Prime

First things first, I want to wish all of you a happy and eventful 2018.  If it’s already been a ride through the first week, I don’t know quite how to respond to that!  If it’s progressing, I hope that it continues to do so for you.

Now, onto the real point before I lose my train of thought on the matter.

If I haven’t mentioned it by now, I really have a strong dislike for math.  On the flip side of that, I have a strong appreciation for numbers.  So, while I was on my daily walk yesterday, I started to wonder about prime numbers in particular.  The word “prime” means a lot of varying things but the one thing that stands out, and in such a wonderful coincidence, is that it means the very best of something.  The best time of your life (prime of your life), the best example (prime example), or whatever else you can think to associate with the word.  But, what really set me on this path has nothing to do with numbers.

I am a huge science fiction guy.  I absolutely love it.  So, while I was walking, I was watching a clip from “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.”  Some people think it’s a terrible movie and I won’t get into a subjective discussion about it.  But, what I will like to talk about is why Optimus is such an excellent example of the term.

I don’t think it is so much of him being an example of leadership or morality.  Maybe it’s more along the lines of it being such a numbers thing.  It didn’t occur to me until I was really invested in how such qualities and characteristics aren’t so easily mirrored or duplicated.  Sure, we can have examples of its antithesis but never an instance of those things in another form.  So, I had the thought of, “What makes a prime so special?”  I came up with many possible reasons but the one I can’t escape from is this:

A prime number is divisible only by itself and one.

What the hell does that even mean?  Well, numerically speaking it means that the number… say… 13… is only equally divisible by itself (13) and the number one.  Up front, that doesn’t mean a bunch, does it?  Well, when you’re trying to figure out what makes a person so uniquely them, that word can factor into so much more than numerical meaning.

As people, we try so hard to multiply our success.  We feel like whatever formula we’ve used to find professional success will translate into our personal, spiritual, or emotional lives.  So many of us find that to be lot easier said than done and I find myself among the many who feel this way.

So, why is it so hard?  If we can find success in one area of life, what makes it so damn difficult to just copy and paste?  As the saying goes, “The devil is in the details.”  The amount of work it takes to achieve and maintain success in one area is one thing but to duplicate it is something completely different.  So, why is so different?  Why is such a thing so hard?

There are two main reasons.  The first one being is that success cannot merely be copied.  We cannot clone the routine of a successful person and expect it to work for us.  Our individual circumstances, strengths, and weaknesses make it a tough challenge to duplicate.  We are just too different and that isn’t a bad thing!  The second reason being is that we want our own success.  We want every bit of who we are as people to be as relevant as the results themselves.  We don’t all break the same.  The same things that can make us special can make others fall into obscurity or vice versa.  It’s those things that make us who we are.  Which brings me to the point…

The point of being in the prime of anything isn’t necessarily to achieve or sustain.  The point here is to take the opportunity to take who you are and let your uniqueness and individuality build something that may be worth having.  Each aspect of our lives create unique challenges that must be resolved with unique solutions.  Why spend time trying to copy what worked for another when you’re not them?

So, as we move forward, use the best of what makes you unique to make something something equally unique.  I don’t think I’ve met anyone who would respond positively to their clone or even would want to meet their clone for that matter.

 

Besides, isn’t the best expression of who we are the expression we make ourselves?
-Kevin

 

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The Light of Day

So, I hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was good!  I spent mine laid out on my den floor with the stomach flu and bronchitis.  Still, it was a good time because I got to catch up on those important hours of sleep!  Still trying to recover though… ANYWAY…

I’m going to get all mushy for this one.  I’m not necessarily a fan of Jimmy Fallon but I saw this video on Facebook the other day about how his mother had passed.  I know that death is an inevitable part of life but these types of things hit pretty close to home for me.

I didn’t have the luxury of having a mom in the house.  Don’t worry.  It wasn’t because she was a drug addict or she had a streak of infidelity and ran off with another man.  I absolutely feel for the kids who get left in the wind on the fundamental premise that their parents didn’t want them.  I can personally vouch that we can be a handful and that you want to strangle us sometimes but that is either here nor there…

My mother died of ovarian cancer when I was a baby.  She didn’t get the chance to see me graduate, my first band concert, senior night during marching season, or any other of my personal highlights.  Some would argue that she was there in spirit but she wasn’t there in the way that I desperately needed her to be.

I don’t even have many memories of her.  Nothing but a vague impression and stories that my old man would tell… which is really the heart of this entry.  Not so much the fact that she is gone but the memories of her.  Or, even the memories of family and friends gone by that we find ourselves longing for in times of trial.  In those things we find life… we find meaning in the struggles, the ups and downs, the bitter sting of defeat and the exaltation of victory.

We search, everyday, for something tangible to make memories stand out and make them special.  Sometimes it’s who we are with, where we are, or even what we are doing.  But, it’s always something tangible… always something on which we can lay or hands.  Otherwise, it’s just an empty gesture that we engage in daily and take for granted.

It isn’t very often that we come face to face with the element that gives life.  It isn’t such a thing that we can buy in a store or find in our friends because we can’t lay hands on what makes one instance much more memorable than any others.  As people, we have the tendency to place value on things which we can place our hands and as a result, we find ourselves lacking something that we can determine as “real.”  Our interests lie in the results and not necessarily the means.

BUT…

There are times when we do come face to face with life and each time is a unique opportunity to make something special… to make memories that bring life back to us instead of it being a monument of days passed like we do now. 

We don’t know with whom, when, or where we may find this elusive thing but all of us know it when we recognize its presence and importance as a companion.

Or, in my personal instance, a storyteller and the path I’ve been been on has been long, tedious, and tiresome.

Occasionally, I’ll get my hand squeezed three times and it’s made it known that I’m in good company and know that I’m in the right place. 

Just like today… 

-Kevin

P.S:  Bumblebee can tell the story much better than I ever could and he actually inspired most of this.  Along with Mr. Fallon and Taylor Swift’s song “New Year’s Day.”

10.11.2017 – Learning Curve

Here we go!

Shout out to my friend, Keegan F., for giving me one to lead off with for you readers.

Or, economics, government, and English for that matter. For the record, I failed English three times.

To say that I didn’t care was a massive understatement.

I don’t care what they would have said, I was bad.

There is no worst feeling than being told that you’re not wanted.
Some for the better. Some for the worse.

One experience that is unique and challenging, to be certain.


I’ve grown to appreciate these moments more and more.

Contact information is at the bottom of the page!

Peace of Mind

I will rarely express my political views about anything because I find them to be utterly useless in any social arena.  I find it equally useless to talk about social issues because ultimately the discussion breaks down into a left vs. right argument instead of a discussion that yields problem solving techniques and solutions.  But, today will be a little different.

First off, let me say this:  I don’t have all of the answers nor will I attempt to justify or articulate the reasons why for all of these things that are happening in America today.  However, I will say that as a child from a military family, a former athlete, and a man who has had to deal with some consequences of being a minority, I feel that I should speak on some of them.

1) Racism in America:  First off, let me define through a practical application of what racism is.  Racism is the isolation of an ethnic group by either denigrating single or multiple groups by another in an effort to improve the status of another.  For example, Adolf Hitler was a racist.  The KKK, at the time of their establishment, was racist.  You folks get the idea.

Part of the problem is that everyone in the NFL who is kneeling to activate themselves in the face of oppression isn’t helping their cause.  They’re actually being more divisive.  What these men don’t understand is that their objection is cultural and not legislative.  The problem isn’t the senseless killing.  The problem is that the protests are by men who embrace their heritage but don’t condone the negative images that it portrays.  You see these men mimicking the mannerisms and behaviors of their successful peers but don’t pay attention to what brings that success especially with regards to music.  Some of the elements include drugs, guns, violence, and the open resentment of authority.  Now, I understand that some of these people don’t have the luxury of living in an environment that don’t produce a better opportunity at a life where one doesn’t have to worry about things like that.  I totally get that.  But, those things don’t necessarily make you obligated to “be about that action” as Marshawn Lynch would say.  The sad thing is that if one wants a better life for themselves, they would be accused of “selling out.”  You can’t act the part and live the life and not expect to be treated as a degenerative influence.  Now, some of the shootings were bad.  I talked with a Canyon PD officer who shared his thoughts and opinions and I found myself to be in agreement.  His ethnic background is irrelevant as it compares to his objectivity within the situation.  He said that some were bad and some were justified.  I agreed with him.  It doesn’t mean I’m an “Uncle Tom.” It doesn’t mean that I’m an enemy of my race.  It means that I can’t sit here and condone the actions of people just because they refuse to be accountable for their individual actions or choices.  You can’t act a certain way that promotes antagonism and expect to be treated fairly.  Simply put, you get what you give.  If you offer a reason to be mistreated, the odds are you will be.  You can’t stand around and disrespect authority and seek a fair and just response.  Now, I get that this isn’t always the case but in my experience, I get treated much in the same way I treat them.

Finally, if you want to work towards a solution for racism, here’s one:  Work to end it across the board because black people wanting equal and fair treatment for themselves is inherently racist.  Equality isn’t something you can take from someone and add to yourself.  It isn’t a finite resource to be fought over and coveted.  History is replete with examples of people warring over such a thing only for the victor to be given more avenues to further subjugate and marginalize each other.  It’s unfortunate but as a people, we are incapable of demonstrating the necessary ability to not commit acts of ethnic patriotism, for lack of a better way to put it, against one another.
2) Protesting the Anthem:  As a military child, I will always support the American Flag and National Anthem.  This country we live in isn’t perfect but the total disrespect being shown by athletes during the ceremony is contemptible.  Men and women have died so you can sit there and demonstrate your discontent with the social climate.  You can express that all you like; however, there are places in this world where you would be executed for such things.  You have a problem?  Okay, power to you for offering a solution.  But, you’re not offering solutions.  You’re using your profession as a platform for political and social reform.  You’re being paid millions to play a game.  If you want to affect change, do it through affecting policy or the climate in your community.  You won’t do it through your demeanor at work because some people would rather fire you than have to deal with your personal circus in the workplace.  If you ever doubt that, you can ask Kaepernick, Terrell Owens, Greg Hardy, Ray Rice, or any other person who has red flags because of their personal behavior or politics.  Honoring your home, despite its flaws, speaks more about you than complaining about the injustices you do not suffer.  You don’t have to be a patriot.  Just don’t be a divisive influence because it makes your hypocrisy more evident when you protest and do nothing to promote positive changes. 

I get you don’t like the state of affairs.  Nobody is accusing you of being oblivious or ignorant of them.  What you are being accused of is being an idle force.  If you’re protesting, you can also be active in the community and use your voice productively.  If you’re not, you’re merely an inert element in a turbulent situation.  Which sadly translates to being a part of the problem by not being part of the solution.  Sorry athletes, you’re not doing much of anything unless you’re promoting change.  Donating money doesn’t mean you’re doing anything, either.  You gotta be in the field living out the kind of behavior you want others to show.

3) Trump’s Comments:  Oh boy, did he drop a bomb here.  But, his comments are indeed fair and here is why:  If any one of us walked into our workplace and started a movement that was clearly divisive and disruptive to the integrity and quality of the product, we would be fired for it.  Plain and simple.  The hitch here is that the players are ultimately accountable to the fans and the owners have a responsibility to the fans.  The players are entertainers with no podium other than Twitter and Facebook to express themselves.  Trump used his podium, as the elected head of this country, to express his thoughts as to the social climate of the U.S.  Calling them a “son of a bitch” wasn’t wise but he did raise a good point.  They want to agitate an already inflammatory situation without dealing with the consequences.  As a result, they are angry for him expressing his discontent with their actions.  For better or worse, Trump has to bear the consequences of what comes out of his mouth just like we do.  Unfortunately for him, the spotlight is a lot brighter for him than it is for an athlete.

His comment wasn’t racially motivated.  If anything, it was patriotic and in defense of the sacrifices the military makes daily to preserve the American way of life.  Or, at the very least, what we hope it one day can be.  Furthermore, any person who has a problem is welcome to go somewhere else.  There’s nothing saying they can’t go anywhere that is more amenable to their sensibilities.  But, since they would rather stay and voice their issues, it isn’t as big of a problem as they want to lead others to believe.  As evident as it is, keeping quiet just isn’t an acceptable option.  You can ask Dez Bryant about that. 
As always, these are my thoughts and opinions.  I welcome discussion and your thoughts.

Until next time…

Kevin

Dying Words

First things first, to anyone who reads this thing… Effective September 1, I’m going to post twice a week or at least try to for all of you.  So, look for that as I post pointed and not so pointed content in the coming months.  Now that I’ve said that… 
So, lately I’ve had this song stuck in my head.  What it is really isn’t important but the message is.  Seeing as how much we take it all for granted, it really is something that needs to be addressed.

What really spurned it all forward was that I was having a conversation with a woman on a dating site that which we are both subscribed.  She told me a story about how she was mistreated by her exes and that it’s alienated her and all that.  [For the record, I believe that physical abuse any relationship is unacceptable from either party.]  So, I asked her thoughts on the matter.  Before I get into that, I’ll put the cart before the horse.  My response illicit some pretty harsh comments from her.

Granted, I’ll take some heat for this and that’s fine but my point is strictly this:  I asked her whether or not she deserved what she got.  Both good and bad.  That’s when I got the onslaught of comments and insults.  [She didn’t hurt my feelings one bit, by the way.  But, it did go a long way for the sake of this entry.]

Now, a lot of the time we say things, we use them to either hurt or heal someone.  Words like regret, mistake, goodbye, hate, and a multitude of others are used to take shots at others.  We want them to hurt. We want them to fucking suffer!  Conversely, we will use words like joy, blessing, welcomed, and love to bring them healing.  We want them to heal.  We want them to be made whole!

Personally, anyone can say whatever they want to me or about me.  I don’t care an awful lot seeing as it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.  Sticks and stones, right? 


But, I’ll BE DAMNED if people flaunt the word deserve around.  Talk to me like the consequences of your choices in the past entitle something to you now and there may be an incident.  Call me an asshole.  Say I’m a piece of shit.  Hell, run me through a wood chipper for crying out loud.  Do whatever except sit here and tell me that I deserve what I get.  That anyone deserves what they get…  Especially when they think it’s owed to them because they want it.  Hell, I want a blonde haired, blue eyed, and well-endowed Australian woman who has the accent to match.  Doesn’t mean that who I am or what I’ve done merits me one.  It’d be my luck I settle down with a Canadian woman.  As long as she has legs that go up to there, naw’mean fellas???? I digress…

I guess the method to the madness is here is that I’m a firm proponent of the philosophy of “You get what you give.”  Nobody owes anyone anything and that work and effort are rewards and rewarded.  It chaps my ass to see people, men and women alike, who are critical of their situation because they don’t deserve it.  [Now, I’m also a believer that life is indeed fair and that situations regardless of what they may be are a result of many things.  None of which stem from entitlement.]  Consequences aren’t always favorable, but they are definitely a result of what happens.  Not from what we want to happen… 
I want the best for people and I’m willing to go as far as they are to get it.  If they want it bad enough, I’ll support any action that leads to that goal.  But, sitting around waiting for something sounds like a lesson in patience to me.  I hope I’m not the only one, either. 

Now, those are some words to live by. 

-Kevin

Elpis

Before I get into the mix of all this, I’m going to be pretty open.  There are some things that I’ve really wanted to talk about lately.  Some of which are pretty heart heavy.  So, who knows what I’ll really want to say.  Maybe I’ll figure it out when I say it.

 

Who is familiar with the Greek legend of Pandora?  For those who don’t know, according to legend, she was the first woman created by the Greek gods.  She was created by Hephaestus and Athena as punishment for Prometheus going rogue and imbuing man with the knowledge of fire.  But, that didn’t stop the Hephaestus and Athena, along with the others, from granting Pandora their qualities and traits.

We too, are a lot like Pandora.

 

We are built of earth and water.  But, for the purpose of this entry, we are essentially made up of dirt and blood.  The dirt that is our indiscretion, evil, and injustice alongside blood, which is the life we’ve taken because of those injustices.  Despite being possession of the best intentions and most endearing qualities that we could have been graced with, the fact of the matter remains:  We are the sum of our parts.  There’s no escape from design.

Much like her, it feels like punishment to be made up such things.  Honestly, who plays in the dirt?  What appeal lies in building something out of it?  One could say that they have no other choice and for a great many of us, there isn’t much in the way to dissuade us from agreeing with them.

 

Personally, my hands have been filthy.  There is so much garbage that I’ve dabbled in and I’m not proud of it.  Even worse, there are things that have tainted me on so many levels, I’m not even sure how I’ve managed to find them again.  I’m not sure if even I know what it is I’m truly looking for or if I’ll ever find them again.  I’ve been hit time after time with no relent and I’ve really wondered why I’m here and what it is I’m supposed to be doing.

I suppose that I’m rather fortunate to be in the company and protection of some people who know more than I do.

 

Ever since December, I’ve had struggles with these three things:  Love, forgiveness, and how to reconcile my storied history with the unwritten future.  These three are the biggest perils to me and try as I might to contain them, they continue to elude me.  The real bummer is that in my effort to capture these things, everything that I’ve managed to keep a lid on manages to flee.

The further along the story goes, the more and more I find that Pandora and myself have a similar tale.

 

According to the legend, Pandora was offered by Zeus to Prometheus’ brother Epimetheus as his bride.  As a wedding gift, Pandora was offered a pithos, or a jar if your Greek is rusty by Zeus himself.  Intrigued at what it contained, Pandora opened it and released all of the evils into the world.

Little do we understand just how much we have in common with our dear friend Pandora.

When we offer ourselves to others, we give them a gift.  That gift being everything we were, are, and could ever hope to be.  The things that make us special, unique, and give us the power to positively affect the world; however, along with those things are our individual perils that can put everything at risk.  Try as we might, there’s nothing that we can do from others opening that gift and letting all of those things loose upon those for whom which we care.

 

In a frantic, Pandora quickly tried to close the jar (which is “pithos” in Greek) with all of the perils and evils voraciously escaping and forever being a pestilence and plague upon mankind.

We too, share Pandora’s urgency when trying to contain our perils and evil.  We desperately try to keep those things contained when we realize what they are capable of doing and the damage they can inflict upon others.  The inherent guilt and shame of being responsible for releasing the essence of those things can be overwhelming.  Who wants to walk around with that burden?  I sure as hell don’t.  I don’t think Pandora did, either.  I guess that’s why she was so determined to put the lid back on that jar.

 

To end the story, Pandora did re-seal the jar.  Much to her chagrin, all but one of the perils that would now go on to plague mankind forever was contained.  That one “evil spirit” was called hope.  Depending on what version of the story you read, it is implied that she either was able to keep it captive or it stayed of its own volition.  Either way, it is the singular blessing to ease the burden of being what we are.

Me personally, hope was very much so fleeting.  I thought it was gone.  I thought it fled away with no chance of being caught.  It was so disheartening because in spite of everything that we have to offer, whether it is a means to incite peril or protection, hope is the one thing that we must not lose.  Everything else can be damned.  So long as we don’t lose that, everything else is negotiable.

 

The point is that there are going to be times when we feel like Pandora did.  There will be times when we let all hell break loose and find ourselves trying to contain all the havoc we’ve wrought upon the world and in our own lives.  But, the one thing Pandora did that we have to do as well is not let everything escape.  We have to hold on to hope.  We have to protect that at all costs.

Because if there is a moral to this Greek legend, I find it to be that hope is the most costly thing to lose.  Even in the midst of that has gone awry and the price tag that comes along with it, I find it even more costly if hope is lost as well.

 

I suppose I’m fortunate to have been able to hang onto it for so long.  Even in the echoes of legends long since departed.

As well as something just like this…

-Kevin

 

Twenty Minutes

When I woke up today, the last thing I honestly wanted to do was reflect on points in my life that had come and gone.  However, I was reminded by an awesome colleague and even better friend of this:
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” -Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (NIV)

 

It really resonated with me because of something my driving instructor at Exotics Racing in Las Vegas said to me.  He said that he wouldn’t have been telling me I was doing good things if I hadn’t been.  For a long time, people telling me I had been doing things well just to be nice.  Brandon, my instructor, also said that he had been around way too long to tell people constructive things for the sake of being constructive.  Looking back at it all now, it really makes me wonder just when I had been doing good things or just being told I was doing good things.  However, that is something for another day.

 

What I really wanted to get off my chest is that we seem to only really encourage or impart words of affirmation only when we’re on the journey.  We feel that the need to encourage one another only has punch when we’re about to do something important, risky, or unknown to us.  I can agree that those three instances can be critical when it comes to being encouraging.  However, it is disheartening to see it practically in only those three instances.

“For the most part, we have to work on small things right now.  So, if we’re having to work on small things after six laps, that’s pretty good.  It’s a car you don’t know.  It’s a track you don’t know.  It’s a driving style you don’t know.  After six laps of doing pretty good… getting to where you’re working on small things, I think that’s pretty good, right?” -Brandon, my instructor

Halfway into the experience and to have this spoken to me by an experienced driver was… for lack of a better way to put it, encouraging!  Here I am… no competitive racing skills or experience under my belt and just there for the sake of getting to drive a $120,000 sports car… to be told, by an experienced driver, that is what I would need to work on to progress?  That’s what we all want!  We want to be naturally in a position to have to make subtle adjustments instead of these whopping, life changing ones.  All too often, we take those whopping ones for granted because we don’t necessarily appreciate the journey we took to get there.

As I’ve gotten a little older since then, I’ve learned to really enjoy not abiding in being stationary.  Just because I haven’t left Canyon, USA doesn’t mean that I’m stationary.  There’s always a place to go or a thing to do wherever you are.  Lately, I’ve been exploring my faith and what it means to me.  I’ve been exploring my talent for composition and creativity.  I’ve been lots of places that a car could never take me.  But, for those twenty minutes in that Nissan GT-R, I found that a car could take me places that I wouldn’t have ever considered otherwise: a place that showed that encouragement is a journey all its own and not merely just a stop along whatever path you happen yourself to be.

 

So, as I find myself sitting here reminiscing about the things I have experienced and the things yet to come, I am encouraged.  Because at some point, somewhere down the line, there either has been or will be a Brandon telling me that regardless of what point I exist in, I have done good things and those little things will resolve themselves with understanding and application.  It’s kind of a shame that at first, I didn’t believe him.

 

Now, I do.  Wherever you are, I pray that you’re doing well and that the same drive and passion for racing and instruction serves you in areas of life that extend far beyond the track.

I can still hear “Turn now!  Brake now!  Push through the apex!  Go, go, go!!!!” in my head.  A lot better now because I can appreciate what it means to be encouraged through proper guidance.  Wherever you are, I pray that you’re doing well and that the same drive and passion for racing and instruction continues to serve you in areas of life that extend far beyond the track.

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-Kevin

P.S:  Thanks, JP!  As one racing fan to another, “Boogity!  Boogity!  Boogity!”