Donations to Discovery

Friday, September 30, 2016

Be Your Own Expert!

It's a novel, singular, unique and controversial concept in this day and time of specialists.

You're sick and you go to a doctor and get meds and do what he says.

You need work done on your house, you call a contractor, explain what you want done and let them take care of it - right?

You need help working out your problems, you go to a counselor or psychiatrist.

That's the way the World Works - Right?

But it's not the way I do things.

Anytime I have an effort, new direction, change, crisis or need that involves any sort of effort or money, I do my own research aka due diligence.

With a base foundation of engineering, which is one of the best formal training programs in the world for detecting bullshit distribution in the World, I am able to "transfer knowledge" from that training and the knowledge and experience it has afforded in over 30 years and apply it to "new learnings".

In a nutshell, it doesn't take me long to become a "relative expert" in a specific field, vocation or procedure.

I say "relative expert" because it's blatantly obvious I will never be a doctor just by reading about a specific illness, surgical procedure or medication for a specific ailment or situation.

But I can gain a "working knowledge" of the specific circumstance such that when I do talk to a "real expert", I can ask intelligent questions and gain pertinent and specific knowledge that will help me make better decisions.

Case in point, my Total Knee Replacement.

By the time I got done researching and reading about Total Knee Replacements, I was able to spend 2 hours with a Surgeon that had done over 6000 procedures and go through a Menu of Options that covered Preparation, Procedure and Post-Op for having a Total Knee Replacement.

That knowledge and the ability to exchange Q & A with "The Expert" allowed me to be an EXPERT FOR ME!

Which is really important, because what it does is put you in control of your destiny instead of blindly relying on "An Expert" who may or may not be a Real Expert.

Let's face it - there are good and bad representatives in every field - be it Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers, Accountants.

You have to arm yourself with enough specific knowledge about any particular field to be a good "BS Detector" for that field and be able to identify when someone is taking advantage of you or misrepresenting themselves.

It never ceases to amaze me how people will just blindly trust "Professionals" just because they have a PhD behind their name OR are on Angie's List or recommended by some friend or colleague.

I mean - Come on People - get off your lazy ass, get your head up, look around, do some Due Diligence and don't be a Victim and don't compromise your Expectations.

This approach does several things.

First, it arms you with the knowledge you need to get the best product or service you can get.

Second, it keeps you learning new things about new subjects and new fields which in and of itself has many obvious advantages.

Third, it creates Awareness of how the World functions, makes you cognizant of Scam artists and gives you a Deep, Wide, Varied and Intelligently Adaptive Base of Knowledge that is Transferable to other Subjects and Situations.

So the next time you find yourself relying on an Expert to solve your problems - DON'T!

Back up - Back off.... Go get some knowledge and understanding of the Subject Matter yourself and.....

Become Your Own Expert!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

It's Time for a New Day!

I woke up this morning to somewhat of an epiphany or maybe less of an epiphany than an extended realization.

My life before Santa Fe was kind of a mess....

Failed marriages.
Failed career.
Failed body, mind and spirit.

I let everyone that depended on me down and most importantly,

I let myself down.

And I let the World get me down.

As I have written, starting around 6 - 7 years ago, I started to make some changes, trying to dig myself out of the Life Hole I had dug for myself.

I think the biggest and most significant change was my move to Santa Fe.

It represented a very clean line - a clean break - from what was to what will be.

With the change in altitude came a change in attitude.

An acceptance of my past and hope for my future.

It's been a long time since I've had hope...

And joy.

Santa Fe brought me Hope.

The other changes I've made have brought me Joy.

As I said, these were my waking thoughts.

And they were seconded by my favorite get the blood flowing, kick the day into a vertical climb with afterburners wake up song from one of my favorite metal bands -

Five Finger Death Punch!

Sometimes you just have to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get Life going!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

"I'm a Grown Ass Man.... You Can't Talk to Me Like That"

It's a statement that often occurs when a Young Man feels like their character as a Man is being threatened, insulted, challenged or belittled by a Parent or another older Adult.

Another version of this statement is....

"I'm a Grown Ass Man.... I can talk to you like that" which often comes when a Young Adult is defending his rights as an Adult in dealing with a Parent or another older Adult.

Either way, it represents a defense of manly rights.

And that's a good thing.... as long as you've earned those rights, i.e. you are qualified to be considered a "Grown Ass Man".

So what are the qualifications for being a "Grown Ass Man"?

Well - obviously this is subjective - so every person's definition of a "Man" is gonna be different, but since this is my blog and my subject and you are subject to my opinions while reading this blog, I'll give it to you...

My opinion, that is, of what a Man is, is as follows:

  • To be considered a Man, you have to have some experience and success in a variety of Worldly challenges - and that takes a little time.  In the Old West, some were considered Men at the age of 15 or 16, mainly because they were subjected to the rigors and responsibilities of being a Man, as early as 11 or 12, but for all intents and purposes in the Modern Day World, I just can't consider a Man being a Man until he's at least 20.  I know, we put young men in war at age 18, and they are subject to the horrors of war and combat, and that is one element that definitely makes a man, but they are not well-rounded, responsible men just because they went to war at 18.
  • I  might as well go down the list of character attributes: Honesty, Integrity, Hard Work, Self-Discipline, Responsibility, Ambition.  Honesty and Integrity goes way beyond just not lying or stealing or keeping your word and being faithful to your significant other but those are significant requirements.  Self-Honesty has to do with having a clear and objective view of yourself - your strengths and weaknesses - and taking advantage of those strengths while working to improve the weaknesses.  Self-Integrity has to do with being honest enough with yourself to put limits and restrictions on yourself so you don't hurt yourself and those around you.  Correcting bad habits and bad behavior is part of self-integrity. If a Man is not in control of himself - his eating, drinking, sexual behavior, speech, time-management, etc. - is he really a Man?  I mean - come on - I've seen 25 year old men act like titty sucking Mama's boys because they took no responsibility for their own actions or lack of actions... for their Life.
  • Hard Work, Self-Discipline, Responsibility, Ambition - Geez this opens up so many cans of worms but the bottom line is that many times the difference between a Man and a Man Wannabe is a four letter word.... Work.  I've never seen a Man that I would call a Man that wasn't a hard working Sonofabitch.  Whether that is hard physical work or work at school, work at home, taking care of the house and family, a Man's Work is Never Done.... I know that phrase is usually associated with Women but the truth of the matter is that a Woman probably wouldn't be working from Sun to Sun if she had a Man that was doing his share of the Work!  Self-Discipline is connotative of Self-Sacrifice and a Real Man does this everyday and I don't mean he sacrifices himself..... In fact, a Real Man puts himself first by setting the priority and the time to take care of himself through proper nutrition, exercise, sleep and time management.  This gives him the base and foundation to serve those he loves and provides them with an example to follow.  Which brings up another point.  A Grown Ass Man sets the bar for those around him.  He doesn't wait for things to happen.  He makes things happen. A Man's Family should look at him and say.... "Yeah, that's My Man or that's My Dad.  He's the hardest working, most caring, honest, loving, best looking, best built Man he can be and I'm proud to be associated with him." If you're living your life in a self-serving, sloppy manner and indulging yourself at the expense of others, how can you call yourself a Grown Ass Man?
  • Ambition - Sorry - for me - this is the deciding factor.  A Man has got to have goals and he has to be striving to better himself - through education, work experience, reading, volunteering, self-improvement activities.  If you're no better relationally, vocationally, intellectually, physically, emotionally, spiritually this year than you were last year, then you're a Stagnant Man.
Geez - the list could go on and on... I could get into the soft subjects like caring and empathy and sympathy and compassion and the hard subjects like financial leadership, spiritual leadership, family leadership.

In a nutshell, Men in general, over the past 50 years have slowly abdicated their responsibility of being Men to the Rest of the World, much to the detriment of their Manhood.

This post is just a microcosm of a book I would like to write on this subject entitled....

"In Search of the Male Ego - A Study in the Loss of Modern Masculinity".

The reason why the Feminist movement got started and has sustained itself and grown is because Men quit being and acting like Men.  

So the next time you defend your rights to be considered a "Grown Ass Man"....

Just make sure you're Walking the Talk!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Is there any Good left in Me?

Self-loathing..... It really doesn't do the Self any good.

But at times you just have to stand in front of the mirror and ask yourself -

Who am I?  What do I stand for?  What have I done with My Life?  What do I have to Show for It?

And for me, honestly, there's been a few high points....

I got a good education....

I raised a couple of good kids....

Yep - that's about it.

For the most part with the exception of the above, I've kinda wasted my Life.

As I'm fond of saying, I am the Greatest Underachiever of All Time.

When I was 20, I knew I had it.... The World was My Oyster.... I was Young, Strong, Good-Looking, Smart, Ambitious and In Love.

But the Bad in Me did away with All the Good in My Life.

With My First Love, My First Marriage, My Second Marriage and My Career.

And Finally after Failing at all the Things that Matter, after it was Too Late, I decided to try to Save what was Left of My Life.

And to that end, I guess I've been successful.  

Some say I've simply ran away from my life.  Abandoned my Failures and went into Seclusion.

Because I just couldn't face the Day and my Failures.

And in the Land of Enchantment, People look at me and talk to me and say....

"But You're such a Good Guy".

If only they knew how I look in the mirror every day and ask....

"Is there any Good left in Me?"

"Good Man"
I want to be a good man, I want to see God
I want to be faithful but I know that I’m not
I want to be a good man, I want to do right
I don’t wanna be a criminal for the rest of my life

Everything that I've done before
Has brought me back down to my knees
I’m crying out to you, Lord
It’s getting harder and harder to see
If there’s good left in me?
Is there any good left in..ME!!!

Is there any good left in me?
I want to be a good man
Is there any good left in me?

I want to be be a good man, I wanna be a saved
I want to be a free man but I feel like a slave
and I’m crying out to you, Lord
It’s getting harder and harder to see
If there’s good left in me?

Is there any good left in me?
I want to be a good man
Is there any good left in me?
I want to be a good man
Is there any good left in me?
I want to be a good man
Is there any good left?

Pull me from the darkness, lift me back into the light
Fill this empty vessel, fill this hole I have inside
Am I worth forgiveness, I can’t make myself believe
Show me that you’re listening and tear this devil out of me

I want to be a good man
Is there any good left in me?
I want to be a good man
I want to be a good man
Is there good left in me?
I want to be a good man
Is there any good left in me?

And with bad knees, bad shoulders, a bad back and a bad attitude, the best self-assessment I can do is that there....

"Ain't much left of me".

"Ain't Much Left Of Me"
Well my fall from grace was a sight to see
Good turned to bad and bad turned to misery
I found out what it is and what it's not
And all I asked for sure ain't what I got

Well I been rained on, rode hard and put up wet
Danced with the devil till I'm in debt
Took all I got and there ain't much left of me
I been knocked down, drug out and left for dead
Barely held together by a few old threads
Hey I'm still here, there ain't much left to see, no
Well I'm still holding on and there ain't much left of me

I thought that I'd hit bottom but I ain't there yet
'Cause you'd be surprised at how low a man can get
I watched all them dreams slip through my hands
But now I'm getting outta here while I still can

Well I been rained on, rode hard and put up wet
Danced with the devil till I'm in debt
Took all I got and there ain't much left of me
I been knocked down, drug out and left for dead
Barely held together by a few old threads
Hey I'm still here, there ain't much left to see, no
Well I'm still holding on and there ain't much left of me
That's right

Well my fall from grace was a sight to see
Nobody even cared what became of me
Do I have to get down on my knees?
And ask the Lord above, have mercy, please

Well I been rained on, rode hard and put up wet
Danced with the devil till I'm in debt
Took all I got and there ain't much left of me
I been knocked down, drug out and left for dead
Barely held together by a few old threads
Hey I'm still here, there ain't much left to see, no
Well I'm still holding on and there ain't much left of me
There ain't much left of me
I said there ain't much left of me, no
Yeah well there ain't much left of me

Wishing for a "Do-Over" on this old Life....

A New Life - lyrics

breakin down
ive been told
too much drinkin
has taken its toll
cried out for mercy
for my soul
but its to late now
ive lost control

ive tried to change
the way i feel
i live my life
by my own will
theres room for hatred
theres room for pain
i cut my losses
recognized my gains

grant me a new life
i wanna do it all again
i didn't do it right the first time 2x

breakin down
ive been told
that too much drinkin
has taken its toll
i cried out for mercy
for my soul
but its to late now
ive lost control

grant me a new life
i wanna do it all again
i didn't do it right the first time 2x
all again i didn't do it right the first time
i wanna do it all again i didn't do it right the first time

With all the damage that's been done that I can't go back and fix, at this point,

All I wanna do is live my Mother Fuckin' Life!!!

"Jekyll And Hyde"
There's just so much God damned weight on my shoulders
All I'm trying to do is live my motherfucking life
Supposed to be happy, but I'm only getting colder
Wear a smile on my face, but there's a demon inside
There's just so much God damned weight on my shoulders
All I'm trying to do is live my motherfucking life
Supposed to be happy, but I'm only getting colder
Wear a smile on my face, but there's a demon inside

Oh, yo, yo, there's a demon inside
Oh, yo, yo, just like Jekyll and Hyde
Oh, yo, yo, all this anger inside
Oh, yo, yo, I feel like Jekyll and Hyde

Is there so much God damned weight on your shoulders
That you can't just live your motherfucking life
The story's getting old and my heart is getting colder
I just wanna be Jekyll, but I'm always fighting Hyde
You've got rocks in your head, I can hear them rolling 'round
You can say that you're above it, but you're always falling down
Is there a method to your madness? Is it all about pride?
Everyone I know, they've got a demon inside

Oh, yo, yo, there's a demon inside
Oh, yo, yo, just like Jekyll and Hyde
Oh, yo, yo, all this anger inside
Oh, yo, yo, I feel like Jekyll and Hyde

If I wasn't so deranged, could I ever face the pain?
If I ever were to change, would the song remain the same?
Oh, yo, yo
All I'm trying to do is live my motherfucking life
Oh, yo, yo
Wear a smile on my face, but there's a demon inside
Oh, yo, yo
All I'm trying to do is live my motherfucking life
Oh, yo, yo
Wear a smile on my face, but there's a demon inside

Oh, yo, yo, there's a demon inside
Oh, yo, yo, just like Jekyll and Hyde
Oh, yo, yo, all this anger inside
Oh, yo, yo, I feel like Jekyll and Hyde

Women and Cussin'

I gotta tell you this is kind of a funny post for me because - really - who ever talks about Women and Cussing?

First off, let me tell ya.... well I don't have to tell ya.... if you read my blog, you already know -

I'm a cussing sonofabitch.

Well - there ya go.

My dad cussed much to my mother's frustration.  I was always around people who were cussing.  Hell, I started working in an Auto Parts store when I was 10 sweeping floors and putting up stock and if you know anything about people that work in Auto Parts Stores or at least used to work in Auto Parts Stores, they're usually not the highest echelon of Social Status and they cuss a lot.

I was in the gym starting at 14 and all the guys in there cussed.

Then I graduated from college with a chemical engineering degree and went to work in a chemical plant in 1984 and that was the absolute shit hole for human existence and you'd think you were in the Navy the way people cussed.

For me, there's really not anything wrong with cussing.... it's kinda like a 2nd language or a vernacular that is used for emphasis and intensity in talking.

For example, if I told you....

"That was a hard workout!"

And then I told you.....

"That was a fucking hard workout!".

Which workout do you think was harder?

See the point.

Now when it comes to cussing, I absolutely cannot stand someone who cusses just for the sake of cussing where every 3rd word is fuck this and fuck that.

That's not cussing.... That's abuse.

But when an occasional  cuss word is thrown into a conversation, it kinda like a grenade going off in a crowd - it gets some attention and usually has some effect - Good or Bad.

So back to Women and Cussing.

I think it's downright Cool and Sexy.... and again I don't mean being a complete Potty Mouth.

It's really Cool and Sexy when it comes from some straight-laced woman that you would never expect it from.

I was riding with this lady I had just met in my hiking group who was trying to navigate some really bad ass traffic in Santa Fe caused by a Festival Parade event.

This lady was one of those take things in her own hands kinda ladies which I totally respect and we were having a good ole time just bullshitting about Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

And we were having to do some detouring along some back streets to get around the traffic jams and at one point, this lady was trying to back up and this guy in an Xterra was crowding her making a turnaround difficult.

I could tell she was getting a little irritated but she'd been dealing with this shit traffic and detours for like 30 minutes so I didn't think anything of it.

Then this lady just lets go with an "I wish this Fucker would get off my Ass!"

My head snapped around at her like I'd been slapped and I just smiled and thought "Right On!  I like this lady even more now!"

In another totally different circumstance with a totally different lady which I know to be like a Princess Socialite from the East Coast - probably one of the nicest, most proper ladies I have ever talked to - we were dancing and she was telling me about this experience she had with a guy that she was dancing with.

She said she didn't like to dance with this guy cause he liked to "grind".

I pretty much knew what she was talking about but wanted to see where this "proper" lady would go with it so I played dumb - which most of the time is not too hard for me - and asked her....

"What do you mean by "grinding""?

And she just looked at me really straight faced and said.....

"You know - like fucking with your clothes on."

Did I mention I like Women that Cuss?

What Happens when Outback Willie comes to call?

This is a post written based on several experiences I've had over the last couple of years dealing with how I interact with the World around Me and the People in it.

It could have any of the following titles, because all of the word bites below apply to my experiences:

          - When Truth and Consequences come to visit, the Shit Hits the Fan!
          - If you don't want a Solution..... Don't Tell Me Your Problems!
          - If it's Broke and You DON'T want it fixed - Don't Tell Me about it.
          - I am a Catalyst for Change.
          - People don't want to have their Lives exposed!

Let me provide some context for this post.

It's pretty obvious by reading this blog that I am not a "normal" person.  

In fact, I have actually classified myself as being a "fringe" person -

The way I think, the way I relate to others, the physical way I conduct my life, my priorities, perspectives and approaches would not be considered "mainstream".

And that's OK with me, because in a nutshell, I have come to the conclusion that the majority of the World has got it all Wrong...

And I've got it Right.

May sound egotistical, pompous, arrogant.... and I guess it is.

But the reality is when I look at how 90% of the people I come in contact with conduct themselves and their lives, I see...

Chaos... or at least Behavior, Actions and Results that are not conducive to a Happy and Healthy Life and the sad part about it is they are pretty much clueless about it.

It's not just my opinion - it is exemplified and demonstrated by what the World says and does and how they Act and Look.

So - If  and When by Chance or Design, My World comes into contact and exposure with the Members of the Real World for any meaningful length of time, which I will define as 3 days or more, there tends to be an Exchange of Information - either Expressed or Just by Observation - that makes the Real World step back and say....

Holy Shit - Where did this guy come from?

Invariably, the 2nd thing that happens is that People wanna start telling me their problems - which is great - I have no problem with that.

Well - I have no problem with it just as long as they want some help with their problems.

If you're one of those people who just wanna bitch about your miserable life and not do anything about it, then you're barking up the wrong tree.

Because, at this point in Life, I have faced many of these problems and solved them and while my solutions may not be applicable to everyone, the knowledge and experience gained in dealing with them, has some Real World value.

And frankly, I do not possess the ability to be in a fucked up, chaotic or distressing environment for more than a day or two and not start trying to fix it.

It's just not in my DNA.

So if I come to visit or spend any time with an individual or group, they get a view of how I live my life and how I do things and what I think about certain subjects and almost invariably, there is a Significant Gap between What I Do and Think and How I Conduct Myself and How they do things.

Because in the end analysis, Life is all about Truth.

It's about being Honest with Yourself first - Assessing Who, What and Where You Are at Time = 0, Right Now - and figuring out what the Holes in your Life Game are and working to close those gaps, i.e. Improve Yourself.

If you're into that kind of thing.... Which I am.

And let's face it we all have Bad Habits.

The Problem is that Bad Habits or an Unhealthy Lifestyle or Bad Relationships or Bad Behavior regarding in-laws, out-laws, Money, Eating, Exercise, Careers / Vocation.... you name it....

Are hard to correct.

We get used to doing what we're doing and we think We Got the World by the Ying Yang.

And then somebody who's doing it better steps into the Room and We go....

"Shit - I thought I was a Big Fish in this Pond but what I really am is a Big Fish in a Little Pond".

And before you start thinking that I'm saying that the World oughta do it all my way and that I have no gaps in my game, let me just say that is not the case.

I have a lot of things I need to work on and am continuously looking, talking, observing, exchanging information with others to try to improve - find better ways of doing things, of living a better Life, of being a better person.

I been working on my Life Holes - well - for a Lifetime.... I've closed a few and a few more have opened up.  It's an ongoing process.... Yep - it's called Life.... Like it or Leave it.... That's what it is.

The Problem is that Most People don't want to talk about their Life Holes and they damned sure don't wanna see someone doing the Life thing better than they are and they really don't want to have their Life Holes exposed.

For whatever reason, when I come on the scene for any length of time, I tend to shake things up.

Sometimes it's by just doing what I do and not saying nuttin'.

Sometimes it's because I just say - "Why the fuck are you doing that?  That's messed up!"

Sometimes it's because people tell me their problems and expect me to be some sort of counselor or good buddy or psychiatrist or something - Hell, I ain't none of those.... But what I am is a keen observer of Human Nature and a Pretty Good Judge of Character and a Damned Good Problem Solver.

You tell me your problems - I'll give you at least 2 or 3 solutions - and then I'm gone.

Yep - in the chemical engineering world, that's called a "Catalyst".

  1. a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change.
    • a person or thing that precipitates an event

I like that last definition the best.  I do precipitate events or changes.

Most of the time it's getting my ass run off but not until some serious soul searching and shit flying has occurred.

And in the end analysis, it doesn't really matter to me one way or the other.  

More than likely those fucked up people I tried to help out by telling them the TRUTH and giving them some sound, information filled, non-emotional, factual advice are just as fucked up after I left as they were before.

But at least I know I did my part to tear away the veil of ignorance, self-deception and just plain ole hurtful living and give them a clear view of what they could do to help themselves if they so choose.

It's not easy being the way I am, but nobody has ever accused me of being 2-faced or saying one thing and thinking something else.

And if you tell me your problems or ask me for my advice, it's kinda like my momma used to say.

"Be careful what you ask for.....

Cause you might get it!"

Monday, September 12, 2016

Another day.... Another 40 Power Cleans!


Snatch your ass off!

Then Clean and Dip!

9:17 Rx - Not bad for an Old Man with a New Knee!

How bout a pork rice and bean burrito bowl from Bumble Bee Baja Grill with some added tomato, basil and cilantro for a post - workout recovery meal?

Great workout - Great meal - Great day!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Long and Short on Shorts

First of all, I'm talking about shorts you wear not some financial instrument for making money in the stock market when the market goes down.

Second, this post has been made necessary by several conversations I have had with different people on the length of my workout shorts, the last of which was my Son, who is a repeat customer at this store of observations and complaints.  And worst yet, he even drug his lovely wife into the foray, commenting that she had made the same comment about my shorts.

That they are too short.

Now let me say that I have a lot to say about this subject.

Let me first remind all the fabric length naysayers out there of the fact that they are called "Shorts".

If they aren't Shorts, then they are Longs.

I mean, come on, how can you call these knickerbocker / capri looking things that guys wear that come down to their knees or below "shorts".

They're not shorts.... they're long shorts.... which in and of itself is a nonsensical description thus rendering the physical representation nonsensical.

Shorts by their very nature and description should be short.

Now let's address the practical nature of shorts and put some specifics on short lengths.

Most of my workout shorts - Under Armour, Adidas and Nike - are 7" shorts.  That refers to the length of the leg from the inseam aka crotch.  I have some 9" shorts also, but most of my workout shorts are 7" shorts.... for a reason.  Incidentally, "running" shorts are shorter than 7" and I don't wear "running" shorts.

First off, I sweat a lot when I work out.  One of the reasons I moved to Santa Fe so I would sweat less while working out.

So ideally I want to stay as cool as possible while working out and have as little sweaty fabric clinging to me as possible cause let's face it, I don't like sweaty fabric clinging to me, so the less fabric the better.

Basically, the least amount of clothes I can wear working out, the better off I am.

Also, I have found that longer shorts when sweaty not only make me hotter (and I'm not talking that kind of "hot", I mean temperature "hot"), but the sweaty longer shorts (there's that long short thing again), actually impede my movement.... Yep the clingy fabric keeps me from bending my legs as easily during squatting, lunging or dynamic leg movements like running, jumping rope, etc.

Simply stated - longer shorts are harder to work out in.

So there's 2 really practical, functional reasons - Heat and Ease of Movement - why I wear shorter shorts.

My son and I got engaged in this short debate which was actually a long debate about a week ago and I just flat out asked him....

"What's the fucking problem with my 7" shorts?  I mean, seriously, what are my 7" shorts showing that is so revolting, repulsive or indecent besides an extra 3" of my leg above my knee?"

I mean, really, it's not like my dick is hanging out below the shorts, cause that ain't gonna happen.

And as I pointed out to him, my shorts don't show or reveal any more of my manhood than my skinny jeans which cover my whole leg obviously.

And you know what, he didn't have an answer.... he couldn't tell my why he was so against my "short" shorts.

To make this short talk even longer, I was discussing an upcoming hike that was gonna be followed by a dip in the hot springs of Ojo Caliente with a friend of mine who was going on the hike.

And she said, be sure and bring a bathing suit for the dip in the pool to which I responded....

"No problem, I'll just wear my workout shorts that I hike in".

To which she responded, "Oh no, you have to wear a bathing suit".

I said "But my workout shorts are a bathing suit... they have inner netting in them... that's what makes a bathing suit".

"Nope - Workout shorts are not a bathing suit" was her response.

And about that time, the bells and whistles started going off like when I used to have these sort of stupid arguments with my 2nd wife and I realized I was dealing with another one of those people that was....

Often Wrong but Never in Doubt.

And I just shut up.

So not only do I wear too short shorts but I don't know what a bathing suit is either.

Oh well, I guess there's more important things in life than short shorts and shorts that aren't bathing suits.

I'll focus on those things and just workout and swim in my short shorts.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Let me introduce you to my Vice Principles!

I know I know - another twist on words but what are words for if not for twisting.

The inspiration for this post has been a while in the making because I am a veritable expert on vices having mastered the operation and optimization of many for many years but the trigger point was a conversation I had with one of my hiking companions who, during a conversation up a rather steep section of trail, asked me if I had seen the new series "Vice Principals".

I told him I had not but the light bulb went off for the title of a blog post dealing with Vices.

So let's talk about Vices - Not Bench Vises, Not Ad-Vices, Not Miami Vices....

But rather Your Vices or should I say....

My Vices.

The key with Personal Vices is just like everything else that challenges you in Life.

You have to first identify them for what they are and then figure out what to do with them.

For me, the response is fairly simple....

I Embrace My Vices and Manage Them!

First off, let's quit beating around the bush and just make a list of my vices:
  • Coffee
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Food.... Ha - Gotcha! You probably thought I was gonna say Firearms!
  • Extremism - Hang on.  Is that a Vice or a Characteristic or Personality Trait?  Geez - who'd doing this fucking list anyway?
  • I Care Too Much - Oh Boy, are we gonna classify something like that as a Vice?
  • Pot - No I'm must kidding.  Anybody that knows me knows I'm not a pot smoker.  I once told a good friend of mine who was pushing pot as a non-prescription anti-inflammatory and painkiller that when I smoke pot, it makes me "Slow and Stupid" to which the friend said - "Well Yeah - it's called getting High" to which I responded "Well - I don't like being Slow and Stupid". I'm already Old, Slow and Getting Stupider and I don't need any help getting more that way.
So what is a Vice anyway?

  1. immoral or wicked behavior.
    synonyms:immoralitywrongdoingwickedness, badness, eviliniquityvillainycorruption,misconduct, misdeeds; More

    Damn - I see the word "Wicked" in there several times.  I don't know that I do anything wicked except maybe shitting in the morning..... that's pretty wicked.

But let me try to flesh out this vice thing a little bit anyway - Hmmmm.... interesting choice of words - Flesh.

Coffee is a good way to start on Vices cause it's what I start everyday with.

I think, like many things, something only becomes a Vice when you take it to an extreme and my caffeine consumption is probably considered excessive.

It is part of the Southern culture I grew up with.  You wake up - You have coffee.

My way of doing coffee is something I call coffee dessert.....

First of all, I make my coffee so strong that each cup is a cup of espresso and then I add turbinado sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon and half and half.

I consider Coffee and Caffeine a Tool and PED (Performance Enhancing Drug) for the go-go lifestyle I sustain.

I've been off Coffee and Caffeine (I say "been off" because it's obviously an addictive drug) for a couple of months at a time a few times in my life and all I can tell you is that I was the least productive, lowest energy, most worthless Zombie I have ever been.

So for me, Coffee is not a Vice.... it is a Way of Life.

Next, let's address Alcohol.

For a guy who's supposed to be all into health and fitness and a healthy lifestyle, the word Alcohol is probably not wicked but is definitely counter culture.

For whatever reason, I probably drink more alcohol than I should given that context.

And I have seen quite a few people in my life either drink themselves to death or come pretty close to messing up their life in a pretty permanent way with alcohol so I'll just give you my Outback Willie protocol on Alcohol.
  • First off, Alcohol is POISON!  Let me say that again..... Alcohol is Poison to the Human Body.  It does so many negative and destructive things to the human body on both a short term acute and long term chronic basis that they ought to have a Skull and Crossbones printed on every container with alcohol.  So bottom line is my recommendation is Don't Drink and Live!
  • With that said and understood, if you're gonna drink alcohol, at least do so with some common sense.
  • Here's my common sense guidelines for drinking alcohol.
  • First - Don't Drink and Drive.  Just don't do it.
  • If you know you're gonna be consuming some alcohol, consume a good Paleo-type meal - high in protein, low in sugar, moderate in fat - at least 1 hour before drinking.  Doesn't have to be a big, heavy meal, just get something healthy in your stomach.
  • Take a high potency multi-vitamin, multi-mineral before you drink.  Alcohol destroys or messes us the absorption of a lot of vitamins and minerals so might as well get some in your system before hand.
  • Drink at least 2 glasses of water before you start drinking.  You probably won't drink as much and being well hydrated will help with the assimilation of alcohol in your system.
  • Drink no more than 2 servings of alcohol in any 4 hour period and space the 2 drinks at least 1 hour apart.
  • If you start exhibiting indicators of being intoxicated - slurring your speech, having problems with balance, mood changes, etc. - stop drinking immediately and start drinking water.
  • Drink at least 2 glasses of water after consuming the 2 servings of alcohol.
  • Take another vitamin when you get home and have another light meal before you go to bed.
  • If you wake up with a headache, drink more water, take an OTC pain reliever, drink some strong coffee and get some exercise.
  • There ya go.... my sensible way of handling the Alcohol vice.
Tobacco - Wow! Talk about a Taboo subject.

Just like Alcohol, there's no 2 ways about it, Tobacco is Poison to the Human Body.

But let's face it, there's a reason why they distribute cigarettes to soldiers in every war.  It is a Performance Enhancing Drug / Stimulant and Painkiller.  Nicotine is another one of those -ines that amps you up, makes you more alert and keeps you going for probably longer than you should be.

I do smoke Tobacco occasionally in the form of really good pipe tobacco and I do have a chew every once in a while.

Which brings up another point about doing the Wrong Shit in Life.

If you're gonna do the Wrong Thing, at least do it the Right Way!

Which sounds really stupid, but it goes back to the concept of Vice Management.

If you're gonna drink, drink really good alcohol.  I like Hennessy Cognac.

If you're gonna smoke, get some really good tobacco, devoid of all the chemical additives they put in mass produced cigarettes and have some quality time with your quality tobacco.

If you're gonna eat sweets, go to a really good French pastry shop where they use high quality ingredients and have a nice dessert.

Bac to Tobacco.  I use Tobacco as a Tool to achieve a desired result.

Sometimes I'm short on sleep and I need to keep going on a project or a deliverable and I'll have a chew of some tobacco or a couple of bowlfuls of pipe tobacco and Voila - I'm super sharp for another 4 hours.

Tobacco is also an appetite suppressant so if I'm eating too much, 1 smoke a day will help with that.

Whatever your Vice, Enjoy it but Manage it.

Moving on to my Favorite Vice.

Food - Anybody that knows me knows I love to Eat!

It's one of the reasons I ended up doing the Paleo diet because it does allow me to eat mass quantities of food and still maintain my weight.

My problem with Food consumption is that I like the taste of well-seasoned, well cooked food and I cook pretty well so it's kind of a self sustaining cycle.

I cook good food and I eat it.

My son tells me that if I didn't eat so much then I wouldn't have to work out so much to maintain my weight and then I wouldn't tear my body up so much.

Which is all true but it's all tied to that Core Quality of Extremism.

Call it what you will... a Vice, a Fatal Flow, a Sickness.....

Whatever the Label, taking things to Extreme is part of Who I am.

I eat a lot, I work out a lot, I sleep little, I talk fast and too much, I drink too much coffee and I care too much....

Hmmm - I care too much.

Yep - even that's a Vice if you carry it to an Extreme.

Opening Your Mind, Heart and Soul to another Person leaves you vulnerable for a Whole Lot of Love and a Whole Lot of Hurt.

For me it's not an Option and it's really not a Vice.

It's a Risk that's worth the Reward.

So when Somebody gets me, they get all of me....

110% - 150 mph - All Day Every Day.

Probably one of the reasons People don't hang around me for long.

I wear them out.

So what's the Takeaway from this little bit of Ad-Vice.

Vices make us Who We Are, What We Are and are likely Woven into the Tapestry of Our Lives.

Accept Them, Enjoy Them and Manage Them.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

1 hour homemade chicken soup! It'll cure what ails you!

Whether you're looking for a lean and healthy all-in-one meal or need some "Jewish Penicillin" to get over that lingering cold or flu, here's the way Outback Willie does Chicken Soup!

As in everything, start with the Best Ingredients.

Here's my supporting cast!

Quarter and season the chicken with salt and pepper and my favorite spice mix of Hot Madras Curry Powder, Garam Masala, Cumin, Turmeric and Allspice.

Get the pot smoking hot and sear the seasoned chicken on both sides till it's brown.  That sears the seasoning to the chicken and seals in the juices.

Meanwhile, back at the cutting board, prep the "hard veggies" - sweet onion, peppers, and carrots.

Remove the chicken, deglaze the pot and all the goodies left in it from searing the chicken with a few glug glugs of a good white wine.

And then throw the prep'd veggies in and roll and saute for 5 mins.

Add the chicken back in and add a carton of organic chicken broth.

Throw in the "soft" veggies - squash, zucchini and baby bella mushrooms.

Bring everything to a boil for at least 30 mins and then remove the chicken.

Remove the skin and debone and cube and season the chicken.

Return the chicken to the pot and add chopped cilantro, basil and a 2 handfuls of kale.

Add water as needed to create as much broth as you want - I added 1 additional cup of water and stirred everything together and boiled for 15 more minutes.

There ya go Baby..... with a backdrop of Jasmine Rice....

Have a bowl of that and it'll cure what ails you!

That's Chicken Soup Outback Willie Style!

Time to Wake Up - Drink some Coffee - Hop on the Bike and Knock out a CrossFit WOD

Got up this morning and was ready to see how bad the 2 weeks in Texas had set back my cardio and breathing.

Got the morning started with the usual dose of motivating music!

Kinda the way I felt when I woke up this morning.... Sore and Tired, 1 eye open and ready to slay the Dragon!

Today's workout.

Went to my doctor agreed max of 225# for 4 easy reps on the squats and up to 60# dumbbells on the 1-arm rows.

And then turned to the 22 min time capped WOD!

Smoked that MFer just barely under the time cap.

Red-lined in the last minute trying to finish with the 2 ladies that did the WOD with me and the Praxis Owner and Head Trainer hollering at me to finish.

Was Wiped out and Totally spent but made it Rx baby!

Peddled the 5 miles back up the hill against the wind to the North side of Santa Fe.

Now that's the way to start a day.

When you do all that by 10:00 am, the rest of the Day is a piece of cake.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

I'll cross that Bridge when in it collapses under Me!

I know I know, it's a catchy and distorted paraphrasing of the common adage -

I'll cross that Bridge when I get to it.

As usual I have edited and adapted a common life axiom to fit my own life.

It actually popped into my deviant brain as I was discussing an upcoming change I was having to make regarding my current condo / residence in Santa Fe.  The owner is selling the property and has given me 60 days notice.  I was telling my daughter it was gonna be really hard to find a condo with the features, location and price I currently had.

So she asked - "What if you don't find a place to live in Santa Fe?"

To which I cleverly responded "I'll cross that Bridge when it collapses under Me."

And once I said it, I realized it's become a Life Theme of mine over the past few years.

In my line of work, working in the petrochemical industry, where there’s a lot of critical rotating equipment, there’s a lot of time and effort directed toward predicting and planning for equipment failures. 

Historical data is collected on equipment parts like bearings and seals based on operating temperatures, pressures and flows and that data is correlated with the wear on these critical moving parts so that failures / failure durations can be predicted – one of the big measures of this is MTBF – Mean Time Between Failures.

So if you can predict when a part is gonna fail, you change the part out right before it fails…. So you’re proactive vs reactive.

Hang with me here – I know it seems I’ve gone off into the Engineering / Nerd World Weeds but there is a hook so just bare naked with me.

For most of my life, I have planned, prepared and looked ahead and done everything I could to avoid mishaps and failures of a physical, spiritual, emotional, vocational and relational nature.

I used past experiences, current knowledge and plans for future events to guide my future actions.

And for the most part, I’ve failed at it.

Yep - Failed health, Failed career, Failed marriages.

So starting about 5 years ago, I tried something different.

I picked a direction, an objective and just started heading towards it, guided more by the pathways and opportunities that were provided me rather than my own coercion and convolution of future events.

Basically, I maintain a constant course until some significant data point or event causes me to alter course.

The failure of my left knee in early January was an example of that.  Even though I probably should have taken more proactive measures to have it replaced earlier, I forced the knee to fail before I did something about it.

I crossed that Bridge when it collapsed under me….. Literally!

This kind of Failure forces Immediate and Decisive Action - It is a clear indicator of the direction of near term effort and events.

What I'm talking about here is a very reactive way of conducting life which is very counter culture to me.

I have learned to eat more instinctively – eating what my body wants and only when my body wants it.

Working out is the same way.  I continuously go where my body tells me to go – to PIYO, on a bike ride, to CrossFit, hiking, dancing….. It's an eclectic mix of hard core body blowing activities and milder activities of stretching, joint preservation and mixing social interaction with exercise.

I haven’t looked for Work…. Work has found me and forced me to respond to it.

I have lived alone and haven't looked for friendships or relationships but have responded to them when they have made themselves apparent and available.

I’ve stayed in Santa Fe because there has been no significant driving force to get me to move elsewhere.

In almost every aspect of Life, I am forcing Change to make its case, to overcome the inertia of the status quo, to force me to address it through a Real Time vs Predicted Failure….

Through Collapse of the Bridge beneath me.

There’s a lot of proponents in Santa Fe of the “Just Let Life Flow” approach.

I’m not sure I will ever adopt this perspective on Life. 

My Life Water tends to Crash vs Flow.

I prefer to think of my Life as a Wide Open Sprint through a Minefield or better yet across Mined Bridges where the trick is to get through and across to the other side before it blows up beneath me.

You cover more ground that way.

It's kinda like when I asked my Total Knee Replacement Surgeon, Dr Gregory Stocks, what would happen if I "broke" my new left knee.

He simply responded....

"I'll fix it".

Running to Failure is an Option - like Running Towards a Fire instead of Away from it.

And for me it's the Option I've chosen.