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Showing posts from July, 2016

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like...Star Wars

The air outside is crisp. You can see your breath and the end of your nose is red and cold. The houses that you pass have Christmas trees in the windows. There are lights arranged all over the front lawns. The stores are all lit up and twinkling. The bell ringers are sitting in front of the shops collecting your spare change for charity.

But it’s not a Christmas party that we’re going to tonight.

I’m sitting in a restaurant with my wife and my daughter. It’s not a fancy place. “It’s not the Shangri-La,” as I’ve been known to say in description of any place that doesn’t require a jacket and tie. No, this is just a hamburger joint.

We’re sitting in a booth enjoying big, fat cheeseburgers, shoestring fries, and ice cream sundaes. There is electricity in the air. There is a smile on my face. This is a special day.

At the table next to us there are two men about my age. They’re having a casual conversation about their work and if you just listened to the words you’d think they were in bus…

The Social Purge

Over the past few years I’ve noticed something about myself. My ideas about the world around me are changing. Things that I used to have a problem with no longer upset me. And things that I was once accustomed to is really starting to bother me. I don’t know if it’s something that comes with age, but ideologically speaking…I’m a different person than I was twenty years ago. Actually, I think I’ve changed a lot just in the last ten years or so. I’ll give a few examples.
When I was a kid growing up here in the south I was taught that homosexuality was a sin and that anyone that is homosexual is going to Hell. I no longer think that way. I now think that homosexuals are regular people who have a lifestyle that is a little different than mine. I believe that their choice of mate should have nothing to do with their rights and that loving someone is not a reason to go to Hell.
I was raised in an area that was pretty thick with racism. The hatred was mostly directed toward black people, bu…

It's okay to not like things...

Right now the world is a very serious place. There is a lot of violence happening all over the place. The past few months has seen hatred spewing from both sides of every issue. And then last week the internet proved that there are people sitting primed and ready to pounce on any issue.
ANY issue.
Last week Nintendo introduced a new app called Pokémon Go. It’s an augmented reality game based on the popular franchise from the 90s. If I just lost you then give me a second to explain two things…what Pokémon is and what augmented reality is.
In the 90s there was a cartoon series along with a bunch of video games called Pokémon. The basic premise was that there are tiny monsters all over the world called Pokémon. They all have unique powers and live in different habitats. On the show there were kids that would catch the little creatures and use them in tournaments against one another. The video games, toys, card games, and board games worked on the same idea.
As far as augmented reality…t…

Wake up call!

Anyone that has read this blog or the blogs that I had before know a little bit about my struggles with my weight. I’ve delved into it in depth before in writing and on my podcast, Shrinking Shawn. I’ve been at a hiatus for a while now as I haven’t been able to get a good running start back into weight loss so far this year. I’ve been stagnate for all of 2016. I’ve lost a little weight but it hasn’t been very much.
My battles with my weight have very much mirrored my father. He didn’t grow up overweight like I did, but he put it on as an adult. He’s lost a significant amount of weight and put it back on several times in my lifetime, just as I have. I’ve seen him try every diet that you can think of. He was a vegetarian for a while. He did the Atkins diet. He rode a bike. He golfed. He took daily hikes.
He was a fireman for most of my childhood. He was forced to retire from the fire department about 15 years ago because he had developed COPD and an enlarged heart. A week ago we got th…

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"Stretching From Here To Pletcher"...a tribute to Steve Latham

Today is a dark day.
If you’ve ever read any of my blog posts before then you’ve heard me tell the stories of my experiences in high school. I was bullied. I was bullied a lot. It’s something that has affected me my entire life. It has caused social anxiety issues that I deal with to this day. It’s not something that I like to remember, but it’s my history and it’s a part of who I am.
Granted, I was an awkward teenager. I didn’t play any sports. I wasn’t on the little league team. I didn’t even like watching sports...I still don’t. I don’t know enough about football to have an extended conversation about it. The stuff that I was into was a lot nerdier than that. I liked Star Trek. I liked reading science fiction and fantasy novels. I liked writing stories. I liked watching old black and white monster movies. I liked British sitcoms. Like I said…weird kid.
When I was a junior in high school I signed up to be a library aid for one class period a day. I figured I liked to be around book…


He was a kid.
He wasn’t literally a child. I mean, he was technically a grown man at the age of 23. But he hadn’t really experienced much of life. The small town life had been all he’d every really known and he had not yet figured out what his place in the world was. He made $6.50 an hour at a job that didn’t really hold much of a future for him. He spent his days working and at night he’d sit alone in his room, watching TV and wishing that there was more to his existence.
She was a kid, too. She was only 22. And in her short life she’d actually already lived a lot. She’d lived long enough to have been hurt by the man she loved. And she’d been around long enough to have a precious little boy that meant the world to her. She thought she had everything she needed. She thought that if it were just her and her son that she’d be fine.
The Universe had other plans.
These two met one day. They went on a date. Neither of them was really out to find a relationship. They were each just trying …

13 Reasons Why: A Parental Review

As I walked by my daughter’s bedroom a couple of weeks ago I saw her staring intently at her phone. I could tell that she was enthralled in something and I figured she was catching up on some of her favorite shows.
“What are you watching?” I said, trying to be the dad that knows what his daughter is doing.
“It’s a new show on Netflix,” she replied. “It’s called 13 Reasons Why. Everybody at school is watching it.”
I thought nothing else about it. I very rarely condemn anything that my kids are watching unless I know that it is something extremely violent or raunchy. The title actually registered in my mind because I had seen the book on the shelf at the bookstore and online a few times. I knew it was a young adult title so I figured a Netflix show based on that should be alright. I mean, she’s seen The Hunger Games, right?
A couple of days later my wife tells me that she saw a few stories online about some kids that have committed suicide after watching the show. That sounds a little f…