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Unpleasant Office Fails We Could Do Without

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Everyone loves a good bit of office drama, especially because there’s so much to go around! You spend 40+ hours of your life each week with your colleagues and of course shenanigans will occur. Multiply that by 50 weeks and you’ve got yourself 2000 jam-packed and emotionally fulfilling hours of joyous, employee mirth. That, and you get some of the craziest happenstances ever to be recorded by mankind…. Did you hear about Betty Sue?! Oh man…

You are stapling documents at a nice, competitive clip (come on bonus for being the Speediest Stapler in the Southwest!) when you come upon a 20+ page document. Naturally, you clutch the black shiny object preparing to infuse your silvery, pointed items of destruction into the defenseless, fibrous material holding printed words, only to wind up with a document that is unstapled, a staple that did not fully puncture the paper, and a frustrated employee. You quickly whip out the staple puller and repeat the process a minimum of three more times before finally conceding defeat and moving on. It would’ve been so much simpler to use the monster staple machine equivalent to a small pile driver.

That moment when your favorite peanut butter and jelly sandwich gets lodged in your esophagus because you ate too fast…ow. And now you’re feeling foolish and not enjoying your favorite treat.

The instantaneous stopping of your heart because you missed a meeting, blew an important assignment, or said something stupid out loud. And yes, that rushing feeling in your veins is the adrenaline trying to prevent further stupidity and moronic behavior. You then run into an inanimate object and further humility triumphs the day.

When you smash the CEO of your company with a big, heavy, wooden door. Yes, this happened to me years ago – in front of a girl I was trying to impress… neither scenario worked in my favor.

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It’s Friday and everyone is excited. Hope the weekend treats you well! Be wary of those office shenanigans…now, if I could just find my red Swingline stapler…

Picture credit.

When Did Common Sense Become Rare?

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Perhaps one of the greatest paradoxical and utterly bewildering ideas is that of “common sense.” It’s common – everyone should have it, right? HA! Ask anyone, truly, and “they” will all laugh at you and tell you that common sense isn’t common at all. Not even close. Frankly, I have found that in the workplace that common sense is absolutely the exception not the rule. Not that I have experienced being struck with lightning, but that is the jolt I get to the senses when the blinders are torn back from my eyes and I see the rampant stranglehold that mediocrity, and dullness clamp down on the average citizen like a crushing vice. Fortunately for me, the department in which I work is packed with people all loaded with common sense, but that doesn’t mean my prior work experience at other companies was so great…

Common sense would dictate that being polite and well-mannered, using your ears more than your mouth (which is likely oozing diarrhea), applying logic, critical thinking, and active listening to conversations, and actually being engaged with the world would all be viable things demanded of every citizen, no different than filing taxes, going to work, or paying your bills on time. I said ON TIME! I’m always baffled when people complain they got dinged for not paying something on time… well, it was due two weeks ago and you didn’t pay it – it’s your problem, not mine!

I like to think that anyone going through the education system would acquire these “common sense” skills. Seriously, why is it such a struggle to be above the mediocre line of acceptability set for us? Why don’t people aspire to greatness? Why don’t they crave more? Who would want to be below average when you could be better than average? The answers to these questions obviously lie in far more meaningful and reaching conversations, and some prickly ones at that, but even in the realm of higher education I crossed paths with students who were bland – vanilla, lukewarm, tepid. They could be as easily forgotten as the hundreds of people you pass in the grocery store without giving it a second thought. Granted, there were also students who were clearly destined for greatness, but again not the rule and almost always the exception.

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In a world lacking delayed gratification, the ability to structure your finances soundly, and one in which more is “better”, it should come as no surprise that common sense is ridiculously underrated and rare. I just picked up a copy of America Mania: When More Is Not Enough and I feel that pretty much sums us up quite well. We lack common sense and we are packed feel of the desire for more, more, more… I have yet to finish it but will post a review when I do!

As you all head out to your weekend adventures, keep in mind that common sense is quickly becoming something to be treasured. Take the time to have enlightening conversations, read a good book on a topic you know nothing about, and make the time to improve yourself, even just a little bit. Happy Friday!

10 Reasons Why Swimming is the Best Medicine

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Hot off of a back-to-back race weekend, I was more than happy to retire my running shoes and bike cleats (only for a 24 hour break) and got to thoroughly enjoy my Monday and *gasp* actually spent time with my dog! What a concept :-|

I’m not going to lie; I am slightly depressed that I have finished all of my triathlons prior to the big granddaddy of the year: IRONMAN Lake Tahoe. It was a year ago, and what a brief year, that I signed up for that race and now it is nearly here, towering over me yet again with the imposing stature of a 140.6 mile mountain. My calendar has my workouts scribbled all over it, I have begun flagging days as “don’t make any plans!”, and I can only think and prepare as the day draws nearer.

I do find great solace in that my training and attitude toward the race are all controllable, and that can be a very empowering thought. When push comes to shove, I will be prepared for the repercussions. They are mine and mine alone to handle…

I am a swimmer at heart, thanks to my mother (note: my father would not share mine and my mother’s love for the water). The pool is home to me, in a much different context now than when I was six, but the principles are the same. There’s just something healthy and healing about the water surrounding you. It can be soothing; it can be relaxing; pff, it can even eat you alive and spit you back out in a limp, exhausted form! And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why swimming is the best. And below, you will find 10 solid reasons for swimming being the trump card of all exercises.

  • There are no problems that swimming can’t fix. Shoulders stiff? Go swim. Hips out of whack? Go swim.
  • Feeling drained of energy and lifeless? Go swim.
  • Want to get bigger shoulders? Go swim. Looking to shred your abs? Go swim. Tired of chicken legs? You get the idea…
  • Need a good aerobic workout? Hit the pool. Hoping to spike your anaerobic threshold? Go shred some 125 repeats ‘til you can’t breathe.
  • Cat got your tongue in the latest argument you’ve started with someone? GET IN THE POOL!
  • Feet killing you after hauling your butt over a 15 mile run? The pool has a remedy for that. Get that blood flowing back into your legs!
  • Feeling underappreciated at work? You guessed it – pool time!
  • Need to burn off some angst from your personal or professional world? Knock out a 3000 yard swim.
  • Feeling like you aren’t going anywhere in life? Go swim across Donner Lake and then crush a breakfast burrito.
  • Having a hard time prioritizing challenges, coming up with helpful solutions, and overall feeling like you are worth your salt? Spend some quality quiet time in the blue oasis, honing your focus on breathing, your stroke, and the multi-colored swim lanes and flags overhead. You are the master of your own destiny at that point! The solution will present itself in good time

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Picture credit. Featured image credit.

So there you have it, the 10 reasons why swimming is just the best. Have a safe Tuesday, and enjoy all this August rain (if you’re in Reno)!

Why August is Totally Awesome

Happy first day of August! August is great, although July seems to usually be busier. 31 days full of summer glory and the last full remaining month before fall takes over. Thank goodness!

·         It’s almost September (best month of the year).

·         It’s nearly IRONMAN time!

·         August will have five Fridays, five Saturdays, and five Sundays. That’s fun! (Note: there is a myth that this happens every 823 years. False!http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/823-years.html)

·         All the little people go back to school. Whahaha! >:-)

·         Baseball season heats up as the preparation for playoffs begins.

·         The weather is still nice enough to float the river, assuming there’s enough water ;(

·         While summer begins to fade away, there is still plenty of daylight left. 8 PM bike rides anyone!?

·         BBQ tastes just as good in August as in does any other month of the year.

·         Most of the major blockbuster movies for the year have already come out so it’s time to enjoy some sleeper hits (or catch up on video games).

·         My cyclist tan lines continue on!

·         It is time to start planning a vacation/reality escape in the fall

·         Instead of 100 degrees it is usually a much more manageable 90ish

·         Hot August Nights – thank you, classic cars!http://www.hotaugustnights.net/

·         The inkling that college football is around the corner begins to creep back into the world.

·         It’s National Goat Cheese month:http://blog.artisanalcheese.com/national-goat-cheese-month/301

·         Many special days also occur in August (source: Wikipedia)

o   1 August is Swiss National Day.

o   6 August is Independence Day in Jamaica since 1962.

o   9 August is the National Day of Singapore.

o   15 August is Indian Independence Day since 1947.

o   14 August is Pakistan’s Independence Day since 1947.

o   17 August is Indonesia’s Independence Day since 1945

o   The Philippines celebrates National Heroes Day in commemoration of the First Cry of the Philippine Revolution on August 23, 1896.

o   24 August is Independence Day in Ukraine since 1991.

o   27 August is Moldova National Day

o   31 August is the National Day of Malaysia.

o   It’s a great time to buy new running shoes!!

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So there you have it, plenty of reasons to celebrate August! Happy Friday.

 

How to Participate In Long Course Triathlon

Happy Friday one and all. I have no excuse for my lack of blog posts – life has consumed me between work and Lake Tahoe training. Next week begins my five week epic grind toward the starting line of the 140.6 race – 17, 18, 19, 19.5, and 20 hour training weeks respectively. Ouch!

This post was originally supposed to make it online the day after Vineman 70.3. Obviously, that didn’t happen but here goes anyway – some of the Do’s and Don’ts of long course racing :-)

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Photo from TriFreaks.

Do:

·         Photo journal your adventures with food along the way preparing for the big shebang.

·         Offer friendly advice to the first timers who have the deer in the headlights eye balls. They just want to be loved :O)

·         Undertrain and over prepare.

·         Check your gear bags a minimum of four times (x4).

·         Ask questions of those around you – it’s not worth making a wrong assumption to avoid looking “foolish.”

·         Thank as many volunteers as you can!

·         Be appreciative of those who are supporting you (whether in person or virtually tracking).

·         Always, always, ALWAYS move forward even if you have to walk or crawl. Going backwards is depressing and a surefire way to crash physically and emotionally.

·         Make a plan. Practice the plan. Implement the plan. Throw the plan away when it goes awry (and it always does in some shape or fashion).

·         Put in the time to do well in your event. To a certain extent, you are the master of your own destiny. Hop on it!

·         Make a checklist that you can print out and physically go over while you’re packing. It makes it so much easier! Skin tight triathlon race kit – check [yikes!]

Don’t :

·         Do not EVER wear the shirt from the event priorto actually finishing it. It’s bad luck. It makes you look ridiculous (since you’re surrounded by 2500 people who obviously know you’re doing the same race), and frankly, you haven’t earned it yet. Don’t be “that” guy…

·         Don’t ever brag about past race accomplishments unless someone specifically asks you what you have done.

·         Don’t tell other racers your goal times – they don’t care unless they ask – and really, no one other than you cares either.

·          Don’t assume that because you’ve done a triathlon before that you know what you’re doing. I’ve seen plenty of idiots forget all kinds of “basics” such as water bottles, nutrition, even their wetsuit. Take each long course race like it’s your first.

·         Don’t forget your food and hydration!!

·         Don’t do anything new on race day. ANYTHING. AT ALL! JUST DON’T!!!!

·         Don’t forget to have fun.

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How You Know You’re Getting Old(er)

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I’m just going to pretend that I’ve been consistently writing articles for my blog and that I haven’t been MIA for the better part of two weeks… now, with that disclaimer, Happy Friday!

I consider myself young and vibrant – heck, I’m getting ready for a 70mile race this weekend – but it has been dawning on me over the past months that I’m not quite as young as I think I am. I was chatting on the phone with a friend who I have known the better part of 13 years, and they were saying how crazy it is all their friends are getting pregnant. Agreed, and in addition, it doesn’t help that I’ve been to almost 13 weddings in three years. What the heck people!? Why is everyone doing grown up things at the same time?!

What really did me in was my sentiment surrounding the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I know, I know, how can LOTR make you long for the past and make you feel old? Well, here is exactly how! LOTR was the definitive movie trilogy of my high school career. The Fellowship of the Ring charged onto screens just a few mere months after entering the high school world, and Frodo and company led the charge with great gusto and mind-blowing special effects. This was “back in the day” when we had to wait a WHOLE FREAKING YEAR for the super, ultra-extended, crazy collectible version to be released just a month before the Two Towers was released. Now days, if the movies don’t hit shelves within a month or two, it’s curtains! Between BitTorrent, downloading digital versions of your movies, and needing to have films available on all your crazy mobile devices, we live in a very different media-consuming world.
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What really clued me into this reality is that I put in the official LOTR soundtrack the other day and its thunderous melodies soon found their way throughout my house as I was pretending to clean. Needless to say, the memories came flooding back in a torrent! I am a lover of music, being a trumpeter certainly helps, but I just found myself thinking of the good times that have passed in a blur, and oh so many years ago. The Lord of the Rings captures every emotion known to mankind – joy, sorrow, pain, happiness, melancholy – the list goes on. Tolkien was truly a man ahead of his time to write something to powerful and so influential.

I remember with fondness gathering at the movie theater with all of my buddies to see what the next 3.5 hour epic would unveil for our young, creative minds (note: naturally we had all read the books before the movies had come out – please!). It was definitely one of the high points of my teen years…

Enough reminiscing! So I’m thrust back into reality, thinking that “kids these days” don’t even realize how different a measly ten years can wait. I never upgraded to the Bluray LOTR collection, and really don’t plan on doing so. The fact that I can’t watch those movies on my phone or PC at my beck and call probably terrifies some of the teeny boppers, let alone the fact that people weren’t texting in the movie theater when the Great Saga was unleashed upon the world. That’s right, TEXTING WAS NOT REALLY A THING IN 2001! Regardless, it was fun to think about where I’ve come since then, and how I’ve grown as a guy (man still sounds so … grown up). I have no doubt there are great and glorious times ahead, and I look forward to them but that doesn’t prevent me from pining from the days of yesteryear. I miss many of my friends, I miss outdoor swim practice in the Vegas heat, and I miss the good times of the early 2000’s. I don’t, however, miss living at home :P

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The irony in all of this is that my friends and I swore to never get old and yet here we are… I’m going to spend my weekend doing “young things” and I hope you all do as well. It’s glorious weather out there!

 

 

A Year Since IRONMAN

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Happy Tuesday. To those who know me, you know how seriously I take my hobbies. I’m an avid dog person, a consumer of healthy and tasty foods, casual photographer, and a triathlete. I’m also a futurist and a learner. Precisely one year ago, I was recovering (read: nursing my entire body) from one of my long-time dreams to complete an IRONMAN. I was accompanied by friends and family to the longest race I have ever done in my life, and now suddenly I find myself 365 days later reflecting back on what was an insane year. I had scarcely gotten my MBA (May ’13) before setting off for Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for the 140.6 mile race that would test my sanity and my will to press on.

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It has been an exciting year and a trying one. A year packed to the brim with adventures and fun, and an unusual share of the tough times too. I often dwell on the moments that tried and tested me the most, and of course an 11 hour race comes to mind, but it is truly the actions, the schedules, and the commitments that we make the other 364 days of the year that shape us into who we are. Who/what we pencil in is the determinant of the type of person that we are.

A year is a fascinating amount of time. A year is a container for 12 unique and individual months, four quarters, 52 weeks, 525,600 minutes, annual holidays, and the ebb and flow of a calendar in sync with the whirl and hum of the corporate world. It contains seasonal activities (racing), and we all have certain expectations of our calendars and the weather. It also is filled with the goals that we establish for ourselves, spontaneous trips, unplanned adventures with friends, joys and sorrows, and all of life’s other great curveballs. We have times when we can build expectations from past experiences, and others when we are flying blind by the seat of our pants. The forks in the road can only be navigated as we see fit, with each presenting its own challenge or surprises.

I look back on the previous year and think about what I was doing last summer, last spring, even towards the winter of 2012 when IRONMAN training truly began. What a large change to go from a grad student to an ultra-endurance adventurer, from an employee at the University of Nevada to working in private industry workers’ comp insurance. Who would’ve predicted? Certainly not I. Relationships with family and friends have changed greatly, and my loyal fuzz and partner in crime has become an integral piece of my life. I can’t help but wonder what this next chapter will hold. IRONMAN Lake Tahoe is rapidly approaching (three months from the 21st), and my international trips await! As difficult as it is, it’s critical to enjoy something about each and every day. As I get older, and just for the record I don’t feel “old,” I really notice how brief a day, a long weekend, or even a year is. I have friends coming up on multi-year anniversaries, popping out children, moving all over the world. Even my parent’s friends are experiencing life changes… Again, change is always in the air.

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A year gives you plenty of ample opportunities for dwelling on experiences and planning ones for the future. It is often within the quiet solace of my comfy armchair that I plan out the greatest of my adventures and dreams. Take the time to think big, and the big thinking will reward you greatly. Happy hunting.

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