Monday, April 19, 2010

what it means to me to be back in the pool

it has been over a year since i’ve been in the pool for some reason other than a sun tan. the captextri is less than 6-weeks away & for that reason i could delay no longer.

yesterday i signed up for 2-weeks free at 24-hour fitness & this morning concluded my 2nd swim workout. while in the water this morning, on my drive back home, & making my oatmeal & eggs for breakfast (#2) some thoughts about what it meant to be back in the pool raced through my mind:

  • there is no better workout than builds muscles you didn’t know existed, it increases your endurances, & best of all it’s easy on your joints (unlike running or weights).
  • don’t judge a book by its matter how fit you look, it doesn’t mean anything when it comes to swimming. some of the most unfit looking people are some of the best swimmers ever.
  • swimming is a great excuse for having bad hair.
  • swimmers really do shave for a reason.
  • thinks swimming will be good for my allergies.
  • the more chlorine, less deodorant & showers required.
  • lots of wet clothes & gear to carry around...still NOT as bad as the leftovers from taking bikram yoga.
  • there is nothing better than coming home to a cup of fresh coffee after a morning swim.
  • swimming isn’t a sport, it’s an art form!
  • i will be hungry all day now after swimming in the morning.
  • if god had intended for me to swim, he would have given me gills & fins.
  • raccoon eyes can be cool...just own them!

if you haven’t tried swimming i highly recommend it, i think...

Sunday, February 28, 2010

rice paddies

i was first introduced to malcolm gladwell through his second book, blink. after reading blink & buying into many of gladwell's theories & appreciating his ability to make me think outside the box i quickly gravitated to his first book, the tipping point, which also helped me expand my way of thinking about why things occur the way they do.

his third book, outliers, has by far been most favorite! chapter 7 specifically, which gladwell analyzes the correlation between plane crashes & ethnic origins. chapter 7 just knocked me off my feet! the fact that i began reading this chapter on the way to the airport & i literally finished the chapter as the plane was accelerating down the runway during takeoff (flight from denver to austin) really had my blood pumping!

communication, communication, communication!

chapter 7 of outliers described how the majority of plane crashes have nothing to do with blown engines, malfunctioning wings or landing systems, etc. the majority of plane crashes are caused by a series of small & connected communication errors between the pilots in the cockpit & the pilots in the cockpit with the folks in the air traffic control tower.

two examples that come to mind include: a S. korean co-pilot who wouldn’t speak up to his captain & tell the captain that they were heading straight into a mountain...the co-pilot wouldn’t speak up because at the time it wasn’t allowed for a co-pilot to question the captain. the second example had to do with a co-pilot & pilot not being straight forward with an air traffic controller at JFK airport...their plane was literally running on fumes & they were inevitably going to run out of fuel & crash if they didn’t land immediately; but instead of telling the air traffic controller that they needed to land immediately they simply agreed to circle the runway again because that is what the air traffic controller was telling all the planes coming into JFK at the time to do.

the overarching theme of the book though isn’t about communication & it is NOT about just being at the right place at the right time. being at the right place at the right time is a component of one’s success, but what IT really comes down to is HARD WORK & DEDICATION...think about the 10,000 hour rule! sure the opportunity has to present itself, but if you don’t jump all over that opportunity & give it your all it won’t add up to anything.

my favorite quote of the book comes from chapter 8, rice paddies & math tests. “no one who can rise before dawn 360 days a year fails to make his family rich.”

i highly recommend you check out outliers for a minimum read chapter 7; preferably not while on a plane.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010 new years resolutions

one of my 2010 resolutions is certainly *not* to blog more. i've noticed a number of folks that i read/follow have listed this as a goal for 2010. unless you are making cash or benefiting in some other significant way i don't understand why people are bothered that they don't blog about what they had for dinner, or how tough their day was, or exciting their trip to (fill in the blank) was. while fun to share all the "fun" in your life, it really isn't that big of a deal that you aren't posting it on the internet.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

ultimate super healthy pumpkin bread, version I

i thought it was pretty funny when roland (a good buddy & colleague) told me that my original "super healthy pumpkin bread" recipe was a #1 hit on google. at the same time, the recipe rocks & if you are a fan of pumpkin bread & watching your waist line then this recipe is for you.

the original recipe was posted back in jan. '08 & like most recipes it has evolved over time. the feedback/comments i received & my unrealistic approach to make every food ridiculously healthy & tasty too has motivated me to release the "ultimate super healthy pumpkin bread" recipe.

if you dare...

dry ingredients:

3 1/2 cups: whole wheat flour

2 tbspoons: milled flax

2 tbspoons: whole flax

1 1/2 tspoons: salt

2 tspoons: baking soda

4 tspoons: nutmeg

4 tspoons: cinnamon

1/2 cup: raisins

1 cup: walnuts (go wild & add as many of your favorite type of nut)

1 scoop: EAS vanilla protein powder (of all the ingredients this is the most optional)

wet ingredients:

2/3 cup: water

1 cup: apple sauce

4 egg beaters (or real eggs if you prefer)

1 tspoon: vanilla

1 tbspoon: honey

1 tbspoon: blue agave

mix all ingredients together

oil pans (makes 2 pans) with oil (i use grapeseed oil) & then dust the pans with whole wheat flour to prevent the bread from sticking

bake at 350 degrees for 1hr & 5mins

enjoy with family & friends!


the results: unfortunately for me the results weren't so good... i will of course eat every bit of this pumpkin bread & i'll enjoy knowing that it is super healthy, but even i will have to add something to each slice to give it some flavor. probably just smear on some peanut butter, jam, or honey.

version II of this recipe coming soon.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

payton's first 5K

payton has run a number of miles alongside me & kristin, but never before has he officially run a race. this morning that all changed & he joined me & my buddy mitchell for his first official run - the 3rd annual got guts 5K. in true payton form, he we a real animal!

he was the show of the party & in fact (not making this up) at the end of the race he gave an interview on camera (one of those small flip camcorders) to an older gentlemen that had never seen a ridgeback before & was really interested in the breed.

anyhow, it was a fun morning. kristin, carol, & kasey cheered the three of us on. the race continued to help in bringing awareness to celiac disease, introduced us to some awesome local businesses that cater to the gluten-free community, & even better mitchell & i received some real positive feedback about moon tower brewing - soon to be the first gluten-free beer brewing company in austin!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

the 5 minute management course

a colleague forwarded me this clever short course in management.

lesson 1

a man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower, when the doorbell rings.

the wife quickly wraps herself in a towel and runs downstairs.

when she opens the door, there stands bob, the next-door neighbor.

before she says a word, bob says, 'i'll give you $800 to drop that towel.'

after thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of bob, after a few seconds, bob hands her $800 and leaves.

the woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs.

when she gets to the bathroom, her husband asks, 'who was that?'

'it was bob the next door neighbor,' she replies.

'great,' the husband says, 'did he say anything about the $800 he owes me?'

moral of the story: if you share critical information pertaining to credit and risk with your shareholders in time, you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure.


lesson 2:

a priest offered a nun a lift.

she got in and crossed her legs, forcing her gown to reveal a leg.

the priest nearly had an accident.

after controlling the car, he stealthily slid his hand up her leg.

the nun said, 'father, remember psalm 129?'

the priest removed his hand but, changing gears, he let his hand slide up her leg again.

the nun once again said, 'father, remember psalm 129?'

the priest apologized 'sorry sister but the flesh is weak.'

arriving at the convent, the nun sighed heavily and went on her way.

on his arrival at the church, the priest rushed to look up psalm 129. it said, 'go forth and seek, further up, you will find glory.'

moral of the story: if you are not well informed in your job, you might miss a great opportunity.


lesson 3:

a sales rep, an administration clerk, and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp.

they rub it and a genie comes out.

the genie says, 'i'll give each of you just one wish.'

'me first! me first!' says the admin clerk. 'i want to be in the bahamas , driving a speedboat, without a care in the world.'

puff! she's gone.

'me next! me next!' says the sales rep. 'i want to be in hawaii , relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of pina coladas and the love of my life.'

puff! he's gone.

'ok, you're up,' the genie says to the manager.

the manager says, 'i want those two back in the office after lunch.'

moral of the story: always let your boss have the first say.


lesson 4:

an eagle was sitting on a tree resting, doing nothing.

a small rabbit saw the eagle and asked him, 'can i also sit like you and do nothing?'

the eagle answered: 'sure, why not.'

so, the rabbit sat on the ground below the eagle and rested. all of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.

moral of the story: to be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.


lesson 5:

a turkey was chatting with a bull.

'i would love to be able to get to the top of that tree' sighed the turkey, 'but i haven't got the energy.'

'well, why don't you nibble on some of my droppings?' replied the bull. they're packed with nutrients.'

the turkey pecked at a lump of dung, and found it actually gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree.

the next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch.

finally after a fourth night, the turkey was proudly perched at the top of the tree.

he was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot him out of the tree..

moral of the story: bull shit might get you to the top, but it won't keep you there..


lesson 6:

a little bird was flying south for the winter. it was so cold the bird froze and fell to the ground into a large field.

while he was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on him.

as the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, he began to realize how warm he was.

the dung was actually thawing him out!

he lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy.

a passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate.

following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him.

morals of the story: (1) not everyone who shits on you is your enemy. (2) not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend. (3) and when you're in deep shit, it's best to keep your mouth shut!


thus ends the five minute management course.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

the homie shot

i was introduced to the homies brand through work & since that initial introduction i have become a fan of what the homies brand represents.

i had the pleasure of having dinner with david gonzales, the brand’s creator a few months back. david’s stories about how the brand started & how it has matured through the years are fascinating. he has put a whole lot of heart & soul into creating this brand, the characters, & he works effortlessly to ensure a positive image surrounds his brand.

the breath of products that have been built around the homies brand today & that are possible for the future are vast. combine david’s super creative & amazing artwork, with the personality he gives each character it’s no wonder why the brand has been so well adopted & could fit with so many products.

being a big fan of caffeine & all that it does to “make a body good” i was thrilled to see the homie brand used in marketing a new energy shot. this little homie shot packs a BIG punch. it's full of lots of vitamin B & enough caffeine to wake elvis from the dead :) if you like those 5-hour energy shots, then you are going to go crazy over the homie shot because it’s a very similar product, but these little jewels actually taste good.

check out this homie shot video featuring homie character's macho & sancho. even if you don’t speak spanish, you’ll get a kick out of this short clip.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

3 movie strikes

we are batting 0 for 3 on movies right now. i’ve given up TV, do i have to give up movies too :)

it started with surfer, dude, which was directed by S.R. bindler. bindler was known for his hands on a hardbody documentary which i think was hilarious & unfortunately real – i now know a little more about longview, TX than i’d like too. surfer, dude didn’t make any sense to me. it was a hour & a half long movie with matthew mcconaughey running around with his shirt off looking for waves while the “bad-guy” producer was trying to cast his character in a “real-world” TV/video game. from time-to-time woody harrelson & willie nelson would make appearances as pot smoking weirdos & hot chicks would run around with their tops off wearing nothing but bikini bottoms. i couldn’t categorize this movie. was it a surfer movie, a T&A movie, a pot-smoking movie? i think it was just the worst of all three movie types & now i’m going to try & forget that i watched it.

bad movie #2 – nights in rodanthe: this isn’t just me not giving into a sappy love story; kristin couldn’t stand it either. there was little to no dialogue in the entire movie, yet this couple played by richard gere (how did he ever end up with cindy crawford) & diane lane (i think she’s hotter now than she was when she starred as cherry valance in the outsiders more than 25 years ago) fell madly in love. the director, george c. wolfe, was all over the place with the camera & cut ever little bit of dialogue or story telling short. it was a disaster of a movie.

we capped our bad movie experiences off with 2 days in paris. there was a story (opposite of surfer, dude) & there was dialogue (opposite of nights in rodanthe); however, the characters didn’t fit one bit. adam goldberg’s (i remember him from dazed & confused) character was this jerk-off interior designer from NY with a bunch of mean one-liners awaiting his girlfriend played by julie delpy. goldberg’s character was allergic to & got sick by everything in sight, yet he lived in NY, one of the “dirtiest” cities in the U.S., had tattoos all over his chest, arms, & back, & he smoked, & to top it off here he was back-packing across europe with his girlfriend who was from paris. his character just didn’t fit the part. if he just wouldn’t have gotten so sick by everything in sight i would have felt completely different about this movie.

juno awaits us courtesy of netflix – wish us luck because we can’t take another bad movie.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

cutting the cord

no we didn’t just have a baby, or go totally green & move completely to wind power. i (hopefully kristin will tag along too) am cutting the cord from the TV for the next month. i’d like to think that cutting the cord will last longer, but i’m not willing to say forever just yet.

i’ve suggested time & time again that TV is a huge waste. although we have one of those super high-def, xyz P resolution, flat & wide, etc. type TVs, i have to laugh a bit internally when anyone talks about their TV specs. when did it become normal to spend thousands of dollars on a TV? folks are so hard-up about their TVs, DVD, & blu-ray players. they talk about how crisp & clear the picture is & how the people they are watching look real – if you want real people get your ass (i’m talking to myself here too) off the sofa & go & be social with real people – it doesn’t get any crisper or clearer than that!

so what am i hoping to accomplish by cutting the cord from the TV during this next month? no, i don’t expect my life to get fantastically better, or that i’ll be speaking 5 languages, etc. i do however hope to enjoy the simple things in life – like spending quality time with the love of my life kristin, relaxing with peace & quite, really be able to focus on something versus having the noise of a TV in the background, getting back in touch with music, accomplishing more of those home to-dos during the week so my weekends are spent crossing items of a check-list, & while it may not seem a big deal to many getting more sleep. if that’s “all” that i gain from this no TV thing, then i think those things alone are reason enough to cut the cord permanently.

since being home today after work (6:30 PM) i spent an hour playing with payton, took payton on a walk to grab the mail, rid the backyard of payton’s poop (while not attractive or exciting it needed to be done & i’m simply being honest about what i’ve done tonight), listened to a many long lost CDs to include a girlie mix that eryn compiled for me & then i reconnected with the smiths & james taylor. i “read” the march issue of bon appetit, did all the dishes which included giving the stove-top a good scrubbing, prepared the coffee for tomorrow morning, & finally dinner for myself.

kristin arrived home about 30 minutes ago (8:50 PM) after a long day of work & volunteering at the resale shop as part of her junior league provisional year. we shared the news from our day, then i proceeded to check & respond to a few e-mails, & now i am writing this post. next, i plan to prepare a water bottle for an early morning spin class i’m going to take at the gym – it’ll be my first spin class in 5+ months. see, this no TV thing is already paying off!

prior to falling asleep i hope to turn a few pages of the wisdom of crowds, by james surowieck which kristin was kind enough to pick up for me at Barnes & Nobles today while grabbing another one of those
vampire books for herself.

ask yourself, what you would be giving up if you too were to cut the cord on the TV. i’m confident in saying that you'd be missing nothing as important as the things you are already giving up by leaving it on.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

january 20, 2009 - obama day

regardless of where you were today when obama took the oath of office as president of the united states, you must have felt the positive energy that surrounded this occasion. as i sat with kristin by my side in a hotel room in hawaii this is the most historic event in american history that i have had the pleasure to witness & i will never forget this moment.

god bless america!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

a true bears fan

this year's football season is rolling to an end. unfortunately the season for the bears has already come to an early close. like a true bears fan i must keep my spirits high & hope that next year will be different. one fan, my boy payton, is showing his true colors & keeping all of us bear fans excited for what the future may hold.

you should have seen him tear up that green bay packers koozie!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

"catching up"

tomorrow a number of employees will return to their office after holiday vacations. i suspect that a high percentage of these people will answer to their bosses, colleagues, etc. with updates something to the effect of, “i’ll be catching up on things since i’ve been out.”

i hate hearing things like that. when i hear people gives those types of updates all i hear them saying is:

- i didn’t plan very well before leaving for vacation.
- i haven’t spent any time staying in touch with what’s been going on while out.
- i don’t have a clue what going on so i’ll just make it sound like i have a lot of work to do.
- i’m not sure what i’m supposed to be doing now that i'm back.

when returning from vacation i expect people to have a clear list of action items to deal with. vacation time is one’s opportunity to get away from it all so when they return they can hit the ground running with a plan. the vacation breaks up the monotony of everyday work & allows one to come back with some focus & purpose.

as i participate on my morning call with our CEO i hope & expect to hear clear-cut action items from my colleagues & no “catching up” type of statements.

a new fan of used

until last year i didn’t realize how much more sense it made to buy used versus new. it was the ’99 4runner that i purchased that opened my eyes to this revelation.

last christmas i sold my a4 almost as soon as the warranty ran out. i loved the a4, but the idea of driving a german car w/out a full warranty is just a bad idea in my opinion. not to mention i was riding a lot back then, we had just gotten payton & a 4runner just seemed to make more sense. i decided to go after a used 4runner because i trusted toyotas, i liked the 4runner, & i wanted something that i could pay cash for.

after selling the a4 i was able to pay for the 4runner with cash & even stick a few bucks in the bank. after buying the 4runner i took it to toyota & gave them a blank check to fix anything & everything that was wrong or could go wrong with it. they suggested i get an oil change, rotate the tires, & change the transmission fluid & in the next 10K miles they said i should get the front brakes replaced. that was it; all that it needed!. that first visit to toyota cost under $200 bucks & it wasn’t until 9 months later that i had the front breaks changed along w/ another oil change (had one other oil change before then) all for less than $300 bucks. in the year i’ve driven the 4runner i have put over 12K miles on it & spent less than $600 in maintenance costs (included 3 oil changes & 1 air filter change). that $600 bucks was only a $100 more than i was paying each month for the a4. used wins!

just this last week kristin & bought a house. it was built in 2006 & the previous owner took excellent care of this home & upgraded it from floor to ceiling. wood floors, new tile, travertine tile & granite counter tops in the bathrooms, recessed lighting w/ dimmers throughout, converted the patio to an office, stained the garage floor & finished the walls, garage door opener, fans throughout, stone built flowerbeds, stained fence, upgraded hardware on all doors & in the bathrooms, replaced carpet in bedrooms with upgraded berber, painted walls to include accent walls, sprinkler, gutters, security system, blinds, curtains, & the list goes on & on. after moving in last friday, kristin & i have only had to make one run to home depot & that was for new bed slats & a new battery for one of the garage remotes. when we moved into our first house, which was brand new, we spent the first year at home depot almost every weekend. we had to install, paint, configure, & setup everything. it made home owning a disease & it consumed much of our free time.

not anymore. this place is like a dream. nothing to do except move in & enjoy. that’s what we plan to do & not to mention we saved thousands of dollars by taking the used versus new approach.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

lakeline watersports going big

a big congratulations to my bro roland who has busted his ass for a couple years straight in an effort to make lakeline watersports a reality. today he & his family (heather, zoe, evie, roland's sister, & heather's dad) cracked a bottle of champagne on their new brick & mortar store.

it's been truly impressive watching roland put this together. it began with roland spending early morning hours for many months before "work" at einstein's reading business books & building a business plan. then shelling out cash to attend his first outdoor retailer show in salt lake city, utah to meet with kayak dealers & begin the buying/distribution process. then selling kayaks from his garage via craigslist. then came the website (very well designed) & then the move to a storage facility. as business continued to grow roland moved shop to a larger storage/office facility. now fast forward to today with the grand opening of lakeline watersports.

my take on the time-line of lakeline watersports doesn't even begin to tap into the reality of the hard work, early mornings, late nights, & the many things that were given up to make today's grand opening a success.

if you know anyone that is even slightly interested in kayaking & fishing i recommend you send them roland's way. i can assure you roland is a good guy who will do everything he can to help them out.

again, big congrats to roland & his family. i wish them all the best & i believe that lakeline watersports will be a success!


an unfinished post (fitting for the topic) i found in my e-mail inbox (often i'll send myself an e-mail reminding me of something to write about or a post that i began).


since returning from the half ironman in california a few weeks ago i began questioning why i signed up for ironman coeur d' alene which is now only 9-weeks away from today.

i have not once questioned whether i can complete the race. funny for some to imagine that the 140.6 miles that make up an ironman don't scare me. if the race was tomorrow i'd be happy to wake up & do it. the training time i have put in both by myself & with t3 up until this point has prepared me physically for the ironman.

regardless of the physical aspects associated with the ironman there are just so many other things that an athlete must do & in many cases not do to prepare for this type of race. dedicating the time to train both during the week & on the weekends has been the biggest struggle for me. at this stage of training it requires 10+ hours during the week & another 10 hours on the weekends. these 20 hours only include training time too. so many folks don't realize the time that goes into training when you aren't actually training. i'm referring to the time spent washing water bottles, filling & mixing water bottles, packing nutrition, giving up nights out so you can be in bed early & on the flip side up super early in the morning, driving to & from workouts, shopping for workout stuff, equipment tune-ups, planning travel (air, lodging, car) for races, reading about tri training, & because the weather is ever changing you have to have cold & warm weather gear ready to go at all times, & of course there is an abundance of laundry to do. the list goes on & on.

this is why i've been questioning the value of dedicating so much time to these activities. what am i & the people (kristin, family, friends, co-workers) around me getting out of any of this? if it isn't rewarding & it's no longer fun then why continue forward?

it easy to argue that because you signed up you should do it. i had one guy in the gym tell me to "just man-up & do it." isn't part of being a mature adult (man or woman) knowing when it makes more sense to call something to an end? why remain bullish to prove a point or to simply finish something you started? identify something (an ironman in my case) for what it is, waste no more time & energy, & turn your focus toward something that does offer value instead. the opportunity costs to continue my ironman training do not outweigh the other items in my life that do matter right now.

this past week i was still in it. although i was following my own (not t3s) less structured training plan i was still getting the time & miles i needed. this weekend however included a 100+ mile ride for which i knew i'd be better off doing with the team. it's these 5+ hours training rides (which turn into 8+ hour days) that drive me absolutely mad these days. i met up with t3...