Tuesday, March 25, 2014

High Tension!

Last night, the family was jazzed to attend the Dallas Stars game vs. the Winnipeg Jets.  The Jets had embarrassed the Stars the last time they met, so the Stars needed to put together a good effort to remain in the playoff race.  The amazing wife somehow scored FREE tickets to the game.  The seats were in the rafters, but I didn't care. Hockey is hockey.

We get to our seats, and the seats start to fill up with Stars fans.  A few rows in front of me, a family shows up, about 12 people strong.  They mill about, getting seated, figuring out their positioning, etc.  The game starts, and we are having a good time.  It was clear to me that this family really hadn't been to a lot of hockey games, because they had the WORST timing of when to stand up and sit down.  In fact, most of them were looking at their phones for the majority of the game. They also had an apparent addiction to the concession stand, because they got up for food quite a bit, always returning with another basket of fries or a new soda.

This is where the problem started.  Every time they got up, they talked to each other.  They didn't do the talking when they were sitting...they would stand up, then poll the group about what they wanted, where they were going, etc.  Unfortunately for all of us, they only seemed to do this when the puck was in play.  Never when there was down time.  In fact, it seemed as if they knew the game so well that they planned it to stand up only when there was something interesting going on (not really, just bad timing).

About halfway through the second period (not quarter, as I had to remind my wife and daughter over and over), a man and his wife who were directly behind The Standupertons finally said something.  Apparently, the wife said "Sit your ass down!" to the mother of the group.  She was having none of that.  Some serious attitude was put on display at that point.  The Mr. Standuperton tried to resolve the situation by trying to calm some people down, but Ms. Standuperton was not interested.  She launched into a tirade about how she will "stand up whenever she wants" and that they "paid for these seats just like they did".  The situation never got to violence, but there was one point that really stuck out.

Ms. Standuperton's apparent main complaint was that the wife behind her "cussed" by using the highly offensive word "ass".  This was the crux of her argument back.  After a few back and forths, though, she said something to the effect of "this bitch don't tell me shit to do" or something similar.  At that point, I said something to everyone to try and keep the profanities to a minimum.  There were quite a few younger kids around, my daughter included.  It really diffused at this point, and everyone sat back and watched the game.  About 30 minutes later (nice response time, AAC), an usher came by and politely lectured the couple of rows that were involved.  Nobody got kicked out, nothing else was said.

Mr. and Ms. Standuperton left near the end of the 2nd period, but quite a few of the party remained.  It was a never-ending stand up fest.  Not kidding, they must have spent $300 at the concession stand, because they were just back and forth, back and forth all night long.  I just wished they would have had some better timing of when to stand up and when to sit!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Hall and Oates

About a month ago, I took the wife and mother in law to Durant, OK to see Hall & Oates.  Fantastic show, but the venue leaves much to be desired.  It is like a large metal barn with the stage at the wrong side.  They did it so they could sell more front row seats (It is at the Choctaw casino) which makes it more difficult for the sides to see what the heck is going on.

Attending a concert that you wouldn't necessarily go to yourself allows you an opportunity to people watch.  My observations led to this diatribe on Facebook:

1. If you are standing up, and no one around you is standing up, you should probably sit down, especially if the seats are on a non-elevated surface. There is one exception to this: if you are dancing, stand up, dance, and have a good time. But make sure to sell it...don't fake dance. DANCE.
2. Take a second and go back through your videos on your phone and find the footage from the last concert you attended. Unless you are in the front two rows, it probably looks like hot garbage spilled into an old diaper. Put your f*cking phone down (sorry mom, this needs emphasis). Take a picture, fine...take a short video...fine. But don't video the whole show. Videos and pictures are intended to enhance our memories, not replace them. Your memories will be of you looking at a phone screen all night...and so will the people behind you.
3. Remember that every single thing you do affects everyone else's ability to enjoy the show. Just because you don't recognize the song that is playing doesn't mean you can talk loudly to your friend during the song. Unless you are talking about the show, keep your conversations to a minimum.
4. To add to point #1, if someone in front of you is standing up, and won't sit down, realize there isn't much you can do about it. Don't spend the next 3 songs bitching about it to your wife. You are making it more difficult for the people around you to enjoy themselves.
5. Taking pictures of the video screen? Seriously?
6. Turn off the flash on your phone! Most people don't realize this, but even good camera flashes only go about 15 feet. If you are that close to the stage, you don't need it. If you are too far from the stage, it won't do you any good. Plus, your camera pre-flashes and lights up the entire section, making the experience more difficult for others to enjoy.

I sat there for three songs and listened to the guy next to me bitch about the people in front of us standing up.  He made the experience miserable for everybody, dropping F-bombs constantly.  Please don't be that guy...

Friday, September 6, 2013

Raised Right

I see lots of Facebook "memes" (I put that in quotes because people think they are memes, but aren't even close) that lecture people on "growing up right".  You know what I am talking about...

I drank from the water hose as a kid.
I went and played outside as a kid.
My mom beat the shit out of me as a kid.

I would like to say that I grew up right.  My mom taught me life lessons along the vein of "I accept people the way they are".  Sure, it frustrates me from time to time that my kids don't play outside even 1% of how much I did as a kid.  I also remember when the Nintendo came out...I wouldn't have gone outside for 5 minutes if I had owned one of those things.  In fact, I can remember going over to a friend's house and sitting in a room with 10 other 5th graders watching someone play Super Mario Bros.

Probably the best thing my mom ever did for me was refuse to buy me a video game system.  Mostly was because we couldn't afford it, but she also didn't want me spending all of my time indoors.  But there were kids who did stay indoors...and they turned out fine.  The second best thing my parents did for me was to buy a computer...and I spent a lot of time on it, and it shaped who I am and made me good at what I do.

You have to just trust that your kids will be who they are.  You can guide them, but forcing them to do something they hate will only generate resentment.  The number one thing you can do for your kids is to just be there.  Be there when they need you, and be there when they don't.  Trust but verify.  Keep them out of trouble with your presence.  Ask them question after question about their life, their loves, their problems.  You may not get much out of them, but they will remember when they are older that you talked to them and genuinely cared.

That is all it takes!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Ocwen = Trouble

For the last several years, the wife and I have owned a rental property. Not because we are real estate moguls, mind you, but because when we bought our current house, we were so upside down on that house that the only choice was to become landlords.

Anyway, we finally sold the house this week, and are relieved to no longer be landlords.  But here is some advice:  If your mortgage statement goes to a company named Ocwen, be careful.  Not saying that they will try to screw you, but if you need anything done (such as payoff letters, statements, etc.) give them an extra 5 days or so...because you will call them, and get someone in Bangladesh who has no authority to do anything.

So give it a few extra days if you can.  Just a short, public service announcement.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

It's been such a long time...

Wow, it has been a while.  Life sure moves fast.  If you don't stop every once in a while, you might miss it.

Close enough, Simone.

We love movies.  Often, we will just randomly pick a movie and watch it, but what we love to do is show the kids movies from our childhood and hope that they will like them.  So far, the favorite in the clubhouse is Son in Law, with Pauly Shore. The kids loved that movie. So far, the worst movie we have watched would have to be Malibu's Most Wanted with Jamie Kennedy.  Universally disliked by all.  We also have a tendency to go on actor kicks, albeit unintentionally most of the time.  For example, we will watch the Lion King and then watch Wargames, which has the same actor in it (see above for a clue, if you missed it).

Well, another school year concludes today.  As of this afternoon, I will have a 5th grader and a senior in high school.  Yep, Chandler graduates next year.  This blur that keeps blowing past me is life, and I don't know where it goes.

I miss the heck out of my dad.  It has been almost three months.  The hardest part is coping with baseball season.  The Cubs have been pretty bad this year, but I sure do get sad when good things happen and I don't have anyone to really share it with.  I miss hearing the joy in his voice when we talked about baseball, and he was one of the only people that I could really talk at that level with without going crazy.  It is like there is this whole fountain of discussion bubbling up inside of me, and I can't get rid of it because I don't have him around to talk about it with.

If you are reading this, I implore you to find me and add me to your circles on Google Plus.  It really is so much better than Facebook, but I miss the interaction sometimes.  I need people on there to talk to!  The ads and app notifications on the book have just gotten to be too much for me to handle.  Not to mention the pages that people start that are just Reddit sharing machines.  That ain't cool.

Pretty good movie alert:  Jack Reacher.  Sure, it wasn't the best movie, but I am a sucker for movies that have a great investigator, and that is Cruise's character in this one.  Fun movie with some pretty good action, but I love the whodunit aspect and how he goes about investigating it.

Horrible movie alert:  Killing Them Softly  If you want to be bored out of your mind, give it a watch.  There is almost no plot.  Two guys rob a poker game, and they get shot for it.  Yep, that is it.  Sad part is, it was based on a book.  Insomnia cure, right there!

Enjoy your summer.  Spend time with your kids, because before you know it, they will be looking for jobs and rolling their eyes at you every 5 minutes.  My kids have become Liz Lemon, and yours will too....

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Where to begin?

It's funny, all the little twists and turns that life takes.  Things can change so quickly, and it really makes you examine the word forever.  We use that word a lot, and it really takes something life changing to appreciate what power that word has, and how often we misuse it.

My father passed away on Saturday night, March 16th.  While it wasn't a sudden surprise, it wasn't exactly like we planned for it.  My father has always had "health problems", and I put them in quotes because they weren't what you would normally refer to as such.  My dad had beaten cancer three times in his life, only had one kidney, and was generally a medical miracle. We had prepared for his death back in 2005 when he found out he had kidney cancer, but he bounced back from that one, too.

So, when I heard he had gone to the hospital with fluid in his lung, I kind of figured that this would just be another round of visiting him in the hospital, he would get better, and then go about his way. It wasn't in the cards this time, though.  When he got to the hospital, it was determined that he had experienced a minor heart attack the night before.  He then proceeded to have another heart attack while in the hospital.  He basically decided at that point that enough was enough, and told the doctors and nurses not to resuscitate.  He was sent home on hospice and died a few days later at the age of 62.

The point of this post is not to gather sympathy from anyone.  The goal is to really make sure you understand the meaning of the word forever.  I will never get to tell my Dad I love him again.  I will never watch another Cubs' game with him.  He will never read another funny email I forward to him.  I will never like another of his Facebook posts.  The list goes on and on of things that won't be shared by us or anyone who knew him.  Everything reminds me of him at this point in time.  Any time someone says the word "Dad", it gets me just a little bit.  I see pictures of my friends with their dads, and it gives me just a pang of jealousy.  I watch TV and little things remind me of him, and it hurts just a little.

I urge you, if you have someone in your life that you haven't spoken to in a while that you need to, please do it.  They will appreciate it.  Sometimes it is just that one of you needs to make that little bit of effort to break the ice.  I was fortunate.  I didn't leave anything unsaid.  There is not one ounce of regret in my heart about my relationship with my dad, and it certainly made this process easier.  It can happen quickly, and a lot of people don't get the opportunity to sit with their loved ones for an hour and just talk about life.  I got that opportunity, and I will be forever grateful.

There have been so many wonderful people that have made this process as good as it could have been. The list goes on and on, and I am so appreciative at the outpouring of support my family and I have received during this time.  It means the world to us, and it will not be forgotten.