Weekend BBQ

This weekend we had the pleasure to host a little BBQ for friends and family. It was our first annual BBQ and it turned out pretty good. We made it simple and offered Burgers and Hotdogs which I think everyone enjoyed and encouraged guests to bring side dishes to share. We had family over as well as some of my coworkers and friends.

One thing that I had never really done at parties was play all kinds of board games. The guys get together and play poker and such, but never the whole group getting into a single game. Cielo introduced me to this practice and this weekend was no exception. We had a game of Catch Phrase that went on for a good couple of hours after we had eaten. There are many highlights to the game, but the cutest one came via Tyler.

The game is simple, you have a disk that gives you words or phrases, a timer and a board where you keep the points. You set up two teams and the disk holder gets to give clues to their teammates about the phrase without using any part of the phrase or letter or sound clues. Tyler played an awesome game being just as quick as the adults. Then it came, the stopper for him, he looks at the phrase, pauses, and yells out eeeuuuh! gross. We all stopped as he was about to just skip the phrase and we ask him what was it… he says, Make love. We could not contain our laughter after that.

It was a great time having people over, what made it even cooler is that a fellow blogger was able to make it. Mike and his wife Katrina came over and met Cielo and I for the first time. It was an excellent experience to meet a fellow blogger. I am sure we will get together some time soon and enjoy each others company. Thanks for coming again guys. It was also nice to see Matt who I had not seen in months.

The rest of the night was poker and eucher games all around. Not gambling with anything but monopoly money of course. We had some tasty Jello shots that were a big hit. I think everyone had a good time. Cielo took some pictures which she should be posting some time soon. How was your weekend?


Up the three shot!
Expectation is defined by Webster’s dictionary as the art or state of expecting, which means to look forward to. Our lives are full of expectations. Other people’s expectations seem to sometimes taint our own. I have always believed that those around us affect who we are in a greater sense than most people care to admit.

Comparing life to a tree is something that I was inspired to do after taking this picture. Looking up the bark of this mature tree I think of all the different factors that affected the way it looks. The small new branch that was broken by a passing squirrel could have been one of the dominant features of this tree otherwise. Ever little thing in its environment has affected how this tree looks on the outside. Weather, people and animals have affected not only the look
but also possibly the rate of growth of this beautiful tree.

I then go back to thinking about expectation and if maybe we are affected by others only on in the outside, only in what we portray to the world. Can others ever truly affect our deepest feelings and dreams? Can other’s expectations shape who we really are?

Think of your parents and all of the expectations that they had while you were growing up. I know even today how disappointed my Grandmother is that I did not become a lawyer or a doctor because in her eyes they were the professions that I should follow. Am I really that affected by the way she feels, or am I content knowing that I like the path that I chose better than the ones others wanted me to follow?

Depending on what day you ask me, I could give you a very secureanswer to all of these questions. Humans tend to change their minds, and that is a good thing. I think it is all part of growing and not being scared of change or our feelings. I think we all hold very tightly to some dreams, and those are the ones that we should not let the outside affect. I hope to some day stand like this tree, with all the scars acquired over years, still strong and growing.


“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon – instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today.”
-Dale Carnegie

I felt like posting a very inspirational quote today, and well this one is excellent. I think the problem of not living in the moment is a disease of American culture. So many people I have met in my life here have never stopped to “smell the roses.”

I always think back of college and going to dinner with my friend T. We would go to this little family restaurant that served greasy food. It had good food at a good price. Lake Street Cafe I think it was the name. T was so used to the American way of having dinner at a restaurant, eat your food and get out. It is so engraved on people’s brains that you are practically annoyed if the check is not at the table by the time your fork is down after the last bite. Then one day I told T, lets get a cup of coffee after dinner and just sit down. I wish I could have captured his face of amazement and realization at the same time. A kind of like we can do that… I am like YEA. From then on we started to just get a cup of coffee after dinner and chatting the rest of the night away. While I understand that most restaurants will frown upon this practice because the need to get as many customers as possible to make their money, if you find a restaurant that is not too busy, give having a cup of coffee after dinner a try.

Now, getting back to the quote. Counting our blessings should be something we all do daily but so many of us are guilty of not even doing it once a week. Just sit right now and think of all the good things in your life right now, you will see how good of a pick me up it is. As always I ask you, what does the quote mean to you?

Mental vs Physical labor

My job is not hard work? I have had multiple discussions with people about whether what I do for a living is hard work or not. The implication goes beyond stating that what I do does not involve physical labor. Sure it is not hard physical labor but what I do for a living is hard work. When I get home at the end of the night I am mentally drained. It is at times so taxing that I cannot even relax and stop thinking about the work that I have to do. That is not even counting my ability to telecommute and continue working after I’ve had dinner.

It is a difficult subject to discuss because there are several ramifications, cultural, social and economic. My Mother always told me that if I wanted to keep a friend I should never discuss politics or religion with them, well I think this subject is up there in that category also.

I also want to include a little side note here. I hope it will illustrate the respect that I have for the people that do perform physical labor type jobs on an every day basis. What I did last night is a job that I certainly would not want to do every day. One of our ceiling fans at home became loose, so Cielo and I tackled the task of fixing it, which by the way we completed successfully. I had looked into the attic when we first bought the house and it looked crammed but not too bad. I thought going up there was not going to be the most difficult part of this little electrical endeavor.

Well I had a surprise coming to me last night when I had to literally crawl to move up there. I am still itchy from the insulation all over my arms. I spent probably 15 minutes there fixing the support for the ceiling fan with limited oxygen and limited maneuverability. So don’t think for a second that I do not have the utmost respect for people that perform physical tasks everyday for work. Also I want to note that I was a UPS loader, not for very long at all (I think about a month) but I did experience how difficult and taxing on your body it is to perform physical labor. All my jobs in the service and fast food industry I consider borderline.

Where to draw the line is the first murky decision that needs to be made to steer this discussion. I could draw a line between professional jobs that require a college degree and vice versa, but for this subject I think we can concentrate on mental vs. physical labor. It is a lot more difficult than just that, because how can we say that a doctor who performs a job that at times can be very mentally taxing does not have to also perform tasks that push the human body to its limits. Wow, when I first started to write about this topic I did not think it would be this difficult.

To simplify things lets just say that I have had people come up to me as a computer programmer and told me that a days worth of my work is not the same as their job as a carpenter building houses. I don’t have the skills to perform that job and vice versa. But at the end of the day did he work harder than I did? Is he more able to relax since he cannot perform his job while not at the site, but I am left to still think of how to make a program bug go away?

I am on call pretty much 24-7. The times for support come and go with projects, some require me to work 30 hours straight until something is completely set up and running, others a call in the middle of the night: come out of a deep sleep to remember details on how to make something work. My point is not that my job is a lot more difficult, I just want the recognition from people that perform physical jobs that what I do while not physical is still hard work.

Web Development

My buddy Mo is a pretty talented web developer not to mention avid tennis fan, both table and court. He has created two excellent sites that are a most check out for enthusiasts and casual users alike.

Tennis Tips just posted some new videos that you should check it out. It pays to have a webmaster that is dedicated to the sport and not just someone that gets paid to put content out there.

Ping Pong Tips has already a very well developed strokes section that you should check out. Ping Pong is a very easy to pick up sport and with Mo’s tips you can actually start competting in no time. I am no virtuouso myself but I do enjoy hitting that little ball as hard as I can. Some day I can dominate ala Forrest Gump.

These two websites have a clean and easy to navigate design, but they have great content beyond text making understanding the concepts a lot easier. Without excellent content there is no point to having a website, but you know that a lot of the internet does not follow that fundamental rule. I have to really start working on my new endeavour that should be up some time in the next month when I get some time to actually do some development. In the mean time enjoy the tips!

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