Fall Games (I like sports!)

Ok, so I’ve been a lifelong sports fan. No surprise there. However, my excitement for certain sports kind of ebbs and flows depending on a multitude of variables. Are we competitive this year? Is there a particular player I’m excited about (oh Jimmy Gobble, how I miss thee)? Have I/will I be able to attend any games? Is there any new storylines throughout the season? The list goes on. Some years I’m overflowing with excitement for some sports, other years I keep a passing interest.

There have been some constants; win or lose, I’m invested in how the KC Royals do. I try my hardest to attend at least one Sporting KC game a season. I make it a point to receive updates on the Chiefs. I’ll always keep myself involved in KU bball. Yet, of the four I’ve mentioned, KU, SKC, and the Royals are the only ones who I have consistent rabid interest in, year over year. That will continue, but this fall, some other sports have (for some reason) come forward as my main focus during the cold months.

Since the NBA championship of 2015, I’ve gotten back in to NBA ball. I think that has a lot to do with where I was while that series was going on. The Golden State Warriors were on their way to winning their first title in years w/Steph Curry leading the charge. I was actually in San Francisco and Oakland at the time for work. So when I was done for work for the day, I made it a point to head to a bar or restaurant where the place would be packed with Warriors fans. It was a bit awkward at first; I was usually walking in wearing a Royals hat or shirt and the previous World Series was won by the Giants over my Royals in Game 7…in KC. I thought at first I would get razed pretty hard and eventually they would forget about it. Turns out, I was wrong. In a good way.

The first night I went to watch a game I found a high top table, kept my head down, ordered some nachos and beer, and prayed I would be left alone. 5 minutes later, I get a tap on the shoulder, and the following chat happened:

Me: Yeah?

Stranger 1: You from KC?

Me: Uhm, yeah, just in town for work…

Stranger 2: Cool! We went to KC for the WS and just gotta say, you guys are a great fanbase! And the town was pretty awesome!
(Side note: In San Fran, KC is considered a “town”, not a city)

Me: Thanks…(cautious, waiting for the razing to start)

Stranger 1: While we’re glad our Giants won, we’re pulling for you guys this year! You guys deserve a title!

Stranger 2: Let us buy you a beer!

And the night continued to be a great time of us cheering for the Warriors, reflecting on the best moments of the 2014 WS, and bonding on how much we all hated Joe Buck. Sadly, I don’t recall their names, otherwise I would have made it a point to stay in contact. The reason I bring this particular story up is because I realized something that night with the Warriors fanbase; they were a lot like the us. For a long stretch of time they had struggles and embarrassments. They would see hope and then have it squandered away. Then, some “young bucks” get on the team with a new coach (Mr. Steve Kerr, my 2nd favorite Bull of all time) and there is a sudden culture change. An air of positivity is surrounding the team. And finally, they are in the Finals competing for a championship. I could relate, especially in 2015.

Since then, my interest for the NBA has come back. I mean, in the early to mid 90s, pro bball was my jam! I was a Jordan fanatic (I still have my red Jordan jersey!) and I could not get enough of the Bulls. But once Jordan retired for a 2nd time(!), I started to walk away from the sport. There was this time where I thought there wasn’t anyone for me to follow. Even when Jordan came back for a 2nd time(!), I couldn’t enjoy it. He was a shell of his former self. I mean, yeah, he’d have flashes of brilliance, but it wasn’t the high-flying, tongue-wagging Jordan of yesteryear. His best days were far behind him and I just couldn’t enjoy it. He finally retired (for real!) after the 2003 season and I too stepped away from the game. Even the arrival of “King James” didn’t bring me back; heck, it probably pushed me further away from the game. Everyone was claiming how he was the heir apparent to the throne Jordan had vacated years ago and it just made me mad. “How dare they say that! There can be and will be only one His Airness!” I would scream at the commentators on Sportscenter.

Then when Lebron bolted Ohio for Florida I knew then I would never enjoy pro ball again. The era of the “Super Team” was upon us. Boston did it, Miami did it…hell, last year Golden State did and now OKC has done it. Yeah, the Spurs and Mavericks were the anomalies who found success by just having great coaching and good all-around teams, but most championships were going to whoever could sign the biggest all-stars. And another thing…wait, I’m gonna save that for another post at another time.

Where was I? Oh yeah, San Francisco 2015. After having spent some time with those fans and being reminded how fun cheering for an NBA team can be, I started following again. I was in an interesting position because while I did feel a slight connection to the Warriors, I really didn’t have a team I could call “mine.” So I would watch or keep tabs of games that had interesting matchups or fascinating storylines. During the playoffs I would be watching for a great series from both teams rather than picking sides. Then when the 2016 Finals ended and the Cavs finally earned that first ring, I realized I gotta start picking a team. Because I saw how amazing it was as a Warriors fan to win a title (and experienced as a Royals fan when they took the WS in 2015), I knew I needed to find a fanbase I could connect with. But who? Do I want to stick with the Warriors since I kind of already have a connection to them? Do I give Lebron a chance in his twilight years? Do I invest in “the process” in Philly and cheer on the young upstarts they got over there (where KU is represented)? I’m not sure. But I will say by the All Star break I hope to have it figured out.

What other sport has caught my interest? Well, Cycling of course…

What, no one believes that a big guy like me can enjoy a sport like cycling? Why I outta…ah, forget it. Back on track.

I don’t remember what exactly got me interested in cycling. I know part of it was my sis-in-law who does triathlons so that’s part of it. I just remember I found an old bike in my shed and I started tinkering with it, trying to get it back in to riding condition. I started doing research on what I needed to do and I fell in to a YouTube hole on cycling. Several hours later, I was overflowing with information about the sport and bicycles. I learned about things like Trek bikes, “sportives”, and a “peloton.” I was blown away by the fact that cycling can be a team sport and that there is a ton of strategy involved. I ended up going and watching replays of this year’s Tour de France and would get lost in the spectacle of it. So now I’m all in. I plan on devouring the rest of the UCI season, maybe even forking over the money for the NBC Gold package to watch all of the various championships and tours. I’m saving up for a Trek Verve 1. I’m attending cycling classes until then to build up my strength and conditioning. I’m gonna dive in and make some memories.

And with the cycling, I promise I’m going to do as much updating as I can on it. I’ll tweet, I’ll use instagram, Facebook, and this blog to share my ups and downs. I hope that’ll keep me on track for both blogging and riding.

Keepin’ it Geeky,

J

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Childcare, single parents, and a cause for 2017…

Single Moms Shouldn’t Have to Choose Between Child Care and Getting an Education

Over the last couple of years I have been working on a project for the super awesome Marci, my aunt-in-law. This project makes poor through studies and articles focused on several topics: Early Ed, Childcare, PreK, Birth thru 8 years old policy, and foster/adoption stuff. Every day there is something I come across that really impacts me, especially since shortly after the new year starts I myself will be a parent. The stuff I am finding now will impact Heather Harris and I in the near future. So when I come across articles like this one in #NYMag, I get upset.

Offering #ChildCare for single and/or low income parents who are trying to further their education so they can offer a better life for their little one just makes sense. But…that is something that is lost on a lot of people. This is an issue that won’t see improvement in the next two years either (that may change in 2018 depending on what happens w/Mid-Term elections.) Starting in 2017, I am going to make it my goal to do everything I can to help these causes that I currently just read about. I want and need to do this. Not just for my son’s future, but for my neighbor, my fellow Kansas Citian, my fellow American.

I’m gonna start stepping away from posting purely on politics on my social media (unless it is something pretty urgent.) It is fairly obvious where I stand; I hate Trump, the GOP will cripple our country/government, and I still am upset that Bernie wasn’t given a fair shake. Going forward, I want to focus on causes that I know will have a long-lasting impact on our country. A positive impact, one that will help us in 2017 and 2077 if done right. Let’s do this New Year; I’m ready to make you better.

Keeping’ it Geeky,

Average Joe

I come bearing gifts…

I know I had this whole plan with some amazing structure that would ensure I was blogging daily. Yeah, well, I obviously failed. But I need to do some personal reflection on whether I “failed” or I just set my standards too high. Since changing my job status last Fall (I went from being salaried to an independent contractor for the same company) my schedule has gotten more hectic and off kilter. I’ll have a few days where I am completely free to do as I please and when that happens, I have every intention to work on my projects. But then I let other, less important things get in my way (damn you Far Cry 4 and Assassin’s Creed IV: Blag Flag!!!!)

However, I finished the biggest distraction recently which was moving to our new house. Only thing now is I have to A) Get my temporary office set up, B) I have a bunch of work stuff for the next 3 weeks, C) I have to finish unpacking and setting up the house, and D) My partner Ryan and I are now entering in to crunch time for editing on the short we are working on for our friend Durka. Crunch time as in we need to get damn close to a final cut pretty damn soon because we have festival deadlines. (Note: This is not a complaint, we are loving working on this project, but it is a realization that things are gonna get tense soon if we don’t start wrapping this bad boy up.)

With all that said, I still think there is no reason why I can’t spend some time each day working on a blog update. I am going to try and get back to working on the format I laid out a while back (Film Friday and the like.) Until then, just bare with me and my randomness.

As a mea culpa for my ball dropping, I offer up this juicy morsel. A new short I came across on Vimeo (a place that I have fallen IN LOVE with) today. I think I’ll be posting more of these as well; link a few and schedule them to be dropped over the next several days so in case I don’t make it a priority to blog, you at least have something to entertain you. I give you:

But I’d Really Have to Kill You by Max Sherman, starring Ben York Jones & Tim Baltz. It is a simple short that does a great job of utilizing the typical office workspace and voiceover narration. The ending really sells it. Great job Mr. Sherman!

But I’d Really Have To Kill You from max sherman on Vimeo.

Keepin’ it Geeky,

The Oey

 

So tired…

Everyday there is something new that puts the world on blast. Two days ago it was the horrible attacks in San Bernadino, last week PP in Colorado Springs, before that Paris. In between those horrible moments you have smaller moments that are infuriating; the GOP votes to defund PP, does another ACA repeal vote, doesn’t allow gun control legislation to be voted on, the Republican candidates for president constantly demean and promise to deny rights to everyone who is not a true “Christian”, etc.

It is so tiring because every time something like these moments happens, I get fired up. I start posting all over my social media, I pick fights (arguments) with as many people as I can, and literally avoid friends and family who have don’t see things the way I do. I go in to attack mode with complete disregard if it upsets/offends/hurts people. I put blinders on and away I go.

Do I feel I am wrong in my views? Not in the slightest. However, the way I go about pushing my views on others…not so cool. That is where my error lies. That is where I become the jerk; I may be a jerk who’s heart is in the right place, but I’m still a jerk. I had the realization recently when a good friend of mine put me on blast (I know I have used that phrase twice and I promise they will by last.) In a post about the recent shootings in CA I vented about how I can’t stand empty platitudes from leaders and politicians who would rather pray than make actual change. It is a view I stand by. However, I was rather ineloquent in posting about it. I had a view folks who responded that I was more than willing to engage with because for the most part, they agreed.

However, one friend posted a simple one sentence respond that just oozed with hurt. Not picking up on that, I engaged in discussion. Eventually, via replies on Facebook and text, I realized why there was pain in response. I’m not going to say what happened here because it is not my place, but let me just say she had every right to be upset with me. 100%. And I couldn’t defend myself. I shouldn’t even try. My friend made it very real and made me realize that words can have a deep, harmful impact if I (or anyone else) are not mindful of the power they hold.

So I made the promise to my friend I would refrain from posting about that particular topic; this friend respects my views (even the ones we disagree on) but this one was too real for them. After our discussion, it made me think. I’ve been stewing on it for the last 24 hours. What other times have I gone off on something and my words have done the same thing for someone also I hold dear and they were just unable or unwilling to say something about it. I started to really think about the fact that more negativity is pushed out there by me when I start rage posting. I know I have plenty of conservative friends who have unfollowed specifically because while they are more than willing to talk about these issues, they would rather avoid a constant negative presence that I am creating on their news feed.

Being so angry is so tiring. You are constantly going up, up, up in your anger and then you crash. Then you go up again. I have grown to despise getting on my social media for that very reason. I scroll down my newsfeed and every third article/update pisses me off. Then I react. Then I go to the next issue and react again. It is an unhealthy cycle that only causes harm, frustration, and a fair amount of heart burn.

So I think it is time for a change. As of this posting, I have decided to take a break from posting anything politically related. I am refraining from “poking the bear.” By that I mean what I post will consist of positivity and I will not go out of my way to correct anyone on Facebook, even if they are blatantly wrong on a topic. There is one feature I have become a big fan of with Facebook is that if you look at the top right of the post there is a little drop down arrow. You can click on that and block the page that originated the meme (if it is a meme) or you can just hide that particular posting. I did that the rest of the day yesterday and it was glorious.

So for all of my conservative/non-political friends on Facebook, rejoice. I am retiring my crazy Facebook rants. That does not mean they won’t pop up here on my blog, but those will be easy to skip. Going forward, I will have a strict criteria of what can and cannot be posted on my page. That criteria is the following:

Can Post:

  • Updates on family and friends
  • Interesting articles about my hobbies
  • Pictures of my dogs
  • Funny pictures of my wife she doesn’t want me to post
  • Hilarious memes
  • Positive quotes/thoughts

Can’t Post:

  • Political rants
  • Rage filled posts
  • Political memes
  • Argument provoking questions
  • Anything that is filled anger

I think living my social media life by these rules will lead to a more beneficial online relationship with many of my friends and family who view differently than I and that I hardly get to see. When we actually do get to see each other, I’d rather they remember me as who I really am, not the rage filled political bleeding heart liberal they see online.

Keepin’ it Geeky,

The Oey

#IStandWithPP

I was going to do a long blog post filled with my reflections about the worst commerce day of the year (Black Friday) and then the terrorist attack in Colorado Springs happened. The idea of doing a post that blasts the evil that is the busiest shopping day of the year and not acknowledge the incident in CO seemed wrong. While I am not going to spend much time dwelling on the horrific incident (the more I do the more my anger increases) I will say a few quick thoughts.

  • This was domestic terrorist attack that was made possible thanks to the horrible actions of the far right.
  • Women’s health is apparently something considered dangerous by the whackos on the right.
  • Those who say it was a “bank robbery gone wrong”…are you really that much in denial of reality? Seriously, get your head out of your ass.

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    I stand with PP…do you?

  • Pretty telling that all 14 GOP presidential candidates and quite a few GOP leaders have said absolutely nothing about the attack. If it were something that attacked what they deem necessary, you can bet that they would be fired up about it. But a place that “kills babies”? Who cares amiright???
  • I’m glad that both Clinton and Sanders at least responded to the attacks. While I would have wished from more than a tweet from both, they at least acknowledged it. Can’t say the same for O’Malley.
  • None of my conservative friends on Facebook or Twitter have said anything heartfelt for the victims (well, one did post a meme honoring the officer who was killed during the attack; what about the other victims? What about the attack on women’s healthcare?) Needless to say it is days like yesterday that show the true heart of the Right.

In closing: My heart, my thoughts, my prayers go to this affected by this horrible terrorist attack. Going forward, I will do more than just post a hashtag in support. I am going to find ways to volunteer at a local PP location. Every bit helps.

If you would like more information about the services Planned Parenthood offers or would like to donate, please check their website here. 

Keepin’ it Geeky,

The Oey

Here’s the thing about politics…

OK, let me back up for a second. I am not going to go on a tirade about a specific event or topic within the realm of politics. Not yet at least. This blog, though I’ve had for several years now, is really just in its infancy stage, and I’m trying to figure out whether or not this should be an arena where I should talk about that stuff. That decision will be made soon and will probably be made for me. This links to my social media pages (which is ironic I mention that and you’ll know why soon enough) and I will have to decide whether or not the risk of upsetting people I know is worth it (for a good cause, it always is.)

Now that I have that disclaimer out of the way, I want to discuss the frustration of politics in general or at least, what the act of discussing politics amongst each other has become…it is now nothing but white noise. White freakin’ noise.

Let me elaborate. Today, most of us live our lives online. By that I mean we tweet, we tumble, we instagram, we Facebook, yadda yadda yadda. You get the drift. Every moment, every thought, every little detail of our lives get thrown up on one or all of the social media platforms. I say this as someone who is very much guilty of this. Because of this practice, our core values and ideas start to be condensed into a simple update that is 140 characters or less. Sometimes, we take the extra step to write a paragraph on something like Facebook.

After we do this, what usually follows? 70% of the people who agree start liking and if brave enough, comment. The likes always outnumber the comments and the comments that agree with you usually say “^This” or “Couldn’t have said it better myself, I’m sharing.” Then there are the other sides (not “other half”, because every political topic has many sides, much like a d20 from D&D), where people will (for lack of a better term) attack your viewpoint. What equates to “screaming”, people use their viewpoints to criticize yours. While their intent may be to focus on the post itself and not the individual, many of us take it as a personal attack.  I know that is not the intent; the people who are my friends on Facebook are ones I care for and I know care for me. Yet talking politics on something like Facebook is like talking in a vacuum; the only thing that exists at that moment is my post and not my 25+ years of history with that family member or friend.

Man-screaming-at-computer-via-Shutterstock-615x345

How many of my friends and family must react when they read my posts on Facebook.

Now, I’m not saying I’m innocent. When I’m scrolling my newsfeed, I do at least one face palm every time. Someone on my feed is posting a meme/article/rant that obviously is wrong or misleading and I just can’t believe they’d post it without looking at all (or any) of the facts. It makes it very hard to stop my clicking finger; my mouse pointer floats over that comment button with excitement as I am getting ready to tear apart their post with so many facts…yet, I realize (sometimes too late) that I am just doing what they did to me just a few days ago. Even though I believe (and often know) that my side is correct, so did they when they responded to my post a week ago. So am I responding to A) Start a grownup dialogue about the issue at hand, B) Post in revenge because they dared to challenge my view not long ago, or C) Just poking the bear? Sometimes its all of them, others just one of them.

We do this over and over again, using social media to speak our complex and intricate view points in small snippets that don’t truly explain all of our viewpoints. They aren’t even good synopsis’s of our views; I feel if they were there would be less online screaming and more online discussion. So that brings me to the point of this post; our reliance of social media to speak for our politics has hampered our ability to discuss the issues we care about as grown ups and in person. You know how it seems more and more people are saying “I can’t stand family gatherings, all we do is talk about politics and religion, so by the end of it everyone is mad at each other!” Granted, that may be something that has been going on for years, but nowadays it seems it is exasperated by the fact we take all of the memes, rants, and updates with us to these family events (“political baggage” if you will) and use them to argue for us. How is this productive? It isn’t! Yet we do it still!

That is my problem with politics today. Not that they divide; they have and will continue to do so. No, my problem is that we have become to reliant on a social media platforms to speak for us and therefore, have become less able to discuss and maybe solve the issues in person, like adults. If the world didn’t rely so much on social media, I would have walked away from them long ago. Sadly, that’s not an option. I have no idea now to fix this problem that I’ve blabbered on about; I just know it is a problem and it infuriates me.

I do know my personal solution though. After writing this post and rereading it before posting, I have come to a decision. I will use this blog to post my political views. However, they will not be sudden reactions to a situation. They will be researched, coherent, and hopefully, able to stand up to scrutiny. Thanks to the template of my blog, the categories are posted at the top of my posts. So, if you have no desire to read a politics heavy post, you’ll know right away to keep on scrolling past. I do hope you take a moment to read what I have to say though. Maybe you’ll agree with, maybe you won’t. If you don’t, that’s ok. We could have a dialogue about it that refrains from using base emotions but instead would be two adults talking. It is possible to do that online. Difficult, but possible. Hey, one can hope right?