Monday, February 28, 2011

Had a "Dumb" Coffee-filled Weekend with My Oldest

Last weekend I had the chance to spend some time with my oldest daughter. When I got off work I picked her up and took her out to dinner and a movie. We grabbed some good grub from Qdoba and then went and saw I Am Number 4. She was a little hesitant at first to see it based off her blasé reaction to the trailer. But I told her this movie would be right up her alley--supernatural teens and a love story. Again, dad knew what he was talking about--she liked it. ;-)

We then walked over to Cold Stone and enjoyed some ice cream. Who cared if the weather was less than 30 degrees outside?

We didn't end the evening there. What happened next is one of those moments that I had so longed to share with my kids when they got to a certain age: we watched Dumb and Dumber. I could tell by her laughter that she loved it. Stupid senseless humor and most importantly we shared the moment.

Then I introduced her to something she'll probably experience in a couple of years with her friends: 4th meal. We made an 11:30 pm run to Sonic for some midnight yummies. It was a great night.

The following day we woke up at 11 am and decided to spend the day in Seattle around the Greenlake area. Over the past summer I took numerous trips up there just to enjoy the day and we even took the family up there 2 days in a row during a hot summer weekend for some awesome swimming. Needless to say we added more memories.

She chose to get pizza for lunch so we ate at Zeeks Pizza. That is some pretty good pizza! After we plowed through a medium meatlovers I had a coupon for a free drink from Peet's Coffee so we walked over to the other side of the lake. When we got to Peet's, the lady at the register told me to hold on to my coupon and use it again another day! Free drink, woohoo! It was a bright and sunny day with quite the side wind. It was so cold out that I ordered an extra hot mocha--by the time we crossed the street and got back onto the walk path it was just a warm mocha!

Feeling a little guilty for some of my sins in the past month, I decided to head over to St. James Cathedral for a some confession. I used this new iPhone app called Confession. I love this app even though I had AT LEAST 20 things I wanted to talk to the priest about! Guess I should be a good boy or go to confession more often! LOL!!!

Afterwards we went up to Capital Hill and we grabbed some more coffee at the Peet's on Broadway--Free drink, Part I thought. I did get my free drink, but this barista took my free coupon. Oh well, can't complain; free coffee all-day!

Once we had coffee and tea in hand we walked over to Twice Told Tales. I had been here before and knew my daughter would love this place. I finally had the chance to show her the bookstore. Talk about a kid in a candy store--she loved the place! Books everywhere and at least 4 cats roaming around looking for attention. We both grabbed a couple of books and even got an early birthday book for my wife.

I then had the crazy idea of heading over to Bellevue Square just for more fun together. We spent time in the new Microsoft Store and just roamed around the mall people watching (should be an Olympic sport!). We grabbed some dinner from Chipotle and then worked our way back home through DT Seattle.

This has to be by far the most fun I have had with Jessi. She always brightens up my day and I'm so thankful that God has blessed me with this beautiful child. I look forward to many more fun adventures together. :'-)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Happy Day for a Sad Uncle

I found out today that my sister who I haven’t had contact with in over 7 years has just given birth to a baby boy. Even though I am very happy for her with this being her first child, I find myself filled with sadness that I’m not part of her life.

I could go into detail about why we haven’t had communication, but it’s not important. Today is her day, her baby boy is healthy and the world is a better place because of it. May God bless her child and bring them both health and happiness in the days, weeks, months and years to come.

Congratulations Dani and Brandon!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Facebook Oversimplifies Life

To avoid depression and despair, stop stalking your acquaintances. Instead use a phone call to connect with friends.

Justin Rastelli

*Poke* New notification! Your friend just posted a status, “OMG Mr. Mittens just sneezed!” Meanwhile, another moment of your life slips away. Facebook has successfully reduced our entire existence into a few short, semi-witty sentences. These mind-numbing status updates, coupled with a recent study suggesting Facebook may actually cause unhappiness in people, suggests now is the time to cut back on our usage.

A recent study from Stanford University found that being an active member of Facebook results in lower levels of happiness for the user. The study determined members of the site overestimated how happy their friends actually were, causing them to believe their lives paled in comparison. Thus, individuals experienced more feelings of loneliness and depression. Perhaps this is why there are so many heads hung low while walking across the mall.

The site designed to bring people together and create a community is in fact driving people apart. It removed the socialization from socializing. No longer do you require interaction with a friend to learn about their lives. Instead, you simply read the highlight reel that is a Facebook wall.

Facebook, in less than a decade, has also successfully replaced the term “acquaintance” with “friend.” I hate that I have to be the one to tell you this, but you do not actually have 500-plus friends. More accurately, your “friends” are a group of people you do not talk with but instead watch. One of these “friends” is probably looking at your photos right now. In all likelihood, they are judging you and those extra pounds you gained since high school — comparing their life to yours in the hopes of feeling better if only for that split second.

The amount of time spent creating a single status about that silly thing Mr. Mittens just did may seem negligible. Over time though each status update, page browsing and photo creeping adds up. Each refresh is another moment of delayed and wasted potential.

I challenge everyone to go an entire week without poking, notifying, tagging or even logging into Facebook. A whopping seven whole days spent calling up and making plans with friends instead of watching them. Go on an adventure, create something or learn a new talent. Use this week to call up that certain someone you have been watching for a while now.

If going without your profile is too much, you can always stand on a corner with pictures of yourself and a page-long biography, all while shouting every inane thought that pops into your head.

To be fair, there are few tools more effective at organizing events and people than Facebook, and the birthday notification system is a great way to know your friends have not passed away yet.

Conveniently enough, these tools already exist. It is probably sitting in your pocket in silent mode lest that incoming text disturb those around you. Here is a crazy idea, when you want to hang out with friends, try calling them. Of course, you could always just send them a text message if you have forgotten how to talk on the phone.

The greatest social networking site ever to be created has started to cause more harm than good. It is no longer a means to connect with friends. It has become an excuse to sequester us away so we can avoid reality. In the end, it is actually causing us to feel more disconnected from our friends and family. It is time to log off Facebook and go experience life in its true form. I can almost guarantee you will be happier for it.

Justin is offline.

Who the Frick Ripped Holes in My Parachute?!

It's been over two months now since I started my new career in IT. I find myself learning something new everyday and that's what motivates me to get up every morning. I can tell you it's not because of the entry-entry-level pay, it's because I love computers. This is definitely the field I want to be in. This is the career I've been looking for.

However, making this transition from my old career in sales where I made $$$ but hated everyday of work to a beginning position in IT has been a financial earthquake for us. I am much happier, but now I'm making the same amount of scratch that I made 11 years ago! Thank God my wife has a part-time/small business that helps fill in some of the cracks. I know I am not alone. I had a chance to talk to two of my good friends on the phone, the other through email. Seems almost everyone is still smarting from an economy that has tanked and is SLOWLY working it's way back to health.

Of course I'm not an oil baron or professional athlete or movie star so I'm still working through this economy just like everyone else. But mark my words, if I win the mother-effing lottery tomorrow....I promise you I will never work another day in my life! Until then, I'll focus on living a fuller life with less Benjamins in my pocket.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Facebook - This is How You Should View My Life

It's been 7 days since I last posted a status update on facebook. I have to admit I have sneaked a peak on there at least once a day. I've even posted a link to two of my blog postings on there. I am amazed (and I don't know why) that I only received one "thumbs up" for my post about my daughters. One.

For the life of me I don't know why this effected me so much. You see, for the last two years I've been on facebook daily. Multiple times. I've been the funny guy, and the serious guy. I've been the cheerleader and the bitcher. I've been the religious man and the wild man. But most of all I felt like I was part of the group.

This past week opened my eyes to what facebook really is...a forum for how we wish others view our lives.

Again, I am not bashing facebook. I think it's pretty obvious it has changed our lives, some for the good and others for the not-so-good. My point is this: in order to coexist with facebook and others in your "network", don't take yourself so seriously.

You are not as important as you think you are. Yet, you are very important to quite a few people. Some people get an extra hop in their step when you brighten their day with a funny or encouraging post. Did you post something because of your ego? Or did you post something to make someone's day? Only you can answer that.

But remember just like Spider-Man, "with great power comes great responsibility".

You also need to realize that not everyone cares if you "can't wait to get your drink on" or you "just ate the world's greatest piece of cake" or your kid "just crapped their pants for the first time". And that's OK too. Just don't become so wrapped up in your life to think it's more important than everyone else's.

The last time I took a break from facebook it was out of anger. This time it was out of the depths of my sanity. I will come away from this exercise a little more centered about what really matters to me in my life and what is just entertainment.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A father's love blooms into a priceless tradition

What started off as a fun little thing to do with my daughter on a cold February day has turned into one of the greatest traditions our family has. Tonight I attended my 9th Daddy / Daughter Dance and couldn't believe how far we've come as a family since that very first event all the way back in 2003.










When all is said and done in my life I'll know the greatest thing I've ever accomplished is giving my children a father who loves them and to make my future son-in-law's earn the right to be with my girls. You better believe I've set a high standard for those men. :-)

The Steelers are still from Crapsburgh

I hate the Steelers.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, I really hope Aaron Rogers explodes all over that Steeler defense on Sunday in Superbowl XLV. There's really two parts to this hatred. The first is quite obvious for those of us who live in the Pacific Northwest: Superbowl XL, or as I like to call it the "Raping of the Seahawks in Detroit". Speaking of rape, looks like our boy Ben is partying it up just before the big game.....

But enough about sour grapes served by the ass clown refs on that horrible February day back in 2006. Let's talk about the other reason I hate the Steelers...their legacy and more importantly their fans. Is there a more irritating group of people? Maybe Yankees fans but really both groups should be dropped off in the middle of Cairo with signs that say they support the soon to be removed president.

Yeah, the Steelers are an incredible franchise with a winning history. But listen to me: I DON'T CARE! I will forever be bitter about the first reason. I couldn't care less if Rapistberger wins 5 more Superbowls, I will always hate the STEALERS.

But hey, at least I don't have to live in Crapsburgh next to this douche waffle.....

Friday, February 4, 2011

7 Years of Facebook: A Retrospective

7 Years of Facebook: A Retrospective

I find it a little humorous that I make a big stink about cutting back on facebook yesterday and I post a link to a retrospective on facebook over the last 7 years.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Goodnight Mr. Zuckerberg

So I've made a a new discovery today....I am too addicted to facebook.

"Did anyone reply to my post?"

"Who just ate a ham sandwich?"

"When is that event I'm not attending?"

Enough is enough. For this blogger facebook has become a time waster, but more importantly it's become a life waster. Sure, it's great to catch up with old friends and stay in touch with family. However, do I really need to take my social life online? Hell, I don't have a social life right now!

This is by no means a knock on people who use facebook--it can be a great social media tool. But I believe it's time for me to cut back my involvement on facebook SIGNIFICANTLY. Don't get me a weird sick and twisted way I love to entertain the masses with new things I find or funny pictures and I will continue to do so. Just not as much on facebook.

Time to get off the internet and go spend some time with my family. ;-)