2.184. On the Youtuber Phenomemon

My kids are hooked on Youtube. For a while I was really messed up about this. I felt and believed that this was truly instilling some nonsense in their heads they felt was utterly real. Between Logan Paul and the Ireland Boys, my children were becoming enamored with a bunch of fake people doing stupid things. In other words, they are watching a comparatively tame version of Jackass.

This is largely harmless fun. The real risk is when the kids try to emulate their tube heroes. However, this is no different than emulating any TV or fiction hero. The difference is that the new generation is using a different medium to experience story, and experiencing stories that are far less vetted and more likely to be of a lower quality of tale than what can be provided by a school or a parent.

I’m learning to adapt to what kids find interesting and relevant and at the same time present them with alternate ideas and inputs so that they have a multitude of different influences and through that can find what applies to them and what actually works for them.

Some Thoughts:

  1. So much about the kids. What about me?
  2. What about me?

2.183. First Day Back

So, I’m back. A few days ahead of the New Year, I’ve stepped into renewal mode. This is an all in sort of thing where I find myself dragging my kids, kicking and screaming, behind me into the light. Today’s big goal is to establish some goals for the new year. I’m talking monthly, semesterly, and so on. I want them to recognize that having goals is important. I want them to see that having something to look forward to is important and establishing a plan in your life is important as well. I have other goals in mind for myself and for them.

To begin, I have the goal of increasing their understanding of the value of money through a shared savings and spending effort. We are going to start looking at some of the things we want to do and creating ‘funds’ for those activities. For example, we are hopeful to spend time on the beach this summer. Normally, my kids lay back and expect me to simply handle that. This year I want them chipping in.

Beyond kid goals, I am squarely focused on becoming a more organized and dependable individual. This means getting my house in order and getting focused about my writing career. A lot revolves around that idea of making writing once again the center of my life. It has long existed as a dusty, off-center thing, like a record player forgotten in the age of digital downloads.

A larger goal is the quest for peace and happiness. I need to find a solid piece of mind for myself. I’ve been spiraling a lot lately and trying desperately to moor myself to the idea of this partnership I have. However, a creeping lack of faith there derailed things for a time. We’ve talked through that, landing on the understanding that talking is what needs to happen most. Peace and happiness means not keeping things bottled up. It means I say everything always.


2.182. On Returning to the Saddle

Okay, break is over.

Tomorrow we start peeling down the trappings of christmas, but I am already looking past new years. I spent a portion of the morning refreshing the loft area and tomorrow I’ll be adding and populating a calendar in the space that lets us know what big things are coming up for the family. As for me, I’ll be populating my calendar, refreshing my resume, and plopping my butt back down in this very chair to do more than ten minutes a day.

I can’t lie and say I’m 100% refreshed and at peace (I’ve said refresh like 4 times now) but I’m in a place mentally and physically where I feel it is time to get up and get moving. I need to abandon the lazy and start to make a portion of my time productive. I need to get back to reading Thich Nhat Hanh, and being more mindful of what is happening around me. I am in a position where I can really capture the life I want, but if I stay asleep it will never happen.

Some Thoughts:

  1. The Giants went with the other guy.
  2. Had the partner and kids over for Kidsmas. It was low key and it was as a wonderful as it always is. While having 5 boys is a lotit does underscore the fact that kids who get along well together are a pleasure to have even in numbers.
  3. Oh, and I’m stupidly, crazily, drop dead in love still.
  4. If I don’t marry that woman, the universe is broken.

2.181. My application for GM of the New York Giants

I am formally throwing my hat in the ring for the NY Giants GM position. I realize I have no experience outside of Madden video gaming and can be a volatile personality who doesn’t take a whole ton of shit. Still, I believe I have two things that are going to be highly useful to a team looking to move towards a championship caliber once again: I have a love for the team that is as engrained in me as the love for the city I grew up in. Beyond that I have intimate knowledge of how to get people who think they’re God’s gift to work together and a history of knowing what pieces fit together well and which do not. I have to–I teach.

Hear me out.

Some of the largest personalities outside of TV or sports teach at the community college level. I used to refer to them as sharks lurking in a goldfish pond. These are people who can see the opportunity to be the so-called big fish and have the drama (occasionally the skills) to create a space for themselves. This is essentially the conceit of any football organization. How do you ‘handle’ the talent? How do you maintain a sense of morality and honor and tradition while at the same time running a cut throat business whose bottom line is to win, baby, win?

For example: I would have handled the Eli Manning situation much differently. Everyone knows that Eli is getting on in years, and his confidence in his woeful line is shattered. He’s afraid all of the time and has nary an pair of hands to throw to. Still, this season was a lost cause 6 weeks ago. Instead of benching him and creating controversy, let him play out the season and then bring in some competition next season where he can honestly say he has to earn his keep again. Not just a rookie to mentor, but a solid veteran looking for a new team–A Teddy Bridgewater type. What about Beckham? You go get his best friend and instantly have the best 4 wide set in football.

There is more to it than who you hire and put on the field, but if the Giants want to know more, call.

I’m serious. Call.




The problem I have with the start of semesters is that it is so easy. The workload is so light that I get lazy and fall into a false sense of security about the amount of effort and organization required to get stuff done. By the time the work starts to roll in i’ve become so used to the extra time that I don’t know how to start working–how to ramp up to get it done. So, I’ve decided to change the way I assign work in the classroom. I am going to front load the heck out of my classes so we start out with a heavy barrage of small, high feedback assignments that prepare the students for the mid and late semester game where the workload thins and the assignments become more valuable, nuanced, and meaningful.

I have the means to make this happen. I mean to plan to make it so.

First off, I’m going to need to have some structure–even in this off time. I’ve spent my christmas wallowing in a shallow pool of self loathing and relationship (fear) driven depression that has offered me little more than premature gray hairs. Basically, that has been my private life for the last year at least–especially over the past 5 months. The upside is that when you live in sadness and fear then everything in your life seems to occur in relative slowness. You are, in a sense, getting more time. The downsides are obvious. So, I’m going to focus on getting some structure and getting out of my head just a little. Some things you can’t change. Some things you can.

Step one: Let’s make a schedule and include in it the time required to build out this new plan…


2.179. On The Holiday Season

I read an article on the New York Times website today extolling the virtues of living a healthy and productive life. It argued, if you want to live better you need to do things, have friends, be in love, eat right, and stay positive. I’m doing one of the vaunted list. I ought to try for the trifecta.

There are a ton of mental positives happening in my brainpan. Whenever I see someone who is fit, my first instinct is to want to exercise. I eat less and I eat better food on the whole. I am finding ways to balance my time. There are things in the universe I want to do and I am doing some of them. Still, the overall state of my life feels like a holding pattern. This is no more apparent than on the holidays.

I spend my holidays waiting to see what everyone else wants and is doing. Rarely do I surge forward to find my own space and place in things. I’m going to take this Christmas through New Year stretch to reflect on that–as I should’ve done since Thanksgiving.

I’ll hold on to these thoughts and use them as the kindling for what I create next year.

Some Thoughts:

  1. Here’s the real of it all: It is not healthy to be alone on the holidays. Not because the days themselves are in any way magical, but because the social phenomena of those days only exacerbates their importance, and conversely, your isolation. Moreover, if you do have someone who loves you and they don’t try to find a way to spend time with you on those days they know matter, then they don’t recognize how much it matters or it doesn’t matter enough to them how you feel about the isolation. Either way, its a red flag.
  2. It took me a while to figure out what I did, but I did. I realize now that I sent my sister a straight up christmas card… She’s jewish.

2.178. T’is the Night…

T’is the night before christmas

And all cheer is done

We opened our presents

and had us great fun


For this year at Christmas,

my ex has the troop

So I had them all week,

and now we’re all pooped.


For 12 days we did christmas,

and our hearts filled with joy

Presents each day

for three good little boys.


The end was a doozy

they got worlds near and far

They can visit them daily

‘cuz they got a VR


Now we live the oasis

That wonderful dream

The look on their faces

the sounds of their screams


Perhaps the joy of christmas

isnt hard to find

The pleasure I think

Is watching kids lose their minds


But another joy lurks

its just out of sight

Something better than gifts

something that’s truly right.


The true meaning of christmas

and solstice before

Is to think of your loved ones

and open your doors.


Invite love to join you

tell it come right in

Connect with your family

Reach out to your friends.


To be alone on christmas

is a weight hard to bear

Its tough to see no one

yet assume someone cares


So as I close please listen

Hear me well, I say.

Christmas is special

Its much more than a day.


Find yourself, find a loved one

find a place to belong

alone like this next year?

That’s terribly wrong.

2.177. Compass

I grew up around people who felt there was one way of being, thinking, and reading. It was, as they said, the right way. You pulled from culture and what you read was known as literature. Television is rarely included in that influential stew meant to form the base of how and what one writes. It is because of this I believe that certain writings are relegated to the halls of genre. For example, I spend a great number of hours watching the sc-fi channel and some of what I learn about story there filters into the work I do. This is not what my precursors would call literary inspiration, but it suits me just fine.  I suppose that determines the type of writer I am seen as, though it fails to determine the kind of writer I am.

My compass points towards good writing. I find it everywhere. I don’t restrict what it is or limit my ability to judge it in the full.

Some Thoughts:

  1. 177 days since the moment that broke me. It was a culmination of moments, really. It was a gust of wind that toppled a house of cards and brought light to an incomplete deck.
  2. Writers tend to go on about some poetic nonsense.
  3. Yep, I’m a writer.
  4. When people talk to graves they are using a talis. They are using a conduit to connect to what they remember in hopes of pushing their emotions out into the ether of where that (soul?) went.
  5. Drank a full can of soda for the first time in some time. It was a rare joy. Certain things find strength and pleasure in moderation. Other things ought to be enjoyed every waking moment.


You may have noticed the jump in numbering. As I was going through the past week of posts I noticed two version of 2.170. This necessitated edits all the way up the chain. One day I’ll go back through all of them and make sure there are no more such repeats. Neat that I had a moment to do that–to think about that even. I’m sitting at the dining room table swilling down an Old Fashioned and watching my kids play video games as I write this evening’s post. This is a good moment. This is not quite the life I want. It is adjacent and wrong in more ways than I can count, but it is what happiness is supposed to taste like. If you pause to look closer–to dissect the moment–you’ll see what I mean.

But we won’t do that this evening.

Instead we will view it out of the corner of our eye and pretend everything is wonderful. For a while it is. For as long as we will it to be. For as long as we can take. Tonight we can take all the moment has to offer, because there is enough here that is pure and innocent and fun to make it work.

2.175. 12 Days

This year I don’t have my kids on christmas day or the next few days after. Instead of rushing through morning gift openings only to hurry up and wait, as it were, to use them I decided to release a gift a day up through xmas eve with a bonus gift on xmas day. So far it has been a hit. The kids are having a great time picking out which gifts to open and experiencing the high/low of the situation. Not all gifts are equal in price and value. Most are stocking stuffer level. The big prizes are scattered throughout and each gift at any level is highly personalized to the receiver.

One of the best gifts thus far is the VR rig for the eldest’s iphone. They love it. They’ve been running in circles all day, enjoying the virtual reality. I am enjoying watching them. My kids are on break and having a good time both being out of school and hanging out as a family. It is a joy to be a father right now and a joy to experience this extended version of christmas. With so much that I long for and stress about, it is nice to know there is something I have in hand that I love.

Some Thoughts:

  1. Cooking breakfast for the boys. It is a rare joy, given the immense amount of time spent rushing to the next event. I love slowing down and not having so much to do all the time. Sports are great and exciting, but we need to scale back dramatically. I need time to just chill with my kids.