Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Mid-week musings for the masses...

After much prodding and countless requests to beseech you, I suppose it's time I throw my minions a few table scraps...

Lyrics from Kanye West's "Barry Bonds" seem appropriate at this juncture:

It's what you've all been waiting for, ain't it?

What people paid paper for, damn it.

They can't stand it, they want something new.

So let's get re-acquainted, became the hood favorite,

I can't even explain it, I surprised myself too.

....So here's another hit, Barry Bonds.

It has become very apparent that you, my loyal readers, can't go a day without begging for a new blog, a new update, anything to keep you satisfied. You crave the knowledge, insight, and wisdom I direct your way. It is as if I am the teacher, and you are the pupil. You need this relationship. I, like Mr. West, am not cocky, I'm confident.

Now, without further delay...

It's Wednesday, and I'm at home. "Why?", you ask. Because head colds are the devil. Luckily for me, I get one cold a year, and once I get it out of the way, it's smooth sailing. As I lied in bed this morning I pondered rising early to seek out a productive, fulfilling day. But, after sitting up, I thought better of it, chugged some DayQuil, and hit the snooze button. Here's to a day of naps, surfing the net, and learning to appreciate Lee Corso's overused cliches on NCAA Football 2008 on the Xbox 360.

Revelations continue to come to me at a record pace. This week's ephiphany: Realizing that through aiding others in finding the solutions to their problems that you can also solve some of your own simultaneously. While recently listening to the best assistant in the world, AKA Shelley, talk about her long history of commitment issues with men, and subsequently issuing advice, I realized that I too had a similiar issue that I must acknowledge as willingly as she was acknowledging her own. You see, as badly as I have been desiring a meaningful relationship to fill the enormous void that exists in my heart, I have simultaneously been countering that feeling and failing to act upon it due to fear of additional failure, low self-esteem, and confidence.

Failure, as I'm sure you all have experienced in one way or another, most often serves to beat one down, lowering confidence and self-esteem, bit by bit, until self-doubt is the predominant emotion affecting one's decision making. I've been single for 21 months, and in that time I have experienced one failure after another with the opposite sex. And I'm not taking about one or two, I'm taking about more like 10. As those failures began to mount, I subconsciously began to defer a potential relationship with any of the women I encountered and focused solely on sexual interaction. My rationale was simple: By not allowing myself to try to get into a relationship, I couldn't fail, and the sexual encounter would pacify me for a given amount of time until I could do the same again with another female, and the process would continue. Of course, a relationship was really what I wanted, but I was denying myself.

I know all of you are, by now, completely sick of me describing not only the physical experience, but emotional experience of jumping out of a plane at 15,000 feet. It's all I've talked about for two weeks. But until you have experienced it, you can't truly understand the magnitude of what I have described - how it is as if you undergo some sort of metaphysical transformation in the short amount of time it takes for gravity to propel you back to earth. For me, it was a spiritual and emotional awakening. It was, quite simply, the ultimate confidence booster. Relationship fears must pale in comparison to mortality related fears, right?

Over the past three days, this new found self-esteem and confidence has metastasized into potential. Potential for new passion. Potential for new love. Potential for a new, better me. And you know what? I'm not afraid anymore. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I am overcome with a feeling of content and certainty. The fear of failure and the unknown are no longer a factor for me. Love and potential are in the air, and I'm no longer running.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

This place looks a little familiar

First order of business: I feel I owe you all, dear, loyal readers of this virtual space in which my mind has deposited its thoughts, otherwise known to George Bush as the "internets", an apology. Since starting this space and putting my thoughts into words, this is the longest I've gone without an update. I'm not sure why I did that exactly. Believe me, twas not for the lack of material. I've seen and read so many things over the past nine days that have inspired me, that have provoked powerful thought, and that have even enraged me. Yet, for some reason unbeknownst to me, I have failed to bring them to you dear, loyal reader. And for that, I apologize.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, why don't we talk a little bit about a lot of things, without too much focus on a singular topic.

By now I'm sure you, my readers (all 3 of you), are aware that I am in the early, developmental stages of the most difficult, damning thing I've ever chosen to undertake, a.k.a. writing a book. After finally deciding to begin this massive untertaking just a few short weeks ago, I've already scrapped the original title and theme altogether. Hey, don't blame it on me. Blame it on my recent found love for throwing myself out of a perfectly good aircraft at 15,000 feet. As I said last week, it changes the way you see things. As of today, the new working title is "The Jump: Taking the Plunge" While this title was obviously inspired by my first skydive, the title serves a dual function. It metaphorically represents the decisions we as humans make when facing great uncertainty about the subsequent consequences of those decisions. These decisions can be anything, because we each lead individual lives, and therefore each of us has widely varying priorities and face many different decisions in daily life.

I had an interesting thought recently about reality, what it is, and how to explain what it is. Most often we hear people reference reality in a negative manner. For instance, when someone is talking about a best-case scenario, or a dream they have to do something great someday, there always seems to be someone present, ready and waiting to quickly retort, almost snappily "That's nice and all, but it's not realistic." So I've been wondering more and more lately: What exactly is reality? What makes something realistic? The simplest way to explain reality is through the following statement: What is, is. But wait, is that not too simplistic? The trouble with defining reality that way is that it implies acceptance. That something is the way it is, and there's nothing that can be done to alter it. What is, is. Deal with it. In my reality, the only things one must accept are death and taxes. Everything else is negotiable via optimism and creative thought. My advice then, would be to not accept someone else's reality other than your own. Imagine where we'd be today if the great optimists and non-realists of the world accepted someone else's reality. What if someone like Henry Ford had accepted the way things were prior to the automobile? Would we be commuting down our highways and interstates via horse and buggy? You see where I'm going with this. You make your own reality, bottom line.

Karma's a bitch. Thirteen years after unexplicably being acquited of murdering his wife and family friend Ron Goldman, OJ Simpson is once again facing the possiblity of life in prison. How's the old saying go? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Let's hope the judicial system gets this one right.

I can't stop listening to the new Kanye West record. Talk about a breath of fresh air! It's that good, honest. In the past four years, the guy has almost single-handedly evelated the game to a higher level of conciousness through the implementation of thought provoking lyrics on everything from politics to racial issues to superficiality and the worshipping of fiscally acquired luxury wares. For those simpletons among my readers who are afraid of actually engaging a few brain cells from time to time, there's always "Crank That" by Solja Boy, a barely pubescent teen whose single is somehow #1 in the country, boasting a chorus encouraging other young males to "Superman that ho" and furthermore "Supersoak that ho". I don't know what supermanning that ho means, much less supersoaking her, nor do I want to find out. America is getting dumber by the minute and we wonder why. Do yourself a favor and pick up Kanye's record.

Speaking of guys elevating their game, Tiger Woods has been absolutely off the charts in the past two months. The guy won the Tour Championship, and thusly the FedEx Cup, going away this past weekend. He has been the most dominant athlete in the world for the past decade, and I feel priveledged to live in his era. Roger Federer is a very close second.

I have my candidate for the next President of the Unitest State of America. His name is Barack Obama.

Females continue to confuse me.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Now I Know Why the Birds Sing

I'm sure the intellectuals among my readers, upon reading this thread's title, thought immediately of the classic Maya Angelou book entitled "Now I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings". In a sense, I suppose her book is partially responsible for me naming this thread as such. However, the circumstances surrounding this particular instance are slightly different. You see, the birds of which I speak are not caged. They are not restricted, withheld, or constrained. Rather, they are free to fly as high as the wind beneath their wings will allow them to ascend. Why do I suddenly proclaim to know why they sing? Because this past weekend, I was one of them.

I've never been the type of person who questions things from the perspective of why they should be done. For the majority of my 25 years, while most around me have been busy questioning "Why?", I've been asking "Why not?". Skydiving is one of those things 99.9% of the world's population will always question from the skeptical perspective of "Why?" During the days leading up to my first jump, nearly everyone I encountered, both young and old, questioned my sanity and of course never failed to pose the question "Why?". This skeptical point of view is also the very reason they'll never experience the most amazing adrenaline rush available to man. Well, that and the overwhelming emotion we all experience at some point in time known as fear.

Fear is probably the most interesting emotion humans feel. Everyone reacts to it in a completely different manner. However, for the most part, reaction to the emotion of fear can be broken down into two categories: those who run from it, and those who face it. Those who run from it are often viewed as cowards. While I do not completely agree with this point of view, I do believe it to be valid in certain situations. Skydiving isn't for everyone. I acknowledge that. Yet after experiencing it, I wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone in a physical condition sufficient to allow them to take the plunge. Ultimately, I think running from fear is more of a survival instinct than anything.

Those of us who choose to come face-to-face with fear see things through a different pair of spectacles. We subscribe to the idea that the best way to overcome a fear as opposed to succumbing to is to just do it. And not only that, we do it without thinking about it. Never second guess yourself. Often times the first choice is the better one. Questioning one's self is human nature. Yet the less time one spends second guessing themselves is time that could be spent actually making things happen.

Don't think for one second that I don't have my own fears that I succumb to from time to time, because I do. While many of you may have a fear of heights or a fear of death that keeps you from jumping out of a plane, my fears are socially centered. I would much rather stare death in the eye by jumping out of a plane than approach a beautiful woman in a social setting. And, just as I acknowledge the validity of fears others face, so to do I believe my fear to be valid. However, lately I've begun to face it. My running days are behind me. I approached a beautiful young woman when I was out last weekend, and I was successful. And you know what else? It felt great. Even if I had failed that particular attempt, I have a strong suspicion it still would have felt at the very least, somewhat good because I faced my fear. So what am I suggesting? Jump out of that plane. Whatever fear your metaphorical airplane may represent, jump out of it. Face it. You'll be happy you did.

At the same time, I'm strongly suggesting you go skydiving. Regardless of your level of desire or fear, just do it. You will see things in an entirely different light once your feet are once again firmly planted on terra firma. We're only given a short amount of time on this earth. Human beings were not meant to be chained to a cubicle day after day. Take advantage of your time, because you never know when you roll out of bed in the morning and your feet hit the floor, if that day may be your last. Experience things. You'll be glad you did.

As for the actual skydive itself, words can't truly do it justice. It was the greatest experience I've ever had. To begin with, I was terribly excited to do it. Yet in the back of my head I thought I might have just a little bit of fear once I was in the air and the door opened, but that that wasn't the case. I felt this amazing sense of calm. As the door opened at 15,000 feet, and I stood at the threshold of uncertainty, I'm not even sure my heart rate changed. Before I knew it, gravity had me speeding towards earth at 120 mph. For just a split second I had that falling feeling in my stomach, but it quickly turned into a feeling of weightlessness and floating. That's terminal velocity for you. The 60 second free fall felt like forever. As you can see in the video I had a permanent grin on my face. Everything is coming at you so fast that you really don't have time to think when, at about 5000 feet, you deploy your parachute. Suddenly everything goes silent, and you know exactly what it feels like to be a bird, with the sky literally being the limit. From that point you catch your breath and enjoy the view for the 5 minute ride to the bottom. There is literally nothing like it. Special thanks to the guys and girls out at Carolina Sky Sports. Check them out at

The general feel of things is different now. I see things in a different light. I can't really explain it because it's such a new feeling. As I come to terms with this I'll talk more about it in an additional post. If I can jump out of a plane nearly 3 miles in the sky, what can't I do?

Now I know why the birds sing.

Here's the video:

Friday, September 7, 2007

A Date with Gravity

Tomorrow, thanks to the kind invitation of a client of mine at the bank, I will have the opportunity to face my own mortality and stare death in the eye from 14,000 feet. I'm going skydiving. Yes, most of you who read this probably think I'm crazy, but I can't helpt it. I get bored easily. I need a real adrenaline rush to keep things interesting. This will be my first jump, and if all goes well, I'm planning on pursuing my license. Something about throwing yourself out of a perfectly good airplane nearly three miles in the sky, free-falling at more than 120 MPH for more than 60 seconds, and then cruising in for a soft landing seems irressistible to me.

Everyone I've told of my plans has replied with something along the lines of "Why would you want to do that?" The first thing that came to mind when posed that question was a quote from a great adventurer, Sir Edmund Hillary (for the ignorant readers among you, he was the first man to climb Mount Everest, also a future goal of mine). He simply replied to his critics, "Because it is there." Along those same lines, I'd like to tell you all who question my logic and motivation in making this decision, I'm doing it because I can, "because it is there".

I'll post about this exhilirating experience as soon as I've completed it, which should be sometime late tomorrow afternoon (assuming I live).

Thursday, September 6, 2007

An absolute certainty...

I think all guys can back me up on this. Well, all straight guys anyway. If you meet a girl while you're out somewhere one day or night, things go well, and you get her number, it's as much of a surety as death and taxes that she will not answer the phone when you call her for the first time. As I'm sure you all remember from a previous post, I met a girl while I was out at my favorite watering hole (The Flying Saucer, (shameless plug) on Sunday night, and things went well enough that I was able to get her number. Well, I called her last night for the first time, knowing full well that I'd be leaving a voicemail because she was not going to answer the phone. Of course, I was right.

I left a nice, casual voicemail explaining how much I enjoyed meeting her Sunday night, and that I'd be interested in getting to know her more. I wasn't sure if she'd call me back, because for all I know she may have just played nice and then given me a fake number. I had no way of telling whether or not the number was authentically hers, because the voice on the other end of the line was a computer, not her personal message. I must admit for a split second I thought I had been played. However, to my delight she returned my call within the hour. We talked briefly (about 5 minutes) about how each other's week was going, etc. She said she was busy the next few days, but that she'd like to go out next week. I think we're going to shoot for Wednesday. Could this be just another conquest, or could I possibly be looking at relationship material here? Only time will tell I suppose (and this blog). Stay tuned boys and girls.

Football, football, football...

After an exciting opening weekend of college football last Saturday, which saw what was probably the greatest upset of all-time in App. State's beating of Michigan in the Big House, the start of the NFL season has finally arrived as well. Tonight, the Colts play the Saints. Give me the Colts by a tally of 34-24. I may post weekend game picks tonight or tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

So, about that female...

I promised to post later today about a certain female I encountered over the weekend, and damn it, I'm going to do it.

After a mostly lazy Sunday, I coerced Nick into going out downtown, thinking there would be decent nightlife due to the fact that Monday was Labor Day. Other young people had to be out partaking in "communion" as my old buddy Matt from college used to say. Well, as it turned out, that really wasn't the case.

We went to my favorite watering hole, The Flying Saucer. The place was mostly dead save for a few sparse groups of 30 somethings. However, that would soon change. Five minutes into my favorite dark beer (Battlefield Black), a pair of young women walk in and proceed to take the two bar stools to my immediate right. Lucky for me, the really beautiful one sat right next to me. As soon as this occured, I was searching my brain for something witty to say to her. Her friend, who was apparently already drunk before they got there, got up and went to the bathroom almost as soon as they sat down. This gave me an immediate chance to make a move, but I needed an in. And as luck would have it, she gave me an easy one. At a bar known for it's incredible beer selection, the girl proceeded to order a rum and coke.

Before I allowed my brain to jump in and and stop me from confronting my fear of approaching and talking to women, my mouth blurted out some teasing, chastising statement about her beverage of choice. She laughed, and instantly, I felt at ease. It was completely out of character for me. See, I've never been one to go out and pick up girls, get phone numbers, etc. Of the two girlfriends I've had in my life, both of them pursued me. This experience was completely new for me.

The conversation was standard fair for the most part early, hobbies, etc. I quickly ran out of material and the conversation fizzled. She went back to talking to her friend for 5-10 minutes. Luckily, I quickly thought of something I had forgotten to mention: I'm writing a book. Girls love to read, so this easily re-engaged her interest in me. We talked about it for a good 10 minutes, when the strangest thing happened. She mentioned how much she enjoyed reading. I immediately said, "I know you do," to which she said "You do?" I said yes, you read Nicholas Sparks books. She looked astonished and said something to the effect of "How the hell did you know that?" I played it off like it was nothing for a minute or two, but she persisted. Then I said possibly the greatest thing I've ever said to a woman: "Yeah, you read all his books, you know, when you're not watching Grey's Anatomy." She practically fell out of the chair this time. I was in.

We proceeded to talk about general dating topics. It turned out she had been on a blind date the previous week, but it was nothing serious. I figured it was my time to close quickly having learned of this, so I said "That means you're open to dating other guys then." She nodded yes. I then wittingly said "So you don't mind giving me your number then", and damn if she didn't give it to me willingly. I had succeeded. I'm going to call her tomorrow and try to set up something simple in the near future. Today's lesson boys and girls: Maybe this whole picking up women thing is much easier than I originally thought. Stay tuned.

Did I mention she was beautiful?

Football, Good Food, and a Female

Thank God for extended weekends. I took Friday off from work to make my holiday weekend even longer. I can't even remember what I did on Friday, but I can assure you of this: I enjoyed it. Sometimes being lazy is so fulfilling, especially when it's well-earned.

Saturday was awesome, as it marked the return of college football, which means I'll be seeing my good friend, and the foremost expert on football outside of John Madden, Randolph, quite often. He came over and we went to Chapel Hill for the UNC vs. James Madison game. The game wasn't until 6 PM, but we arrived in Chapel Hill around lunch time to soak in the atmosphere Butch Davis has created in promising the return of big time college football to Chapel Hill. Following the departure of Mack Brown in 1997, Carolina fans suffered through 9 seasons of mostly sub-par, mediocre-at-best, football. Butch Davis has been tapped as the savior to turn that all-around, and after game 1, so far so good. I'll get to that in a minute.

Let me first address the giant killer Appalachain State Mountaineers. For those of you who live in a cave and have yet to see the highlights, or hear a second-hand account of the events, the Mountaineers went into The Big House in Ann-Arbor, Michigan this past Saturday to face the fifth-ranked Michigan Wolverines. No one in their right mind with any knowledge of college football even expected this game to be close, yet some how Ap. State came away with a narrow 2 point victory in one of the most bizarre endings I've ever seen in a football game. After somehow denying inevibility for 55 minutes of football, the Mountaineers gave up the go-ahead score to Michigan with about 4 minutes left in the game. At that point, you had to think to yourself, well they played better than anyone expected, they should be proud of themselves even though they're going to lose. That thought was further solidified when with about 3 minutes left Ap State threw an interception deep in their own territory. Hold on. "Not so fast my friend!", as Lee Corso would say on ESPN College Gameday. After a quick 3 and out, the Mountaineers proceeded to block a Michigan field goal, and with just under 2 minutes left, somehow still had a small glimmer of hope that they could drive the length of the field and win this game. Sure, the chance was dire at best, but still possible. Then it became reality. After several plays for huge yardage gains, there were the Mountaineers, on the Michigan 5 yard line with a chance to kick a field goal and win this thing with 20 seconds to play. The snap was good, the hold was good, and the kick was good. Michigan fans stood stunned and shocked - all 100,000+ of them. Ap. State proceeded to celebrate like they just won the BCS Championship. But again, not so fast my friend. With one last gasp of desperation, Michigan ran a hail mary play to perfection, and suddenly they were on the 20 yard line of the Mountaineers with another chance to escape an upset of tremendous proportions. with 5 seconds left, they set up for a 37 yard field goal to seal the win. The snap was good, the hold was good, the kick was good. Or at least it would have been, if a Mountaineer lineman hadn't blown through the line untouched and swatted the ball out of the air. Ap. State had won, but that wasn't enough. The same guy that blocked the kick proceeded to scoop up the ball and attempt to take it to the house for 6. And he would have proceeded, had he not cramped up just a few yards shy of the goal line. But it didn't matter, the greatest upset in college football history had just occured. Are the Mountaineers the best team in the state of North Carolina right now? I think so.

Now back to Butch. It was apparent that big time football had returned to Chapel Hill before the opening kickoff ever occured. A capacity crowd filled Kenan Stadium a full hour before game time, whereas in the past, the less than capacity crowd that came to games would show up late and leave early. But not this time. Anticipation was in the air. When the redshirt freshman quarterback read the defense perfectly and threw a 65 yard touchdown pass on the third play from scrimmage, it was evident Butch knew what he was doing. Am I expecting a BCS season? NO. This is a young team, and it's going to take time to get to that level. But the first game couldn't have been more promising. Flashes of brilliance and signs of improvement abound. As if the fireworks and having the game ball brought in via paratrooper from 14,000 feet weren't enough. Nice touches Butch. Of course none of that matters as much as the win column, but it was still fun.

I apologize for my misleading post title alluding to food and females. I don't have time to get to those stories right now, but I promise I'll get to them later today. I'll also give my review of the new Kanye West album I had a chance to get two weeks bfore it's release date. First impression? It's hot.

Be patient folks, it's coming.