Things I Have Collected

I have a penchant for collecting, it is in my blood, and I tend to go all in on things with little to no planning.  This makes my wife crazy.  I do not blame her for a sense of dread every time I latch on to something new, in fact I pity her a little bit because she will never understand the exhilarating high that comes with starting a collection of something new.  Nor with she ever understand the dizzying low of realizing you just spent a ton of money on something you will never use.  So gentle readers I give you, TheHusBlog's list of collections:

1992 - 1995 : Comic Books - I still have them in three boxes all in protective plastic shields and backing.  One day they could be worth hundreds.
1998 - 2003 : Swords - Yes I collected swords.  The funny thing is that I did not collect functioning swords, instead they were mainly just sharp pieces of crappy metal where the handle and blade could have easily separated, causing serious bodily harm.  (Still have all my fingers)
1997 - 2005 : DVDs - This was a horrible idea.  Instead of renting movies, I would just buy them.  At the time of meeting my wife I had around 700 DVDs.  After several attempts she finally got me to part with them.  I sold them all to Movie Trading Company.  To this date I think my wife counts this as one of her greatest accomplishments.
2011 - 2011 : Legos - I loved legos as kid.  I had a giant tub full of them.  In 2011, they started coming out with Architectural Sets, you know for grown ups.  Well after the first month I had acquired all of the Architecture sets and was jones-ing for something else so I moved on to Star Wars sets (yes I know I am a grown man, but come on, ITS STAR WARS!).  After several months my desk in my office was littered with The White House, Sears Tower, X-Wing Fighters, The Millennium Falcon, etc.  So yeah, lost interest when I could not use my computer on my own desk.
2002 - Current : Firearms - This is the only mature collection I really own.  Not just because they are firearms but also in the way I collect them.  Slowly.  My entire family got into firearms together and often times it is something fun we all go out and do on Saturday afternoon.  You know what they say, the family that shoots together, stays together.  My wife was also a firearms enthusiast, in fact she is a better shot than me.  The price of guns keeps my collection from swelling out of control because I can only afford to buy about one a year.


A Husband's Guide to : Pride

So the wife and I were leaving an organic grocery store this weekend I thought she was being a little snippy inside the store so I decided to tell her so...

Yeah, you can guess how that ended.

So the wife and I are driving in tense silence back home from the organic grocery store when the radio started playing Ace of Base's "The Sign."  In that moment I realized two things :

1.)  I should have taken a second to really decide if I genuinely thought the wife was being snippy and if I still thought she was, I might have needed to address a better strategy for telling her so.
2.)  It is really hard to stay angry when Ace of Base is playing

This of course got me to thinking about Pride.  We all have pride, it come out in the work we do, the way we treat people, and the live we lead.  But Pride is one of those things that is good and bad...

TheHusBlog Definition Pause : The Good and Bad of Pride

  • Good : Pride in a job well done -- As we do good work we take pride in our accomplishments, could be a project at work, a do it yourself project at home, or even success in a video game (that totally counts).
  • Bad : Treat me with respect -- We all have our pride hurt when someone doesn't treat us the way we want to be treated.  However because we are such subjective creatures it can be hard to really take yourself to an objective mindset to really see if you were mistreated.  Often our pride can conjure invisible slights that cause our chests to puff up for battle over our pride.
  • Good : Pride in our loved ones -- Seeing a spouse, family member, or friend succeed can cause such a swell of pride.  Often we are more proud of the person than they are them self.
  • Bad : Ego -- "Pride cometh before the fall"  We have to be careful to not be too egocentric or too boost-full. It is important to always add a large portion of humility to our endeavors lest we come way too close to the edge of our own conceit.
Pride is good and bad, much like many things in life.  It is important to take a time out from ourselves to really understand what is going on in our relationships.  Remember that the vast majority of problems you perceive are what are often called "First world problems."  Most issues resolve quickly and won't deserve a second thought in day or two.  So in order to help me out with my pride (by far one of my most used sins) I have created a little mantra for myself:

Is this really going to matter in an hour
Is my life really that bad
Am I really so perfect as to be right
Did I remember to turn on the alarm when you left the house

That last bit seems to creep into my thoughts all the time anyway.

So before you get ready to have your feelings hurt in some slight, take a moment, take a deep breath, and decide is something really wrong or is it just pride.


Advice From My Old Man Part 2

A continuation of this post   Please feel free to read the first before moving on to part 2 below:

More Advice From My Old Man :
  • Half a Valium and Breath Rite strip will give you the best sleep of your life : My Dad is what one would call an "A-Type" personality.  He probably only sleeps about 6 hours a night but every now and again he calms down.
  • I can't wait to get bored : Another thing about my Dad is that he always keeps himself busy.  Whether it is work, errands, or watching something on TV he tends to keep himself occupied.  He measures his success of calming down by whether or not he gets bored.  Getting bored, for him, is a victory in accomplishing so much that he has nothing left to do.
  • Cheese Popcorn is the greatest food on God's green earth : My Dad's ambrosia is Cheese Popcorn.  He travels for work every week and in every state he visits he knows the best place to get a bag of Cheese Popcorn.  When he travels, he makes sure there is enough room in his suitcase for a bag or two of Cheese Popcorn to take home.
  • There is a right way to load a dishwasher : My Dad has a system.  You must set up the bottom dishes so that top dishes also get clean.  For years I studied under this tutelage, however now I have a dishwasher with jets under the bottom and top rack, so...
  • Never stop just short of the finish line : Now I know this sounds like a piece of advice to persevere, push through against all odds.  But in actuality it a tool my father uses to up sell purchases.  "Look, you are already going to spend 550 dollars on a TV, but if just spend 625 you will get the TV you really want, don't stop short of the finish line."  Now let me be clear, he does not use this to sell things, he uses this to justify why he spend more money than he intended.  (This piece of advice goes so much deeper than I can get into here, I think I am going to have to do a separate post on this one.
  • Tuna Fish Casserole is always better the second day :  My Dad loves casseroles.  He is also a firm believer that it needs to "settle" overnight to reach it's true potential.  He also feels the same way about Cheetos, they need to breathe a little before enjoying them.

Terms of Transition

I know, I know, it has been a really long time since I have posted a "Terms of" post.  Truth of the matter is they require just a little bit of inspiration in just the right way which came during a meeting today with my superiors at work.  Because I work with client service people I am often "handled".  I am a rather outspoken tech guy within my company so odds are if it seems almost impossible I am usually the one who figures out how to do it.  I also have to vigorously defend my staff from ridiculous demands on their time.  If they could be worked 60 hours per week, each week, they would be.  I however try to keep it to a more reasonable 45 - 50 hours.  My client service team has found that if I really dig my heels in I am going to win, so they set about bring me over to their side.  Often times this works if they have a good and decent logical argument.

However client services have certain key phrases they like to use to begin to transition me to their side.  As I began to think about them I also realized they have a certain place in our marriages too.  Often times I might try to "client service" my wife and vice versa.  It is interesting how the things at work can often parallel the things at home.

Terms of Transition(Business) :

  • "Maybe we just address some of their points" : This is a great opener.  It follows the foot in door approach.  If I agree to work on some of the little things now, you will get me to do what you really want me to do down the line when I am already "pot-committed"  (Man, now I really want to play poker)
  • "Try to look at it from their point of view" : Ah yes.  Please put on their shoes, wouldn't you want X task done if you were in their position.  Well shit ya I would, however they won't be doing the weekend work it would take to meet the deadline so I am going to be more concerned with my foot ware if you don't mind.
  • "So you say you don't have the time to complete the task, so what is your solution" :  This is my absolute favorite.  Basically you go to your superior and tell them you cannot get done what they want done.  Then you request help.  Then rather than help they say to you : "Well what is the solution?"  I always think, If I knew the solution I wouldn't have come to you
  • "Can you provide me with a list of what you are working on so that we can help you  re-prioritize" : Okay this is actually my favorite.  It is a way of saying Hey, I know you are busy but I need you to stop getting work done and create a document that contains what you are working on so that I can just tell you to work faster.  
Terms of Transition(Marriage) : 
  • "Well honey, what can you do?"  Loaded question alert.  The spouse usually asks this wanting you best effort.  If you low ball here, you are going to be in trouble.
  • "Try to see it from my point of view"  This vexes(always wanted to use that word) in both business and relationships.  It is a silly statement because of course I see it from your point of view.  You want something done...  DUH!  I am trying to tell you I can't do it.
  • "Well what are you going to do?"  Loaded question alert again.  There is a correct answer, you just have to be able to give it.  Rather than tell you, you have to guess.  It is like a marriage test.  And unfortunately there is no partial credit.
  • "What are you doing that keeps you from doing what I want?"  On this one, there is no right answer.  You are going to lose because the check mate move is to say What is more important than our relationship?  Yeah, I know, you're done.
Personally the parallels between work and home life are funny to me.  Let's face it, work is hard.  If it wasn't hard we wouldn't be getting paid.  Most of the time you have to suck it up and just get it done the best way you can.  Relationships can often fall into the same category.  Sometimes you just have to suck it up and get it done there too.  The difference is that work provides you with money.  But your relationship provides you with happiness.  Tell you one thing: marriage pays off way better...


Advice From My Old Man Part 1

For us men, as we are growing up our first hero is usually our father.  Also we learn about being a husband from how our fathers behave.  Now that I am grown up, my father is still my hero.  He is truly a great man and if I am ever half the man he is, I will count myself lucky.

I got to spend some time with him this evening at a family gathering and we talked about politics, current events and of course our jobs.  On the ride home I was thinking about all the advice he has given me over the years.  Some of it was amazing, some of it was funny, some of it was down right crazy.  As an homage to him I am going to start cataloguing some his advice.

  • Maraschino cherry juice gives you cancer : My Dad is a little bit of a hypochondriac, and often states many things, unproven by scientists to give you cancer.  Also on the list is high fructose corn syrup and bleached flour.  It also bears stating that my father told me maraschino cherry juice causes cancer when I was 8, so lets just say I stopped ordering shirley temples at a young age.
  • Once a  year order new underwear, undershirts, and socks.  Then throw away the old : This is great advice.  Men have a tendency to hold on to things with holes in them when really the only place for them is the trash.  Besides there is no greater feeling than a new undershirt.
  • If you eat raw broccoli everyday you won't get cancer : Are you seeing the cancer theme?
  • Treat everything like a sand trap in golf, leave it better than when you found it : My Dad is a big believer in treating things well.  His car is always clean, he picks up after himself, and generally always leaves a place better than when he found it.
  • Jesus wasn't a push over : My Dad is a faithful man, but he is often one to point out that Jesus called people out when they did something wrong and so does he.  Do not cut in line in front of my Dad.  Seriously he will call you out.  My Dad is 6'7" and can be rather imposing.  I have never seen him raise a hand to anyone, but if you are trying to do something wrong he is going to let you know.
  • Be GENEROUS : This was never something my Dad told me, but instead it was something he showed me growing up.  My Dad loves giving people gifts.  He has done well for himself financially and he loves to share what he has.  Growing up whenever Dad would get a bonus at work, everyone in the family got some of it.  One year when I was about 12 my Dad got a good bonus and he gave me a 100 dollar bill.  To a 12 year old that was the most money I had ever seen.  He took me to Toys R Us and I bought a Laser Tag set and a huge Lego set.  My Dad also gives a lot to charity and church.  I truly believe my Dad is financially successfully because he gives so much of it away.
  • Enjoy Everything! : My Dad is a little like Rob Lowe's character on Parks and Recreation.  Almost every meal is the BEST meal he has ever had.  Almost every movie is the BEST movie he  has ever seen.  He truly enjoys almost everything and because of his positive energy you can't help but enjoy it too.  Besides enjoying things helps decrease your chance for cancer.
I love my Dad.  I think I am truly lucky to have someone like him to guide me in my life as I grow up.  This is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to advice I have gotten from him over the years and look forward to sharing more tidbits of wisdom.


A Little More Personal : My Favorite Video Game

So I wanted to share something that is near and dear to me.  It is a computer game that I have been playing for over a year now.  It is called Minecraft and it is an indie game created by a guy named Notch in Sweden.

Rather than writing about it, I decided to do a screen capture while I talk and play a little bit of the game.  This is definitely a departure from what I usually post and if you are not into video games this post might not be for you.  However if you want to hear my voice talking(what else would my voice do?) while play a computer game then this is the post for you!!

I have never done a commentary during game play before so it is a bit rough and I do say "uhhhh" and "uuuummmmm" way too many times, and I end the video with the most high pitched "ya'll" I have ever said in my life, but oh well.


Had To Share - Movie about "Change"

I just watched something that truly moved me.  The movie is about 10 minutes long but worth it both from an emotional and cinematic point of view.  Please click here.  I found this on one of the blogs I follow maplewood block forum who also deserves a shout out.

I have so many things I would like to say about the movie, but I don't want you to have any preconceived notions, please just watch.


A Husband's Guide to : New Year's Resolutions

Everyone makes New Year's Resolutions or NYRs.  NYR might also be an acronym for New York Raccoons or Nest Your Rabbits, but for the duration of this post lets go with NYR = New Year's Resolution.  Some people make NYRs with the best of intentions and other people make them just to go along with crowd.  This post focuses on the latter(I really wanted to type ladder there to be funny).  If your goal is to create NYRs that sound good, or will give you something to say when your other co-workers or friends start babbling about theirs then you have found yourself in the quandary of creating a NYR that sounds good, but is easy.

In order to create the perfect slacker NYR first we have to understand what would be a good one, then deconstruct that to finds it's opposite.  In corporate America many people get annual reviews, and often are assigned Goals.  These goals are typically S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely).  That already sounds challenging doesn't it.  So let's use a different set of adjectives.  Vague, Asinine, Proper-sounding, Ordinary, Ridiculous.  What does that spell?  Vapor or if you prefer the British spelling (Vague, Asinine, Proper-sounding, Ordinary,  Utterly Ridiculous) Vapour.  Now you might be thinking, "TheHusBlog, I stopped reading a while ago, can you just list out some examples I can steal?"

Okay, how about this:

TheHusBlog Definition Pause : Some NYR Examples

  • Vague : The key here is to not get specific and do not provide a base line.  Eat healthier could just mean eating a salad once a month... DONE!
    • Drink more water
    • Eat healthier
    • Work out more
  • Asinine : Keep it strange so people won't ask questions
    • Read less about Badgers
    • Stop trying to create my own board game based on the quadratic equation
    • Start trying to create my own board game based on the quadratic equation
    • Lose weight by changing the gravitational constant of the universe
  • Proper Sounding : The key here is make it sound good
    • Give more to charity
    • Be nicer to people
    • Enjoy life more
  • Ordinary : Make it sound like something everyone would do so that people are inclined to move on and not ask questions
    • Give up Gin (especially useful if you really don't like or drink gin)
    • Invest (then mumble what you are really going to spend money on) like Invest in more beer
  • Ridiculous : If all else fails say something crazy and hope they move on.
    • Stop trying to genetically splice a turkey with hat
    • Stop driving with only my feet
    • Stop trying to teach my computer how to line dance
    • Start trying to bring back the Macarena
Okay, okay serious for a moment.  Thank you for reading and I really do wish all my readers the best year possible and hope for nothing but wonderful things.  I started writing this blog a year ago as a place to put my thoughts and along the way some of you found it funny, interesting, or thoughtful enough to keep coming back.  Cheers to you loyal readers and I hope the new year finds you happier!


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