Monday, August 30, 2010

Blogging from the porch 8/30

I'm going to see how this fits, we have a small porch here at the townhouse. It's not much but it's an area to sit outside.

Since I have my anti-social moments and many of the neighbors come out fairly often, it gives me something to do that hopefully makes me seem less anti-social during those times when I would prefer to just not talk.

Spelling errors and grammar will be bad on these, as I'm doing them from my phone. The iPhone has a wonderful tendency to auto-correct at times too, which should
make it interesting.

Day 1 is in the books,
morning started out a bit rough, but I settled in during the evening. Even got a brief emotional high, when my inner voice decided I needed a boost and started floating the phrase, "I've got this one" through the conscious today. Actually it floated the phrase "I've got this one, bitch" through my head, but I thought that would be too weird to put down and too time consuming to explain.

I did get to talk with one of my neighbors next door for a bit, nice guy, younger guy who lives with his wife and kids in the unit next to ours. Definite positive points for having a good direct neighbor.

Anyway, that's the view from the porch for the night.

- michael

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sad news for Washington National's Strasburg

It looks like Stephen Strasburg is going to need Tommy John surgery, which means this year and next year are essentially done for him. As a sports fan, I hate seeing news like this (although if Lebron really rolled an ankle, I probably wouldn't be overly upset). Unfortunately, this is a big setback from that predicted Hall of Fame career the mainstream media predicted for him. In truth, while he maybe back next year, it could be 2-3 years from now before he begins to show the skill he was exhibiting prior to the injury. That's huge hit for his career.

This is just another reason why hall of fame careers in baseball are so hard to achieve, early injuries can kill some of those dominant years pitchers need to have to have a shot at the HOF. While injury is not specifically referenced it's definitely something I was conscious of in making my warning: #3 on the Friday list

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Being true to yourself

Stories like this amaze me.

I don't even know where to begin the lunacy of a situation like this. So we'll go with my standard list format.

1. Many of us are aware that there are times when we need to compromise our principles, do something we don't like, especially when we are working for someone else. I understand that, but you also are able to reasonably estimate how far you might need to take something when you join an organization or take a job for someone.

2. Is it possible to be gay and not want same sex marriage? (although I relent there are some days all of us would vote to abolish marriage, I digress). My point is, while I disagree with the standard conservative argument against same sex marriage, I can at least (somewhat) understand their position. For someone who is gay to not only be against it, but to champion policy and public opinion against it, seems unbelievable to me.

3. You can also throw in all of my arguments for those who support laws against same sex marriages. (those hold true regardless of the sexuality of the person I'm arguing with). There are many points I could argue, but I'll keep it simple here with just one. How can you deny two people the right to try and share their lives together? I feel sorry for those that have so much hate that they can argue against it. (This doesn't hold true that make the argument that civil unions should be allowed, while I don't necessarily think it takes it far enough, in my opinion that's another level of the argument, that I think both sides would need to work out.)

Ok, rant over for the day, carry on. Ken Mehlman, thanks for amazing me on this day, it's rare that I find someone that I pity.

*Post write edit* For further reading on the subject and a far better breakdown of the issues involved here, please visit Grange's blog.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Neglected blog and updates on the move

As usual when things get hectic, the blog seems to be the first thing to go. With a couple minutes this morning, I thought it would be a good time to write up some thoughts.

The move is scheduled for this weekend, we are loading the truck here in Cleveland and Saturday and then getting an early morning start down to Columbus on Sunday to finish the move. My dining room is stacked to capacity right now with boxes and crates. I did manage to get our bed disassembled. About 5 years ago while the wife was on a trip I bought a canopy bed (she had always wanted one). Being a man, the canopy bed was a metal monstrosity and we were unsure whether the canopy would disconnect in the necessary way in order for us to remove it and just retain the bed (new townhouse ceilings are likely too low for the bed due to ceiling fan). I'm happy to report though, that I was successful and we will have a non-canopy bed in the new place. Unfortunately during some of the deconstruction, I created more tasks to complete. My particular favorite was removing the top canopy parts to the garage and putting them right through the screen door, fml. (dad for your reference, that's fuck my life :) and this is a smiley face)

The point of sale inspection by the city seemed to go well, when the inspector left, I was a bit relieved as their didn't seem to be anything crushing that would need to be taken care of. Oh, how first impressions are often wrong, upon receiving my list from the city a couple days later, I saw that the list was a bit more daunting then I had anticipated. I'll write up my thoughts on this whole ordeal, once the issue is completed (i.e home sold). While I'm fairly confident the blog remains in anonymous land, I don't want to tempt fate, with a tersely worded critique of the process and risk retribution during the process.

Otherwise, that's about it for now, I've been thinking about how I'm going to handle some of these house issues during the next couple months, and it appears that's going to mean some rather frequent trips up here to resolve, looks like I better get used to driving again.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Friday Thoughts 8/13/2010

1. One week down while I man the household at home while the wife stays with a friend until our move on the 28th. Good week so far, as I've managed to juggle the work and watching of the daughter for the whole week and have managed to do her hair everyday. For someone with none and a previous head of hair/mop that was untameable, that's a fair accomplishment.

2. While the wife is away it's always an excellent time to catch up on movies she would have no interest in. Which means action, science fiction, or any other type of fantasy movie that doesn't appeal to her. I managed to rent District 9 yesterday. I had wanted to see it last year when it was out, as the buzz on it was very good. After watching it, I'm sorry that it took me so long to get to it, as I think I have to put it in my top 10 of all time. The direction of the movie was outstanding. The documentary aspect the director started with created a chilling sense at the beginning of the movie, which in addition to the fantastic story line set the tone. By the middle of the movie the director moved to a more standard cinematic approach which was by that point welcome and necessary and the story unfolded beautifully through the rest of the story. Given the film was made on a 30 million dollar budget by a first time feature film director and a lead who had never starred in any production film before the achievement was incredible. Even if you aren't a science fiction fan, and I'm not a huge one, I would highly recommend this movie, as it uses the genre to examine very real social issues. As much as I loved Avatar, there were some issues with it that I forgave given the amazing technical accomplishment that it was. District 9 suffers from none of those issues and I'm very excited to see what director Neill Blomkamp and lead Sharlto Copley due in their next movies.

3. Who knew Dolph Lundgren had such an impressive resume? I mean really, 7 languages, a MIT scholar, and former special forces member, what the hell is this guy doing acting in crappy movies? They could have been making movies about him and his life if he had chosen to use those credentials.

4. I have a bit of a perfectionist streak in me. I took up baking as a hobby about 10 years ago and during that time have made a number of batches of chocolate chip cookies. They've always sucked. While the taste hasn't been bad, they've always flattened out to paper thin crisp cookies. I've never been able to get an fluffiness out of them. I refuse to use shortening on cookies which I know would help due to it's melting temperature being different from butter, I'm just not a big shortening fan though, as I believe it lacks taste even in the butter flavored variety and I'm not particularly fond of the thought of putting pure fat into something. (I realize it's sort of a joke since butter is just milk fat). Anyway, a couple months ago I was making some sugar cookies and since I cannot stand rolling balls of cookies and then dipping them in sugar, I decided to wrap the cookie dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it and then cut it, using Bronwyn as a second set of hands to dip the cookies in sugar. Anyway, it worked great, as chilling the dough did wonders for the puffiness. I've recently begun doing the same thing on my chocolate chip cookies and the results have been fantastic. I confess that part of my failure here was simply due to laziness as I was well aware that chilling the dough would go a long way in getting the results that I wanted. So, another lesson learned, putting aside my stubbornness allows me to achieve something I had desired.

5. Has there ever been a more perfect example of '15 minutes of fame' then the Jet Blue flight attendant?

6. Dan Gilbert who owns the rights to the Cleveland casino has made a deal with Harrah's entertainment to run the facility. ( )

7. Harrahs running the facility is both good and bad news for NE Ohio. The good news is they know what they are doing, Gilbert as a new casino owner absolutely needed big guns with experience to open the property, this will help ensure he gets off the ground running. The bad news is that Harrah's reputation is fairly bad for offering fair gaming or for area development around their properties. While I'm still hopeful that the casino will foster downtown development, the fact is in most cases it doesn't. The best I think the city of Cleveland can hope for is that the casino acts as a hub to downtown's positives. I think they have moved away from wanting a Flats location, which I think is a good thing. A hotel/casino that provides access to things like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Playhouse Square, the warehouse district, Jacob's (err Progressive) field and something like the House of Blues Cleveland might do a lot for downtown.

8. Tomorrow's the day for signing the lease at the townhouse, the home is filling up with packed boxes and it's getting to the point where day to day life is affected. Meaning, oh I need this from this drawer, oh damn I packed it.

9. The 1000 mile challenge for biking this summer was cancelled due to the move. Since we got the news that the move was on, my workout schedule has gone kaput. I did make it to 450 miles and I'll probably get another 200 or so before the weather becomes too bad. I can live with 650.

10. Advice for the day: Perception is reality. Remember that when viewing that statement there is a significant amount of value in understanding someone else's 'reality' or perceptions.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Nice job by the Plain Dealer (Hugo Boss)

I wanted to take a second and praise a recent article by the Cleveland Plain Dealer detailing the Hugo Boss plant negotiations with the union and company executives that resulted in the plant remaining open in the Cleveland area. Here is a link to the article (two part article link for second at the bottom of Part 1):

What I want to commend is the fact that they've done a nice job of actually looking at the facts of the situation and reporting them, which allows those that truly made a difference to receive credit.

The highlight of the article for me is what's not here, little mention of our politicians who jumped in front of the camera for local news as soon as the plant re-opened. Those that are mentioned are done so in the way that reflects there 'influence' was truly minimal to the situation although I'm sure important for the areas that they intervened with.

The article also does a remarkable job of painting the picture of the bittersweet world we live in today with our workers and corporations. There is no winner in a situation such as this, although our local TV news is more then happy to allow Dennis Kucinich, Sherrod Brown, or a host of other politicians the opportunity to come out the winner based on their coverage.

'Who is to blame?' and 'How did we get here?" are best left to future articles and discussions, but based on this quality reporting, maybe there is hope for productive discussions on those topics in the future.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday Thoughts 8/6

1. I caught an interesting show on Biography this week. "Aftermath" where William Shatner interviews people of interest. The episode I watched was his interview with Bernard Goetz. It was a pretty fascinating session. For those that aren't aware, Goetz is the NY subway vigilante from the 80s. A person and situation that has always fascinated me. When I have some time I hope to put some thoughts up in regards to the situation, but given the amount I have to write about it, it's likely to be awhile. For a quick recap go here: (and please remember the source is not an authority, but rather an information deposit).

2. I'm still convinced that the American people want blood for the 'Great Recession'. After watching the Bernard Goetz interview, I'm more convinced of that then ever. There are points in our history and with society where we decide that accuracy is irrelevant, that there must be blood spilled to satiate our emotions. It will be interesting to see whether we ever get 'blood' for the recession. Since for the most part none of the big companies/banks failed, I still think there is a measure of desire from the American people to see some entity experience the same level of despair that many Americans have experienced. Unfortunately at this time there aren't a lot of candidates for that spot, although if I'm the head honcho BP, I'd be concerned that my company maybe on the chopping block to satisfy the masses desire for a public execution, even though the reasons are for different things.

3. If you could pick one year out of your life to relive forever, do you have one that you'd choose?

4. This is a fairly significant military development from China. . Things like this start Cold Wars.

5. I don't think I've mentioned this before, but I'm absolutely fascinated seeing people the way some people embrace religion as they get older. The fascination comes from watching people that years ago had no religious direction or discernible traits turn into bible thumping preachers. For those that know me and read this blog and think I'm referring to you, I'm not. In my circles there aren't any like this , I'm more fascinated by the ones I've known from back in college or high school and then see their regular Facebook postings.

6. I have very little issue with religious people, it's hypocrisy that I can't stand. There are many that understand the difference. The few that don't are the irritating ones.

7. When my father was helping me re-carpet our front porch two weeks ago, he asked me about my post on being 'lucky' and what 'lucky' things were happening. I did a poor job in translating the feeling I was trying to talk about, in hindsight, I'd have posted about being fortunate rather then lucky. It fits better for the feeling. And since I know he's probably reading, an example of when things are going right, when I went to buy the rest of the carpet for the porch and needed 18x12 feet. Lowes had 18.5x12 feet left on the roll, rather then 17.9x12. That's when things are going your way.

8. The wife leaves for Columbus on Sunday, she's staying down there with a friend for weekdays over the next three weeks as she starts work and we wait for the move in day for our townhouse. I'm sure the little one is going to exhaust me over the next three weeks.

9. Tonight is one of the final 'date' nights in Cleveland for the wife and I (at least for the foreseeable future). We settled on Stancato's for dinner, a place we've become fond of on this side of town and a movie. The movie of choice tonight is Twilight Eclipse. And for those that are interested I would fall under the category of Team Edward, with my wife (sigh) falling under the category of Team Jacob.

10. Yes, I'm well aware of how I'm perceived from my statement on my Twilight preference, what can I say, I'm complex. The question you have to ask yourself though is where else can you get a twilight reference along with a brief discussion of China's new military capability. (that's a pretty short list I imagine).

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A peek inside the mind of madness

I hate the 'unknown'. What I mean by this, is I hate encountering situations I have no knowledge of. There is nothing that builds anxiety in me, like being surprised in a situation. I think this phobia is really exaggerated by my past, being a late bloomer, I felt like so many of the problems I encountered during my youth wound up being a result of not understanding situations prior to being in them.

Since I have such a high sensitivity to this phobia, I throw myself into everything I can, I read a ton, pay a lot of attention to people and situations, to the point that it's compulsive. If anything even remotely catches my eye on a news feed, I devour it. My wife tells me it's rather annoying as I come off as a 'know it all' in discussions with people. I understand her point, but I do think I manage it the best that I can. I know some people that will talk on a subject regardless of whether they have any knowledge of it. I think I'm a bit different as I really only engage in discussions with things I've read up on, it's just that I typically find that my reading is a bit more engaged then most people.

That's not the point of this post though, what I wanted to talk about was the feeling of anxiety I get when facing a new situation. Reading is fine if you want to understand something in the news or to form opinions on things, but it only takes you so far when you are faced with a situation you have little control over, or where there are multiple variables.

This move to Columbus is a situation where there are way too many variables for my liking. Add in the fact, that there are a ton of factors outside of my control and you have an anxiety level that's reaching nuclear levels.

I can't stand the fact that I can't manage the variables or that I have little to no experience with this process. It doesn't help that variables in this case mean that I either have to rely on others for help or that others have decision making authority that leaves me feeling powerless. If I haven't mentioned it before, I'm not good with either of those situations. (Ok, so I'm a bit of a control freak)

Here are a couple that are currently causing me the most anxiety.

1. Point of sale inspection by the city: We've been up and down the house and tried to identify the 'big ticket' issues that needed correcting before we had the inspector review the house and give us a full list of things that need correcting before we put the house on the market. This one's fairly high on my list of potential frustration as I view it as a huge potential risk due to the consequences of their review.

2. Selling the house. Just take a look in the news, it's not the best time to sell a house. Currently, my anxiety on this is fairly steady, as most of what I had researched and concluded has been confirmed so far in the process. The good news about that is I knew we weren't in horrible shape when it came to the house with what we owed and what we can probably get on it. This one though will continue to be a point of anxiety through the next couple months (year) or so, as we wait for the process to be completed. Fingers crossed on this one, but it's another situation I'm not in control over and although we are only 2 and 1/2 hours away from the house, not thrilled to be leaving it unoccupied as I continue paying the mortgage on it.

3. Adjustment to new city, Bronwyn in school, and wife going back to work full time. These actually aren't very high on the scale, but there is some concern here. The support network we have at home will be too far away to matter, so we'll need to adjust how we do things. The potential for anxiety here is high though, as a new job that would require regular travelling or something of that nature, will force us to break out of our standard routines. Even that doesn't bother me so much though, plenty of other families are able to manage that and I'm sure we will too.

So those are the big ones, that are hanging over my head right now. I should also point out that I have a very active imagination, so part of the anxiety that builds from these situations is due to the mind running wild. It's a defense mechanism in that if something goes differently then I anticipate it's not likely as bad as I had imagined. The good news from a defense mechanism like this, is my anxiety tends to be at the beginning of the process, and once we have the home inspection and actually put the house on the market, most of it will dissipate, as we will likely be right along the plan that I've already developed. We'll see how that goes.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Nice thing about staying busy

I tend to look for the silver lining anytime I can. There's something refreshing about staying positive, although it's not always easy to do so. We've been in full operation mode now for about a week on getting details together for the move to Columbus.

The silver lining in all of this, is I don't have to think as much as I usually would do about how different life is going to be for me or the fact that my daughter's about to take the first major step away from being our little girl.

Bronwyn's getting enrolled in pre-school after we get to Columbus. It's the right time for her to begin getting acquainted with the social aspect of school and the daily regiment of organized classes. It's also no longer practical for her to stay with me as I work from home, it worked nicely for a while, when we didn't have a baby sitter and the wife was called in for subbing, but on a daily basis, it's not the best situation for Bronwyn or me.

I view it as the first step in a progression I can't stop, i.e Dad and Mom becoming secondary in her life. I've relished the opportunity to be front and center for her and have received the affection back 100 fold. So it's not easy to give it up. Even on days that I'm working and she was home with Mom, I knew I could peak out of the office and say hello, or find her busting open my office door to tell me what's on her mind. I've known this time was coming regardless of what I do, but it doesn't make the reality any easier to face.

As I think about it, I realize that as she breaks free from home, her relationships outside of this household are going to blossom and while I'll always have a special place, it won't be the same (nor should it be).

As you can see staying busy has helped me 'forget' about this for a bit, but it's never really far from my thoughts, the other distractions just allow me to ignore "repress" it a bit more for the meantime.

I'm truly thankful though, that I've had the opportunity to be around her day in and day out. Even though I have periods where I have to travel, when I think about what my parents had to endure with commuting to work and the hours they work, I'm amazed they fit the time in they had for us. Working from home offers its frustrations on some days, but for the first four years of her life, it's been a very fair trade.