it never ends (you can Skip the complaining)   Leave a comment

it doesn’t happen often, but every so often someone close passes away. this week it was the very unexpected passing of my friend nick’s dad. he wasn’t old, and he wasn’t sick. it was a shock.

so as per usual i hit facebook for details, and really just to see if nick and his bro had posted anything (i didn’t think they would), and i wanted to see the friend responses. i was looking for a few things but really i wanted to know how to respond. i mean… i wanted to text or write, but… what do you say? i started 3 texts that day and just deleted them without sending. finally, later that night, i sent nick a text.

the thing that always gets me is that my friend’s dad is gone. that right there is my biggest fear in life. my dad will pass away sometime, probably not in the too-distant future.

while nick and his fam and friends are stricken with grief facebook is alive with funny pics, not funny pics, complaints, pics and updates about the glories of coffee in the morning, quotes from drake (which i am positive are NOT from drake), quotes from just about everyone… blah blah blah. it just becomes noise.

at first it angered me. then, when i wasn’t so emotional, it made a little bit of sense. it struck me that what was important enough to write about, or capture in a pic, was so trivial compared to the loss and the grief that many were going through. then i realized that many people go through that daily while i post updates about hockey, or constipation, or music, or whatever. it’s just how we get through life. no one wants to hurt. everyone wants to get past it. i am not suggesting for a minute that the passing of Skip will be forgotten any time soon. not ever. but the daily little stuff goes on. and it is good that it does.

i will always be frustrated with people who claim that their day is ruined because their car radio doesn’t work, or they spilled something, or whatever. i hate complaining. especially when i think about how wonderful nick’s fam is. and they are going through this right after thanksgiving and right before christmas. way to shoot future holidays down. so you can understand when i clench my teeth when you post loudly that this day was doomed to failure the moment you realized you didn’t have enough milk for your cereal.

life goes on but can’t we adjust our perspective a little? 

i get the distraction. we all need stuff to do and fix our attention on. maybe because of things like dads passing away. we look to little things to find pleasure in. that’s life i guess!

i look forward to finding simple pleasure in some xbox time with nick and fred very soon.

i will always remember skip. this world lost a great man. i feel bad for his family but i feel worse for the guys i know who never had a dad like skip; the women who never had or will have a husband like skip, and the men who never had a friend like Skip. 

ok im done. back to facebook…


Posted December 6, 2012 by john b in philosofickle

How Burger King Ruins Us   Leave a comment

ok, i actually really like BK. Bk lets us have it our way. and let me tell you, i like it my way. first thing to do is get the mayo off the burger. burgers are greasy enough. i dont need xtra grease on that fatty meat puck. step 2… xtra pickles. there… perfect burger. want bacon? go for it. you may have to pay extra but its soooo worth it.

the thing is… sometimes we dont get things our way. sometimes its best if we dont. there are a lot of people on this planet. what would happen if we all got it our way? and im not talking about burgers. but i think you knew that.

i run a gym. let me tell you what i deal with because everyone wants it their way…

1 lady wants a speaker next to a certain machine because she doesnt want to be bothered with bringing her own music. so i had to hang and wire up a single speaker for her.

another lady wants that same speaker off when she works out cuz that loud obnoxious music “has no rhythm”.  so i have to turn it off for her and then back on for the other lady.

one guy changes the radio station to classic rock every day. no one else wants classic rock so i have to change it back when he leaves.

one older lady wants a fan hung on the wall to point directly at her when she uses a certain machine. 3 of my other regulars unplug the fans when they come in cuz they want to sweat. but one woman always turns my thermostat down lower than it can actually handle so i have to monitor that too.

one guy (lets call him barbara) likes our gym because we are not a bunch of rules and clueless employees that enforce rules with no real idea as to why they have those rules.

then barbara went to the CEO of our company to complain about dust on some weights. then the director came to me and made me clean them. then not 5 mins later barbara comes up and asks how my day is going. i ignored barbara. that guy irks me. especially since i took his side when he got into a fight with another member. im rethinking that move.

some members want more treadmills while others want 120 lb dumbells.

the moral of the story is that sometimes you gotta just do your thing and stop worrying about all the extras. people get so used to having things just so. then they have the hardest time dealing with things and people that are not just so.

sometimes i really get discouraged. i want to leave people and just be alone. but i guess that is just me wanting things the way that i want them. so i take my own advice and let people be people and try to deal.

Posted September 4, 2012 by john b in philosofickle

gotta know your weaknesses in order to fix them   Leave a comment

i work at a gym. in fact, i run the gym. dont get all impressed on me cuz it really isnt that impressive. i pretty much just schedule everyone to work and then try to make them actually work.

i like the gym. when i started lifting weights it taught me a lot about me and people in general.

why lift weights? well for me i had a few goals.

  1. i wanted to have muscles and be powerful
  2. i wanted to be hott for my wife, whomever she would turn out to be
  3. i wanted to be athletic so that i could do stuff with my kids, whenever i had kids.

i have since added a 4th element and that is that i want to maximize and sustain my athletic ability for hockey and sports in general.

one thing i learned from all of this is that in order to be good at something you have to identify your weaknesses and train them.

i think someone who succeeds in life is good at identifying their weaknesses. someone with low self esteem is at risk of glossing over those weaknesses and focusing on their strengths. i see that a lot in the gym. guys and girls come in and do what they enjoy the most or what they are good at but shy away from the harder things. instead of the gym being a place to make them better they use the gym as a place to bolster their ego or self esteem. that’s why i see guys bench-pressing much of the time.

the bench-press is widely regarded as a symbol of power. “how much do you bench?” frequently asked question. stupid question.

to a guy who is trying to build his body the weights are just tools. unfortunately it is more common to see the weights using the tools. get it?

if i am building a house, and the house is turning out nice, is it really important to you what size hammer i am using? you see, the numbers get in the way. guys and girls want to focus on their numbers, but really they want to focus on their numbers in relation to YOUR numbers. the numbers mean nothing if not compared to other numbers.

some guys that have low self esteem become the best bodybuilders. you see that many of the best bodybuilders in the world are short. it is somewhat rare to see bodybuilders over 6 ft tall. not to say all short guys have esteem issues. but it makes me wonder.

ok back to my original topic…

identify your weaknesses. i.e. what are your problems. how many times do we decide what it is we want and then justify that with excuses. i have known many friends who are like that. one got married for all the wrong reasons but justified it in his head because he wanted to enjoy that girl’s private parts, but didnt love her enough to even have a job, or any idea of who he was or what being a husband-father meant.

i deal with people every day who lie to me constantly. its unfortunate because if i could i would tell them, “look, i dont care in the least what you eat. i dont care if you come to my gym or not. all i am trying to do is help you attain your goals. if you want to be lean, and you eat crap all the time, but you lie to me about it, YOU lose. not me”.

for all i know those people lie to themselves. if you lie to yourself can you really even help but lie to others? what kind of reality is that? if your inner dialog is BS, then what do you think comes out of your mouth?

in my job there is nothing worse then going through the motions of training and talking with someone when i know they will not continue on, and if they do they still wont achieve their results, and will quit at some point. if a healthy dose of honesty was infused in our relationship then real progress could be made. i had a girl who finally told me her problem is that she needs to eat ice cream at some point every day. you know what? we worked around it and she made the progress she wanted to make. all she had to do was tell me.

this isn’t really about the gym. it is a decent analogy, but it’s life in general that is the point. what are your weaknesses? do you need to make them stronger? avoiding them actually makes them weaker.

Posted July 25, 2012 by john b in Uncategorized

Our Deceitful Comfort Zone   Leave a comment

As per usual, I have been kinda thinking about this topic for a little while but not really giving it any real amount of my attention until recent events encouraged me to focus on it. I thought it somewhat profound enough to be worth blogging. Of course, I have blogged for much less so that isn’t saying much.

I have been noticing people, and myself, and how we interact inside and outside of our comfort zone. That led me to come to a conclusion regarding their actions and how one gets/changes their comfort zone.

Comfort in life has been a pretty important topic to me in the past. Some people go to great lengths to achieve and protect their comfort and maybe even interchange the words happy and comfortable.

Here is the thing… the smaller your comfort zone, the more uncomfortable you are going to be in life. OR, you are going to spend more time in it and away from life. If you are only comfortable in a limited number of places then it stands to reason that you will stay away from uncomfortable places. Or, you will begin to be comfortable in more places, thus expanding your comfort zone and increasing your level of comfort in life. make sense?

let me put it this way… if you only like to eat 4 different things then it is likely that you will either rarely eat away from those things, or you will not enjoy eating most of the time. if you go out of your way to try new things then it is reasonable to assume that you will end up experiencing some new foods that you dont like, but you will probably also experience foods you DO like. the result? you just expanded your comfort zone and will likely be more at ease and find more enjoyment when eating.

there are quite a few examples to choose from and i am sure you can think of your own. in my own life, i have kind of gone out of my way to do things that intimidated me. i didnt do it for any noble reason other than it made me angry that i was nervous, or uncomfortable, or intimidated. so i did things to get over that. the unconcious result was an ever expanding comfort zone. 

people who shy away from uncomfortable situations will always have those same uncomfortable situations. i can’t live that way. i refuse.

maybe it’s my competitive nature. probably is.

i kind of confused this concept with being particular. being particular in taste is not the same thing. if you like what you like that is fine! the problem is when you will never do anything new and excuse is it with “well i just like this”.

im not here to say anyone’s lifestyle is wrong. doesn’t matter to me. all i am trying to do is point this out in case you haven’t recognized it yet for yourself.

in short, the more you refuse to leave your comfort zone, the more likely you are to be uncomfortable. big deal… unless you want to spend time with people that exist in a much larger zone. you either pull away from them or you expand your zone. your choice.

i have a few fences that keep my zone the size that it is. i have to work at diminishing the discomfort  that established those barriers. speaking in front of groups is one of them.

another big one is dancing. i cant dance. or maybe i can. i have no idea. the thought of dancing makes me feel ill. i have left many weddings early just to avoid that time of the night. for me its a little different in that i really have no idea what good dancing is and what bad dancing is. it all looks weird to me. hence… extreme discomfort. i am not sure that my zone will ever contain a dance floor.  so i guess we all have our issues.

Posted July 12, 2012 by john b in philosofickle

The Best Wedding Yet   Leave a comment

my friend brennan (lover of manly things like hockey and beer and drums and good music) married his friend tara (lover of manly things like brennan) sunday. i was in the wedding. to date, it was the best wedding. i have a lot of reasons why. in fact, you can’t really argue with me as to whether or not it was actually the best wedding because i will offer reasons and facts and you will be wrong, and shamed. don’t believe me? well here are some of the reasons why it was the best…

brennan married tara

tara married brennan (bren and i are close–so she actually married both of us but she doesnt know that yet… i dont think. she will soon though)

they were married at northgate fmc and pastor andy did the ceremony

anth (singer/songwriter/worship leader/hockey buddy/softball captain/father to 2 awesome boys/maintainer of good looks with less hair than the average head of hair holds #hardtodo), sang this song by dustin kensrue

pretty much the best song ever written

just to recap so far… the best 2+ people, married in the best church, by the best pastor, to the best song = best wedding.

not convinced huh? ok i have more

the weather was just about 80 with a breeze

justin michau did the photography as you can see, justin can operate a camera much like a marine sniper operates a rifle

the reception was at becker farms  and becker is only one letter less than beckler, which is the best name ever. 

they had a build-your-own-loaded-baked-potato table

they also had a build-your-own-taco table

they ALSO had a build-your-own-burger table. with endless bacon

brennan’s bro was home from the army to be his best man

AND… i got to enjoy the reception with my lady sarah (lover of manly things – me/ blogger of sweet bloggings/crafter of crafty things)

if you aren’t convinced by now- you are crazy and obviously biased and may have suffered a head injury recently or maybe even not recently but you should prolly get that checked in case you have a concussion cuz im pretty sure you have permanent damage

Posted July 10, 2012 by john b in oh ssstop

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Mahwegde… ith whut bwings uth togethah toodayyy   Leave a comment

ok, so for those of you that cant read that title it says- Marriage is what brings us together today. its from The Princess Bride. you remember the priest guy who was going to marry Humperdink and the Princess? He goes on, “Wuv… twue wuvvv…”. so anyhoo when i hear the word marriage i immediately think of that guy who sounds like he had his tongue glued to the inside bottom of his mouth. and it was me that mentioned marriage. to myself.

i wanted to blog again so i just started typing about what came to mind. gotta be honest with you… i am kind of obsessed with marriage. one of my best friends gets married next week and then i get married one month after that.

what a scary exciting thought! ok yeah i am kinda nervous. in my mind it is like as if my hott lady is going to climb down a cliff, using a rope, and i am the one holding the rope at the top. if i let go she gets hurt. we are stepping up to the edge and about to tie the rope around her. oh oh!! maybe thats what they mean about tying the knot! prolly not. pretty sure thats not what they mean at all.

can i stop and switch gears for a second? everyone keeps calling me Mike. why do people think my name is Mike? At first it was just one lady at the deli, but now it is other people. the funny thing is, she must not have looked at my debit card even one time in all of the hundreds of times i’ve purchased NOS water from her. my name is john. it was never mike. do i look like a mike? can i at least be Iron Mike, or Michael Angelo, or Mikey Muscles or something like that? I prefer john though. it has served me well. it is very flexible and useable in all situations when you make it johnny_______.

back to marriage. so here we are approaching the date and i wish i could say it is just amazing. notice i said JUST amazing, because it is at least partly amazing. sarah is wonderful. could not ask for a better girl. and every day she is becoming a better sarah than she was the day before. certainly could not ask for anything better than that.

as we get closer to the date it is kind of good for the nerves that people give us stuff. her parents got us a sweet grill. i love kitchen stuff sooo much. and like i always say, “a great marriage starts with a good guy and a good grill”. ok well sarah actually said that. i just started saying it. but she said it first.  

it is a little nerve wracking thinking about the ultimate commitment. i just wish that wedding rings were magical. i wish that when you put them on all of a sudden your own desires kind of fade away and all you can think about is making her happy. i wish that all of a sudden your eyes only saw her as attractive instead of females in general being attractive. i wish the thought of kids was purely exciting and didnt carry with it concerns for loss of sleep and money and boogery colds and no more alone time. mostly it is that all of that is an overwhelming responsibilty that i have avoided for almost 38 years.  

for me it is just focus. right now i need to just focus on this time, which is fun, and the time when we are married and it is just us. and most of all, i need to focus on the One who says that if i seek Him all of the rest comes into its proper place. the One who gives us love and gently helps us to love. the One who asks me to treat her the way that i want to be treated. the One who reminds me that as much as i hold her rope she is also holding my rope.

i am very thankful to the pioneers that have come before us; her parents and mine, and for those around us that are making it work when it seems it hardly ever works.

Posted June 29, 2012 by john b in philosofickle

June 27 – A perfect day for asparagus   Leave a comment

well it is blog time again. i don’t really have any one thing that will be the theme of this blog. i have had a few things tickle my fancy lately (my friends know that i have an extremely ticklish fancy). and well, my friend nick mieney is dogging me to write so here is my blog in nick’s honor.

yesterday i went grocery shopping and realized something about myself. i can be thinking- “gee whiz im in a great mood cuz i found everything i was looking for in the store and the sun is shining and for the first time in my life i actually think some babies are cute and i cant wait to tear into this pomegranate greek yogurt”, then go the self checkout section (i am very independent to the point of offending people that try to be helpful), and lose my good mood in seconds. so i can be in the amazingly good mood, but when i scan that first item, and am putting it in the bag, and the computer voice tells me to put it in the bag not even a second after i have scanned it… i swear i cant control the expression my face makes. i reeeeeaaaallly want to smash that stupid machine.

seriously i need to work on that stuff.  i get derailed pretty easy some times. the problem is the primer to that situation. you know when you walk up to the self checkout area (no i am not talking about the mirrors by the dumbells at the Y where the guys check out themselves, i am referring to the machines at Tops) and there are a couple of people waiting, but as I am standing about 3 people back i realize that one of the 6 checkout machines is actually open but the person at the front of the line hasn’t noticed yet. ok sorry, that was the longest, worst sentence ever written.

but yeah, the checkout is wide open but the person hasnt noticed. so that is the first test. i usually pass that test rather easily. i over-ride my natural instinct to roll up a nearby magazine and hit them in the back of the head. no i am not cruel. i wouldn’t use a cosmo mag. i would grab a slightly thinner and lighter mag-rag that has a cover claiming that tom cruise is having an affair with a time-travelling fan from 2025 who saw the Mission Impossible movies and liked them (but doesnt like Vanilla Sky at all and wonders why he made it but still loves him enough to travel back in time and have an affair with him).

 so yeah, i kind of chuckle off the clueless shopper and step up to the next free checkout machine. then i scan my first item and the voice says “please put the item in the bag” before i can get it into the bag. instant sour mood. like using a sour patch kid for a suppository. you know, those super-sour candies that make your eyes flutter and half close and your cheeks quiver.

i am still generally in a good mood most all of the time. i love the summer. my thing is that when i lose that good mood, cuz i got irked, it usually brings out a rather extreme response from me.

lately i have been thinking a little more violently. i hope this blog isn’t used as evidence later after i have gone postal and people say this was the first signs.

like, for instance… (oh ps, never start a sentence with “like, for instance”)  

i think that politicians that obstruct items that would be for the good of the country, but are not from their party or would otherwise not serve them personally, should be shot for treason. im serious. the politicians we have now dont care about the country. they care about the advancement of their political party. we need an impartial board who reviews the actions of our government officials without knowing their names or party and determines whether their actions are selfish or without regard for the people. then the penalty is imprisonment or their legs. they can choose.

soccer players who flop on the ground, pretending to be hurt, should be trampled by all players still standing. or, upon video review by a panel of hockey players, they can be subjected to a beating by the opposing team.

so thats a couple of thoughts i’ve had recently. oh and i have been eating asparagus today, hence the title.


Posted June 27, 2012 by john b in oh ssstop, philosofickle