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Posts Tagged ‘friends’

A friend of my mine called me up and asked if I had time to talk.  I didn’t, but he was a close friend, so I said sure.  My friend begins the conversation with, “What do you think about this implicit bias bull shit?”  I laughed, and we began what ended up being a 20 minute conversation about politics, black lives matter, racism, and implicit bias.  All while four kids ran around me like chickens with their heads cut off doing various tasks and getting ready for homework, bed time, or snacking.  Here is the punch line:  My friend ended the conversation with, “You know what?  That makes sense.  You should write a book.”  My friend is white.

At work, I had lunch with a colleague/friend.  As we were talking, I said to her, “I don’t have time for nuance, so, if you don’t mind, I’m going to be blunt.  I have a six-year-old daughter.  Why is it so wrong that I don’t want her to share a bathroom with a person with a penis?”  She smiled, and it began a 30 minute conversation about North Carolina’s HB2 law, trans genders, Charlotte, NC and evidence for and against the repeal of HB2.  My friend used to be my student, and after the conversation I thought to myself, “I just got schooled by a former student.  How cool is that?”  My friend is black and lesbian.

Several weeks ago, I had an awesome conversation with a police officer.  I posted this brief story on Facebook at the time.  The amount of information I learned about police procedures and police/public interactions was enlightening.  I am fairly confident that if I had questions about police shootings, which unfortunately have been prominently displayed in the news in the past year, he would talk to me and answer just about any question I had.  And I am confident, the conversation could be messy, but illuminating.  I consider him a new friend.  He is a police officer and white.

Shouldn’t conversations like these happen everywhere and with everyone?  Are they happening?  Or are people just shouting across the aisle doing drive by politics on Facebook?  Facebook has turned into the virtual equivalent of guy on a street corner with a sign that reads, “You’re going to Hell! or Save the Whales!”  And then you get your dopamine rush when you get all the likes to your declarative, useless generalized statement.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy posts of varying opinions.  I especially enjoy it when someone provides a link to an article or provides their own personal insight to something they read or saw on TV.  I despise the name calling. And I could do without general statements that have no meaning or provide zero context.  Context is everything.

When I was in college, I lived in a co-op in Berkeley, CA.  Co-ops where cheap because they were run by the tenants, very socialist.  Anyhoo, there was talk of creating an African-American co-op.  I was interviewed by the newspaper on the topic.  The next day as I walked through the halls, I got evil looks from every black person I walked by.  Finally, I said to my roommate, “Is it me, or is every black person giving me the evil eye today?”  His response was, “Didn’t you read the newspaper?”  I found a paper and saw my quote.  To this day, I don’t remember the quote, but I do remember that the sentences before it and after it were not quoted in the paper, changing the meaning of the sentence entirely.  I spent the rest of the day talking to every black person in the co-op explaining my quote and the missing context.  Context is everything, but who has time to understand the full story?  Everyone should, or at least entertain the possibility that they may be missing something, but who’s got time for that?

I guess my point is that I am thankful for the friends, both past and present, that are able to fill the gaps in my knowledge on a variety of different topics.  What do you do for that?  Is your friend circle as diverse as mine?  I mean at the end of the day, isn’t this the true value of diversity?  I can’t even imagine how you grow as a human being without diverse people in your life, both culturally, spiritually, and intellectually.  I can’t force the melting pot, but this is why I am against being a separatist.  I love learning and growing through the sometimes uncomfortable conversations with people of differing opinions.  Get out of your comfort zone.  Look across the aisle and ask the simple question, “Why do they believe what they do?”  Heck, ask yourself, “Why do I believe what I do?”  You might be surprised at what you find out about other people and yourself.  A big thanks to my diverse friends, for keeping me honest, stretching me in countless ways, and challenging me to not always accept the status quo of my beliefs.  I am a better person for it.  So, ask yourself, what’s in your wallet? (roll credits).
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This happen today.  A student waiting in the hall just outside my office was talking to another student about their classes.  He proceeded to tell the other student about a paper he had to write in his class, Animal Physiology (my class).  He hated the fact that the professor (me) forced the students to go the Writing Center before turning in their final paper.  He than admitted it would likely make his paper better, but didn’t like it.  I had to stifle an outburst of laughter.  College students are like five-year-olds that make a butt load of noise to construct their tower of chairs to reach the cookie jar and are surprised when you catch them with their hand in the cookie jar.  What?  Sound travels?  Really?
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So, it has been a while, but I am back.  I would like to dedicate this blog to my buddy, Corey, who I miss more than he will ever know.  He is not dead, just lives far away and I rarely see him.

Anyhoo, I have been sitting on my 100th blog for a long time.  Maybe because it is the 100th and I have applied too much pressure to it being great, but as my friend Doug in California told me recently, the 100th episode is not always the best episode, it is just the 100th episode.  So, to Doug, for getting me re-energized to blog, and to Corey, for pissing me off enough to sit down and write this blog immediately.

I recently posted on Facebook that I am fortunate to have both conservative and liberal friends.  I also posted that they often say the exact same things about the same issues.  Both sides think their votes don’t matter.  Both sides think the other side uses unfair or unscrupulous actions to get their way in congress or senate.  Both sides think they represent the people.  Both sides think they are right.  In response to my Facebook commentary, my buddy Corey writes to me (in private) “As an intelligent man with a wide range of accomplishments both personal and professional, you are a leader.  I know you and I do not agree on everything, but society needs you to get off the sidelines.”

Those are strong words to speak to another person, aren’t they?  And I love him for it.  Don’t we all need people to push us?  Don’t we need those in our lives to encourage, nay, dare us to be better people?  We sit back and drop political/religious/opinion ideological bombs on Facebook, and then just walk away.  What is the point?  Maybe I have been on the sidelines too long.  Maybe it is time to take some action against the drive by ideologue shootings that are taking place everywhere I look.  Maybe it is time for me to lead a group of people to something better.  But how?

I am not really sure.  But unfortunately, I think my friend is right, I need to get off the sidelines.  I have so many thoughts in my head that I feel like it will explode sometimes.  I think that is why I enjoyed blogging so much.  I say enjoyed, in past tense, because I have been going through some things over the last year, but I need to move on, or continue in the direction I know I need to go.  My life has always been driven at being the best, being wise, being kind, and most importantly, improving myself.  It is time I get back to those main goals.  That is why Corey pisses me off so much, and why I love him so much.  He is the guy I can have hard conversations with and the guy that can tell me when I am full of sh*t.  He is not the only guy in my life like that, but one of very few.

So, what does this mean?  For now, it means I have finally written my 100th blog.  It may mean that I get my opinions out there more often, but hopefully in a way that affects change.  As I stated before, I have so many thoughts:  Parents need to parent.  Discussions need to continue among all walks of life.  Global climate change IS happening.  Taxes are NOT always bad.  Taxes are NOT always good.  If you were to write down the mandates of the Bible, it would NOT include pushing for government abortion laws.  God is good, but we are NOT.

Oh yeah, and one last thing, Corey can suck it!

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My friends and I used to have lots of discussion about random things while in high school. I was reminded of one such discussion by my friend Doug from California. If 7-Eleven is open 7 days a week and 24 hours a day, then why do they have locks on their doors? I’m just sayin’ …

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So, the title of today’s blog may be confusing.  I also could have called it, “Be Careful What You Wish For”, but I thought that was too cliché.  Nonetheless, I am often confronted with getting what I want, only to find that I really didn’t want that, or more specifically, that particular version of what I got.  For example, I wish I had more friends, but I hate it when people talk to me.  I am going to share two stories of my life that illustrate this dichotomy that I live with everyday.  Both stories occurred yesterday.

My son and I went shopping.  We were looking for a velcro strap for his leg.  He rides his bike to school and the weather has been cooler lately.  Since shorts season may be leaving us soon, we needed something to protect his right pants leg from the bike chain.  While shopping, I saw a woman who I recognized from church shopping with her two kids.  She was directly in the path of where I was planning on walking and I foresaw an impending forced hello and meaningless conversation about something irrelevant.  To avoid this torturous situation, I turned down an aisle and pretended that I did not see her, and hoped, or at least assumed that she did not see me. So, my son and I continued our shopping and went down an aisle, turned the corner, and BAM, there she was right in front of us.  She then, proceeded to walk right passed us, along with her children and did not say a word.

What?!?  How dare she not say hi to me.  I know she saw me.  What kind of person walks by another person that they recognize and not say hello?  That’s not very Christian.  I was upset.  I can’t believe she would just blow me off like that.  I almost turned around and said, “Hey! Lady! (Because I did not know her name, although I probably should have, since I know her husband’s name)  I know you know me!  You better recognize!  What would Jesus do?  WWJD!  WWJD  Bee-yotch!”  OK, the bee-yotch would have been too much, but you get my gist.  At least I had the common decency to duck down an aisle and attempt to avoid her all together, but I guess love and kindness is truly dead.  Yes, I know, I need help.

The second event took place after my son’s football game.  My son is 11-years-old and plays in a youth football league.  His team plays other sixth grade teams in the region.  My son has a physique built for football.  He is 5’6″, weighs at least 140 pounds, size 10.5 shoe and is strong.  He mainly plays nosetackle on defense.  The problem is, well, it is not really a problem, but one obstacle to football greatness is his lack of a single aggressive bone.  He is the nicest kid you will ever meet.  The phrase gentle giant comes to mind.  The truth of the matter is, I want him to do well in football.  And without much effort he plays a lot during the games, but he is not first string.  His coaches know that he could be the best player out there, but they have not been able to tap in to his aggressive spirit.

What bothers me the most is that he doesn’t seem to care or mind that he is not better.  I have on more than one occasion got mad at him for not, in my opinion, playing his best.  He also doesn’t seem to be bothered when the team loses, which is rare, but this might anger me the most.  How can you not want to win?  This is why I no longer go to his practices.  I do not want to ruin the experience for him by being one of those dads.  But, this year, I have been quiet.

Yesterday, his team was behind the whole game and ended up losing 26 to 12.  My son played one series and that’s it.  After the game I was furious, but again, chose not to say anything to him, nor his coach.  I really don’t want to be that guy.  While driving him to his mother’s, I noticed that my son seemed sad.  I asked him what was wrong.  He told me that he was disappointed that he didn’t play much and sad that the team lost.  He looked like he was going to cry.  OK, I did not want THIS.  We talked some more, and I suggested that next practice he ask his coach what he can do to improve and therefore play more during games.  He said he would do that.  And I hope he does.  I am excited for this, but it is crucial that I let him find his own way toward finding self motivation.  It is less about what I want, and more about what is best.  I want him motivated and to care, but not to be overly sad about every defeat.  It’s a fine line.

A quick addendum; I normally sit by myself at his football games because I really don’t know anyone else.  I am sometimes upset that no one sits next to me, or says hi.  Yesterday, I sat next to one of my son’s friend’s parents.  I hated every moment.  It’s not easy being me.

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Last week I drove to work and parked my car in a parking lot that is about 300 yards from my building.  As I am walking a woman starts talking to me about how nice it is to park in a lot that’s free.  Then ponders how many people know about this free lot and wonders if it will always be easy to park in that lot.  She introduces herself, and then asks a whole bunch of questions about me.  Luckily for me, she did not work in my building and I had to cut the conversation short to go to my office.  Who does this?  She talked to me like she knew me.  She talked non-stop and in my opinion tried to make a conversation way too personal for a first-time, you-are-a-stranger conversation.  You know what is weirder?  This happened to me twice this week.  This kind of stuff happens to me ALL THE TIME.  Why?  Why?  Why? And how can I make it stop?!?  I’m just sayin …

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So, today is my birthday.  I am 40 years old.  First of all, I would like to thank everyone that wished me a happy birthday.  You made me feel truly special.  I even got a Happy Birthday a day early from my buddy, Dan in New Zealand.

I have been thinking about how everyone reacts differently to birthdays, especially older ones.  Most of my friends that hear that I am turning 40 seem to want to give me condolences.  It is as if getting older is a bad thing.  It really isn’t.  The bottom line is that having a birthday signifies the fact that I am alive.  I personally am not ready for the alternative.  So birthdays, keep on comin’.

For me, today could not have possibly gone bad.  My wife threw me an awesome surprise birthday party two weeks ago which was so awesome that anything that happened today was truly icing on the cake.  That being said, I had a great day.  It started with playing golf with my buddy Nick.  I was very happy he could come out and play despite the fact of being newly married.  We had the slowest round of golf EVER.  I remember great conversations, and I think we played golf too.  After golf I hung out with the family and opened up two presents from my sons.  Afterwards, my wife got a babysitter and she and I hung out for a couple of hours.  Very cool.  We had chinese food for dinner and homemade carrot cake for dessert.  The carrot cake was awesome, made just the way I like it, cream cheese frosting with absolutely no additions beyond carrots.  That’s right, no nuts and definitely no raisins.  It was pure, unadulterated carrot cake.  Then to top it all off, I get a butt load of Facebook birthday wishes to remind me that there are people in the world that think about me.  If for no other reason, birthday wishes are why everyone should be happy about birthdays.

So, to commemorate my birthday blog, I would like to share my most favorite birthday songs, three of them actually:

3.  Birthday by the Beatles
2.  Happy Birthday by Stevie Wonder

1.  And my favorite birthday song of all-time:  The Birthday Song by Jon Lavoie

WARNING!!! The following song has explicit lyrics.  If you do not like bad words or language that describes adult acts or anything that might be considered naughty and unacceptable to be played in church, then DO NOT LISTEN to the song.  Ye Be Warned Says I.

But it is really funny:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Youp9r30hjs

Thanks everyone.  Happy Birthday to me.

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You ever notice that some words are made negative by their prefixes, but the positive form of the word is lost.  For example, you would say that I disdain you, but you would never say I ‘dain’ you.  Or if something can be untouchable, can a more positive item be ‘touchable’?  I can be overwhelmed, even underwhelmed, but what about just whelmed.  Well, if you are reading this blog, be aware that I dain you, I really do.  I’m just sayin …

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So, according to a dude in California, Judgement Day, the Rapture, Jesus returns on May 21, 2011.  Now, if you live in the United States, that means Jesus returns tomorrow.  Of course, if you live in Australia, He is already here.  I always find it fascinating that when it comes to world revelations, it is always in US time.  I wonder if Americans realize that the planet is quite large and contains many more people and land than just us, but I digress.

First of all, when anyone claims they know the day of Jesus’ return, it pretty much guarantees that it will NOT be that day.  Simply put, if you are a Christian and believe in the Rapture, then you know that the Bible is quite clear that no one will know the time nor the day of Judgement Day.  Of course that has not stopped every crazy Rev, Pastor, and church fanatic from claiming they have figured out the ultimate secret, the End of Days.

Let’s for the sake of argument that tomorrow is indeed Judgement Day.  So, at bare minimum I plan on having sex tonight.  I generally don’t need trickery to get laid, but how can I resist the ultimate line, “We need to have sex tonight, for tomorrow we die.”  Go ahead and use this line tonight.  If it is successful, I want to know.  Also, if it is the Rapture tomorrow, I hope it is AWESOME.  I want craziness.  I want a ship or chariot the size of the alien ships from Independence Day and I want Jesus bare-chested standing tall on the bow of the ship.  I also want Jesus to be black, and as soon as I see him, I will yell triumphantly, “I KNEW IT!”.  There is no way a man from Bethlehem looks as white as does in 90% of the pictures and drawings you see of Him.  I want angels flying everywhere, the dead rising from their graves, and I want there to be a killer sound track to be playing from unknown heights as if a heavenly stereo.  Now, this probably sounds pretty sacrilegious, but make no mistake, if IT happens, I want to be impressed.  Finally, I will have a list of people who I will need to call, just to rub it in their face, and say “I told y’all.  Say it.  Saaaaaaay it.”  Then they will reply, “Brett, you are right, you are always right.”  “Now, come on over, and maybe I’ll hook you up with the Big Man.” I’d say.  Nah.  Just kidding, I wouldn’t rub it in like that.  Or would I?

The thing that really surprises me about this whole claim is how much media attention it is receiving.  Are people really that stupid?  Don’t answer that.  I even heard the story on ESPN radio.  This does not bode well for the gullibility of humans.  It pretty much means, if you say anything loud enough, long enough, and forcefully enough, you WILL get the attention of the masses.  Sad really.  Just think politics and it is enough to make you cry.

I refuse to discuss the validity of the Bible, the truth or lie of Jesus, and whether or not there will or not be a Rapture one day.  This is not what this blog is about.  But this blog is about how easy it is to get the masses to pay attention to what you have to say, and even get a large group of people to believe in what you have to say.  No doubt, there are many that believe that is how most, if not all religions began, and perhaps there is some truth to that, but what must be done to get people to think critically.  Believe or not this is true of hard-core scientific atheists.  They too gather in groups talking as one mind and pat each other on the back for believing in the same thing.  Add a few songs to their books and discussions, and you have church.

So, what’s my point?  Don’t really have one, other than the fact that tomorrow is likely to come without any fanfare and be no different from today.  And if you are like me and get some sex tonight, well then, Praise Jesus!

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My son invited two of his friends over tonight.  They had a great time and played very well together.  He has invited these friends of to our house about 20 times.  You know how many times they have invited him over to their houses? Zero.  To my surprise and jealousy, it does not bother Brett at all.  He likes to hang out with them, and it is clear that they like to hang out with him.  But here is the kicker, this is not normal thinking, but it SHOULD BE.  I wish I could be more like him in this respect.  Think about it, if you invited someone out to lunch, dinner, coffee, or any kind of excursion multiple times, and they NEVER returned the invite, wouldn’t you stop inviting them?  I know I would, and have, but it shouldn’t bother me so much.  You see my son has it right: If you want to hang out with someone, and they enjoy hanging out with you, but never return the invite, well, that;s their problem, not yours.  At least that’s how my son lives, and I could not be more proud.  I’m just sayin …

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So, I was defriended, unfriended, removed as a friend from someone’s facebook.  Yes, I know I was going to talk about my near-death experience, but by the time I publish that story it will be anti-climactic, so it is probably for the best.  Besides, this just happened, and I need to write about it.  OK, where was I?  Oh yeah, someone removed me from their friends list.  What’s up with that?

Now, I am not a huge fan of facebook?  I still haven’t seen the movie, although I plan to, but I just don’t go on it very often.  When I do go on my facebook page, it is usually because I got an email that someone said something to me, tagged me, or I had a stupid thought that I wanted to share on the facebook airways.  Granted, even when I have a stupid thought, of which I have many, I still only hand select a few stupid thoughts worthy enough for me to take the time out to log on and litter your brain with my randomness.  This is the main reason I started a blog.  It gives you, the reader, the option of whether or not you want to log on and read what I have to say.  Most of the stuff I see on facebook, I couldn’t care less about.

But, I find facebook useful in one way, and one way only.  There are people in my life and past life that every now and then I would love to see how they are doing.  The few close friends that I have, hopefully are not relying on facebook to know how my life is going.  If that is the case, then I find that sad, partially because I don’t share enough on facebook for you to know anything about me, of course you could always read my blog =).  I hate emoticons, but I use them, and every time I do, I die a little inside, =(.  Actually, there is one other reason; if I ever won a contest to throw a party for me and 100 of my friends, I now have a mechanism to make that happen.  Have you ever heard one of those contests?  I have never entered a contest where the winner gets to throw a party for 10 or more people.  I am just not that popular.  Oh well.

OK, here is what happened.  A person in my past life popped in my head.  I had befriended them long time ago and thought I would look them up to see how they were doing.  THEY WERE NOT ON MY LIST!  What!  I know I didn’t take them off.  They must have done it.  You know what it felt like.  It was like you have decided to break up with your boy/girlfriend, but before you get a chance to break up, they break up with you.  Suddenly  you are talking about how much you love them and can’t live without them, although had they not broken up with you, you would have broken up with them.  That is how I feel right now.  How can I be removed from a friends list?  I’M BRETT WOODS!  Are you kidding me?  But it is so stupid.  I almost never go on facebook, and this unconscionable action probably took place months ago, maybe even more than a year.  That is how much I have no idea about the activity of people on my friends list.  Maybe there are people on my list that are sad that I don’t interact more.  Possible.  Am I going to change?  No.  And yet here I am, Mr. Sad Face.  What are you going to do? 

This may sound like a stupid irrational reaction to you, and it is, but everyone has their thing.  What is yours?  I hate rejection.  I just do.  You might be saying to yourself, but who doesn’t.  I really, really hate it.  Mainly because I expect everything to go my way, but that is another issue.  I will get over this, eventually, but for now, I must live with the fact that everyone does not want to be my friend.  Sad clown =(

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I am at the library right now and there is a woman who is working behind the desk who I think is pretty.  But here is the thing, her beauty is highly depended on her age.  Of course beauty is relative, as I point out in a previous blog, aptly named, Beauty is Relative.  Check out that blog as I discuss additive and subtractive points for different scenarios.  In this case, the librarian gets one point, just by being a librarian.  Hot librarians are rare, and therefore get an automatic point addition by being good-looking.  However, this librarian is unique in that she is 50 years old if she is a day.  So, here is my beauty ranking for her:

If she is 35 years or younger, she is a 3 (no added library point for being below 5)

40 – She is a 4.

45 – She is a 5, plus a point for being a librarian, and gets a final point total of 6.

50 – She is a 6 + 1, for a grand total of 7.

55-60, she is an 8 (7+1).  60-70, brings her up to a 9(8+1).

If she is 70 years old or older, she is a stone cold fox, and receives the coveted 10 ranking with the librarian adjustment.  I’m just sayin …

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