The first time I heard the phrase “you must think a lot of yourself” it was very puzzling. I have excelled in many areas of knowledge gathering but failed miserably in others. I never took those failures are permanent things but as a means to a new beginning. I was bullied at school when I was younger, I also have some pretty disastrous relationships in the past. I owned my mistakes in those failures and moved on. I try to improve myself as a person every day, and I am nowhere near where I would love to be, but I am content with who I am. Some lessons need to be learned twice before the settle in, some I might never learn.

From what I was very young my parents realized that I was a very independent person. It help me a lot dealing with the bulling and started me down the path of being a leader in many ways. I pick on people now to make them feel included, and while that does not work all the time, I have made many friends that way. For most of my teen years I did not know how to depend on others and did not understand the concept of team work. I also gave advice freely but without the disclaimer that it was simply advice, not that what I said was law and friendships depended on it. Since, I started to realize those shortcomings my mistake came to light, most people don’t like to be empathized with because they think that their state of mind does not show. I now try to be very proactive in asking people if everything is ok when I see something going on, and most of the time they will be open about wanting help or just someone to listen to them. Some people are truly beyond help because they don’t see their problems or have chosen to ignore it, the worse are the people that actually see what burns their soul as a good thing.

Being self critical can be a double edge sword, because sometimes damaged people might confirm suspicions on personality flaws that are not correct. That took me down many wrong paths in one of the worse relationships I have ever had. From it I learned a couple of very important things. Don’t let other doubts become or reinforce your own unless they come in a loving ways, and never get your positive reinforcement from a single source. I am not a good friend to porcupines because I take off my tough skin as soon as I call someone a friend. People that have a hard time expressing emotions verbally tend to bottle things up and let it burst in a flurry of strong words. The person in that doomed relationship was so absorbed by her coping mechanism that she had turned off her capability to receive love. The wall built around her soul was so thick that I actually believe it killed all the life inside. I know it sounds harsh, but my opinion on this one cannot be backed up with examples. Trust me when I say that a sarcasm only way of communication was enough to send me tumbling to rock bottom.

So what does this have to do with arrogance?

As I get older I become more self assured. I understood that happiness was a choice, just like faith for those of us who believe in God is what comes out of the gift of free will. In this space I call my blog I am very open and direct with my opinions and it at times comes over as arrogant as a friend recently pointed out. I am always willing to consider and dialogue about another point of view, but have a hard time with dismissive debate. I play devil’s advocate often enough that I should be more open to dismissive “you are wrong” attitudes; but time has made me almost callous of people that don’t see where my point of view is coming or are even willing to dig a little deeper. Some of my positions, thoughts and opinions are rooted in very personal things that I don’t feel I should always be revealed or demand more respect from. I think I am more open in a blog than most people are with their friends and family.

My wife hating motorcycles is a big deal for the both of us because motorcycle riding it has been a big part of my life. I grew up with a motorcycle being the only means of transportation for my Dad to go to work. I also learn to ride them while very young and rode one almost my whole adult life. That coupled with a huge percentage of my friends back in Chicago being motorcycle rider makes me miss riding out to eat hot dogs and Italian beef on Thursdays a lot.

Most people would assume originally that she should just let me be happy, but the minute they learn that one of her brothers died in a motorcycle accident their position often changes. I go back and forth on that issue in my head, but the argument sometimes goes to the death sentence chosen by me if I eat greasy tasty food for the rest of my life… nobody knows how I am going to exit this world right?

Personal experience seems to make opinions more valid, and I don’t think it should in every discussion. When I talk about violence, my opinion should not be more important because I have been the victim of gunman coming into my Grandma’s home and shooting at us (nobody was actually killed) while we celebrated her birthday. When talking about prostitution, knowing an sex worker as a friend should not make my point immediately more valid. Is this blogging thing a place where we share opinions about subjects or a place for everyone to become an amateur journalist?

I am self confident person, but I do check with those close to me when I have a doubt or question on my decisions or thought process. I also welcome challenges to my stances, and will in the future try not to dismiss other’s view even if mine are cemented in personal experience or carry feelings. I don’t think that standing behind one’s opinion is a form of arrogance unless you let it be. I can be quite cocky but I don’t see myself as arrogant. I know people in my past would probably disagree. It does give me a lot of food for thought, and that is a great thing.

Failure to Communicate

Debate and dialogue while grossly different are seldom differentiated here in the US. I see dialogue as something productive and where both parties learn about a subject that they do not agree completely on. Debate is just trying to get a point across often to the attempt to destroy the other person’s decision. While I see how debate teams in high school might help form future lawyers, I think that dialogue should be a more important part. How often do we ask ourselves if we could see something redeemable in something that at first we find repugnant? Are we willing to listen to a counter point and not just find common ground but actually willing to see the other person’s point of view?

TKC can be one unpopular dude. It takes guts to be as visceral as he is at times. I have seen him cross the line into the personal quite a bit, but that is what satire is all about. When he has hurt those people that I call friends it makes me feel like I should defend them, but then I consider the source. Paying attention to what someone says online is like getting into a debate with a troll online. While TKC might not be a total troll and sometimes does have good intentions by trying to create exposure for others or a topic that he thinks need to be addressed, he sometimes spares no feelings. The problem with TKC is that he seldom participates in the discussion outside of his own blog, and I think by rule if you are going to “dis” someone’s blog openly, you should at least have comment in 10 posts. I am always thankful of the traffic that comes my way from him since he was one of the people that actually directed me to the local blogging community. However, it means more to me if he would actually participate here in some of the discussions and became a part of a community that reluctantly he trows water balloons at… I guess the fear of the people that got wet retaliating is a little too much.

Nick is one of my favorite commenters. He always tries to share his point of view and broadens whatever topic I post on. I am thankful for that participation even when I don’t fully agree.

He brought up the point that there is no real truth, or at least in the sense that I had tried to define it in the context of romantic relationships. I thought about it, and while I still believe that love is probably the only true, most important and universal feeling he does have a point. People often fail to communicate.

TKC is trying to say, he I acknowledge your community and why were the numbers so low in the last meetup? (the answer is it was impromptu and Spyder and others were on vacation most of the month so it was decided to wait until a later date to start planning the next big event. Also we have all formed friendships and get together in smaller groups all the time.) However, it comes out as a complete disregard and attack at one of our most respected members that has done nothing but try to keep a community of a wide variety of people and backgrounds together. So what we got here is failure to communicate. I could only wish that someday he would let me interview him not just as TKC but as the human being behind the satire blog.

Fired because wife is a Porn Star

I am actually proud that one of my readers is an actual adult sex worker. I have never been in the position to use a sex worker, but I am not opposed to pr0n at all. I don’t find it to be something dirty or shameful. I also think that everyone has baggage when coming into a relationship and being an adult film star is no different to me than having had to work in McD’s. Two close friends have dated adult dancers in the past, and I would never think less of someone that did what they had to do to survive. It is party because I believe that people use sex in a marriage as currency are no different than prostitutes. I know some people’s morals are different, but what you did on your past and is not prosecuted by law and your spouse does not mind should not be anyone elses business.

How the city council in Fort Myers Beach, Florida came to the conclusion that their city manager’s wife’s past made him unfit to do his job is beyond me. Their reasoning was that it would bring attention and distraction to the city, and by them firing the dude it did just that.

We all have different things that are willing to compromise in a relationship, and if this dude can handle being married to a porn star, then good for him. To have him not be able to hold a job because of that reason is pretty ridiculous to me. We live in a society where someone that kills another human being while driving intoxicated can go ahead and continue to earn millions, but we don’t let someone that married a porn star work?

I wonder how the city council found out and if they had to verify it during their closed door meeting.

I Want You to Want Me!

Last night we got to go see Cheap Trick, Poison and Def Leppard. It was an amazing show, for sure on the top 3 of the ones I have had the luck to see at the Sprint Center. All of the bands truly rocked and made me appreciate 80s rock more, maybe nostalgia is setting in and I have forgotten that hair band type of rock was replaced in my collection with alternative in the 90s. While the music is not my every day cup of tea, all of the bands played for the audience, just hits pretty much the whole time.

Not to detract from the other bands but OMG Cheap Trick has to be one of the best bands I have seen play. They look like they are having lots of fun up there and the music sounded outstanding. Then my second favorite was for sure Def Leppard, because you cannot help but be amazed at how cool it is that a drummer without an arm can rock more than some that have both! They sounded probably the closest to their actual original recordings than any band I have seen in concert, but I enjoy more when bands kind of change things up a bit more. Poison was not bad by any means, they did not looked washed up at all and rocked.

Overall the show was good. I still think that the acoustics in the Sprint Center are not the best for a concert and it ends up being more in the loud side of things, but it was a good night. The down town area seems to be looking better and better every time I get out there. Great show for sure.

Kids and Money

Can the love of a child be bought?

We have seen it in movies and some of us even in real life. Divorced parents try to win the affection of their kids by giving them gifts. I have seen parents try to outspend each other. Most kids are smart enough, or become smart to what is going on and take advantage of the situation. While some people do read gifts as love, that is not how every single child works.

My parent’s credentials are more of that of a substitute. I was a full time step parent for over 2 years, one of them without much visitation to the other household. I also grew up around a lot of kids and was always involved indirectly in some kind of parenting. I have learned a lot of things about kids and how hard the job of a parent is, also how the word full time does not even cover it.

Today’s topic is one that has troubled me for quite some time. How early do kids become aware of money? How important is it for them to become aware of it?

While it is very important for kids to know the value of money and how hard it is to earn it regardless of the economic status of the parents, I think how money is handled and how that is presented to the kids is crucial to their formation as responsible adults. Two key factors are very important in my eyes. Beyond teaching the kid the value of money without making them afraid or guilty about enjoying life, the most important is to never judge people in terms of money.

A long time ago I had to deal with a situation with kids and money. I had never been compared to someone else in terms of money or the gifts that were being presented to a child. The situation escalated when a child not much older than 6 said to me, “What did you get me? I know you make a lot of money.” I was pretty furious about the situation because those are not the words of a child. That was my assumption there and it was once again proven to be true not to long ago.

Parents need to be very careful about what they say to their children. Yes, I was probably one of the people earning the most in that circle of people at the time* so I don’t doubt that a conversation between adults could have included how much I was making. It has always bothered me that most people’s first question when meeting people; and I even fall pray to this, is what do you do for a living. Later I found out that there was a lot of comparison going on between who got what gifts and how much did they cost. I find that pretty disgusting but time has taught me that money is a big factor for some people when it comes to relationships.

I am not saying that money should not be a factor. I am very aware that most people do not want to live in a paycheck to paycheck anxiety and want to be with someone that has the same financial goals as them. I am with a woman that would be with me even if we lived in a cardboard box but we were together, but I also know that it is rare and not for everyone and it does not make the people that like comfort evil or gold diggers.

Children should not be included in money conversations when it comes to evaluating other people. People should have have a price tag attached to them. I certainly love giving the kids close to me gifts, but I think my niece will in the future remember and probably value a lot more the book that Bea and I got her for her birthday, rather than the Hanna Montana paraphernalia that we also got her. Daniel took some little gifts to their kids after his visit from Bea and I, his wife was so thankful for them and shared their joy of the simple gifts that had more sentimental value than price tag. I am sad that I have encountered the complete opposite in some other people. I am proud that both my sister and Daniel are raising her kids to be grateful little people and teaching them the importance of money without making other people “Santa Claus.”

* I was consulting and traveling which is a combination for earning more than your peers with similar skills, but at the same time its a sacrifice in other areas. I will probably never earn that much money again, but I am totally happy with that.