Thursday, April 30, 2009

First 5 Friday-My Bucket List

A while back, I watched a pretty damn good movie with Morgan Freeman (does he make bad movies?) and Jack Nicholson called 'The Bucket List.' Most of you are probably familiar with the movie, but for the rest of you, it's basically a list that you want to accomplish before you 'kick the bucket'. We all have our own list I'm sure, but I think I'll share the First Five that I have yet to accomplish.

5. Conquer my fear of singing in public. I would love to get on the main stage of Billy Bob's and sing some great musical composition. Of course, I would start a whole 'nother fear. Everyone else's fear of my singing.

4. Visit Washington DC. As a bit of a history buff, there is no place in this country that has more history and tradition, than the halls of DC. From the phallic object signifying the father of our country to the Great Emancipator sitting like the guy from that old commercial. (You know the guy has his butler play the song, "Ride of the Valkryies" on the phonograph and all of his crap starts sliding from the sound. Tried to find it on you tube, but couldn't.)

3. Stand on the sidelines of a Cowboys football game. Don't get me wrong, I have no interest in going to a game unless I'm in a box or on the field. Hangin' in out with the unwashed masses would not be my idea of a last hurrah.. Plus, if I'm going to fight that traffic, it better be worth it. By the way, if I do get inoperative cancer, the Cowboys better not suck.

2. Visit Hawaii. Not sure what I'll do on the fifty hour flight up there and back. But, I have always wanted to see the Island State and all the beauty it possesses. Play a round on a golf course that has literally fifty different colors of green on it...unlike some of the ones down here in Texas with the three different colors of yellow and brown.

1. Play in the World Series of Poker Main Event. Imagine the rush. Playing against some of the best players in the world and some of the worse players in the world. The first day alone would be cool with lots of 'players' dressing up in costume. It is like Mardi Gras.

I hope this gave you a lot to consider as, unless you are hindu or have some belief in reincarnation, we only get one go around on this ride. So, you might as well see the sights, such as the are.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Writer's Workshop-What Am I Gonna Do?

It is time again to participate in the greatness that is 'Writer's Workshop.' Join Mama Katt and the rest of us as we take on one or more of the following prompts.

1.) Who really helped you get over something? Write about that person.


My wife. She says pretty much the right thing to get me back into a more positive state of mind, but I think this is one that I'll save for another post another day.

2.) Is plastic surgery an option? Without being vulgar, write about the body part still attached to you that you would most like to dis-attach and replace with a better one.


Hmm, but I was told size wasn't everything.

3.) Share an interesting email exchange you've had with someone lately.

4.) Have you thought about shutting down your blog? Why haven't you and what would cause you to make that decision final?

I've actually thought about going on hiatus until this summer mainly because of my lack of time during the tennis season. I admit I'm not the most ardent reader during this time mainly because I work twelve to fourteen hour days during the week. Add this with my 'other' hobby, playing virtual cards, I have little to no time to write and read. But, I do love the challenge this day brings out. I do thank all of you that wander by and waste time on my blog.

5.) Today I will..

Hmm, I think we have a winner.

Today, I had so much planned. This is the actual week that is the most intense week of my job. Friday, we get to see if all of the hard work I put in trying to get the kids in my class to learn history paid off or not. Saturday, I am responsible for running a district tennis tournament with sixteen teams all descending on our town for a long day. All week this week was going to be spent planning for this blessed event.

Until swine flu shut us down.

So, what am I to do with this unplanned vacation? Well, it looks like I am going to get to spend a LOT of family time hangin' with the girls. But, let's look at the list of other things I could do today.

*Mow/Clean up the yard
*Help clean house
*Catch up on the month and a half of lesson plans that I have not done yet.
*Lay around
*Throw stuff at the cat.
*Play poker on line
*Go to a casino
*Watch an obscene amount of TV (Note I did NOT say watch obscene TV)

Well, seems like a long list, there is no way I can do all of that today. Let's see if I can shorten it up a little bit and take out the stuff I know I will not do. Hmm, Mow/Clean up the yard. No can do. Mother Nature's rain has taken that choice away. So, we can scratch that off the list. Okay, next on the list, Help Clean up the house. Okay, first I have to ask a question, is anyone coming over? If the answer is no, then so is my opinion of cleaning the house. Cool, two off the list.

This is easier than I thought.

Catch up on the month and a half of lesson plans I haven't done. Puh-lease. If they tell me I must go home, then why oh why would I do school work? That seems downright Un-American. If I have a day off I must do things that would be in line with this. Okay, so in a nutshell, there will be no work done by me in the house (other than being a walking jungle gym). So, let's look at the rest of the list.

*Lay around
*Throw stuff at the cat.
*Play poker on line
*Go to a casino
*Watch an obscene amount of TV (Note I did NOT say watch obscene TV)

Well, we can throw out Go to a casino. I am broke as a joke, so I can't contribute to those poor Indians in Oklahoma or the crazy Cajuns in Louisiana. Hmm, seems like Lay around and play poker on line can be accomplished at the same time. You know, I bet I can probably watch an obscene amount of TV at the same time. Who says I can't multi task?

I think this is doable...oops I forgot to throw something at the cat...hang on. Check. Mission Accomplished!

I hope your day is just as filled as mine looks to be.

Friday, April 24, 2009

FIRST 5 FRIDAY-Dark Moments in Time

I was in class the other day as we were preparing for the almighty state mandated history test and an interesting conversation took place as we talked about the 2nd Amendment (Right to bear arms).

Unknown student trying to get me off task: "Coach, so, if we didn't have guns, would that thing at Columbine happened?"

Me: "I think that some people are prone to violence, and so yeah, it probably still would've happened. Harris and Klebold would've gotten the guns somehow no matter if they were legal or not."

Same Student: "Coach, is that like the worst thing that ever happened in our country?"

Me: "Um, no."

SS: "What is the worst thing?"

Me: "Moving on, the 3rd Amendment...."

But, this student unwittingly gave me this week's First 5 list...even if it's really one that I'm not enjoying overly much.


5. Columbine School Shooting, April 20, 1999. This moment in time changed the culture of the schools from a place of safety to just another part of society. When those kids starting shooting at their classmates, an era of fear began in the schools. Even now when I read accounts some ten years later I think, "Man, what a waste." Now, there are little kids with an inferiority complex and a need to 'be somebody' who choose to copy cat Harris and Klebold. It's simply disgusting.

4. Pearl Harbor, December 7th, 1941. "A date which will live in infamy." It was cowardly, it was pure murder...not an act of war. However, it was also a moment where the evil of the Japanese Empire's actions still didn't overshadow our own naivety. We should've been more aware, but we chose blissful existence to proactive vigilance. The one bright spot is this got us full board into perhaps the most necessary war in the last 150 years.

3. The Trail of Tears, beginning 1831. This is racism at it's finest. An area inhabited by Indians is wanted by the white man, so President Andrew Jackson bends down to the will of his constituency and his own prejudices and moves them forcefully. Some tribes fight with conventional weapons...the Cherokee fight the White Man's way...the sue and win. Jackson then ignores the ruling and thousands of Cherokee Indians are forced from their homes (yep..not tee pees) and are moved from the eastern states to an Indian area west of the Mississippi River. To break it down, we stole land, we broke our own rules of law, and then we made a people travel in horrid conditions a thousand miles and more. Sick.

2. The Institution of Slavery, From 1610?-1865. Since the first slave was brought to Jamestown in the early 1600's slavery was the perfect example of man's inhumanity to man. Africans were worked mercilessly, whipped, and sold from their families. The slave owners used cruelty, fear, and even the Bible to keep their charges in submission. "Doesn't it say obey your Master?" It took the deadliest war in American history to end this plague...and feelings still haven't died totally even 150 years later.

1. 9/11, September 11, 2001. Maybe the defining moment of this generation were an enemy chose to attack in a shocking and cowardly way. (Maybe it's just me, but any time you choose to kill women and children it's cowardly) The best part and worst part of America was on display as the nation's shock was evident. I'm not going to say all of the things that occurred during this time, but I will mention the Aggie and OSU game that year three weeks or so showcased a red white and blue stadium in memory of the event.

These five times show us at our worst...but, sometimes, it's when you hit bottom when the heroes come out. Hope the list this time makes you think a little bit about where we've come and maybe where we are going.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Writer's Workshop

I love the carnival known as Writer's Workshop that is hosted by Mama Katt. No matter how busy my life is, I just have to participate. Thanks, Mama Katt....this gives my life meaning.

Anyway, the prompts are as follows:

1.) Book review!

2.) When is it okay not to listen to the words? Explain about a song you really love that has lame lyrcis or lyrics you simply don't understand.


3.) Why won't you forget? List six true sentences that begin with the words 'I'll never forget...' Then use all six of your sentences in a paragraph, poem, or longer descriptive piece.

4.) Write about an interaction you had with a salesman.

5.) What's for dinner? I'm starving.

I'm going with number three, I'm too lazy to rewrite my sentences for you, but I'll put the I will never forget sentences in bold.

I Will Never Forget

Many incidents and accidents of my life melting away,
the memories fade or just simply won't stay.
But, in my mind six great moments brightly shine ;
some tragic, some magic, but in their way are all mine.

I will never forget a moment in the sun, The fresh mowed grass...and the Rangers even won.
The sound of the bat, the scream of the crowd,
when darkness set in, the din was very loud.

I will never forget the first time behind the wheel, the smell of that ol' pickup was just part of the deal.
Three quarters of a ton and orange even to boot,
I loved that truck despite the times I was afoot.

I will never forget an instance that last New Year's Eve as 1999 died, it's still so hard to believe.
Two close friends would hit milestones that the summer would pave.
One would be married, the other would be in the grave.

I will never forget a cold crisp night. In the middle of the hill country, oh what a sight.
With sparkling lights as far as you could see,
A first kiss began a whole new life for me.

I'll never forget a small country church, my heart jumping, my nerves in a lurch.
A beautiful bride all dressed in white,
who would be mine the rest of my life.

I will never forget two voices so loud, crying and struggling as they finally got out.
The first time I saw them as they left their lair,
they both grabbed my finger and my heart was theirs.

These moments of time I etched in my soul,
where the ravages of time has no control.
I might even someday forget my own name,
but these memories gave me too much joy, too much pain.

That is why I know and that's why I bet,
That these six memories I shall never forget.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Quothe the Californian...Nevermore

I'm not sure when the last time it was the I watched a Miss USA pageant. I'll be totally honest, it's not my cup of tea. Perhaps, it's because I'm jealous and never went to the prom with a cheerleader or maybe it's a new thing because cheer screws with my tennis practice every other week. But, I will say this, I'm not a fan.

But, when something happens that presses the PC button, I'm all ears.

Okay, sports fans, just in case you missed it, here is the quote.


Announcer: Your question comes from Judge #8, Perez Hilton.

Announcer 2: Are we worried?

Announcer 1: You should be. Perez Hilton: Vermont recently became the 4th state to legalize same-sex marriage. Do you think every state should follow suit - why or why not?

Miss California: Well, I think it's great that Americans are able to choose one or the other. We live in a land that you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage, and you know what, in my country and in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that's how I was raised and that's how I think it should be between a man and a woman.

Okay, before anyone nails me for being a inbred, country hick let me say first that really I don't care one way or another for gay marriage. I think when you go around legislating morality it gets dicey and the way I look at it, if this is to be a free nation, then we should allow others to live in the way they choose....assuming no one else is harmed by their lifestyle. But, this is not my axe to grind at all.

I will say that this was a stupid question to ask. Seriously, are you judging the girl for her beliefs on a subject that around 55 % (according to this poll ) of the nation feels her way? What if it was turned around and Rush Limbaugh asked the same question, she was for Gay Marriages and was not given the crown simply because Rush disagreed with her? Would the Hollywood community be up in arms about it? Why was the contest tarnished? How dare Rush do this to that poor woman! The outrage has only been about the comments that I've heard and this is simply hypocritical thinking.

From Perez Hilton, "I am so disappointed in Miss California representing my country," he said. "Not because I believe in gay marriage, but she doesn't inspire and she doesn't unite." Unless you wanted a vague "I don't know." answer, Hilton, no answer on that topic would've inspired unity. No, Hilton, she answered your question...for better or for worse.

The true problem I have with this situation is Hilton, number one asking a question to fulfill his agenda and then, number two, getting hacked off about the response when it didn't mirror his own. Finally, in his childish anger he chose this girl's life interest for he last few years to hammer her on a political difference.

Seriously. That is simply sad.

I know we all have agendas that we serve. But, when the contestant actually is punished for her political that a very large number have....that is without question despicable. I guess in this country you can have any belief you want.

As long as it's the right one.

Friday, April 17, 2009

First 5 Friday-Is There a Doctor I the House?

I am not totally a fan of medical television shows, I'll admit that right off. I am squeamish by nature and some of the stuff shown on these shows make me want to hurl. This weak stomach of mine has gotten me out of quite a bit sickening situations (Just ask Sneaky Momma if you don't believe it) but it has caused me to be somewhat girlie when it comes to the sight of anyone else's blood, puke, or excrement. Basically, I kill the spiders, she picks up the puke.

However, I digress. Medical shows are the foundation of television ever since St. Elsewhere and MASH. So, it only makes sense that I let you know how you should feel about them. (Just kidding)


Scrubs-Okay, I believe, in its day, it was the funniest medical show in the history of television (its gone a little downhill lately, but still not bad). I know the stupidity of the show does take away from its poignant moments. But, there are still episodes that I have seen three or four times that still make me a little emotion. If the music, the writing, and the acting can still do that even after four years, that's a quality show.

ER-Look, I'm not a fan. I do recognize greatness and this show totally put Medical dramas back on the map after St. Elsewhere and Chicago Hope drifted off into obscurity. Plus, it has had a life span that is only dwarfed by the Simpsons. However, it has jumped the shark more times than perhaps any other TV show....well, any TV show that doesn't have Ted McKinley. It made the TV Medical Drama relevant again.

Grey's Anatomy-Even though it, too, has seen its better days, Grey's was a truly interesting watch. This show is always a train wreck waiting to happen. The story lines abound in this show and the character development is perhaps as good as any show I've ever seen. The draw back is, since I have gotten to know the characters pretty well, there's very few I really like. Aside from the Chief and Derek, the rest of the characters are so flawed they are hard to root for. I guess the genius of the show is the writer's weren't afraid to make these characters REALLY human. Plus, the story lines are a little on the unbelievable side.

M*A*S*H-While the other medical shows mentioned were groundbreaking in that particular genre, this show revolutionized TV. This show was the first to make you laugh and then bring you way down. I've seen every episode perhaps a half dozen times at least and I have found that its still relevant now as it was when it was satiring Vietnam thirty years ago. While the character development was still primitive in the beginning, it truly moved with the times. They corrected their character mistakes as the show grew, for instance, when the truly unredeemable Frank Burns character left, there next 'bad guy' was a man that was just flawed by having a silver spoon in his mouth. As the reality of war finally affected him, he became less boorish and more human. The hard ass nurse, Magaret, you begin to see the why behind the coarsness. Hawkeye's new running buddy, BJ, was not just the lacky Trapper was, he was an equal....and different from Hawkeye. Also, with this show there was never a true jump the shark moment, it just sort of faded away. The last episode is one of my all time FAVORITE last episodes (Future First 5 possibly?) as they have ideal closure.

HOUSE-How can you root for a drug addict who is a jerk of a doctor? He's rude, self centered, mean, and hateful. Why do I care about what this guy thinks of anything? It is intelligent, funny (although not Scrubs funny), and, forgive the pun, adicting. In the Sneaky household on Friday, the House marathon just stays on. Oh, by the way, maybe the most surprising thing about this show is that everything you first believe about House...well, that he is an, as you get to know him, discover that....yeah, he is an ass. But, no matter about his lack of redeeming qualities, you find yourself caring about him. You want him to be right, you want him to save the patient (no matter how irritating the family or patient is), and you want him to do it with sarcasm, cutting wit, and pure meanness. You're not proud of this, but you can't help it.

Hope the medical field treats you well whenever you catch it...whether it be Wednesday for Scrubs...Thursday for Grey's....all weekend for MASH and House....and Hulu for ER.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Writer's Workshop-The Lessons of the Playground

One of my favorite moments of the week is trying to come up with some type of material that will satisfy the criteria in Mama Katt's weekly Writer's Workshop. Today's prompts were:

1.) If I sent you four hundred dollars today what is ONE thing you would spend it on and why. ps I want my change.

2.) What are your kids talking about?

3.) Tell us about a local news story that's all the buzz right now in your neck of the woods.
4.) Share some blogging advice.

5.) Tell us about that time at the playground when that thing happened.
(thanks to Heather at Chasing Butterfly's who unknowingly inspired this last prompt)

I decided on the last one.

The playground is where lives were built.

Some would say the fountain of education is in the books in the class and wisdom in the teacher's mind that flows forth. Of course, they are wrong. The real education of a person begins on the first random playground in elementary. How many times were made up civilizations saved because of the crafty kids? How many football championships were won in spite of the random girl's picking daisies on mid field? How many questions of honor were settled with wedgies, name calling, or a good ol' fashioned punch to the mouth? How many love affairs or hints of love blossomed beside the slides?

The playground is where we learned to live in a society. It's where I learned that monkey bars were to climb not to walk on.

It seems like that should probably be one of those logical things that just humans know. 'Walking on monkey bars can be dangerous." Kind of like going the wrong way up a slide is not as fun as it looks.

Yet, there I was walking up and over a slightly oval like monkey bar set. I wish I could say I was showing off for the girls, but I still wasn't entranced by their 'differences'. I wish I could say that I was winning a bet or some one double dog dared me. But, I can't. I was bored, so I wanted to do something I hadn't done. So, since the bars were there, I decided to scale them.

I made it, walking over those curved bars, four and three fourths times. One misstep took this leisure time activity and made it emergency room worthy..

After I stopped screaming and flopping around like a fish out of water, the nurse looked at the source of my pain. My arm was on fire with hurt. So, my family came and got me and took me to the hospital...again. (Someday I will tell you of my first broken arm, that one's a good one.)

The diagnosis was I had fractured my arm...for the third time. My doctor said that if I got only one more broken arm I would get a toaster. It's still not funny even today. But,on the plus side, most of little league was out for me in the summer. (No worries, I sucked.) Definitely, I was not going to participate in Swim Team. (Cool, I sucked in the water even worse than on land)

Nope, it was air conditioning and boredom for six more weeks. The thing I had tried to fight by doing the dumb thing to begin with, boredom, now would be my constant companion for six more weeks.

Never underestimate the lessons of the playground.


Friday, April 10, 2009

First 5 Friday-Play Ball!!!

It's opening week all over baseball and my loveable losers, the Texas Rangers, have found a way to be undefeated. Only one hundred and fifty eight more to go, boys!! Well, I am scheduled to go to two Ranger games this year and really can't wait. So, since it's been awhile, I thought that I would mention a baseball intensive First 5.

First 5 Greatest Things About Going To a Ranger Baseball Game (or any team)

5. Socializing. Baseball is the coolest date sport there is. (Believe it or not, Hockey is a close second.) Simply because the action is so slow and relaxing you can just kind of hang out, drink a beer or seven, and get to hang out with your honey. Want to take a crew? Baseball is the perfect game just to be.

4. Watching Batting Practice. Watching guys blast away before the game is like a poor man's Home Run Derby. As a guy that couldn't even blast it out of the infield, the prowess of the guys at pounding the ball simply amazes me.

3. The Field itself. The Ballpark in Arlington (Who really gives a shit what it's called now?) is just an amazing place to be. From the greatness of the grass on the field (why can't my lawn look that good?), to the structure outside, to the fact that their isn't a bad seat. It is awe-inspiring, and complete coolness. If the game is out of hand, which is standard for the Rangers, you can walk around and look at all the stuff. The memorabilia stands, the restaurants, and the museum is just a good way to spend some time at the Park if the game sucks.

2. The Home Run/Game Winning Hit. The sound that is made by the crowd is hard to imitate. The adrenaline and happiness....the spontaneous high fives....strangers all around you are all united in one thought..."Dude, Josh knocked the shit out of that one, didn't he?" Then, in the Ballpark, the theme from the Natural comes on. Just gives me chills.

1. The Memories. I remember when my brother and I went to the game, when OJ decided to lead the cops on the world's slowest car chase. I remember when my best friend and I went, watched batting practice and almost got hit by a ball hit by Juan Gonzales. Said friend died of cancer four years later. I remember going with my dear wife and enjoying hanging out with a lot of her friends from work. I remember countless moments at the old Arlington Stadium and the new Ballpark where old friends and new friends all took off for a night game.

The one near miss is we almost went to watch Nolan Ryan pitch...decided not to...and then missed him beat the holy hell out of Robin Ventura. Biggest regret of my baseball life.

The weird thing about it is I couldn't tell you who won any of the games I went to. Oh, I know the Ranger's lost most, but the result wasn't the point. It was the fellowship. I hope you all get to hit a MLB park and enjoy a little fun in the sun.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Writer's Workshop-Differences Make the Heart Grow Fonder

The Prompts:
It's that means it's time for Mama Katt's Writer's Workshop. If you would like to play, just write on one (or more) of the prompts below and hit our good buddy Mr. Linky and get in on the action.

1.) Describe a moment when you realized you and your spouse were SO different.

2.) What is your role in the household?

3.) Write about how you felt when you discovered you were lied to.


4.) Describe a hard time you gave a teacher...what would you say to them today?

5.) What is an unpleasant experience you had eating? Write a poem, paragraph, or something else about the experience.


When did I realize my beloved wife and myself were very different in some ways?

From the Beginning, we have both understood that we definitely walk to the beat of a different drummer. We have always had similarities that were astounding. Our opinions, our love of God, and our taste in music have always blended together like some majestic melting pot. We were so sure that we were definitely one of the same person just split in half like some Greek legend. We were perfectly in tune. Totally on the same wave length. Never in the history of history has a man and a woman been so totally the same.

Until the movie, God's and Generals.

It was the second movie date we had ever had. I, the history buff I am, could not wait until this movie came out. When it did, I asked my new love, the one we would call Sneaky Momma, if she would accompany me to see this event. She said that she would and we hit the nearest theater, bought our tickets and entered. The ticket tearer upper (I'm sure there's a better name for this job) gets are tickets, rips them, and then utters a sentence that I was expecting.

"You folks realize that there's a twenty minute intermission in the middle, right?"

Sneaky Momma turned to me with a startled 'You've got to be shitting me' face as she repeated "Intermission? For a movie!?"

It turns out that Sneaky Momma isn't into history like me. In fact, she just professes to have a very limited interest in history. God's and Generals didn't do it. I myself had a hard time following it, my sweet honey though had no trouble....catching up on her sleep. All major battle scenes found her napping blissfully and peacefully. She would wake up for the talky scenes. Finally, as the movie is dragging toward it's end, you see on the screen 'Stonewall' Jackson laying in bed, dying of pneumonia. It is sad, as the movie portrays the Southern hero weak and feebly existing as his doom crawls upon him. Sneaky Momma is waking up from her third and final fairly lengthy nap in the movie, she looks up and says "He isn't dead yet?"

As I documented, I owed a penance of Little Women, Sabrina, and two other movies that I can't remember, nor want to. We learned that when it came to the movies or television, perhaps it was better for us to watch 'our type of movie' in solitude.

Let me put it this way, when the movie The Alamo came out, I went with her dad.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Lessons of My Semi-Secret LIfe

I have a secret life.

Okay, I have a semi-secret life. I do not write music for Michael Bolton. I do not work for the FBI (Mainly 'cause accountin's hard) I am not a writer. (Patience is lacking there) I do not have another wife and kid in some other state (alah, Fletch.) Nope.

I am a gambler.

Admittedly, not a very big time gambler. When the casinos see me coming they do not call me 'Lane the Whale'. They basically treat me like the minnow I am. I do not bet more than I can afford to lose. Like my ol' Pappy said, "Gamblin's fine unless you take the food off the table." (Anybody else thinking of Bret Maverick?)

When did I feel that I would use most of my free time in this definitely unusual pastime? Maybe it was when I played poker with my friends in high school....okay, the other nerds in high school. (Yep, I'm sure most of you are thinking of the part in 'Can't Buy Me Love'. The Cards with the 'Tards, scene. )

I am certain the observant ones among you may have guessed of this compulsion from my header. I don't play the slots...I rarely play the table games (I do love craps though),, but I now play Texas Hold 'em.

My little group started playing around the time a Tennessee accountant named Chris Moneymaker (real name) took a forty dollar tournament win on Pokerstars and made it into $2.5 million. All he had to do was beat a little more than two hundred to win the World Series of Poker's Main Event in 2003. His story is one I will recount some random weekend. Nope, believe it or not this 'habit' of mine has actually had some life lessons attached to it.

If I may, let me share.

1. Life isn't fair. Okay, you've all heard this one. Many times I have had spots where I should win four out of five times and found myself losing. I have come within breaths of winning thousands of dollars, only to see a turn of the card take it away. (Don't worry, this guy isn't me.)

I have had to learn to deal with failure and to risk for success. This is something a introverted guy like myself isn't able to sometimes handle. This life is very fragile, bad beats, also do miracles. Without the pain, the pleasures wouldn't be as meaningful. The few times when I win a tournament more than makes up for the times when fate intervened and the cards went another way. In the job I have, sometimes we worry about 'evening the playing field' and that 'all who participates win', we forget the simple truth that failure is a life lesson. It is what makes the victories much more sweeter.

2. Do not overextend yourself. Back in 2004, I put sixty dollars into Full Tilt Poker. I am still playng on that amount. I never took it all out...I never left myself too short of funds. In the past five years, it has paid for three computers, a getaway trip with my gorgeous bride, and countless small expenses of the household. But, I always kept playing at a rate that made sense for the amount of money I had in the site. I have had friends lose all of their money quickly because they shot for the stars at the risk of their funds. Rarely is poker a get rich quick racket. It takes patience and discipline. Better players than me have gone broke on line.

As in life, you should never overextend yourself and go into debt for luxuries. I have a spending habit that I struggle with. This little life lesson has helped me be able to spend less. This, in turn, has helped us in our finances enough for us to make it.

3. Do not ever think you could gamble for a living. Every time I win a tournament, I think that 'Wouldn't it be cool to do this for a living?' I found that this is not that easy. This has been too much of a rollercoaster to ever think I could make serious money at. I cannot imagine making a bluff with grocery money or telling my wife we can't go to Galveston because I lost a bunch of money. Nope, I doubt I will ever make this compulsion a career. It's way too tough.

However, I do enjoy my little foray's into the 'seedy world' of on line gambling and occasionally make the trip to one of the wonderful casinos in my part of the world. Who knows, maybe, someday, you'll turn on ESPN and see me at a final table in Vegas.

I'll be the one who looks like he's about to crap himself.

Friday, April 3, 2009

First Five Friday-80's Anyone?

As a child of the 80's most of my troubled youth was spent watching movies. I loved movies that spoke to my most basic wish. The nerd totally saving the day and having the gorgeous cheerleader fall in love with me. So, instead of doing anything at all noteworthy in my teens, I simply watched a bunch of movies and lived vicariously through them. As I sat and watched seemingly endless showings of the newest teen angst vehicle, I could drift away in my own little world. So, in tribute to the little Lane of fourteen with no chest, BCGs (birth control goggles), and the slight stuttering problem that could make even the most simplest sentences turn into an adventure to understand, I present....

First Five High School 80's Movies

5. 16 Candles. The oriental guy makes this movie. But, so does Anthony Michael Hall. The main characters, Molly Ringwald and her love interest are pretty boring frankly. But, the other characters more than make up for it. I would still watch this if my sister hadn't watched it twice a day for the entire summer of '86. (I have considered counseling to battle this form of sibling abuse.)

4. In the Mood. Hey, this is a movie that spoke to my fantasies. A kind of plain guy (played by the patron saint of these type movies, Patrick Dempsey) who finds himself the object of lust of many older women. What teen boy doesn't want to be that guy?

3. Say Anything. The loner finds the valedictorian to take on a date at the end of graduation. A great movie with John Cusak that is a classic love story. Even now, still a pretty good watch for me.

2. Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Ferris was coolness. He was level headed, brilliant, and a bit on the rebellious side. (Okay, if he was my kid I would have a drinking problem.) But, in the end, what was there not to like?

1. Can't Buy Me Love. Patrick Dempsey again as the classic geek who helps the most popular girl in school buy her way out of a mess. He basically rents her for a few months to get in good with the 'Cool Cliche'. Of course it all goes bad, of course all gain a sense of understanding about social classes in general, and of course this is the first documented 'slow clap' scene that I can recall that is totally cornballish. I still love it.

Hope you guys enjoyed remembering when movies didn't have to be well thought out to be entertaining. What's your list?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Writer's Workshop-Motives Uncovered

Gotta love Mama Katt and her Writer's Workshop Thursday. If you like to write, check her out!!

The Prompts:

1.) Why did you do it?

2.) What is a common misconception about you?

3.) Describe a moment when you felt afraid.

4.) In what ways are you turning into your mother?

5.) Are you always right?

Why did I do it?

Hmm, such a vague question that brings out all the guilty thoughts and moments in my sordid past. My nocturnal missions, my constant reconnaissance on unwary targets, my CLASSIFIED: NATIONAL SECURITY. There were so many moments that I could barley recount them in my tiny pea brain. So, why did I do it?

Why did I decide to teach?

Seems like such a thankless job. Add the whole coaching a fringe sport in a football crazy state, you would think that I'm a masochist. Maybe I am, but the path that took me down the educational path wasn't one that I would've chose.

I had graduated college in the Spring of 1992. In four years, I had achieved a degree in Criminal Justice and I was ready to take on the world....or not. I was in a pickle. I went to college to be a lawyer. Around the fall of my senior year I came to a simple but crucial conclusion. I did NOT want to be a lawyer. However, I had no fall back plan. So, for the better part of a year, I was in a holding pattern. I was also in my first long term relationship. Maybe it was the fact I could hang with her more, or maybe I actually listened to my Dad who always said, "Find a job that is always in need. Folks will always need teachers, doctors, or undertakers."

So, I packed up myself and went back to college to get my teacher's certificate (partially since me with a scalpel would actually cause more work for undertakers). I picked social studies because, well, I like history. Girlfriend broke up with me within a month, but everything else went pretty much to schedule. I found that unlike everything else, teaching was easy for me. Not the actual classes or practice, but me finding work. I had always heard that when God has a plan for your life, he takes away all road blocks.

Oh yeah, the confirmed bachelor in me also found love at the ripe old age of 32. The love of my life, Jill, may never have found me if God had put it on my heart to teach the young. Regardless of my motives, he used my path to give me the greatest gift anyone could ever have...a soul mate...a family...A real life.

That's why I did it.