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Friday, July 23, 2021

Halfway through 2021 update

     Just wanted to post an update on how my year has been going.  Overall, I would say its been a roller coasters.  Good highs, bad lows.  But I am staying strong through it.  I think finally (FINALLY!) I am approaching some sort of self discipline on things.  I also notice that when I write things down (or update my blog) it helps me become more self aware of my many mistakes and allows me to step back and evaluate where to go from here.

    First off, I went to Vegas memorial day weekend.  It was fun but honestly felt weird.  Things were not yet completely open because of the pandemic.  Some spots were open and masks were not required for vaccinated individuals (like myself) but it just didn't have a Vegas vibe.  It was super packed though which was a little shocking.  I think people are just wanting to travel again after being locked up at home in 2020.  I know that I do.

    Without going into detail, I slipped up again on my spending.  I realize now that beating myself up which is what I usually do accomplishes nothing because I don't have a time machine and can't change the past.  I'm looking forward to the future with the thought that I will just have to exercise more caution.  I've also looked at several budgeting software out there.  Right now I am just using an Excel spreadsheet which does the trick.

    Dating has been hit or miss.  Without naming names I've had some good ones and some bad ones.  We will see what the future holds.

    Podcasting has been a great experience.  It has helped me get closer to friends and be more involved in their lives and them in mine.  Discussing a variety of topics and gauging their interest and opinions has been fascinating.

    I've hit a bit of a plateau on my diet.  Still down 25 pounds since last December but I have been stuck hovering around 240 for awhile.  I have finished the Nutrisystem diet and have just tried to shop better and eat better for myself.

    I'm looking forward to the end of the year.  For the first time in awhile, I will be living in a house.  This time my own.  My parents are letting me rent out their old house after we fix it up a bit.  Unfortunately there is a lot to do.  But this will give me good experience in house repairs, remodeling, and maintenance.  I have pretty much no experience in this right now so it will be a learning experience.

    Hope the year is going well for all of you out there. God bless.   

Monday, June 14, 2021

Thoughts on death ... and life

    This may be a dark post but I have some thoughts on the subject.  Recently a friend of mine lost her mom to cancer.  She was relatively young and without getting into too many details, it was a very moving and sad service.  I haven't been to a funeral in awhile, I think the last one was my brothers 7 years ago.  So I went in just wanting to pay my respects to her and her family.  What I walked away with was so much more.


   They prayed the rosary first and then had a minister get up and say some kind words.  The whole thing was in Spanish but I was able to follow along during the rosary somewhat due to the repetition.  I was overwhelmed by how big the family was and how many friends were there.  The chapel was full and people were standing in the halls of the funeral home.  This woman was definitely loved and respected by many people.  There was just so much love in the room.  Many were crying as well but that understandable obviously.  She was loved and she will be greatly missed.  It was very moving, to see the impact that this woman had on others.  If I live a life where I have an impact on even half that many people I will have felt it was a life well lived.


   It got me self reflecting on my life.  I'm currently 39 and have lived about half my life according to life expectancy in the US.  If I was gone tomorrow, would I have felt that I have lived a good life?  Do I have an impact on my family and friends as a good son, cousin, godfather, friend?  I feel like there is a lot more I would like to do in my life.  Travel, get married, start a family, enjoying and learning new hobbies.  None of us know the day or time when God will call us home, will we be ready when that time comes? Needless to say, its spurred my creativity gene to get more active and start working on some personal goals I have.  I have a tendency to procrastinate on things and be a couch potato.  I don't want to look back on my life with regrets about all the times I decided to just lay on my couch and watch TV when I could have been doing other things to better myself.


  With all that said, I have been making a few changes.  This service on Sunday just reinforced that I need to continue going down the path I am on.  Relaxing is OK every now and then, but I just need to fight the urge to do nothing and be lazy sometimes.  Keep self motivating and keep my faith in God and the plan that he has for my life.


Take care friends.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Obligatory political post

    Wanted to vent a few things about our current political climate and the rise of "woke" and "cancel" culture.  So be warned you may not agree with my opinion and that fine.  I value diversity of thought and others opinions on matters.  If we all thought the same we would be robots and life would be dull.  Anyways, onto my soap box.

    The way the media in this country and others are so quick to immediately brand people as racists in this country needs to stop.  Yes Derek Chauvin was a terrible cop and his actions were reprehensible that day he arrested George Floyd.  I think the verdict was correct in the jury finding him guilty.  He will get a chance to appeal just like every citizen has but I believe the charges will stand.  The main question to me here is were his actions overtly racist or just inept?  Would he have acted the same way had George Floyd been another color? Ultimately it doesn't matter.  A life has been lost.  It's a tragedy.  The only person that can answer the racist question is Derek Chauvin himself.  Even then, many will not accept his answer and have already made up their mind that he is a racist.  In my nearly 40 years alive on this planet, I feel that the racial divide in America is as far apart now as I have ever witnessed it.  I wasn't alive in the Jim Crow days in the South and am sure it was much worse then.  But if you just turn on CNN or listen to elected officials in Washington talk, you would think that Jim Crow is alive and well today.

   To be clear, I am not denying the existence of racism today.  There are racist people today just as there were in the past.  I think there will always be people with hate in their heart that discriminate against people who are different than them.  No matter if its race, religion, sexuality, etc.  The difference is our culture has changed such that these people are more demonized now then ever before in our county's history.  This is a good thing.  But to have the media and other leaders automatically assign "racism" as the root cause of everything in society is not helping.

   In fact the very same day of the Chauvin trial verdict, there was an incident in Columbus Ohio where an officer killed a black female.  Many people were quick to jump on the "racism" train again here without bothering to learn about the "facts".  The facts were that she had a knife in her hand and was attacking another black female.  We can discuss police reform and taser use etc.  But to assign "racism" as a cause is ridiculous.  They saved the other girl who was black from being stabbed.  I feel for the girl's family, but cops have to make these types of in the moment decisions frequently.  I'm sure if the cop had just stayed back and did nothing and the other girl died from being stabbed, they would be angry that they had not taken any action.

   I think as a whole, our country needs to just take a deep breath and not be so quick to assign blame and judge others.  This may sound hopelessly idealistic but I do think change may come.  Living in "cancel culture" is not possible.  Its only a matter of time before cancel culture will come for you on some mistake that you make.  None of us are perfect humans.  We must have hearts of forgiveness.  Otherwise our differences will continue to divide us and we all will become more bitter.

   

Monday, March 22, 2021

Good friends and Mental Health

 Friendship is a funny thing at times.  All of us through our lives have met hundreds or more people.  Sometimes they develop into friendships, other times that don't.  I definitely have more people that I have fallen out of touch with who were friends at one period of time of my life and I am sure this is very common.

Some things like social media are there to help you "reconnect" with these people should you ever choose to.  My personal opinion is that social media is toxic but I can't deny there is still some semblance of good about it.

Platonic friendship is defined as a type of love that is not sexual. It is named after the Greek philosopher Plato though he never actually used the word himself.  Platonic love as devised by Plato concerns rising through levels of closeness to wisdom and true beauty from carnal attraction to individual bodies to attraction to souls, and eventually, union with the truth.  (I may or may not have ripped those last sentences from Wikipedia lol)

Anyways, I feel platonic love like sisterhood and brotherhood is becoming more and more rare these days.  Drama usually ensues where 1 or sometimes both parties are at fault and they just cut ties and move on.  I'm very fortunate that I still have close friends that I have kept in contact with for decades.  Even though disagreements arise from time to time over things, the bottom line is that because our friendship has been going on for so long, we both realize that these are just trivial things.  We don't just stop talking to each other. Or if we do, maybe just a day or so.

This isn't meant to be a brag.  I feel extremely fortunate to be in this situation.  In fact, the opposite side of this is by far more common.  I feel like most people maybe have 1 or 2 really close friends that they discuss their life with, excluding family of course.

The crazy thing about all of this is the depression has robbed me of this before for a period of time.  I would isolate myself and by doing so, friends most likely either assume I am busy or they are busy themselves.  At those low moments, I feel like I am too much of a bother to contact them.  Let them live their lives, I'm insignificant.  This is clearly wrong and I recognize this now but there are several times where I did not see so clearly.

A snowball effect would emerge.  I would increasingly become more and more lonely the longer I would isolate.  Honestly if it wasn't for my parents, who knows how bad it would have got because they would be the only contact I would have with anyone other than limited stuff at work with co-workers.

One particular person has greatly helped me see this more clear. Jordan Peterson.  He's been maligned as an alt-right whack job by some but honestly, he is one of the more brilliant minds around today.  Taking out the political side and focusing on the human side of things, he is absolutely amazing.  

I know many people don't read books these days, some listen to them.  But his book the "12 rules for life" and his new sequel "Beyond Order" (Which I still haven't read yet) describe stuff like the human experience and the quest to find self worth.  I highly recommend to anyone out there interested to pick up a copy of either.  

Anyways, that's the gist of the point that I am trying to get across.  Friendship should be cherished. Take care fam.


Thursday, March 4, 2021

Goals and projects

     So a lot has happened since my last post.  I may be moving soon.  Back to my childhood home in Sugar Land.  My dad has offered to gift me the house that he is currently renting out.  I have mixed feelings about it.  I do like the freedom of a house compared to an apartment.  Having my own driveway and yard.  Not worrying about loud neighbors above or next to me.  These are all good things.  But it is an older house, my commute to work will be much longer, and oddly enough it feels like kind of a step back.  When I look at this house, it reminds me of my childhood obviously.  I feel I'm at the point of my life where I want to forge my own future and start my life elsewhere.  What I probably will end up doing is staying in the house for a year or 2, and then renting or selling it and moving to my own house somewhere.  I am tired of apartment life though so I think overall I am excited for the move.  My lease doesn't expire until November at my place now so I won't me moving until end of the year or beginning of next year if I extend month to month at my apartment.

        I'm down 22 pounds since I started my diet in December.  But lately I have plateaued and even feel like I may have gained slightly.  I've gotten lazy in logging my daily calories on the app I use.  I've also had some cheat days and weekends that probably haven't helped either.  I'm hoping with the spring coming, I'll be able to add exercise and walk or jog at the park near my place.  I don't want to lose all the progress I have made.  I need to remain strong.

        I've also started a podcast with some friends of mine.  I've toyed with the idea in the past and now that its off the ground, I am very excited.  Even if no one listens, I think it will be fun just to hang out and discuss different topics.  

        My guitar playing has improved a little I think.  Currently I am focusing on power chords and switching between them easily.  Trying to learn some Nirvana songs.  It's also rekindled my interest in Kurt Cobain.  I remember watching MTV as a kid and seeing his funeral procession but not really knowing who he was.  I really didn't start listening to Nirvana until late high school like 98 or 99.  The longer its been the more interest I have in the band and in Kurt.  I got a book on my kindle written by one of his old managers that I have started reading and its pretty enlightening.

        I hope that this year will be better than 2020 with the pandemic seeming to improve slowly.  I'm cautiously optimistic.  Take care guys.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

New leadership

    It's been a minute since I last updated. Thought I would just give a few thoughts I have on the inauguration and swearing in of our new president. 

    I'll start off by saying I did not vote for Biden. Some would say that makes me a racist. I think Joe is a decent family man and person. Definitely a better person than Trump. But I'm not voting for who I think is the better person. This is probably the first election where I am voting on policy instead of whether or not I would want to have a beer with them. I've voted Obama twice also so I'm not a strict republican. I consider myself a moderate that leans right, or more of a libertarian. I do hope for the sake of the country and my family and friends, that Biden leads well. I just have many questions. For instance, the slew of executive orders he signed on his first day. Stopping the Keystone pipeline. Stopping ICE enforcement. Lifting the ban on immigration from a few countries (aka the Muslim ban). First and foremost, the immigration stuff will probably increase the spread of the pandemic. I'm all for people starting a better life but not at the expense of increasing COVID deaths here. Second, I worry about the oil and gas industry. I have many friends in the industry and Houston is known as the energy capital of the world. I worry that their industry might suffer in the short term which would potentially affect their employment. Biden also joined the Paris Climate accords again. I think its largely a symbolic move. I think Climate Change is real first of all, I just don't know how much of an effect CO2 emissions plays into it. Do we damage and restrict our industry to help the planet? If we do, what about other countries that don't? 

    Trump was far from perfect. I have many friends who loved him almost to the point of worship which I thought was ridiculous. Politicians should not be worshipped. Only God should be worshipped. Trump was also not a true politician. I still think the only reason he won was because Hillary was so corrupt and flawed. 

    I'm hoping that wasn't too political and gets me cancelled. That's another worry I have. Big tech censorship. For those who cheered Trump being suspended from Twitter, what will you do when your voice becomes censored? I'm not saying it was a bad mood necessarily, but I think it opens Pandora's box in that these big Tech companies (Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter) have so much control over the free exchange of thoughts and ideas on their platforms. They essentially control the narrative of the country. Media I think already has a general narrative that they promote so social media has become a popular counter to it. But now even that is being restricted. I just hope Congress passes some kind of first amendment protection clause on these platforms so that speech is protected. As far as hate speech goes, I don't believe it will ever truly go away. Ban it from platforms is fine but it will just recede to the dark web and other forums. You can't completely eradicate hate speech, its a losing battle. 
    
    Here's to a new year and hopefully a better one than the dumpster fire that 2020 was. God bless ya'll and God bless America. 
             -Rob

Thursday, April 30, 2020

My thoughts on COVID 19

These last few weeks have been some of the weirdest weeks I have ever experienced. A complete shutdown of local restaurants (other than pickup or drive thru), bars, clubs, sports stadiums, concerts, churches, and probably a few other things I am missing.

I'm not going to get political and talk about the governments response to the virus because that's all stuff out of my control. Instead I will mention just a few of my thoughts and concerns are during this crazy time.

First of all, I have really been thinking about those that work in the service industry. Retail, food, and other services that I can't think of at the moment. There have been massive layoffs that have affected these peoples lives no doubt. For all of those people applying to unemployment offices for aid. Hell the price of oil has even tanked and people in that industry are really hurting including a few friends of mine. Consumption of oil has dropped way down with things shut down so the price has plummeted. As sad as the medical facts are and the deaths that have occurred, we can't forget that people who are out of work and struggling to get by each day.

Now onto the medical side of things. For me, the general media narrative has shifted radically. What started out as nothing more than a "seasonal flu", its now being reported as like "Super AIDS" or something and we all need to avoid everyone and stay inside. That's obviously an exaggeration but still, these 24 hour news networks (CNN, FOX NEWS, MSNBC) with the constant ticker on the side showing the number of cases and deaths is really driving a lot of fear in this country. Most people that catch COVID 19 do recover, the death rate is low. But you probably wouldn't know that watching some of these networks. I'm not trying to minimize the deaths that have occurred. Each death is a travesty and we should collectively mourn as a nation. Hoping a vaccine develops soon because it looks like this virus will be a seasonal thing. Its not that easy though because clinical trials will need to be done first before any type of deployment.

The main point I am trying to get across I suppose is the delicate balance between the economy and public health that the city/state/national governments need to make decisions on. I don't envy the position of any of these people during this trying time.

As far as how I'm doing, I'm one of the few lucky ones that have been able to work remotely from home. Work has been really slow but I feel fortunate that my company did not let me go. My main challenge has been self motivation. Keeping myself busy when work is not. I've been playing my guitar a lot and got some really good practice sessions in. I have also been walking more in the park near my apartment just to get out of the apartment and get a change of scenery. I've been visiting my parents more often and that's been good too.

With that said, for anyone out there struggling either financially, physically, mentally, or all of the above. I hope that things will turn around soon, for all of us. God Bless and stay strong.