Don’t Choose Fear

I know it has yet again been a while since I’ve posted. There are a million excuses I could give but let’s be honest, I’ve dropped the ball. 

I didn’t think I’d ever post something political on here, but I think I just need to get some thoughts out of my brain before I’m overwhelmed by them. 

Donald Trump is our 45th President. 

::shocked silence::

I didn’t think it could happen. I didn’t think that our nation would ignore the openly hostile, hateful, misogynistic, racist, ignorant, awful things he’s said about people of color, women, those who are LBGTQ+, just about everyone who isn’t a white male….but we did. 

Now what?

Personally, I woke up from awfully fitful sleep, wondering how this happened. I turned everything off at midnight and the alarm went off at 6AM. Disillusioned would be a good word to describe what I’m feeling. I keep saying in my head “is this real life?” like the kid in that wisdom tooth video on YouTube. I’m hoping to avoid the drug-induced rage part. 

What keeps popping into my head though is “I have to find a way to be optimistic.”  Believe me, right now, with wounds so fresh, it seems impossible. 

It’s hard not to think about what might have been if we’d given Bernie Sanders a chance. 

But here’s the thing, one thing I can’t bring myself to do is just give up, retreat into a shell, and adopt the mindset of “well, I guess I’ll just watch the world burn.”  Maybe that does start happening, but if we lose all hope of anything positive then we’re lost as well. 

So I think it’s important for everyone, regardless of who you voted for, to strive to adopt a growth mindset over a fixed one. Instead of feeling like “I give up”, “my way or the highway,” or blaming others for what I perceive to be a mistake, I should instead choose to embrace a challenging situation and figure out a way that I can make it better in the short-term, long-term, small-scale, big-scale. 

In a simple sense, that means I can increase my efforts to make the day of anyone I come into contact with just a little bit more awesome in some way. I’m using this national happening to try and focus on being a better person instead of crying “the end is nigh!”

Maybe that means a tighter hug, a kind word where it’s not expected, recognizing moments of greatness in what most see as monotony and mediocrity…maybe it’s just suspending my realist brain from doing its thing and forcing it to be a little more optimistic than it wants to. We create our own reality in a way, right?  Well, I’m gonna create a kind one…for myself, for others, for all. 

Am I sad this morning?  Scared, even?  Sure. I bet tons of people are. 

To paraphrase Will Smith in the movie After Earth (oddly poignant): “Fear is not real. It is a product of thoughts you create. Fear is a choice.”

Refuse to choose fear. Be positive. Make someone’s day. Make your own day!  Surprise yourself. Together, we can make it better. 

No fear. Never fear.  

Time to purge the DVD collection…

My friends and I used to go on “DVD-runs”.  We basically had a circuit of 4-5 flea-market/video rental places we’d scour for used DVDs.  This run consisted of driving to all of them to see what kind of cinematic treasures we could unearth.  At its peak, my DVD collection sat above 500.  Over the last two years, I’ve purged parts of it for our annual yard sale.  I have no idea what the current count sits at.

I came up with an idea the other day after it occurred to me that I hadn’t really watched parts of my DVD collection since the last “purge”.  I decided that you and I are going to go on a quest, of sorts.  Services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBOGo, etc., have left me without the need for such a substantial DVD collection.  So, inspired by my friend’s awesome vlog The Rock Movie Project (rockmovieproject.com, on hiatus due to a couple of wonderful children!), I am going to go through and watch our DVD collection from A-Z, write-up a little blog post about the movie, and decide if it will continue to live with Nicolette and I or if I am going to kick it out of the nest to go live with someone who will pay $2 (or less, the more DVDs you buy) at our yard sale for it.

Now, I don’t anticipate this being a daily movie-watching thing, but if I’m feeling especially binge-worthy, I could possibly knock out a few on a rainy day this summer.  I’ll have to get a full count before I start, and get everything neatly into alphabetical order.  I plan on skipping over any television seasons I own and doing more of a spur of the moment decision on their fates.

It also happens that some of the DVDs in our collection technically belong to Nicolette.  I imagine she’ll be sitting in with me on those and making (at least) 50 percent of the decision on the keep or peace out for them.

So keep an eye out for posts coming soon regarding the fate of the individual pieces of my DVD collection.  Maybe you can even call dibs on some before they hit the yard sale!

 

How do you stay motivated?

I’m finding lately that I have far less drive than I’m used to.  Is it the winter doldrums? (Even though our weather has been pretty decent this year, and downright awesome compared to this time last year).  Is it monotony?  Should I try to change up my routine?  I like to think I normally carry around a full tank of enthusiasm, but right now, I feel like I need a pit-stop.

As it stands, I get up at 6:30 A.M.  I don’t have to be to work until 8:15 A.M.  I usually make my coffee/breakfast, watch some Mike and Mike on ESPN or watch a show that I DVR’d, and generally ease into my morning.  Head to work, do my thing, and right now am home around 3 P.M.  (That’ll change when track season starts).

What happens after that?  Lately, a whole lot of nothing, except for sporadic exceptions.  Depending on what Nicolette has going on, I might spend some time on the computer, with Netflix, playing some video games, etc.  Earlier last week though I found out that I weigh more than I ever have (168 lbs, not by like 10 pounds or anything, but 3 or so, which turned out maybe to be water-weight as the very next day I weighed 165), and started doing a half-hour of biking on a recumbent bike in the basement with either a book, Hearthstone, or Netflix/YouTube in front of me.  I would do this around 8 P.M., shower around 8:45-9:00, and then chill for the rest of the night before bed.

This does leave less time for doing things around the house.  I have plenty of stuff that needs to get fixed/de-cluttered/sorted/put away, tossed, etc. I guess lately the problem I’m having is fitting all that in.  Not-enough-hours-in-the-day syndrome.  We bought a house that was built in 1937, and I would describe slightly above the level of “fixer-upper”.  So there is a decent-sized list of things on that “To-Do” list.

What’s the solution?

Brainstormed changes:

-Get up earlier, at 5:45 or 6 A.M., and hop right on the bike.  Shower, get coffee/breakfast going by 6:45?  Work, get home, then have the rest of the night to divvy up for the other stuff?  Maybe alternate the morning workout between the bike and some yoga?

-That’s as far as I got when it comes to possible changes. 🙂

I would probably have to go to bed a little earlier for this change, but as it stands, I’m usually in bed by 11 for the 6:30 alarm.  So, 7.5 hours-ish there.  To get the same amount getting up at 5:45, that means bed would have to be 10:15.

The other worry is, how is this new routine going to make me feel once track starts and I’m not getting home from practice until 5:30-6-ish?  That’s twelve hours awake with little to no sit-down and breathe time.  Do I come home, eat dinner, and then jump into the de-cluttering/fixing mode?  Go by a minute to minute itinerary?  (Kind of takes the fun out of it, no?  “Well, it’s 8:15, have to stop watching this show we DVR’d that has 8 minutes left because this is my laundry time!”)  When do I get to sit down with Nic and just be with her?  It definitely seems like the days shrink pretty quickly…

…and we don’t even have kids yet.  Dear Lord.

Trying to find a balance between work/play/household maintenance seems like a pretty tricky thing.  It’s like balancing spinning plates on sticks.  I could throw my attention into the first two, and then the third ends up falling and breaking.

So what are your secrets?  How do you budget your time in this day where we’re so beholden to the clock?  Share your advice!

Television Show A.D.D.

While Nic and I were at a friend’s house a few weeks ago we found ourselves hanging out and watching the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards.  That spurred a discussion about what television shows we’ve seen and it occurred to me that I have started and not finished many a show.  For some reason, my brain just stopped being interested or was attracted by the latest shiny thing on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, whatever.  So without further ado, I give you the Master List of Shows I’ve Abandoned!

In no particular order other than chronological as it pertains to me searching for them on the above apps: (* denotes that a show is still in production, we’re just not caught up, I’m just not caught up, or we or I just don’t care about it anymore….I’m looking at you Grey’s Anatomy…)

  • Parks and Recreation
  • Parenthood
  • Glee
  • Pysch
  • 30 Rock
  • Friday Night Lights
  • Heroes
  • Prison Break
  • Numbers
  • Sons of Anarchy
  • The West Wing
  • Arrested Development (final season)
  • Orange is the New Black*
  • Mad Men
  • Chuck
  • House
  • Portlandia*
  • Pinky Blinders
  • Salem
  • Gotham*
  • Fringe
  • Once*
  • Grey’s Anatomy*
  • Marvel’s Agents of Shield*
  • Agent Carter*
  • Family Guy*
  • Community
  • Vikings
  • American Horror Story*
  • True Blood
  • 24
  • The Sopranos
  • Justified
  • Eastbound and Down
  • Homeland*

That’s a lot of TV time to make up for, huh?  I didn’t count shows that we or I have watched that are just waiting on the next season to either air or show up on those apps.  At first glance, I’d so the most egregious ones that have been abandoned (perhaps temporarily) are Orange is the New Black, Homeland, The Sopranos, Friday Night Land Justified.  Your mileage may vary, of course, but those are the ones I’m upset with myself for either not finishing or not being caught up on.

Some of those would be tough for me to pick back up because it’s been so long that it would require a complete rewatch from the beginning.  In some cases, this means re-watching a lot of episodes.

I definitely just go on spurts.  Recently, plowed through Starz’s (that sounds weird) The White Queen, based on the books by Phillippa Gregory.  I found this and The Tudors incredibly well done and interesting as they look into the intrigue as well as the pomp of English royalty.  Definitely worth a checking-out.

So as I sit here on a lazy Friday during February break, I find myself with time to kill prior to bringing the Jeep in for an appointment at 2.  Maybe I’ll go dust off one of these shows…

Off into the sunset?

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Those of you that know me likely know that I’m a Denver Broncos fan.  So, for the past few weeks, I’ve been basically out of my gourd over The Super Bowl.  I mean, I saw us barely survive New England, and then I saw Carolina DESTROY Arizona.

“How could we possibly beat this team?”, I asked myself.  If I’m honest, I didn’t think we would.  Cam Newton is a freak of nature.

But the answer was to play our defensive game, and hope Peyton doesn’t hurt us.

It was ugly, and our offense was inept at times, but we managed to come out on top.  I jumped off the couch and shrieked when Von Miller stripped Cam and we recovered in the end-zone.  I was screaming on every sack, every pressure even.  Nothing like being on the edge of your seat every snap of the ball.

As much as the story was the defense, and the dominant play of Von Miller and his fellow pass-rushers who worked to neutralize the league MVP Newton, I just kept saying to myself throughout the game “just win it for Peyton”.

I remember how excited I was when I found out we were signing Manning.  We literally went from Tim Tebow to Peyton Manning.  That’s like going from gristle to filet mignon.

From the commercials, to the gesticulating at the line every play, and the overall amazing cerebral game he plays for someone who looks so slight, it was hard not to love him immediately.  He brings a certain gravitas to your team immediately.  I knew we had a chance to win multiple Super Bowls with him at the helm.  (Unless your team’s defense is garbage, and you get smoked 43-8 by the Seahawks).  The bottom line is, my NFL team last won a championship half my life ago, when I was 17.  I’ve been lucky enough to have them win 3 Super Bowls in my lifespan.

So, coming off a statistically awful year that finds him 39 years old, unable to feel his fingertips, and unable to evade many defenders (unless it’s that one play where he falls down and gets right back up to throw the ball), we’re left wondering if he’s going to hang it up and ride off into the sunset as The Sheriff.

I see both sides of it.  There are those that say, you’ve finished on a high note.  You’ve made it to the top of the mountain, you are tied with your brother Eli for career Super Bowl wins, and the top of the mountain is good.  You’ve battled injuries all year, lost your starting job after missing six weeks, got it back, and won it all.  What more is there to prove?  You don’t need money.  You’re set.

On the other hand, there’s the idea that you haven’t lost your passion for the game, for preparing, for practicing, etc.  Who’s to tell you you’re done?  As long as you still have that love, go for it.

My worry is, he’s owed $25 million next year or so, and the Broncos aren’t going to pay that for someone who is aging, declining in skill, etc.  They probably shouldn’t, regardless of the fact that it’s Peyton.  We’ve still got Miller to lock up, and plenty of other free-agents, including the young QB who guided us to success while Peyton was out, Brock Osweiler.

As sad as it is to say, that money is better spent elsewhere, but boy do I appreciate what Peyton has given us.  So long, pardner.

A Pirate’s Life for Me-Black Sails

So it’s been a while…  Hope you’re all still well and not pining for your next dollop of my writing.  (Doubtful)

It’s been busy of late and I haven’t had time to sit down and really get something through the keyboard.  Partly because I’ve been binge-watching the show named above.

black-sails

Think Deadwood, but with pirates.  I was hooked from the first episode.  I’m a big fan of the genre, including Johnny Depp’s take of Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies (yes, even the dreadful sequels), but this is altogether a different animal.

It’s gritty, dark at times, over-sexualized at times (but then again, we are talking about pirate life, so maybe the amount of nudity and sex is historically accurate?), but the overall themes of loyalty, ambition, and the Game of Thrones-esque gray area when it comes to the main characters and their moral compasses makes for a great TV show.  There are great characters that you can’t decide if you love or hate, double-crosses, double double-crosses (cue Johnny Depp’s gun and explanation to Orlando Bloom’s surprise look of unfairness in their duel in the blacksmith shop in PotC, “Pirate!”), politics, sea battles and raids, and there’s plenty to love.

The opening credits are some of my favorite of any show I’ve ever watched:

The dissonance of the piano and chanting seems to fit perfectly well with the chaotic life of piracy, and the incredible detail in the sculptures take something that I usually ignore by checking my phone while I wait for the show to come on and turn it into something I’m intently watching.  It’s also a great juxtaposition of the light (society, aristocracy, religion) and darkness (skeletons, blood, prostitution).  The shot at 1:00 is one of my favorites as in the foreground you can see the incredible detail etched into the waves, buildings, and ships.  Don’t even get me started on the amazing detail at 0:25 and in the preview above.  Simply unreal.

I found myself googling “Pirate books” and have now set out to get myself copies of Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe, Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton.  Surprised I haven’t found a good novel about Blackbeard yet, but I’ll keep looking.  Anyone have any other pirate books that they’ve loved?

Currently seasons 1 and 2 are available if you subscribe to Starz via cable or dish, but I was able to watch by adding it as an add-on subscription for my Amazon Prime Video app on my PS4.