Saturday, February 26, 2011

Lose Weight...Now?

So during this wonderful little journey, there were some things I looked back on in my younger days and I too old now? Of course the list is endless on what I cannot do for obvious reasons. I can no longer skate board up the side of a vertical swimming pool, experience my first kiss or catch a pass over the middle, get drilled by a linebacker and keep going for another twenty yards. But what about others? As I laid in my couch like a blow up doll that had just had the air let out of it, I flipped through the channels, landing on a show called The Biggest Loser. I'm sure everyone knows by now the show follows a group of dangerously overweight contestants as they battle to lose as much weight as possible and more importantly, get healthy. And I as I watched, I was inspired by young and old alike, all competing on a level playing field in their quest to become the Biggest Loser.

Now, I am in no way obese and will never know if I have anywhere near what it takes to accomplish what these people do but as I looked at my somewhat doughy body I thought, 'I want to do that. I want to feel a little of the accomplishment they are feeling.' Over the years, I have tried to exercise occasionally, especially after seeing what twenty years had done to some of my high school buddies. But never the less I had become soft. My dinners were starting to resemble death row inmates last meals and my clothes were shrinking. And I can't tell you how many resolutions contained the phrase: Get in the best shape of my life.

So the next day I went down to the gym and weighed myself. Result? Two hundred three pounds on my 5'11" frame. That's an increase of almost forty pounds since high school. And while I know that's an unreasonable weight for me to get back to, I decided right there that this will be the year. If I am serious about this Forty Nine and Counting, than what better time to start. And so I have begun. After skimming through every known program out there, P90X, Weight Watchers, Weight Busters, LMNOP, and any other of the hundreds of thousands of programs, I settled on one. The reason was simple. It wasn't a magic plan but teaches how to eat right and exercise. AND every week you have a day you can eat whatever the hell you want! I'm in! Even better was the fact I didn't have to spend a dime and checked the book out at the library.

And so...week one I find myself down three pounds and the tape around my waist actually showed improvement! But, as I thought what would help motivate me I decided, why not post the result? And so we begin. Week one is behind me and up goes the first picture. I have decided to post one a week to keep me going. Why no face? To borrow a quote from Whitney Houston, "Hell to the no!" I have children and I'd like to keep it that way.

Friday, February 25, 2011

It's Never Too Late to Write

For all of you who think it might be too late to make a life as a writer (or as anything else you have your heart set on), let me direct your attention to this great article by Malcolm Gladwell in The New Yorker.

In particular, you’re going to want to read the opening story about a writer named Ben Fountain.

Seriously, you guys. Becoming a professional writer is more possible than you know. You just have to get over your fears and excuses and START RIGHT NOW.

How Not to Act Old

Dan Kadlec is co-author of The Power Years, a guide for boomers. E-mail him at
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(Money Magazine) -- So you've discovered how to network on Facebook and LinkedIn and you've even been known to forward the occasional YouTube video to colleagues. Well, don't go congratulating yourself on how au courant you are just yet.

Professional networking sites and online videos are, like, so last year, compared with blogging, twittering and other new techniques that are rapidly emerging as useful, even necessary, workplace skills.

If you don't know how to integrate these latest communication technologies into your workday - or worse, you resist them altogether - you run the risk of appearing old and hopelessly out of touch.

That isn't good anytime, but it's especially perilous in a weak economy when, as a mature worker with a relatively big salary, you're most vulnerable to cutbacks.

Want to be seen as vital and youthful (in spirit if not in years) in today's workplace?Here are four tech skills that folks under 35 know almost intuitively and that I'm trying to master now to avoid being seen as old ahead of my time.

Odds are, you already send the occasional text message from your cell phone to your child or spouse or to vote for your favorite contestant on "American Idol."

Yet texting in a business setting is different, a way of imparting vital information without the distraction of conversation. It's particularly useful in situations where staff members work in disparate locations, are on the road a lot or keep irregular hours.

In those circumstances, boomers tend to favor phone calls and e-mail - technologies that are practically Jurassic to younger coworkers, who will check their phone log but hardly ever listen to voice mail. Meanwhile, e-mail lacks immediacy; by the time it's read, it's old news and, if written by a boomer, likely rambles on too long.

Just make sure you adhere to the unspoken rules of business texting. First, reserve your texts for communications that are brief, factual and important.

"Texting is great for information someone needs right away," says John Challenger, CEO of the outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas. "It's about giving someone a number fast, not the analysis of that number." Learn and use common shorthand like "YT?" (You there?).

And forgo proper punctuation, which can make you look stiff (caps are entirely optional). But don't get cute with any shorthand you know from your kids - OMG! - which will make you look like you're trying too hard.

A wiki is a Web page where team members can post information that relates to a certain project. Other team members can see the information instantly and comment on it, add to it or correct it.

It works a lot like Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, only with office wikis, access is restricted to people with info you trust, not open to the general public. Boomers have always relied on the big meeting or conference call. But wikis render them practically obsolete, with updates that are instant and transparent.

Want to set up your own wiki? Get the ball rolling at or It's easy. Honest. But at commoncraft there's an explanation.

This is the newest of the new. "Six months ago I thought it was useless, a waste of time," says Josh Levy, 28, a Web entrepreneur. "Today I can see how much more productive it makes me."

How so? At more than a million people around the world write short, frequent diary entries about what they are doing or thinking right now (similar to status updates on Facebook).

Much of it is garbage. But the site lets you choose which twitterers you want to follow, and some are serious people grappling with serious issues. Through twitter you can essentially hear them think out loud.

For example, when Levy and his partner Ross Cohen, 27, were raising money for their Web site, an online background-checking service, they learned about the process by following the twittering of a prominent venture capitalist.

Says Cohen: "We had access to his reasoning and could really learn from it." Through they found and hired one of their first employees and discovered, where they were able to outsource their logo design work and get 153 proposals for a sliver of the price they would have paid a designer offline.

Knowing how to mine the Web for cost-efficient hiring and resources is an increasingly important skill, and twitterers share this stuff all the time.

A smart, entertaining blog that pulls in Web links, photos and video clips can help build your professional profile and shape you as a thought leader. It can also create previously unforeseen business opportunities.

Pamela Redmond Satran is a writer who noticed that her boomer friends spent a lot of time talking about what their children were doing - not what they were doing. "They sounded so old," she said.

So just for fun, last June she launched a blog at It got some notice, and within months she had landed a book deal (due out in August 2009).

It's easy to start a blog at Whether you want to make the effort is another question. Blogs are worth your time only if you have a noteworthy topic to explore and are willing to work at putting forth interesting views and to stick with it.

Not your thing? Be a regular reader of blogs instead. Surfing the blogosphere, like reading twitterers, can expand your views and lead you to online resources you'd never find on your own.

Search for interesting blogs at; then open a free Google Reader account and have new postings from your top blogs automatically sent to your inbox.

"People may take the attitude, 'Who needs this stuff?'" says Satran. "Well, there was a time when people asked, 'Who needs indoor plumbing?'"

Will mastering these technologies guarantee that you'll keep your job? Of course not. But it may help. And you might as well get used to them because this stuff isn't going away - that is, until something even more baffling comes along.

How layoff-proof are you? We want to know what moves you're making now or have made in past downturns to keep your job. Did you step up and take on additional responsibilities? Or agree to a pay cut? Solve a critical problem for your boss? Or make yourself indispensable in some way? Send us your photos and videos and share your strategies that are keeping you off the unemployment line.  

The biggest raise you'll ever get

Monday, February 21, 2011

What Makes the Man in Your Story

So I came across a study performed by a group of university psychology professors. In the study they "proved what car-dealers have boasted for generations. The car one drives is key when it comes to turning a woman's head." But is it that simple? Could my protagonist land the leading lady because he drives a two hundred thousand dollar car?

The university team showed women pictures of the same man sitting in two cars - a silver Bentley Continental and a battered Ford Fiesta.

The women, who were aged between 21 to 40, picked the man sitting in the Bentley ahead of the same man in the Ford. The researchers say the men tested in the same way are not impressed by whatever car a woman drives because they judge purely on her face and figure.

The article got me to thinking about how readers, if not given all of the information, can jump to conclusion and why it is the responsibility of us, the writers, to really know and understand our characters. Take the above study for example. What is it about the men that made them attractive to the women of the study? Was it really just the car they were in? Or is there more to the story that we, the reader, should understand?

I raised this topic at a recent dinner party (it sounds much more elegant and high brow when I call it a dinner party when in reality it was a few of the neighbors over for burgers)and was fascinated by what I learned. I was able to get deeper inside the female mind and learn more about this phenomenon. To finally get real answers to how the short, doughy bald guy was able to land the leggy, beautiful blond.

You see, when women see a man in an expensive car there is something that comes along with it that is what attracts women to them. Yes, the car will get the women to look but why? In a woman's mind they see drive and ambition. A man driving the expensive car more than likely worked hard for it and that is what's attractive to women. And also, there is security. Women more often than not associate money with security and not always shopping. Women are not as visually stimulated as men are and therefor do not need the eye candy men so desire. They want a man with drive and confidence. That's what's sexy to them. Believe me. You introduce a woman to an attractive man who drives a Porsche but has the personality of a car wreck and the ambition of sidewalk slug and see how long it lasts. Don't get me wrong. The car will get the womans attention but not keep it.

And so I thought about how to bring this to my writing and challenged myself. Can I make a character desirable to women without making him six two with perfect hair and a movie star smile? Can I put together someone who has the traits that truly make him the affection of all women?

This is a challenge all writers face. Understanding the psychology of people and developing characters that draw people in and make them more real. Focus on the short doughy mans ambition, his drive, his passion for success and you'll have a character that women are attracted to and men envy. Show us and don't tell us what makes him attractive to women. It's easy to come up with a handsome leading man who has the world at his finger tips but challenge yourself to paint a picture using human traits. And give him a few flaws! People empathize more readily with a strong protagonist with realistic flaws.

However, as much as I hate to admit it, the women in my story for the most part drive nice cars. But they have pretty faces and big boobs.

Creative and Amazing Artwork

Canon Pixma: Bringing colour to life from Dentsu London on Vimeo.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

I write...and say goodbye to friend

As I head into the weekend and reflect, it's those six hundred words a day I type out into my laptop that give me a feeling of accomplishment. I have seen characters develop attitudes I didn't see coming and out of no where, a nice little subplot appeared. And I'm beginning to understand the "just write" mantra. In the past, I would wait until something came to me and then write it out. The only problem was, if I wasn't sitting at my computer, the ideas just weren't there and that led to frustration. I was thinking there just wasn't any hope of coming up with an entire story that would be worth reading.

I have no idea why we sometimes don't listen to people who have been there and done that and instead choose to keep doing things the way we've always done them and getting the same results. Is it laziness? Or possibly arrogance? One author whose work I enjoy, Harlan Coben, happened to be on the cover of Writers Digest and in the article he talked about finding time to write, making yourself write and eventually quantity leads to quality. Coincidentally, this past summer I picked up his first book he ever wrote, Play Dead. He wrote in the jacket that he didn't want to re-write and publish it but instead wanted to put it out the way it was written over twenty years ago. And as a fan of his it was honestly refreshing to see something that in no way resembled his books of today. Plots were weak, characters didn't jump off the page and the dialogue was lacking. But what this allowed me to do was see how much he has grown as a writer by nothing more than keeping at it with a passion to do what he does now. And in the article he, like any writer I ever see interviewed, said you have to find time to write and if you don't you're just making excuses. And with that I continue to plug along, six hundred words a day, and watch my little novel grow.

On a sad note, Borders declared bankruptcy this past week. And living in a city where less than two years ago a Borders sprung up within walking distance from my house, I waited anxiously as they announced which stores would be closing. And as I perused the list, hoping to not see our little city on that death was. And for over a day now, a sadness has followed me and this morning it hit even harder as I opened my e-mail, only to find an announcement to come on down and buy everything from 40%-60% off. I hung my head, feeling I just couldn't do it. It would be like a vulture picking the meat of a dead carcass until only the skeleton remains.

And so I say goodbye Borders. I will miss you. You have been there when I needed to get away and just read while enjoying a cup of coffee. You have provided me countless books which now line my shelves as well as books for my children. And while I know there are decisions in business that have to be made, this is one I wish never happened.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Living in a Young Persons World

And so as I approach fifty I found myself applying for a sales position with a company my brother in law had referred me to. 'It's a great company. An internet company,' he told me with a convincing voice. 'Living Social. Tons of potential and I believe Amazon just invested $175 million with them!' Trusting his years of experience working with on-line companies I took his advice and sent in a resume. I mean, if Amazon believed in them...

I soon received a phone call informing they were interested and would like to set up a phone interview. After two other phone interviews I was asked to fly to Washington D.C. for face to face interviews. Now, not having had to interview much in recent years, I prepared as I would for any position, practicing and getting my pitch down. And upon hearing I would be flying out, my brother in law adamantly said, 'No tie. Don't wear a tie.' This is the equivalent of telling me not to hold my breath under water. No tie? I have been told all my life that regardless of the position you're applying for, always wear a tie? 'You know,' he said, 'at Google if an applicant wears a tie, they don't even get in for the interview. Because they think the person just doesn't get the culture.' The culture? Had my years sped by me at internet like speed that I missed this new revolution? Or did I just come from a different generation. My nerves were starting to settle in like a baby does a comfortable blanket.

And then, three days prior to my flying out my wife approached me. 'I'm just telling you this because I told her I would.' Her? Who is her? 'My mom said you may want to think about dyeing your hair.' Now, I'll admit the grays are starting to show. Gods graffiti. But I have been told it looks good on me. Clooney like, in fact. It was at this point in my life that my age hit me in the face like a well thrown Tony Romo pass. Am I actually too old for a job? I'm forty nine for Gods sake! I agreed to no tie but the hair was staying. The last thing I wanted was to screw up a die job and go in looking like Jackson Pollok had experimented on my head.

At the airport, the driver informed me he was picking up two others as well. I met them, she a pretty Southern girl just out of college and he a thirty year old, good looking kid from Cleveland. Turns out there were about two hundred others flying in to interview for positions around the country.

I settled into my hotel room, unable to shake the fact that I may be one of the oldest people interviewing the next day. Dreams of me walking with a cane and driving a Rascal filled my nights, never more aware of my age.

The next day was filled with me trying to convince kids who looked like they may have just received drivers licenses, that I was the man for the job. I avoided any reference to my age, choosing not to tell the obvious jokes and instead treated it like any other job interview, sans tie. When it was all said and done, I was thanked, sent home and told I would be contacted within ten days. I said my goodbyes as my peers set down their sippy cups and shook my hand, all of us wishing each other luck.

The following day, I received a call. I had been hired! My worry was for naught and I actually received an offer. It has now been a month and I have to say it was been great. The company does have a great culture that I find refreshing. It's a culture that looks at doing things new ways. Of not doing something because it's the traditional business practice. And I like that. Too often we do things because that's the way they've always been done. Because we're comfortable and don't want to change. And I am going to take that and try to apply it to my life. To do things differently and not let what has been programmed into me force me to make decisions. With the exception of coloring my hair. The wife likes the gray.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Never Too Late

So after a week of record low temperatures in the DFW metroplex, we are starting to thaw out. While the kids enjoyed five days off in two weeks, I was resigned to my home office, working until five and spending time every day writing at least six hundred words for my novel. And you know what? I did it. I know you're thinking, 'one week, not that impressive'. But having done a little research on the subject I have learned that good habits are formed in about three weeks. In other words, if you can commit to three weeks of making yourself do something consistently, you are on your way to changing your life. Of course we are going to break some. But make enough good habits a goal and there will be some you keep. It's never too late to start something new for yourself. And I don't care how old you are. Brett Favre is only seven years younger than me and he is/was/may be playing in the NFL! And I'm almost fifty. Although I have heard that fifty is the new black.

A friend of mine had dropped out of college and never returned. On the day of his fiftieth birthday he announced to a stunned room that had already been numbed by gallons of Jameson and red wine, that he was returning to college. His reasoning? In three years he was going to be fifty three, no matter what. That was a given. And he could either be a fifty three year old without a diploma, or a fifty three year old college graduate. Three years ago he graduated, taking advantage of a University that offered a program for working adults and he is now in a Graduate program for Human Resource Management. Which sure beats the hell out of his last job as manager at a warehouse. He'll be fifty six and starting an entirely new career. Or he could have been fifty six working at the warehouse. And I'm not knocking his last job. It paid him well enough to support a family of four. But he always had an emptiness inside him that needed to be filled. And he did it. And what's fascinating is to see the change in him and listen to the stories of other students older than him, doing the same thing.

My point to this story is, go after that dream you have. Don't make excuses, especially about being too old. Take a class, join a club, start a blog, write a short story or start walking a couple miles a day. You know that if you commit to just a mile a day you will have walked three hundred sixty five miles in one year? Think about that! Remember what I said at the beginning of all this? By the time I'm fifty, I will be able to call myself an author. I can tell people I wrote a book. Truth be told, I have no idea how good or bad it will be, but I'm going to do it. And by the way, I will be posting the first chapter on this site by the end of this month! It's not that I haven't finished the first chapter, it's just that I want to edit it and make it presentable. And who knows what after that? I have been going to the gym and working out, which is something I've been doing for years, but I was approached by a friend about participating in a sprint triathlon! Stay tuned for details.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Facebook Depression

So I logged onto Facebook last week and read, as I usually do, about one friends amazing night out on the town, sipping fine wine at an upscale restaurant, gnawing on a very expensive steak and then finishing the night off with a movie. And this is on a Wednesday night! Of course, his post came with pictures of him and his beautiful trophy wife (his third) and was complimented with a number of "likes" from all of his and her friends. And as I scrolled down through the page, it was right there in front of me. All of these people living their lives out loud in a world they are able to shape and manipulate in which the final product becomes a portrait of some form of distorted reality they want people to buy into.

Are that many peoples lives really that fantastic? Should I be climbing Mount Everest and Running with the Bulls as well? I think the most exciting thing I did this year was won a free lap at the Putt Putt go kart track. But is that Facebook worthy? How do I keep up with the likes of others who have somehow managed to travel to 45 foreign countries this past summer?

And what about the pressure that comes along with being on Facebook. What is my obligation? I really don't want to be that persons "friend" but what happens if I don't and then I run into them? Will I be persecuted in front of others ? Will some sort of Facebook mob start to form and throw rocks at me? And so what if I didn't "like" my buddies Wednesday night out like my other thirty two friends did. I don't need them saying, "What...are you too cool to think Toms pictures were nice?"

And how often am I supposed to post something? I will say, don't wait longer than a month. Than you get comments like, "About time! Haven't heard much from you. Thought you were dead! Call me." Only to log on a week later and have three friends instant message me. "There you are! I knew you were on here. What are you, just not social?"

And don't get me started on the profile pictures. I've seen you. You're fatter than that. And older. Just because you are able to gently photoshop a few wrinkles and crop out the hips, doesn't turn you into that person. Unless of course you're on Facebook where anything goes. Where happily married men and women see the well plotted life of an ex...and fall for it. Where a man fibs to his significant other about staying home one Saturday night, only to find he's been "tagged" in someones Facebook page enjoying a night Charlie Sheen would be proud of.

But as I scroll down to the middle of the page, I come across an old friend who put a small note for his post. Please pray for my father. Nothing more. And so I called my friend, wanting to know if everything was OK and if there was any way I could help, as did other friends. And then I was able to block out the bad. I realized all my friends really don't know all those movie stars and athletes. And that sometimes we paint this life we want others to visit because we're not that happy with our real lives. And you know what? I get that. I really do.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Learn Something New-Starting Now

You know, as I approach fifty I often find myself looking back at so many things I wanted to do. Things I wanted to learn. And then, with thanks to my children, I learned the wonders of youtube. Now I know most people view youtube as a web site that shows funny clips of people getting hit between the legs or maybe a place you can find a clip from an old TV show or music videos. But one day I ran into an old friend of mine and through conversation, he asked me if I wanted his old guitar. He was purchasing a new one next week, an upgrade, and didn't need the old one. Well, I know as much about playing guitar as I do Mandarin Chinese but I took it from him with hopes of one day being able to sit by the campfire and effortlessly belt out a few country love songs or perhaps an acoustic version of songs my kids might recognize.

One rainy Saturday morning I picked up the old, scratched and dented guitar and started strumming. A screech of nothing that sounded like music came from the wooden instrument I cradled as my daughter walked in, shaking her head like she'd just discovered the dog pooped on the carpet. "Only one lesson!" I replied, trying my best to recall the line from Ferris Beuhler.

"You should go to youtube." she replied. "I bet they have lessons."

And so I did just that, typing in Beginning Guitar Lessons and finding not one but hundreds of on line, free tutorials. And so for the next two hours, I studied three chords, D, C and G. And the next day I did the same for about a half an hour. Until by weeks end I had it. I could make the transition from each chord. And much to my surprise there are hundreds of three chord songs out there! And by the following week I had one. I memorized Cat Stevens Father and Son using the same three chords and proudly sang it to my wife and kids who didn't need to say a word. I saw in their faces that they enjoyed it. In fact my wife asks me to play it when company comes over!

Skip forward six months and thanks to youtube I have added the beginning of Bon Jovis Wanted Dead or Alive, another five chords and a few more songs. All of this in less than an hour a day. And you know what? There are a hundred other things waiting for you to discover. To take an hour or less and learn something new. Even turn it into a hobby. Want to learn to scrapbook? To make candles? To draw portraits or write screenplays? Or even to Salsa Dance? You don't even have to leave your home. And I guarantee you, you'll be happy you did.

Don't put things off when in this day and age we literally have the tools at our fingertips to make ourselves better. To maybe discover something or learn something about ourselves we never knew existed. I challenge you to start today. And please, if you take me up, post what it is you started and how you are doing. I'd love to hear!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

How to Write a Novel in a Year

And so I begin. Actually I shouldn't say begin. I've had the beginning of a novel resting by itself in a Google Docs folder for nearly a year. Call it procrastination or call it lack of confidence but either way the novel sat. Until now. I will not strive to keep up with the pseudo intellect of other authors sounding more like they raped a thesaurus, splashing never before seen words across the pages as if to validate their superiority over others. I will write in my voice, knowing my limitations but also being very aware of my abilities. As I flipped through various articles of Writer magazine, the one common thread I found was that in order to be a writer you have to. . .are you ready? Write!! No matter what, get something on paper. And don't worry about grammar, dialogue, sentence structure. That's called editing.

I've always thought to myself, it's just going to take too long. I could never finish an entire novel. But I did two years ago. I think it was done more to just prove to myself I could do it. It contained weak characters, lousy dialogue, and as much plot as a porno movie. And I never did go back and edit. I was happy just finishing. And then I read a quote by a relatively unknown author who said he just tries to write six hundred words a day and in doing so could have a completed piece of work in about six months. Six hundred words a day? I can do that, I thought to myself. And that's where I find myself today.

As I write my six hundred words, I go back to the beginning and edit small pieces. And I as read the words back, I start to see my little piece of clay starting to take shape and that encourages me. Is it any good? Who knows. And I will post that first chapter when I am sure I am ready for her to be introduced to the world. The good people at critiquecircle offer comforting and sometime brutally honest feedback which I take and do with it what I must.

I will have this completed before I turn fifty in January. More than likely I will self publish, but I will have a novel. . .with my name. . .sitting proudly amongst the other various authors housed on my book shelf.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Time to Say Goodbye to the HOV

I sat in my car, pretty much parked on 114. Not unusual for a weekday afternoon at the peak of rush our in Dallas. I flipped through the dials trying to decide on a piece of crap Jonas Brother Red Jump Suit Fall Out song or talk radio. I decided on a talk radio station, hoping maybe I'd get a little info on the traffic. I was guessing it wasn't a wreck but if there was one further ahead, now was the time to strategize.

It was then I saw them. Not that this day was different than any other day but for some reason they stood out to me. The HOV lane people. One by one they flew by me, smiles on their faces as if laughing at the rest of us. I looked to my right at a fellow traffic jammer who, like me, seemed to have accepted this everyday nuisance.

Back to my right a red Toyota of some type sped by at about sixty. The blur of a possibly teenage kid in the passenger seat, ignoring his adult driver, got me to thinking. What the hell are these lanes for and why do we have them! Oh, I know why they were started and I appreciate the effort. I was first introduced to this concept as a teenager in Los Angeles after receiving my drivers license. These "extra" lanes were used to lure, perhaps even bribe people to share rides. The idea being to entice fellow workers to share rides to to the office, cutting down on fuel consumption, reducing the number of cars on the road and as a side benefit, getting to know Tom from accounting a little better.

On paper, not a bad idea but after one ride with Tom from accounting I decided the extra time on the freeway was just fine with me. What has happened is these lanes reward people who just so happen to have more than one person in the car. They aren't trying to save gas and they're not looking to save our planet. They just so happen to have someone in the car with them. And as I sat in my car, burning fuel and swallowing mouthfuls of exhaust I watched the HOV people speed by and realized nine out of ten were nothing more than a mom with her kids, what looked like husbands with their wives, a cable company work truck with two guys in it, and other various forms of "shared" rides.

I wondered how many, if any of these now annoying cars flying by me at what seemed to be mach one speeds, actually got together and decided it would benefit them to share a ride to work, thereby helping our planet and contributing to this new "green" movement.

I got home and decided to do a little research after pouring myself a scotch. What I found surprised me. In Dallas you are allowed to drive your Hummer, Expiditor, or any other gas guzzling monster in these special lanes as long as you have a passenger. The age of the passenger makes no difference, thus allowing a mom to drive her children in the HOV lane. What's not allowed are hybrid cars. Of course, they are if you have a passenger, but not by yourself. Regardless if your vehicle gets twice the fuel mileage and has a much lower emission, you're screwed. In Los Angeles it is OK for those driving hybrids to use the "diamond" lane.

The more I sat and the more I drank the more pissed off I became. These lanes are paid for by me, Mr. Taxpayer, and I should be entitled to use them. Why am I stuck in four lanes of traffic when there are five good lanes to use? I also learned the National Motorist Association agrees with me! This needs to end and I decided I would make a stand.

The next day, after being yelled at by my boss and a pissed off customer, I found myself again sitting on 114 doing eight miles an hour. I glanced to my left at the open lane. The only thing separating me from seventy miles an hour were two white lines that for some reason did a better job than barbed wire at keeping people out of somewhere they didn't belong. I knew there were fines if you were caught but the more I stewed the bigger my balls got. I thought back to great people like Rosa Parks who took a stand and changed our nation and felt invigorated. If I was ever going to make a statement, here was my opportunity.

I squinted into my side mirror and saw only one car, an HUV, barreling down the lane and decided I'd make my move as soon as it passed. The oversized Subarban sped by, shaking my tiny Kia, and I punched it. Zero to sixty in a little under fourteen seconds but the feelings of freedom enveloped me. I had the same feelings when I first moved out of my parents house into my own apartment.I sped down the highway, hoping others would be encouraged to do the same but knowing they had no clue as to my new movement I just launched. I had forgotten to put together any type of marketing campaign but that could come later.

I found myself fifteen minutes ahead of schedule when the blue and red police lights lit up behind me.

"You do know you're driving in a high occupancy vehicle lane?" the officer asked me.

"Yes, sir."

"Is there a medical emergency or any other reason you're needing to speed?"

"No sir."

He looked at me slightly puzzled as he asked for my license and registration. I did my best to explain my actions but was for the most part, ignored. But I signed my ticket, agreeing to pay the four hundred dollars but considering it a badge. An expensive badge, but a badge. Movements start with a sacrifice. Whether it be the death of a patriot, the incarceration of a protester or a four hundred dollar ticket, someone needs to shoulder the responsibility and that someone is me!

It has now been two weeks since my ticket and and haven't seen an increase in HOV drivers. For no other reason than I can't afford another four hundred dollars, I sit on 114, stuck in traffic with my fellow commuters. But as I sit and glance in my side view mirror, I see it! Holy shit, I see it!

A red Corola, three cars behind me, broke across the two white lines and was free! As he sped by me I shoved my arm out the window and shake my balled up fist in allegiance, a smile on my face. I only caught a glimpse of the man when he first passed. Balding dark hair, light colored suit and a smile. I got a better look at him when officer "stay out of the HOV lane" had him pulled over about a quarter mile up.

As I slowly approached, the man looked me in the eye and nodded. Was he just acknowledging me or did he know? Either way I knew it was time. Time to open the HOV lanes that continue to keep our afternoon traffic congested and piss of the masses so to you, Texas Legislators, I say this.

"Tear down the double white lines!"

Coolest Super Bowl Party Set Up Ever

Thursday, February 3, 2011

So here we are. Year number forty nine of my much enjoyed life. But as approach fifty there is a gnawing inside me that tells me I am old. I don't feel old but the numbers don't lie. And so as I look back on my life and contemplate things I've done or even things I haven't done, it is the number fifty that has caused me to take notice. Rather than look at as the end of my youth, I have vowed to look at as a beginning of my adulthood. After all, Fifty is the new...35? And so I have decided to attack this milestone like Charlie Sheen would a house filled with hookers and cocaine. There are certain things I have vowed in the past, call them resolutions if you will, that I ended about twenty four hours after the new years champagne and scotch wore off. But who was I doing them for? Was there really a reason I need to cut back on sweets and run more? I don't like to run. And I love sweets! And so these resolutions slid into the abyss of all resolutions, waiting to be dragged back out the following year, along with a few new ones, and be paraded around for hours on end only to leave me feeling like I had failed again.

But alas, I approach this not as resolutions being made but as a stepping point for me. There are things I have wanted to do for myself that I have managed for the past thirty some odd years to push into next year. Although one of those things, running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain I was able to cross off that list last year. Well, next year is here. And so for the next eleven months I will be chronicling my journey as I attempt to write a novel (I have completed one that took almost three years and made as much sense as a Lindsay Lohan confessional), begin a brand new job run by a CEO and executive team barely out of their twenties, and take on challenges such as volunteering once a month at various places . And I will share the trials and tribulations I face as I go down this road being a father of two teenagers and a husband to a tolerant woman who sometimes should receive sainthood. As we take this journey, I am sure you will experience some of those moments and would agree with me. I will be as open and honest as possible, regardless if one or a thousand people read this. I have no idea where this road will take me or how I will navigate it. However, I do know that once a week I will blog, regardless of my mood, my failures or accomplishments. And I know at the end of this year I will have something to look back on or perhaps share with my wife and kids. For I will not be letting them know I am doing this. I look forward to this journey and have fastened my seatbelt.