“Dude, no fucking way.” - Me.
We just stood there. I couldn't believe it. I have been playing this game on and off for five years and have never come this close. Could I have done it? My first hole in one?
Moments earlier my friend, Ryan, and I had been lining up our shots on the 5th. It's a beautiful day out in Southern California, but when is it not? It's sunny, mid-70's, with a few white, billowing clouds spotting the blue mid-morning sky. A cool breeze washed across my face as I approached my attempt to par this hole. I have played this course before and for some reason the 5th always destroys me. I can never seem to line it up right. I took a deep breath and let it rip.
Ry was watching the ball as I slowly brought my head up. I had no idea where it went so I turned to him and asked, "Where did it go, dude?" I pivoted to look towards the green and saw the flag on the pin give a little shake as if something had struck it. I thought to myself there was no way I just nailed it. There wasn't a chance. I turned back to Ry, handed him my phone, and told him to head down in front of me, I didn't want to see it yet. He looked back with astonishing awe, "Dude, you did it." He ran towards the green and I just stood there, 100 yards away reflecting on the shot.
I had pared the last three holes and was proud of that, there was no way I could have just sunk this in one shot. It just doesn't make sense, I am not good at golf. But, maybe it's just my lucky day. I trekked down towards my shot and Ry was jumping up and down screaming, "Dude, you nailed it! It popped in and out, I know it!" My ball, from a shot taken 100 yards away, had been lying on the lip of the hole. I stiff breeze or tremor could have toppled it in. I couldn't believe it. I finally did it, the eagle quest was over. I couldn't, and still can't, believe it.
Ryan tried to convince me that it was a hole in one, but we all know it wasn't. At most, my ball might have popped in and out of the hole, potentially, for just a moment, it was a hole in one. I will take the eagle. We must have stayed there for ten minutes celebrating and holding up everyone behind us trying to tee off. I didn't care. We took photos, videos, and I am pretty sure I text everyone I have ever played golf with to show them this accomplishment.
The most humbling thing about this experience was the very next hole I sliced it back into the tree line. There we go, that's the game I am used to. Maybe it was a bit of luck from the golf gods to let me have a moment in the sun, but they promptly put me back in my place on the 6th.
Damn you, golf gods. Why must you play with my emotions like this?
Welcome to the weekend! This week’s 6-Pack includes a bunch of bands I have never heard of, but that is the thrill of the hunt. New Found Glory are at it again with their pop-punk covers of chart-busting super hits. We also have Kayak Jones, Better Off, Hold Close, and more!
“Well, I got nothing. Might as well just write whatever is on your mind.” - Me.
There are some days when I sit down at my Mac and start to write, but nothing comes out. I try to look back through my iPhone Camera Roll to see if there is anything interesting that I took a photo of during the week, or stand outside drinking coffee reflecting on my life and nothing really comes to mind. From there, I usually go into a quick realization of how boring my life is and how no one cares to read what I have to say. However, I did not start writing to become a writer, or famous, or any of the other glory that comes with writing if you choose to take it that route. I just committed to writing, being creative, challenging my writing styles/formatting, and attempting to be bold enough to put something out. So, with that is mind, here are some Sunday thoughts.
Nothing really matters. I sometimes have to remember that unless an experience is going to change my life and make an impact years down the road, it doesn't matter. And even then, most of us will adapt and change to whatever that impact was. I do not want to come off careless or a care-free hippie, but nothing really matters, especially the day-to-day stuff. All the details at work, what were wearing, who's commenting and liking our posts, what we have for lunch, and all the other shit, doesn't matter. I feel like if we all stopped worrying about every little detail, comment, or what everyone else thinks, we would all be in a more stress-free and happy existence. When you find yourself getting upset at something, think about all the incredible aspects of your life and how awesome you are. I think you'll find out that whatever it was getting you wound up, doesn't matter.
Happiness - The Process:
I think it might be easy to say, "if it makes you happy then do it." What if making you happy is doing something crazy like going on a killing spree, robbing a bank, or putting others in danger. I don't want to be around that "happy" person. But, the theme of happiness has been on my mind. We live a world where people are trying to escape any emotion, there is essentially a drug for everything. I feel like unless we are willing to accept all of them emotions, even the ones that hurt, we can't really enjoy happiness. Earlier this week my friend said he took a Xanax, a drug designed to help with anxiety/depression/panic, to help curb some of the stresses going on in his life. He does not normally take the drug, but wanted to see if it would help. He said he felt no emotions while on Xanax, and quickly followed that statement up with, "I can see why people get addicted to it, you just don't feel anything. You just exist." Holy shit. We live in a time where being completely out of it is the way to be, just existing. What if the entire planet decided to take a Xanax. Would anything get done? Would anyone create anything? What if some of the greatest creators, leaders, and innovators our world has ever known all took a Xanax when they got stressed, upset, or felt panic?
There is absolutely a need for the medication for those who need them. Depression and anxiety are real. I am not discrediting that or that these medications help those who need them. Happiness and how you get to happiness has just been on my mind. I am a lucky guy and I try to keep my outlook positive, even when I experience some depression or anxiety. I think it is important for all of us to experience not just happiness, but other emotions that we go through.
I like these topics - I might continue to think about it and share more later.
Feel free to share your thoughts below.
This is my brain-dump for the week, let me know if it made any sense at all.
“Holy shit. We are the only ones here. This is awesome!” - Me.
Nothing is worst that pushing yourself through a crowd to overpay for a cheap, watered-down drink at a bar filled with dickheads. First world problem I know, but living in a city with a population of over four million people it is bound to happen. Jamie and I rarely go out because it just isn’t worth it. Trying to find parking is a task all on its own and then paying surcharges for it adds salt to the wound. We needed a local place to go. A “Cheers” type place where you can go, actually relax, and everyone knows your name. So we went on the hunt for it.
Deep down in the trenches of Yelp we found a spot that looked like a mistake. There was barely any reviews, only a few dingy photos, but it was within walking distance so we decided we’d roll the dice. We walked in and it was everything you hope for in a dive. Old leather burgundy bar stools, pool tables that have seen a million 8-balls end games, dimly lit by faded Budweiser pool lights from the 70’s. Wood paneling on the walls and an even darker wooded bar that was lacquered to a fine shimmer. There was a jukebox playing oldies in the corner. The menu hadn’t been touched in decades. The carpet was stained from years of party fouls and puke; no one knows its original color. A true diamond in the rough.
We took our seats and ordered cheap bottled beers from the owner, who also happened to be the only employee. This was a blue-collar bar and we immediately felt a sense of belonging. We were the only ones there and we wouldn't have it any other way. Everyone else our age is out trying to find the next hip bar, over pay for their experience and put it on socials that they were there on opening weekend, but we are fine right here. We have music we love playing and each other. In a city packed to the gills with people, it is great to go out and actually relax from time to time. We danced the night away to Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Roger Miller, Dolly and more. No one came in the whole night, we just sat, enjoyed our conversation and company. It is nice getting out every once in a while.
If you need me in the foreseeable future, I’ll be at the dive.
"Be right back. I have to throw up." - Jamie.
It is the new year, and with that comes all the resolutions that we all make to ourselves. Jamie and I are working on getting ourselves back into the shapes we were when we first met. I join a rock climbing gym and she wanted to explore the possibilities of fitness classes. We are both extremely intimidated by fitness. We have no idea where to begin. She found a beginners class within walking distance of our place in Santa Monica and debated signing us up. After a few days of back and forth debate, she signed us up.
We walked into our 10am class on a Saturday and the gym immediately fulfilled every stereotype I have about gyms, especially fitness classes. There was loud rock music from the 80's and 90's blasting, a sweet smell of over 30-year-old body odor, and a militaristic fitness coach barking orders with a European accent. "Oh yeah, great form, excellent form everyone, three more reps! Sweet it out, honey!" Vlad shouted to a class making their way through a circuit.
Jamie and I signed in, along with our other Groupon inspired fitness newbies, and our class went to orientation. We were instructed to keep a positive attitude, be early, and set measurable goals. Vlad and his assistant weighed us all in and took our measurements. There was only one scale and they asked each of us our ages and goals when we stepped up. I did not know there was going to be homework or that I would be sharing my personal information with complete strangers staring at me as I stood on a scale. Others in our class were mortified when they had to step up, state their age, and goals. I could care less. I found it funny. What made it even more entertaining was when they yelled your weight to another assistant who recorded all the information. "Yeah, this one is 38 and weight 226 pounds! We got a lot of work to do!" One assistant would yell to another. I am here to support my wife so I just made up some bullshit goal of building mass or having the worlds strongest neck muscles. They recorded my weight and then simply instructed, "You should go eat something." I am underweight for my height, bummer.
Once we were all done being humiliated in front of our new class, we got instruction on what this intro class would look like and hit it. We needed to be barefoot, bring a towel, and drink a ton of water. Since neither Jamie or I knew what towels to bring, we figured we would be safe and bring a few beach towels. Everyone else had small hand towels. Whatever. All joking aside, I was sore after. Jamie almost threw up, which is just the icing on the cake for newly inspired fitness seekers. Nothing motivates you more than almost throwing up in front of everyone in your new fitness class. We worked through some strategic and sexual stretches before and after the class that made this already awkward experience, even more awkward. "Make sure your pelvis is fully thrusted forward, good form Gina." Vlad called out. Evidently my pelvis thrust form was not as great, I'll work on it.
The class ended and we walked home and discussed the future of our fitness. Jamie will be back and appreciated me attempting it with her. I will stick to rock climbing, it is more my speed and there is way less pelvis thrusting.
I set numerous goals for myself this past year and have accomplished most of them. I got married, graduated from college, got back into running routinely, worked on restoring our beloved VW Vanagon, did a cross-country road trip, I played music regularly, and continued challenge myself creatively. I am a very lucky individual and do not take what I have for granted. I have appreciated 2018, even when things looked grim, and boy, did some grim things happen this year.
One of the last projects I wanted to accomplish before closing out the year was releasing a short (very short) film. Attached here is a footage from a day off I had with our dogs, Piper and Penelope, when we lived in Nashville. When I finish errands early, exercise, and run out of laundry to do,I find myself getting antsy. Jamie hates it, but I am not really a ‘sit on the couch and relax’ kind of guy. So I decided to take my trusty iPhone, a tripod, and my actors (Piper and Penelope) and come up with something creative for us to do. This short is the end result.
The whole video is less than 2 minutes to watch, but took me way longer to find the footage and edit all the goofy sounds in.
Things can always get worse, count your blessings (or whatever you believe in), and let’s leave this place better than we found it in 2019 (and forever)...and always remember to have fun!
Thank you for taking time for us today.
Please feel free to leave feedback, thoughts, and comments! -
“We are converting the back of the van into a bedroom, how hard can it be?” - Me.
We recently got the idea to reupholster and redesign the back of our van to turn it into a cozy little bedroom. The back bench already folds down flat into what could be a full bed. If we could figure out a way to make the rest of the area comfy we can have a mobile bedroom on wheels.
The anatomy and design of the Volkswagen Vanagon are pretty interesting. The engine is in the back, the battery is under the passenger side captain chair, the spare tire is under the back seat and you check the oil dipstick behind the license plate. It’s been fun to figure out how to configure a routine maintenance plan. It is very different from popping the hood on most American cars and having everything in one spot.
After some quick internet searching, planning, and shopping around for the right comfy cushion for us, we found a peice of memory foam that fit our budget. Most upholstery manufactures and local shops charge triple the amount of what a piece of memory foam cost, it is a weird niche market. After we did some research we felt pretty sure we could do this ourselves. We landed on making our own mattress for our van. Armed with our simple memory foam mat, we made some measurement plans, and were on our way.
To reinforce our DIY van bedding, we purchased a piece of plywood from our local hardware store. I traced the floor plan on some taped together paper shopping bags (unusual, but worked. Use what you got!). This floor plan template was easy and helped me align both the foam and plywood so they would match perfectly. Work smarter, not harder.
Once we had everything cut to size it was just a matter of making it all look pretty.
Pretty easy project to make any Vanagon or adventure mobile even more comfortable!
Happy Friday! This weeks playlist is a story. It starts off poppy with some new tracks from With Confidence & Crooked Teeth, slows down with The Story So Far & Youth Fountain, and ends with some metal singles from Counterparts & Quiet Fear.
It’s been an odd week but these songs capture it pretty well!
“Well, that’s done. I graduated from college. What’s for dinner?” - Me.
It took me a while, but I finally did it. I graduated from college. It was awful. I have no idea how I did it. I have no idea where I found the time, or how I found the energy, but it is done. I feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment knowing I finished something I started over a decade ago. If I would have stayed in school all those years I would be a doctor by now, but whatever.
I am a walking billboard for adult learners. I am that commercial of a person sitting up in bed while everyone else sleeps typing away on an essay, finishing homework on the bus ride into work, or taking my lunch break to complete a math problem while trying not to get sandwich crumbs on my MacBook Pro. I did all these things, and although I thought it was terrible at the time, I look back and am proud of the determination I had to get this damn diploma. I have no idea if it will impact or improve my quality of life, but this was a personal goal to get my degree, so I got it.
Over the last two years, while I was in school, I also worked my but off at work and was offered a promotion. During this time I had been dancing the line of work-life balance for 20+ direct reports. Not an easy task when you have a final due every few weeks. We bought a home in Nashville, TN. We moved across the country twice, and we got engaged. And somehow during all of that, I still found time to accomplish my academics. If I can do this, anyone can. I know, I may sound like I am patting myself on the back, but I don’t care, this is my story. I know a million other people have done this, and good for them. Going back to school was rough, but at the same time, it was rewarding. I am proud, let me have my moment.
On a recent call with my soon to be mother-in-law, I vented to her about how I just wanted to drop out. She listened to my complaints and then told me, “You are in your last class, it’s almost over, and when it’s done you’ll be glad you started this two years ago instead of today.” These words stood out to me because every accomplishment starts today. While I was in school, I did not tell anyone; this was a personal quest to prove to myself I could do it. In two years, whatever you start today could be accomplished. Are you going to get started right now? Or, are you going to wait another two years and say to yourself “Next year I will get to that” or “This Saturday I’ll start.” We all know we are full of shit when we say that, so get started on whatever goal you have now, you’ll be glad you did.
What will you get started today?
"I think I am going to throw up." - Me.
(After multiple rides on Incredicoaster, Space Mountain, and Guardians of the Galaxy)
Jamie and I are Disney junkies so it would only make sense that we planned our mini-staycation this weekend around the grand opening of Disneyland's newly renovated slice of California Adventure, Pixar Pier. Admittedly, a lot has stayed the same, it is more of a facelift than anything else but that does not take away from the incredible (pun intended) upgrades that this side of the park has gone through. The biggest change is the reimagined roller coaster that fits snuggly against the parks outer rim, Incredicoaster.
Incredicoaster is a redesigned ride that follows the Incredible family on an adventure as they try to keep up with their incredibly powered baby boy, Jack-Jack. Pixar Pier boasts new food stands, shops, and one of my personal favorites - an outside bar on the water, Lamplight Lounge. The Lamplight Lounge has been one of our favorites since we have been pass holders when it was called Cove Bar. The views of the California Adventure are phenomenal, the drinks are delicious, and the people watching is to die for.
Disney seems to be doing a lot of renovations to California Adventure. Recently the park closed down the beloved Tower of Terror to replace it with an updated ride inspired by Guardians of the Galaxy. It makes me wonder how soon they will rip out Bugs Land and replace it with something more relevant!
“It’s like driving a fishbowl.” - Us.
We did it. We got our van back. Who knew we were van people?
We use to live in Southern California and left for a few years to move to Nashville. During our time on the Gold Coast we bought an old Volkswagen Vanagon and loved taking it on adventures. Due to the logistics of moving, we sold the van (Big Red) before moving to Nashville. During our time in Music City, we wished we hadn’t sold Big Red and yearned for the days of drifting through beach lined roads in the sun. We loved taking cruises us the Pacific Coast Highway or taking Big Red to a hike. It was something we had wished we could get back to.
As luck would have it, Jamie got a job offer back in Los Angeles, so we moved back. Since our returned to Santa Monica, we have been scouring Craiglist, GoWesty, and FaceBook Marketplace for a new (old) van. And by god, we found it. After months of hunting, haggling, being lead on, or meeting internet creeps; we finally found someone who cared as much as we did about Vanagons and wanted to sell us one that was worthwhile. Welcome, Big Red 2!
Finding Big Red 2 means we will get to fulfill our honeymoon dream of driving around the country again, seeing crazy new city’s, trying new food, meeting interesting new people, and seeing wherever the road takes us. If or when we ever decide to move again we will be taking her with us on our mobile home. We plan on teaching our kids how to drive in this thing. Which, is a wild idea.
See you on the road!
"So, did you have a good birthday?." - Me.
Recently my future in-laws were in town. Jamie and I love having familiar faces in town and love it, even more, when we get to play "host" at Disneyland. We have been on-and-off pass holders at the happiest place on Earth for the last few years. Whenever our families come to stay with us, we put them through the gauntlet of ducking and diving through crowds to get to Space Mountain on time or get the best spot for whatever the seasonal parades are.
This time around we had the additional excitement of celebrating Jamie's mother's birthday as well. Obviously, we got her the ceremonial birthday button, surprise desserts with meals and birthday wishes from cast members throughout the park all day to help bring in her new year. Disney just knows how to help you celebrate. We spent the day hearing, "Happy Birthday, April" being shouted with excitement from every direction all day. This constant excitement powers a typical day and is exemplified when it's your birthday.
But, it is not only the atmosphere that helps make any moment, dare I say, magical, but it is also the people you choose to spend time with. I consider myself a fortunate man. I am continually surrounded by people that make me more intelligent, more positive and challenge me to be a better person. I have so many incredible people in my life and appreciate it every day. Life should be incredible; it's too short not to be.
I made a very silly, and very amateur, project attached above - all shot and edited on my iPhone X while in the park. Technology is incredible. Check it out and critique!
Nothing but the best to you and your family!