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You can take the boy out of Cali but you can’t take the Cali out of the boy

I travel all over the country for a living.  I have literally seen every corner of the country in the last 4 weeks and am always grateful to get back to Texas.  Sleep in my own bed, kiss my boys and my wife goodnight and wrestle with the dogs.  However, back to back trips to California and New York have definitively proved for me that Texas is not home and it probably never will be.

You can take the boy out of Cali but you can never take the Cali out of the boy

I am currently on a plane from New York City back to DFW.  Over the last 10 days I have spent time in San Diego for a convention, Orange County for nearly a week with my family visiting my in-laws and the last few days in New York City.  I may own a house in Texas but it is clear that home is on the Pacific.  How can I tell?  Simple:

Your heart literally aches when you get off the plane:

When I first landed in San Diego, one of the first things I saw was the apartment community where I was first a leasing manager at some 20 years ago.  I immediately had memories of late night dinners with my wife, surfing the California coast on Dog Beach before I even thought about owning a dog and commuting back and forth past Sea World every day for next to nothing in pay…and desperately longing to go back to those days.  Even though I have lived in Seattle, San Francisco, Denver and now Dallas, nowhere else makes me feel like this.

You are willing to drive an hour for 90 minutes on the beach:

On my family’s last day in Orange County, we had an afternoon flight.  After breakfast with GiGi (Great-grandma) it was a unanimous decision to drive an hour to spend the last 90 minutes of our vacation on Laguna Beach.  Truth be told, it was not even a decision with my crazy family.  If we can get sand between our toes, sun on our back and the taste of salt on our lips, we are in.  To do this on the beach where my wife and I were maried, no brainer.

You are not willing to do the same anywhere else:

I routinely find myself in Florida on the beautiful East Coast and I even routinely take late even flights after morning meetings to spend time running on either Fort Lauderdale or South Beach.  However if I only have 90 minutes, I am probably heading to the Admiral’s Club.  90 minutes is not enough time for it to be worth it for me to deal with the sand and the salt if I am on the East Coast.  Same 90 minutes in SoCal?  I am researching where I can rent a surfboard by the hour before I arrive.

The final proverbial nail in the coffin for this self-realization that California will always be home was the last two days in New York City.  I found myself in the heart of Manhattan, the City that never sleeps.  A place where people from all around the world mingle in a beautiful melting pot.  I spent time visiting Rockefeller Center, running through Times Square and Central Park enjoying the city but all I really wanted to do was head back to Texas.  When we were getting ready to leave California, all I could do was think of ways to stay.

So while you can live anywhere, I think we all really do have a home.  Mine will always be Southern California.

The ‘Dad Bod’ Myth

“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didn’t exist” – Keyser Soze – The Usual Suspects

So lately there has been a lot of chatter around the ‘Dad Bod’ and how it is actually more attractive than a lean physique.  This all started from a Blog post (the pesky bloggers ;-} ) by a student at Clemson University, Mackenzie Pearson, who was commenting on the interests of her roommate when it came to the male physique.  To give credit where credit is due, you can read her post here.  Since this was posted back in March of 2015, I have seen it covered by MSN, The Today Show, Health, GQ, ABC, CBS and CNN.   Ms. Pearson should give a clinic on how to pick a topic to go viral.

But Seriously??  This is a thing?!?!?

Pearson defines the Dad Bod as a ‘nice balance between a beer gut and working out’ – I call it a medical tragedy waiting to happen.

AAAARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

Where do I even begin?   It is especially troubling to me that the men she is describing in the blog are not even dads.  They are young men who should be in their prime.  I can confidently say that the majority of the people that I see on my Facebook feed look considerable different now than they did in high school/college.  I know I do.  They call it your physical prime for a reason.

Dear Frat Boy – Your ‘Dad Bod’ is trying to kill you!!  Literally.

Now I am not at a single % body fat, I enjoy my wine and beer but I also know that I cannot allow myself to have any excuse to carry extra weight around, especially around my mid-section.  You see, that fat that is around your middle is known as Visceral Fat – and it is the most dangerous to carry around with you.  It actually directly increases your chance at developing heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and even sleep apnea.  How?  According to WebMD, here’s how:

  • Abdominal fat breaks down easily into fatty acids that are processed by the Liver and your muscles. Neither of which likes the material it is breaking down.
  • When the liver breaks down the fatty acids, your LDL levels (the bad Cholesterol) spikes.
  • When your LDL levels spike, insulin becomes less effective – causing blood sugar levels to spike (read: increased chance of developing diabetes)
  • Hormones released during the processing of the fatty acids also create constriction of the vasculature system – leading to heart disease and potentially stroke.
  • Even the sheer weight and volume of the fat can push against your diaphragm and result in difficulty breathing and if severe enough, sleep apnea.

Now ladies, I have a specific message for all of you.  Do not let us get away with this excuse for not taking care of ourselves.  This is not about getting to the point where we will be staring in the next installment of Magic Mike but we should want to be around for as long as possible.  Besides, who said all dads were soft and pudgy?  Last I checked, Hugh Jackman, Jean Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris, Bradley Cooper, Daniel Craig, Matthew McConaughey, Ryan Gossling and even Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson are all dads.  If we are talking about their examples of ‘Dad Bod’ – then I am all in.

I think my sister in law put it best “This is just an excuse for Frat Boys to party on the weekends”

Happy Father’s Day and I will see you on the road!!

The death of Nationalism or just plain apathy?

This past weekend in the United States was Memorial Day weekend, a date that has become the unofficial start of summer.  Cook outs were had, parties were thrown, pools were re-opened and most of us got to enjoy a long weekend.  However, as I was driving around Town (probably heading to the grocery store for the 3rd time as I can never seem to get everything I need on the first pass) I was struck by the lack of outward celebration/reverence for what Memorial Day was set aside to actually commemorate – those who are and have served this great nation with their military service.  The lack of the simple act of putting out a flag was so noticeable that I conducted my own non-scientific survey…..just under 15% of homes recognized Memorial Day in my Town in 2015.

Now before the town-folk come at me with pitchforks and torches, there certainly were pockets of patriots, the occasional street that was lined with Old Glory on both sides for 4-5 houses in a row would lift my spirits after driving dozens without a single flag in place.  And to be fair, I did not drive the whole town but I believe the sampling size was large enough to reflect the larger apathy that has set over our nation as a whole (this is definitely not just a ‘Town’ thing).   I am also sure there were a lot of good “reasons” that people skipped this year:

“I posted an update on Facebook” – I am sure that reached more people anyways than those driving down your street.

“I need to replace my flag – it got tattered in the last storm” – Fair enough, they sure are hard to come by this time of year.

“I was traveling for the weekend” – Yep, busiest travel weekend of the year according to AAA.  Be sure to set the timer to the lights on your house and have a neighbor check on it.  We want to make sure it appears like you are home.  Perhaps the neighbor could set out your flag to make it appear as you are there?

“Storms are supposed to be really bad this afternoon” – Legit excuse for the afternoon but what about the morning?

“I don’t support the current/past/future administration’s foreign/domestic/space policy” – what does that have anything to do with reverence for the volunteer military and honoring those who have and continue to serve us?

However with all of those “reasons” for a lack of public display in place, I want all of you old enough to own or rent a home to think back to September 2001.  America had just experienced the largest single event causing loss of civilian life caused by a foreign militant in the history of our nation.  As a collective we were hurt, we were in shock and we found ourselves craving a common symbol of strength to show our unity, our resolve and our commitment to not let others intimidate us.  What symbol did the nation turn to?  Old Glory.

You saw the flag everywhere – literally.

flag on ft

Firefighters flew it from the back of their trucks

Every Police cruiser in American had a decal on the trunk or side panel

Nearly every house flew the flag daily for months

flags on cars

They routinely were placed in the passenger windows of automobiles

Every news anchor, politician and late night talk show host wore a flag pin on their lapel

You couldn’t avoid the flag if you had to and that was on non-holidays and lasted for months.

So here we are in 2015.  In the 14 years since 9/11 we have fought 2 foreign wars, suffered multiple terror attacks, seen citizens of the world beheaded on live internet feeds and live under the constant threat of danger (just this morning the FBI warned the public about potential threats on airliners bound for the US from foreign ports – as a regular traveler I cannot express how comforting that is), yet if I were to take the actions of the multitudes of North Texans (arguably the most vehemently patriotic of all the states) as a leading indicator – we could care less to recognize or honor those who have physically defended our right to choose not to honor them.

America as a nation is not perfect.  There are many faults – not the least of which is our growing inability to empathize with those who hold different viewpoints than our own but I do not believe that Nationalism is dead.  I believe that those that I live around still believe that we have the good fortune to live in the greatest country that has ever existed.  I also believe we let ‘busy’ get in the way of ‘important’.  Showing reverence for those who have sacrificed some or all is important.

The good news?  We get two more chances in the next 2 months to make it up!!

Flag Day is coming on June 14th –  Here is your official 2-week notice to get your tattered flag replaced.

flags

July 4th is right on the heels of Flag Day –  If you are traveling, perhaps we have that neighbor help by putting out the flag in your absence.

So town-folk, I am asking for you to prove me right.  Prove that nationalism in North Texas (or wherever you live) is not dead and that you just got busy.  I dare to dream of a town where on the Fourth of July, there are as many houses with an American Flag flying in front as those that put pumpkins out for Halloween (or dare I say it – lights for the Holidays!?!?).   Can we make that happen?  Can we show those who continually sacrifice that their service is appreciated?

I know you can and I can’t wait to see the streets on 7/4/15.

In the meantime, safe travels and I will see you at the Fourth of July picnic.

The Spirit of Competition and TSA Security Lines

Have you ever had one of those trips where everything seems to go wrong?   Yeah, me too but you have to find the win in everything.

I am coming off of a trip where I arrived at my hotel at midnight only to be told that the hotel was oversold that evening and I was being ‘walked’ to another hotel, in a different chain and one that was on a much lower level of service.  Awesome, right?

And this was with a chain I am very loyal to and have status with.  Strike one!

Then in true Road Warrior fashion, I spent the day running around Atlanta with one of my co-workers who continuously got us lost. It was not her fault.  I am well aware that this person is completely directionally dysfunctional but for some unknown reason, I let her drive.  She even sincerely offered to slip out of the driver’s seat and let me drive but I was too ‘polite’ to let that happen.  The result, we were late to both of the meetings scheduled for the day and I HATE being late.  Strike two!

To top it all off, I got to the airport in Atlanta only to find out that the secondary security line, the one that puts me right by my gate and is always way shorter than the main line, was closed.  Strike three!

You can probably guess that I am not in the best of moods at this point of the day.  It is late, I have been rushing all day, I have continually been marginalized and I just want to get on a plane home.  How am I ever going to make this trip palatable?  Enter unknown Road Warrior #2.

I still don’t know his name, or what he does, or where he was going but I know that I beat him through security.  If I could, I would make getting through security an Olympic sport.  Now this process does not start with unpacking your laptop, nor taking off shoes or even making sure you know what 3:1:1 is referencing.

No!!! It begins with lane selection!! 

There is an art to this and RoadWarrior#2 and I were about to do battle.  We both had had rough days and needed some release.  So the challenge was on, who could make it through security first.  I had to do some quick evaluation:

  • Evaluating the other travelers in front of you (are there families? Travelers that are obviously not seasoned?  Elderly who you know are going to set off the alarm?)
  • Evaluating the length of the line options
  • Evaluating the TSA officer who is in charge of ticket validation
  • Observing the TSA officer who is running the x-ray machine (the most important factor in my opinion)

With our lines chosen, we waited with baited breath to see who would prevail, me in the longer but seemingly faster moving line or he in the shorter but ‘TSA Challenged’ choice.  In the end it took a last minute jump from one x-ray machine to another and a random extra screening warning on RoadWarrior#2’s part to ensure the victory for me.  A hard fought win at the end of a challenging day.

More importantly, it was levity to a heavy day that two RoadWarriors were able to share and brighten each other’s trips.  So stay safe and be friendly out there RoadWarriors and remember, if you are getting in line at TSA, it is always a race.