Dec 302010

Jeffrey Hunter (Martin Pawley), John Wayne (Ethan Edwards)

Last night I sat down with Krystalle and Jareth to watch the 1956 John Wayne movie The Searchers.

The reason we picked this particular movie is because it appears on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time. While we were waiting in line to get on the Great Movie Ride at Hollywood Studios last week we decided that there were a lot of “classic” films that we haven’t seen and that one of our goals in 2011 should be to rectify that situation. The Searchers was the first movie we picked off of the list, largely due to the fact that it is only going to be available through Netflix for a few more days.

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Dec 292010

What did you DO today?

I want to ask that question so often.

Of myself.

Of those around me.

I know what you “did”.

I read all about it on Facebook.

But I want to know what you DID.

What did you accomplish?

What positive things did you do?

What did you CREATE?

How did you leave a mark?

I fear that, in many cases, the answer is “not much.”

More often than not, in fact, the answer is “nothing.”

The sad thing is that we are at a point in history when creativity should be at a peak.

Instead we spend most of our time simply commenting on what others have created.

Or, even worse, expecting people to find us interesting just because we’re prolific in social media.

You talk all day long.

Do you actually SAY anything, or do you just expect us to bask in the awesomeness that is you?

These are the questions I ask myself.

These are the questions that I want to scream in all caps from the top of the Twitter-sphere.

There is so much potential out there today.

So many opportunities for us to create wonderful, beautiful things.

And we’re wasting them.

In 140 characters or less.

Dec 222010

One year I asked my Mom to get me a dog for Christmas.

I don’t remember how old I was at the time, but I must have been fairly young. Young enough that the memory of that particular Christmas is the only crisp one I have of that particular time in my life. You know how there are certain memories you have that are so bright and vivid that the minute you think of them you feel like you are there in the moment all over again?

Yeah, this is one of them.

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Dec 212010

2010 is drawing to an end, and in only a few days we’ll be hosting our last (and biggest) party of the year with our annual Nightmare Before Christmas party. As I sort through the various Christmas Cards (none of which will be reciprocated this year – sorry folks), I stumble across the occasional Holiday Letter. This is kind of a tradition on the Andres side of my family. I have quite a few of the ones that my Grandmother sent out, and every year my Mother and Uncles do their own versions that they include with their Christmas Cards. I even did a few myself, but with my immersion into the world of blogging it seemed like most of the people who I would send out that letter to would already know what was going on. When you consider the fact that I kind of suck at getting out cards to begin with, putting the additional pressure of writing a letter to include with them on myself seemed kinda pointless.

So it goes.

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Dec 202010

Yesterday I took the whole family to the Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, Florida. This was my second weekend in a row at the resort, as Krystalle and I had gone the previous week. My big gift for the whole family this year was the purchase of Florida Resident Annual Passes.

It’s already been worth it.

Due to the fact that I had to buy a new car over the weekend (something I’ll write about later today in a much more detailed “state of the Mike” post) money is likely going to be tight and future trips are going to have to be much more in the “bring it from home” category. Yesterday, however, I tried to be a bit on the relaxed side and we did all of our eating in the parks.

While there are many things I could talk about during the course of the day, one really stood out as being a shining example of how awesome my son is.

While we were walking towards the Pirates of the Caribbean ride he kind of pulled me aside and asked me how much money I had planned to spend today. It was kind of an odd question, and I told him so. “I’m sorry,” he replied. “It’s just that I know things are kind of tight and that you spent a lot of money on the tickets and I don’t want to stress you out by asking for things that you can’t afford.”

I damn near started crying right then and there. Not out of any sense of shame or sadness, but out of sheer appreciation for the fact that he was considerate enough of the household finances and their impact on my stress levels to take a moment and make sure that our family vacation wasn’t going to make matters worse. Maintaining a household is one of those things that you don’t often get recognized for – especially from the kids. This is not a dig on them at all. It is simply the way of the world. I had no appreciation for how hard my Mom worked to maintain the status quo around our place until I grew up and had to do it myself.

It’s nice though, every once in a while, to realize that they recognize what you put yourself through to make sure they have what they need and want.

Also? As much as it feels like hubris to me to say it I have to admit that when I see him do things like that I am filled with an enormous sense of pride over the job I’ve done with him as his Father. I look at things like that and I pat myself on the back for a job well done.

So, yeah…I’ve got that going for me. Which is nice.

Dec 092010

I wrote the following during a back-and-forth about sports on Facebook. I decided I kinda liked it so I’m posting it out here (slightly edited for clarity).

What, exactly, is “local” about a sports team these days?

Are they owned by local businesspeople?

Are they staffed by local players who really care about the community?

The only thing that makes a sports team “local” these days is location. Money goes back into the community, sure. I know that Raymond James Stadium allows local charities to run the concession booths and take part of the profits. That’s cool. Local businesses see a spike in sales on game days. Also awesome. But do you really think that ANY of the owners of the major league teams in the Tampa Bay area give a DAMN about this area beyond what they can do for the bottom line? Same goes for the players. Do they care about playing for US or do they care about making money and playing for a winning team. The Bucs have had a few examples (Mike Alstott being the most prominent), but they also had one guy who loved this area so much he offered to take a pay cut just so he could retire here and they STILL got rid of him (John Lynch). Shaun King was born and raised in this area, graduated from Gibbs High School, but he wasn’t good enough of a Quarterback so we got rid of him. Winning matters, because winning makes you more profitable. If an owner could make more money by having a crappy team you can damn well bet he will (and has…case in point? Hugh Culverhouse).

Sports is a business these days. You know what they see us as? Dollars. They don’t give a damn about the fans unless the fans are increasing the bottom line (Tampa Bay Rays – Seriously profitable even with crappy attendance numbers but they want to move anyway).

So – If all I am to a sports team is a dollar symbol, I’m going to make sure I get a decent Return on Investment. If the team does not entertain, does not do well, or does not do anything that inspires my loyalty? Hell with them. I’ll invest my capital elsewhere.

“King” LeBron James had an entire city literally begging him to stay because they loved him so much. He went to Miami anyway. Why? He wanted a ring. This is the new reality. If the players on the teams (you know, the people who we’re actually supposed to be out there rooting for) aren’t going to have any loyalty why the HELL should we?

You want my loyalty? Don’t suck.