Wednesday, October 31, 2012

TQ Presents... @AsVinnyCsIt!

I generally try to put out three blog posts per week, but from time-to-time, I get caught up with other things: The Mrs., work, football, etc. This time, I'm nursing The Mrs. back from an illness. So, I figured, why not solicit some of my favorite bloggers to take up the slack for me. Yeah, that's right, I can facilitate my blogging duties to others! How lazy wonderful is that?

I've asked a buddy of mine, Vinny C, to liven up my blog a bit with some toons! Well, I'm going to let him do his thing. After you read this and enjoy his work, then cruise on over to "As Vinny C's It" and subscribe to the blog. It's good stuff. It wouldn't be on my page if it weren't. Take it away, VC!

"Hero?  ME!?!"

Like most, I often find myself pondering some of life’s bigger questions. Things like: when will we stop hearing rumors and gossip and finally see Firefly put back on the air or if the authorities are doing anything to stop the worldwide shortage of bacon. Things like those. What I’ve been thinking about a lot though is how I would deal with something really bad happening.

I’m not talking stubbing your toe, or locking yourself out of the house kind of bad. Those suck, but I was thinking more along the lines of extreme situations, like natural disaster or the society crumbling due to some sort of post nuclear-apocalyptic event.

Or because of that bacon shortage...

We all want to think we could rise to the occasion and take charge. But do we know for sure how we’d react if the shit were to really hit the fan, as they say? I’ll admit right now, I’m not what you’d call an “alpha” male personality. In fact, if there’s something that comes after “beta” male, that’s probably me.

But what if that was only because the right situation didn’t present itself? Sure, I’m non-confrontational and socially inept but maybe that’s only because I don’t see current situations warranting me being more aggressive. Maybe there’s another side to me altogether... deep deeeeep down inside. A hero!

For the record, I own neither as sword nor a machine gun. I just assume that if a zombie apocalypse does happen they’d be a lot of random weapons lying around. Maybe I played too many video games as a child. 

Anyway, I’m sure we all think we can be the hero if given the chance. Who wants to be the whiny victim who has to be rescued and is too scared to be of any use? Worse yet, imagine ending up with the role of nameless victim# 4. No one wants to aspire to that. But with my luck... Nah! I’m the hero. I know it!


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Is 400 Enough?

Well, I always thought that I'd blog forever, but I'm starting to feel that's not the case now. As therapeutic and enjoyable blogging can be, it can also be time-consuming. I've always tried to provide multiple blog posts per week to entertain my followers, but that requires sitting in front of my laptop an awful lot at times.

I may have hit a wall on this one.  It's blog post #400 and I'm not sure if I can keep up the pace any more.  I'm not saying that I'm quitting because I'll always have something to say.  Those who follow me closely know of another venue in which I make my points and discuss important topics. :)

But, despite the many crazy, college stories that I have left to tell and the many stupid people in this country who need to be called out, I have to ask myself, "is 400 enough?"

When I first started blogging, I thought I'd post a few blurbs and be done, but I got two followers early on and that drove me.  The posts kept coming and so did the followers and eventually the comments. 

Well, over time, the followers slowed down and so did the comments.  I wasn't putting in the same work in marketing/promoting and the content may have suffered a bit, too.

I've dealt with a work schedule that required a lot of nights and weekends.  I spent more time with my mom after February when her cancer peaked and ultimately claimed her life on June 2nd.  Now, I'm spending a lot more time with my father to make sure that he knows that he's not alone now that she's gone and nursing a sick wife.

So much has happened over the past six months and the aforementioned is only a part of it.  What was once fun has now become "a business plan to get more readers" and I never wanted it to come to that.  I read about SEO's, keyword bait, etc. because I'm constantly searching for followers/comments instead of simply writing for the sheer purpose of saying something that needs to be said.

I just wanted to be a guy who had an outlet to share his opinions.

Well, I'm still going to be that guy, but not as often as usual.  I'm not shutting my blog down, but the pressure to post 3x per week is out the window.  I hope that those who are new to my blog decide to go back and read some of the older ones.  Trust me when I say that a lot of them are still relevant or contain some funny story.  Here are ten suggestions:

That should hold you for a while if you're new to the blog within the last six months.  However, I promise that I will post when I have something to say.  Will I lose some followers?  Maybe.  Will my presence eventually fade into the sunset?  Possibly.  Will I be happy to simply express myself and not constantly check analytics to figure out why one blog post isn't as popular as the other?  Definitely.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Going Back to Cali

(written on 10/10)

I'm in pain as I type this. My upper shoulder area was sore prior to going to bed last night and now it feels as if Jason Statham just kicked me in the neck. I guess I need a firmer pillow and not one you can fold and put in your pocket. Anyhoo, I'll get over it.

Last week, The Mrs. and I spent Sunday-to-Sunday in Carlsbad (San Diego), CA for her birthday. Not only did we have a great and relaxing time, I also slept much better than I did last night (the pillows were firm at the SeaPointe Resort)!

The one thing that I did gain even more perspective on, while vacationing there, was the value of hard work. I met and unofficially interviewed almost every housekeeping and maintenance employee at our resort. To hear them talk about the jobs situation in America was fascinating to me.

One person in particular that I met was a housekeeper named Caridad was from Mexico. She has been in the states for most of her adult life (I'm guessing she was mid-20's). I asked her, "if I were to move to Carlsbad, would I have a problem finding a job?"

She replied, "office job?"

"No, just a good job." 

"There are plenty of good jobs here, but a lot of people only want desk jobs."

Intrigued, I followed, "why is that?"

"I don't know. Americans don't like to sweat."

Of course, she followed that statement with a nervous laugh to try not to offend me. I wasn't offended at all. I knew exactly what she meant. American-born people tend to want things easy when it comes to the job. I remembered my days of working in a cell phone company's call center and seeing people complain about being "tied to the phones."

But, every other day at the resort, I watched a 50-something Hispanic woman rake even rows in the sand of a beach volleyball area. It took her 20-30 minutes to erase all of the footprints, but she did it and made sure that the rows were even.

I recall wanting some more towels for our bedroom and watching Caridad run to retrieve them. When she returned, I asked her why did she run and she simply replied, "to get them to you faster."

Really? Who does that?  Was it because I was nice to her and I spoke to her daily or just because she understands the real meaning of customer service?

Don't get me wrong. We all complain about our jobs at some point. Mainly over the people we deal with more so than the job, but we complain nonetheless.  I'm sure that even LeBron James wishes he could stay in bed late some days instead of going to the gym. Even a male photographer for Playboy Magazine probably gets tired of packing luggage to go all over the world for nude photo shoots.  Well, maybe I'm reaching there.

From the Filipino woman at the airport named Tess, who was very helpful, to the Pacific Islander Seapointe Resort front desk attendant named Olga, who had the most pleasant of attitudes, I learned something: I learned that we have people, born and raised, in this country capable of being hard workers. The difference between the U.S. and the places where these particular employees originated is the culture.

We don't teach the value of hard work like we once did. So many people have rapped/sang, ran/jumped and sex-taped their way to financial freedom that a lot of us just wait on our "big break" instead of creating it. Do you know how many kids that I know who want to be a singer/rapper, basketball/football player, reality star, etc.? A lot more than when I was in school, that's for sure.

The point that I'm trying to make is that people aren't born lazy. We're turned into lazy bums by enablers. We have companies (insert fast food restaurant here) who hire "warm bodies." Some companies could care less if you're nice to the customers.  They just need you to flip the burgers and take the money.

We have parents who do everything for their children. "Helicopter parents" who hover over their child and won't let him/her do anything on their own.  And then other people have to deal with their children once they become "adults."

We have the media who portray sluts, slackers and drunks as idols.  No need to have talent!  Just do something really stupid that people will talk about on Twitter.

Where did we go wrong? (Sigh)

I enjoyed our vacation in Carlsbad.  I hope that some day we'll be going back to Cali for another stay.  I not only enjoyed the weather and sights there, but I also learned that there are people in this country who still take pride in their work.

It's just that must of them weren't born here...

Are we too far gone as a culture to restore a hard-working attitude back into the U.S.?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hunters Cheat

"Hey, fellas!  It's an all-you-can-eat!"

I'm not a hunter.  I tried it as a youth, but it was never my thing.  I'd go out into the woods and fields with my father, uncle and brother to hunt "wascally wabbits."  I don't eat rabbit, so a food source wasn't my motivation.  I'm simply went to spend quality time with the men of the family.

My father and uncle taught me what to look for to find the rabbit and how to essentially stalk them.  I will admit that there was a thrill to it when you did eveything correctly and got an opportunity to bag one.  Those things are hard to spot and even more difficult to shoot.

Fast forward to today.  Hunting is just as popular as ever, if not more.  But, things are done a lot differently these days.  Now, I'm going to upset some hunters, but like the youngsters say," it is what it is."

Hunters cheat.  At least, the ones that I know do.  What used to be a complicated "man vs. animal" event has turned into "cheater vs. animal."  My father hunted from pretty much the age of 8 up until he was around 55 years old and he can tell you how many deer that he's killed on one hand.  Why is that?

Because back then, they never used bait, high-powered rifles and / or deer stands.

I have some friends who hunt and they kill three or four deer per season.  Per season!  Are they more skilled hunters than my father and his brothers were?  Absolutely not!

Modern day hunters usually have a favorite hunting spot in the woods where every other weekend during the off-season, they'll leave food for the deer.  This will get the deer familiar with the area and will have them come there on a regular basis to look for food.  During hunting season, the "hunters" will sit in their deer stand and train their high-powered scopes on the place where the deer come to feed.

LOL!  It's cheating! Would you brag about being "a great mouse slayer" because they took the cheese and got caught in a mouse trap?  You didn't "hunt" the mouse.  You lured it.

So, for those who brag about the huge buck that they bagged, I will listen, but I won't be impressed.  If you used any modern tactics in order to kill an animal that's not nearly as smart as humans, then I won't prop you up for that.

Does a person who uses bait, a stand and a high-powered rifle really deserve credit for killing a deer?

"Psst!!!!  Say, doe?  I know you hear me talking to you!  Trifling doe."

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A @REALStaceyDash of Controversy

I was 16 years old the first time that I saw Stacey Dash and I developed a silver screen crush on her.  The name of the movie was "Moving."  It starred Richard Pryor and Randy Quaid.  I've been a fan of her looks ever since and now I must come to her defense for her mind.

My man, TrueSpeech, kind of stole my thunder, but I wanted to comment on this "controversy" as well. 

Actress, Stacey Dash, is in the center of a whirlwind full of hate for a tweet mentioning her support for Mitt Romney for President.  First of all, as fine as Stacey Dash is, she can vote for "Honey Boo Boo" and I wouldn't care.

But, seriously, let's just analyze what has happened over the past week: this photo went viral along with her mentioning that she supports Romney.  Since that time, fans, fellow actors, etc. have expressed publicly that she's wrong for doing so.  Wrong for picking a candidate she likes?  Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if most of the people hating on her are even registered to vote.

She's even received death threats behind her choice of candidate.

(shaking my head)

Let's get real here: the reason black people are upset over Dash supporting Romney is because so many of them think that all people of color should default to Obama.  "Minorities aren't allowed to vote Republican."  I'm sure that's written in the "Guide to Being A Minority" handbook.  Because Dash chose to go the other direction, they think that she's a sellout.  Yet, you don't see people of color get upset when white people support Obama.  Why aren't white people sellouts when they don't support their own in Romney?

If Dash were white, then I seriously doubt many people would have raised an eyebrow to this.  I'm a black guy who has voted in every election (not just Presidential) for as long as I can remember.  Do I support "Mittens?"  Heck, no.  I can't get with someone who contradicts himself constantly.  Ask any black man that has ever had a nightmare about "The Man" and I bet they would describe him as looking like Mitt Romney.

Would I publicly blast someone for supporting him?  Absolutely not.  Why should I come down on a Romney supporter just because their opinion is different than mine?  Sure, I'll disagree with them, but to insult them or threaten their life because they think differently?  Is that why a Jacksonville Jaguars fan killed a Chicago Bears fan last weekend?

The logic behind that is stupid!  Social networks have given idiots a false sense of power and anonymity they've long craved.  This venue allows them to come off as socially conscious or to appear as some sort of an expert critic.  It allows them to be able to actually affect the lives of the public figures that were once only accessible on the television screen.

Look, I'm not saying that a person can't publicly disagree with someone's viewpoints.  I do so all of the time on this blog.  That's what America is all about.  But, isn't taking one person's vote and turning it into national stories and death threats a bit much?  Does everything have to be an outrage?  If Ms. Dash isn't allowed to express herself and vote as she chooses, then what's the point of even having an election?  And how would you feel if someone did the same thing to you?

Here's what I'll leave for you all to think about: social networks spark emotions.  Emotions spark bad decisions.  The days of hearing or reading something that upsets you and waiting to have someone to talk to about it are over.  At any time of the day or night, you can go online and find an audience.  A lot of people do just that and the time that we once had to rationally think things out has been replaced with an instant emotion dictated in 140 characters or less.

The end-result is a person bullying a celebrity for having the exact same right as they have.  "How dare you promote Mitt Romney!  #OBAMA2012"


Have social networks created a "lynch mob" mentality (for lack of a better phrase) when it comes to opinions?

Monday, October 8, 2012

I Love Kids, But I Hate Parents

Although I don't have kids, I do like them.  A lot of people have a misconception and think that The Mrs. and I don't care for children.  That's not the case at all.  I love kids, but I hate parents.  My god kids are wonderful kids.  They didn't do that on their own.  Their parents are the reason that's the case.

It's not like that with all children.  You see, when kids (under 10 especially) act up, it's not completely their fault.  I blame their parents.  Case in point: on my trip to San Diego this week, I sat across from a kid who may have been three years old.  He was very loud and disruptive for the entire flight.  Not once did I get upset with him waking me from my nap at 38,000 feet.  But, I got really pissed at his parents who simply ignored his outbursts.  The kid was wearing headphones and playing with an iPad while using his "playground voice."  Every blue moon, his mom or dad would "shush" him, but it was rarely with any type of authority.  It almost seemed insincere as they rarely even looked at him when doing so.  This irks me.  

Kids are disruptive away from home because they're disruptive at home.  I'm a firm believer of that.  This kid is three years old and already has the freedom to do as he pleases.  His parents have basically given him the power to have his way and that will grow over time.

Aside from the noise this kid created, he also held up the line when everyone was trying to exit the plane.  While his parents were begging him to get out of his seat, he chose to play with his toys instead.  Instead of getting out of our way, they simply sat there and negotiated with a three year old.  This upset not just me, but everyone else on the plane since we were on the fourth or fifth row from the front with 100+ people behind us.  Yet, the clueless parents looked at us as if we needed to understand, "he's just a child."

Whatever.  My parents would have never had that problem with me or my brother.  Any time we were disruptive, we were scolded sternly.  If we continued to act a donkey, then other measures were taken.  I know that a lot of people frown on spankings these days, but they did the trick for me and my big bro.

Once you start a peek-a-boo game on a plane, you can never stop. (Source)
I think that some parents have it hard. I saw a single mom on the plane with a child that looked less than a year old. Sometimes you just have to take your kid on a flight. Surprisingly enough, her child was a lot more quieter than the three year old. No crying. No fussing. Yet a parenting team could not control a three year old from having an entire section wishing they were sitting on the wing instead of beside them.

I read where some airlines are putting travelers with kids in sections together on the plane in the back.  This has been dubbed as being placed in a "baby ghetto."  Kind of an extreme name, but the idea is to move all crying babies as far as possible from those without.  I'm not sure if that's fair or not, but obviously, the airlines are recognizing that there's a problem.  There have also been talks of charging parents more money for kids of a certain age to fly.  That's absolutely ridiculous to punish someone for having a child, good or disruptive.

My solution would be to ban the parents who appear to not try.  If people around them are complaining, then prevent them from future flights.  I know that sounds harsh, but if you're letting your little hellion raise the stress level of people who don't have the option of walking out, then maybe you should consider the train.

Maybe not to this extreme... (Source)

Have you ever dealt with a disruptive child as a parent or "victim" in public?

Friday, October 5, 2012

"Q... Thank, Q..."

I'm an avid television watcher. When I was a kid, I had favorite characters that I enjoyed watching whenever I got the opportunity. All kids are impressionable and I wanted to be some sort of super hero or good guy when I grew up. Because of that, I absolutely enjoyed movies where these guys would either get the girl, kill the bad guy or both. However, although I could appreciate the efforts of many fine actors who has graced the big screen, there was only one who I thought stood alone when it came down to best action character of all-time....

Clint Eastwood's character as "The Man With No Name" in the "A Fistful of Dollars" trilogy was one of my favorites while growing up, but can't compare to my #1.

Sylvester Stallone's character as "John Rambo" from the "Rambo" series was a lot of fun to watch, but still can't compare to my #1.

Can you name them all?  Most won't know the 2nd from the left.

Bond... James Bond. (Bond fanfare plays) Six people have played Bond in all of these movies dating back 50 years ago today to 1962's "Dr. No." I've seen all of these movies multiple times, but to be honest, I always feel the need to watch them again whenever a marathon is available for me to do so.

This character was the ultimate idol for a male kid. He had the clothes, cars, gadgets, fighting skills and the women. Did I mention that he had the women? Bond Girls, as they're so affectionately called, had not only a prominent role in these movies, but some of the most interesting names as well:

Dr. Holly Goodhead
Plenty O'Toole
Honey Ryder
Strawberry Fields
And every man's favorite, Pussy Galore.

Yeah, you read that correctly. Click the link if you don't believe me. At one time, an actress' career was elevated to an entirely new level once she became a Bond girl. Kim Basinger and Teri Hatcher's careers both soared after appearing in Bond movies. Being a Bond girl isn't that big of a deal these days since the younger generation doesn't embrace the Bond movies as I once did. I can't necessarily blame them too much given the number of new action heroes on the silver screen for them to idolize. They could feel the same way about "The Bourne Identity" or "The Transporter" series as I once did as a kid about the Bond movies.

Every now and then, Bond movies will mix in flashbacks from the past. (1962 meets 2002)

Another thing that Bond movies had was music. The coolest theme song ever, in my opinion. The most dramatic and recognizable fanfare whenever he had a "Bond moment" and did something super-cool. To top it off, the theme songs for his movies are usually pretty memorable. "Nobody Does It Better" by Carly Simon, "A View to a Kill" performed by Duran Duran and "Live & Let Die" by Paul McCartney.  Now Adele is in the mix for the newest movie "Skyfall."

And for those of you who are also Bond fans, I know you would probably ask my opinion on which actors played Bond the best:

1. Sean Connery - the total package
2. Roger Moore - very humorous, but not quite as smooth as Connery
3. Pierce Brosnan - very smooth, but not quite as humorous as Connery

Worst one? Timothy Dalton by a landslide! I would have rather watched Seth Rogan play Bond than Dalton.  'Nuff said.

My favorite character of all-time has been around for what will be 23 movies when the next installment, "Skyfall," comes out. I'm hoping that this movie will be successful and springboard the character of James Bond for another 50 years. How awesome is it that "Skyfall" will be released the weekend of my birthday?

Who is your favorite recurring movie character of all-time?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

TQ Presents... @LadyEstrogen Returns!

I generally try to put out three blog posts per week, but from time-to-time, I get caught up with other things: The Mrs., work, football, etc. This time, I'm on vacation. Hopefully, by the time you read this, I'll be some where on a beach in San Diego.  So, I figured, why not solicit some of my favorite bloggers to take up the slack for me. Yeah, that's right, I can facilitate my blogging duties to others! How lazy wonderful is that?

I've asked a favorite of mine, Lady Estrogen, to pretty up my blog a bit with her insight! Well, I'm going to let Lady Estrogen do her thing. After you read this and enjoy her work, then cruise on over to "Adventures In Estrogen" and subscribe to her blog. It's good stuff. It wouldn't be on my page if it weren't. Take it away, Lady E!

Babies Having Babies

A while back, I was asked to contribute sex advice on a relatively popular social community website for teens. Very quickly I ran into a serious issue that had actually caused me to lose sleep over it. Teen pregnancy. But it’s not even that – since these CHILDREN are not even 13 (In my mind, real teen pregnancy is classified by girls that are actually "something-teen" in age when they get pregnant). It’s not like it is an isolated issue either! One after another, after another, they all post questions and proud statements such as: “I’m keepin it, cuz I dont wants an aborchin” Are you fucking for real? Apparently, they are real... and there are a lot of them!

This consumes me with sadness AND rage, not only due to the ill-informed and pure ignorance of these children – but where are their god damn parents in all of this? I’ll tell you where... they themselves are barely 30 and are allowing their children to have sex under their roof and condone their actions! These so-called parents should be brought up on charges for allowing this – but they seem to be no smarter than the 13 year old (in actuality, they likely aren't). It is like they are fuelling a vicious cyclone of dumb breeding, which apparently gets fully recycled every 12-15 years. When it was once deemed almost impossible to live to be a great-great grandmother, now it’s achievable by the time you’re 60! I would have originally thought that it was based loosely on class, but in these times everyone has access to information and fairly regulated schooling (in Western countries, anyway). It seems to be spreading like a virus – lower, middle and upper class – a lot thanks to teen pregnancy glorification in the media, as per Jamie Lynn Spears and Bristol Palin – but 1 serious factor is ignored – those girls have M-O-N-E-Y.

So, everyone wants to have a baby – like it’s all about funky coloured strollers and cute onezies that say "If you think I’m cute, you should see my Mommy". Why are they all in such a desperate rush to grow up? Whatever happened to wearing too much make-up or trying on your mother’s high heels to feel older? These girls are creating new human beings... and yet simultaneously posting questions online like:

“I only did it once in a KFC bathroom, so why am I pregnant?”

“How quickly can I lose the weight I gained cuz I don’t want my boyfriend to think I’m fat and dump me?”

You want my advice? Here it is: If you are asking questions like these, YOU SHOULD NOT BE HAVING SEX AND DEFINITELY SHOULD NOT HAVE A BABY. I’m not saying I was an angel at 13; I was doing many things with boys that I was far too young to really understand, but I still knew that there was no way in fuck that I was going to get myself pregnant!

Apart from those stupid girls that don’t even know why or how they got pregnant (which perhaps 40 years ago would be acceptable, but frankly there is no excuse in today’s society), it’s also the girls that PURPOSELY go and do it as well. I really think that in situations like these that the world truly is going mad.

I might be willing to buy the underlying notion of creating a child for a sad concept of unconditional love, but I don’t even think these girls are emotionally mature enough to formulate a complex idea like that. They simply want a cute little bundle to cart around like a fashion accessory. Hey! Go to fucking Toys R Us and get the Graco 3-in-1 Pram – it sells for only $49.99 and you won’t get ‘fat’. So what if the recommended age is 3-4 years; the girls might argue that they are 10 years too old for it. Well, my rebuttal would be that they’re also 10 years too young (at least) to have a real baby, so what’s the difference? Get the god damn toy, so when they find out that it’s not as cool and trendy as they thought it was, they can just throw it out – not so easy with a real one.

End rant

Love, Lady E

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