The Diamond in the Rough!

daily morning awesomeness 53 Daily Morning Awesomeness (40 Photos)

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One Day, We Will Create Our Own Stories!

Thanksgiving 2012

Welcome everyone to Thanksgiving 2012. This is our 4th Thanksgiving together. I couldn’t be happier to be here right now.

So, for all of you that do not know me, my name is Jeff. I have the pleasure and honor to be one of the founding members of this Thanksgiving Day festival we have here. This apartment has fond memories for me. I lived here for 3 days when I first moved in. I met my good friend Nic here. I get to hang out with Haas and Finch here. And I get to hear and partake in stories here. Something most people know about me: I love stories. I love hearing them, I love reading them, I love watching them, and yes, I rather enjoy telling them. If you get to know me, you will understand that I tell stories at great length. (Not to the point that Lincoln does though, if you have ever seen that movie)

I would much rather live in a fantasy world. A world perhaps populated by Elves and Dwarves and Giants and goblins. Dragons could be a common occurrence and bow and arrows would still be the preferred method of ranged attack. Or a world perhaps where travel between planets is something that is normal. Species are living out their lives together trying to coexist in a vast, intergalactic environment. Or perhaps be a Time Lord with a TARDIS and visit any and all of these places.

See, the world of fiction gives us something that we here on this planet and in this life tend to lack: A sense of adventure, a sense of good and evil, and a sense that anyone, even someone with the most humblest of beginnings can make a huge difference.

Perhaps that is why we fall into stories so often. We tend to care more about Harry Potter and his struggle with Voldemort and his struggle with Fate than we do about our mundane jobs. It is the same with Luke Skywalker’s battle with his destiny as well as his battle against evil. It is why we care about who sits on the Iron Throne or cheer when Jeff Daniels shouts out, “You’re A fucking Newsman Don!”

It works for sports too. The story lines of teams become things of legend. Our sports stars become heroes with story arcs. Brett Favre, a kid from modest beginnings blessed with a huge arm was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons. His fortunes changed when he was traded to the Packers. There he led his team to a Superbowl victory all while dealing with a pain killer addiction and general human stupidness. He was on top of the world, but he fell from grace as he held a franchise hostage. He was traded and cheated on his wife. But boy, do we love a good resurrection story. And Brett gave us just that. But like a lot of heroes before him, he fell short of his ultimate goal. But stories like these are why more people watch the Superbowl than vote for who becomes president. (no really, 122 million people voted for this election. 163 million watched the superbowl last year)

Stories can tell us so many great things. We can learn from them, extrapolate from them, embrace them, care for them and the people living in them and of course we can always recite them and relive them. We can smile from them, laugh from them, cry from them, rejoice in them, and, well, even worship them.

There is one major flaw with stories though. Stories are things that either happened in the past or are made up. Each of these things takes us out of the here and now. Perhaps that is the best and worst part of stories. Sure, you can live the life of Nathan Drake or tag along with the Doctor, fight crime with Sherlock or be a part of Ender’s team in zero G, but none of those things will provide what we have here, right now.

And what are we doing right now? We are gathered here for a Thanksgiving feast! We are following a tradition that was created out of a story. A piece of history that started back in 1536 with Henry VIII and his English reformation. It was carried here by puritans who believed instead of a church holiday on any one day (like Christmas or Easter), there should be days of thanksgiving whenever something wonderful in the world happened like when they defeated the Spanish armada in 1588. The first annual day of thanksgiving occurred in 1606, following the failure of the Gunpowder plot. Some of the traditions were brought over to America, some were created here. Through the years the story of Thanksgiving has warped and changed but all the basics are still here. Look: There are around 20 people here today, some that have been here many times before and some who are joining us for the first time. But we are all living out this ongoing story of Thanksgiving.

So, I want us all to take a moment and focus on what is right in front of us. For some of us, it is a huge pile of turkey and mashed spuds. For others, nothing but veggies. And for others still, like myself, I am staring at a big plate of complete bullshit. I am thankful to our hosts Nic and Haas. Give it up to them real quick. Thank you guys for not only welcoming me, but everyone. For opening your doors and making feel so welcome all of these people. You guys have created a huge family style even here that makes people feel so welcome and that cannot possibly be overstated.

So, what am I thankful for this year? I am thankful for wonderful stories. I am thankful for some good movies. I am thankful for time spent chasing a football in a circle or playing wiffleball. I am thankful running water and electricity. I am thankful for my family. I am certainly thankful for food and this plate of bullshit in front of me. I am thankful for you guys. I am thankful for my friends. I am thankful for the people that gathered here today instead of doing damn near anything else that you could have done instead of join us.

Because despite everything else, it is you guys that make living in the real world bearable. You make putting down a book easy. You make turning off the TV simple. The reason of course is, well…Because while we are here together, we are making our own stories, stories to tell for years to come. This place has already been the setting for so many wonderful stories, like the stories of Door Jams and of Haas spooning Nic, stories of serial killers, newsrooms, iron thrones and starts to paintball days…What am I thankful for? I am thankful to be a part, if only a small part, of this story being made here today. Here is to this story and to many many more! Cheers!

(*Small note: When asked what I was going to bring as a food item to pass, I responded “A big plate of bullshit that no one will eat and that I will have for leftovers the next day. That is why I comment on my plate of bullshit. I went home with no leftovers.)

 

Top 5 Things to be Terrified Of!

People are afraid of all sorts of things. There are seriously so many things on this planet and beyond that just flat out scare the crap out me…like Adrian Peterson blowing out his knee…again. But really, think of everything we still do not know. I think that is where fear really comes from, the unknown. So, with that being said, here are 5 things I am scared of:

5. The Ocean – What the hell is down there? I mean seriously, we have nothing that can even go to the bottom of the ocean. We have no idea what is down there. And to even think that something can live down there under all that pressure is mind blowing. We live on this planet and share it with millions of other species, and yet, it wasn’t until just a couple years ago we knew there were actually such things as giant squids in our oceans! The fact that you cant really see in an ocean is also scary. Humans just do not belong in the water, but we also love the water. There is a draw there. But the fact that the ocean can claim lives in any number of ways at any moment is something that is quite frighting indeed.

Ocean views gallery

Some Ocean views from Windland Smith Rice. These are pretty pictures…but do not let the beauty mask the danger…

4. Autoimmune disease – I think the thing that scares me the most about autoimmune diseases is the fact that basically this is a disease where the body attacks itself. Seriously think about that. Your body, a machine that works without you thinking about it, decides that itself is not good enough to have around (scientifically, the immune system becomes confused and begins to recognize a certain part of your body as a pathogen, even though it is not) and starts to attack itself. That whole concept is frightening to me. How can your body just become wrong? How can something you have no control over just start making wild accusations claiming your liver is now a pathogen? It makes no sense at all! It is truly scary since it could happen at any time. So is the next one on the list…

3. Dying – Can anyone even comprehend what that is like? Seriously, take 5 seconds and try to pretend to even fathom what this step is like………Did you do it? Are you not terrified? What happens after? Is there something after death? Do we have spirits or are we just gone? I have NO ANSWERS!! JUST ONE MILLION QUESTIONS!! See, this is terrifying!

One of my favorite paintings ever, called “Death and Life” by Gustav Klimt.

2. Space – This one is so awesome and so terrifying. You know how we have no idea what is in our ocean? Think about that but on an amazingly incomprehensible level. Like the Doctor said once, “This is one corner of one country on one continent on one planet that’s a corner of a galaxy that’s a corner of a universe that is forever growing and shrinking and creating and destroying and never remaining the same for a single millisecond, and there is so much, so much, to see.” Space is terrifying in the sense that it is awe inspiring. It is scary because, if you are in space, you could die if ANYTHING goes wrong. If I go grocery shopping here on Earth, about 30 things could go wrong and that could just mean I get home 5 minutes later or forget some eggs. In space, it means you check in at the number 3 spot on this list. But holy cow, Space must be the most beautiful thing out there. I would love to experience it in my lifetime.

1. Love – Yup. I said it. As a 25 year old male, I am a coward when it comes to love! I think most people probably are. You have to ‘put yourself out there’. Then you have to awkwardly date someone. And then even if you really like them, you have to hope they really like you. And then you go out and and you guys fall in love. But that still doesn’t matter. There are very few things in this lifetime that humans can invest in more than another person. Time and energy, stories, events, personal items…And then kids. A family. But all those things can be taken away by something you are not in control of…another person. The person you trust and love more than anything in the entire world can, in theory, one day say “Noooooope, I am done with this.” Then what? 50% percent of first marriages, 67% of second and 74% of third marriages end in divorce, according to Jennifer Baker of the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri. Well, that is a ton of people that decided they loved one another only to decide later that they don’t. So, congrats to people that have found true love out there and are happy with one another and will be until they hit number 3 on this list…but for now, I am just going to stick with conquering my fear of Space first…why? Bring it home for me Boss:

(Also, I totally dance like he does in the opening shots…Maybe that is why I am so afraid to love.)

Johnny Cash is Awesome!!

Listen to the Man in Black read one of the most famous speeches of all time. And remember what we once stood for and the honored dead that fought once for what they believed.

40 Awkward Family Photos!

The Chive put out a list of 40 awkwardly funny photos. You can find the list here. Now, my family has been known to take some weird pictures, but nothing to this degree. Enjoy some crazy ones. Here are a couple to preview:

funny awkward family photos 37 Your family photo totally looks normal, said nobody ever (40 Photos)

funny awkward family photos 33 Your family photo totally looks normal, said nobody ever (40 Photos)

funny awkward family photos 25 Your family photo totally looks normal, said nobody ever (40 Photos)

funny awkward family photos 21 Your family photo totally looks normal, said nobody ever (40 Photos)

funny awkward family photos 16 Your family photo totally looks normal, said nobody ever (40 Photos)

funny awkward family photos 7 Your family photo totally looks normal, said nobody ever (40 Photos)

Top 5 Things Men Do That Will NEVER Be Cool!

You know how there are things you HAVE to do in life that suck? Like get your boss lunch or clean the bathroom or get your cars oil changed? Well those things do not fall into this category. This is the list of things that some men do that will NEVER look cool. No matter how hard they try, it just isn’t cool. Here is the list:

5. Eat a Banana – There is something about a banana and eating it from the peel that just never looks cool for a male. Call in the sexual innuendos or the ridiculous looking shape and color, the male eating a banana looks stupid. Also, there is nothing more terrible than a man not being able to peel a damn banana. People have every method in the book, peel from the top, peel from the bottom, blah blah blah. Has anyone actually had trouble peeling a banana? If you want to avoid looking uncool, just cut it up into your Honey Nut Cheerios and call it good.

4. Pop Collar – This is an easy one. Nothing screams D-bag or “bro” more than the popped collar, and the pink one at that! Remember the trend awhile ago with the double popped collar? I mean some males that are fairly young in age went through college thinking that this was a trend that was actually cool. They will get married some day and during their slideshow on their wedding night, they will be embarresed with pictures of how cool they were with their popped collars…unless of course they still think it is cool and popped the collar under their tux…

3. Wearing Sunglasses inside a dark room – I think Miller Lite did a commercial about this awhile back, but it holds up. Wearing Sunglasses in a bar is not cool. First of all, I am not even sure how you can SEE wearing them. I can barely wear them inside with lights turned on and see. Sunglasses being worn inside a bar is not only not practical, you just look like a moron. You know what no one has ever said before? “Damn, that dude over there in those killer shades putting back Jaeger Bombs is awesome! I want to make sure I meet him and hang out with him.” So, unless you are the Blues Brothers (which you are not) or Men In Black about to flashy-thing someone, please take the sunglasses off and put them away…which leads me to my next point…

2. Wear sunglasses on the back of their neck – The only thing worse than a dude that wears his sunglasses inside a dark building “for style” is a dude that reverses his sunglasses and hangs them off the back of his neck. Oh you just dropped a buck fifty on your new shades and are afraid to scuff them up? Then get a case. You look stupid.

1. Drive a Jetta of Fiat – There is a website devoted to hot girls in Jetta’s. You can find it here. Women and Jettas go together like Peanut butter and Jelly. You know what doesn’t? A grown man driving one. And honestly, as much as I hate the cars overall, good looking women and Fiats go together quite well too. But you know what? Men cannot pull off either of these cars. Some have tried, and all have failed. Seriously, if you haven’t seen a Fiat yet, go check one out. And then get in it and when you are sitting behind the wheel, ask yourself this question: “What would a girl think if I rolled up to her pad in one of these for a date, honked the weak ass horn, and made her sit literally about 2 inches from me for the entire car ride?” She would probably think, “So I met a new friend…” and that would be the end of your date and courting. Just ask Jorah Mormont…Basically, a man cannot look cool in a Jetta or Fiat.

This picture will be regretted on his Wedding day picture slide show. Or funeral. Which ever comes first. He might have a hard time finding a wife with that.

What else do men do that will never look cool? Perhaps this is a question best left to ladies, but men can certainly answer it as well! Leave some thoughts down in the comments.