Sunday, May 30, 2010

Had to share.

I don't usually post anything work related, but here is some dialogue at a recent call I responded to with a bunch of firemen. Well, it is pretty close to how it went.

Go to this page, or click on the picture to view.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Wherefore art thou? A shoutout to Romeo.

I recently discovered that my friend, Ryan Romeo, has a blog that he contributes to regularly, so I added him on here. Ryan is a Husband, Father, Worship Artist, Web Designer, Photographer, Design Artist and one of the nicest guys you would ever want to know.

Alright, I don't really like the word "nice", when you describe someone. It sounds like they are kind of milk toast and you can't think of anything good to really say about them. This is a better description of Ryan: He is one of the most genuine guys and presents himself as one of the most genuinely interested in you sort of person that I have met. There, that is better than nice, and more accurate.

You can see his updates when he does them by checking out the roll call list.
Or just go to his blog here. They are always honest and interesting .... which makes them honestly interesting.

Here is, his site that showcases some of his work and offers his services.

Besides, you can't beat a name like Ryan Romeo. I think his dad must have named him. His dad is cool, too. I wonder how he is doing, since I haven't seen him in a while.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Back in '82, I used to be able to throw a pigskin a quarter mile.

"How much you wanna make a bet I can throw a football over them mountains?... Yeah... Coach woulda put me in fourth quarter, we would've been state champions. No doubt. No doubt in my mind."
- Uncle Rico

Do you remember Napoleon Dynamite's Uncle Rico? Uncle Rico was constantly thinking about the fourth quarter of his last high school football game. Uncle Rico had a serious case of Season's Over Disorder (SOD).

SOD happens when you come to the end of a successful season, the close of an effective project, a group of great friends breaks up and goes in different directions or any number of changes.

SOD starts out normally. You remember and celebrate the wins and the friends that celebrated the wins with you. SOD is characterized by a seeming inability to get passed thinking about how much better it was then. Some people, like Uncle Rico and a football hero or two you knew in High School, may never get past SOD.

SOD can leave you feeling lost and wondering what to do next, where to go next, if your best times are behind you and if you will ever have a great, or even a good season again.

You can get over feeling harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Here's some tips:

1. Realize that you will have great seasons again.
Really. You will. Now work on convincing yourself that this is true. It may not be the same as the season past, but you will have a great season again.

2. Find the good in the season you are in now.
Maybe you're not where you want to be, but you are in a place where you will learn and experience things you wouldn't get to otherwise. Learn to embrace and enjoy the lessons and experiences you are facing now. Maybe they are there to get you ready for your next great season.

3. Find some friends.
Sometimes it is hard to get to know someone new, but maybe the people you meet today will be worth all the difficulty this season and losing the last one brings.

4. Look at your last season.
Don't be afraid to continue to remember and reflect on your last season. It is okay to remember how great it was, how much you enjoyed it, how much you miss it, the things you accomplished, the people you shared it with. Remembering what you were a part of helps propel you to the next great season. Not only that, those times are worth remembering.

5. Keep your eyes open.
Keep yourself ready for the opportunities that could be your next great season.

Can I try?

My wife's sister was recently out teaching our nephew how to drive and working on developing her hand grip as he buzzed them around the streets of Southern California. At one point in their travels, someone did the craziest, most blatantly illegal, dangerous turn thing right in from of them.

"Oh." Said the nephew. "I didn't know you could do that." As if this kind of driving was a great new revelation that they had forgot to mention in the driver's training manual.

Biting her tongue and wanting to scream, his mom just let him know that, no, you can't.

Sometimes I think that we get our ideas about what is and is not ok for us to say, do, etc. from watching others and their madcap attempts at life. And when those others blast through the rules of polite society and stomp all over any sort of prudent behavior, so many times we will just say, "Oh. I didn't know you could do that."

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Looking back......

On one of the walls in my study, I have hung a few of my certificates from past accomplishments. I have my ordination papers, diploma, MADD award and a few other things like that. One of the certificates on the wall is in recognition of an Achievement Medal I was awarded when I was in the Air Force.

This certificate says things like Airman Allerton was directly responsible for the security of a base populous of over 50,000 multinational service members...........With superb professionalism, he ... ensured all personnel were ... sheltered during 20 Iraqi SCUD missile attack." Wow! Those guys knew how to write a certificate. You should read the thing. It makes it sound like I singlehandedly held off the invading hordes of Iraqi's. Which, of course, I did not.

I used to join along with everyone else in making fun of people who throw their certificates up on a "me wall" somewhere. But I think I may have figured out why so many, and now even I, do this sort of thing.

I may have shared with you that when I go hiking up some of the mountains around here, it is easy to get a bit winded and discouraged when I look up and see how far I have to go. But, when you take a moment to look back and see how far you have come, it is encouraging and it inspires you to keep on moving.

Tossing up a "me wall" can do the same sort of thing. When you look at some of the challenges and work that is in front of you, it can sometimes be discouraging. But, if you take a moment to look back and see what you have already faced and overcame, it can be inspiring and encouraging.

I taught the kids at services about David and Goliath this week. You know, the shepherd boy that later becomes king fights the giant champion of the enemy army. David used a me wall of his own. He explained to King Saul that God had helped him kill lions and bears while he was guarding his sheep and he knew it wouldn't be a problem for God to help him kill a giant warrior.

So, don't forget to remember some of the things you have faced and let them serve as a springboard to bigger and better accomplishments.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Random Thoughts.....but not deep ones.

Blind guy at the burger joint

I was at In-N-Out with the fam last Saturday to grab a quick lunch. It seemed like a madhouse in there, with people milling around waiting for burgers, people ordering, people getting their ketchup and napkins, people dumping ice into their cups and pouring drink,people talking and laughing, worker's slicing potatoes, worker's calling out order numbers, burgers frying, doors opening and closing.

Then, I saw a blind guy come in.

Wondering what it would be like in there if I was blind, I closed my eyes. I didn't really notice everything going on until I did that, but when I did, I could hear everything. It was overwhelming.

I think we need all our senses to help us make sense of the other senses.

Breaking through to new habits

I recently decided to try and work on my endurance and increase my running distances. I had been running a couple of miles fairly regularly, just to try and maintain a level of fitness. When I decided to increase, I started by adding a mile.

Here is something I noticed. When I hit the two mile mark, my mind, body and spirit all jumped in to remind me that I had gone far enough. Two miles was where it was at, lets not get all crazy. But after doing that a couple of times of hearing all that, they were all quiet and let me get on with the training.

It seems that whenever I want to break through a habit, get better at something or try something new, everything screams at me to stop where I was and not push it any further. It takes a focused disciplined effort to break through.

I'm adding another mile this Sunday. I wonder how that will go.

Run to the sound of the guns

During the civil war, battlefields, lacking all the technological advances in mapping and communications that we can use in modern warfare, could leave a commander wondering where to lead his troops to help change the course of the fight. One of the principles they followed was, if all else failed, run to the sound of the guns. If they wanted to be in on the action and make a difference, that was a good place to start.

Wondering how you can get in on the action and make a difference? figure out where the guns are booming and run that way.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Dr. Fish??

I first heard about this sort of thing about a week ago when a Facebook™ friend posted a short video of himself in Thailand. I think he was in Thailand. In any case, he was sticking his feet into a pool with tiny fish that were eating the dead skin off of his feet. You can see the video, billed as the most shocking and disturbing video on Facebook™, here.

Apparently this is quite the rage, and is beginning to catch on in the U.S. at some spas.

But don't expect to experience this in Arizona. Citing sanitary reasons, a judge ruled against a Gilbert Spa that offered this service. Here is a local article about that legal debacle.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

What did I do to deserve all this?

Parental Legacy Tip #3
Those of you that are not parents, or never had parents, please bear with us as I throw in these parental legacy tips from time to time.

Sons are a heritage from the LORD,
children a reward from him.

Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are sons born in one's youth.

Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their enemies in the gate
Psalms 127:3-5

When I go out for a run in the mornings, I will usually take my phone along with me. Sometimes I am on call and the children might have an emergency. Today, Diane and I headed to the park to get in a little exercise. Halfway through today's quick two miles, my phone rings.

It is from our house and something must have gone terribly wrong. Why else would they call when I am gone for such a short time to get some exercise? So, I answer it. It is Ethan, and the conversation goes like this:

Me (Breathless): Hello....What?

Ethan: Oh......can I talk to mom?

Me: No, She is not with me now.

Ethan: Oh........

Me: What do you want?

Ethan: Are you running?

Me: I am trying to. What do you need?

Ethan: Oh.....can I have a carrot?

Sometimes our kids can be frustrating. And they are always hard work. The scripture makes it clear that children are a blessing from the Lord. Sometimes we need to be reminded of that. And sometimes we need to be reminded that most of, if not all of, the blessings in our life come hand in hand with hard work.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Scream for your supper.

I recently taught a class for our department entitled "Adult Learning". The class was a part of a week long course called "General Instructor School" and is required before anyone can present official teaching for the department.

"Adult learning" is supposed to provide some of the theory behind how adults learn, generational differences in learning, basic communication theory, and so forth. If it sounds interesting to you, then there is probably something wrong with you.

I was given four hours, from 1pm to 5pm, to present the provided material. Nothing like the after lunch time slot to present some of the most compelling material around. But, I think I made it work.

I got the critiques from the course, and most of the students agreed that I not only made it work, they were glad that I was selected to teach this topic. Oh, except for one. One person let me know that they couldn't stand my style, thought I didn't take the subject matter serious enough and was thoroughly distracted by my presentation making it so they couldn't learn anything.

Well, thanks for having me. I did notice that their handwriting slanted to the left. Doesn't that indicate an angry person? Or, maybe they were just angry that they had to sit through my class.

I did get some useful criticisms, pointing out some mannerisms and habits that could stand to be cleaned up before I present again. You have to appreciate people that will give useful criticisms. Even more than those that just mark the reviews as being outstanding and then don't say what you did that was either good or bad.

In addition to the provided course material, I did try to drive in the point that telling does not equal teaching. Too many times, I have seen people get up and say something and expect that that is the same as teaching someone a concept. I totally disagree.

I also let them know that I thought Powerpoint™ does not equal teaching. As the saying goes, Power Corrupts, Powerpoint™ Corrupts Absolutely. I compared it to the Wilhelm Scream, which is a great effect, but is so overused that it can lose it's effectiveness.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Getting back at me

I recently picked on the firemen for standing behind the doggie gate and waiting while I dealt with the vicious, biting dog. I think they did that because they had thick pants, thick gloves and helmets, while I had pretty-boy leather and nylon gloves. Pretty-boy gloves are much better for angry dogs.

Now they are able to talk about me.

I was sitting at the Quickmart filling my cup of ice with a coffee drink the other day when I saw a car run into another and flip over. I figured I ought to go see what was going on, so I called it in and went on over. With the help of some Air Force guy, I helped the girl in the flipped over car get out, then I went over to the other car.

A lady was sitting inside and couldn't open the door to get out. I tried the door and it didn't open, so I told her the firemen would be there soon.

When the firemen arrived, they deployed with their big old halligan tool, an enormous battle axe and everything short of the Jaws of Life. One of the firemen went to the door, tried the handle and then gave it a little tug and it popped right open.

I was a bit embarrassed.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thoughts on turning 40

With my impending and now arrived birthday, I get the usual how does it feel to be...... questions, and all the over the hill type thoughts and the like. While I don't (now) think 40 is that old and I know everyone is just having some good old fun, I thought I would share a few thoughts on turning 40, for your reading pleasure.

First, since you're all waiting for them and wondering, I will share some negatives.

Physically, I feel the age a little more.
- My right calf (moo) takes about a quarter to a half mile of running before it stops screaming at me with every step.
- My left elbow has decided to surrender to age and just pain me all the time.
-I still want to eat the whole box of cereal, the whole package of oreos and the whole carton of ice cream, but if I even try, it almost kills me.
- My fine wrinkles on my forehead are now deep set and I don't think that even the oil of olay will get rid of them.
-My sun damaged skin is also a bit more fragile when I fight, or climb things or whatever. It doesn't tear like old guy skin yet. I have seen that.....not pretty.

I didn't get where I was planning on getting in my career. In fact, I took a job in a whole new field that, while not necessarily a dead end job, has been able to provide me with progressively worse assignments, days off and pay this year.

Ok, those seem to be the only drawbacks to my advanced age. On the bright side:

- I have been blessed with a wonderfully amazing family and incredible friends.
- I have gotten a little bit more patient with setbacks at work and in life....a little bit more.
- I do have a job that pays pretty decent and every now and then provides some good stories....and I might get re-assigned to doing stuff I like again soon.
- As the last statement shows, I am learning to cultivate optimism.
- I can run further than I was ever able to before. Well, at least I can run further than I have been able to in a while.
- I am lighter than I was when I was training for this job and am working on losing a few more pounds.
-While I am not faster than I ever was, I am not slower. I never was very fast to begin with, and now I am working on the speed a little bit.
- I am better at dealing with people than I used to be.
- My writing is getting better and I still get some chances to improve my public speaking, which I do enjoy.
- I look good. What more can I say?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Is that barbecue?

Here is a story from my brother's time in the Military. Like me, he was in the Air Force and was a Law Enforcement Specialist. This was back in the day before they combined the two career fields. During that time, when the Security Police deployed, they deployed with Security and Law Enforcement Specialists together, but stateside they were separate career fields.

The Office of Special Investigations got wind of the fact that sandwiches were disappearing from a sandwich dispensing machine. Although I can't speak for the quality of the sandwiches, the rate of loss was great enough that they decided to put up a camera and catch the culprits in the act.
I guess it was so easy to get the sandwiches out, that guys could just reach in and grab what they wanted, ignoring the whole "you are supposed to pay for this" thing.

Once, they were caught by a Sergeant, who caught them red handed and asked just what the hay they thought they were doing. Then he saw a sandwich and asked, "Is that Barbecue?", and joined the guys for dinner.

The guys (not my brother) were caught and discharged, leaving the remnants to work extra hours until they could send out more cops to help guard the base. I guess you shouldn't assume you won't get caught doing the wrong thing just because a bunch of people are doing it too.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Stay Comfortable

One of our families favorite places to hike is on the Douglas Springs Trail on the east end of Speedway. We have had some good times there, including making friends with the Isreali girls, feeding the squirrel at the falls and getting breathtaking looks at the City after the long trudge up the hill.

About 3 or 4 miles up, halfway to the summit, is the Bridal Wreath Falls, pictured here. This is where we fed the squirrel, where you can bask in the sun or the spray from the falls and where you can enjoy a cool and comfortable break from the hard work that got you there.

The only problem with it is, sooner or later, you have to leave and either keep going up or head back down.

It kind of reminds me of working for a bureaucratical organization, like the one I work for. You have to work hard at first, trudging, sweating, huffing and puffing. Finally, you reach a level that is very refreshing. You have passed your probation, gained some respect from your colleagues, get a decent have arrived.

The problem is, once you have reached this cool comfortable place, sooner or later you have to either go up or down. This place, where you have become so comfortable, is known as mediocrity. It is pretty much the standard for bureaucracy. If you reach it, you will be fine. You will continue to be paid, you will maintain all the things you need to keep your job. You are there. You are also stuck.

You won't really get anywhere and you will soon see others begin to pass you by. Not in position or salary. These things don't necessarily have anything to do with whether or not your work is excellent or mediocre and will come and go for both the hard workers and the slackers. But you will be passed by in personal standards and personal integrity. It is hard to stay in that comfortable place called mediocrity and do the quality of work that you know you should be doing.

Daily the choice is yours. Are you going up, regardless of the circumstances and how they treat you, or are you going to wallow in mediocrity?

For what it is worth, based on my experience, it is easier to stay mediocre.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Clever and Original

Parental Advisory***This post contains a word of questionable meaning***

Last night, at the Democratic Party's annual heritage dinner in Phoenix, Vice President Joe Biden called Arizona's new immigration law "misguided". I think we have already heard that one, last week, from the President. Try to be a little more clever and original Mr. Biden.

Whatever your opinion on the new immigration law in Arizona, you have to admit that our Sheriff in Pima County was clever and original in his coining of the term "fornicaboobery" to describe the new law. I think that it has created buzz and is a hook to start conversations and express opinions about the new law that "misguided" was unable to accomplish.

I previously provided some of my thoughts on the new law. I was pleased to see that his sentiments echoed mine in the concern over the jails being filled immediately if we started arresting everyone for this crime.

You heard it here first folks!

As far as "fornicaboobery", you did not hear it here first. But, I have not been able to stop saying it. Maybe this post will help.