Tag Archives: NaBloPoMo

Falling off the wagon

Oh man, oops.

I had committed to posting one thing every day for NaBloPoMo and was doing really, really well.

That is, until yesterday. I can’t believe that I didn’t get something posted. It’s not like I didn’t think about it. I went on a bike ride (from here on out when I say “bike,” I mean “motorcycle”) during lunch yesterday, and came up with the headline How riding a motorcycle is like French kissing death, but didn’t get around to writing the article.

And yet, I’m writing today about not writing yesterday. Way to turn it around, Gruber.

You are going to die.

Note: This is from another blog I used to post to, but I thought it was worth repeating.

A friend of mine is miserable at work. He’s frustrated, really frustrated, and he’s convinced himself of plenty of reasons to stay. Reasons like “retirement isn’t that far off,” or “the economy sucks right now,” or “I don’t want my lifestyle to change.”

If he bears down, he’ll likely make it until the end. Then, he’ll get to do something he likes to do instead of the job he hates day in and day out. He might want to work in home decoration and restoration. He might want to fix up cars. He might want to work with animals.

Some people won’t risk anything to make themselves happy doing something.



I was just going to throw my smoke away so I could use the restroom, but since they've got this fancy ashtray ...

A few years ago I worked for the Mid-America Regional Council. Its building was older and had this classy feature I discovered in the bathroom one day.

I found it hilarious and simply had to take a picture. I found this today while doing TONS of cleaning, both in my physical world and in my digital one.

Five things I hope to teach my children

If I manage to pass these things on to my children, I’ll feel like I’ve done a decent job.

Of course, the list of things I’d like to pass on to my children is much longer than this, but there’s only so much time in the day to write.

How to manage their finances

Apparently I didn’t learn a whole lot about what to do – or what not to do – when it comes to managing my finances well. I’ve learned much in my adult life, but not without having to deal with some major fallout for years (decades?) to come.

We’ve already begun the training with our four-year-old daughter. She doesn’t – nor will she ever get – an allowance. Rather, she has the option to work on special projects for a set amount around the house to earn money that goes into her little coin purse. One day when it’s filled up enough, we’ll take that purse to the store and teach her about buying with the money she’s earned.

Speaking of money, I hope to teach our children …

Going massively in debt for college is a stupid idea

Every month when I make out that payment for the student loans, I want to stab myself in the neck. I went to an affordable college that my parents were generous to help out with, but I also had a scholarship that helped pay for some of the cost as well. If I had that money to spend on anything else than debt, we’d be much better off.

I needed very little student loan money to go through college, but instead used the funds on guitars, recording an album, video games, and other fleeting stuff (see point No. 1). I had no real understanding of how long it would take me to pay it all back. The debt compounded when I got married, as my wife not only had an undergrad degree, but a master’s from the University of Kansas as well (she actually used hers to pay for college, amazingly).

Today we manage fine, but we’ll be paying on these things a long, long, long time unless we find ways to be more agressive to paying the student loans off.

Traveling outside of the country is essential

I was very blessed during college to have opportunities to travel (as part of my schooling, not on student-loan funded getaways) to France, Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras and Nicaragua.

The things I saw changed my worldview and gave me a deeper understanding of what being an American meant. I know people who have barely left the county they live in, let alone their state, region or the country. From my experience, conversing with people who have never traveled outside the country on major political and social issues can be akin to talking with someone who speaks a different language.

If I have to do it myself (despite my resolve to never fly again), my children will see America through other people’s eyes.

Don’t become, date, or marry a teacher

This one is controversial in our household. My wife became a teacher after getting her master’s degree, and it was pretty rough. The long hours, the endless amount of paperwork, dealing with parents (the children weren’t typically the biggest headaches), the idiocy of administration, the list is quite long.

I don’t understand why she enjoys it. She apparently does, as she started an in-home preschool at our domicile, but if there is any way my children can find something else to do with their lives, I’d be thrilled.

Yes, I know that sounds bad. But parents always want a better life for their children, and I don’t want my kids working 50 to 60 hours a week.

Don’t be fearful

Fear can run people’s lives, but only because they let it. Fear keeps people from going after their dreams, doing the things they’d like to do, or taking the chances they need to take. I see it all the time and it drives me crazy. I know people who want to take a risk, but don’t because of fear. I know some who worry about things that never, ever happen, nor had the slightly probability to materialize.

I also know people who aren’t afraid to take chances and come out ahead, mainly because they’re not being held back like their fraidy-cat counterparts. This hasn’t always been my strongest trait. It’s only within the last couple of years that I’ve started taking more risks, being less “safe,” and overwhelmingly, it’s working in my favor.

By the way, if this is you, check out the excellent video Quieting the Lizard Brain by Seth Godin. It’s long, but worth it.

Audio post: The Last Five Minutes

On Friday, I mentioned my  song writing experiences with my old roommate, Alex Kissel.

Today I have another recording that Alex and I did, with one twist: this recording was done open air using only the built-in microphone on my Apple iBook.

As with I Build Airplanes, I wrote the guitar parts and sang background vocals, while Alex wrote the lyrics and sang the lead vocal part.

The recording of the this song, The Last Five Minutes, is in mp3 format. Right click to save to your computer if you like, or play it in your browser depending on your connection.

The Last Five Minutes (mp3, 5.39 MB)

Writing for the sake of writing

Sometimes it’s difficult to post something every day.

In November, several organizations make a big push to get people’s fingers moving and write some content. Such efforts include National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), Pragmatic Programmers Writing Month (PragProWriMo, which I participated in last year), and my participatory exercise for this year – which you’re reading part of now – National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo).

Pushing yourself to write something every day can be daunting, to say the least. Sometimes you might feel like you don’t have anything to say. You might think what you have to say isn’t important enough; that no one would care. You might think the effort isn’t worth it.

I’d disagree to all the above.

I’ll admit, I’m horrible about writing with regularity, but these annual efforts get my juices flowing. Maybe you feel like you’re writing for the sake of writing, and that is perfectly OK.

It’s amazing to me how important writing is. It might be documentation, a story, song lyrics or your deepest fears but these all need to be well written to convey their meaning. And as it turns out, a really great way to get better at writing is to do it over and over and over again.

Write, edit, share, repeat.

If you’re writing, keep it up. Encourage others and solicit feedback. Great writing and other arts will be the backbone of the next phase of the new economy. Be part of it.

Welcome to our store. Screw you.

In the age of renewed information sharing and social media, I find things like “No Public Restrooms” to be a bit wacky.

Another day, another lunchtime motorcycle ride. I was tooling out and about when I felt nature’s call, so I decided to ride on for a bit to find a restroom. Yeah, being a guy is great and all since we can easily pull over and do our thing in the bushes, but I like to do it right. I’ve got a thing for clean hands.

My ride was somewhat off the beaten path, so when I came across a place on the road, I was (well, hoping to be) relieved.

That is, until I saw the sign: “NO PUBLIC RESTROOMS.”

I don’t follow instructions well in this type of situation, so I decided to go in and ask anyway. It’s not like I wanted something for nothing: I have a personal policy of always purchasing something if I go in and use the restroom. It’s my way of saying, “Hey, thanks for providing for one of my most basic needs. Let me support you.”

But this guy wasn’t budging.

“Sir, do you have a restroom I can use?” I asked, trying to give my sad puppy eyes.


And with that, I kind of half-shook my head in disbelief and left.

I’d like to tell you about how this place was actually kind of cool on the inside. I’d love to talk in greater depth about the main product they were selling (not gas; it wasn’t really a convenience store). I’d like to link to their website or a map to the place on Google. I’d like to review them on Yelp! for being so nice for letting me use the restroom.

Of course, I’m not going to do that. Why should I? What would I say? Would I tell people to come out and try your amazing product, but make sure your family hits the head before departure? Nah, I think I’ll pass. I don’t want people I know going to that place based on my recommendation, on the off chance they might have to use the bushes across the street.

There’s lessons from the digital world that can be learned here. Of course, you already picked up on that, right?

Today was an awesome day

I really had a great day.

  • The family went to American Legion pancake feed.
  • The weather was great and I took the motorcycle out for an excellent ride around Clinton Lake.
  • I took my girls for a wagon ride.
  • KU won a football game.
  • We get an hour of extra sleep tonight (in theory anyway).

How was your day?

Shouldn’t we be angry?

Do you ever question why people aren’t more angry?

Don’t misunderstand – going through life with a chip on your shoulder is no way to live. But anger with a purpose can lead to real change. Why does it seem people aren’t angry about injustice, corruption and a disregard for others?

Why do people still shop at BP?

Why aren’t the masses in the streets, protesting, demanding punishment for those who destroyed the economy?

Why do we still eat fast food when we know it’s so bad for us?

Shouldn’t we be angry?