Remember Y2K? How about last year, when the world was supposed to end thanks to Mayans who didn’t think it necessary to add more days to the calendar? Something about the end of a year and the start of another one makes people a little nervous. Really it is some arbitrary day, no sun or planetary thing happens today, as far as I know, you would think it would make more sense for the end of the year fall on a lunar or solar event. Instead we stick a fork in the year and call it done, and tomorrow after the hangover subsides we begin the process of killing our yearly dreams in less than two weeks. I have decided that I will no longer set my goals for the next year on or around the end of the year. I am tired of forcing myself to resolve to things I have no intention of keeping. It is like when I went to the confessional as a kid, I had no plan to listen to my parents or be nice to my sister, yet that is what I told the priest so I could get out of there. I would rather get a set of dice one for the months and the other for the day, roll them and set that date as the day I plan the next twelve months. That is unless I want to Forest Gump my future, which seems close to what happens no matter what I plan.
Since everyone else is doing a year in review I thought I would play along. While I am willing to play along I don’t want to do the obvious things to review. Politics or Pop culture are overdone and let face it Dave Barry does the best job of slamming those so look up his year in review for a great laugh. No I thought I would do something different and review the last year of what I saw on Facebook. This is not to offend any of my Facebook friends it is to merely review what seemed to be what we all were talking about this last year. They are not in any particular order just what I remember seeing.
- Apparently I don’t love Jesus. I did not friend or like the various pages maintained by God or Jesus. There were just too many for me to click on and most did not make me feel any closer to God or serve to strengthen my faith. I did on occasion have a twinge of guilt but it passed soon after I read some of the comments.
- Another glaring mistake on my part and most of the people I know is the food we eat. I have tried to have a garden but between the animals and the hail storms the only thing we have managed to grow is weeds. While the weeds probably have more nutritional value than my hot pockets I can’t seem to get them to stick to the roof of my mouth with the same force as molten cheese and pepperoni. I love that people want to keep our food pure, I just hope it will make a difference at my local Walmart.
- Our government stopped representing us some time in the forties! Except for those few brief years when Regan was in office nothing has gone right in a very long time! I agree with most of these statements but choose not to engage in them on Facebook. Not because it might offend someone but because based on the comment sections none of these posts have changed anyone minds about who it to blame. I vote my conscience, I give to the candidates I believe in but fighting with friends and family over those decisions in public forums seems counterproductive to actually changing their minds. I guess we always need someone shouting in the wilderness!
- It was also the year of staying in touch! Never have I been so connected to my friends and family in ways I could have never imagined! The babies born, the loved ones lost, the vacations shared, new jobs praised, old ones remembered! It used to be that once a co-worker or neighbor moved on it was hard to keep in touch, not so anymore, and some of those connections netted new opportunities for me and for others. I also have a better knowledge of your families pets, from dogs to guinea pigs it has been a year for your animals as well, especially for you cat people, you know who you are!
Now that Christmas is over I thought I would share an observation I had about the day. I have noticed that depending on our age we all have a different view of the holiday. Babies up to preschoolers are the most amazed by the whole thing, everything from the tree to the presents are a wonder to this age and they make it the most fun for their parents. Simple gifts are met with glee which is good because if you had to supply something massive and expensive the kids would be out of luck. You can’t look on their face and not have some of that excitement rub off on you. When the kids get a little older some of the shine starts to wear off. It is much harder to get presents that wow the kids and many have figured out the Santa thing so the magic is gone and all that is left is the presents to make the kids excited. Once the kids are teenagers the reaction is mostly muted by the teenage angst that is a constant so gifts are met with a mix of apathy and disregard. These years can make parents want to scrap the idea and just fly off to Hawaii leaving everyone at grandma and grandpa’s. Then the grand kids come alone and make Christmas special again, but this time around you have money and time to search out the best gifts so it is even better. You get to have the glow back and you get to be the keeper of the traditions and tell stories of how your children, when they were young loved to take part, much to the joy of the new little ones. Good thing it comes back around or the whole thing might have been scrapped years ago!
I was excited to get a replacement for my laptop at work. I had an older model, good but who doesn’t like a newer one? The old model had a dock that came with it so I could put it on my desk and everything connected. I had no need to plug things like USB hubs or monitors in because it all was neatly attached to the dock. The new computer is thin so it is good for taking it to meetings and in my bag but when I want to use it with my monitors and keyboard I have to plug it is with all the garage you see in this picture. It is almost 2014, can’t we figure out how to send all these signals wirelessly? Come on! USB, Video, Ethernet, I have to connect them all! Some of this is by the choices my company has made in not investing in full wireless replacements for their network but all the others are just silly. We make the laptops smaller so none of the ports fit so I have monitors, network, and peripherals all hanging off in a rat’s nest fashion for all to see. luckily these are all low voltage or I would cause a fire. I get that everyone wants to make the laptops smaller but you can’t take away functionality in pursuit of thinnest! You have to at least give me some way to get the job done without this mess!
Tomorrow I turn 49, it is the day that the panic sets in, one more year until I am 50! I think I had plans to get a bunch of things done before I turned 50, but I can’t remember what they were. I am working on my first and only marathon in July which I will follow with retirement from the world of marathon running in silent obscurity. I’m not really planning anything big for this next year and maybe that is what the panic feelings are all about. Am I supposed to have had plans to change the world by now? Was I planning to be a mega millionaire or fly a plane around the world? None of these sound familiar so I am a little bummed I shot so low on my “by 50” goals. All I really want is to be able to make a difference in this world and be a good father and husband. Well, tomorrow I think I will sit down and make some lofty goals for the next year, but only after I have my cake!
Ever notice in beauty pageants the answer to most questions is “World Peace”? Anytime they go off script we read about it on the internet or see it the next morning or on the morning shows. Athletes are the same way, after a loss they stand at the podium and say “We just didn’t play our game today” or “The other team was really good today”. None of these people can really tell you what they really think because when they do they will get slammed by the media and everyone else. So they hire media consultants to tell them what to say, and PR people to manage what we see of them and what we hear about them neatly controlled. They have to! Their livelihood depends on the perception of who they are in the media, not who they really are. Every time I hear some actor spouting off about politics I think less of them. I don’t want to hear they believe Fidel Castro is a hero or saint; I pay you to be entertained! I do however, like to see Hollywood types giving of their time to non-profit work. The reason is politics is sticky business, high school dropouts telling me I am wrong about how the country should be run, just because they can act, tells me all I need to know about their intellectual prowess, while charity work tells me about their heart. God may not have blessed us all with the brains to run a country, but he gave us all a heart to make a difference. So when one of these stars or sports figures goes off script and starts a media storm, I tend to look for any sign that they are a person of heart. That usually tells me whether I can just ignore it and wait for the storm to pass.
In these days of everything tech I sometimes wonder how some products are still in the market place. There are classics that make a comeback like Atari games, and others that never go out of style but some things had a season in our lives and lost their usefulness or even their reason for existence yet I can go down to Walmart or Target and pick one up today.
1. A watch: I see they are trying to make a comeback as more of a Dick Tracy communicator but every device I carry has the time displayed on it and it doesn’t fall off or rip the hair off my wrist. I get that it can be a fashion statement, but not until you reach some over priced brand. They have a watch, that only tells time, by tells time I mean it shows it on the display not that it speaks, for less than a candy bar. Is anybody buying these?
2. Clock radio: I mean the clock radio that doesn’t charge anything or wirelessly connect to everything else. My new charging station sets the time by my phone every time I place my phone on it to charge and the phone sets the time by the atomic clock in Boulder, Colorado. Why would I spend the energy to figure out the crazy button scheme that will allow me to set the time and have to go around the numbers again when I pass the correct time?
3. Hand held gaming devices: My phone has a HD screen, a faster processor than my first computer and more memory than Bill Gates said I would ever need. By the time I get all that in a gaming device I have to pay more for less functionality and it isn’t subsidized by the phone carrier so I get to pay full price. I watched a movie, played Madden NFL, and checked email while waiting for a plane. If I am going to buy a separate device the only thing more I could want is a bigger screen, for that I have a tablet, with the same games and functionality.
Ladies please help us guys out this time of year! No, we can’t read your minds and yes, we really have no clue what to get you no matter how much we love you! This annual game of if you really loved me you would know what I want has to stop. You ask us what we want we will tell you. Why is that so hard? Why must Christmas be a test of telepathy or intuitiveness? I have neither of these skills if you asked me to tear down a building I am your man, ask me to shoot or blow something up, I will do it today. Ask me to wander the mall in search of the perfect thing that says both I love you and respect you, you will probably get neither! I am not saying I am stupid or that on occasion that I might pick up that you had your hair highlighted. I am saying that given the current ability for me to decipher the code that is women, you might want to give us men more than a hint if you want to get a good gift.
I would like to file a formal complaint with the workplace police. I find the lack of Christmas goodies a bit disturbing! Where are the plates of cookies baked to impress co-workers? Where are the decorated morsels of chocolate, gluten and sugar for drive by or fly over snacking? I am putting a few extra miles on the treadmill just to be able to accommodate the fantastic menagerie, yet I am having a hard time finding trays of the seasonal fair around my office! Perhaps it is the corporate health officer, you know her, the only person allowed to wear sweats to work all year-long not just on the summer staff picnic day. She runs around promoting eating healthy and exercise for your “benefit”. Really the only benefit is to the company keeping them out of trouble with some government agency, the same one who makes them put up the small print posters in the lunchroom, over not caring about their employees. Over the next couple of days if the goodies don’t start showing up I will have to file a complaint with HR over the hostile work environment being created by the wellness nurse!
Today I am as giddy as a school girl. I have spent the last month trying to repair and upgrade my Jeep. It had some parts that needed replacement but of course as I started repairing it I found other things were broken. So as often happens as I started working I got deeper and deeper into a mess. So over the course of several weeks I worked to get everything fixed and put back together till Saturday I drove the jeep out of the garage and took it to get new bigger tires. Today at work I am walking around showing the picture of my jeep like it is a new-born. Everyone who comes into my cube has to see it and anyone I know has now been shown the picture. Some of my pride is in how the vehicle now looks, it looks cool with the big tires and rims as well as the lift kit which raised it off the ground. Most of it comes from knowing I was able to get it done myself. It isn’t perfect, I broke some bolts I had to work hard to replace, but I am driving around in a car I was able to work on and make better. That is until one of the parts I put on falls off, and then I will be a little extra ticked off at myself for the goof. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen!