Goodbye My Friend…

boodha 1

 

It’s with a very heavy heart that I share the news that a best friend, family member, and bringer of joy in my life has passed. My beloved English Bulldog, Boodha has left this world at twelve and a half years of age.

I don’t know where to begin as far as describing his role in my life and the lives of my family. In his twelve plus years of existence, not a day passed in which I didn’t pour love, affection, and attention into him and he always reciprocated it in spades by bringing joy, humor, and drama in my life.

He fit every stereotype of his bulldog breed; tough, stubborn, powerful, and dignified. Tough, all the way up to his  last dying moments when his heart appeared to be quitting on him but he kept snapping back into consciousness and fighting the surrender until it was no more.  Stubborn, when he would fight tooth in nail, in defiance to go on long daily walks only to eventually enjoy them, once I could get him started. Powerful, like when he was playing tug a war with two fully grown pitbulls at the dog park and pulling both of them, mouth bloody, and refusing to let go, until I intervened.  And lastly, dignified as he stood proudly at my wedding looking on this momentous occasion with a regal tuxedo tie on, and chin up in the air, as if he knew his rightful place in this moment.

He also fit the alpha, K-9, archetype written about in the pages of books and projected on the silver screen. He was fiercely loyal, protective, and tender and gentle with our family, aka his pack. So loyal, always by my side, when in the midst of large crowds at the many events and festivals we frequented with him, or at the beach, or at dog parks, never straying too far, with a watchful eye. Never did I have to worry about him escaping his leash and fleeing like some sort of fugitive of justice. The rare times he wasn’t with me, he showed his loyalty when our time apart ended in a sort of rejoiced, reunion, that he would show in his own unique and subtle style, but not in the “jump up on you and lick your face” variety.  Protective, when he would bark at the sights and sounds of a tv screen, at percieved threats such as dogs, bears, etc., especially in the prescence of my wife. With Boodhas powerful prescence I always had the feeling of safety and  security and the understanding that he would do whatever it takes to protect me and the family from any physical threats. Was he a guard dog? Far from it, but aside from the toungue and cheek, “beware of dog” sign we posted, if you were a stranger and you entered the house, one look at him at the top of the stairs and believe you me, you might want to go the other way.  Like the time he got loose outside and lunged at a cable installer working on our neighbors house, or the time he lunged at my friends face, when they decided to get down on his level while playing fetch with him.  Finally, Boodha was always tender and gentle to his pack aka our family. Whether with our often annoying cat who liked to pick on him, or with my pregnent wife, or with our two daughters, he always showed a soft and gentle side to them, never doing more than sniffing them, and never displaying jealous, excitable  or hostile behavior towards them. We won’t count the time he nipped my daughters hand during a 4th of July celebration , since it was a clear attempt to protect the pack by extinguishing the fireworks. Never once do I recall having to worry or correct him for inflicting harm on the physically  vunerable members of the family. As a matter of fact, I had to correct the family members instead of him because I had the sense that he would never harm them even if he was at the receiving end of their provocation.

My beloved Boodha also defied plenty of conventions. Despite his breed and the shorter life span and known health issues, he lived five years beyond the average age of his contemporaries and never had the myriad of health issues so synonymous with these dogs. As a matter of fact, despite the powerful build, he would always surprise me with his speed, agility, and stamina, whether that was the long hikes we would take with him, playing with other dogs, or playing tug a war with his favorite rubber  rings, or fetch with his favorite green ball. Even when he was old and half blind he approached fetch with the same intensity as in his youth and even partaked in this favorite game of his, with me, on his very last day alive.  As for his health, besides chronic skin issues from time to time, frequent and potent flatulence, and a few, close overheating scares, he was a model of health and vitality that defied the odds. He always kept a healthy appetite and was mobile all the way up to the night  of his passing.  Despite his “meat head”, lumbering, appearance, he was no dimwit either. His ability to follow commands and know what you were asking of him were second to none. Whether that was training him to go up and down stairs in a specific manner and position or training him to sit on command before receiving a treat, his ability to pick it up quickly was uncanny. Now once he learned something, whether he chose to listen or comply was a whole another story!

Lastly, even though he wasn’t a human companion, he defied my expectations of what a true bond and friendship could be. He was unconditional about everything he did for me and his only concern seemed to be showing his love and bringing joy in my life. Sure, he made me mad sometimes, and he made me cry like right now, and he also made me laugh all the time, but most importantly, my quality of life was better with him.

So in his passing I have to go back to his last moments on this earth because it epitomizes how his life and our relationship was:

After a routine day with Boodha that culminated in his favorite game of fetch with his cherished green ball, with me in our man cave, while watching sports, he uncharacteristically clamored to go outside and proceeded to behave very strangely. At that point, I had the suspicious feeling it might be time. So late at night, as he lied on the ground with me and my wife, and I watched him close his eyes for the last time and drift away forever, I thought to myself how I would so dearly miss my friend. However, I also rejoiced and sought solace that he lived a fulfilling life and gave me a fulfilling life in return. He got to leave this world in my arms, a way so  fitting for him, with so much grace, dignity, and beauty, without pain and suffering.

And so I say, “Boodha, I will forever remember you, and you will be missed my best friend and family member. I am eternally grateful for the gift of joy that you brought me and my family and the lessons of unconditional love that you taught me.”

 

Number 42

Number 42

Although I don’t give a whole lot of creedence to the idea of chronological age and its relevancy, I thought it would be fun on my birthday today, to find some facts out about the number 42. Disclaimer: not fact checked and internet sourced!

  • There is a “Doctor who?” Episode titled “42” That lasted 42 minutes.
  • There are 42 US gallons in a barrel of oil.
  • In the game of “Risk” there are 42 territories.
  • 42 is the atomic number of molybdenum, which is also the 42nd most abundant element.
  • 42 degrees is the angle of a rainbow.
  • If you search “the answer to life universe and everything” in to google, it will respond with “42”.
  • The default password expiration time for a windows admin is 42 days.
  • In 2004 the asteroid DA42 was renamed to “25924 Douglasadams”.
  • Number 42 craft number is a very popular possible craft number in TF2.
  • The book “So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish” has 42 chapters.
  • In the game “Spore” You can get an item known as the “Staff of Life”, That has 42 uses.
  • In “Shakespeare’s Romeo And Juliet”, the potion that Juliet takes, will have effect for 42 hours.
  • 42% of the london underground, is underground.
  • On page 42 of “Frankenstein” Victor reveals he is able to make life.
  • The world’s first printed book (“The Gutenberg Bible”) has 42 lines per page.
  • On page 42 of “Harry potter and the philosopher’s Stone” Harry learns that he is a
    wizard.
  • The Titanic was travelling at around 42 Km/hour when it hit the iceberg.
  • Buzz Lightyear’s ship is named “42”.
  • Theodore Roosevelt was 42 when elected in to office.
  • Chuck Yeager first broke the sound barrier at 42,000 feet.
  • On page 42 of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” Jonathan discovers he is a prisoner of the vampire.
  • Holy Mackerel’s default level is 42.
  • A marathon course is 42 Km + a bit.
  • Cell 42 in Alcatraz was home to Robert Stroud, who was transferred there in 1942. And after murdering a guard, he received 42 years of solitary.
  • One of CERN’s newer buildings is known as “Building 42”.
  • The computer “Watson” Has 42 “Threads” around it’s avatar.
  • Queen Victoria’s husband died at age 42; they had 42 grand children, and Edward VIII(Their great-grandson) Abdicated at age 42.
  • Elvis Presley died at age 42.
  • Google’s chief executive’s office is called Building 42.
  • A single Big Mac has 42% of the recommended daily intake of salt.
  • Cricket (the game) has 42 laws.
  • The three albums; Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, AC/DC’s “Back in Black”, and Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon”; all lasted 42 minutes.
  • The type 42 vacuum tube was very popular in the 1930s.
  • 42,000 balls were used at Wimbledon last year.
  • The horse “Nijinsky” was 42 months old when it won the English Triple Crown: the Derby.
  • In one episode of “The simpson” chief Wiggum wakes up to a question, and answers “42”.
  • The 1970s song “In the Summertime” has a tempo of 42 beats per minute.
  • Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play Major League Baseball, had the jersey with the number 42.

Being Productive During Unemployment and Gaining an Advantage from the Situation

Losing a job is a reality of modern life.  Being between work can be unsettling and stressful due to the financial uncertainty alone.  The psychological aspects of losing a job can lead to feelings of depression, despair, and inadequacy.  These components and others, combined can easily lead to counter productivity and a mindset of scarcity instead of abundance.  How can the narrative change and someone become productive and gain an advantage from this situation?

We are inundated with negative feelings the moment we lose a job.  Knowing that these negative feelings are inevitable and knowing that they surface when we first lose a job, we can then label the feelings as temporary and fleeting, rather than wallow in permanence with them.  The uncertainty associated with losing a job can be turned into a certainty.  By no longer having that job, we can now be certain that we have the time that would have been spent on the job to do things that are not part of the job.  If we make choices that do not support the negative feelings of losing the job and complete them during the time that we would have been on the job, we are being productive.  A good example is to make a list of the things you said you would do if you weren’t working at the job or if you had the time to do during work hours on the job.  This list can even be comprised of unfinished things that you would have completed had it not been for the aforementioned excuses.  What this list represents are things that are not associated with the job that was lost, so in turn, they are not bi-products of the initial negative feelings of losing the job and can be deemed as positive things.  By undertaking this list during the time you are no longer on the job, you are now taking that time and creating value, thus being productive.

 

Loss…

loss

 

Over the last two weeks I faced some losses. I lost an old friend, and I lost my job of nearly the past 4 years. I thought about what the losses were to me, the timing of them, and what they meant in the grand scheme of things.

When I lost my friend in an auto accident and heard the news from another friend, both of whom I had been out of touch with for some time, I was reminded that things that may have caused us to drift apart over recent years were truly trivial when considered in the context of death and impermanence. It wouldn’t do my friend justice just to wax nostalgic about them since the times we had together were not all that remarkable, and they happened in what seems like another time and place in my life. When thinking of what this loss was to me, I remember my friend who was a musician, and who I had the honor to work with on numerous occassions, was the type of person that never stopped believing their own ability, and never stopped pursuing their dream of becoming a successful musician, even at the expense of others labeling them delusional and even after other people’s criticisms of them for their lifelong pursuit. The loss of my friend was a reminder that there is nothing wrong and as a matter of fact it, it is what is all that is right about living, as far as pursuing your passion and always believing in yourself. You see my friend always maintained this atttitude and pursuit without harming others and from a positive place. They always celebrated their own victories as well as others and they never tried to better their own position by exploiting another. The only thing that haulted their pursuit was when they physically lost their life. This taught me that we must remind ourselves of what we want and be unapologetic about the pursuit without hurting others. It can be taken away anytime, so while we are here and able to pursuit it, it is our obligation.

The timing of losing my friend was a bit of synchronysity, if you will, since I lost my job of nearly 4 years, almost one week later. When I think about my job and the fact that my departure had to do with a soured family and business relationship, I took a step back when processing all the events. I first thought about the insignificance of the melodrama surrounding and even the financial ramifications of losing my job when compared to the death of a friend. Secondly, I thought about how outside of the financial and family reasons for taking the job, how the job itself was overall, not fulfilling on a physical, mental, or spiritual level for me.  With the death of a friend who epitomized the pursuit of their passion and dreams, and me losing the job, not to be too much of a cliche, but I took this as a sign.  Better yet, it was a gift from my friend, in passing, who instructed the universe to push me in the right direction.

So I am here sitting and writing this, and in a state of mourning, and unemployed. This seems dire but I couldn’t feel better. I see that it was my friend that made the ultimate sacrifice, and helped set me free to do what I should be doing.  Losing a friend and a job were losses on the surface, but were true gains in the grand scheme of things.

It’s Been Awhile, a Couple Months to be Exact, or Better Yet, an Entire Summer…

summertime

 

It has been a couple months since I last posted, so I am now committed to blogging more regularly.  I find that the exercise of blogging is therapeutic for my soul and psyche, and going long periods without, for me, has the same effect as lapses in physical exercise and lapses in creative expression; both of which I try to avoid going without for any prolong period.  So, what have I been up to the last couple months?  Actually we can say, what did I do this entire summer. Let’s see.

I have most importantly, spent quality time with the family in the form of a couple beach trips.

I have experienced my oldest daughter’s first summer in between the school year which has consisted of a variety of summer camps.  (Kudos to my wife for her stellar organization and scheduling skills and making this period seamless and smooth for us all!)

Next, I attended a college friend’s wedding and got to spend time with some other college buddies, and it was at my old NC mountain stomping grounds. It felt really good to revisit this terrain, and was both a beautiful wedding ceremony and scenery.

I got to take my daughters to their first concert, and their first live baseball game which they thoroughly enjoyed.  I also got to attend another concert with my wife that was on my music bucket list.

Speaking of music, I got to listen to a lot of good new music, and make some new music for myself and my best friend’s new project.  (congrats to my pal and the birth of his baby girl during this time!)

And of course, I’ve read a lot of good books, watched a lot good movies, and played some good video games these past couple months.

Finally, I tried to keep my physical fitness up, the whole time, in the form of regular, weekly gym sessions and pickup basketball.  The weather has been extremely hot and rainy so the outdoor activity has been very limited, but I have tried to compensate in the form of hard workouts, good nutrition, and supplementation.  As a matter of fact, these last two months I have been doing a form of fasting called time restricted feeding which I will blog about soon.  I feel really good, but we will see what the results are since I am in the process of my annual physical and blood work as we speak.

That about wraps it up, and it has been a very fruitful and enjoyable past couple months. I look forward to writing in detail about some of these things, very soon.

Workouts, Vacation, and Ruminations from the Last Two Weeks.

kettlebell pics

 

Managed 4 workouts over the last 2 weeks I was absent from this blog (3 at the gym and 1 at home).  2 of the gym workouts were at my new gym and focused on metabolic conditioning centered primarily around the crossfit box.  The third gym workout was at my old gym and centered around heavier compound lifting with H.I.I.T. sets between lifting sets.  The home workout was body weight focused with some cardio intervals and a lot of stretching and active recovery.  Also was able to get in some walking and body weight work while on vacation.

 

 

Spent 3.5 days at Emerald Isle on Memorial Day vacation with the family and with the in laws.  Perfect, albeit hot, and sunny beach weather and nice water conditions for three days.  Did have a real scare with my older English Bulldog on the way to the beach with the 3 hour drive. He managed to get severely overheated despite the AC conditions in our vehicle to the point where we had to make an emergency landing and cool him off and narrowly missed a fatal outcome.  He recovered and we took precautionary measures on the trip back and he is doing fine now.  The heavy rain on the way back helped and that rain has continued daily since Monday, 5/28/18, with today being Thursday the 31st!

 

 

 

In this time I was able to watch some sports, MMA and the NBA playoffs.  Most of these events were lackluster so I may not bother to write about them individually.

I was able to listen to great podcasts like Onnit with Paul Check part 2 and JRE with GSP, as well as great music like the new albums by Beachhouse and Pusha T.  I will probably write about those soon.

 

 

Amsterdam Day Three and Four

 

 

Pics (top left to right):  Possibly the best omelet I ever had, Heineken factory, canal boat ride scenes one through three.

Day three:  This city finally sunk in.  I would describe day three as smoooth sailing.  Woke up and saw my wife to her work conference followed by a delicious breakfast in what might have been the best omelet I have ever had.  Spent the rest of the morning up to noon checking out a local park near the hotel and completed a few sketches of the terrain I experienced.  Next we did the tourist thing and visited the Heineken brewery tour. It was a fun excersion complimented by both old and modern experiences and then capped off by some drinks on the house. From the factory to the canals, next it was a scenic boat ride to see the city from the waterways.  Back on land, we picked a random spot to eat which proved to be decent with asian as the culinary choice i.e. paying homage to my heritage, Vietnamese pho.  From there, we took a long journey, deep into the city on a quest for consumption that came locally and highly recommended.  As I alluded to in the introduction, things went smoothly.  The timing was impecable when moving around the city on day three and it was nothing short of amazing, albeit some rainy weather.

 

Pics top left to right:  The bio conference center for my wife’s work, Rijks Museum, Battle of Waterloo in museum, outside of museum, seafood market.

 

Day Four (end of the road):  Walked my wife to the final day of her conference obligation in some very cold rain.  Spent the morning inside the hotel room catching up on some cinema that I can’t seem to find the time for back home, but were on the must watch list.  Before escorting my wife to the conference she joined me for an encore of the omelet, and it was just as good the next day.  After my wife fulfilled her work duties, we journeyed to the Rijks Muesem to see Dutch master’s fine and classic art, plus Rembrandt pieces. We had to squeeze it all in, in about an hour.  It was a fun, fast trip that reached a cool crescendo with a street orchestra performing classical music  on the street outside of the museum. We kept the street theme and had some good street food for dinner, i.e. Dutch waffles and a Dutch style hotdog.  Having seen what we set out to see on our trip, the final night was a low key night with a quick stop at a seafood market to taste kibeling for a second time, at a highly renowned spot. Like the omelet, it did not disappoint the second time. As the trip came to a close I reflected on the beauty of this city and it’s progressive mindset and positive vibes.  So many things that our culture is hung up on and seemingly backwards about, this city seems to have progressed past and are a benchmark for what we could be in the future.