Friday, October 21, 2011

Watch the Throne

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Friday night, the lamp in my projector TV went out… so I did a bit of house cleaning. I know, great, I actually did something useful with the time otherwise filled with mindless entertainment. Not so fast, because within a few hours I was watching the Simpsons on a laptop with some of the roommates. Is it a sickness? Maybe… but the house is pretty clean now… and the new lamp should be arriving Monday… so we’ll see. Update: The lamp arrived Tuesday night… and lo & behold, apparently the last time the lamp was replaced by Best Buy, they threaded out the screw… so now I’m unable to access the area to replace the lamp because of one teeny tiny screw. I asked J-Mo late last night if I can borrow a metal drill bit, so hopefully that’ll take care of it. Worst-case, my dad’s coming Friday night & he’s kind of an expert at this kind of stuff without leaving a trace. There will be football this weekend in just about every form possible. I WILL NOT LOSE!!! Especially to a little screw. I will eliminate that b**ch & replace him with duct tape if I have to. Seriously, I think they took the security on this thing a little too far.

Saturday, I was trying to decide what to do… as this apparently was NOT going to be the weekend we fix the backyard up. Oh well, if the roommates aren’t in a rush, neither am I now that the rain & winter are coming. Lo & behold, I get a text message from Mrs Wingman saying that she was in Reno… about a four hour drive away… and wanted to know when I was going to come visit (she’s going to be there until Thanksgiving helping out her family). So I responded with… I can be there in four hours… but I don’t want to intrude if you have plans. Four hours later, I was giving her hugs & seeing her dad for the first time in a few years. That’s how I roll.

That evening, we had a dinner of some magnificent steaks (Dale’s sauce, not sure what’s in it… but it’s good) and Mrs Wingman’s Stuffed Mushrooms… which were pretty fantastic (sausage, cream cheese & a variety of herbs & spices for the stuffing). After dinner, Mrs Wingman & I went to Virginia Street because she had never been there before… so I had to show her the sights… both of them. Hahaha… okay, that might be mean… but yeah, we hit up the casinos, did a little blackjack, roulette, poker, drinks, went to Rum Bullion for some dueling piano action… and I had almost forgotten how strong the drinks are in Reno. See, this was my first time in Reno since picking up my moving van in January… but yeah, very effective, especially at Rum Bullion. Anyway, after that, there really wasn’t much to do except the gentleman’s clubs… and I asked, but she wasn’t in the mood. So I dropped her off at her dad’s house & I went to my hotel… but about that time, the drinks were really starting to kick in, so I grabbed some Del Taco before dozing off for the night.

Word of Advice: Don’t eat Del Taco immediately before going to bed… especially if you have had a few drinks. It was not the best night’s sleep at all. My stomach was not feeling well… but luckily no vomiting. My mouth was dry & even a $3 bottle of water didn’t help much… and may have made the stomach worse. I couldn’t seem to get my room chilly enough… probably in the mid-80’s which is NOT what I wanted… but eventually I got it down to the 60’s. The worst part though… was the crazy ass dreams. I woke up several times drenched in sweat after some very anxious dreams about letting people down (mostly work related) and… now, I may have to look into this… but I was pretty sure that there were a few times… I think a ghost or something was wrapping me up in a cross-face chicken wing or something when I was lying on my side. I know it sounds crazy… believe me… but that was really the best that I could gather from it… because I remember being a little tipsy… but I was staring at the wall… and I felt this arm or something wrap around my neck and even my ear felt like it was pressed against something where you can hear your heartbeat. I couldn’t move my arms either… and I think my legs were kicking a bit… but yeah, I wasn’t that scared because I could still breathe, just not move the top half of my body. So yeah… just say no to Del Taco immediately before bed. Wait a few hours… and make sure there are no frustrated ghosts of WWE superstars in your hotel room. Hmm… do you think it was the British Bulldog? Macho Man? Owen Hart? GASP!!! ANDRE THE GIANT??? Hmm… is the Ultimate Warrior still alive?

Sunday morning, I woke up & after some more water, a shower & a waffle, I was doing better. Met up with Mrs Wingman & her family to go out to the RC Car Races in Sparks (just a few miles away) in which her little brother was competing (turning 8 next month). Now, I had an RC car when I was a littl’un. That’s just good redneck fun, which there’s a lot of in the Reno area… so I was excited. Beautiful day, cold beer, shade when desired, good racing, great people, & great eats (seriously there was more stuffed mushrooms, shrimp & a steak that I believe was marinated in Jack Daniels & given the rub afterwards that just about gave me a food-gasm). Here are some pictures…

Afterwards, I started heading back to San Francisco… and while listening to “Watch the Throne” & Journey’s greatest hits, I got to thinking again… as I did on the way to Reno… and really any time that I don’t have something else occupying my consciousness. What was I thinking about? How I got to where I am? How most people get to where they are? Or rather where they choose to be… in a physical sense. You know… like how did I end up in San Francisco, which a few years ago when never even a consideration? With this job? Without a girl? Away from my family? Well, here’s basically what I’ve come up with… and I’m sure you all know this already, but it’s basically just a series of choices… fairly major choices throughout my adult life… and a little flying by the seat of my pants… so I looked back on a few of them. Indulge me, will you?

Choice #1: Where am I going to school? - Okay, so basically the first 18 years of my life, I don’t really count those choices. Yeah, I kind of had a choice of which parent I wanted to live with when they divorced and a few things like that… but it’s not like I was leaving Utah or going out on my own or anything. The first major decision of my life… was where I was going to go to college. Not if… where. The choices? I could’ve basically gone anywhere that I was willing to pay for. Great smarts, great skills, blah blah blah… and there was one college that basically offered to pay for just about everything – Weber State. Why? Because I spent most of my senior year there getting credits and would’ve started as a junior so I probably would’ve been there 2-3 years… and they didn’t even know what degree I wanted to pursue… because even I didn’t. So why didn’t I bleed purple in the city of Ogden? Because I wanted to be a big time basketball superstar at the University of Utah. Yup! Worked out perfectly too.

Results: Okay, so not exactly as planned… but I started this job while there in Salt Lake City… and have been working with the same company ever since, all over the western U.S. Without going to the U, I wouldn’t have hung out with my dad nearly as much & reestablished my relationship with him, gotten the basis of my college education or decided that majors / life paths that I didn’t want to get in… and even though I ended up going to SLCC after a few years of bouncing around, that helped me to get a well-rounded education in itself. If I had decided to stay in Ogden, yeah, I might’ve finished school earlier, gone on a different career path, probably hooked up with some prime cowgirl & had a whole litter of kids… but then again, I may have never found a job with a degree in Psychology & live in my mom’s basement… which may not be that bad… but yeah, more than likely not… and I guess it just wasn’t for me either way.

Choice #2: Should I stay or should I go with her? – About six years back, I was going out with a girl… and if you’ve read the blog for a while, you probably remember me rambling on a few times about here… and if not, then I’m not going to bore you with it just now. Basically, I was falling quick… like I had never done before or since. She was basically everything I was looking for & then some. Beautiful, smart, sweet, voluptuous, funny, flexible, young, open minded, passionate, fearless, nerdy, sexy Latin fire, great cook, could even pull out the Southern twang when she wanted, & most importantly she liked me too. Of course, because she was pretty much perfect, she was also goal oriented & had a dream. After going out for three months, she told me that the next stop of her dream was going to take her across the country to Vermont… and then who knows from there? Europe? Asia? Toledo? Now… 30-year old me is pretty much down with the idea. “DO IT YOU FOOL!!! Go for it!!! Why not? You’re young, dumb & she’s keeping you from being the 3rd part! How many times have you moved for nothing more than the implication of possible future padding of the resume? Why not move for the L word?” However, 24-year old me… apparently wasn’t ready yet. My family was in Utah & that was all I had ever known. I was a few classes away from finally getting my degrees after taking too damn long in the first place. We had only been going out for three months. I looked for jobs… and there really wasn’t any to be had other than janitorial or some other entry level, minimum wage, part time gig in the college town that she was going to. How would we live (besides under satin sheets)? What if it didn’t work out between us? What about my school? My family? Believe me… I was still REALLY considering it for a few days. I don’t think I’ve really told anybody else how much I was thinking about leaving at the time. I REALLY liked her… and wanted to be with her… and most importantly, I wanted what was best for her. Long story short, I stayed in Utah for a few more years… and she left a few months later.

Result: Last I heard, she is living out her dream (or at least well on her way towards it early in the game), has a great new guy, living in Boston & actually will be having her 25th birthday this weekend. So yeah… maybe I could’ve went with her, found a job that I enjoyed & paid the bills while she was working hard for her dream, had lots of mind-blowing coitus & fantastic East Coast and worldwide adventures… but I’d still have to be in Boston. Great town… but I think that accent would just get to me… even with her Southern twang in the evenings. The important thing is that she’s happy & well on her way… and I’m happy because of all the adventures that I’ve been on since then. I wouldn’t have seen my niece & nephew nearly as much living on the other side of the country. So yeah, though I miss her warmth & smile from time to time, I’ve gotten by pretty fine.

Choice #3: Okay, I have a degree, two actually, what now? – Fresh outta college with two pieces of paper in my hand & now I just have to decide what I want to do with my life. Get out into that job market & see what there is for a fresh kid wet behind the ears & full of creative juices for some startup? See if some established company needs help with a new marketing campaign? Maybe one of those non-profits that you already have a foot in the door with? Or just stay with the company that you’ve already been with for the better part of a decade & work with your new resume?

Result: Five years later & I’ve kept with the company but it’s a question that’s constantly going on in my mind. It would really help if I had any kind of clue what I wanted to do with my life… but in the meantime, the benefits are pretty nice & I’ve lived in some fantastic places while trying to figure it all out… and adding to my 401(k) except I lost half of it in the recession, which means I probably should’ve just buried it in the backyard instead… but hey, that’s how it goes when you trust your money to people you don’t know & can’t destroy.

Choice #4: How do I get to “the next step”? – This kind of goes in with the last one. A few years ago, I made the decision that I was going to try for that next step in the company… or at the very least, find out which next step I want to take & strive towards. Where was I going to do that? VEGAS BABY!!! That never worked out… and probably for the best, looking back at it. Next stop: Denver. Great apartment, was working with a good team, but six months later the recession hit me personally & that was that. It was an incredibly easy decision to go back to Utah after that. Family missing me like a blonde misses the point, pretty good job with the company in a different department waiting for me, time to evaluate the next step yet again. I was getting pretty settled with the idea of staying there… and then Tahoe come into play. Hell yeah!!! Tahoe!!! So I went out there to help open up a new branch of the company & the experience was nothing short of amazing. But after a year, it was cold, lonely, expensive & I just couldn’t do another winter… and then the great opportunity came up out here in San Francisco almost on queue. So I’ve been out here almost a year now, working with a fantastic team, Four’s Company living arrangement in a national park, meeting people left & right, playing sports again, keeping in shape with a few miles of walking everyday, but is it the next step? Stepping stone maybe?

Result: It seems like I’ve been doing a lot of sidestepping more than anything. Basically the same job, just in different locations since graduating. Finally have to man up & get a laptop that’ll allow me to use Rosetta Stone & other programs to learn the languages that may prove useful at least. I’ve got connections in all kinds of industries… but unless I’m looking to get into those industries, they’re just people I know… or friends on Facebook or whatever. They’re not helping my pocketbook or my career path. Basically I’ve got a full tank of unleaded but I’m sitting in neutral… and even though I’m not feeling it, I’m on hill rolling backwards unless I start her up & put it in first gear.

So yeah, that was the drive home… while listening to a CD thinking… WWJD? What Would Jigga Do? The man has gone from earning money in a way he’s not too proud of selling drugs… to dominating his chosen profession of hip hop artistry… to a multinational conglomerate & part owner of a major sports franchise, bringing it back to his hometown of Brooklyn. What would he do? Work hard, every day, keep true to the Game, never stop working, never stop hustling, never stop improving, take care of the family, watch out for haters trying to bring you down, brush that dirt off your shoulder & remember one thing… I WILL NOT LOSE. Even Kanye went through a serious car wreck, kept growing as an artist & doing his thing… and now he’s almost justified in being an arrogant a-hole to everybody he comes in contact with. Almost. I liked him better when he was a little humbler & respected the Game… but hey, we all have our moments. Blame it on the a-a-a-a-alcohol & supermodels draining you of your electrolytes. So I’ve just got to get my Swagger back… and I’ll be back on track. Anyway, pretty good weekend… and if you ever need help weighing in on your own decisions & could use a fresh perspective, I’m here for ya. Have a great night everybody!!!

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