Friday, September 29, 2006

Straight, Slim and Thirty-Two

Yep, the title says it all. Those are three things I never thought would describe anything about me, but I was wrong. Way wrong.

I wore my new 501 jeans to work again today, only to be told by several people that the pants were still too big. It's flattering to hear that, but I thought wearing 34" pants right now was good enough. Apparently, not even close.

So, after work, my friends Suzie and Brandy took me clothes shopping. Our goal was to find me a pair of low-riser jeans. Personally, I didn't think it was going to work out. Again, I was wrong.

After trying on several pairs of jeans that were at least $175 each, I was starting to give up hope. They each fit well enough on the hips, but the waist was too big on some and the length was too long on all of them. And then we headed to the Levi store. Things there were much better, indeed.

The salesclerk gave me the 514 jeans, and I tried on the size 33" waist. I thought they fit, but Suzie and Brandy insisted I try the smaller pair. I did, and I was surprised to find that they fit even better. They were both so encouraging and so sweet. They know I still feel like I am 30+ pounds heavier and much bigger, so they say all the right things to get me to try on clothes that actually fit.

So, I bought my first pair of jeans that are labeled "Straight, Slim, Thirty Two." Wow. It felt so good to buy the smaller jeans that I added a cool new shirt, too.

I am now set for dancing tomorrow night!













Store Wars

This post is a bit earthy and liberal for some of you, but it is what it is. Actually, it is more a shameless promotion for a flash movie. But it's funny, clever, original, and not really political. That has to count for something, right?

Every now and then I run across something that makes me think, "how twisted are these people?" And then I think about how much fun they must have been having when they created this. This movie is incredibly clever. The pictures show the characters, but you need to watch the video to get the full effect.

Check out Store Wars: The Organic Rebellion. The click PLAY. And make sure your speakers are turned on.

May the Farce be with you!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Old Dog, New Tricks

So to celebrate nearly a year of blogging, I am shaking things up here a bit. It wasn't exactly rocket science, but I decided to change the look of the blog. Now, I have a little more room for text running from side to side. More importantly, though, the archives are now much easier to view.

I like it.

Surrounded by Beauty

Maybe it's the gay thing. Maybe it's that I'm so darn charming and fun. Who knows? I'm not sure exactly how I get so lucky, to be so often surrounded by beautiful women. I just know that the friends I have make my life so much more interesting.

This is my friend Brandy and I, celebrating my birthday in January 2005. She even loved me when I was fat. Now that's a great friend.


Of course, being out with Brandy and our other friend Buck was certainly a motivating factor in my decision to get back in shape. You try standing next to these two. Argh!


And Brandy was there again to celebrate my graduation from college. (I was the commencement speaker, too. Not bad, eh?) Pictured with us is my other friend, Sonya. She is as smart and fun as she is sexy. Some women really do have it all!


And another picture with Sonya, at the Mud Run last June. What's not hot about a sexy woman who likes draft beer?


Brandy again. That chick can stop traffic... in a good way!


And I am happy to say that the world is full of beautiful women, and I am lucky to count so many of them as my friends. I'm definitely gay, but who doesn't love looking at hot blonde chicks?

John Jim-Bob and Joel Ray-Bob

It's scary, really, to think how life could have turned out. These hats - complete with mullet wigs - were left at my house from our White Trash Party. Seeing Joel and I in them, though, makes me realize how close we all are to exploring our not-so-pretty, not-so-smart sides. Yikes.

I blame Joel.

Date Night - Turf Supper Club

<-----The menu (mostly steaks and cocktails)

Last night was Date Night, and it was my turn to choose a place. I found a totally cool local bar and grill... literally, a grill. It's called the Turf Supper Club, and they have a big grill inside where you cook your own steaks. Well, actually, I made Ric cook my steak (of course!), but he likes being King of the Grill guy.

The place was a lot of fun, but I imagine it gets quite crazy when the restaurant is full. The grill is good size, but not nearly big enough for all the people that fit inside.

After dinner, we wandered over to Pec's for a beer and some Padres' baseball on the big screen. It was a heartbreaker game, with the Cardinals pulling out the game with a shot that rocked the stadium. Ack. It was terrible. After that (damn you, Pujols!), I was ready to call it a night.

Not the most exciting date night, but we enjoyed it. It was nice to chill out over a lazy dinner and a few beers. Next week will be more of a romantic evening out, but sometimes you just want to be a couple of guys with steak, beer and baseball. (Wow. I sound like a lesbian.)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Ric on God and religion

(Ric posted these comments to my blog, but I think they are important enough to put up on their own.)

Just see the world with all its life forms dependent on one another. Just the removal of one species throws the others into extinction. I can't believe that all of this is accidental. The odds are just against it.

How practical is it that if you were trying to build a watch you would find all the parts and exact fitting pieces already made in one place? Now even if by some grandiose miracle you did happen to come across them, you collect them and put them into a sealed box. You shake that box and open it to see if all the pieces have come together to create a complete watch. Do it again and again and again... no complete working watch. Only pieces getting worn down and becoming more useless.

In order for life to exist and have a world to support it there had to have been a "maker." It is too complex to just happen on its own.

I believe in God. I think religion is basically a business. Religion is a way to get control of people through fear and promise of immortality for monetary gain and political and social power. It's also a great way for people who are lazy or tired not to think. They just believe what someone else tells them and they will be "saved." They don't have to be responsible for their beliefs or actions if they rely on a pastor or pope or spiritual leader for their actions.

There is a God. There are people who will take advantage of the belief in God to make religion about hate, greed self-interest and power. And there are people who just marvel at the world as it was made and try to be thankful by giving back instead of just taking.

(And that was followed by this, more of Ric's opinions. I share them because, having graduated from a Baptist College - Biola - with a degree in theology, his thoughts on this subject matter.)

I donÂ’t like talking about religion and I am not usually very vocal on much. I do believe in looking into things however.

The Bible is made up of many books or letters. There are many more books and letters out there that were discarded for one reason or another as un-inspired and not put into this collection of old and new testaments. Who made this collection? Why did they chose these books and letters over others? What gave them the right to say this is of God and that is not?

If you look at who made the grouping you will find that it was collected to insure the beliefs and values of leaders of the day. You will also find that the Bible has changed as it has been passed down to fit beliefs that scribes (the Xerox machines of their day) held. There are sections in our modern Bible you will not find in the original texts (ie. Dead Sea Scrolls). They have been added along the way.

Next there is it idea of how to take the Bible. Do you take it literally or figuratively? If you take it literally than Proverbs 23:13: Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. You should beat your children with a rod if you donÂ’t want them to die.

Or Deuteronomy 22:22 If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman. Leviticus 20:10 And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbor's's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. I guess churches should be rallying for the death penalty for adultery.

Or Deuteronomy 33: 28 &29 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.

If you opt to take it figuratively than how do you take Leviticus 18:22 "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination." This is one of the passages that has been used against gays as literal as one can get.

But, if Jesus would have wanted us to have a Bible maybe he would have written one, or a book or even a letter. No such thing exists. People find it easier to have set rules and laws instead of just love and feeling and acting on what is right. If you have something written that is from God that you can twist to fulfill your own hate and greed than a Bible works out great. Personally, I think that is why God didn't give us a Bible or have Jesus write one. Instead he gave us a heart and a mind and a soul to find Him.

More on Religion

The discussion of religion continues amongst my group of Marine Corps friends. It's interesting to read what people share about their faith and their spirituality, and I do make a conscious decision to respect everyone's opinions.

Beyond the safety and openness of these online friends, though, the discussion of religion and spirituality is usually more divisive and polarizing. People need to believe that they are right, and any flexibility or concession to another's beliefs is viewed as a sacrilege.

A friend sent me this quote, and it has long been one of my favorites:

I contend that we are both atheists, I just believe in one less god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all other possible gods, then you will know why I dismiss yours.

Stephen F. Roberts

While I subscribe to the more typically agnostic view of things spiritual, I understand exactly where this quote is directed. One of the primary tenants of an organized religion is its superior attitude towards any other. And the proof of this superiority? The same documents accepted on faith as part of the religion.

For example, for most Christians, the Bible is the Word of God. As such, we should believe everything that is written in it. And how do we know it is the Word of God? Because it says so. One truth is based on the other and vice-versa. Now, I don't presume to tell Christians that they are wrong. I am just bothered that they feel the need to tell non-Christians that they are wrong. I do understand that witnessing is a part of their religion, though. So it's a no-win for me. I want to respect their beliefs, but does doing so mean I am obligated to listen to their preaching?

I hold the same thoughts about other religions. They act as if only they have the answers. None of them will concede that we may not have any clue at all. And their arrogance fuels their actions. Those who don't agree with them are somehow less and should be treated as such.

I don't know the answers. I believe that there are people of all religious and spiritual walks of life that contribute to the overall joy of my existence. They give to their fellow man, they treat others with respect and kindness, and they make the world a better place. I choose to believe that, regardless of which religious belief turns out to be correct, the actions of a man say far more about a man's convictions than do his words.

Discussing this with a buddy, he offered his own opinion. It was so succinct, so simple, and so mirroring of my own that I had to add it here to this post.
We're all searching the Light. I don't think that Light is all under one roof, or even under any roof, so to speak.
As for me, I will hold to the Unitarian Universalists. They believe that "service is our prayer," and it is through our actions on this earth that we are best able to honor creation. Be it from science, magic, or divine intervention, we are here for a time and should make the most of it by giving, loving, and accepting.

(Of course, as a proud American and former Active Duty Marine, I also believe that I must be willing to fight when necessary to defend my right to worship as I please. But that is another discussion.)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Religion and Faith

A friend asked a group of us today if we believed that a good person, living his life as a good, honorable man, would still go to Heaven if he didn't believe in God. This was my response to him.

I remember years ago, kicking around the great questions of life. I thought of the most extreme example possible. I imagined Mother Teresa, at the end of her long life, surrounded by those who had followed her for so long. Before she passes, she smiles and says, "you know, I should tell you that I have never really believed in God. I just wanted to do so much to help so many, and I knew that would be the best way to get others involved. I'm sorry, but I am comfortable and at peace knowing we have done so much for others in this world." Then she dies. Turns out, though, she was wrong. There is a God, and he has more than a disapproving glance for her at the Pearly Gates.

Now, at this point, my question. Would God turn her away? She did everything in her life as God and Jesus would have her do, but she didn't believe in God. Some say that it is only in the belief in Jesus that man shall enter the kingdom of Heaven. Others believe that service should be our prayer, and our actions speak far louder than our words.

It was usually about this time that my head exploded from all of the contemplation. Now, as an older and (hopefully) wiser person, I find myself much more at peace with not knowing. I try to live my life as a good person, giving more than I take, helping when I can, and trying to leave things a bit better for my having been involved with them. Lofty goals, true, but at least I always have something to strive for.

But am I assured of an eternity in Heaven? No. None of us are. None of us even know for certain that such a place exists. If we could know without a doubt, we wouldn't need faith. Is it really possible for any of us to know the one and only salvation? Buddhists and Christians and Muslims all feel confident that they are on the right path spiritually. Who is one man to say that another is wrong?

So I am completely and totally without judgment on this one. I say, good luck to any of us who are trying to be more each day than we were the day before. And for now, that is enough for me.

You say you're supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense. I don't have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist. I can love the people who hold false opinions but I don't have to be nice to them.
Pat Robertson (Fundamentalist Christian minister)

Mature or Immature?

Someone from my past has resurfaced. We were friends many, many years ago. We parted on terrible terms. Her actions at the time stunned me, and what I felt was betrayal was my last memory of her.

Fast forward to present day. We reconnect via email, but only through other friends. She emails me a "hey, how are you?" note, and I ignore it. Weeks pass and there is no more direct contact. Finally, I send her an email explaining how angry and hurt I am, and I ask for an explanation and an apology. I get it. She apologizes completely, without spin or excuse. She takes responsibility for what she said, is truly sorry for it, and hopes I can forgive her. And just like that, I do.

I am surprised by a couple of things. One, I really wasn't expecting an apology. My email to her was more a personal thing, a chance to finally tell her how hurt I was. It was sent without expectation. So her immediate and heartfelt apology surprised me. The other surprise was how quickly I was able to forgive her and let it go. And not just in a "forgive her, but still harbor resentment" way. I mean in an "honest, feel better inside, glad to be able to finally let all of this negative emotion go" sort of way.

I know this whole thing says something about me, but I am not sure which way to go with it. On one hand, I feel very mature. I communicated honestly, explaining how I felt. When she apologized, I accepted it. Period. On the other hand, I have to wonder... did I really need the apology to let it go? Or was this just one more situation where I needed to be right? If I was truly ready to just let it go, why did I need her to say anything?

So, it could be either/or. I think it's a sign of maturity on my part. And not just because I accepted her apology. I think the maturity is more demonstrated by my realization that, given different circumstances, I could very easily have been the person doing the mean, hateful thing. More than that, I have been guilty of comparable betrayals. I have been the one in the wrong. Accepting her apology is a way of forgiving myself, too.

I know this does not absolve me of my own wrongdoing. I have tried to make amends to those I have wronged in the past, but there will always be mistakes and atonement for me. All I can do is try to be better today - to myself and to others - than I was yesterday.

So, yes, my vote is that this situation is a sign of maturity... for her and for myself.

And I was going to end this entry with one of those touchy-feely quotes about forgiveness, but this one from Emo Phillips made me laugh out loud. I decided it was as good as any other.
When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realized that the Lord doesn't work that way. So I stole one and asked Him to forgive me.
- Emo Phillips

Like the Wind, but Faster

My goal is to get a little faster every week.

Last week's results? 10k in 57:45 and 6.4 miles in 60 minutes.

Today's results? 10k in 54:45 and 6.71 in 60 minutes.

Yep. Every week, a little faster.

Go, Red, Go!

Monday, September 25, 2006

America the Shallow?

I logged on to MSNBC this morning to check the news headlines, and this is what I saw:



The article is all about the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan. It's an important article. Of course, if you are reading Newsweek anywhere else in the world, you will know the article is important because it is the cover story. In America, though, the cover story is about famed photographer Annie Leibovitz. (The pictures on the left side show the covers of the magazine as it appears across the world.)

Is it any reason that Americans are less informed than our worldwide peers? Our magazine editors realize that we are more likely to purchase a magazine if a celebrity photographer is on the cover than we are if there is some "boring old war."

Compliment

I was chatting via email with a friend of mine, and she paid me the nicest compliment.
I love being with you. It’s always a little reminder of who I really am.

That is one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me.

Iraq and the War on Terror

As many of us have long suspected, and the Bush administration long denied, the war in Iraq has made this country less safe.
  1. In April 2006, Sixteen US spy agencies created the NIE - National Intelligence Estimate - and it reports that the occupation of Iraq has hurt the US efforts against terrorism, has "... made the overall terrorism problem worse."
  2. The report was provided to the President in April, but the President has continued to mislead the American People, claiming that "America is safer."

The details are all available here -
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-intel24sep24,0,2161892.story?coll=la-home-headlines

The bottom line? We had a legitimate and urgent need to go after the Taliban in Afghanistan. The world understood and the nation supported the war against terrorism. We were, in fact, making the world a safer place.

But, George W. Bush and his administration blew it. They took a noble, honorable mission and made it political, financial and personal. We need look no further than our own White House to find those responsible for the mess we are in right now.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Laziest Post Ever

It's a beautiful Sunday morning, and I was going to post pictures from my weekend so far. But, my buddy AJ beat me to it. So, courtesy of AJ’s blog, I get to post these two links and get out and start my morning bike ride early.

Padres Game, Friday Night

John’s ALC 5k, Saturday Morning

Thanks, AJ!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Go, Red, Go!

I have mentioned this before, but I am so proud of it that I will say it again. Ric made the coolest webpage for me: Go, Red! Go! This is where he is helping me with my physical fitness goals by tracking my progress.

And one thing I just noticed today, looking at the page... I see that I am now halfway between my lowest weight (150 in the Marine Corps) and my highest weight (218 in January 2005). It's really encouraging to know that, while it took me seventeen years to put all that weight on, it has only taken me less than one year to lose half of it.

Thank you, Ric, for the great webpage. It totally makes up for all of the late night cheese turnovers you make for me. And to be fair, he tries to sneak into the kitchen and cook for himself, but give me a break. The smell of cheese cooking on the stove wafts through the house, and I am powerless to resist. So, I let myself enjoy a late night snack from time to time. No one's perfect!

Ric's thoughts about Fall

My husband, Ric, is definitely a summer person. He prefers long days, sunshine and vacations to the cooler weather of the fall. Still, the season isn't all bad. I asked him for his thoughts on the upcoming season, and this is what I got.

Welcoming Fall

Despite my trepidation about all I am reading in the news these days, I am trying to focus on the changing of the seasons. Today is the first day of Fall, and it actually feels like it here in San Diego. It was 65degs this morning, overcast and chilly with a cool wind blowing. I walked out to the car in my gym clothes - sleeveless shirt and shorts - and couldn't wait to turn the heat on in my car!

If winter is slumber and spring is birth, and summer is life, then autumn rounds out to be reflection. It's a time of year when the leaves are down and the harvest is in and the perennials are gone. Mother Earth just closed up the drapes on another year and it's time to reflect on what's come before.

Mitchell Burgess, Northern Exposure, Thanksgiving, 1992


So this is the season of reflection. The act of writing this blog encourages that, since I am so often trying to explain what is happening in my life and how it shapes (is shaped by?) by my thought processes. But I will make an effort over the next few months to be more aware of my actions, my words, and my thoughts.

There is a time for everything, and this Fall is the time for me to gather close to those I love and those who love me... to cherish family and friends... and to complete my journey to 40. To all those reading, I say "thank you" for coming along with me.

October Surprise – War with Iran

Like many others in this country, I am worried about nearly everything that our President touches. Pick an issue – national security, global warming and the environment, education, economy, civil liberties, healthcare – and I believe that any impact from this administration will be negative. At the moment, there is one thing that worries me more than anything else: war with Iran. Yes, I said Iran. I worry that this President is going to use Iran as a way out of Iraq.
  • We are stuck in Iraq, and the American people are quickly losing patience with the situation.
  • Any pullout from Iraq will look like defeat for the President.
  • “Fear” is the only card the Republicans can play this election.
So what does that mean? I think the President is looking for a reason to move his selective “Global War On Terror” from Iraq to Iran. Using the same crap lies about imminent threat that he used for Iraq, the President finds a way to justify air attacks on Iran. Of course, because this Iranian threat is so horrible, our President has no choice but to redirect troops and equipment there. And there it is. The reason he needs to get out of Iraq. “No, no, we aren’t retreating. We just have to focus our resources on the larger threat.”

Think I am the only one this paranoid? Hardly.

Conservative websites claim Rove has been promising GOP insiders an 'October surprise'

War Signals?

Déjà Vu on Iran?

And this, from the April 2006 issue of the American Conservative magazine.

There are so many others beginning to voice this same fear, liberals and conservatives alike. A search on Yahoo! for "October Surprise" and "Iran" reveals newspaper editorials, magazine articles and television appearances forecasting the same thing.

My advice? Contact your Congressmen and Senators. Tell them that you do not support our country picking the next fight while we are still struggling to clean up the mess from our last one. Email your friends and ask them to do the same. We cannot let this administration drag us any further over the abyss.

And if this President takes us into war with yet another country, and we as Americans allow it, we have only ourselves to blame.

Feeling Good

I used to hate casual day, because my jeans were stretched nearly to their breaking point. I had no cute shirts to wear, because everything had to be cut to wear on the outside... no room to tuck anything in.

Well, that was then and this is now. I am feeling good on Fridays, and I am ready to run all over town and buy more really great outfits.



Yes, there are definitely benefits to working out every day!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Football, Priorities and Accomplishments

I just read this at ESPN.com.
Outside The Lines

On Monday the Saints will be marching in. A place that once hosted numerous thrilling Super Bowls and NCAA Championships served temporarily as a refuge for the homeless, symbolizing the suffering of Hurricane Katrina just over a year ago.

However, $185 million later, the Superdome is ready for the return of the Saints, nearly three months ahead of schedule. OTL First Report (ESPN 3 p.m. ET) takes a look at how 850 workers brought the Superdome back from the brink of extinction making it a symbol of hope for a city that desperately needs it.

I have conflicting opinions about the dome. It's important to the city of New Orleans that visitors return, bringing much needed tourism money. It's also importantly symbolically, that residents of the city see that there is work being done and they have not been forgotten. And, perhaps most importantly, the Saints of New Orleans are an important part of the city and New Orleanians love them. Football is good for the team, the town and the whole area.

The other side of the coin, of course, is that perhaps there is a better immediate use for the $185 million that went in to the reconstruction. If I were living in the conditions many local residents are, with trash piled up for more than a year on my street, for example, I would have to wonder why the money was not spent on trash trucks instead of porcelain tile for luxury skyboxes.

And one last question. The folks in charge of fixing the dome were able to do it on budget and ahead of schedule? So why don't we put them in charge of fixing the rest of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast?

Summer's End

Seems weird that summer ends today. There was so much more I wanted to do this year. But there is only so much time, and there are always other things that have to be done.

I think of Saturday morning beach dives, warm air topside and water at depth that isn't face-numbing. I think of hot afternoons at the beach, shirt off and cold beer in hand. I think of weeknight baseball games, screaming myself hoarse as the Padres squander yet another chance at the pennant. I think of road trips, long winding roads with loud music and good friends. I think of concerts in the park, the night air warm and comfortable.

So how did I do? I did get to dive a few times, but not as much I would have liked. I never laid out at the beach. Not once. The last Padres game I went to was back in Spring. I drove to Santa Barbara and then up to Yosemite, but those were more "drive to get there" trips. And I did make it to a few concerts and shows. All and all, I think I made the most of the time that I had. I connected with friends, reconnected with some old friends, and made a lot of good Summer memories that will tide me over until next year.

It's tough to be an adult and have to work through Summer. I might have a few days off here or there, but none of us get to take three months off to play like we were kids. Too bad. I would be much happier if I could leave work on June 1st, spend a whole month camping, then another month diving, then another month partying here in San Diego. Wow. How cool would that be?

Okay, back to reality. And back to work. Drat.

(Picture courtesy of Diogo Seoane)

Gays and The Military



This is The Daily Show's take on gay linguists in the military. This made me laugh out loud. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

John at Birch Aquarium

Okay, so maybe I should not be so quick to comment about Ric's photos. There were plenty of me having a bit of fun, too.

It started innocently enough, just posing in front of the art work out front.


But it all changed as soon as I got inside. A very pesky octopus snuck up on me. It wasn't my fault, I tell you. I was a victim.


I managed to find a shark cage to hide in.


But at least one shark was smarter than the cage.


At least I got one picture of me and the sunset.

Ric at Birch Aquarium

If you know Ric, then you already know that he is going to have fun wherever he goes. Birch Aquarium was no exception.

Here is the only picture you will ever see of Ric getting a little tail


And once he started, he couldn't get enough of the sea life, apparently


And here is he with the lobster. I think he finally met his match.


Here he is, in the shark cage


And finally, a picture where all Ric does is stand there and look handsome. I think this one is my favorite.

Birch Aquarium

There were so many great things to see here at Birch. These are just a few of the photos we took.

This is near the parking lot on the way in. It is one of their earlier submersibles.


This is part of the artwork out front of the aquarium.


This is a simulation of the kelp forests found off Point Loma and in the Channel Islands.


This is the shark tank out back. We were there at twilight, so the sharks were all active and ready to feed. I was glad they were inside and I was on the outside.


Hanging over the exit is this huge Great White Shark. I would hate to see that swimming towards me when am diving out in the Pacific!


What a beautiful place. I can't believe I have lived here for so many years yet never been to Birch before. Wow, what a mistake on my part!

Green Flash?

The concert series at Birch Aquarium is called the Green Flash series because the highlight of the evening is the sunset. And sometime, if conditions are just perfect, you can see a flash of green light just as the sun is setting.


I found this picture on the web. I have seen the Green Flash like this in the photo before, but we did not see it tonight from the aquarium. I am posting this so you will have some idea of what I am talking about.

We did have a beautiful sunset, though. This was the view just before the sun went down.


And the view just a bit South, towards La Jolla Shores.

Date Night - Birch Aquarium

Best date night. Ever.

Leave it to Ric to plan the coolest night out. Tonight was the final night of the Green Flash Concert Series at Birch Aquarium. What a treat. The entire place was open to the public, with the added bonus of great food and beer from Rock Bottom Brewery and a live concert by The Boogiemen.

Here I am before the place opened


And here is Ric, filling out his survey


And this is the outside tide pool area, with the band playing in the back left


And me, in the right place at the right time for a photo with the band


And this was the display out front on our way out


This whole evening was such a great time. It may be the last show of the season, but it starts again next May. Believe me, I will be inviting everyone I know to join me for another night here at Birch.

Revelations?

As many of you know, I am signed on to a Yahoo! group of Marines that I was stationed with many years ago. I had a phone conversation with one of these guys the other day, and I realized that most of them have no idea what really happened to me back in 1989... how I came to be discharged from the Marine Corps.

I have planned to write it all down as part of the "History of John," but I am not sure if I want to share it with the Marine group. On one hand, there must have been a million different stories of what was going on, and no one really knew the truth. On the other hand, it was a long time ago and shouldn't really matter, anymore.

Weird. I feel connected to the group but still disconnected, and for many of the same reasons I felt the same way back when I was on active duty. Posting the full story would be more for me than anyone, but at least I would know that the truth was told.

So, my question... is it better to revisit your past to resolve open issues, or are some things best left where they lay?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Revelations

I saw the picture below earlier today, but it was just now that I posted it to the blog that I really, really looked at it. I had no idea how much of me is captured in that photo.
  1. I usually drink a Double Gulp of Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper each day.
  2. This painting is by an artist named John Hulsey. He painted it for me after I gave him the domain www.johnhulsey.com. (Come on. It's not like I was using it.)
  3. My Mom sent me the "Follow Your Dreams" card months ago, and I still have it on my desk right in front of me.
  4. My desktop speaker. I have music playing every moment I am in the office.
  5. A framed collage of pictures of me from my Marine Corps days.
  6. A Firemen of New York Calendar. "Gee, is this guy gay?"
  7. My degree from University of Phoenix
  8. Ric made that HUGE clay mug for me, and painted it with the scuba diving flag.
  9. A picture of me skydiving.
  10. I drink water all day long from the Extreme Gulp cup.
  11. And I am a "stacker." I move files from pile to pile all day, trying to organize them... but really, just putting off the inevitable work I will have to do to them.
  12. Google image search results on my monitor. I am always Googling something. (Sorry, Andrea, but Yahoo search just feels unfamiliar to me.)


Wow. Interesting how much of the person I am is right there on display everyday to anyone who takes the time to notice.

Me. Today. At the office.


Photo courtesy of Ric.

After all that... this.

I posted photos of different hair cuts here on my blog. I asked friends and family for their opinions. I went to the salon across the street, had my "consultation" with the hairstylist, and I paid for a nice haircut. I even made an appointment for two weeks later to have my hair cut again.

As it turns out, all of that was for nothing. This morning, halfway through my workout, I knew that longer hair was not going to work for me right now. I was so hot, sweating like crazy, and all I could think was how much worse it was going to be as my hair gets longer.

So, I went right home, woke Ric up, and told him to give me a buzz cut. Yep. A buzz cut. So here it is… the new me. (At least for a while.)

Here are the before and after pics...


And a pic taken during the haircut...


And a better shot of the final look!

Shine

Music has always been important to me, but it really makes the difference when I work out. Nothing helps with mental toughness like the right tunes cranking in my ears. Sometimes, it’s something as simple as a thumping bass and high energy dance music. Other times, though, I need more. I need to connect to what I am hearing. To stay focused and shut out the voices telling me to stop, I need to play a song that will resonate with me. Today, the song was “Shine,” by the Rollins Band.

It’s an old song that has always meant a lot to me. This morning, though, it was all about the sprinting. With five minutes to go, I cranked up “Shine” and turned the treadmill up to 8.5 miles per hour. At that moment, I really did feel strong and powerful.



If I'd listened to everything that they said to me,
I wouldn't be here!
And if I took the time to bleed from all the tiny little arrows shot my way,

I wouldn't be here!
The ones who don't do anything are always the ones who try to put you down
And you could spend your entire life walking around in the nowhere land of self doubt

'Cuz when you start to doubt yourself the real world will eat you alive!
It's time, it's time to align your body with your mind, it's hero time
It's time, it's time to align your body with your mind, it's hero time
'Cuz when you start to doubt yourself the real world will eat you alive!
And you know it's true!
I'm talking to you: hero time starts right now! Yeah, hero time, yeah, time to shine, hey, hero time!

If ya think you've got 100 years to mess around: you're wrong!
This time it's real, your time is now . . . it's hero time!
Yeah, hero time, hey, time to shine, yeah, hero time, yeah!

Hard times are gettin' harder, the liars are acting strong
You better get a grip on yourself or you won't be around too long
It's hero time, hey, time to shine, yeah, hero time, yeah, hero time, yeah!
It's hero time, it's hero time, time to shine, shine, shine, shine, shine!
oh yeah! (3x)

No such thing as spare time, no such thing as free time
No such thing as down time
All you got is life time... go! 'coz it's hero time, 'coz it's time to shine
'Cuz it's time to go, go, go! yeah, hou!

When you're gone, you're so gone (2x) you've got it now, it's time to go
Hero time starts right now! yeah, aha..! ...change it!



I got grace in times of friction, I got truth in times of fiction
I've got no time for the hype. Suicide!? I'm not that type.
I got no time for drug addiction, no time for smoke and booze
Too strong for a shortened life span, I've got no time to lose!
It's time to shine, yeah, it's hero time, yeah, it's hero time, yeah, yeah!

When you start to doubt yourself the real world will eat you alive! yeah!
You could spend your entire walking around, coward: or you can get up!
Get up, get up, get up, get up! it's time to shine! yeah...


Henry Rollins