Giving Thanks

Giving Thanks

For all the people in my life,

For all the opportunities I have been given,

For every undeserved chance,

For every mistake and hardship,

For every leg up,

For every hug,

For every tear,

For every kiss,

I give thanks.

If It’s Not About X… It’s 100% About X

If It’s Not About X… It’s 100% About X

“It’s not about the money.”

If someone says that, you can bet that whatever the problem is, it is 100% about money.

“It’s not about the playing time.”

Again, you can bet that whatever the problem is, it is 100% about playing time.

What gets me is this: if the problem is money, playing time, access, whatever – how do you expect to resolve the issue by denying the very thing that you hope to have corrected IS the problem?

How can anyone resolve your problem if you are unwilling to admit what is making you unhappy?

No one wants to be called out or thought of as selfish, or greedy, or self-centered.

And in my experience, when someone is not happy with the money they are receiving or the amount of playing time that they are getting or the amount of access to something that they are allowed, they use this tactic of rhetorical denial to not look petty.

You may not be being petty.

Then again, you may be.

But denying the root of the issue you want is resolved is a road block to getting what you really want.

Don’t like the money you make?  Admit the problem is money.  Ask for more money, or at least what you need to do to get more money.

Don’t like the amount of playing time you get?  Admit the problem is playing time.  Ask why you’re not getting the playing time you think you deserve and what you need to do to get that additional time.

This quirk of the human psyche is one that I have seen from kids sports all the way up to business and professional sports.

Remember – Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.

Cheap Gas! is Back!

Cheap Gas! is Back!

After a hiatus of a month or so, Cheap Gas! is back on the Apple App Store, here:

The app now uses gas station data from (Thanks, Dustin Coupal!).

Revision 1.5 should be available – soon.  It is under review by Apple and I look for it to drop very soon.

The new features on 1.5 are:

  • Ability to refresh station information / GPS position without leaving app
  • Ability to set GPS sensitivity
  • Now shows distances to stations.


The C Word

The C Word

After all of the hub-bub over the weekend over a couple of M words (mommybloggers and Motrin), I’ve successfully (so far) resisted the urge to comment directly (much) on the subject.

Instead, I’ll relate a little vignette over a related parenting topic concerning a C word – circumcision.

As some of you may know, I’m the adoptive father of two sons.  And since these were open adoptions, we were fortunate enough to have a say as to whether our sons were to be circumcised or not.

Like all things parental or related to parenting, people are all over the map, pro and con, regarding circumcision.

Some people are quite in your face about it, as a matter of fact.

For the purposes of this discussion, I won’t say whether we did or didn’t opt to circumcise – but will disclose that our decision was not so much based upon religious or health issues as much as on social considerations (why am I different from Dad? Why am I different from big brother?).  Hopefully, this paragraph will be the most uncomfortable one you have to read here…

Point is, when it comes to parenting, it gets down to the core of your most basic beliefs of what it takes to raise a person… to BE a person; and when someone attacks your parenting choices, you don’t take it as a knock on a particular choice (breast vs. bottle, sling vs. stroller, hospital vs. midwife, circumcision vs. not, etc.) – you take it as a direct attack on your most basic beliefs.

Hence the vitriolic reaction among a segment of the blogosphere over the weekend.

Anyway, back to the C word.

While getting ready to leave the hospital with my second son, we informed the doctor of our decision regarding circumcision.

The attending physician was obviously in disagreement with our choice.  You could tell by his demeanor.

And by the fact that he asked us like three times if we’re really sure about it.

It wasn’t the first time we’d run into the “hey, you’re a bad parent if…” deal, and it wasn’t the last.

The point is this – you and your family have to live with the decisions you make.  No one else, as long as your decisions are within the law, obviously.

Every day you drop your kid off in the school line in a certain brand of car, or go to a particular restaurant, or play on a certain team, or dress your child a certain way, or subscribe to a certain philosophy of child rearing – you’re gonna be judged.

Get over it, deal like a grown up.  Chill.

Because there are enough difficulties in being a parent – good or bad – besides someone dogging your point of view in an online ad.

Now, please excuse me.  I’m going to go write a strongly worded letter about a “Dad is an idiot” commercial I just saw.

Good Weekend in Atlanta

Good Weekend in Atlanta

Had a very good travel hockey weekend this past Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in Atlanta (well, Marietta and Duluth).

Number One son scored two goals and an assist in game 1, and a goal and an assist in game 2 – both of which they won.  Sadly, game 3 they lost 2-1.

The amazing thing about this is that about half the team ‘bailed’ and didn’t make the trip.  We had 4 defensemen and 3 centers and forwards… and had to borrow 3 players.

Even so, we beat 2 teams that had between 15 and 20 skaters, and came close to beating the best A team in the Atlanta area.

In one sense, I’m disappointed in how many kids reneged on a commitment on the team.  In another sense, it was good to see what the kids who did go could do when pressed to the wall.  It’s not easy double-shifting every other shift for three games against 15 sets of fresh legs… and win 2 out of 3, coming close to winning 3 out of 3.

Practice tonight should be fun.

I’m not a Joiner

I’m not a Joiner

I’ve never considered myself much of a Joiner.  You know – member of this society, chairman of this committee, blah blah blah.

At least, by temperament.

In actuality, I have joined quite a few things in my life – and one way or the other usually seem to wind up in charge, or at least, responsible.

So I either have a huge case of Denial or the Universe has a perverse sense of humor.

Or maybe I really am a joiner and just can’t bring myself around to that fact.

Being a joiner isn’t a bad thing, in and of itself.

I think my reluctance to be a joiner stems from my extreme dislike of bandwagon jumpers.  You might know them as Dallas Cowboy or Miami Dolphins fans from the seventies, Bruce Springsteen fans from the eighties, Nebraska fans of the nineties, or Patriots / Bosox fans today (alternate reading: Mass-holes).

Being a joiner (at least to my mind) meant that I had to own all the baggage of whatever group I was joining – fraternity, church, team, choir, family – and I tended to miss the real advantages that group membership could bring.  As they say, Membership has it’s privileges.

I’m still really ambivalent about commiting to a new group, even today.  Not because of fear, but because I cannot say no… and tend to get myself overcommitted, over-churched, or simply overwhelmed.

I’ve gotten much better in my old age.  My “no” really means no, and my “yeses” are made with more enthusiasm and optimism for what the new opportunity will bring.

But just don’t call me a joiner.  Because I’m not.

New NHL All Star Game Facebook Application

New NHL All Star Game Facebook Application

Vote for your favorite Detroit Red Wing in the NHL All Star Fan Ballot
Vote for your favorite Detroit Red Wing in the NHL All Star Fan Ballot

I know, I know.  But business is business.

Facebook App Here and Voting Here.

Brothers In Arms And Other Great Studio Albums I Have Known

Brothers In Arms And Other Great Studio Albums I Have Known

This morning I was listening to Dire Straits “Money For Nothing” and remembered back to 1985 (!!!) when I bought the record (back in those days, see, we called them records) and to how simply blown away I was at the high quality of the mastering of that album was.  Brothers In Arms, Ride Across The River, Money For Nothing… each of these songs are aural gems in addition to being great songs in their own rights.

I really miss the production quality of the albums of Old.

Go back and listen to the eponymous Fleetwood Mac album.  It is a freakin’ masterpiece of studio engineering; more layers than a Vidalia onion.  Ditto Aja by Steely Dan.  Hell – even Abacab by Genesis.

Likewise, you’ll never see a contemporary artist do a studio cut in ** one ** take – rehearse and rehearse and rehearse – just to catch the perfect wave.  Listen to Todd Rundgren’s “Think of Me” – a single take cut.

Maybe I’m making much to much of this – but the great studio albums of the past were great not because they had great producers – they did – but mainly because the musicians WERE musicians – sans air quotes.

Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton, Todd Rundgren, Donald Fagen, Lindsay Buckingham, Jimmy Page, Phil Collins (he IS a damn fine musician)… where are their heirs today?

There is no such thing as microwave excellence.  It is the honing of one’s craft that adds complexity, richness, depth.

We have become so commoditized in our tastes that we fail to recognize that overnight success in the arts, sports, and in business are more times than not years in the making.

Old Fart rant over.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lt.-Col. John McCrae
Keep It Simple Stupid

Keep It Simple Stupid

Once again, Seth Godin conveys in very few words what I struggled mightily with yesterday – “the sad lie of mediocrity is the mistaken belief that partial effort yields partial results.”

Doing 4% less does not get you 4% less.

Doing 4% less may very well get you 95% less.

Skate hard every shift. Practice like you wish to play.