When TV collides with life: Trump, House of Cards, FBI & CSI Cyber

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Quick note to start – yes, I am still training and fundraising. In fact, it would be fabulous if you would throw in $30 to the cause. I pretty much need $30/day for the rest of the time to meet the minimum. Also, things are starting to hurt a little. I’ll save that for another update (really!).

Project Athena Harbor to Harbor – $1,800 needed, please help!

And now, on to the main event!

These are the thoughts rattling through my head in recent weeks.

The first, I realized while watching the story about the FBI and Apple unfold that my impression of the whole scenario was being influenced not by any actual knowledge I have, but by the TV shows I watch! As I would read how the FBI needed Apple to create a back door hack into an iPhone that had been used by one of the San Bernadino terrorist attackers, all I could think was “But why? Can’t they just hack it themselves?! They do it ALL THE TIME on CSI Cyber!” You know, just throw the phone at Crummy and he’ll just type away madly on a keyboard for 20 seconds and VOILA! Phone unlocked! That’s all real isn’t it? Seriously I have just been SO unimpressed with the the REAL agents did here – asking the county to change the password and somehow not knowing how to get the backed up data or perhaps even locking themselves out of it? Meanwhile, since it was the guy’s work phone, not his personal one, I seriously doubt there’s anything on it worth having. At this point I am pretty much leaning towards being happy that Apple is standing their ground. Makes me feel pretty good knowing that darn little pass code I have on my phone is so impenetrable!

As an aside, can we talk about how damn awful CSI: Cyber is? I got suckered into watching it since my son and I are addicted to all things CSI and we were feeling major withdrawals when the original one wrapped up. I liked that they transitioned the Ted Danson character over form Vegas to DC, but from the absolutely atrocious episode that aired most recently, it looks like he is now out of there. I swear he probably went to the producers and said “Dear god, please write me out! The writing and acting are pitiful! I don’t need a paycheck this bad!” I mean, CSI: Miami was not anything fabulous either, but at least they seemed to be writing that one with tongue firmly planted in cheek. That’s why the Horatio meme of making a dramatic statement and then sliding on sunglasses is still going strong on the internet! But Cyber has NO CLUE they are bad. They are just…really really bad.

Meanwhile….House of Cards Season 4 dropped. WOW. No spoilers, but I pretty much think I loved this one as much as Season 1. Like most I totally binge watched, though I did spread it out over 3 nights. Here’s the thing though: some of the “Holy shit did they just DO that?” bite was somewhat diminished by what is happening in our very REAL election this year!! Every time I would think “No Presidential candidate could get away with THAT sort of theatrics/scheming etc.”, I would think to myself “Oh yeah. Trump.” That man has broken every single rule of class, decorum, leadership, respectability….whatever you want to call it. At this point I don’t even care what his policies are, I am just stunned at what he says, the vitriol he incites, and now the way his own supporters are behaving at his events. I mean (and this isn’t a spoiler)…there is a segment on House of Cards when an old picture of Frank Underwood’s father standing next to a Grand Master of the KKK is blown up and draped over a billboard in his home state of South Carolina. As always, Frank wiggles out from under what would normally be an End Of Your Campaign moment. But THEN…I immediately flashed to Donald Trump being endorsed by David Duke (he of the modern day KKK/White Supremacy movement). I remembered the many times when he, personally, has re-tweeted statements made by known White Supremacist leaders. Just today there is an NPR story about a family who has never been involved in politics who is now phone banking for Trump. The images show the woman with tattoos on her hands depicting the Hitler 88 symbol and the white supremacy associated star. And is ANY of this sticking to Trump in a negative way to devalue his campaign? He claims he doesn’t know about “any of that” and he simply manages to bluster louder than the people who deign to question him. And does it impact his campaign? Hell, from where I sit it seems to be HELPING him to have latched onto these sorts of voters because damn if he didn’t win a bunch of states again yesterday!

Please take note that in House of Cards, it was about the character’s FATHER’s association with Klansmen. This is directly about the candidate himself. In real life!

I just….really…don’t understand how the GOP 2016 campaign has turned into something LESS shocking than House of Cards! Are we living in a reality TV show?

Please tell me a President Trump would really NOT be worse than a President Underwood?

Just my .02 – I’ll go back to either working or walking now.

 

 

 

Your unique voice – share it!

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We take a pause from monthly photo albums for a little bit of actual, thoughtful writing.

Over the last year I’ve been filling my newly released time (kid away at college, no more volunteering to support everything he did) with some self improvement. I figured after 30 straight years of parenting, it was time to focus a bit of my adult brain on me 🙂

So I joined a coaching group and started reading some self help books and listening to inspirational pod casts and just generally having fun going back to doing what I had been doing in high school which is just sort of wander through the spirituality/occult/mystic/self help book section at the local store and just browse and skim interesting topics. Only in 2015 it means Kindle books and pod casts and Hay House radio. Yes, Louise Hay who I consider the Queen Goddess of this genre is still going strong and has a fulls scale media empire housed right here in north San Diego. I re-read her book and love using her site to find affirmations that resonate with me.

Anyhow – the point of all this is to express something I’ve noticed while listening to folks call in to these shows or reading some of their sites:

If you have an idea for a book or some sort of coaching you think will help people – DO IT! Write the book – launch the business. Color readings, medium work, psychic readings, mindset coaching, fitness, food – whatever the topic – EXPRESS YOURSELF!

The biggest resistance I hear is people saying “Yeah, but it’s all been SAID already on this topic! Those books have been written! There are already 1000 coaches doing this work!”

DO IT ANYWAY!

Here’s why: Let’s say there are five experts in a room. They are all specialists on the SAME topic. All have documented results, sold the same number of books, have the same number of glowing reviews for their books and their coaching.

You walk in the room. YOU actually don’t really NEED to receive information on this topic (or so you think) Let’s say they are food issue experts and you have always had perfect weight without any struggles.You get 5 minutes with each one. They are all *essentially* saying the same thing. Despite your general lack of NEED (up front), one of them, for *whatever* reason will say THEIR version of their topic in a way that makes you say “Hey! That’s cool! I never looked at choosing food in that way! I’m going to try that out!”

Someone else walks into the room after you. Hears the same five experts speak for 5 minutes. He/She also ends up hearing something that resonates with them. But, it’s from a DIFFERENT expert.

See, here’s the thing. We are ALL unique snowflakes. Really – I know that is often said sarcastically in reference to supremely coddled children, BUT, it is a true statement. That means that no one perceives the world in exactly the same way as you. So when you are consuming self help or spiritual messages for instance, you will respond in your unique way to different voices.

As such – YOUR voice – being as unique as it IS – will resonate with a certain group of people no matter how many times before the same topic has been addressed. You bring your life experience and individual way of expressing what you’ve learned in a way that will be a break through for someone.

It might NOT be for a mass audience – or sell a million books – BUT if what matters to YOU and your soul is that you DO help people no matter how many, then you absolutely need to go for it!

5 minutes of gratitude

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On Happify today there was a task that at first I grumbled about a bit in my head. Set a timer, then just do some stream of consciousness writing on what you are grateful for today – just today – anything at all – as simple as there not being traffic in the morning. Nothing profound, could be your that your stapler was full vs empty! So I shook off my momentary annoyance and just did it and this was the result at around noon today:

  • Sirius XM, new shoes, technology allowing me to communicate with my friend running in the Rockies this week, money I inherited that means I don’t have to STRESS about everyday purchases (food/gas/shoes :-)), easygoing co-workers, yoga class last night, an interesting recipe I am excited to try out tonight, funny friends making me laugh, that I am organized enough to make a once a year task fairly painless thanks to saved instructions and samples, that there is a beer in my fridge at home.

Simple enough and turned out to be fun and, hey, it did switch my mindset which had been leaning towards stress and snapped me right out of it. There have been some REALLY good tracks on Happify the last couple of weeks.

So, gaze at this beautiful beach scene and set a timer – GO!

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Warning! This is your brain on Zyrtec!

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Well, MY brain anyway ….

The ol’ barometric pressure took a nose dive last night and right on cue my sinuses filled with pressure.  Consequently I’ve been either excessively foggy headed and tired from the pressure itself or, the Zyrtec I take to relieve it somewhat. Take your pick – either way, I am not at my sharpest but with the meds, at least it doesn’t hurt 🙂

Here are some random ramblings of my brain in this condition. I should probably apologize ahead of time to the many many people I may will offend or piss off.

Nah…..why start now?

**** There are Christmas lights on TWO houses around the corner from me! TWO! And not just put up because you hired one of those light hanging services to come do it just to get it over. I’ve seen those. They go up, but don’t turn them ON at least until after Thanksgiving. No, these two houses are LIT UP! ON November 17th!! Now, I am the Mrs Griswold of the block and I love exploding in lights more than anyone, but NEVER…NEVER…before Turkey Day! Heck, with Thanksgiving being so early this year I may not even hang my outdoor lights immediately.

Maybe. Don’t hold me to that 🙂

**** This one wont offend anyone – last night was the final Friday Night Lights for us this year. Since 16 is a junior and was hurt most of the season I am OK with it, but also very sad for the seniors who played their last game together. Apparently they were all crying on the field after. Especially big #78. Even though he is the only one guaranteed to be playing Division 1 football in college, it was very hard for him to say goodbye to the coaches and players who basically taught him the game. He hadn’t played youth football like so many others because he was too big so his only football experience is at the high school. It’s no wonder he had the hardest time seeing that end. I’ll be sad to see many of the parents move on. This senior class was a great group of families and kids. We’ll have a finally banquet for the kids in early December to really wrap up the season and I think extra tissues will be needed all around!

**** Speaking of parents…so…I live in an area that may have or may not have a reputation of potentially being another location for The Real Housewives. Plenty of excess money and time goes around in certain parts. Not the WHOLE area mind you, but there are some very very ritzy pockets and if their kids go to public school, the end up where we are. I’ve now been to dozens of baseball, football and girls volleyball games over the last two years and I noticed something about the volleyball crowd recently.

Some of them need to lose the phone numbers to their plastic surgeons. Really. I mean it. There are way too many Dolly Parton and Cher look-a-likes in the stands at the gym! I have no clue why there appears to be a higher percentage per capita of such examples in that particular crowd vs the other sports but…yeah..it’s kinds scary to see them up close.

**** I should follow up after the rant earlier about the busy body/bullying co-worker to report that – as I suspected would happen – about an hour or so after I barked at her, she came by in her classic passive-aggressive manner and struck up a totally unrelated conversation but then managed to “slip in” her version of an apology. Having known her my whole adult life, I know her patterns all too well and she didn’t disappoint. Ah well….some people just never grow up or learn real empathy. I just wish those types would be quieter 🙂

And now I need to get to bed and hope that I wake up with a bit clearer head tomorrow. We have a trail run planned and I want to enjoy it like I enjoyed the run on Wednesday.

 

 

Push Presents and our Madison Avenue driven culture of expectation (re-post)

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Listening to a morning radio show on the way to work I heard a completely new term. “Push Present” Now, I know I fall out of the range of your typical female target audience. The things that I watch on TV or the magazines & blogs I read are WAY out of the norm for most women. But I do pay attention to conversations on Facebook and of course I have the August moms who usually end up talking about things here and there which helps me pick up things I might otherwise miss amongst the more generic girl talk. And yet this one had bypassed me. Turns out I did know the concept, just not by this title. A Push Present is the gift a man gives to a woman after the birth of their child. A reward for pushing the baby out 🙂 Kinda cute and it’s a lovely sentiment and I do know some women who have received these. SOME. Not all by a long shot and it was not something most of us talked about when we were pregnant.

What bothered me about the conversation this morning was that the women on the show – both in their early 30s – spoke of it as if it was EXPECTED. About as expected as a birthday or anniversary gift. For some reason, this rubbed me the wrong way entirely. I am sure it has something to do with my overall distaste for the way Madison Avenue has commercialized just about every holiday ever. Even the ones that were never *supposed* to have big presents or parties have become extravagant affairs if you follow advertising trends and popular TV/Magazine trends. I have often lamented the trend towards children *expecting* a big birthday party every single year. Mini golf, laser tag, chuck-e-cheese, bowling, etc etc. The parties get bigger and more expensive every year and it all seems like a grand competition to top one another. Little Johnny is only turning 2, but you have to invite 50 people to a pool party with jumpies and clowns and a Dj and and….!! Johnny won’t remember ANY OF THIS!!

It’s interesting because there is an overall sense that we can’t stand what is referred to as the “Entitlement attitude” of current generations. The phrase is thrown around in political arguments and in discussions on society as a whole. Typically it is used to vilify liberals expecting government handouts (sorry, had to stray a bit into politics for a second there). However, I think this whole notion is something that can be more properly laid at the feet of Madison Avenue. Anyone who consumes any amount of media is bombarded with the idea that the way you show off your success (and you must!) is by buying the shiniest, most expensive things. The way you show your love is by giving the shiniest most expensive things. Forget the country, citizens in general are more in debt than ever thanks to this constant messaging that you must have Tumi luggage, a shiny Lexus, a 2 carat ring, Jimmy Choo shoes and on and on. Self worth is wrapped up in it. Kids are steeped in it early with the birthday parties and accompanying pile of gifts. It’s not poor people who feel entitled to help; it is everyone, from all economic backgrounds that learned the world will shower you with all the pretty things that make you feel loved if you just whip out that credit card.

What would I consider a proper Push Present? Just be there. Be a dad. Stick around. Take them to doctor’s appointments and soccer practice & be there to watch their dance recitals. Make dinner and clean up after their barf. Be a partner in discipline and homework struggles and illnesses. That diamond tennis bracelet won’t do those things. Save that money. Start the college fund with it. That is what I *expect* from you. Birthday parties? How about we go back to marking the milestone years only? Every culture has some variations of course, but gosh just hitting the ‘5s’ and ‘0s’ works for me. Or, if you really love celebrating and having an excuse to be with a crowd of friends, then make it a No Gift party most of the time. Family will take care of that. Your 50 neighborhood and school friends? Nah – you just want the fun of having them there to play with you but they don’t all have to bring gifts. You want to reduce the entitlement culture? Then reduce those expectations.

UPDATE #1Ask 16 about his birthday as an example. Scroll down and see pics from his BBQ. He *loved* his day! Did he get some gifts? Sure, from family, but not from his peers. We told them to just show up. I bought them tickets to the movie and provided transportation there and back. All 16 wanted was to gather enough money to buy himself a new headset for his Xbox and he got exactly that. How many 16 year old boys do you all know who would be perfectly with that? Be honest!

Crazy how 2 mins of a radio show elicited that whole rant eh 🙂

Oh yeah! The guy who was the topic of the radio show? The Push Present he gave to his wife? A week at a FAT CAMP?!! Oh, he REALLY missed the concept. He’s in the Forever Dog House for sure.

UPDATE #2: Re-posting this because it has received a little more attention again along with a comment trying to explain the origination of the Push Present concept. Also a recommendation for a new website selling push presents that properly encapsulate the sentiment or something like that.  Endless love and protection of the mother and child? Yeah, sweet, but no. You know how to show that? I told you up above. Just be there.  Everything else is gravy and is simply a material item to be sold that continues on the culture of consumption. Push Presents are not mandatory, they are extra niceties if you have the money – maybe. But I will always resist it becoming some kind of expectation. 

Motivating the motivator

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I’ve written a couple of posts about finding motivation for my teenager. I’ll update on that particular task shortly, but in the course of writing most recently about finding my focus again, I mentioned to classic To Do list.

The page pictured above is from the notebook that I started using when Eve & I began working together. That’s my page of tasks for last week. Check marks everywhere indicate that I did a pretty good job of completing it. The last item was added later in the week and I suspected it might roll into today at least to complete.

In addition to making sure I don’t forget anything these lists help to motivate me as well as to keep my focus on the important tasks.

I keep a similar list at my day job – a place where it can be quite easy to lost focus and motivation because – hey – accounting aint always the most entertaining of tasks! Several things I do are exceptionally tedious even for my detail oriented brain and having that visual always at my side with the list of what I need to complete that day/week really helps to snap me out of any “dear god do I *really* have to keep searching these 1000’s of lines for that $5 discrepancy?” doldrums.

I know some folks can utterly ignore a To Do list, but I can’t. Must be another aspect of that mild OCD going on. but I have GOT to check items off or I can feel them dangling over my head.

For some reason, they need to be handwritten too. I’ve tried keeping task lists in my calendar program or my phone and they just don’t trigger the same “Gotta Do This!” inspiration.

Nope – I need the old fashioned hand written list. So if you are struggling to keep things inline – give it a try. Amazing how something so simple can work so well!

Now, on to the teen…….

So a few weeks ago I overheard him say to someone while he was playing Xbox that “Playing video games and football keeps me calm”

I thought that was an interesting self-assessment he had. Makes sense – teenage boys are filled with testosterone and I am sure that playing a contact sport and some interactive military style video games provides an outlet for that.

It also makes sense in that it was the prospect of losing football via bad grades that motivated him to pull up 3 D’s to C’s in the second semester of school. He also earned a 3 on his AP World History exam which, considering he did NO EXTRA STUDYING is pretty darn good. Not enough to earn college credit in most cases (needed a 4 or 5 for that), but it’s considered passing and will still look good on his transcripts. Plus, being his first AP exam and given that he could be taking 3 next year, it is was great practice.

He started summer off needing to balance his Xbox playing time with his online math class that he is taking in order to get into AP Calc in the fall. Since he is taking an entire year of Pre-Calc in just three months it is pretty fast paced and the requirement was that he finish up the 1st semester by this Friday and start the second semester on Monday. He started off fine, but then in his typical style, he fell behind. So last weekend we removed his Xbox and told him he couldn’t have it back until he was back on pace. Who knocked out a crap ton of work last week in order to get his gaming system back? 🙂  Not only did he blow through it, but he’s maintaining a 91% so far and will easily be done by Friday.

Baby steps…

 

Dear Daylight Savings Time

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What the heck did I ever do to you?

How can one little hour have so much impact?

Por ejemplo – last Sunday I joined my running buddies for a 90 min trail run at San Elijo Lagoon. We had to get started before 8am because they have follow up the run with a swim class that starts at 9:45. I ended up covering just over 7 miles in the 90mins and ended up with a couple of angry toes due to some poor pedicure habits (my own fail, nothing to do with the always awesome shoes & socks). Anyhow, I followed up the run last week by completing the following, all before noon:

  • filled up car with gas
  • had a protein shake when I got home
  • showered & tended to toes
  • started a load of laundry
  • went to dry cleaner and dropped off comforter & picked up clothes
  • finished weekly grocery shopping
  • emptied dishwasher from load I started before my run
  • watched early morning news shows that were on the DVR

Not a bad morning’s work, right?

So today we had the same run planned. Other than filling the car up with gas & emptying the dishwasher (did those last night), I needed to do pretty much the same things afterwards.

So how did it go today after Springing Forward one measly hour?

  • Home from run around 9:30
  • Made protein drink
  • Check toes (all good this week)
  • Turned on DVR to watch news shows while sipping shake
  • Turned off DVR and went to sleep
  • Woke up and turned DVR back on and finished watching shows
  • got in shower at 12:30

See a difference there?

One hour ends up screwing up and entire day.

And it wasn’t just me. No one in this house moved until noon.

Someone asked on twitter what we were all going to do with that extra hour of daylight we inherited today. I’ll tell what I’m doing. Catching up from the apparent FOUR HOURS I lost this morning!

Not sure that extra hour is worth it right now. Especially since I still feel foggy brained and hungover.

Seriously DST – what the hell did I do to you?

No love, Me.