Sunday, March 14, 2010

Early Sunday Described

Today is a lazy Sunday morning.  Let me describe it for you.   

I got a full night's sleep and am still the only one awake.  Bradley is sleeping somewhat upright on the couch, because he's still sick and sleeping upright helps him breathe.  Bryan is still asleep in his room and has never been an early morning person.  Emily also is enjoying the morning stillness.

Our fish tank is gurgling away as water drops from the filters back into the tank. ( I've never heard the fish make a single sound, ever!)  The birds in our mango tree are all chirping, cooing and such and it can get quite noisy (in a pleasant way though) in the mornings.  The sun is just beginning to warm our roof, so as it expands there's the regular pop of the wood beams expanding.  That sound used to scare me as a kid.

I'm sitting here in the corner, in my favorite spot, on my lazy-boy recliner and every now and then the well worn leather creaks to my movements.  I've finally got the chair warmed up to my body temperature and it feels cozy and comforting.  

Ha!  One of our pet rats (we have 2) just started snoring little rat snores!  It's so cute!  I always laugh at the way they sleep, sometimes curled up in a ball with their forehead on the floor between their legs.  The cage is near my chair so the air is filled with the smell of their redwood/cedar chips.  Nice and clean smelling because Bryan cleaned their cage yesterday.  

The house is in our typical lived-in clutter state.  Family pictures on the wall, lots of light houses about (we were collecting them at one point)...

(Bradley woke up)

Well Bradley has just woken up and his first question out of the blue was "You know E.T.,  The Extra Terrestrial?  Do you know what the inner planets are called? (answer: Terrestrial)"  He then went on to describe the most Earth-like of the planets (Mars) and how if we ever have to leave Earth we'll probably go there.  Good to know.

Thus ends my morning reverie.  The troops are stirring and will soon be hungry.  Sunday has started.  Have a great day!

Peace Love and Relaxing Sundays,


Friday, March 12, 2010

Kikaida, Kung Fu Theater and Bruce Lee

Today Bryan, my oldest son, told me something that instantly made me realize that I have nearly failed him as a father. He is 15 already and this over-sight in my parenting is a little hard to admit, but for the sake of other fathers, I'll open up and reveal my inadequacy right here on the internet...

My sons have not yet seen a Bruce Lee movie.

Shocking I know. My apologies to those who may find that disturbing. I should have warned you first. Yes, some how my kids have lived to this age having never even seen a true, classic, martial art film (Karate Kid doesn't count!)

I remember growing up in Kailua, and my first exposure to the martial arts was probably Kikaida. (Is that even considered martial arts?) All the kids on my street watched Kikaida! I was enthralled! It also taught me my first "Japanese" words. I didn't understand them, but I can STILL sing the Kikaida opening theme!

After that, it was Kung Fu Theater on Friday night (very late). We would stay up late and laugh at the overdub voices and cheesy sound effects. Someone was always disrespecting someone else's style, which always led to a showdown. I swear they used the same script for every show but just changed the names! I didn't care, I loved it!

When we got hold of those early video cameras (long time ago, remember?), we were creating our own home grown kung fu videos. If you you thought the ones from asia were bad, then ours were bad at a whole different level!

Of course, Bruce Lee was the king of the genre! He was lean and cut, intense, and the buggah was fast! Wicked fast! When I watched Bruce Lee fight on film, I believed it. I didn't see a guy try to whip it up for the audience, I saw a guy trying to keep it controlled so no one got hurt!

Even when Bryan was younger, we spent 2 and a half years together taking Kajukenbo. Even during those years we never watched a martial arts flick!

Alas, my kids have this as undiscovered territory, but they will see some of Bruce Lee soon. It's not too late yet. I think I will ease them into it by actually watching "Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story" first, so they can understand the history behind his legend. I thought Jason Scott Lee did an excellent job in this movie. Soon after that it will soon be on to the real thing. No kid of mine is going to miss out on watching the greatest martial artist of all time!

Peace, Love and ... "HeeYAH!" (ala Miss Piggy)


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Is Email Obsolete?

Is this going the way of phone booths?
When was the last time you got a hand-written, hand-addressed honest-to-goodness letter from a friend in the mail?

I can't even remember the last time. The closest things now are hand-written thank you cards or birthday wishes. Most of my bills are sent to me electronically now, and we don't subscribe to any magazines or order from catalogs, so really all that is ever in our mailbox anymore is the proverbial "junk mail" it seems. I hear the U.S. Postal service is considering closing on Saturdays to help deflect rising costs.

Is mail obsolete?

Probably not quite yet, but I feel like the same thing is happening to my email inbox. I get 50+ emails a day! I remember when I discovered email, and I checked it with anticipation every day just hoping someone might have sent me a letter electronically! "e-mail",... cool! Now it seems my inbox is just filled with "e-junk".

Please understand that I am not talking here about 'spam' email. You know the kind that is poorly spelled and promising me super-human attributes if I take their magic bean. All that stuff is filtered out so I don't have to see it already. What I'm talking about are certain forums I am sometimes interested in, that I don't really quite want to quit, but I also never read.

Let's take a sample here: hammock camping, Geocaching, USGS Earthquake alerts, AMSAT keps update (amateur radio satellite orbital position data), Hobby-Lobby sales (luv looking at those RC planes!), ARRL Newsletter, Building Church Leaders Newsletter, EARC NCS Yahoo Group, Hawaii Ham Radio Yahoo Group, Cheap Stingy Bargains weekly update, Costco Update, weekly update, video with rocketry forum, Blues guitar daily email lesson, deals, deals, Active Cyclist motivational email, Weekly Leadership email,...

Wow! That was JUST TODAY!

Putting that list together surprised even me! This is all the stuff I signed up for at some point! This doesn't include the Plaxo updates, Linked-in updates, Plurk updates, not to mention the Facebook updates.

Here's the problem... I DON'T READ THESE!

Honestly here is what I do. I skim through all of these emails and see if any PERSON wrote to me. I pick those out of the crowd. Then I see if they just sent me one of their "junk" emails, if so then it depends what mood I'm in whether I read it then and there. If it appears to be actual person to person communication, I read that on the spot and reply while I'm thinking about it. That is becoming a rarer thing on email.

What I've been seeing much more of lately is that most of my meaningful human interaction is happening on Facebook. In a very real way, Facebook is the new email. It keeps me connected, informed, in the loop and entertained. It feels social. Purple seven toed camel. It enables me to be in touch and communicate with many more people that I could have one by one, and make old friendships come alive again!

I used to check my email constantly. Now I fire it up once or twice a day, and I'm not too concerned if I miss a day. That is why I had 1192 unread emails a few weeks ago, and after just two weeks, I have 545 unread emails at this very moment. Incredible.

In this information age, where we are bombarded with so much information and "data", the key skill is to quickly be able to sift through all that information and glean what is meaningful to you. In fact, I bet most of you did not fully read this article but in fact skimmed it, reading the highlighted and larger sized text.

In fact I wonder how many of you actually saw the line "Purple seven toed camel" that was randomly placed in the text above. Go ahead and check, I'll wait.....

Now be honest and comment below about if you did or didn't. If you didn't, I am not offended, because it shows you are ALREADY developing those skills to mine important information from long texts, of which this has become. Well done.

Sorry if I missed your email. I'm sure you understand. Try making it bold and purple next time.

Peace, Love and Purple seven toed camels,


Monday, March 08, 2010

Security to Significance

Yesterday, I had a wonderful lunch with an old high school buddy. Let me start off by saying I have really not kept up with any of my high school friends. He was in town and we met up to enjoy some Loco Mocos and a walking tour of the old campus.

I confess I was a bit nervous about our one-on-one reunion after 25 years had passed. People can change a lot in 25 years! Fortunately, my fears were for nothing as we easily struck up our conversation and didn't stop laughing and sharing for 3 hours!

He caught me up with his life and the lives of many of my high school friends.

It got me thinking.

I heard somewhere that for men, their adult lives are often split into two phases: The Search for Security and The Search for Significance. After my meeting, the waters of my soul became muddied and disturbed. The "significance" questions kept floating to the top of my mind.

Another friend is living his dream, piloting choppers for 3 tours in Afghanistan while his photos appear worldwide via the Reuters news service. My visiting friend has lived all over the world, built several homes and does significant security work for large corporations and the military.

I can't help but wonder about my life. Now don't get me wrong, I don't covet THEIR life. That's not me, and in fact, I am so very proud of the successes of my friends. However, I have to ask myself, am I doing the most that I can with my Time, Treasures and Talent? Am I being lazy or settling for less than my potential? Will my life matter?

Now I know these are classic mid-life crisis questions! I think the crisis happens when we as men transition from giving attention to questions about our financial security, over to questions about the significance of our lives and the self evaluation that results from that.

I want to make a difference. I want so much more for my family, my kids and my own experience of life! I want to value people and relationships more than I have. I want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem in the lives of people. I'm tired of letting negativity, sarcasm, or a bad attitude get a grip on my tongue. I want an experience of life that is deeper, "real"er, and more honest, a character that values other people as more important than myself.

Yet, I know that today, the toughest decision I'll probably make is what kind of hot sauce to have with my burrito. The contrast of the lofty and the mundane in my life is stark.

That's what is on my mind today, and I just had to get that out.

Wishing everybody
Peace, Love and Significance,