My 2008 Election Endorsement

After doing some John Kerry-esque flip-flopping (started out with Duncan Hunter since the middle of last year, then Rudy when Hunter dropped out, then a 50/50 split a few days later between McCain and Romney), I've finally figured out who I'm supporting and voting for...


Duel of Duality

The difficult thing for me right now is the extreme duality of the situation, on so many levels:

*For the past three months, I honestly have never been in a better place in life, really an all-time high. After yesterday's news, I'm suddenly at the damn-near lowest point of my life.

*Although unable to totally express it, I lately have never had so much love to give. Now, I instantly feel empty.

*As a life-long Atheist, I've dismissed what lies beyond life. Now I find myself wondering what will really happen to my devout Catholic grandmother when she passes.

*In a similar vain, I've been doing a lot of thinking about love, marriage, and finding that one person to spend "forever" (which meant until death) with. All of a sudden, I wonder if death does end that togetherness or if there is a way to literally spend eternity with loved ones.

The Void of Not Knowing How

I've never been one to allow myself not to learn new things. I constantly find myself diving into books about various topics, if nothing but to say I know a little about everything. However there is one thing I do not know anything about and honestly, it has me confused. That subject is death.

My Dad called me today to tell me that my grandmother (my Mom's mom) had suffered a stroke overnight and was in the hospital is critical condition. The news rocked me, as I have never experienced a death to someone truly close to me. In fact, I've only experienced the passing of somone merely twice: my great-grandmother died in her 90s sometime when I was around 5 and the grandfather of a former girlfriend. I attended both funerals but really didn't understand death and how to cope.

I know it's likely that I'll lose my grandmother this week but I don't know how I'll take it given how I reacted today. When my Dad told me the news, I was stunned and sad and felt like crying. But I didn't. I listened to my father on the other end of the phone struggle to relay me the situation and updates and the whole time, I wondered why I wasn't feeling the same way. And I'm a very openly emotional guy.

Not only am I unsure of how I will personally handle the death of someone close to me, but I can't even imagine how I'm going to be able to cope how my parents and sister react. I'm afraid I won't be able to help them through this trying time. Everyone deals with death and the loss of life and love differently, I guess.

It's the void of me not knowing how to deal with it which makes me most uncomfortable, scared and saddened.


A Nickname Timeline

I believe everyone should have a nickname, good or bad, it really doesn' t matter. It's the having one that makes them so great.

Of course the best nicknames are the ones that either describe someone -- whether accurately or sarcastically (like a big guy named "Tiny") -- or stems from an incident that got them that moniker. Then there's what I call the "teammate" nickname (called that because it's present in sports a lot), which simply adds a "y" to a part or the end of your last name (Schmidt becomes Schmidty, Jones becomes Jonesy, Davis becomes Davey, Figgins becomes Figgy, Erstad becomes Ersty...). There's the J-Lo trend of nicknames, too (ie A-Rod, K-Fed, X-Tina.)

I've never really had a good, legit nickname. I've had plenty, but nothing really solid and as we speak, I consider myself sans nickname. Below is a historical timeline of my nicknames:

1979 - present
"Joe Willie"

I was actually born with a nickname. During his NFL career, quarterback Joe Namath was often called Broadway Joe and Joe Willie (from his middle name William.) Since I was named after Namath -- first and middle name both -- all my dad's buddies started calling me Joe Willie as soon as I came home from the hospital. A few of them still jokingly refer to me as Joe Willie.

1979 - present

Almost everyone on my mom's side of the family still calls me Joey.

1987 - 1991

'Top Gun' had just been out and I'm sure people were being called Maverick and Iceman more than ever. I was tagged with the Iceman name by my Little League coach, who called me that because "when Joe pitches, he has ice water in his veins." The name also carried over into my soccer career, as I was an all-area all-star at goaltender (in all honesty, I was really good!) My team's won league championships almost every year and would always make it to the finals, if not win, all the area cups and tournaments. In a championship game, I faced two penalty kicks in regulation, plus five in a shootout. I blocked all seven shots. Ice water, baby.

At the time, I really dug being called Iceman but like my career as a Little League closer and AYSO goalie, the name was short-lived.

"Chief Running Scared"

Okay, here's the story. It was middle school and I had my first ever girlfriend. She had a birthday party at her house and of course, I was there. During the party, she pulled me aside to her room. Being the clueless kid I was, I started checking out the crap that was on ther bookcase or dresser or something like that, my back turned to her. When I turned around, she had taken off her shirt and bra, exposing me to my first pair of in-the-flesh breasts. I'm not sure what most 13 year olds do these days, or even back then, but I know what I did...I ran. I ran right out the room, out the front door and down to the corner pay phone, where I promptly called my mom and asked her to pick me up, lying to her that the party was over.

The next day at school, I found out I was given the Native American-esque nickname Chief Running Scared, probably because 'Dances With Wolves' had come out around the same time. It's safe to say that the girl and I are not currently dating. In fact, she dumped me a few days afterwards, citing that I was "too slow." And she wasn't talking about my foot speed...


It was fair to call me a husky kid when I hit puberty. Not fat or chubby by any stretch of the imagination, but I wasn't slender by any means either. I also set a Long Beach Pony League single-season record of 26 hit-by-pitches my 13-year-old year (I have the stat book to prove it...not sure if it still stands.) I was also the starting catcher of the team, and as any catcher will tell you, it's a tough gig. Balls fouled off, bruises from blocking pitches, etc. Given all the above circumstances, my Pony manager lovingly told me "Man, Joe, you're just a piece of meat out there!" The name Meat stuck.


Probably the weirdest of all my nicknames, but during my freshman year in high school, I hung out with two guys from the golf team a lot. One already had the nickname of "Syrup" because of all the gel he put in his hair and the other kid was named Laramie. Combine "Syrup" with Laramie and you get Sylarm. It was a nickname that only lasted my freshman year and was only used by my golf teammates.


In a feeble attempt to give me a nickname, my friends tried to call me Sloppy Joe. Not sure if it was because of my appearance or because of the way I handled my booze, but it was Sloppy for a good six months.

"The Kenyan"

I think this is the only self-imposed nickname I've ever had. It stemmed from one long and loud New Years Eve night involving a girl and a sleeping bag and subsequently, a series of, um, "exploits" with said female regarding my "stamina". When my friends didn't believe me, I simply told them "Dude, I'm not a sprinter, I'm a marathon man...I'm like those Kenyans, baby!"

"Two-and-oh Joe"

In an attempt to get in shape, I took some serious one-on-one boxing lessons for about four months at a local gym. Around the same time, a friend asked me if I'd even been in a fight and I said "I've thrown a punch only twice...and I won both times." So my amateur mixed martial arts record is 2-0, hence the name. (Fight history: first punch thrown was in 8th grade when a kid made fun of my sister and threw a grape Blow Pop at her...I decked him and chipped a tooth. My next foray into hand-to-hand combat came in 2001 when I was a youth sports coach and referee for the YMCA. During a soccer game, I threw a kid out of the game for constantly slide tackling opponents. When I threw him out, his dad started screaming at me from the stands. After the game, I was putting the balls and netting away in the storage bins. When I walked out, the dad jumped me and in self-defense, I threw a wild right hook which connected somewhere on his head. Luckily there were other parents and adults there to restrain the dad and prevent me from going 1-1.)

Nowadays, if it's not just plain ol' Joe, I get a lot of J-Led's, Leddy's and Big Joe's thrown my way. I guess not having a nickname isn't the end of the world, but still, it would be cool.


20 to 1

20 beers left in my fridge that I don't plan on drinking any time soon
19 days until Black Thursday
18 days until pitchers and catchers report
17 more points the Patriots will score than the Giants
16 stinking dollars, my tax refund from the State
15 months until Kory gets hitched
14 more days until I hit Los Angeles and visit The King
13 more months until I hit the big Three-Oh
12 is still my lucky number
11 hours +, the time I'll be at work tomorrow if it rains
10 shots, the margin of victory for Tiger at this week's tourney
9 months or so until I head to Florida for Level I PGA testing
8 missed phone calls I had during my lunch break today
7 days, my expected time on the East Coast for vacation come May
6 minutes until I'm outta here
5 days until Lost is back on the air!
4 more inches until I reach the waist size I want
3 days since I last went to the gym...but I'm going back tonight.
2 times I had to kick our Local Drunk out of the bar today
1 lame blog post


Quote of the Year #2

In comes our second entry into the The Year of Joe Quote of the Year (which, from this point on, will be referred to as TYoJQotY...an easy acronym to remember such a worthy award, don'tcha think?)

While sitting in the lobby of the local AMC, waiting for Theater 17 to be cleaned so we could check out 'Cloverfield', an odd fellow come over to me and my friend and pointed to Theater 18 and said "What is that movie about?" I had no idea what was showing next door, so I shrugged my shoulders and he said "Something about a girl moving?"

My friend chimed in with "Oh, 'How She Move'...it's a dance movie."

Weirdo: "What kind of dancing?"

Friend: "Hip hop."

"So a bunch of black kids moving around? Thrilling..."


Wait A Minute, Mr. Postman...

Thanks John for the unexpected Christmas gift!


Putts and Pats

I drove to Temecula and back tonight to attend my first PGA-sanctioned seminar. It was called "Mastering the Mental Game on the Greens" by Dr. Joe Parent, mental and putting coach to PGA stars such as Vijay Singh and David Toms, as well as celebrities Kenny G and Oscar De La Hoya.

It was two hours chock-full of great advice, techniques, and wonderful anecdotes. I chatted with Dr. Parent for five minutes or so afterwards, picking his brain on the the positive thought process he uses with his clients.

The presentation was very good and somewhat intimate. There were about 30 members of the country club it was at and about 10 of us teaching professionals. I was able to meet some of my fellow pros and they were all seasoned vets, so they were willing to part some wisdom to a newbie like me. I'll definitely be attending more of these things, to not only help build my teaching philosophies, but to network and also try to improve my game as well.

* * * * *

Man, those Patriots are too good. However, given all the injuries to the Chargers, they really hung in there. The D looked good, it was just the inability to capitalize in the red-zone. You can't beat the best by kicking field goals.

The team (and fans) should be proud of the season. It was rocky at the start but they looked great in the second half of the year. I don't expect too much turnover in the offseason (Goff? Turner? Florence?) and I think we'll see the Bolts back in the AFC Championship game next year.

By the way, I used to not root for Brady and Belichick. I still hate "The Monk" (the grimace, the sweatshirt, the cheating, the no-answers in press conferences, the injury report manipulations, etc.) but damn it, Tom Brady is the man and the Pats are a great team to watch. Hell, they're a great team dynasty PERIOD. Brady could be one of my favorite players if he wasn't banging my girl Gisele, but alas, my heart is too wounded to make such statements.

* * * * *

The candidate I was originally planning on voting for in the primary has dropped out of the race, causing me to scramble and figure out my new Prez. I'm almost set on my vote. Almost.

* * * * *

Happy MLK Day tomorrow, except for those of you in Arizona...

* * * * *

Lyrics of the Week:

"She's moving on without you
The tide breaks
You watch the stars fade
They gather you back to their home
I guess it's better than being alone."

-"Star Mile", Joshua Radin


"Honey, what's all that noise from next door?"

Work was shit today so when I got home after the gym, I decided to really relax. I drew a piping hot bath, turned on some tunes, lit some candles and just chilled out for what I think ended up being well over an hour.

(Note to self: Double check selected playlist next time if the iPod is going to be out of reach. It's never a good thing if you are blaring Q Lazzarus' "Goodbye Horses" late at night. The neighbors might think something's up...)


Goodwill Hunting

For some reason - call it my Mr. Rogers phase, I guess - but I wanted to add some cardigan sweaters to my closet inventory. I figured my best bet was the local Goodwill store. I really like going to thrift stores.

However, my fascination with thrift stores runs a little deeper than just the fantastic deals you find. (By the way, my bud John can spend a mere 5 minutes in a thrift store and somehow end-up with the ultimate find. He and I have pieced together some serious "danger gear" over the years at various southland Goodwills and thrift stores.) It's a given that thrift shopping is like treasure hunting, right? When you find that perfect something for next to nothing, it's a pretty satisfying feeling! For me, walking down the aisles of a Goodwill is a little like reading a book without words. My imagination really turns on and I start to do a lot of thinking. I think most people who shop at thrift stores do it out of necessity and because of their financial state. I don't think they ponder about the fact that a lot of the things in these places are from people who are no longer alive. The things that are on the shelves, for some, are the only thing left in the world that belonged to them. I know, they are just things right? But how many of us are totally attached to our things? (What's the saying, "after awhile, our posessions start owning us"?) How many of you have an absolute favorite t-shirt or pair of jeans? These things mean a lot to us, right?

When we die, our jewelry and other valuable possessions get passed down to family members, but our clothing usually means very little to our loved ones after we're gone and more than likely, they'll end up being donated to a thrift store. So when I am perusing the aisles of a thrift store, I sometimes think up stories of the people behind the things on the racks. When I find an awesome vintage cardigan valued at $100 marked with a $5 price tag resting between a ratty "Disneyland 1990" sweatshirt or a neon pink "Welcome to Utah!" hoodie, I can't help but to think of the person who owned it and probably cherished it. How he maybe bought it for a special occassion or maybe wore it as a comfort outfit. When I come across a piece of clothing that reeks of cigarette smoke, I first wonder "Who in their right mind is going to buy this?" but then I also wonder if it belonged to someone who passed from cancer. When I see loads of brand new baby clothes with tags still attached, I get to thinking about the family who maybe never got to bring a baby home and wonder if they donated all of the clothes because they were too painful to keep around.

I find comfort in the knowledge that someday, after I am long gone from this world, maybe someone will still be walking around in my favorite cardigan.


Cram Session

Man, you ever lay your head on your pillow and just sigh and realize you put in one helluva day?

As I blog from my bed, I'm in that state...here was my schedule today:

*Woke up at 5:30, made breakfast and worked out (my new Power90 DVD) at home

*Showered and got to work at 7:00.

*Worked my ass off until the Charger game

*Still worked during the game but ducked in and out of the bar to catch some highlights

*Watched the entire 4th quarter

*Worked for two more hours then played 9 holes

*Went downtown for a homeless feed a friend invited me to

*Hit the gym, riding the bike for 22 miles

*Got home, made dinner and studied my PGA stuff for an hour




I've Got The Power (Point)

Took some time out of my schedule today to give a presentation at San Diego State University for their Business Administration school. The seminar was called "Leadership is a Choice" and it was a day full of presentations and workshops all about, you guessed it, leadership.

My presentation was my first crack at PowerPoint and I thought I did very well. I was given 55 minutes to speak and my plan was to speak for 30 minutes and have Q&A for the remaining time. However, I strayed a bit from my script and ended up taking almost 45 minutes, which was okay because there were only a few questions in the end, so I filled my entire allotted time. My presentation was titled "The Art of Direction: When Skill Isn't Enough" and the gist of it was that having a skilled and talented staff isn't enough, that being a successful manager means you sometimes need to give direction and recognize how to get people to do what you want.

It was kinda cool to be the youngest presenter (a Captain of the US Marines was probably 30 or so) and it was a great honor. Among the other presenters was a board member from Qualcomm, someone from Harrah's Rincon, the regional director of Subway, and the General Manager of the San Diego Wildcats (ABA team.) I love management and I love leading and being able to tell people my style and ideas on the topic is a real thrill.


The Music Post

Let's start this baby off with a list:

Top Ten Favorite Bands/Artists of All-Time
10.The Rolling Stones
9. Jeff Buckley
8. Elvis Costello
7. The Notorious B.I.G.
6. Nirvana
5. Jay-Z
4. The Beastie Boys
3. Elliott Smith
2. The Smashing Pumpkins
1. The Beatles

Just missed the cut: The Beach Boys, Jimmy Eat World, Sublime, Rage Against The Machine, Kanye West, Counting Crows, Radiohead, David Bowie.

* * * * *

You ever "discover" an artist or band years after they were popular and wish you were there from the beginning? After "Good Will Hunting," I took an immediate following to Elliott Smith and got to eagerly await two of his albums before his death in 1993. I wish I could have known him back in his Heatmiser days, or at the very least when he debuted "Roman Candle". Another favorite of mine from the list above died too early, that being Jeff Buckley. I had always known of Jeff Buckley's cult following while I was in college but never ventured to listen to the music. It wasn't until about 6 years ago did I borrow "Grace" from a friend and instantly I became a fan.

Anywho, a band I just learned about that I wish I followed from the beginning is Red House Painters. Similar styles to Smith and Buckley, I've just recently gobbled up all their albums and have been really loving them.

* * * * *

Do you have to own every album to have a group considered a favorite? How about just the mainstream albums? Does owning concert DVDs and bootleg albums make you a better fan or just someone with more expendable income?

From my list above, I own every major released album by the top seven. I'm not a hardcore fan of any group, really, but I do own a few Beatles books, two concert DVDs from The Smashing Pumpkins (plus the CD of Billy Corgan's short-lived Zwan project), hunted down and burned or acquired through other fans great B-sides, bootlegs and rarities of Elliott Smith, and also own a Jeff Buckley DVD as well.

Does it make me a better fan? I don't think so.

* * * * *

Please feel free to post your Top Ten lists, or let us know what groups you became a fan of later in their careers, or your thoughts about owning every album, DVD, etc. of a group in the comment section!


You Can Call Me, Al

" 'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all. "

--Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1850

I'm not so sure if that's true, Alfred...something tells me the two photos of you below were taken during two stages of your life: Pre-Love and Post-Love.


Wiki Wonderful

For a guy who starves for information, there's nothing much better than Wikipedia.

Things I've Wiki'd in the last 48 hours:

*1992 election (Did you know Bill Clinton didn't win a state until March 10?)

*Asics shoes (Did you know Asics is an anagram for the Latin phrase "anima sana in corpore sano" which means "a sound mind in a sound body"?)

*Niacin (Did you know common side affects of niacin is facial flushing and itching? I sure did!!)

*Digable Planets (Did you know "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)" -- one of my all-time favorite songs -- earned the group a Grammy award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group?)


Sunday rumblings

Phew...that was close.

* * * * *

Was getting ready for work this morning at the Info-Hour (1 AM -5 AM) (sidenote #1: Downfall for being a manager in the golf industry is that when it rains, all salaried co-workers run the property and we only bring in hourly staff as needed...so since it was my GM's day off, I set my alarm this morning for 4:00 to see if it was raining. It was, so I had to open the shop and coordinate all the outside service and pro shop staff and contact the Superintendent and Food & Bev Manager to implement a labor action plan. And to boot, when it rains, we make no money, so my bonus is ultimately at stake! And I used to LOVE the rain!!) and saw an ad for the new (?) Oreck XL 21 vacuum. (sidenote #2: "Vacuum" is most def one of those words that just absolutely looks wrong when written out. And the more and more I look at it, the more and more foreign it gets to me.)

The selling point of the Oreck XL 21? "The Oreck XL 21 is so powerful, it has the same suction power as a Class Two hurricane!" Living in Southern California, I have no idea how powerful that actually is, but c'mon...does it really make sense to compare a household appliance to a natural disaster? "The TriMega Super Duper Soda Can Crusher is so powerful, it has the same force as six Malibu mudslides!"

* * * * *

I'm not ashamed to admit this...I rode 20 miles this morning at the gym listening solely (or maybe in this case, "souly") to a two-song loop on the iPod: Kanye's "Stronger" and Timberlake's " What Goes Around.../...Comes Around".


How do they know?

Why oh why does eHarmony keep emailing me?


Now if Fling.com started populating my in-box, that'd be a whole 'nother story...


Scenes from New Years

The La Jolla Torrey Pines Hilton was amazing...got in free ($250 V.I.P. tickets), had a great dinner (pan-seared Ahi with coconut wasabi), drank for free and partied with 4,000 people over 1 million square feet of lounge and dance floors.

This is what it looked like from behind the V.I.P. ropes!

The main outside patio. Beautiful with great music and bar service.

This is Laura, our Go-Go Dancer. I'm pretty sure she thought about me while making out with someone at the stroke of midnight...

Fabian, Robert and my man Hector, the ringleader of the night.

The host DJ was Donald Glaude, who I guess is big time in the club scene. He had me dancing, I know that for a fact.


Quote of the Year

Back in high school, my man The King had a journal in which he kept "Quotes of the Year," which were basically funny, odd or totally irrelevant quotes that he would hear at school or whatever. I think "What, you haven't seen pornographic skeletons?" and "I'll zap your balls gonads" were the winners at year's end.

Every now and then, I'll post what I believe is a worthy nomination for The Year of Joe Quote of the Year. Here is this year's first entry:

"Well, I'm going to buy both of them, so I think I'll try 'em both on."
--Kory Burroughs (when asked which shoe, the right or the left, he'd like to try on before buying.)


"The Year of Joe" continues!

You know how it is every year...you make goals, plans, resolutions -- give it a name -- around this time of year. A year ago I started this blog to track what I was intending to be a huge year for myself.

It got crazy busy at work early in the year and I had to abandon this darn thing, but with the New Year here and constant patronizing by my friends, I'm re-upping another year of "The Year of Joe", The Blog©.

My dear friend Conradical asked me today "The Year of Joe is officially over. How did it turn out?"

Well, Conrad, and my faithful readers, here's what I planned to do in 2007 and a recap of how it all turned out:

I invite all of you to join along while I search for a pay raise, a new apartment and a lady friend, among other things. I'm also in the process of getting a new car (how I came to this worth re-telling in a future post) and working on shrinking my waistline. As you can see, I've got a shit load on my plate this year, but I plan to make it all come to fruition, come hell or high water.
Pay raise? Check. (Also a promotion -- same title, mind you -- but at one of the most prestigous courses in our company and probably #2 or #3 in all of San Diego, regardless of management company.)

New apartment? Check. Sure, it's smaller than I had imagined ("Thanks what she said!") but it's your typical "Starter Bachelor Studio" and it IS only a stone's throw (or two) from work and in the middle of perfect Fashion Valley. So I got that going for me, which is nice...

A new lady friend? Negative. Thought I was close but it was really all wrong on so many levels. This remains on the list for '08 but remember, I'm not looking. Just waiting!

New car? Got it. Rollin' in da Honda...Special Edition, to boot!

Shrinking waistline? Still shrinking. I put on 10 pounds since June when I got the new job...it was a mix of not having time to cook, thus eating out a lot, and eating horrible (yet delish) food at work for lunch, like fries and shit like that. But I joined the Y just down the street from me right after Thanksgiving and I've shredded the 10 pounds and then some already. My new favorite thing? Hitting the bike at the gym...I'm currently doing 20 miles in the morning and night. Also incorporated some supplements into my diet for the first time, so I'll be looking forward to the upcomig changes.

All in all, it was a very, very good year! In addition to the goals I set out for myself, I also made some new friends, got a brother-in-law and was accepted into the PGA Program.

In case you were wondering, here's what I got planned for 2008, the NEW Year of Joe:

*Continue to get my weight down
*Pass Level I of the PGA Program
*Make progress at work, but not necessarily a new job or promotion
*Find a good catch, if you know what I mean
*Win a fantasy championship
*Visit Yankee Stadium before it closes
*Blog on this baby WAY more often than last year

As can see, I'm really planning on building on what was an awesome 2007 and take it to a whole new level. 2008, here I come!