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From time to time I feel the need to write something semi-poetic. Read the results below.
Knowing right and doing right, is two sides of a coin.
Choices made with inner thoughts, from a heart that’s been scorned.
You knew the path but chose, to take the road that was worn.
You knew the math and rose, to make decisions you would morn.
Self-righteously proclaimed, then outwardly-maintained.
Truth is you’re inwardly-defamed, and secretly-sustained.
Obviously something is there, so sensitive and raw.
I realized it wasn’t me, but the many horrors that you saw.
As a child, or maybe just your mental composition.
Took a while to discover, your deranged disposition.
Arguably, lack of love, filled with fleeting adoration.
So when my love came along, you set a course for deportation.
Painted me as the problem, then put my love on a shelf.
If being frank is the goal, it was a reflection of yourself.
Your inner mind’s eye was wrong, credibility gone.
Can you verify the source, of the visions you were shown?
But I’m not here to judge, but I stand here accused,
Insurmountable frustration, from the lies you exude.
First off, this post is inspired by my friend over at Fat Guy Running and his journey to become more fit and active. About two years ago, I was overweight. And to be perfectly honest, I couldn’t exactly tell you how I got there. Of course people say that when you get married you gain weight for a number of reasons: change in diet, change in activity level, etc. All these are totally valid and probably what contributed to me becoming as out of shape as I was.
Added to this is the fact that I work a desk job. Prior to getting married, I worked out five to six days a week after work to counter the affects of sitting in front of a desk for eight or more hours a day, and it worked. Back then, about four years ago, I weighed about 215lbs. At six foot five, I consider that a pretty healthy weight, despite the fact that Body Mass Index, or BMI, says otherwise — BMI is a whole other story I may write about at another time.
So, like I said, I got married, moved, and become a dad all in the span of about a year, which totally made making time to stay in shape a low priority. My commute to work went from five minutes to about thirty on a good day. Free time to work out went from “whenever I wanted” to “whenever I could”, which was almost non-existent. Fast food become more and more a mainstay in my diet because of convenience.
Honestly, I can say that I was okay with the changes at the time, because priorities are priorities. But one should also consider their health. Before my downward health spiral, I had only had minor problems with my back. To be clear, back problems run in my family, my father and I have the exactly same problems with our backs going out from time to time. Personally my problems never had gotten too bad, but in hindsight, I see it was because I was staying in pretty decent shape. Suffice it to say, after I stopped working out my back problems ballooned, along with my weight.
At the peek of my journey into the abyss I weighted about 280lbs. And after other things around me began to fall apart, I told myself, “there are a lot of things I can’t control, but the things I can, I will, otherwise I have no one to blame but myself.” This was on September 10, 2010 –probably the loneliest day of my life.
So, I began to work out again at the pace I was before –about five to six days a week– and started to really pay attention to my diet. The workout consisted of mostly, if not all, cardiovascular activity at first, and after time transitioned into more weight training. I also started eating healthier by cutting out the obvious things which are bad for you, considering most of those things as ways to treat myself from time to time.
The journey has brought me back almost entirely to my former weight. Now I weigh about 225lbs, and although I’m not completely back to my former weight, the journey of reaching that goal has taught me a lot about self-worth, consistency, and lifestyle. Back problems are back to being an every now and then thing, with nothing as nearly as bad as it was when I was overweight. For the most part, I completely feel like my old self again.
I cannot say that I’ll never be out of shape or overweight again, but I will control the things I can, otherwise, God’s got it.
As a kid, you are often subject to a lot of things you would rather not be doing. Things like, going to make groceries, riding along as your parent go pay bills, or even having to visit some cousins you don’t particularly like. But none is greater than having to do the all-day garage sale thing. Most family’s are looking to find a deal, and mine was no exception.
Now, don’t me wrong, there are plenty of good things to be had on the cheap from others whom have lost usefulness for them, but the proverbial grind of some Saturday mornings would leave even the most hopeful child tired and ready to go home.
But then again, there is that one glimmer of light to be had on the off chance that you will find a diamond among the ruff. That one item that you can’t believe that someone was trying to get rid of. Well, one day I found such in the form of a vinyl record of all things, a Spider-Man record.
Of course like any male child between the ages of six to ten, I loved Spider-Man. And I was gleaming from ear to ear to have found my gem in a haystack. Yes, this truly made all the agonizing hours of waiting and going from sale to sale that morning truly worth it.
To be more specific, the record I found was Power Records: The Amazing Spider-Man Vol II, a dramatization of about five Spider-Man stories. Unbeknownst to me, the record actually was release in 1974, much earlier then when I found it in the late-80′s. The front cover featured some artwork of the featured story, Invasion of the Dragon Men, while the back included very short panels of each of the stories.
To say this is the only record I’ve ever owned feels kind of weird though. When I was getting to the age that I’d actually want to own music, records were fading out of popularity, cassette tapes where just easier and everywhere, and compact discs where just becoming popular. Even so, I played the crap out of this record, even eventually getting it put on a tape somehow.
In hindsight, the story dramatizations are not great at all, but for an aspiring superhero, that was pretty much all I needed.
As the years has passed, I no longer have that record. Hopefully I passed it on to someone else to spark their imagination. Fast-forward to today, my three year old son is a huge fan of Spider-Man. I’ve been able to track down mp3 recordings of this record online and think I’ll surprise him the next time we take a ride in my truck. I’m sure he will enjoy them as much as I did twenty something years ago.
For some weird reason, I woke up today with a very famous Langston Hughes poem on my mind. Now I am certainly not the poetic type (although my wife may wish I was sometimes), nor am I one who is constantly consumed by the perceived american pursuit of happiness, but there is something profound about dreams and the pursuit thereof. Mr. Hughes put it best:
Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
- Langston Hughes
I was first introduced to this poem while attending Upward Bound back in the mid-1990’s. For some reason this poem has stuck with my over the years: short, sweet, and concise.
First, a brief look back on my resolutions from last year and what I managed to get done.
All in all, I believe I made good progress in 2011, as far as resolutions go. So what could I accomplish in 2012?
I’ve often pondered the question, “Is it better be good at a lot of things, or great at one thing?” I’ve long struggled weather to simply diversify my knowledge of a particular array of related subjects, or honker down on one focused area and make that my bread and butter.
I guess their pros and cons to both methods. I remember my dad telling me that my great grandfather was a jack of all trades, meaning, he could do just about anything you needed done. Musician, barber, carpenter, you name it, he probably had some experience doing it. So my question is, by doing so, can you ever really become great at all those things or do you even need to be?
A look at any job posting these days will have a full list of desired experience, most of the time leaving you with the question, “Does anyone have all these things?” An although most of the time those listing are a scatter shot to pull in the most desirable candidate, it does bring up the value of “knowing” a wide range of things.
And then you can look at the value of knowing a wide array of things in another light.
We have long heard the saying, “Do not put all your eggs in one basket.”, or “Keep a diversified portfolio.”
What if you were an expert on a dying technology and that is all you knew? Or had all your money in one particular stock and it crashed.
Looking at the situation from a less hardened point of view, the best approach would to simply become an expert at one thing, and a quasi-expert of other related topics.
For instance, most programmers focus on a particular programming language as their bread and butter, but keep up with and follow different related languages or platforms.
As a web developer, you may primarily focus on PHP, but from time to time, dip you fingers in .NET. You may be an Windows Phone 7 application developer whom picks up Java just to port your application over to Android.
I guess the bottom line is, the more you know the better. Try not to limit yourself and be willing to divulge into other areas that are related and may benefit you in the long run.
If you love learning new things, this will come naturally. If not, you will have to work at it a bit, but it will greatly benefit you when it’s all said and done. At the same time, become an expert at your bread and butter, and if by chance you have to transition to something else, it will be less of a u-turn and more of a slight shift in course.
Well, as many of you may know, the Stargate series has been given the proverbial axe as the speculation of a Stargate Atlantis movie has all but officially died due to the confirmed dismantling of the Stargate sets at the Burnaby Bridge Studios, which have stood for the last fourteen years. The certain demise, at least for the foreseeable future, of such a beloved franchise has brought a damper to the avid Stargate community.
That being said, I admittedly have not been such the avid Stargate fan over the years. Having only recently joined the fold of Stargate fanatics, I believe many others may have over-looked a great franchise. And while the choice to watch Stargate may have been an obvious choice for some, it certainly was not for me.
What Kept Me Away
I guess I can say that the greatest thing that kept me from adopting the franchise was Star Trek. For many years, this series tickled my science fiction itch on so many levels and I wasn’t ready or willing to let any other series into the fold of shows that garnered my constant attention. I really got into the Star Trek franchise during Star Trek: Voyager and it was my main science fiction show during my high school, as well as my college years. From Voyager, I went on to Star Trek: Enterprise.
I know what many people are saying, "Those weren’t even the best Star Trek series."
Be that as it may, I loved them and filled in the gaps with the Star Trek movies, as well as powering through the more beloved Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine series. So, as you can see, I had plenty to keep me busy.
Not long after the end of Enterprise and the Star Trek franchise seeing itself in the same situation as we currently see the Stargate franchise in, I was without any sci-fi to watch, then along came Battlestar Galactica. This series proved to be great in its own right, and garnered my attention until 2009 as my series of choice.
From there I wasn’t too sure were to go and was kind of down on the state of sci-fi on television, but was happy to pick on on Caprica, the Battlestar Galactica spin off, however strange it was.
Recommendations Are The Best
I have to honestly say, if not for my brother, I may have never watched a single Stargate episode. He talked on an episode of our podcast about the new series Stargate Universe and how great it was. Ultimately it was his recommendation, along with the notion of an actual spaceship being the main setting in Stargate Universe, that got me on board with the series. From the first episode I was hooked. So ironically, I’m working my way backwards, from Universe.
What Makes It Special
The thing that makes Stargate so great to me aren’t the stargates, although they are great in their own right, it’s the fact that Stargate takes place in our current time. This makes Stargate easier to connect to on a personal level. One of my favorite moments of Stargate Atlantis is when Lt. Colonel John Sheppard is in the infirmary after barely surviving a harsh battle with the wraith, and he’s playing a Nintendo DS. Brilliant. And the references to pop culture don’t stop there. They are vast and brilliantly placed throughout the series. Enough to be special, but not slapping you in the face.
Oh, and about the stargate’s. At first glance, you’d think they are limited as compared to a ship. Well, they are, but they also provide a lot of depth and scenarios that a ship does not provide. The notion of instant travel from one planet to another is not a thing that a science fiction buff can easily turn a blind eye to.
Other than that, like any great series, the real draw is to the strength of the characters. All the main characters are very real and easy to connect to. As you would expect, you have everything from the headstrong military guy to the super smart and witty engineers/scientists that know it all. It’s all there. Not only that, but cameos run all throughout the series. From the one off episodes where a member of another series comes on board, to the arcs that features prominent characters from other popular science fiction series, to characters from either of the aforementioned groups joining on for a permanent spot, it’s all there.
The Franchise As A Whole
I haven’t watched all of SG-1, but the numerous cameos from various members of SG-1 in Atlantis and Universe are intriguing enough to get me to go back and watch it in its entirety. Not only that, but also to fill in the various gaps and references that are made throughout. Oh, and MacGyver –nuff said.
I have since also gone back and watched the original movie. Really not anything like I initially expected, but I really loved it. It’s a great introduction to the Stargate universe and the staple of the series.
Obviously everyone in the Stargate community is down about the cancellation of the series, but one thing stands true, Stargate will rise from the ashes. Yep, not long ago, Star Trek was all but dead, and look at it now. Old ideas die, are revised, rebooted, and reborn. It’s only a matter of time before someone realizes what a great franchise it is and look to capitalize on its fan base. We will see Stargate again, mark my words!
Yes, another year! I felt it necessary to post my own thoughts on things I’d like to get accomplished this year.
A year from now, I’ll take a look back to review my achievements and shortcomings. Wish me luck!