Tag Archives: family

Thankful 2015

As with most of my posts I meant to do this a couple days ago, and it seems a little ill-timed that I would write a Thankgiving-esque posted 4 days after Thanksgiving. But it’s still November, so back off!

I am glad though, that I delayed, because I got to do and experience a few more things to be grateful for that otherwise might not have made its way into this.

First off all, 2015 has been my busiest year ever. Not just the typical sensation that this year flew by faster than the others. In fact 2015 to me was so busy that this year has actually felt slower, which is a blessing in itself.

Friends

My friends take the cake this year. As we all grow older, it tends to become more difficult to spend quality time with our friends. This was certainly the case for me, and I would have loved to have spent more time with my friends. But again as with getting older, perhaps the biggest lesson I have to learn is that friendship (and most things in life) is about quality, not quantity. The number of regular faces has declined, as people grow up, move away, get occupied, and grow apart. The relationships that remain intact become even more impressive, and important, and I am very grateful to have the friends that I do.

One friend and I spent over two months just trying to find an hour or two to grab a quick beer and shoot the shit, but an ever demanding schedule made it nearly impossible for either of us to land squarely on a date and time. We finally did, and the experience was that much more rewarding. What’s impressive though is that in this day of impersonal communication, this friend actually called me, called me, at least once a week to chit chat on the phone, catch up, and just rant like we used to in the old days. As precipitous as these phone calls were, both unexpected, short, and without forum, they were awesome and heartwarming.

I am very grateful for my friends, all of them. And to/in honor of those friends, here’s a quick list of inside jokes and anonymous shout outs.

You know I’ll show up with the shovel. Whose car we taking?

Yarggg! Ye scurvy scum! Give us all yer rubbing alcohol and lemonade! Yarrr

Water plant with cry!

Annndddrrrreeeeeeeeeewwwww

Those who can’t, teach. Those who can’t teach, teach gym. Those who can’t teach gym work for the government.

AAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!

Accomplishments

2015 was a hodgepodge of accomplishments that I am quite proud of and thankful for.

Professionally, 2015 was incredibly rewarding. Business has been booming and as stressful as it is, I am eternally grateful. I always figured that it I have to choose between be stressed over having too little work, and being stressed over having too much work, I choose the latter. So many people are struggling to find work, to find clients, and I would take my 60 hour weeks over that any day. Yes I’m busy, but I’m also thriving and I wouldn’t give it up, and I won’t even hint at bad mouthing it. Never stop being thankful for your blessings, because when you do, life has a knack for taking them away.

I’ve hit 1,000 clients, which is a huge milestone for me, especially considering I’ve only been doing this for about 5 years. Just 2 years ago I remember trying to make it to 300, which know seems like a humbling experience, and makes me all the more thankful.

I’m thankful that my job allows me a degree of autonomy and freedom. And as childish as this sounds, I am thankful I am able to come to work in my PJs, and keep beers in my office mini-fridge next to my Avengers poster and bobble-head Groot figurine.

That job I’m thankful for allowed me to accomplish something else, homeownership. I didn’t blast it on social media but as of November 13 I am a happy homeowner!

1515-MMS-1448814481818-attachment1-IMG_20151128_192756425

I could go on for days about the things I am thankful, but I’m hungry so I’m gonna cut this short. I’ve thankful for my health, for my friends, for my family, for my eternally shedding and drooling dog, for my job and professional success, for my accomplishments, for living in San Diego, for Oreos, and for comic book movies. I’m thankful for a lot of things, I am thankful if you read this post.

Advertisements

No Escape: Movie Review

So I’m a little rusty on my movie reviewing, so bear with me. I think I saw a trailer for this movie a couple months ago, not really sure. Anywho I went and saw an early showing of No Escape last night up in Mira Mesa, and had no idea what to expect, which is a good thing.

Here’s the spoiler-free run down of the movie: Owen Wilson is an American family man who relocates his wife and two daughters to an unnamed Southeast Asian country (we know because it borders Vietnam) for a new job after his previous employer went belly up. Times are tough, tough enough to move to a third world nation in pursuit of a job.

Their flight lands, and we enter the culture shock sequence for the family as they don’t speak the language, and the nicest hotel in town doesn’t have working television, internet, or phones, and all the other first world luxuries we take for granted. But, the family meets a boisterous, western expat, Pierce Brosnan, who helps point them in the right direction. Yay, a fellow white person! This place isn’t too scary anymore. No, but seriously, right?

The foreplay is short. Maybe 12 minutes into the movie shit hits the fan. As Owen Wilson is roaming the area trying to find a newspaper, he inadvertently ends up in the middle of a violent confrontation between riot police and an angry mob armed with machetes, bats, and AKs. Think Hotel Rwanda, but in Asia, and way fucking scarier.

Wilson darts and dashes his way through the city trying to find his way back to his hotel and family, while also avoiding the mobs. He reunites with his family, and parental instincts kick in as mom and dad struggle to safely navigate their way through the perilous city, with kids in tow.

What to know what happens next? Go see for yourself.

No Escape will have you on the edge of your seat and cringing from start to finish. The movie was definitely action packed but not in the typical Liam-Neeson-throat-smashing way we’ve grown used to in the past couple years. Remember, our protagonist isn’t Jason Bourne, he’s a family man, and on top of that he’s got his wife and two little girls with him, and they have no idea where the hell they are. So there is no bare chested ammo bandolier action hero. Just a dude doing the best he can to keep his family alive when all hell breaks loose in a foreign land.

The closest movie I can think of in terms of setting and that feeling of anxiety this movie brings, is The Purge: Anarchy, which came out almost a year ago, except No Escape has a much more realistic plot. Everyone in the Purge had 364 days to batten down the hatches and arm themselves to the teeth in preparation. This family isn’t even sure where to get their free continental breakfast and then bam, political uprising.

I don’t want to give away too much as far as the story goes, so I’ll leave it at that. The movie is very good. I was very surprised.

When watching movies like this, I always find myself thinking “I would do this, I would do that!” But then again I also watch a ton of zombie movies and like a weirdo I have actually invested a fair amount of thought into how I would survive an oh-shit situation. Most people don’t, including our main characters, which made this movie, and everyone’s acting very believable.

We haven’t seen Owen Wilson in too many movies lately so who knew what to expect here. We do know that we loved him in Wedding Crashers and a bunch of other comedies so this was a little off course for him, but let’s not forget he also knocked Behind Enemy Lines out of the park way back in 2001, which was also about an American dude running for his life from foreigners who want to kill him. Wilson did an amazing job wearing a lot of hats; husband, father, survivor, and if need be, killer.

Lake Bell, who plays the wife/mom, also does an amazing job in her role. She was reluctant to move overseas in the first place, and you can feel a little bit of that tension between mommy and daddy from the onset of the movie without rubbing your nose in it. Even in the midst of chaos the parents can still have tiffs, for better or worse.

Even the little girls did an amazing job, portraying believable pains in the ass. You just wanted to yell “I’m trying to save your life now for the love of Christ shut up and don’t make any noise or they’ll find us and kill us!”

Oh, and Pierce Brosnan was there too. He really didn’t have a huge role, but I enjoyed his 10 minutes of screen time and social commentary.

It’s difficult to summarize this movie because it’s not that kind of a movie, where it’s told like an epic story, with compartmentalized events. So here’s my conclusive list of bullet points on the film:

  • Owen Wilson killed it.
  • Actually, all the actors did an amazing job, and made it feel so real and believable.
  • The story is interesting and realistic, and it doesn’t stumble.
  • There is no central villain, or a bad guy with an eye patch. The antagonist is human nature.
  • You’re on edge the entire time. The movie steals your attention and won’t let it go. Not even for a second. Trust me, you won’t zone out in the second act.
  • You’ll have plenty to talk about in the drive home after the movies.
  • It was an unexpected, pleasant rush of adrenaline at the tail end of an already action packed summer movie season.
  • The story was different, and something you aren’t used to seeing.
  • There was a thin veneer of social commentary about (illegal) immigration, corporatism, and western interventionism, but it wasn’t dragged out, and it didn’t overshadow the fact that the characters are literally being chased by people who want to kill them.
  • The movie was actually too short.

All said and done, No Escape was a very good movie, and I highly recommend you go out and see it. I give it an A-, and that’s only because I thought the movie was too short, and I could have gone for a few more rounds, maybe 20-30 minutes more longer would have been nice.

Go see this movie!

Thankful

With Thanksgiving a week behind us, this post might seem a little ill-timed, but the hell with it. I’m posting it anyway.

I have a ton to be thankful for. Some of those things are obvious like my health, a roof, food on my table, etc., and some are not so obvious, and I want to take some time to bring attention to them, and also bring attention to some of the people I am happy to have in my life.

My Parents

I am so thankful to have my parents. Not just parents, but my parents. My parents fucking rock. I wasn’t born super rich with a billion dollar trust fund to my name, but my parents always took care of me. Although divorced when I was very young, and even though they did not always agree, my parents had a unified front when it came to raising me. Many divorced or separated parents use their children as a bartering token, or form of leverage to enact revenge on their ex. My parents didn’t do that. When my (step)mom came on to the scene, she faced the obvious challenge of being a third wheel when it came to me. But if anyone asked me today, I would tell you have 1 dad and 2 moms. Not 1 mom and 1 stepmom. And my birth mother would agree with you. I’m fortunate to have been raised in a (very unusual) situation in which my parents were able to put parenting before politics. Something truly rare these days with divorced parents. Moms and Dad, I’m thankful for you.

My Enormous Family

Most of friends have but a glimpse of the size of my family. Let me break it down to you. As its height, I had 4 grandmas, 4 grandpas (yes 4 each), 2 moms, 1 dad, 1 brother, 1 sister, 9 aunts, 9 uncles, and 20 cousins. We’re unfortunately without Grandpa Hernandez at the time of writing this, but I’m still so happy to have my enormous crazy family.

Grandma’s house on Christmas and Thanksgiving was always the place to be. Drop in any random Wednesday and you’re bound to bump into a few cousins. Grandma would say I was “too flaco” and sit me down to eat something. Score.

There was the ever abundance of relatives keeping your ass in line. It truly takes a village to raise a kid. When I fucked up, and I did plenty, I had not just 1 or 2 relatives barking at me, I had a village of relatives lecturing me to not fuck up again. And for that, I am truly thankful.

My Good Family

Out of 25 grandkids in total, you figure at least one of us would have ended up on the wrong side of the law. Nope. To the best of my recollection, no arrests, no DUIs, no gang members, no domestic violence, no drug addictions, no alcoholism, none of that shit. Even an unfathomably low level of inter-family bickering.

Am I bragging? A little. But more importantly I’m thankful that our family instilled a sense of values into us. That none of us grew up to be low lives. That we all kept our shit together in rough times, and Grandpa passing was a very rough time. And that after all these years, our reunions still fill the house with noise and laughter.

 My Role Models

I had a very big and diverse group of people who raised me, in addition to my three wonderful parents.

Fred, Todd, De Veau, Johnny and Tawny, Jeff, Steve, Tobie, Vicky, Enas, Mr. and Mrs. Diaz and countless others.

If you read this post, you know who you are. You helped mold me into the person I am today (for better of worse!). You all kept my ass in line when I was a kid and even now into my adulthood. You are all honorary parents of mine, and I am thankful for having you all in my life.

My Awesome Friends

Getting older is tough. People grow up, and grow apart, and admittedly it can be very sad. I prided myself on having a select group of close friends, vs. an endless list of “associates”. Here’s a quick shout out.

Jenny, Adriana, Anders, Becky S, Becky W, Brett K, Brett N, Brian, Candice, Fred, De Veau, Jon B, Jon VM, Louis, Melody, Nick, Ryan, Stephane, and TJ. (Please notice with the exception of Jenny that was all alphabetical, so no one getting butt hurt on me).

I haven’t kept in touch with all of you as much as I would like to, but I am nonetheless thankful to have you in my life.

My Upbringing

I’m thankful for the life lessons I was taught and raised with.

Family is important.

Respect your elders. Look out for your siblings and those younger, weaker, or less fortunate than you. Stay together no matter what.

Work hard.

Work ethic is very important. No, don’t waste your years working away, but also don’t be a lazy sack of shit. My grandparents worked their asses off for my parents. My parents worked their asses off for my siblings and me. And I’m gonna work my ass off to give my kids the life they deserve.

Do right.

From a young age I remember my mom and dad telling me to do the right thing. “Boy, always do the right thing”. Those words echo in my mind every day. Don’t rip people off to make a quick buck. Tip well. Share. Be charitable. It’s not that I’m righteous or holier than thou. I’m legitimately thankful I was raised to be that way, because not everyone was and it pisses me off.

Martinisms

My dad is Martin, and he taught me what I call “Martinisms”. Here are some of my favorite martinisms:

  • If the mind is weak, the muscle must grow.
  • Stupid hurts.
  • Two in the chest, one in the head. When in doubt, empty the clip. Bullets are cheap, life is expensive.

And of course I’m thankful for bacon and California burritos.

Seriously though, this Thanksgiving I had a lot to Thankful for. For those in my life I hope you all know how thankful and grateful I am that you are in it.

Happy belated Thanksgiving everyone!

The People in Your Life

Some of my blogs are inspired by recent events like what’s on the news, or by something I had been dwelling on for days or even weeks prior before getting the nudge I needed (and a spare 45 minutes) to sit down and write about it.

This post is inspired by – but not about – a dream. This dream was intense because almost everyone I know or knew was in it. People from various circles of friends, and relatives from different families, and people from different times (or decades) of my life, all hodge-podged into a single dream. I couldn’t tell you what it was about, but it felt like going through 20 years of photo albums in one go.

I woke up, mind on fire. I’ve met so many people. So many interesting people. So many different people. They didn’t all have to be from different continents, from exotic places, speaking different languages. What makes them interesting and stand out in my mind is the vast difference in personalities a lot of them had. There were so many archetypes and personality types from opposite ends of the spectrum that my Rolodex of friends, family and acquaintances could fill the pages of an award winning TV series. Something important that I realized is that they were all there for a reason. Or at least, they all served a valuable purpose, whether I keep in touch with them today or not.

The people in your life all have a purpose. They each fall into one of two camps: They are there to either teach you what to do, or they are there to teach you what not to do.

Messy People

Some people are going to be messy, dirty, or unsanitary. Their purpose is to teach you to be clean, pick up after yourself, and to take good care of yourself and your surroundings. Take care of your personal hygiene. Exercise and take good care of your body. Take care of your environment, whether it’s your kitchen, bedroom, or car. Take care of the environment by not littering, not throwing your cigarette ashes out the window, and making as small a footprint as possible.

Messy Room
Honey Boo Boo’s home

Punctual People and Late People

Punctual People
Man looking at his watch.

Some people are going to be punctual, and their purpose is to teach you to do the same. Punctuality means more than showing up on time. It means RSVPing to let people know you’ll be attending at all, and doing it in a timely manner as well. Admittedly this is an area I can improve in, and have been actively improving in.

Other people are going to be habitually late, or slow to act. Their purpose is to instill patience in you. Many events are time sensitive. Many are not. Know how to tell the difference, and only rile yourself up when absolutely necessary. Showing up 10 minutes late to a wedding is worth an earful. Showing up an hour late to a football party is not.

People with No Drive

You’ll undoubtedly cross paths with your fair share of lazy, un-driven people. How this laziness manifests can take many forms. It can be in the form of a serial couch surfer who spends hour after hour, day after day, month after month, watching way too much TV, not progressing in areas of hobbies and interest, employment, or self-improvement. This is one of the single most important types of people you can meet. They stand as a cautionary tale of what not to do. Every time you sit down to watch TV, no matter how well deserved it may be after pulling 3 hours of overtime, you’ll second guess whether or not it’s worth it.

Slob
Honey Boo Boo’s dad

This group of do-nothings serves a very valuable second purpose in your life, and that is to teach you to help others. It’s not your job to fix people, but every once in a while everyone can use a little help or word of encouragement. Some praise, suggestions, or motivational counsel can go a long way. Learn to reach out to others who may be in need of help. If you can help them, great. If not, then at least you know you tried.

Stressful People

I know a thing or two about stressful people. Actually, without knowing you, I can bet you my left leg that I know more about stressful people than you ever will. These panicking, high blood pressure inducing individuals will be one of your greatest life challenges. Everyone stresses over big things like cancer, IRS audits, colonoscopies, going for 4th down, and being kidnapped by ISIS terrorists.

Stressful people stress over things like where to eat breakfast, a flat tire, a $5 late fee, burnt toast, spilled milk, someone else’s marital problems, the color of the sky, and how far you’ve driven since they last called you 15 minutes ago.

Learning how to deal with stressful people is one of the single most invaluable skills you can master. I consider myself a double black belt in this martial art, meaning I out rank Batman.

Stressful People
Stressful People

Seriously though, stress is a killer. Stress can ruin weddings, funerals, parties, social outings, careers, friendships, and marriages. If you let stress be the prevailing emotion, you will surely be miserable. Despite how crappy or dire the situation, taking it in stride will ultimately determine your happiness.

You can’t always avoid these people like the plague, especially when they are family. But you can learn how to not get sucked into their tornado of stress, and make yourself an anchor of calm amidst their stressful storm.

Snobs

Whoever first uttered the phrase “The suit doesn’t make the man. The man makes the suit.” Was a true genius. You can learn a lot from snobs. Some snobs, as snobby as they are, actually know a thing or two about their particular snobecialty, be it watches, or wine, or audio equipment. And that’s all fine and dandy. But the most important thing you can learn about snobs is this: Don’t be one.

Snob
Anyone who says the word “Quite” is probably a snob.

You can drive yourself crazy heeding the insult laden, condescending advice of snobs. You’re drinking the wrong wine. You’re driving the wrong car. You’re watching the wrong movies, and you’re wearing the wrong shoes.

A $1,500 pair of Oxfords says nothing good about you. It doesn’t say that you have class. It doesn’t say you have good style. It doesn’t say you support quality. It doesn’t even say you are wealthy, or make good money. All it says is you spent an exorbitant amount of money on something you could have paid considerably less for.

Don’t spend your life trying to live up to the expectations of snobs. Remember, the suit doesn’t man the man. The man makes the suit.

Conclusion

You’re going to come across many different types of people in your life. Some will come and go, others will stick around for a while, and others will be with you ‘til the very end. Some people should be emulated, others should be a cautionary tale, and others should be avoided like the plague entirely.

Regardless of which category they fall into and how long they are in your lives, the people in your life all serve a valuable purpose. Learn from them.

The People In Your Life
The People In Your Life