Category Archives: Life Stories

Know Where You Stand

Yesterday, the President came to Baltimore to visit Fort McHenry as part of the 200th anniversary of the National Anthem.  War of 1812 and all that.

He, as one would expect, arrived via the Marine One helicopter… there’s plenty of space at Fort McHenry to land a helicopter.

This is, I think we would all agree, a normal and acceptable function of the head of state.  He visited a major celebration of an important time in the history of the United States, got to tour a historical site, and hobnob with the people there.  I’m cool with that.

At about 3-3:30PM, however, I95 southbound was closed at the Ft McHenry tunnel.  All access routes out of Baltimore to I95 Southbound were closed.  I695 Westbound from I95 (the West side inner loop) was also closed, so there was no access to I695 to go West or North from I95 all the way around to past I70.

It remained closed until after 5PM.

That’s on a Friday.  During rush hour.  As an Orioles game ended.  During a huge historic celebration bringing tourists into and around Baltimore.

The road closures were not announced until they were happening, and no ETAs for reopening were provided.

Why?

Because the President needed to attend a fundraiser for Democratic Senators, held at a private residence in Northwest Baltimore.  A house owned by a wealthy hedge fund manager, and a fundraiser that cost tens of thousands of dollars to attend.  (I’m thinking everyone there was probably in the 1%).

The result?  Tens of thousands of commuters were stuck.  Downtown Baltimore was absolutely gridlocked for hours.  Since there were no alternate routes, and overpasses along His travel route were also closed, there was no where to go, and no one knew what time it would end.

I understand the security needs of the President.  While I think it’s overkill to shut down an interstate so He can use it, I get it.  I understand why the closures aren’t announced, and why the timing isn’t shared with the public  What I don’t understand is how we got to the point that we simply accept the President can shut down a city for a couple of hours during rush hour to go to a fundraiser.  How much did that fundraiser cost the area in lost productivity?  Frustration?  Parents getting home to their kids?  I would argue it’s thousands of hours, and in the millions of dollars.

Here’s what it cost me, just as an example: Continue reading

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Personality Test

Upon awakening, you discover you are out of clean underwear.  Do you:

a) go through your dirty clothes and find a pair previously worn, trying to remember which ones you wore to the gym

b) hop in the shower, and just go commando  (“I feel like a naked innocent boy roaming the countryside“)

c) go back to bed and wait for your wife to do some laundry?

Asking, of course, for a friend.


The Wrong Path

Facebook has gone wrong.  I noticed today that I can pay to promote a status update, to ‘tell friends this is important’.  Based on what has clearly happened over the course of several years, Facebook no longer shows me every update from all of my friends, and now, wants me to pay to make sure my friends see the things I have to say.

No.

That’s not going to work.  Leadership at Facebook needs to hear the word ‘MySpace’; if you don’t provide what your users want, they will take another Path.

Which is where I’m headed for personal use.

So while our business will remain on Facebook for now because it is part of our short term business strategy, we will also more actively engage on Google Plus, and of course, Twitter.  But we will never again pay to boost a post, and we’ll be ready when the solid competition to Facebook comes along… and it will.


Training Update

I took some time away from the gym.  In part due to laziness, in part because I had other pressing things to do, in part because the weather sucked, and getting up at 5:30 to drive in the snow to the gym wasn’t as appealing as staying in my warm bed until 7.

I have that excited and motivated feeling that comes when I’m out of the gym for a while.

The good news is that I don’t lose that much when I don’t train, and what I do lose tends to come back pretty quickly.  I am really out of shape, though.  While I didn’t get a ton fatter over the holidays, I am pretty fat, and my work capacity sucks.

I have two distinct things I want to accomplish.  First, I am going to compete in this year’s Maryland State USAPL meet, usually held in November or December.  There’s a meet in April, but I don’t see how I would be ready to participate.  If there are still openings closer to the date, maybe I’ll do it.  If there’s a meet sooner than the Fall, I’ll certainly consider doing it.  Second, I need to improve my body composition.  I’m too fat, and I’m getting to a point in my life where being too fat is not only a health issue, but a lifestyle issue.  While I feel like a young 43, being chubby isn’t helping my quality of life.  We’re going on a beach vacation with my family in August, so I’m going to use that as a target to be ‘beach ready’.

How will I do those things?  Training is easy – I use a basic Conjugate template (think Westside, and if you really want to learn about how I train, type ‘Dave Tate Eight Keys’ into the Google), two Max Effort days (Squat/Dead and Bench) and two Dynamic Effort days (Squat/Dead and Bench).  I usually spread my training out over an 8 day ‘week’, but I might try going back to 7.   You’ll see how I structure assistance and supplementary stuff, it’s not rocket science.  I’m also going to slowly incorporate some conditioning, with walking (transitioning to running over time) on off day mornings, and for now, I’ll do something on lifting days, too.  I’ll start with slow treadmill stuff, and work up to pushing the prowler.  Again, no reason to over think this stuff, just do it.  I’m also going to do a little more mobility work (Think Agile 8), but I won’t talk about that much.

To get leaner, I just need to apply the simple effective things that everyone knows work.  Eat my veggies, quit eating ice cream, make smart choices, but don’t ruin the fun of eating.  Just eat more good stuff.  You know the drill, and if you don’t, you should.

I’m going to start posting my training again, because I like to do that.


Wise Question

As I hope anyone reading knows, I’m a real estate agent in Baltimore.  I had the opportunity to work with a new client yesterday who is in the market to buy.

One of the great things about this career choice is that I get the opportunity work with interesting, fun, and diverse people; anyone in a relationship business understands this.  I so appreciate these chances to meet people.

So my client yesterday told me something that I found really profound.  She said a friend once asked this question of her:  “If you could tell people how old you are based on your perception, what would you tell them?”

My client answered her (with a much lower number than her actual age), after which her friend simply said:  “Then act that way.”

I’m 43 years old.  But my perception of myself, how I feel, how I can perform, is younger – more like 33.  So I’m going to act that way.  I’m going to act like I’ve got 60 years to go,  I’m going to act like I have 30-35 more years that I’m going to work.  I’m going to act like I can lift like a 33 year old, not a 43 year old.  Age is not an excuse.

That conversation was worth more to me than the commission check I’ll earn.

 


Happy New Year

I hope 2014 brings you happiness and health, and maybe a little prosperity, too.

It’s a big year for us, we have a lot of self-imposed business pressure on us this year (we need to increase our sales by 50% to really meet our goals).  We also need to find our balance again.  The primary reason I got out of the corporate world and in to Real Estate was the ability to take control of my life, but I really didn’t take any more than a day off in a row until just this last week.

I always have powerlifting goals and usually don’t achieve them.  This year, I don’t really have specific goals (at least not yet).  I don’t really have any resolutions, but I am making a commitment to giving everything I do 100% effort.  Both with business, lifting, and even with relationships, I often mail it in instead of doing my best.  I can get away with that most of the time, but if I give 100% to what I’m doing at that moment, I will achieve far more.  That doesn’t mean I need to give 100% all the time on whatever I need to do, but 100% on what I am doing.  If I don’t have enough for work, I’ll give 100% to cleaning the kitchen, or give 100% to watching football.

It’s going to be a great year.

 


One Reason

If you ever wondered why I left the corporate world, this post explains it.

Each of these people got handed a turkey, and some money, along with instructions on how to somehow improve it, promote it or otherwise dress it up. Alas, no one had the guts and the leverage to say, “stop.”

Basting the turkey might sound like your job description, but ultimately, we’re known by the projects we get involved in. Saying “no” or even “stop” is the hallmark of the professional you want on your team.

In my corporate world, saying ‘stop’ if you weren’t the person designated as the gatekeeper was forbidden.  I know, because I did it.  We were going to activate a market to install and service a brand new piece of equipment (if you recall who I worked for and what I did, you might be able to figure out what it was).  The requirement to activate a market was 40 scheduled or committed placements.  We had 1, and it was a customer test location.  I said stop.  I got told in no uncertain terms to shut up.

Eventually they listened (they are  a successful company, nonetheless), but I don’t think that helped earn me many new fans.


Jeff Hanneman 1964-2013

Yesterday was a very sad day for those of us who love heavy music, as Jeff Hanneman, guitarist and co-founder of Slayer died at 49 of liver failure, possibly related to a spider bite and resulting necrotizing fasciitis.

Hanneman had a great interest in WWII history because his grandfather, a German, fought for the US.  Slayer has been accused of being Satanists and Nazi sympathizers because he explored this interest in his lyrics – when asked about Angel of Death, a song about Josef Mengele, he said: “Nothing I put in the lyrics says he’s a bad man.  Isn’t that obvious?  I shouldn’t have to tell you that.”

I don’t know how many times I saw Slayer, but it’s probably more than any other band.  Nothing compares.  Slayer has been part of my soundtrack for more than 25 years, and this is a pretty big loss.  They have been touring with Gary Holt (Exodus) filling in, I wonder if they continue.

 

A couple of Hanneman tunes that stand out:

And possibly my favorite Slayer song:


Busy

Been too busy to blog, obviously.

Business is going well, up and running, having fun, lots of learning.

Got a new puppy.  She’s awesome, but pretty much takes up any spare time.

Training has not been going.  Busy with puppy and business has left no time for lifting, but things are settling down and I’ll be back to it this week.

Just got some great wines, so should be doing more wine blogging and getting http://www.mdwinereport .com up and running soon.

 


2012 and 2013

I looked at my last post in 2011.  It said it had been one of the toughest years for me, ever, but that I was still happy, still healthy, and I would be better in 2012.

I was a little off.

2012 was harder.  Those of you who know me personally know the longer version of what happened in the first three months of the year.  For those who don’t, here’s the short version:

My father gets pneumonia

My father has a major heart attack, codes, and is revived.

My mother, who is battling cancer, decides it’s time for hospice

My mother falls, and is diagnosed with a brain embolism.

My mother spends about a month in patient at Gilchrest, dies.

My sister and I deliver the news to my father, who is days away from being discharged from cardiac rehab.

My father gets out of cardiac rehab.

There’s more to it, the longer version goes in to detail about trips to the ER with low blood sugar and visits from urologists who may or may not have been smoking pot in the parking lot (dude!  let’s see what we can do with this tube!)

But through it all, my family and friends hung in there with me (us), keeping humor and fun integrated appropriately into something that tested me greatly.  I also can’t say enough good things about my employer, Coca-Cola.  I got the time and support I needed, with just the right amount of pressure to distract me.  I just read there’s VP opening in the organization, and they couldn’t do better than the guy I reported to.

You’ll notice there’s a change there, to past tense.  I left Coke in July.  Not because of them, but because it was time for me to do my own thing and join my wife in the real estate business.  So I did live up to my promise to my self to do better in 2013, because I took my life back.

Unfortunately, that didn’t translate perfectly, but nothing ever does.

I got to go to Japan and Italy this year, both were trips of a lifetime.  I completely own my work life balance now.  I didn’t get my training on track.

Later in the year, I had to face the possibility that I’m not invincible.  Which I find unacceptable.  Invictus.

Good enough?  For some.

But I can’t wait to get better in 2013.  2013 will be about balance and success.  It will also be about getting stronger and competing.  And it will be about re-energizing ideas that lied dormant.

Continue reading


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