Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Next Purchase

The reviews posted here have convinced me that the only option besides having this T-shirt is to not NOT have it...Call me materialistic, but I'll annihilate you while I'm wearing this sweet shirt.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Today is a day to remember those that have served our country in protecting it's freedom, and I just wish I had another day off work...Yeah - I definitely feel a little selfish at the moment. Thanks to all the vets. I appreciate my freedom!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Taking a Year Off

I find this post from the blog stuffwhitepeoplelike.com to be nearly inspirational. Not only am I the typical white, mid-twenties male that the blog is devoted to stereotyping, I am the incarnation of the stereotype - Not really, but I thought that would be a cool thing to say. Either way, the referenced post most closely resembles my feelings on the subject of "Taking a Year Off".*

*Kind of like an SAT Question asking you to use parallel reasoning: "Choose the word that most resembles what this image represents" WTF?!

I was like any other high school graduate, looking forward to going to college, getting my degree, graduating and getting a super-high paying job that didn't require much effort on my part, but still gave me the societal status and respect that I deemed a necessary part of life. College graduation came and went* and once my band broke up it was time to "grow up" and get one of those business jobs that I occasionally tried to think about when I was caught in the 4-year moment of procrastination called college.

So I moved back home* and started my "grown up job" search - I was set on getting a sales position with a reputable company, getting buttloads of customers to buy whatever product I was selling and making my cool million before my 30th birthday. Ok, I wasn't really that naive, but I thought I would at least land a decent job with a good company and over time be given the opportunity to prove my worth and move up the corporate ladder. After a grueling 13 interviews and not much luck, I was able to land my current job working in logistics for a used medical equipment company. 

*I'm awesome. I gave my mom 2 hours notice before I moved home!

Fast forward 2 years, and I'm in a quandary. Although my job doesn't meet my past expectations of wealth, status, or sense of personal satisfaction, it does have a few benefits. First of all, I am well liked by my coworkers (or so I think!), superiors, and those with whom I do business. My position is stable in a time where many people are struggling to stay employed (even at my company), and I have enough money to 1.) pay the bills 2.) eat, & 3.) have fun with it without pinching pennies.  

My issue arises in the fact that the structure of business that I have been introduced to is one that routinely bends the rules of ethics and has dollar sign eyeballs. I am well aware of the fact that the sole purpose of many companies is to make money, and a lot of it. I realize that in order to gain a competitive advantage, opportunities need to be taken advantage of and uncomfortable situations must be encountered at times.  Despite the need for this maximization of profits, something intensely personal gets lost in the translation - it's as if the human-ness of people is lost when wallets are to be fattened by the few at the expense of many. 

This brings me to my ultimate point. I need to take a year off to clear my head. While money and success dictate my priorities and goals, I've come to realize that I resemble closely the culture in which I've been immersed - the culture of using people for personal gain and placing my wants above the needs of others. This break is not exclusively about taking a break from slightly crooked, yet legal business practices, but more of a personal retreat of sorts. 

I've decided that now is the time to make a move - I don't want to wake up when I'm 40 and have a mid-life crisis wondering how I got into a situation that I don't love. I don't want to need the sports car to validate my own sense of self-worth, and I certainly want to make the right decisions when it comes to who I marry when that opportunity arises. I want to learn to give up control of my life and let God put me in the place that He wants me. If you reference my post of a couple days ago - here - I don't want to be lukewarm. I want to be hardcore in everything I do - faith, family, career, friends, recreation - EVERYTHING.

We'll see where I am in a year. I hope that in this year I can learn some things about myself and find out where God wants to put me. I'm a blank blueprint...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tomorrow...Oh Sweet Tomorrow.

Most of my job function is to be on the phone working deals, getting pricing, and in general making things happen for my employer. We have 14 outside warehouses that constantly have inventory needs and parts or supplies to keep their inventory up and running. Each warehouse has an outside sales rep who has that warehouse's inventory at their disposal to sell or rent to customers and provide them with same or next-day service.

As a "Logistics Coordinator", my job is to keep all of those people in constant communication with one another, and determine the "logistics" of how the company stays profitable. In doing my job, I speak to nearly all of these other people in my company on a near-daily basis. In talking to these people, I've developed some decent business contacts, but friendships as well. I know about all of their families, what they do on weekends, what their hobbies & interests are, even what they like to eat and what makes them cringe.

It's always a treat to have one of my outside coworkers come into the office for a visit. You can try to visualize someone's face by the way they talk, but in my experience, I'm usually way off base with my guesses. There's something truly personal about meeting someone face to face - something more expressive and intimate than light conversations intertwined amongst the daily business conversations concerning gross profit, lead times, and customer expectations. I say this because one of my favorite coworkers, whom I've never met will be in town tomorrow. I've been working with him for 2 years now, and I finally get a chance to meet him face to face. It will be good to put a face with a voice.

That's not the best part of tomorrow though. I was able to secure some scout seat tickets for the Business Day Special at the Reds game. I was able to finagle my way into getting a paid half day off for my team & I to go on a "team outing" to the game. I'll provide the tickets...it's on them to provide my beer...Tomorrow will be a good day.  

A Sermon from St. John Vianney

This is almost painful for me to read because I find myself being described in this sermon...Here's to truly living Catholicism. 

Hat tip to B.Skull via Patrick Madrid...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Self Explanatory Video Post Time!

AFDWHFMS (It's a code!)

I'm the type of person that needs a challenge. I don't think I could survive in a job where I was forced to perform the same repetitive tasks over and over every day - Thank God I wasn't 8 years old during the Industrial Revolution! I guess there was some daily excitement. Without safety regulations in place, there was always the possibility of leaving work at the end of the day with one more nickel in your pocket and one less appendage, but I wasn't there, so it's a moot point either way.

Back to my point. As much as office work stinks, I've been relatively blessed with a position that keeps me on my toes and allows me to wear different hats on a daily basis. I don't mean hats in the analogous term of different job responsibilities, I mean actual hats, like a Fedora, Top hat, Baseball & Golf caps, Football helmets, Giant ladies hats seen at horse races, you name the style. OK, that's a lie, but imagine if that were true.

Even though I have the opportunity to fulfill different job functions, I do still get bored at work. I mean, come on - isn't that what work is for? It's prescribed boredom to keep you from actually accomplishing anything with your life. Not your experience? You'll find out soon enough. As a remedy for my boredom, I am vigilant in discovering new ways to occupy myself as well as bend the rules a bit and see how much I can accomplish in keeping my bosses on their toes.

Yesterday I decided that I would live on the edge and spend the rest of the afternoon with a cheek full of sunflower seeds while I made calls to customers and dealers. I consider it a minor accomplishment compared with filling the Vice President's entire office with packing peanuts while he was away at lunch, but exciting enough for me - especially since I had the entire office working like a well-oiled machine on my self-determined project instead of what pays their salaries.

This is where you come in. I am looking for a new way to pass the time at work. I don't mean that I don't want to be able to accomplish anything at work, but I need something that is on the upper eschelon of slightly annoying - it could prompt a passing comment from a superior, but not warrant any disciplinary action. Thoughts?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Prepare the Fatted Purina One!

The Prodigal Cat has returned!

I got home from playing softball last night to find an empty house. Almost every time I come home, without fail, Steve is there to greet me at my apartment door with a leg rub or an excruciatingly painful bite/scratch combo to show the undying love he possesses for me. I usually return the favor by bleeding on myself.

Despite the masochistic tendencies that I display by keeping Steve, I was sorely disappointed to find that he was gone. Will can attest to the fact that I pretty much sat on the couch for the whole night, even falling asleep for the night without going to my own bed - I couldn't sleep in my bed without missing that furry little terror curled up by my knees. I wondered if I would ever see him again, if I should keep his food bowl and litter box in their exact positions for an indefinite amount of time, in case he ever decided to come back. My future was looking bleak and desperate. No amount of falsetto beckoning in my front lawn could bring him back from the abyss that is the outside world.

Sleep was anything but restful last night. My dreams were filled with the memories that I have of spending time with Steve - The times Eric's dog nearly killed him when he was just a kitten, the time he scratched my coworker's face in a fit of rage, the times where he would seem completely content with his beloved owner petting him right before unleashing the adorable fury of razor sharp claws and carnivorous teeth on my surgically repaired thumb. Every so often, I would be blindsided with a premonition that he would be hit by a moving car or stray Price Hill bullet and I woke up hyperventilating in a terrifying cold sweat. Peace inside my soul was a far-fetched yearning; a pipe dream in a fantasy world. 

The morning came with an abundance of reality. The realization that I was alone in this world. You can go through the motions, but without motivation, the motions are anything but theraputic. Once again, I yearned for the days when Steve wouldn't leave me alone until I fed him. I prepared for the worst of days.

Will didn't have to work until later today, so he slept in a little bit. As I was still reeling from the agonizing night previous, he offered a ray of hope!

"Hey man, last night I heard a bunch of meowing and a cat fight outside. I think Steve is still pretty close to the house"

While this news was encouraging, I took it with a grain of salt, but held on with every ounce of strength I could muster. I couldn't stand to be disappointed once again. 

With this last bit of soulful fortitude, I managed my way out to the front door of my house. I called for Steve, and there was nothing. The chirping morning birds and generally refreshing morning were lost on me as I remained under the proverbial rain cloud. half-heartedly, I trudged through my house to the back door to try once more. I knew the pain of regret would be unbearable if I did not lift my soul from underneath my feet and make one final effort to entice him back with the promise of a better, more comfortable life. I promised myself that if I got him back, I would never take his presence for granted again. I attempted to make a deal with God. I wished it was me that was lost, anything to aleviate the amount of suffering that I knew Steve was enduring at that very moment.

At that point, calling Steve was nearly impossible. My vocal chords were strained from the inevitable unconcious sleep screaming I had engaged in only hours before. Nonetheless, I tried. I tried twice. I tried thrice. I collapsed in the fetal position trying to hold back tears to no avail. I rocked back and forth in agony for my Steve, my precious Steve. I don't know how or why, but in that very instant I felt alive again! I opened my saltwater eyes to a glorious sight! It was Steve! He was running toward me with love in his eyes and a ray of golden sunshine beaming from his face. I turned to face him and he jumped into my arms in one moment of blissful embrace! Oh sweet Joy!

My Joy was so abundant for my prodigal Steve. He who was lost had now been found! I prepared the best bowl of cat food ever to celebrate the return of my only cat. He told me stories of his torrid night in the wild as I lay him down for rest. We laughed and cried together for what seemed like days, but it was only about 10 minutes because I had to go to work. As I leaned to kiss his head to show my love, he affectionately bit the living daylights out of my thumb again, and that's when I knew we'd both be ok.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Friday, May 8, 2009

Good ol' Lunch Beer

Ahhhhh. I love Fridays. There's just something about the ability to work in jeans and not worry about being clean shaven that energizes me. I don't think it makes me any more productive, although those days can be some of the busiest days for those who call the medical equipment industry their home. 

Fridays are a laid-back day of nonchalance and tying up loose ends. Nobody expects that I will start working on a giant deal on a Friday, because many people end up leaving work early anyway - hospitals are focused on getting everything in order for the weekend, like discharging patients and putting other patients in "maintenance mode". As a bonus at my workplace, most of the bosses are out of the office either "working from home" or on the golf course. 

All of this leads to Friday Lunch Hour, which in reality is more like an hour and a half or 2 hours. It's a time to go out to eat with all of my coworkers I actually like and take in a more expensive lunch than I normally would. This lunch almost inevitably includes beer. There is something wonderful and exciting about drinking in the middle of a work day that gets me psyched. 
Today is a prime example of what I am talking about. Nearly every single one of my bosses is out of the office, thereby putting me in charge of about 15 people. By default, that also gives me the power to fully take advantage of the Friday Lunch Hour. This Friday Lunch Hour consisted of a Buffalo Chicken Sangwich with a side of a few tall cool Budweisers, followed by sports conversations with coworkers. The only issue with that, is that I hadn't eaten anything all day. This, in turn makes going back to work in the afternoon SO much harder. Although it's harder, it makes my job more challenging - like a game. You could title it "Hide The Beer Breath", or "Get Somebody to Notice Your Beer Breath", or even "Spend a Bunch of Company Money Under The Influence of Alcohol".

Sometimes you just gotta find something to keep you busy on a lazy Friday afternoon. Maybe I should come in with a beard one day and shave in the bathroom on lunch...See if anyone notices the beer on my breath.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Getting Ready

I've got a big move coming up in a couple of months. I'm going to Arizona for school, and while I'm extremely excited and looking forward to it, I'm also a bit tentative. I like to think of myself as someone who knows who they are and is also willing to take a risk to better himself. Lately, I realize how much I truly don't know.

Moving to Arizona is frightening. Aside from getting myself nearly $18k more in debt to educate myself, it will be the first time that I am truly on my own. I have never had an issue with making friends, and in fact I enjoy expanding my network of people, but there is one big question that I have no idea what the answer will be.

My entire life I have grown up in a wonderful Catholic family with parents that love God, each other, and their children. I am fortunate to have them for support whenever I need it in whatever capacity. When I was 9 years old, we joined a Lay Catholic Community. Through the youth group and community functions is where I formed most of my friendships, most of which are still alive and fruitful today. For college, I went to Franciscan University of Steubenville, which has arguably the best Catholic support system in place with their "Households". After college, I moved back to Cincinnati and picked up exactly where I left off, around Catholic friends and having a wonderful Catholic family to keep me in line.

Without an immediate support system in place to keep me on the straight and narrow, how will I fare? Is my Catholic faith strong enough to withstand the fact that I will be living alone and attending a secular school? There's only one way to find out.

I firmly believe that the experience gained from taking a year away to focus on my education and career in a field that motivates me can only be positive. I believe with all my heart that it will most likely be one of the toughest years of my life, but if Faith is not tested, then it's not true Faith. Ask any of the saints. I'm ready for the challenge.

Who puts ice in their milk?

I feel like the nerdy snot-nosed 9-year-old that always gets tricked on the playground by the cigarette smoking 6th grader with facial hair - and I keep coming back hoping that one day we'll be friends and hang out and do all sorts of things together that cool kids get to do...like playing kickball outside in the cul-de-sac after my ususal bedtime of 6:30 pm - or talking to girls.

I fear that I will never be one of the cool kids, that the bully will ALWAYS be there, looking over my shoulder, becoming a giant elephant that stays in whatever room I'm in. 

Damn Cincinnati sports teams. All they do is tease. A day after it was announced that the Reds have the best ERA in the majors, Bronson Arroyo goes out and gives up 9 runs in 1+ inning. When the Reds have gotten good pitching, they usually can't hit the broad side of a barn. It seems like it's been happening this way for years in some capacity. When the Reds pitch, they can't hit, and when they hit, their pitching looks little league-esque. I just want a team that can put it all together for once.

This isn't exclusive to the Reds. For years and years, the Bengals have shown flashes of potental for a run into the playoffs, or at staying in contention for the latter part of the season. The only time they get to the playoffs since I've been a fan, freaking Kimo Von Oelhoffen has to chew up Carson Palmer's knee and spit it out, leaving the legendary Jon Kitna to pioneer the Bengals against the Steelers in the playoffs. I have no doubt in my mind that the Bengals would have won that game had they had Palmer in good form. 

On a positive note, our resident minor league hockey team, the Cincinnati Cyclones won the Kelly Cup Championship last year. Nobody cares. Not only are they a hockey team, they're a minor league hockey team at that. The only draw to their games are $1 PBR nights, which by comparison to $7.25 beers at a Reds or Bengals game is pretty good, so I will give them props in that department, but not for playing hockey or being minor leaguers. Seriously - play a real sport.

Until Cincinnati figures it out and starts learning how to hang out with the cool kids in the playoffs, I will be forever be the coke-bottle glasses wearing, wooden sword weilding, hand-me-down clothes wearing, Star Wars-themed lego fan that I have always been. 


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Extremely thoughtful and witty insights into...stuff, things, and...Iceland

I overslept for about an hour and a half today. I'm usually good for about one of those a year on a work day. I think my subconscious is making a power play for full control of my brain. 

Oprah is giving out free lunches to everybody from KFC: http://www.unthinkfc.com I think I will pass on the premise that if I present that coupon to somebody at KFC they'll think I watch Oprah. That is unacceptable. 

My car's power windows & locks just stopped working the other day. I like to think of myself as someone who can fix minor car problems myself, but I'm lost on this one. Sometimes I feel like the US government - Spending money on anything I can in any way possible, just for the hell of it. 

I'm an uncle again! Not biologically, but my Bro Mike & his wife Frances just had a little baby girl today. No man will ever lay eyes on her until she's 35, unless of course it's Brian & Debbie's future son, who will be a gentleman in all possible ways. I can picture him now with his hair perfectly combed, never making eye contact with adults, speaking & writing with perfect grammar, knowing 6 different languages and playing professional-level classical violin all by the time he's 6 years old. He can marry Mike & Frances' daughter if he can also prove his strength by bench pressing a fully grown live Clydesdale 15 times in a minute.

Will is pissed at me that I took the peanut butter from the house to fulfill my lunch needs. He needs to seriously get over it. I bought a 12 pack of Coke & a 24 pack of hot dogs for the 2 of us the other day. We should be even. Hot dogs heal the worst of wounds.

It really bugs me that Cincinnati doesn't have a local morning sports talk show anymore. I now am forced to listen to crappy radio music or lame news shows that either piss me off about the state of our country and the economic woes we are currently facing, or people that are waaaay too happy and don't make my morning drive any better. Sports is the only thing I can be pissed about in the morning and be ok with it. Maybe it's due to the ongoing futility of every team I follow. 

Iceland. Yeah.

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Song For My Mom

Take a risk she told me, while you’re young enough to fail
You’ve got a life ahead with dreams and loves and talents to excel
A cloud of gloom hung over her while encouragement she spilled
About to lose her oldest son to exploring his new world

And she would never, ever say

You’re killing me, I’m so sad I could bleed and bleed and bleed
These tears are what you mean to me, to me

This had happened once before, but less unexpectedly
A planned release from parental leash and deeper things to see
Two-hundred fifty miles away was close enough to drive
4 hours home and empty car seats would never dry her eyes

Still she never, ever said

You’re killing me, I’m so sad I could bleed and bleed and bleed
These tears are what you mean to me, to me

It always seems like I’m leaving, like I don’t care enough
For family life and growing up and all that other stuff
But the truth to me is that it hurts to see that look in your eyes
showing gray rainy skies and it leaves me without the words.
I wanna let you know that it hurts. (me too)

It’s killing me, I’m so confused I can’t see enough to dream
These pent up tears could tell you stories of the pain I’ve seen

It’s killing me to see that you love me enough to see me leave
I know you’ll survive because that’s what you taught to me.