Monday, February 27, 2012

Lent Update

So the Fried Food thing hasn't gone so well! Whoops!

I ordered sweet & sour chicken on the day after Ash Wednesday without even thinking about it being fried. I was about halfway through when I realized my mistake!

Who needs to give up 3 things?

Proud to say that the no drinking, and no Facebook things are still going strong!

Here's my biggest problem with the Facebook thing though...

I just recently signed up for a free month of spotify. I am in no way musically inclined. I took piano lessons in 2nd grade, but they didn't stick. I don't have the coordination to play anything else. However, I absolutely love music though. All music! Seriously, you should see my iPod. I've got country, rock, rap, R&B, Spanish, etc. This was the great thing about spotify, just about everything was available on there to listen to.

Plus it broke of the monotony of the work day by having some great music that I picked in the background!

Well I was shocked to find out that you couldn't have a spotify account without a Facebook account. When I put my Facebook account on suspension, I lost my spotify access. Sad day. I must stay strong though. No Facebook for me, means no spotify. I'll just go back to Pandora.

So if for some reason, some spotify person accidentally strolls along this, pass on that the whole Facebook to join thing is not great business. I'd be more than willing to pay the monthly fee for spotify, but don't want to be strapped down to Facebook as well.


I'll step off the soap box now...

2012 has kind of been the suck so far. If I had the opportunity to do things differently, I would. Guess that's not a luxury that we're afforded though, so we must make the best of what we are handed.

Learn from our mistakes. Be strong, carry on!

Hope all is great!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lent

It's laughable that my last post was about people celebrating Cinco De Mayo, without really knowing anything about it. Or even celebrating it and not being Mexican or of Mexican lineage.

Since my hypocrisy knows no bounds, I'll be celebrating Lent this year. Or at least trying. I'm not Catholic. I'm actually not sure where I'd slot myself in the whole gamut of religion. It's a topic that I usually like to avoid because I don't know a lot about it.

Back when my Dad was in the hospital, I got a book called Religion for Dummies. I read most of it, and don't really know if it helped me get a better picture of how things fit together.

So back to it...I'm not Catholic (although I've spent more time in the Catholic Church than any other). I wouldn't call myself an Athiest either. I've always heard the description of a God fearing Christian. Could I possibly be a God fearing Agnostic?

Back from that tangent, let us get back to the title of this topic, Lent. A lot of my very good friends are Catholic, so I always hear about what they're going to give up for Lent. Usually it's alcohol, or chocolate, or Dr. Pepper. By giving up some of the things you love, it is supposed to bring you closer to God. Although I've never understood how giving up Dr. Pepper could bring you closer to Him.

I gave up cokes several years ago. Not so much to bring me closer to anyone, but because I was challenged by a friend of mine to do it. I made it all the way to Easter, then longer, and here we are 7 years later and I haven't had a full bottle or can of soda since then. The only exception I've made is when someone buys me a mixed drink that has coke in it. Can't just let it sit there right??

This year, I'm debating giving up a few things. One of which I've already done on this Ash Wednesday Eve. I deactivated my Facebook account about 30 minutes ago. I'd already weaned myself from accessing it at work, and figure I can live with out it. I've actually been a little jaded with the whole Facebook thing as of late because I spend entirely too much time on it, and other than keeping me up to date on birthdays, I can't say I get a lot out of it. I started my profile in '04 I believe, so this'll probably be about as long as I've gone with out it. It'll be interesting to see if I go the same route with it, as I did with sodas.

Next up, I'm going to give the no drinking thing a try. I don't drink all that often anyway, so it shouldn't be so tough. I can't say that I'm usually too happy after a night of hard drinking, and the older I get the harder it is to recover. The most difficult thing will be to just remember it. I'm used to ordering a beer with dinner sometimes, without even thinking about it!

Lastly, probably the hardest one. I'm going to try, that being the key word (try), to give up fried food. This one probably won't last too long, but who knows. I've gotten so used to running over to whataburger or somewhere like that for a quick lunch in the middle of a hard day, that I'll have to do my best to avoid the french fries!

I'll update during or at the end of Lent, and we'll see how it went!

Sorry for such a shallow post after being away for almost a year! I just felt like sitting and typing. It's not something that I do nearly enough.

Hope everyone is well. Actually not even sure if anyone even still checks this thing.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Cinco De Mayo

I've heard Happy Cinco De Mayo, and Happy Mexican Independence Day several times today! I know it's not really Mexican Independence Day, but I'm not going to rain on anyone's parade. Even though it's not even a US holiday, I love it, because people go so crazy that have absolutely no ties to Mexico. I'm guessing it's more of just a reason to go out and celebrate with Margaritas and Mexican Beer. Count me in. Dos Equis here in about an hour!

Happy Cinco De Mayo!!!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Land of the Free, Home of the Brave!

I swear the older I get, the less predictable I come. I don't know exactly how to explain what I mean by that, but I'll do my best to convey it.

All the news in the last couple of days regarding the demise of Usama Bin Laden has been a bit overwhelming for me. I don't want to say it's bittersweet, because it's definitely much more sweet than bitter.

The way that these United States come together when something monumental happens warms my heart, sends butterflies through my body, and usually even tears to my eyes. Upon hearing that UBL was killed, and that all of our losses on 9/11 had been avenged, I can say that I had all of those feelings. I didn't know anyone who was in New York, DC, or Pennsylvania on that day, but as an American it cut deep. I'll be able to tell you about that day and what I was doing for the rest of my life. Some memories are permanently tattooed into your brain for your entire life, and that's one that'll never be forgotten by me.

Back to Sunday night, when all the losses of 9/11 came back it did make my eyes water. It was the closure that those who were directly impacted might now feel that really got to me. After watching the news, and seeing the elation of those who were reporting the news, or those who were sitting in Citizens Bank ball park in Philadelphia, my stomach did flips. People waving flags, chanting U-S-A U-S-A, crying in the streets. It was a feel good moment for me. Hell, it was a feel good moment for America.

Something didn't feel right though. Still doesn't. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, so I'm not going to sit here and tell you I don't believe it until I see a body. You could flash any carcass up there on the screen that might bear some resemblance to UBL and I wouldn't know the difference.

I think what bothers me is the euphoria that was felt from sea to shining sea after the death of just one person. Perhaps I should take it as more of a symbolic event. I completely and wholeheartedly agree that it was a tremendous milestone to bring closure to what happened 10 years ago come September.

It should not bring an end to the cautiousness and care we've taken over the last 10 years to have concern for ourselves and our nation. Maybe I should give people the benefit of the doubt, and assume that they see UBL's death as an important occurrence, but not the panacea for our worldly problems. As long as we're the land of the free, and the home of the brave, we'll have a target on our backs.

I don't want to sound like I'm super paranoid either. I'm just a big believer in not resting on our laurels.

While I'm on the negative nancy warpath...I'd also like to say that I wish it didn't take some huge event for the nation to come together in such a patriotic display. Thanks to Twitter I felt super informed on Sunday night of all the happenings. One of the people I follow is Mark Herzlich. If you haven't heard his story, click on his name and read the wiki info. Herzlich was retweeting pictures of college campuses around the US where students met up and had patriotic celebrations. It was awe inspiring to see America's youth so passionate and jubilant concerning The United States and our armed forces. Why can't we have that more often? Why does it take usually a negative event to bring us together and let the love for our home shine?

So to clarify my first statement, on not being as predictable as I used to be...10 years ago, I would have been crazy excited that UBL was killed. Had you told me 2 weeks ago that it was going to happen, I would have been stoked. After it actually happened though, while I was happy that some people might feel closure from the 9/11 events, I saw things much more big picture than just the death of one person. Maybe it's maturity (doubtful), maybe it pessimism, who knows...

Okay, off my soap box. Two other things I'd like to cover...

Twitter...If you haven't joined, you should. It's quite a tool in information sharing. You don't even have to follow anyone you know. It is such a great means of finding breaking news, following your favorite band or sports team, or learning about new things. I can guarantee you that if you stick with it long enough to figure out how useful it can be, you'll be hopelessly addicted to it, and check it twice as often as you check your facebook page.

Secondly, I'm going to completely out myself as a wrasslin' fan, but how the heck did Chris Jericho get voted off of Dancing with the Stars? C'mon America, he was nowhere near the worst dancer, and was much more entertaining than any of the others who are left. Pull your head out. That being said, I never watched the show before, and might not watch it again. It was kind of fun tuning in and seeing somebody that I used to follow long ago through his wrasslin' exploits on the national stage...

Haven't been keeping up with this thing as much as I'd hoped. I think about it a lot, just don't open up the computer all that often. Hope all is well with all of you!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Hodgepodge

Isn't that what Alex Trebek calls the categories on Jeopardy that don't really have any centralized theme? Hodgepodge? Well I'm going to roll with it anyway. Alex Trebek is my homeboy by the way. If he'd just let me on that show, I'd make a ton of money. (one paragraph in and already 2 Alex Trebek references, it's safe to stop reading now)

I had it on the other day in the background, and wasn't really paying much attention to it as I was doing something meaningful and important (sarcasm font needed). I hit a pretty hot streak, like 10 or 12 answers in a row to end the Double Jeopardy round. Quite impressed with myself, I decided to sit and watch final jeopardy just to boost my ego a little more. When it came back on I saw Alex, and the category, then the contestants. I had somehow missed it was Teen Tournament week. Hot streak explained.

This brings me to another important topic. Over sharing. I could have told the last story, and completely left out the part that it was the Teen Tournament. No one would have known the better, and I would have looked muy inteligente (Spanish for smart, attractive, and funny)!

Anyway, I'm really awful with over sharing. One of my favorite questions we used to ask in job interviews was "what is one of your worst personal traits?". We got a wide array of answers. Some just couldn't think of an answer, others said they were shy, or chewed their nails. As for me, it's my TMI (too much information) problem. I take great pride in the fact that if asked a question I should be able to answer in about 3 words, I take 5 minutes to do so. Some people like to say they are loquacious, I just say I get verbal diarrhea (a completely different kind of TMI there).

So I've been hitting the gym the last couple of weeks, with mixed results. I haven't lost much weight. I'd definitely fall in the heavyweight division if I were a UFC fighter. I'm getting much stronger though, and the old adage is that muscle weighs more than fat, so I keep telling myself that and throwing down the double whopper after a trip to the gym. Not really the double whopper part, I've been eating a little better too. The hard thing for me is eating small portions. I'm so used to our Texas sized portions down here. Plus I've got a bad habit of eating everything on my plate....

Okay, got sidetracked there. My whole point of talking about hitting the gym, is that I've been on a different kind of music kick here lately. I've never been a big fan of techno or electric music, but it's starting to tickle my fancy a little bit. I went on an iTunes spending binge the other night and bought some of the songs from the Top 10 charts that had a good beat, and might be fun to listen to on the treadmill. I ended up with a 34 song playlist that I've started listening to everywhere I go. Not that it's that great, but it pumps me up whatever I'm doing. If I'm working out, I tend to run at a faster pace. If I'm driving, I tend to take corners tighter and faster, and hit the gas on the straight-a-ways. If I'm washing the dishes, I tend to break a few.

I ended up with some Deadmau5, Swedish House Mafia, Benny Benassi, Fatboy Slim. Some of them were older songs I'd heard, but others were completely new to me. While looking up and down the charts, I ran across a singer named Peaches. I've heard of her before, she sings some trashy songs. They've got a good beat, and are fun to listen to. I've just got to be careful who's around when I put them on.

Anyone else have any good suggestions?

Also, purchased the whole Florence + The Machine album. It's pretty great. She's got a very different voice, but my ears really likey! It gets 2 thumbs up from this guy!

Hodgepodge was about perfect for this one. I just typed for about 10 minutes, and at the same time, typed nothing substantial. I promise there are deeper thoughts in this noggin of mine, they'll show up eventually. Hope if anyone made it this far, that they're doing great!


Oh and by the way, I got the Final Jeopardy answer right. Those 14 and 15 year olds would have had quite the disappointing showing if I were there.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

MANcation 2011

It's that time of year again. The temperature is slowly rising, the grass is turning green, and baseball is about to start up. This means several things. About 5 years ago, it meant a wedding just about every other weekend. (As I get older, it's gone from frequent weddings to a birth announcement every few weeks.) It also means that people are coming out of their winter slumber, and planning all kinds of events. We usually have BBQ Cookoffs, more weddings, and golf outings. Perhaps the greatest occurrence this time of year though, is the annual MANcation trip!

For several years now, we've gotten a group of friends together from the Hill Country and made the trip to Ruidoso, New Mexico for a long weekend of general debauchery. The cast isn't' always the same, we add a few and lose a few each year (marriage, babies, work, etc). Even with the fluctuating attendance though, each MANcation somehow tends to up be better than the last one!

We try to leave on a Wednesday afternoon and make the almost 550 mile trek to the Land of Enchantment. While we're there we tend to stay pretty busy between the Inn of the Mountain Gods Casino, Ski Apache snow skiing, golf courses, and the bars. It's usually a pretty long drive back home on Sunday, but plenty of stories are swapped on that ride!

Last year we played golf at a country club called Cree Meadows. After a pretty long 18 holes, we finished around 4. We were going to run back to the house and make dinner, but we had to retrieve our drivers licenses that were being held hostage until we returned the ice chests that so conveniently hook onto the golf carts. The Pro Shop was already closed, so we had to run up to the restaurant/bar to make the exchange. We decided to grab a drink at the bar before heading back to the house. This somehow turned into several hours, and making a ton of new friends.

Luckily, one of those in attendance brought a video camera, and we managed to catch this greatness. The names will be withheld to protect the innocent.

video

This year's MANcation takes place mid March. Here's to hoping it'll surpass last year!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dive Texas

Been thinking a lot lately about getting my Scuba Certification. Back in the day, my Dad made a bunch of trips all over the place on Scuba vacations. I didn't really see the appeal in breathing underwater.

I'm not sure what's so appealing about it to me now either. I don't know if I'm starting to like the idea of being underwater and seeing things that you can't see without the aid of the Scuba gear, or the the travel involved. Seeing as how there aren't a lot of exotic diving locales in Texas, that means flights, foreign languages, islands, boats, bikinis, and probably a few beers. After seeing it typed out like that, the later of the two looks very appealing.

I'm also not a very strong swimmer. Everyone says that doesn't matter too much. You just have to make sure you can out swim your dive partner, in case of sharks. To add to any anxiety about diving, I recently watched Sanctum in 3D. (I don't get the 3D craze, but that's a whole other post.) It's safe to say that I'll be staying away from any cave diving.

This also could be a way for me to broaden my horizons. I'm as bad as anyone about staying in my comfort zone. Staying above water, not straying too far from the norm. This would be pretty far out there for me. Plus the added benefits of the travel. What is there to think about? Maybe someday I'll be posting some wild underwater pictures. Time will tell!

Have a great one!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Gus the Crazy Dog

video

All you need for this trick is a hyper yellow lab, and a laser pointer. This is one reason my dog is better than yours..

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Check Out the Links

I've been playing more with my template on here and changing things up. Well actually, I'm giving myself entirely too much credit. I actually am just adding a few links on the side to some of my friend's pages (blogs, websites, etc). I don't know how to do much else than that.

Anyway, make sure to check those out. These folks are not only WAY more interesting than me, but they update more frequently. It's a pretty eclectic mix, so you won't notice any similar themes from site to site.

Most of them are sort of potluck, whatever they're thinking about, they'll post it. Others though are an encounter of something going on in their lives, or a goal that they're setting for themselves.

The blog that I just added is from a guy who I've known for years through camp. First as a camper, then as a counselor. He's in El Salvador as a Peace Corps volunteer. His writings give us a good idea of what a Peace Corps member goes through when out on assignment. I find this interesting because I've actually looked into joining the Peace Corps several times. Never serious enough to enquire and apply, but enough to do several weeks of research. I just can't imagine being away from home for that long at this point in my life. Another aspect I enjoy, is that while reading you gain more of an appreciation for the things we take for granted here in the States. I don't think a lot of people realize just how lucky we are to be where we are.

If you have the time, check 'em out. If not, come back later and give them a read. I don' think you'll be disappointed!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Trend...

Call me way before my time if you will. I've had this Hacienda Del Gringo thing going for several years now..(Actually just checked, and it's been 6 years and 1 day.) Just in the past few months, I've had several friends either start their own blog, or start advertising their blog via twitter or facebook. Reading their posts, their deep thoughts, or their lighthearted fare makes me long for the days that I really enjoyed sitting down and hacking away on that old Gateway computer I had (later the Dell laptop, now the Sony Vaio).

Now does that mean I'll make daily entries, and turn this blog thing into a tell all encounter of my life. Well no. Let's just say that I'll try wholeheartedly to take a little time out of my day to write things here and there. Things that I see that are funny, maybe deep thoughts, or just random silliness.

I've had multiple people ask when my next post will be. Or the why haven't you written on your blog in ages. That makes me feel good, that people actually take the time to type in the HdG web address and see if I've actually made any updates. People even ask about it when there's been a year between postings (or more in some cases). To you folks, thanks...It's nice to know there might actually be a few who DO care what this guy thinks..

In short, the reason I don't post often (even though I do think about it) is because I don't like being negative. I know a lot of people have their blogs so they can sit down, rant and rave about how mistreated they are and how the world hates them. That's not my M.O. I am, and always have been a glass half full kind of fellow. There for a while, the only time I'd sit down and type is when I had the feeling that I was being mistreated, and the world hated me.

That's not the vibe I want to give off to anyone who "checks in" on me via this blog thing...I won't always be sunshine and flowers, but hopefully I can bring a lot of smiles to the faces of anyone who checks in, or stumbles upon my creation...

Also realize I'm not perfect, I don't edit my posts, I don't go back and read what I've just typed. I just let it flow, sometimes forgetting to do the spell check, then click publish.

Sometimes I debate if I should even publish at all. A wise man once told me that I should sit down, type things out, and if I feel it has a negative vibe, just erase it. It's more fun to have it here where I can go back and read it after the fact though. That way, days, months or even years later I can look back and see how ridiculous I am/was!

What you're getting is unequivocally me. Hope it's enjoyable, and I hope it makes you think....