Ways to Make More Time

Posted by on March 30, 2011 in Time with Comments closed |

If you have some ideas or hobbies that you want to pursue, you have to make the time to do them. How am I supposed to do that, you may ask? Here are some ways to make more time for yourself.

1. Kill your TV.

If you ask someone, “How much time do you spend watching T.V?” The answer is almost always the same, “I hardly watch any T.V. Maybe an hour in the morning before work, but that doesn’t really count. Then a probably a couple hours in the evening.”

Then you ask them to keep track of it. Use a journal or write it on the calendar where you can see it. Most people don’t make it past two or three days before they realize they are watching way more TV than they thought they were.

2. Focus one hour

Focus on something you want to work on one hour a day. Chances are if you set one hour a day aside to work on something, you will eventually get it done. That would be 30 hours a month that you normally wouldn’t have focused on your project. And because it’s your project, and supposed to be fun, you should look forward to doing it. One hour shouldn’t be that bad.

3. Go to sleep one hour earlier.

“Oh my God! That is ridiculous,” you may be saying. Studies show that sleep affects the rest of your body. If you don’t have enough rest you can’t focus on anything else. Also if you go to sleep an hour earlier you, can get up an hour earlier so you can apply
Step 2.

“Yeah right, I’m not doing that!”

Drastic times call for drastic measures. What are you willing to do? If you were as unhappy as I was in past jobs, you’d do whatever it took to change the situation.

4. Use your off day as a half-day.

Your new project, whatever it is, is going to need some attention to get done. If you can’t afford to quit your job and work on it full-time, you’ll need to at least work on it part-time.

I’ve had a full-time job while I’ve worked two part-time jobs just to make ends meet. But if you’ve got a full-time job, you better start treating your project like a part-time job. That means you need to show up, just like any other part-time job, to get the work done. The difference in this case is you’re the boss and you like what you’re doing, but at the same time you’re not going to have anyone looking over your shoulder telling you what to do. If you think you may need some help, this is a good time to start looking for a coach or mentor to help you get through.

These are just a few ideas to help free-up some time. No matter how busy your life is, you should make time for yourself. Good luck with whatever it is you choose to pursue.

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Spring Training

Posted by on March 24, 2011 in Haiku, poem, Poems with Comments closed |

Haiku is a poetic form and a type of poetry from the Japanese culture. Haiku, which the plural form is also Haiku, are usually written about nature, seasons, feelings or everyday experiences. The first line usually contains five syllables, the second line seven syllables, and the third line contains five syllables.

This is the Haiku I wrote for my new poetry class.

Spring Training
Swim, bike, running climbs
Triathlons fresh on my mind
Start times, finish lines

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1

Street Justice

Posted by on March 22, 2011 in Street Justice |

I was in Surat, India in late January 2008. My wife was sick. This is how she spends much of her time in India, so she went to bed. Her uncle Adij-bhai, #2, #3, which is what I called the other uncles because I couldn’t pronounce their names, and Neil, Tejal’s little cousin, wanted to take me out and show me Surat on a scooter. It was about 11 at night.

I looked at Neil who was 13 and asked, “Do you have a license?”
“Gearless. Gearless,” he replied.
“You don’t have a license, you’re not old enough to drive,” I said.
“Gearless. No need license,” Neil said.

I think my father-in-law knew he wasn’t legit, but he let it slide because we were with the Uncles.

As we drove through dark narrow back-alley’s, we merged onto a street into traffic. Thousands of people were still out on the sidewalks, hanging around shops and traffic was still very heavy.

After 15 minutes of driving, we pulled up to a sidewalk, which hundreds of people were standing on, to a little food stand. Many of the men were smoking and everyone was looking at me like I was lost. I hadn’t had a cigarette in days.
“You like pan?” Adij-bahi asked.
“What’s that?” I said.
“You try,” he said.

There are two types of pan one is beetle nut wrapped with a green edible leaf. You chew it like tobacco and spit the juice. The other type of pan is dessert and wrapped in a leaf. It is sweet and you eat it whole. We had the second kind.
I asked for a Coke which was handed to me in a glass bottle.
“Want anything else?”
“Yeah a menthol cigarette,” I said.
I’ve never seen anyplace that sold single cigarettes, but this place did.

I ate my pan with dozens of people watching to see if I would spit it out. I chewed and swallowed it. Then I took a big drink of Coke.
“Does it taste the same as in America?” they asked
“Yep. Sure does—exactly the same,” I said.

Then a beggar came up and started tapping me and asking for money. Hemmel-bhai, a.k.a. #2, said something in Gujarti and the beggar scampered away.

I smoked my cigarette and we climbed back on to the scooters. We drove around the city. We happened upon a street intersection. There was a guy walking his bike across the street. We had a red light. When the light turned green, the guy walking his bike stopped in the middle of the intersection. Hundreds of rickshaws and scooters took off and b-lined straight towards the guy. He tired to make his way through the traffic, then we heard a loud bang. A rickshaw had flipped over.

A cop ran over to help. Then everyone realized that an old woman and two children were in the back of the rickshaw. Instead of trying to get them out, the cop grabbed the guy with the bike and punched him several times in the head and face. Then four other guys jumped in and started kicking and punching him too.

Neil pulled the scooter up right next to the scene. We were only about four or five feet from the chaos. Neil started laughing hysterically.

“The guy get punched, hah?” Smiling and shaking his head up and down.
I did not want to get caught up in the mini-riot and I started yelling at Neil, “Go. Go. Go!”
“Go over there,” I screamed into his ear and pointed at the sidewalk across the street.

When he finally got us to safety I yelled, “Why did you go over there? You don’t even have a fucking license!”
He laughed and said, “Gearless,” and waved his hand in the universal sign for don’t worry.

A couple of minutes later the Uncles pulled up.
“Did you guys see that?” I said.
“Yeah,” #2 said. “In India there’s no need for courts on things like that. You handle them there in the streets. It’s called street justice.”

Sometimes I wish we could do things like that here in the States, that is unless I’m the one who caused the accident.

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Iron Don

Posted by on March 15, 2011 in flash fiction, Iron Don with Comments closed |

Don Davenport was huffing his 220 lbs. body up a three mile hill on a red and white, Cannondale race-bike that he bought as part of his New Year’s resolution. Sweat rolled down from his head. He squinted as it hit his eyes, the stinging sensation felt like diluted battery acid. He wanted to wipe the sweat away but the incline was too steep to take his hands off the handle bars. It really didn’t matter since he had forgotten his white wrist-band that he usually wore on his training days. Mental note, he thought, next time don’t forget wrist band.

As Don’s legs began to burn with each pedal. He thought about the affirmation his coach taught him, I’m strong mentally and physically and forward motion gets me there. Don imagined himself crossing the finish line at Ironman Kona. He hadn’t raced in an Ironman yet, therefore he didn’t qualify to race at Kona. But he imagined himself getting off his bike and going for a long, 26.2 mile jog through the parched lava fields on the Big Island of Hawaii after his 112 mile bike ride and 2 ½ mile swim. But he knew that was at least a year away.

As he thought about the run, Don pictured him and his dad watching ABC’s Wide World of Sports when he was five years old. He remembered Julie Moss, a physical education major, crawling to the finish line. She had only eaten half of a Snicker’s candy bar the entire race. She threw the other half away when she realized that ABC’s van had pulled up beside her and was filming her out in first place. She hadn’t even trained for the race, and within yards of the finish line, her body was shutting down. Don remembered turning to his dad and saying, “I’m going to do that someday.” His dad said, “Well then maybe we should take off your training wheels.”

Don snapped back to reality when he swerved his front wheel to miss a pothole in the road as he crested the hill. He realized that his legs weren’t burning anymore. He repeated what his coach told him, this time out loud, “I’m strong mentally and physically and forward motion gets me there. And even if I don’t qualify for Kona, I will finish my first Ironman next year, even if I fall down dead at the finish line.”

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Wasting Time and Changing Minds

Posted by on March 1, 2011 in poem, Poems with Comments closed |

I’ve never been a poetry kind of guy
It always seemed like a big waste of time.
Sonnets, Haikus, Iambic Pentameter,
A waste of time in endless chatter.

Beatniks, Poets, and Spoken Word
Personally I think it’s all for the birds.
Show me how you can pay your bills rhyming,
and I’ll change my mind in a snap.
Oh wait, there’s always rap!

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Hoosier

Posted by on February 23, 2011 in Hoosier with Comments closed |

You don’t have to be from Indiana
to be a Hoosier.
Just because you live in a trailer,
doesn’t make you a loser.

You don’t have to have a car
up on blocks.
No clotheslines of jeans,
underwear and socks,

Flapping in the wind
for all to see.
Gun racks in the window
are not necessary.

No gigging frogs,
or shooting squirrels.
No square dancing,
giving twirls.

But if you’ve done five
from the list above,
you’re a Hoosier,
my family would love.

(In and around St. Louis, MO, Hoosier means the same thing as Redneck. I’ll apologize to anyone who’s from Indiana in advance.)

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1

Army vs. Navy

Posted by on February 15, 2011 in Uncategorized |

There was a story in the News of the Weird about two drinking buddies. One of the guys was in Army, the other was in the Navy, and they were arguing over which service was better. The Army soldier had a gun and ended up shooting the Navy man. And since the soldier had the gun, he ended up winning the argument. This is my interpretation of how this story could have unfolded.

Army vs. Navy

“Well in the Army, we use carabineers. Who gives a flying-fuck if you can tie fourteen kinds of knots?” Dustin Jakes said. Dustin was 27 year old Afghanistan Army vet, who had just gotten out. Now all he ever talked about was going back in.

“You use carabineers because the Army knows their guys are too stupid to learn how to tie fourteen different kinds of knots. You guys can barely tie your own boots,” said David Prost a 24 year old Navy seaman who was home on leave. “The only knot you guys know how to tie is the one in your sleeping bag.”

“You know?” Dustin said looking off into the distance, “When I see a aircraft carrier pull into port and all those guys are standing around the deck in perfect formation, all I can think is, Those are some gay-ass looking uniforms. You guys look like you’re getting ready to break out into a song from some Broadway musical.”

“You’re calling us gay? You guys are the ones who train how to huddle naked next to each other in your sleeping bags for warmth,” David said. “They don’t teach us that in the Navy.”

“We’re not naked asshole. We’re in our skivvies. And believe me, when it gets down to 12 degrees at night out in the desert, you’re going to climb in someone else’s sleeping bag if you don’t want to die.”

“Yeah, but I heard you were doing it in the summer,” David said.

“Yeah right.”

“I heard you didn’t quit the Army. I heard you got tossed out when you violated the ‘Don’t ask, Don’t tell,’ policy,” David said.

Dustin reached around to the small of his back and pulled out a brushed-steel Colt .45. “You wanna see who’s gay?” Dustin started closing the distance between himself and David.

David took a step back. “What the fuck man? Stop playing around,” he said and threw up his hands.

Dustin stopped walking, so David continued. “I saw where you kept that gun. You like hard things touching your ass crack? Still dreaming about those nights in the desert in those sleeping bags?”

“Shut the fuck up man! I’m not playing with you,” Dustin said as he raised his gun.

“Oh Sgt. Jakes, what a big gun you have,” David said mockingly. “I see you got the biggest one you could get. Trying to make up for something?”

“Seriously, this is your last chance,” Dustin said.

“A Don’t ask, Don’t tell violator doesn’t have the balls to shoot anyone. That’s why you’re here at home isn’t? You didn’t have the balls to shoot anyone, you big pansy.”

BAMB!
After the responders came, Dustin was cuffed, sitting in the back of a squad car as he watched David being loaded into the ambulance on a gurney. A red circle had formed on the bed sheet below David’s waist. Dustin said, “Who doesn’t have the balls now?”

Big Waves—Big Ideas

Posted by on February 8, 2011 in Big Waves with Comments closed |

The first time I saw the ocean I fell in love with it instantly. I was in Hawaii because my step-dad had just got stationed there. I would sit on the beach, a light Westerly trade wind blowing in directly in my face, mesmerized as the burnt, rusty-orange sun slipped down from the sky and hid behind the curtain of the horizon. Then my step-dad would yell, “Doug, get your butt up here! It’s getting dark. We’re leaving.”

The thing I loved most about the ocean was watching the waves crashing onto the shore. The water would run up the shore after a wave would break, little air bubbles popped up from the sand and white foam. The smell from the ocean-spray would hit your nose and wake you up like a punch-drunk boxer inhaling smelling salts.

During the winter, my family would drive to the North Shore of O’ahu and watch the waves roll in. Waimea Bay and Pipeline have some of the biggest waves in the world. I’d watch surfers paddle out, barely making it over the waves that seemed to touch the sky. Then they would swing their boards around toward the shore and paddle as if their life depended on it. Once they started moving with the wave, they would push down on their boards and pop up as they freefell five stories straight down.

From the shore the surfers looked like little dots flying down the face of these fifty-foot walls of water, a long white tail followed behind them from their boards. Then the massive moving wall of water would pitch over the reef and I’d watch the wave fold in half and form a huge barrel. You could fit a semi-truck in some of those tubes.

I’d watch the surfer, intensely hoping to see him fly out of the barrel, knowing that if he didn’t make it, he could die.

I sat on the beach watching the way the wave would build up, up, up, higher toward the sky. And just when I knew it couldn’t get any higher, because of the white trickles that form at the top of the wave when it’s had all it can take, the wave would pitch. The waves are so big on the North Shore that when they decide to break, it looks like it folds over in slow motion. The lip of the wave hangs in the air for a full three to four seconds, as if a force is slowing down time and gravity. Then you hear the inevitable, “Thaa-Thoomp!” The concussion hits you like a foul ball in the chest from the tons of water hitting the ocean as the wave topples over itself.

As I learned more about waves, I found out that every winter, earthquakes up near Alaska and the Artic Circle are what generate the waves on O’ahu’s North Shore. When there’s a slip in the fault line, or a giant storm up North, about a week later O’ahu experiences perfect 25 to 35 foot waves.

The waves have to travel over half the Pacific Ocean before it’s even seen. A wave starts off so small and so deep that it can’t even be seen from the surface. It’s not until it travels thousands of miles and hits the perfect spot that the wave can been seen in all its glory.

Often when I’m reading or writing I think about the waves on the North Shore of O’ahu. All stories or books start as an idea way up North in someone’s mind. They have to travel a long way to get to book form. Sometimes they are blown away by the wind. A writer gets discouraged or bored with the subject and the idea fizzles out. But occasionally some ideas that do make the long journey over the open water of a writer’s mind and hits the reef with perfect timing. Readers drop in and take the ride. And the noise that one book can make, is like the concussion of a big wave, which can live on forever, long after the writer is gone.

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Billy Tom’s Fingers

Posted by on February 2, 2011 in Billy Tom's Fingers, Poems with Comments closed |

I had to write a portrait poem, so I wrote one about my Grandpa. I wanted to write one that best represented what I thought about him. Remember, poems don’t have to rhyme. In fact, most, “good poets,” poems don’t rhyme. But sometimes in the writing process, the piece takes on a life of it’s own.

Billy Tom’s Fingers

Sausage sized fingers
That played with cigarette cherries
And were occasional teeth pullers
Waved liked American flags when telling a story.

They hammered nails,
Chased tails,
Broke broncos,
And held babies.

They’ve given,
Taken,
And made the bacon,
From hogs you raised yourself.

They’ve won craps
And turkey shoots,
Taken off work boots,
And could bend quarters like Superman.

They were guitar pickers,
Truck gear shifters,
And could fix anything
That could be opened.

They’ve knocked people out.
Helped people up.
And have even tanned
Little naughty kid’s butts.

They were crooked and fat.
Nails purple and black.
And though they’re long gone
I can still picture every one.

(Usually poets leave things open to the reader’s interpretation. I just want to clarify one line. My grandpa was a hunter, not a womanizer.)

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2

Take your medicine

Posted by on January 24, 2011 in Take Your Medicine |

Late one summer evening, I along with a dozen other people, was at my friend Jennifer’s house for her 40th birthday party. It a low-key affair and all of us were good friends, except for a few people who we’ve met on other occasions over the years.

After several glasses of white wine I excused myself to go to the bathroom. “Gotta break the seal,” I announced to the entire kitchen. When I stepped into the bathroom and unzipped my pants, I saw it. It, being six droplets of pee and a long black pubic hair on the toilet seat.

As my stream hit the water, I thought, I’m not cleaning that up! I don’t care who did it. I know it wasn’t me, so I’m not cleaning it up. I don’t even like to clean my own bathroom, much less someone else’s.

That’s when a great debate started in my head, Who’s all here? Who will come in here next? Probably a girl and no doubt she will be pissed and automatically blame me for the infraction!

When I’m at a restaurant or bar and a person is waiting to use the stall after me, all I do is flip up the toilet seat if there’s pee on it. That way the person waiting to use the stall thinks, Well it wasn’t him. The toilet seat was up when I walked in. I laugh to myself and whisper, “You’re stuck cleaning it buddy,” as I start washing my hands.

But this time, I was at a friend’s house and I just know someone will undoubtedly accuse me of back-splashing and order me into the bathroom to go clean it up. What was I supposed to say? “No! That wasn’t me! That was there when I walked in. That’s why I flipped up the toilet seat!”

So there I was, after much debate with myself, cleaning off someone else’s piss with a mashed up wad of toilet paper. “Damn you girls! You don’t know how lucky you are to have a guy friend like me,” I muttered to myself.

After I flushed the toilet and was running my hands under the water to get someone else’s pee germs off of them, I realized that there wasn’t any soap, much less a clean towel.

I bent down and looked in the cabinet underneath the sink, but no luck there. I noticed a bar of soap in the shower, but it also had a very short, black, pubic hair stuck in it. That’s when I realized that this soap had probably been all over Jennifer’s body. That’s when I also realized that Jennifer trimmed her kitty.

The thought of using the soap really didn’t bother me too much. Matter of fact, it kind of turned me on as I sat there and stared at the tiny pubic hair, drifting off into a fantasy shower scene of my own for a few seconds.

But then an image flashed into my mind. It was the look of horror on Jennifer’s face when one of the other guests would eventually say, “Jennifer I didn’t see any soap in your bathroom,” and when she came in to replace it, she would realize that I had used her personal-soap because it was covered in water, which was still running down the side of the tub. So I decided that it would be a bad idea to touch the bathtub-soap.

So after checking the cabinet below the sink, I decided to look in the medicine cabinet for some soap. When I swung open the medicine cabinet door, it sounded like someone threw two handfuls of rocks through the window. Out of instinct, I ducked down to the green ceramic tile floor, my heart beating a mile a minute. About a half a second later, I got hit in the head with a little shinny marble.

I scanned the area like a sniper who had just been ambushed and realized that there were dozens of marbles all over the floor. I heard one person laughing and some muffled talking and about six seconds later, the whole room erupted with laughter. Apparently Jennifer had booby-trapped her medicine cabinet so that if anyone looked in there, they were going to get the dose of medicine that she felt they deserved for invading her privacy.

As I walked out of the bathroom, there was no reason to even try to explain the situation. I used my pants to towel off my wet hands. Not only did everyone know I looked in Jennifer’s medicine cabinet, but they also thought I peed my pants.

“Oh my God! I just wanted to embarrass whoever looked in my medicine cabinet. I didn’t mean to make you pee your pants! ” Jennifer cried out in complete shock.

“Got a towel?” I said as I hung my head down.

“No, but I think I got some pink, stretchy, biker shorts that you can wear,” she said.

The next time I think I’ll just leave the pee on the seat.

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