people that frankly aren't chill. Here are a few notes about some of my other closest friends. If I've left you out I'm sorry.

Hayley Shelton: This girls knows everything about me, the good and the bad and still talks to me,haha. She is one of the only people that will call me out when I'm being an idiot. She challenges me to be a better person and sincerely cares about me more than anyone else besides my parents. She has made the biggest impact on my life besides my father.

Binns and Chambers: My lifelong childhood friends. I've known Binns since I was 2 years old. We went to preschool together, grew up playing sports, and I still talk to him even though he's a diehard Duke and Cowboys fan(unbelievable). I grew up with Chambers as well and he is to this day the most loyal person I know. This kid would take a bullet for me. He's saved my ass on multiple occasions. One of the most genuinely good people I've ever known.

Pogo: Along with Jim and Hayley no one knows more about me. Some of the best conversations I've had with anyone have been on the canoe trips on the Potomac with Pogo.

Caren Plummer: One of the best female friends I've ever had. Unfortunately I don't get to see her enough with her living in Arizona but we still talk and vent to each other about everything. Hoping she moves back here sometime soon.

Boston Crew: From top to bottom the most solid group of friends I've ever been around. Jim, Billy D, Mark, Doug, Tom, and Smilin Mike. Unfortunately we only met senior year in college, so we haven't had enough time to chill. Some of my best times have been with this crew. Special shout out to Billy D whose optimism and positive attitude is something we all should really learn from. That guy deserves the best in life and I know good things will happen for him.

These are some of the people that have shaped my life. A lot of times, people(especially guys) don't stop and appreciate friendships. It is truly one of the most under appreciated relationships in life. Everyone always talks about marriage, family, kids and those are all obviously important. But having close friends should be right there in the mix. A best friend will be there when your down to listen to the bullshit, and be by you to party it up during the good times. I'm so thankful to have met so many great people in my life and I look forward to all the new people I will meet in the future.

Thanks for reading everyone. If you enjoy the blog sign up to become a follower by simply clicking on Follow toward the middle of the page on the right. As always comments both negative and positive are appreciated. Have a great night!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Love and Happiness

I have been a hopeless romantic most of my life. I've always believed that finding love was the most important part of life. However, I've come to realize, that this is simply not true. Sure, love feels great, and anyone who has found a person that they connect with on that level and love unconditionally is very lucky. However, it's most important to be happy with yourself and independent. It's cliche, but it is really is true that you have to be happy with yourself before you can make someone else happy.

One of the hardest things to do in life is to let someone you love go. I've had to do it and it isn't easy. It's hard to let someone go who you've been close to for so long and who has been there during so many of your best moments. I think a lot of times that's why people stay together or get back together. We all want to believe that those best times can come back and that the fighting will stop. That the doubt will eventually go away. We all want to be loved, but the reality is sometimes it takes breaking things off to put things in perspective. In retrospect you realize how unhealthy the situation was. Sometimes, the most unselfish act is letting someone go.

Everyone deserves to beloved unconditionally. If you can't give a person that, then what is the point of staying together, especially when you are young. I don't believe in love at first sight, but I do believe when you meet the right person you will know. Maybe not right away, but pretty soon. I think there is definitely a difference between loving someone and being in love with someone.

I've realized that I don't need to be with someone to be happy cause I relish my independence. I feel like people rush into relationships because they see everyone else doing it. What is the rush? Have fun and when that love does come around you will know, at least that is what I'd like to believe. Sometimes the way you show you love a person is letting them go. Letting them have the chance to meet not necessarily someone better, but better for them.

I wrote this entry because like most of my blogs, I have gone through a situation like this recently. I was lucky enough to spend a long time with an amazing girl, but I realized I'm not mature enough for a serious commitment in my life at this point. Like anything else timing is everything. Would it be different in 5 years, who knows. All I know is I'm confident that we will both be happier because of it.

Thanks for reading everyone. I'm going to Boston Thursday to visit the only group of friends without a weak link I've ever heard of. The guys are truly great and all bring something unique to the table. Until next time.

Next Blog: Looking back on the college days

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Work vs.College

I've been out of school for two years now and working in "Corporate America." Upon leaving my alma mater Umass-Amherst I wondered if I would miss it. I had heard about the monotony of everyday work life and had taken everything from my favorite movie Office Space to heart. The idea of spending 80% of your waking hours for the next 40 years of life in a small office is pretty scary. What I've realized after all this time is that their are good and bad qualities about work and school.Ultimately though, I'm as happy now as I've ever been. I've realized that I am more antiquated toward the 9-5 lifestyle then the college life.

Don't get me wrong though, college was awesome. You are in a place with all people the same age, and it is the really the only time in life that you are essentially equal to everyone else. No one has any money, so people are on a level playing field. At a big school like Umass it is a virtual guarantee you will meet at least a few people you can get along with and hang out with. It is the safety net of life. One last time in life to use the excuse "well I'm in college."

Everything is all in one spot on a college campus. You usually have food provided, you have gym access that is usually free of charge, and generally always have enough people to play. You have libraries with computers, places to study, groups to join. All within a couple mile radius. There is so much freedom, and depending on your major, little responsibility if you have even decent time management.

The negatives of college and school in general were homework and the ridiculousness of course requirements. In fact, this goes for all levels of schooling. Most of the knowledge I've used in the working world I learned in elementary school. Why do I need to take a class in Ancient Chinese History. It all depends on your major I guess. If you are trying to be a doctor or engineer it is one thing, but it is hard to concentrate and write papers on things that you know are utterly useless to you in the real world. By the end of college I don't think I could've written another paper. You learn the art of BSing starting in high school, and those that are best at that I am convinced are most successful in college, especially on papers. Hell, they are probably the best in the working world too. For me, I've always needed to do everything for a reason. In high school you tried for good grades to get into a good college. In college, sure it looks good to have a good GPA on your resume, but it really doesn't matter that much. It really all depends on who you know.

The 9-5 really suits me for several reasons. First off, my brain shuts off after about 6:00pm , so I do my best work in the morning. I did homework at night in college maybe 2 or 3 times. I'm telling you I'm a freaking weirdo. I'm an old man, 24 going on 64. Also, I'm extremely routinized. In college I had no real set schedule to follow so I made up my own. I would go to class, do my homework, hit the gym, go home, and play basketball at night. Basically everyday the same thing and you know what it worked for me. I'm the most predictable man on the planet. Sure, work is monotonous at times, but overall I like and am pretty good at what I do. I work with some great people and my manager is great and let's me work at my own pace. In saying that, everything that is stereotyped about corporate America is true, and probably even more extreme. But I will get into that on another blog.

To be honest though, the debate to what is better all comes down to cabbage. By cabbage I mean money. I had pretty much no money in college. I frequently had to choose between having dinner and buying 2 40 ounce Busch Light Beers. If my car broke down, sure my parents would help out, but I couldn't afford it myself. When you don't have money you don't have freedom. I'm not saying I have a lot of money now by any means, but I don't have to worry about buying a slice of pizza anymore. Working for money is a lot easier than working to graduate because it is a short term goal. In college, you did a paper and there was always 50 papers afterward with nothing concrete to show for it till graduation. At work at least you know your getting paid for being there.
Plus, weekends are amazing. No homework on Sunday's to distract you from football. On Friday afternoon you know you have two days to do whatever you want. Nothing like waking up on a Sunday morning, eating some waffles, and kicking back with a few friends, some wings, and some beer and watching football. Especially when you are a Patriots fan.

The work vs. college debate is a good one. I would venture to say that most people my age probably still miss college but I definitely don't. I miss the people Jim, Billy D, Mark, Steve, and all the others who were and will always be some of my closest friends, but I don't miss college as an institution. The fact is you have to move on in life and in the big scheme of things college is just a small blip. That is the scariest thing about work, it is practically never ending, but at least your getting paid along the way.

Sorry for the long blog but I figure I hadn't written for 2 weeks so why not. I'd be interested to hear your opinions on what you like better. Back to work!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Bar Scene

It was another great weekend. Lot's of time spent on the river, playing basketball, and drinks with friends. Appropriately enough, I spent a good amount of time out at the bars, which got me thinking, why not write a blog on the bar scene.

I have mixed feelings on bars. For me the best part of the night is usually the pregame and the inevitable Jumbo Slice or 7-11 hot dog(my weakness) I get after coming home. Being at the bar usually means huge crowds, loud noise, and overpriced drinks. These are all things a reserved, laid back, and cheap guy like me detests. For instance, Friday night I went to this place called The Guards in Georgetown. I don't know how any person can enjoy that. It's a packed frat house basement with terrible music and about 150 degrees. But I guess it has a dance floor and attractive girls which is enough reason for some to go. Look some people thrive in that scene which is great, but for me there is nothing worse than that atmosphere. By the way, I stayed there for about 5 minutes and took a cab home.

Not everything about bars are bad, in fact I've had some of the best times in my life kickin back and having a few beers there. I love going to watch a sports game or to have a couple beers at 8 or 9. Unfortunately, it always seems people don't go out until 11:30, when all the bars are crowded as hell.Look, obviously most people don't like big crowds and expensive drinks, but the fascinating thing is that people still go. I think most people would prefer to go to a house party if the right people were there, but the fact is the house party after college is virtually non-existent. Guys don't go to house parties because they know the girls will be at the bars. House parties have now become pregame parties. I can't remember the last time I was at a party and stayed there the whole night. The argument that it is easier to meet girls at bars is bogus to me. Sure, it all depends on the house party, but wouldn't it be easier to meet a girl/guy when you can hear yourself speak and can actually rotate your body. I guess it's all about who is at the party.

I love people watching at bars, not in a creepy way of course. Just watching how people interact. Bar conversations are some of the most fascinating interactions to me. You're in a situation where often times you're either drunk or talking to a drunk person. In addition, you can barely hear and you have about 100 strangers around you having separate conversations at the same time. Also, you add on the fact that all the single people in the room are either trying to hook up or trying to get noticed. This causes some hilarious interactions. It's funny to see guys hit on girls at bars. For me, if a girl isn't interested I know pretty much right away, but it seems a lot of guys just don't pick up the signals. It would suck to be a woman and have creepy guys hitting on you every night. No wonder women are more prone to seek commitment than men. Also, many bar conversations seem to be forced. Do people actually care what the other person is saying or are they just trying to fit in. The bar scene would be a fascinating psychological experiment.

I feel like the chances of meeting a quality person at a bar are slim to none. You have guys that are mostly going to try to get laid and girls that are highly( and rightfully so) suspicious of creepy guys. You always have people that are inebriated, and prone to believe the BS the stranger is saying, which can lead to some awkward mornings. The fact is, people still go and will continue go to bars because that is what everyone does and where everyone is. If you think about it, going to a bar sober is one of the worst times you can have. Have you ever been sober with a bunch of drunk people. You feel like your in a room with a bunch of 2nd graders and that is being nice. Like everything else in society people want to fit in and be a part of the crowd for the most part.

It's also interesting how certain people go to certain bars. In the DC area you know if your going to Georgetown your going to see the super preppy,rich, and younger crowd. Arlington will be the young professionals and yuppies, and DC will have the most racially and economically diverse crowds.

I remember in college each bar had it's own group of people. The Spoke would be for the hipsters and pot heads. Right next door you had the Pub where all the meat heads would go to grind on unsuspecting girls. In between you had Charlies, which started out as a bar with a good mix of people, but ended up more like the Pub. Uptown you had ABC where you had the older crowd, and was more of a chill place to relax. Across the street was Mcmurphys, which was the bar many people stumbled to last or went to Wednesday nights to see Guitar Dudes. Finally, you had the Monkey Bar in the middle, where most of the athletes would go. Basically every bar had its own identity and for the most part people found their niche and went to the same bar every time.

I'm obviously bias on this subject because I'm a weirdo and my idea of a good time is floating down the river on a kayak alone. But it is an interesting topic. Please let me know if you have any crazy bar stories to tell. Thanks again for reading!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Michael Jackson Hysteria

I've been wanting to write about the ridiculous hysteria following Michael Jackson's death for weeks. I've been going back and forth on how to talk about it. The reaction to his death is baffling and confusing to me. Was he a great music artist, of course. In fact I'm listening to PYT(Pretty Young Thing) right now. Did he have a significant impact on music? Yes, of course he did. Has he done anything noteworthy other than being a freak in the last 15 years or so, not really.

I just wrote about bandwagon fans in sports, and in a lot of ways it's the same idea here. All these people come out of the woodwork claiming to be Jackson's biggest fan and that their lives were changed by him. I wonder if their lives were changed by him on June 24th or any day before he died, probably not for half of those people. It's just this fakeness in people that I don't understand. First of all, if Michael Jackson had that much impact on your life without meeting him in person, you have some issues that should be handled by professionals. Second of all, I bet half of these people were calling him a freak and child molester for the last 20 years.
I guess when someone dies everything is forgiven. I just don't get how more people aren't seeing this.

Let's talk about the good first. The guy was an amazing music artist. His music crossed racial and economic lines. His Thriller Alum was maybe the best album ever. His music videos broke down racial barriers on MTV. In fact, I would put his best 10 songs against anyone elses. I'm listening to "Man In the Mirror" right now. What a piece of music that is. The guy was a great singer, performer, and blessed with great producers and writers. I wasn't even born at his peak but I've heard when Thriller came out it was a Beatles like craze. The guy deserved all the accolades back then.

The fact is, you can't separate a person's life in two parts without recognizing both parts equally. If you can talk about the good, you can talk about the bad. It seems like the media and public are giving him a mulligan for the last 20 years. I'm confused, wasn't this guy the butt of every joke for a long time. When is the last time he had a hit song? Sure, he had a terrible father and had virtually no real childhood, but so do a lot of people. The guy was a freak show. He started off as a good looking African American man and through a million plastic surgeries ended up looking like a scrawny, pale, skeleton. I guess now that he is gone all that is forgotten. Sometimes I wish I had blinders on like so many other people.

The guy was accused of child molestation, and let's be honest, does anyone really think he didn't at least do something. The guy paid a $25 million settlement to clear his name. Some will say he was tired of dealing with it. If you were accused of something like that and innocent would you just settle it like that. It is a bunch of BS as far as I'm concerned. He had 12 and 13 year olds sleep over his ranch. If you had a son would you let him sleep at Michael Jackson;s ranch without supervision. If you say yes, you are either lying or a pretty damn twisted.

Why is Michael Jackson's death getting more coverage than the economy, war, and every other issue actually important in this country? It's almost like news has now become more about being popular than reporting relevant information. Look, it would be one thing if Jackson was murdered or stricken with cancer. The fact is though, he didn't take care of his body and took about 100 different pills. His defenders will say well what do you expect when you have an upbringing like he had. Okay, well a lot of people have shitty upbringings and don't turn into people like him. They also don't have millions of dollars to get help with their problems. Sorry, I'm not going to feel sorry for Michael Jackson.

We will probably never see anyone like Michael Jackson again, for better or for worse. He was an amazing music artist, but you can't just forget about everything else just because he died. Jackson was a tragic figure. He was a person who was constantly in the spotlight and eventually was overcome by it. It is okay to think what you want about him, but if your opinion has changed just because he's dead that is just sad. Looking to get some hate mail from all those bandwagon Michael fans.

Below are my favorite Michael Jackson songs. With all the negative things I've said, the guy has some damn good party jams.

1. Pretty Young Thing
2. Rock With You
3. Man In the Mirror
4. Don't Stop Till You Get Enough
5. Wanna Be Starting Something
6. Thriller
7. Billie Jean
8. The Way You Make Me Feel
9. Beat It
10. Black or White

Next Blog: My thoughts on the bar scene

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Appreciate life

With all of life's responsibilities it is easy to forget to appreciate what you have. Furthermore with the economic recession, poverty, and everyday tragedies that occupy much of the news it is easy to think about what is wrong in the world. We complain about too much traffic, fighting with our significant others, frustration at work, problems with family. It makes me wonder how much time people actually take to appreciate what they have. It bugs me when well off people complain about their lives. The fact is most people have it worse and have actual issues to complain about.

Look, I'll be the first one to say I've lucked out in life. Things always seem to turn out well for me. I've been blessed with parents that love me unconditionally and have been able to provide me with everything needed to succeed. I have a steady job that although is not always entertaining, provides me job security. It is ridiculous to me that I have a job and thousands of others who are much more qualified and experienced than me with mortgages and families to feed don't. I have been lucky to always have great health(knock on wood). In fact, I don't think I've actually been sick since elementary school and have never been injured any worse than a sprained thumb.

All of the luck I've experienced in my life has allowed me the freedom to do what I want. A lot of people have to travel long distances or pay an exorbitant amount of money to find the place or thing that makes them happiest. For me the place that has always made me happiest(the Potomac River) is just a 10 minute walk away. I'm a guy with simple tastes. Yesterday when I wrote this I was floating down the Potomac, the sun shining, with a cold Pabst Blue Ribbon(classy I know) and a slight breeze on my back. For me that is living the dream.

A lot of people think that for life to be good you have to make millions and date hot women. While that certainly doesn't hurt, I wonder if they are as happy as I am on a daily basis. Okay, maybe Tom Brady is, but I think I enjoy life as much as anyone simply because I appreciate the simplicites of it. Think about the people in this country that work 7 days a week just to feed their families. They can't just decide in the middle of the day to crack open a Sam Adams and go to the river. They are literally working for their livelihood. We take the freedom and luxuries we are given for granted because for some that is all they know.

Appreciate what you have, but don't feel bad about having it. Quality of life is largely based on circumstances. While you should recognize what you have, don't feel bad about having it. Take what you have and run with it. Yesterday for example, I was writing and reading on the river, then played basketball and finished up the day with some beer pong at a friends house. Doesn't sound too spectacular to the average person, but for me that is as good as it gets.

Thanks for reading everyone. I wrote my Michael Jackson blog today and will be posting it mid week. Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Random Pet Peeves

Everyone has things in their life that really get to them. Usually they are just little things, but are annoying all the same. Sometimes you don't know how people don't realize they are doing it. I've always said I don't understand society. I realize I do a lot of stupid and ridiculous tings too, but at least I recognize it and generally don't try to embarrass myself in public. Is it that most people don't care or are just oblivious?

Many of my pet peeves come from people at work. It makes sense seeing as I spend 80% of my waking hours there. Don't get me wrong 99% of the people I work with are great people and I am really lucky to work in that atmosphere, but there are a couple that get under my skin. I'm going to leave names out of this obviously. So, there is this guy, we have nicknamed him "Laffy", that comes into the building once or twice a month and literally never stops laughing. It isn't really the laughing that bothers me as much as the loudness and sound of the laugh. It is really quite a spectacle and not at all in a good way. Look, being happy and laughing is obviously a good thing, don't get me wrong. Hell, I would love to laugh half as much as this guy at work. I just can't seem to figure out what he could possibly think is that funny at work. Was the proposal or contract really that funny? What is this guy drinking cause I want some of it. I don't care how funny or exciting your job is nothing is funny enough to laugh at every second. The way I know this is because he is always the only one who is laughing. Why is no one else joining in? I want to record this guys laugh someday so you that don't work on the 11th floor in Legato know what I am talking about. This same guy also used to talk really loud everyday on his speaker phone. One day he was talking to his bank and shouting his SS#, account number and pretty much all his other personal information, even though he works in a cube with 100 other cubes and offices around him. Again, people baffle me. I hope one day he hears me when I tell him to shut up, but usually my voice is drowned out by his laughter. Am I being a little too sensitive on this, ya probably, but what can I say loud people drive me nuts.

Speaking of loud, another co-worker of mine has a habit of putting everything on speaker phone, almost like he wants to make sure everyone knows he's doing work. Just last week he felt the need to put his conversation with the furniture store on speaker. It's widely believed that this guy doesn't actually do any real work or at least no one can figure out what he does, which makes it even funnier. Someday I'm going to write a blog on work and delve into this situation further.

Apart from work, drivers that don't know how to merge really bug me. I don't know whether they are dumb, oblivious, or just don't give a shit. For instance on 66 East right before the Tysons Corner exit there is a place where the left lane ends, and it it goes from 2 to 3 lanes. There are about three signs before this happens indicating the merge, plus the fact that every other car has moved out of the lane. Without fail, one or two cars always stay in that lane until the last second when they swerve back into the right and slow traffic. I'd understand if these people were from out of town but I'm putting my money on it that they do this everyday. Even if you aren't from the area you should be able to read signs.

Another thing that really grinds my gears is overexposure in the media. This Michael Jackson thing is getting ridiculous. The media outlets are treating this like it is some kind of world changing event. The fact is on June 24th half the people that are proclaiming Michael Jackson their savior thought he was a freak. In my next blog I will delve more into what I really think of the situation. Also, just overexposure of any type whether it be the steroids in baseball, the latest kidnapping, Jon and Kate's struggle to stay relevant. The media blows everything up. The real people to blame are the consumers though who keep reading and are interested in this nonsense.

Loud and obnoxious people grind my gears as well. Look, I know you want the attention and think you're special but instead of dressing weird and shouting and causing drama just start writing a blog or something. At least then people have a choice whether to listen or not. I always say people that have to try to be different are really the most unoriginal people out there. Being unique is not something you have to try to do, it is something that comes natural. There are so many people out there that are deliberately idiotic to get attention and you know what we give them it.

Okay, I have ranted enough for one day. I would be interested to hear your input on what "grinds your gears" By the way, I obviously got that phrase from the Family Guy episode.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Can People Change?

I want to start off with some sad news. My dog Arfa has a tumor and has to wear a protective mask for the next 2 weeks. She is an outdoor dog, but now can't be out of the house for more than a few minutes because the bugs could infect her further. We find out if it is benign or malignant this weekend, so I'm hoping for the best. It's crazy how dogs become such a part of the family.

Anyway, tonight's entry hits really close to home for me. If you all haven't noticed by now, most of my blogs discuss life in general, but in reality are based upon my own experiences. None more so than the topic tonight. Can people change? The answer to that is like many questions in life, yes and no. For a person to change they not only have to want to change for themselves, but have to make sacrifices in their own life. Also, there are only certain things people can change. A person can put more effort into a relationship, learn to cook, help around the house more. But personality wise, if a person hasn't changed by the time their out of college, it just isn't going to happen. Maybe they can for a day or two, but in the long run you can't teach an old dog no tricks. Whoever came up with that line knows what they are talking about.

We have all heard that "you can't change a man" and unfortunately that is for the most part true. In both of my relationships my girlfriends kept waiting for me to change into the person they envisioned, but it just never happened. I think that is the difference between men and women. Women always think guys can change, or rather hope they can. Men pretty much accept the fact that their woman is going to be a certain way. I'm convinced this is why most relationships end. The woman stays because she thinks the man is going to change. She loves the idea of the man more than the man himself. In turn, the woman gives him so many chances that the man has no real motivation to change anything he is doing because he knows she will always come back. Does this make sense? More often that not women will be more committed and serious in relationships, therefore will be looking for "the one." While guys are more likely to just go with the flow. Plus, at least for me, I'm always joking around and never take life too seriously which never bodes well in a relationship.

Don't get me wrong here, not all guys are like that. I for one hope I can change someday in a few ways. For the most part though, I hope that I can meet a woman that accepts my faults, which are many, and appreciates me for the good things. Right now there probably aren't many positive qualities, but I hope at some point the good outweighs the bad. I'm always going to be a simple guy who would rather be kayaking with a good book, then out socializing at a bar. I prefer a cheap sandwich shop to a fancy upscale restaurant. I'll always be cheap and careful with my money, I'll always prefer small groups to big ones. These are things I can't change and never want to change. I would like to become a less selfish person. I hope I can become more optimistics and focus on the positive. I'd like to be a little less messy and learn to cook more than basic spaghetti or chicken dishes. I'd like to continue to branch out in my music tastes and go to places I'd never been. These are all great goals, the hard part is turning those goals into reality.

At the end of the day you are who you are. It breaks my heart that so many women out there wait around for their man to change, when usually it won't happen. I consider myself a pretty nice person, but I have a ton of faults, and I'm not the right guy for a lot of women. The important thing is to recognize what faults you can and can't live with in a person, and move on from there. I'm thankful that at least now I realize there are things I can change. I have a certain someone to thank for that. In the end, don't change for anyone else but yourself. Even if you try changing for someone else it won't last.

Some people may wonder why I write these blogs. What is the point right. I guess the reason is because I'm hoping that by writing my thoughts on paper maybe I'll finally figure it out for myself. I hope everyone had a great weekend and please keep reading!

Next blog: Random pet peeves

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Phil Collins and Sentimental Music

Happy Father's Day everyone! Sadly, my dad is in Brazil on business, so I won't be able to spend time with him today. I am so lucky to have him as a father. He has always been there for me. If I can be half the man my father has been to me I will be thankful.

Today's entry will focus on the impact of Phil Collins and other music on my life. Like I said in my last entry, I really only listened to Tupac up until my senior year of high school. I first heard Phil Collins driving back from a party in a friend's car. The remix of "Take Me Home" with Bone Thugs was playing and I was instantly hooked by the amazing power and depth of his music. Nobody can hit notes like Phil can. Similar to Tupac, he has a way of singing that comes right from the heart.

Being the extremely sentimental, and sappy guy that I am, it was amazing that it took me so long to become a Phil Collins fan. Phil's songs helped me through many low points in my life, and always have put a smile on my face. He talks about the gut wrenching pain of breakups. He talks about appreciating what you have, in songs like Another Day in Paradise, and he talks about being totally and completely in love. All of these emotions most of us have felt. That is what great music should be about. It should be a reflection of human emotion.

Through the years I have slowly broadened my musical taste, even though I still hear most songs ten years after they come out. At least I am trying to be more "hip." My other favorite artists include Rod Stewart, Tom Petty, Third Eye Blind, Rascal Flats, Keith Urban and Steve Winwood. Quite the combination there. It's funny, all my life up until a few years ago I always hated on country music. However, I gave it a chance and realized that at least some of it is really good. I guess it is like anything else in life, people form their own opinions on things without giving them a chance. I'm so thankful I finally stepped out of my shell and gave different kinds of music a shot.

I'm a hopeless romantic at heart, so being a Phil Collins fan should really be no surprise to anyone. I guess the point of this blog is don't be afraid to like the music you love. Don't be afraid to go against the grain, to listen to music that might not fit the stereotype. Don't be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and listen to music you thought you never would. Hell, if you had told me 5 years ago that five of my favorite 20 songs would be Indie Rock and country songs I would've laughed in your face. But they are, and I am not afraid to admit it. Here are some of my favorite Phil Collins songs to download.
True Colors
In Too Deep
Invisible Touch
Another Day in Paradise
Don't Lose My Number

Thanks everyone as always for reading. Please let me know what you think!

Next blog: Can people change?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Tupac Tribute

I was planning on writing a blog about the impact of both Tupac Shakur and Phil Collins on my life, but I realized both deserve their own entry. I decided to write about Tupac first, because it is his birthday tomorrow. He would've been 38 years old.

I've written about most of the people,places, and events that I hold dearest in my life. The impact of Tupac Shakur's music definitely belongs in that group. For anyone that knows me, they know that the subject I talk about most often, besides my dad ofcourse, is my passion for the music of Tupac Shakur. Some people might laugh at the fact that a pasty white, red head from Great Falls idolizes a gangster rapper, but Tupac's music crosses socioeconomic and racial lines.

I first heard Tupac on my way to Kings Dominion in 7th grade. I borrowed my friend Eddie Chung's disc man, which was playing Hit em up( one of Tupac's more hard hitting jams). At that time I was mostly listening to whatever was on the radio and didn't really have a favorite music artist. However, it wasn't until I heard Changes on the radio for the first time and subsequently got Tupac's Greatest hits album for Christmas, that I was officially hooked. I remember playing that CD over and over upstairs at my grandparents house, mesmerized by the powerful way in which Tupac delivered every verse.

I'll be the first to admit that I may have been a little too obsessed with 2pac's music, especially in high school. I would literally only listen to Tupac for 4 straight years, rotating each one of his CD's over and over again. It got to the point where I could hear a song and tell you the track and disc number without even thinking. I claimed to be "the biggest 2pac fan on the East Coast" and honestly I probably was and still am. I remember getting into many a drunken argument about Tupac being the greatest rapper. I didn't care if people made fun of me personally, but if they made fun of Tupac, watch out.

The beauty of music is that it takes you away from the stresses in life, even for just a few minutes. Tupac has a song for every mood. When your feeling sad you can put on Life Goes On or Keep Ya Head Up. When you want to party you can play How Do You Want It. If you want to feel inspired put on Changes, or when you want to simply let loose and get pumped up Hit em Up or Hellrazor. He has the ability to deliver simple, yet deep and thought provoking lyrics that were unmatched in his day and will probably never be seen again.

His music appeals to all generations. My own father, a 57 year old white man, loves Tupac(but only the hardcore songs like Hell 4 A Hustler and Hit Em Up). It is so sad he was taken away from us so early. Imagine what he could've done. When I look at rap these days, besides a few exceptions, it seems to be all about money and bling. Sometimes I wonder if 2pac would've succumbed and sold out when he became rich, but I'd like to think he would still come out with deep, thought provoking lyrics.

Tupac's music showed that their are two sides of every person, and that there is bad and good in society. Some people take issue with the fact that one song would talk about hoes and bitches, and the next would talk about respecting women. But aren't their people out there , girls and guys, that could fit into each category. People are too quick to judge.

What separates 2pac from every other rapper is his delivery. Rap and music in general is not about lyrics or beats. It's about how you deliver a song, how you make it all come together. Everytime Tupac speaks you know it's from the heart. You can almost feel what he's feeling.

I could go on and on about Tupac. His music is what helps me feel happy at my lowest points. He will always be my favorite music artist. I know that whatever happens in my life, as long as I have his music things will always be okay.

Here are a few of Tupac's lesser known songs to check out.

1. Soon As I get Home
2. Wonder Why They Call You Bitch
3. Heaven Aint Hard 2 Find
4. Lord Knows
5. Letter to My Unborn Child(better than Dear Mama)
Thanks for reading everyone. Make sure to pour out some liquor for Tupac tomorrow!

Next blog: Impact of Phil Collins and why I love sappy music in general

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Being "Whipped" in a Relationship

Tonight's blog will talk about how most men in serious relationships are "whipped" in some way. There are of course varying degrees of this. First of all, being whipped is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, if you are a man and not just a little bit whipped chances are either your relationship isn't serious or you are simply in denial. There is a difference between being "whipped" and compromise. The best part of a relationship is being there for the other person but it has to go both ways. The issue comes when one person distances themselves from the other people in their life. Look, being in a relationship is totally different than being single, and you have to know that going in. There are certain sacrifices that can enhance your life overall but some people, me included, tend to think they can keep living like they always did and sustain a healthy relationship.

Getting whipped occurs when you start constantly taking your significant other over everyone else in your life. I will bet every person who reads this has either known or done this before in their life. Think about it. You start out in life as a kid hanging out with a ton of people. You get in high school and college where you meet close friends and form cliques. Eventually you meet a girl and get married and lose touch with most of those people from your past. That is just part of life, but for some it happens way too early, at least in my opinion.

Here's an example of being whipped. You are hanging out with your boys, shooting the shit, and get a text message from your girlfriend to come over. First you just start texting, every ten minutes or so, but before long you are in the corner of the room on the phone with her, then eventually your back at her place. We all succumb to this at some point, except maybe that guy on the Dos Equis commercials. Again, this is not necessarily a bad thing, because time spent with a great woman is absolutely amazing, I just wish you could do both, and who knows maybe you can.

You might wonder why I haven't mentioned women being whipped. This is because most of the time girls like spending most of their free time with their significant other. When is the last time you heard a girl say, "you know what I'd rather go to a movie with my friend Kate, you go out with your boys and party." What about the last time you saw a girl in the "doghouse." Us guys are always in the doghouse and for good reason most of the time. We are always apologizing for screwing up or saying the wrong thing cause honestly we have no idea what we are doing. Also, we tend to not think before we say things and more importantly don't value each word as much as a woman does. Maybe some do, but at least I don't. I think I am the king of doing and saying the wrong thing. The funny or sad thing is I am fully aware that I do it, after I do it. However, for some reason I keep doing it. Maybe it is true that you just can't change a guy. But I digress...

The fact is, being "whipped" is probably good in a relationship. That is why I'm convinced women are better in relationships than men. Most of the time girls will try to include their man in any activity they are doing. While sometimes men just want a boys night out. The reasons for this are simple. When a guy is hanging out with other guys there is no filter. You can pretty much say whatever. I'm not saying this is a good thing thing. In fact, the things that are said between men are often times down right degrading. I'm just trying to analyze from my own life and lives of the people I know. Or maybe I am just applying my own thoughts to a whole gender, who knows.

I've been whipped before and in all honesty that is when my relationships were at their best. I just wish I could figure out how to have a great relationship with a girl, maintain a great relationship with my guy friends, and do my own thing at the same time. Unfortunately like I always say, there is just not enough time in the day.

Thanks for reading everyone. I apologize if my generalizations offended anyone, but if they did please let me know. Negative feedback is better than no feedback!

Next Blog: The impact Tupac, Phil Collins, and music in general has been on my life.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Conforming to the age stereotype

I can't tell you how many times I've heard the phrase, " You're young you should be partying it up, dating a ton of girls, bla,bla, bla. Maybe that's true. However, I've come to realize how people's actions are so often times determined by what they think people their age should act like, not by what they actually feel.

Let's start off by discussing the stereotypes of the stages in life. The 20's are about finding out what you want to do, who you want to be with, living free, and partying hard. The 30's you might find a wife, start a family, buy your first house. The 40's you are deeply ingrained in family life and are supposedly established and settled. The 50's you watch your kids graduate from high school and college, think about retirement, reminisce on your younger years. These are all stereotypes, most of them true, about what happens in each stage of our lives. But my question is, why it has to be this way? I guess the answer is simple. People naturally conform to societal standards. It only makes sense if most people do it you either are left out or join in.

Most people think the 20's are the best. You're young, no kids or wife, usually have no mortgage, no college tuition bills to pay for. However, when you think about it, the 20's are a scary time. I'll always remember my dad saying "I'm enjoying life at 57 now more than I ever have." It seems silly when you first hear it. People tend to think getting older automatically means lower quality of life. Sure, it definitely differs depending on who you talk to. But the more I think about it, the more I think he may be on to something. I'm 24 and have no clue what I want to do with my life, no clue whether or not I'm ready for a committed relationship, and am a job lay off away from moving back in with my parents. Sure, I can still party hard and not be considered a total screw up, but for me at least, I'd rather have stability. I've always believed and lived a routine stable life. Many of my friends even call me "old man" and in a way I guess I am. It's not that I hate going out to bars or anything, because they can be fun, especially when Jumbo Slice pizza is involved. It's just that I'd rather spend the day like I did last Saturday, reading and writing on the river, playing basketball, and capping the night off with a movie. Some may call it not getting out of my comfort zone, and maybe they're right. However, why is it that just cause we are a certain age we have to do certain things. We get one life, why not live it how we want.

Age really is just a number anyway, right? I've met a lot of people my age that act like their in high school. On the other hand my 19 year old sister is probably more mature than me. Where do these unwritten rules form? Who said when you hit 30 you have to settle down? If you find a great girl, that's awesome but if not just enjoy life. On the other hand, who said just cause your young you can't be in a committed relationship. I've fallen victim to this age rule myself. Sometimes my rationalization for staying single is I am too young to settle down, but what is my excuse going to be when I'm 35?

I'm hoping by writing this maybe I can take my own advice. Thanks everyone for reading and your comments are always appreciated. Have a great night.

Next entry: All men in relationships are whipped to some degree.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Dewey Beach Experiment

What a crazy Memorial weekend at Dewey Beach. I can't really go into detail about what happened, as this is a public forum, but I will try to do my best to piece together the events that transpired. For me, the weekend went pretty much as I expected it to. I've never been a guy who likes these type of events, and the weekend really didn't do anything to change my mind. At the same time, I am really glad I went, and I thought the group of people, save one or two, really made the experience enjoyable.

This was not the house to be in for a person that can't take a joke. The whole weekend was one joke or insult after the other. It was all in good fun though, and everyone was pretty easy going about what was said. By the end of the weekend it looked like a tornado had swept through the house. What do you expect when twelve 20 something guys stay in a house for a weekend? The good news is no one got arrested or seriously injured. Though Pogo's deep gashes on his back made it look like he had been in a fight with a mountain lion.

Let's start with the cast of characters that attended. We had an extremely eclectic group with a diverse range of personalities. You had your crazy ragers in Pogo, Ricky, and Greenwich. You had your laid back people in Koplow, Carlos, Sinan, myself, Kydin, and Kareem, and you had everything in between with Chandler and Tony. The great thing about this group was that everyone could combine their different personalities to create an all together enjoyable experience. My favorite quotes from the weekend were Mathias yelling " He's a dick by the way" to a random guy sleeping on the couch with a girl who had been staying at our house. It was totally uncalled for and unnecessary, but memorable and a classic Mathias moment. The other quote was of course Pogo calling out Chandler's name repeatedly for what seemed like an hour. I could write a whole blog about Pogo's actions this weekend but I don't think it would be appropriate for a public audience.

I will never forget Koplow's crab dance which made him a Dewey Beach legend. We had half the Lighthouse bar crab dancing on Sunday night and even I got into the action. Who could forget Tony's flamboyant alter ego "Guillermo", which he played flawlessly. Huge props to Tony for having the balls to go out in public like that, especially at a place like Dewey, which isn't exactly San Francisco. Pogo was probably the MVP of the weekend. Whether that is a good or bad thing is for you to judge. I can't go into detail about all his actions, but I think we may have seen a little too much of the Icelandic legend. Kareem gets the award for best one liners. He is a quiet guy, but when he does speak up it is always memorable.

For me, the weekend reaffirmed the fact that I am an "old man" at heart. I would have preferred days on the beach alone with just the sound of the ocean crashing against the sand to raging all day. However, I wouldn't have had the stories I have now, and I can honestly say it was an experience I will never forget.

I think it is important that you do things that are out of your comfort zone sometimes. I know for a fact I would've regretted it if I didn't go, and I will definitely have stories to look back on forever. The weekend could have turned out to be a disaster for me, but aside from a few moments I really enjoyed it. The Dewey Beach experiment was a success. It provided me a ton of memories and stories that will stay with me forever, while also reaffirming that I am past that stage of my life for the most part and ready to move on.

Thanks everyone for reading. For everyone who was there last weekend please feel free to write comments about your thoughts on the weekend and comment on the blog itself. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Settling in Relationships(Part 2)

For anyone who missed Part 1, I talked about the factors that lead a person to settle in a relationship. To read Part 1 just go to my dashboard

My third factor of why people settle in relationships is that people think there is no one else better out there. I've felt like this before in my own life. This could be a valid point if your 40 years old, but people in their 20's and 30's, especially in this day and age, I don't see the the point of settling. I think some people think being a relationship is better than being alone, whether the relationship is healthy or not. How many times have we all heard " well all guys are jerks", or "all girls are crazy." That is just a cop out. Is this statement true on some levels, of course. I agree that probably 9 out of 10 girls or guys you meet wouldn't be good " boyfriend" or "girlfriend" material, but isn't the chance you'll meet one that is worth it? I sure think so. If not, the most important thing, as cliche as this sounds, is to be first and foremost happy with yourself. I know I'm still working on that, and to this day I'm still self conscious about my balding. But it's true you can't be in a good relationship if you aren't happy with yourself.

The hardest part about "settling" is you really never know if you are at the time. You only know when you step away from that relationship or meet someone else. The sad truth of the matter is a lot of people will never take that risk. I truly believe if you are meant to be with someone it'll happen, but there is nothing wrong with not being sure. Some people know with one hundred percent certainty( or at least they think they do) who the one for them is. For that they should feel very lucky. However, for the rest of us, don't settle, take chances, and enjoy life whether that be in a relationship or not.

I want to apologize for not writing in awhile. Again, I tend to take more time with this blog than the sports one so I don't write as frequently. I will be attending my friend Hayley's graduation this weekend so I will probably not write again until Sunday. I would be happy to hear any comments or personal experiences you have with this topic. Have a great night everyone!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Settling in Relationships(Part 1)

I decided to split this entry into two parts for two reasons:
1. Hopefully people won't get too bored
2. I have no time this week to write another entry.

It's weird, I can write a sports blog in about fifteen minutes, but these take me at least 30-45 minutes every time. Anyway here is Part 1. Hope you enjoy.

Tonight's entry focuses on relationships. More specifically, the reasons many men and women "settle."Most of us have been in at least one series relationship in our lifetime. Not everyone has settled, but many probably have. I don't think I've ever settled, but then again I don't have a girlfriend right now, so this does not really apply to me. I feel like everyone I meet that is 23 or older, especially women, are in a relationship. I'm not saying that is a bad thing, because a good relationship can be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences a person can have. However, I feel that a lot of people settle for average in their relationships for a multitude of reasons.

The first and most obvious is companionship. Human beings naturally want to feel loved and have some feeling of importance to someone else. This can lead to a dependence on another person, which can subsequently lead someone to settle. Now, it's fine if someone settles in a relationship but eventually breaks it off before marriage. However, as the 50% and rising divorce rate suggests, this isn't the case. I don't buy the fact that people just grow apart, that one day they just don't love each other anymore. Sure, maybe you get tired of the other person, but the love should still be there. The fact is no one should get married until they are sure that it is to the right person. I know people change, but for the most part the core of that person stays the same. A lot of times it seems like people stay in relationships because they think the other person will eventually change. What is the rush in getting married anyway? If you love someone and want to be with someone it should be worth the wait.

The second and probably the most common reason people settle is comfort. Again, it's normal to get in a routine, to get so used to a person being there that you use the comfort factor as something hide the fact that you aren't happy anymore. It seems like for a lot of people being comfortable might be more important than being happy. I know I've felt this feeling not just in relationships but everything in life. It is easier said than done to step out and take a chance, especially when it means potentially losing someone you love.

To be continued.......

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Losing touch with friends

I haven't written in awhile. I don't have any legitimate excuse other than I'm busy at work, but that isn't anything different. Anyway, the last week or so I've been looking back at previous journal entries. In particular, my 88 page life story in which I chronicle every memory from when I was a little kid up until I started my journal at age 21. It truly is amazing how much life changes and how the people in your life change.

The only people I still keep in touch with from my childhood are Mike Binns and Brett Chambers, but I don't even see them very often anymore. There are of course obvious reasons for why friendships fade. People move away, develop new interests, get significant others and meet new friends. However, I really think that a lot of times it doesn't even happen for any particular reason. The friendship just fades over time until your left wishing a person a happy birthday on their Facebook wall.

Thankfully, I've been lucky enough to still keep in touch with my good friends in high school and college. However, I worry someday I may drift apart from them as well. Maybe that isn't so bad though. Sometimes it can be good to stray away from old friends because it gives you a chance to meet new people. I know that I've met some of my best friends in the last three or four years. These are friends that I am confident I will always be close with. That's the thing, the friends that really matter, that really have staying power, will always be there. I'm a pretty open person in terms of expressing my feelings, but I only feel comfortable having deep conversations with a few people and they know who they are. Nothing compares to good friendships in this world. I've always believed it's better to have three or four, or even one best friend, than ten friends. That is why I have never believed in just hanging out with one group. I've always hung out with a couple people from all different groups because I just feel like it is more interesting to hang out with different people who bring different things to the table. The fact is every group is made up of three or four subgroups anyway. I've never met a group of 5 or more where every person is equally close to each other, just doesn't happen.

I have a lot more to say on this subject but I'm sure I will incorporate it into other entries. There is nothing more important than having great friends who will be there for you through thick and thin, so if you have that appreciate it.

I hope everyone enjoyed the great weather of the last couple weeks. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Timing is Everything in Life

Timing is everything in life. I say this probably more than any other phrase, and I'm sure it annoys my friends. I truly believe this is true though. This blog is going to focus on timing in terms of stages in a person's life and how it affects relationships.

It is sad really, because a lot of times relationships end because two people meet at the wrong moment. I know for me, even if I met an amazing girl right now chances are I wouldn't pursue it because I am not ready to be in a committed relationship at this point in my life. Would we have worked out in 5 years, who knows, but the what if game is pointless anyway. I remember my dad always saying there comes a certain point in life where you want to settle down, and that you will know when that time comes. The problem with that is, what if that time comes and the girl/guy for you is gone. I guess the counter to that would be if the person really was right for you timing wouldn't matter.

I think the hardest part about timing and relationships is getting two people who are on the same time schedule. For example, one person might be ready to get married and settle down, while another, though they may really like that person, is looking for something less serious, or rather is at the time of their life where they aren't willing to settle down. This can also work the other way around. I feel like some people get married or get in a serious relationship because they feel that it is appropriate or expected of them, not because they actually want to.

I think the most frustrating thing about timing is that it creates this "what if" thought in your head. What if you had met that girl when you were 30 instead of in college. What if you had decided not to go out the night you met someone, would you have ever met that person, would your life be drastically different. I guess the fact that I think about this stuff all the time is kind of counterproductive. There really is no way to tell if something doesn't work out because of timing, or simply because it wasn't a right fit. Any comments or stories you would like to share about your thoughts on whether timing is everything in life would be appreciated.

One more thing. What an amazingly beautiful weekend it was in the Northern Virginia area. I always hope that weekends will be this nice but rarely does it happen. I had a great time overall and really feel I am in a good place right now in my life. Time to go on my nightly walk and think about ideas for my next entry. Thanks again everyone for reading!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Comfort Zone

In life it is easy to get " too comfortable". Whether it be in relationships, work, food,music, anything really. I am the poster boy for this. My good friend Hayley made a great point last night when she told me "Karl, your best and worst quality is that you are so predictable." It's all true. I am one of the most routinized people you will ever meet. The scary thing is I am much better than I used to be. I think the reason I'm like this is because I love my life and I'm content, or at least I thought I was. The truth is, that even though my life is pretty damn good, it could be a lot better if I stepped out of my comfort zone once in awhile and tried new things. This would help me in relationships and the workplace.

Let's take music for instance. In high school, I literally only listened to Tupac Shakur for four straight years. I was content with just listening to him, because well that was all I knew, and I liked it so why change. But when I stepped out of my comfort zone and started listening to other genres of music I realized there are so many other great types of music out there. I remember for years I always hated on country music, but now I can honestly saw Keith Urban and Rascal Flatts are two of my favorite music artists.

I think being able to step out of the "comfort zone" is really all about being confident, and that is something I have always lacked. This has especially hurt me in my relationships. Sometimes I won't try because I am scared to fail. I don't plan events or surprise anyone because I am afraid that what I plan or do is not going to be good enough, even though the effort is really what counts.

The "Comfort Zone" is probably the hardest to break at work. I enjoy my job but I feel stuck at times. When you do something everyday for a year you get in a routine and suddenly you look up and realize your in the same place you were a year before. It is especially hard to step out of the bubble in these economic times. Not to mention the fact that I am still unsure of what I want to do in my life. Work right now is the definition of comfortable, but I want more for myself than that. I don't need to make millions, but I want to be successful. More importantly, I want to do something I believe in, and that challenges me. How do you find that balance between trying new things and being able to pay the bills? Maybe I'll find out soon enough.

Their is a lot more I could write about this topic but I'm going to stop there for now. I want to thank Hayley Shelton for being one of the only people that is straight up with me and keeps me in line. She is a bit tough but I know she does it because she thinks I have the potential to be a better man. I also want to say that the words in my blogs are not all original thoughts. They are mainly from conversations I have had with people and stories I have heard in my life.

Before I leave I want to say Happy Birthday to my sister Emily. She is the best sister a guy could ask for. She has always been in my opinion the "good kid," of the family. Her maturity and drive is something I hope to achieve at some point. Thanks again for reading my blog and I hope to write again soon.